Is the Christian Church being invaded by supernaturalism? There are claims that there are a revival of “The Gifts of the Holy Spirit of God” as bestowed originally at the time of “Pentecost”. Such gifts are detailed in Paul’s first letter to the Church at Corinth. They were specified as “Spirit-given Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healings, Miracles (in general), Prophecy, Discerning of Spirits, Tongues (that is, speaking by supernatural power in a language not naturally learned), Interpretations of those Tongues” (that is by a “gifted” interpreter other than the speaker in tongues).
Two questions demand answers:
- Does the written Word of God, the Bible, justify the conviction that these Gifts ought to be everywhere in operation now in the Christian Church?
- Do the supernatural manifestations – which occur in some meetings – justify the claim that they are identical with the Gifts bestowed by God as recorded in 1 Cor. 12:8-10?
Some who oppose Pentecostalism state that the Gifts gradually ceased and were withdrawn by God because:
- They were intended only for the generation which saw the Apostles who launched the Christian Church on the world; or
- They belonged only to the introductory period when the Gospel was made known by word of mouth and were intended only to endorse the oral testimony and were withdrawn when “the oracles of God” for New Testament times were committed to permanent writing.
However, William Campbell reckons:
- That the Gifts did not cease gradually, but suddenly;
- That the reason for their withdrawal by God has a powerful finality about it which alone can satisfactorily explain the absence of the Gifts during the past 1900+ years;
- Their withdrawal had everything to do with the vast change in God’s administration of His Eternal Purpose in relation to mankind which took place immediately after Paul’s meeting with the elders of the Jews in Rome, as recorded in Acts 28:25-28;
- That the Gifts belonged exclusively to God’s earthly purpose centred in the Nation of Israel in their Promised Land.