The need for spiritual gifts

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KelbyofGod

Senior Member
Oct 8, 2017
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#1
I recently visited a church that taught its people that their natural talents were their spiritual gifts. For example, if they were naturally good at singing, then they were told that they were meant to be on the worship team. Or if they were naturally good at speaking, that's one way they would know that they were meant to preach or teach. Or if they were good at comforting others, then their gift was prophecy because
1 Corinthians 14:3 says "he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort".

I'll give one more example before making the main point...and this one should be close to home for most people. ( Because, what good is it to learn about a mistake in others if we can't see how it might apply to ourselves?). The last example is this... Some believe that if a person has been to a college and been taught and approved by men, then that person is qualified to preach. CAN a person truly be qualified to preach if they have not been sent by God to preach? (See Romans 10:14-15) In other wording...does seminary approval equal God's sending?

This posting isn't intended to attack seminaries. It's rather intended to make people aware of the difference between what is given by NATURAL processes, and what is given by the SPIRIT.


On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and the SPIRIT gave them utterance (ability to speak other languages). This was then witnessed by people from other lands who testified that they heard the disciples speaking in the language of each of those lands.

That was an example of the SPIRIT giving ability. And it is different than the NATURAL ability to speak in multiple languages, which is obtained naturally, by exposure to those languages and learning them over time.

I'd made the mistake of thinking "cloven tongues like as of fire" meant flames that split, like forks in a river or like a serpent's tongue. And I thought "God, why would you use tongues that look like a serpent's tongue as a representation of your spirit?" When I enquired further, I found the answer to be that he did NOT say "split"... He said "cloven".

Cloven means "to partition thoroughly". (Not to branch off from, while remaining connected) Contrast some photos of a clover and a maple leaf to see the difference.

God provided cloven tongues as a representation that the gifts given by the spirit are NOT connected to our natural abilities. SPIRITIAL gifts come directly from God. So GOD gets the credit for those abilities, not flesh.

The gifts of the spirit are not branches of our natural abilities.


Love in Jesus,
Kelby
 

Absolutely

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2018
7,739
2,123
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#2
Exactly. In fact,the Lord uses imperfect people,and it is that dimension that amazes me. A man can be used of God in a realm of weakness. I am an awful speaker. But when the anointing comes on me,many times i did not know the dynamics i am declaring.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
13,997
6,436
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#3
The gifts of the spirit are not branches of our natural abilities.
This is true but at the same time we need to be aware that our natural abilities can be used alongside spiritual gifts. Also the appropriate measure of faith is given for the exercise of those gifts. And *Spirit* should be capitalized.

And since we are on the subject of spiritual gifts we need to keep a couple of things in mind: (1) there are at least TWENTY spiritual gifts so we should pay attention to all, (2) the completion of the Bible has caused the cessation of three gifts listed in 1 Cor 13:8, and (3) with the passing of the apostles, signs, wonders, and miracles do not necessarily accompany the Gospel.
 

crossnote

Senior Member
Nov 24, 2012
29,150
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#4
Gifts are gifts and with God there is no difference. If they are from God and used for God, then they are all 'spiritual'; if used for self or self glorification then they are carnal and are no gifts at all...or at best abused gifts/talents.
 

morefaithrequired

Well-known member
Sep 28, 2019
2,194
1,258
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#5
God gave me an exceptionally good sense of humour, dont you think?
Thank you Lord for your gift.
 

notuptome

Senior Member
May 17, 2013
15,016
2,505
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#6
I recently visited a church that taught its people that their natural talents were their spiritual gifts. For example, if they were naturally good at singing, then they were told that they were meant to be on the worship team. Or if they were naturally good at speaking, that's one way they would know that they were meant to preach or teach. Or if they were good at comforting others, then their gift was prophecy because
1 Corinthians 14:3 says "he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort".

I'll give one more example before making the main point...and this one should be close to home for most people. ( Because, what good is it to learn about a mistake in others if we can't see how it might apply to ourselves?). The last example is this... Some believe that if a person has been to a college and been taught and approved by men, then that person is qualified to preach. CAN a person truly be qualified to preach if they have not been sent by God to preach? (See Romans 10:14-15) In other wording...does seminary approval equal God's sending?

This posting isn't intended to attack seminaries. It's rather intended to make people aware of the difference between what is given by NATURAL processes, and what is given by the SPIRIT.


On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and the SPIRIT gave them utterance (ability to speak other languages). This was then witnessed by people from other lands who testified that they heard the disciples speaking in the language of each of those lands.

That was an example of the SPIRIT giving ability. And it is different than the NATURAL ability to speak in multiple languages, which is obtained naturally, by exposure to those languages and learning them over time.

I'd made the mistake of thinking "cloven tongues like as of fire" meant flames that split, like forks in a river or like a serpent's tongue. And I thought "God, why would you use tongues that look like a serpent's tongue as a representation of your spirit?" When I enquired further, I found the answer to be that he did NOT say "split"... He said "cloven".

Cloven means "to partition thoroughly". (Not to branch off from, while remaining connected) Contrast some photos of a clover and a maple leaf to see the difference.

God provided cloven tongues as a representation that the gifts given by the spirit are NOT connected to our natural abilities. SPIRITIAL gifts come directly from God. So GOD gets the credit for those abilities, not flesh.

The gifts of the spirit are not branches of our natural abilities.


Love in Jesus,
Kelby
So says you. Where exactly did you get this gift of deciding what is a gift of natural ability and a gift of the spirit? Are you aware that your natural abilities also come from God?

Do you also have the gift of judgment unto eternal condemnation?

To paraphrase another poster in another thread you are obviously radically misinformed on how the Spirit moves.

For the cause of Christ
Roger
 

DB7

Junior Member
Dec 29, 2014
283
138
43
#8
For the sake of argument, I might make a separation between gifts of the spirit referred to in 1 Cor. 12, and the talents spoken of in Matt. 25. I would differentiate between them by stating that the gifts of the spirit are supernatural, and the talents of the parable are natural abilities that are also from God and distributed to people as he sees fit. Not all have the same gifts of the spirit, not all have the same natural talents. Use all to edify and glorify the Church**.

**BUT, I do not consider natural talents, by any stretch of the imagination, to be a testimony of one's standing with God, as opposed to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, which certainly are!!! The Holy Spirit is only given to believers, whereas almost everyone has natural abilities to some degree or another.

So yes, i would not equate one with the other, to the point that I think that it's rather naive and somewhat demeaning to regard the witness of the Holy Spirit as merely a vocal, mental or athletic ability, ....for Lady Gaga, Frank Sinatra & George Michael all have/had nice voices too, if you know what I mean.

Whether I'm right or not about the talents in Matt 25 as referring to natural abilities, one should not confuse the supernatural Gifts of the Spirit, with that of biological and genetical dispositions.
 

crossnote

Senior Member
Nov 24, 2012
29,150
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#9
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
Speaking of talents in Mt 25, It seems that Jesus laid out the framework for service in Lu 10:27. Yes, we CAN'T love God in our natural strength, and it takes a converting work in our hearts to do so, but once converted, we are being set free to fulfill our loving service to God and neighbor, whether it be with our 'natural' talents or 'spiritual' giftings.
 

KelbyofGod

Senior Member
Oct 8, 2017
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500
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#10
This is true but at the same time we need to be aware that our natural abilities can be used alongside spiritual gifts. Also the appropriate measure of faith is given for the exercise of those gifts. And *Spirit* should be capitalized.

And since we are on the subject of spiritual gifts we need to keep a couple of things in mind: (1) there are at least TWENTY spiritual gifts so we should pay attention to all, (2) the completion of the Bible has caused the cessation of three gifts listed in 1 Cor 13:8, and (3) with the passing of the apostles, signs, wonders, and miracles do not necessarily accompany the Gospel.
Nehemiah,
Thanks for your reply. Knowing that we have differing viewpoints on this subject, I especially appreciated the politeness used in stating your points.

I agree with your first two sentences. And on the third, I simply overlooked my usual capitalization of Spirit in reference to the Holy Ghost even though I've not yet sensed God getting upset at a failure to capitalize God/god, spirit/Spirit or ghost/Ghost And although I personally usually write "Holy Ghost", the KJV often uses "holy Ghost" with the "h" in lower case. I honestly don't see a command requiring it to be one way or the other, so I think it's more a construct of man (even though you didn't ask my opinion. :) ).

On your points,

(1) Thanks! because I hadn't actually counted them, and appreciated that you'd recognized more than just the most popular few.
(2) This one I would contest (unsurprisingly) because I see the purpose of all the spiritual gifts as being to help overcome the shortcomings of man. And I think Ephesians 4:11-13 is basically stating this. That particular passage also states that the thing that needs perfecting is man. And that's still a work in progress.
(3) According to Mark 16, Jesus stated that (whether or not those signs accompany the Gospel) those signs shall follow the "believers" without mention of being limited to or by the apostles. And I think the events recorded by those apostles bear this out... Philip the evangelist working miracles in Acts 8 being one example . And the instructions on how to properly USE spiritual gifts by Paul (being given to non-apostles) being another example.

We can discuss the idea of whether or not the bible is what needed perfected, if you'd like, as I too was taught that particular doctrine. I just don't see it supported elsewhere in scriptures.

Love in Jesus,
Kelby
 

JaumeJ

Senior Member
Jul 2, 2011
18,258
4,597
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#11
Just about everything is a gift from our Father unless it is against his will,.

About six months ago,for practical reasons, I buoght a sewing machine. Now there are people with my vision who need to walk with a red and white cane. I wanted the machine to see if I could learn to sew with it, at 75...well it was a bit of a hassle at first with my straightline sewing for repairing all my clothes going awry but I have become more comfortable with using the machine. Since this, I prayed a lot, God has given me to do so many things by speriipheral vision but mostly a lot of touching. It is wonderful, and I thank Him daily for His very personal care, just-for-me,; He is amazing, amazing, amen.
 

crossnote

Senior Member
Nov 24, 2012
29,150
2,891
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#13
I agree with your first two sentences. And on the third, I simply overlooked my usual capitalization of Spirit in reference to the Holy Ghost even though I've not yet sensed God getting upset at a failure to capitalize God/god, spirit/Spirit or ghost/Ghost And although I personally usually write "Holy Ghost", the KJV often uses "holy Ghost" with the "h" in lower case. I honestly don't see a command requiring it to be one way or the other, so I think it's more a construct of man (even though you didn't ask my opinion. :) ).

Kelby
Especially since the very early Greek manuscripts we're written in all caps (uncials), with little to no spacing between words. lol
 

presidente

Senior Member
May 29, 2013
6,239
854
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#14
I recently visited a church that taught its people that their natural talents were their spiritual gifts. For example, if they were naturally good at singing, then they were told that they were meant to be on the worship team. .
This is a good topic, and one that confused me when I was a younger man. Growing up, I had heard about prophecy, tongues, and interpretation of tongues being gifts of the Spirit, and I had heard some teaching on I Corinthians 12. I was in a program where we memorized scripture and I'd memorized I Corinthians and Romans. So I was familiar with Romans 12's teaching on gifts, also.

But still the idea of spiritual gifts referring to the more supernatural-seeming stuff was where my mind went when I thought about the topic. My parents had a copy of Peter Wagner's 'Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Gifts Grow.' I read a bit of that, and his book seemed very dry and academic to me. He believed in spiritual gifts, but treated a lot of talents as gifts. The part where he said there could be people in the congregation who had the gift of pastor who weren't the pastor (my wording) was confusing to me at the time. Now, it makes sense after I've seen how 'episkopos' or 'presbuteros' (bishop/overseer or elder) were the words for the role, and 'pastor' is what they do in scripture, and I studied how 'pastor' replaced the word 'bishop' in Geneva, and that the non-pastoral board elder grew out of their calling their city government officials elders, but I digress.

So the question is, can mundane-seeming talents be spiritual gifts? It helped me later to do word studies and to meditate on what 'grace' and 'gift' mean. By that I mean 'charis' and 'charisma.' The plural of 'charism' or 'charisma' is 'charismata.' In English 'charisma' came to refer to a strong leadership personality, but in the Bible, it refers to a gift and the concept is closely linked to 'charis'-- the word translated 'grace' from which 'charisma' is derived. I read one author describe charismata as 'gracelets.' Just think of gifts as little bundles of grace.

And it helped to meditate on grace. We often hear unmerited favor, which is good, but we should also realize that in context, grace can be a gift also. I have also heard it described as 'an active force.' In some contexts, grace has to do with recieving an unmerited ability or to something that works alongside the individual. Paul was preaching, converting souls, and working miracles-- doing things that seemed somewhat mundane and things that seemed supernatural. He wrote that he had outlabored the other apostles, yet not he but the grace that was with him. God's grace worked in him to preach, to heal the sick, and to do many other things.

I Corinthians uses various phrases to refer to spiritual gifts. Pneumatikos, 'spirituals' is translated this way at the opening of chapters 12 and 14. Prophecy is one of these types of 'spirtual gifts.' But we also get deeper into chapter 12 and see the word 'charismata' used before referring to those more 'supernatural sounding' gifts in chapter 12. They are given by grace.

If we look at Romans 12, we see there are 'charismata' described in this passage. The first one listed is prophecy. That is one of the I Corinthians 12 gifts, a supernatural one (whether the content seems mundane or is spectacular because it tells the future or secrets of men's hearts.) But we also see other gifts that seem more mundane-- teaching, leadership, and giving.

I think the thing that helped me understand was to meditate on this passage and to realize that God's grace can empower us to do mundane things.

So is singing a 'spiritual gift.' The problem with this, as well as leadership and other things, is that unbelievers can do these things. This is outside of scripture, but some people talk about 'common grace'-- grace God gives even unbelievers to be able to do things. Our ability to think, sing, create, and think logically come from the Creator. But I do not think Paul uses the term so broadly.

I would not say that singing can't be done through charisma, but if I were teaching on the subject in a class or in a church meeting, I do not think I would lump singing in as a spiritual gift without a detailed explanation of grace and charismata.
 

presidente

Senior Member
May 29, 2013
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#15
Or if they were naturally good at speaking, that's one way they would know that they were meant to preach or teach. Or if they were good at comforting others, then their gift was prophecy because
I think you are right not to just accept such teaching.

1 Corinthians 14:3 says "he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort".[/quote]

I consider that to be a logical error and one that misunderstands the passage. It is the same sort of error as this, "Obama is a skilled public speaker. You are a skilled public speaker. Therefore you are president Obama." It's bad logic.

If one who prophesies speaks words of comfort, that does not mean that all who speak words of comfort are prophesying. What if a one drug addict is saying to another, "Okay, calm down. We can give you one more dose of the drug." in a comforting fashion. Is that prophesying?

My understanding is that prophesying is how Peter describes the utterances of ancient prophets, "Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" or 'carried along by the Holy Ghost' if translated a bit more literally. Some prophesying in the Old Testament was on musical instruments, and some may have been singing. Prophets acted stuff out with belts, hair, iron yokes, etc. But generally they spoke, and they did so as carried along by the Holy Ghost. Much of it was spoken in the first person for God, sometimes preceded by 'Thus saith the Lord.' And Agabus gives us an example of a church prophet speaking when he says 'Thus saith the Holy Ghost...' What Paul is saying is that he who prophesies speaks words of edification, exhortation, and comfort, not that anyone who exhorts is prophesying. Prophesying and exhortation are separate gifts in Romans 12. In one passage, Paul uses a form of this word translated 'exhortation' when he tells his readers to exhort certain individuals to work with their own hands. "Get a job!" may not be pleasant advice for a freeloader. Exhortation does not always have to be pleasant to hear. The book of Revelation contains many prophecies that are uncomfortable to hear, but that does not mean that they can't be edifying or even comforting.


I'll give one more example before making the main point...and this one should be close to home for most people. ( Because, what good is it to learn about a mistake in others if we can't see how it might apply to ourselves?). The last example is this... Some believe that if a person has been to a college and been taught and approved by men, then that person is qualified to preach. CAN a person truly be qualified to preach if they have not been sent by God to preach? (See Romans 10:14-15) In other wording...does seminary approval equal God's sending?
There are different activities. There are different Greek words translated 'preach.' Mostly it's used for evangelism. Occasionally the KJV translates a word that refers to teaching/discussion/discourse as 'preach', but often it is used of evangelism. And the Romans 10 passage is about evangelizing and proclaiming the Gospel.

Hebrews 5 says 'for when for they time, ye ought to be teachers...' Teaching is a gift and there are those gifted to be teachers. But it is not so unusual for rank and file believers to develop into teachers, and the author of Hebrews thought that was a reasonable expectation of his readers.

I also think it is possible for someone to 'teach' out of their mind, without the grace of the gift of teaching and not be edifying, especially when we are talking about unregenerated men who do not believe the Gospel who get a position in some church that does not believe the Bible, who preach to promote social and political ideologies.

I agree that there are a lot of problems with the seminary system. It is one thing to put extra requirements on those who would be overseers in addition to scripture. I am wary of that. But I am outright opposed to ignoring Biblical qualifications in favor of either promoting those who get certain degrees or just have gifts.

I think one unbiblical extreme has people getting ordained for finishing seminary, even if they do not fit the requirements of I Timothy 3 or Titus 1. Another unbiblical extreme is to appoint someone based on a 'call to pastor' or demonstrated spiritual gifts, even if he does not fit the Biblical requirements. There are more to the requirements there than gifts. One could be a skilled speaker, even a gifted speaker with a lot of grace for it, but still not rule his house well and have wild and disobedient children. Having a gift does not prevent someone from falling into problems with alcohol.

I'd made the mistake of thinking "cloven tongues like as of fire" meant flames that split, like forks in a river or like a serpent's tongue. And I thought "God, why would you use tongues that look like a serpent's tongue as a representation of your spirit?" When I enquired further, I found the answer to be that he did NOT say "split"... He said "cloven".

Cloven means "to partition thoroughly". (Not to branch off from, while remaining connected) Contrast some photos of a clover and a maple leaf to see the difference.

God provided cloven tongues as a representation that the gifts given by the spirit are NOT connected to our natural abilities. SPIRITIAL gifts come directly from God. So GOD gets the credit for those abilities, not flesh.
I am not sure if the concept of a snake's tongue is implied by the Greek word there, and your theological conclusion there seems a bit tenuous to me. I can imagine flames splitting, a flame on one persons head splitting and going on another person's head-- which might be a picture of unity. But neither of us are sure what it looked like exactly.

Teaching does seem to be connected somewhat to our natural abilities. The ability to speak... at all... is natural. If you knew a gifted teacher who could not speak on some occasion because he lost his voice due to a cold, would you conclude that his gift was not genuine? What about someone who often prophesied who did not when he lost his voice? I do not think we can conclude that there is no connection between spiritul gifts operating and our natural abilities-- which are also God given. I think that has more to do with God's grace empowering us, and in many cases the gifts work through our 'natural' God-given abilities.
 
Mar 28, 2016
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#16
So says the cessationist.

Oh... the irony.
Adding new prophecies to the already perfect book of the law is not a gift. It comes with a strong delusion to believe the lie.
 
Mar 28, 2016
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#17
If one who prophesies speaks words of comfort, that does not mean that all who speak words of comfort are prophesying. What if a one drug addict is saying to another, "Okay, calm down. We can give you one more dose of the drug." in a comforting fashion. Is that prophesying?

Yes false prophecy declaring ones own will.

The gifts are not something that are connected to us. Not accredited to the person as a calling card but the Spirit that moves them to both will and do the good pleasure of God.

Spiritual gifts are unseen .The whole idea of sign gifts is not a doctrine of God. Gift always work two way blessing the one sent giving them word and from that same faith the other ears to hear .

I am not sure if the concept of a snake's tongue is implied by the Greek word there, and your theological conclusion there seems a bit tenuous to me. I can imagine flames splitting, a flame on one persons head splitting and going on another person's head-- which might be a picture of unity. But neither of us are sure what it looked like exactly.
It was a one time vision as a picture used in that parable. As you said a picture of unity. God's approval rested on them . If we compare the spiritual understanding of Acts to Kings 18 It helps to aid in that understanding.

Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up
(The tongue) the water (gospel) that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God. 1 Kings 18:37-39

The gospel tongue that divides between God's people and those who belive not.
 

presidente

Senior Member
May 29, 2013
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#18
Adding new prophecies to the already perfect book of the law is not a gift. It comes with a strong delusion to believe the lie.
I wonder if the same words were ever uttered in Greek or Aramaic by a Saducee who accepted the first five books about Isaiah, Daniel, and other scrolls.

If we read the Bible, we see there were a lot of genuine prophecies not added to the Bible,
 

presidente

Senior Member
May 29, 2013
6,239
854
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#19
Yes false prophecy declaring ones own will.
If you want to eat a quarter pounder and order that at the restaurant, is that 'prophesying' too. I am unaware of any reference where the Greek word for prophesying means anything other than communication that is, or is proported to be, under the inspiration of God or (supposed) gods or spirits.

The gifts are not something that are connected to us.
What is that supposed to mean? The gift of teaching works through the mouth of the teacher. How is that not 'connected' to him? That doesn't make much sense, certainly not without explanation of your meaning.

Not accredited to the person as a calling card but the Spirit that moves them to both will and do the good pleasure of God.
I do not know what you mean by 'calling card.' Most people don't have a card with their name on it to leave behind when they visit someone else. We have business cards these days. What does it mean for a gift to be a calling card? What are you trying to say?

Spiritual gifts are unseen .
In I Corinthians 12, Paul calls certain gifts 'manifestations of the Spirit.' Why would you say they are unseen if Paul calls them manifestations? Many of them can be quite visible. One can observe someone prophesying. Do you think Isaiah or Elijah turned invisible and were inaudible when they prophesied? Why would the saints in the early church (or now) not be visible when they exercised spiritual gifts.

If you had some other meaning for this statement, you would have to explain it for people to know what you mean in your mind.

The whole idea of sign gifts is not a doctrine of God.
What do you mean by 'sign gift'? I usually see that term used by cessationists-- people who think certain gifts have ceased-- to try to put all the gifts they are uncomfortable with in one category so they can do away with them. I do not usually hear 'sign gift' from Pentecostals or Charismatics or other continuationist groups, unless they are dialoguing with cessationists who use that term.

The spiritual gifts described in I Corinthians 12 are part of Biblical doctrine.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
13,997
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#20
to try to put all the gifts they are uncomfortable with in one category so they can do away with them.
Not *uncomfortable with* but clearly identified ad those belonging to the apostolic period. Signs, wonders, and miracles were primarily for the apostles and their companions (Hebrews 2). You can walk into any church of any denomination today, and this is exactly what you will see. All those who claim to be apostles and prophets today are charlatans.

This in no way excludes direct divine miraculous intervention through prayer (or sometimes even without prayer). Divine healing is now through prayer (James 5).

BTW no one *does away* with miracles. But bogus miracles are being performed by some to claim they have special powers. These same people also want poor gullible Christians to make the preachers prosper and maintain lavish lifestyles.