Written By: Mark Hall & Steven Curtis Chapman
Looking out from His throne, the Father of light and of men
Simple strokes on a page
The Word is alive
Wow. Powerful words. But these words from God Himself are even more powerful.
What Has God Said About This?
- II Timothy 3:16-17: "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
- Isaiah 55:10-11: "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."
- Isaiah 40:8: "The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever."
- Hebrews 4:12-13: "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."
- John 1:1-5: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
- I John 1:1-4: "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life--and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us--what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete."
- Romans 1:16: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."
What I Am Thinking About This?
I have always been taught that the charismatic or sign gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased. These gifts are speaking in tongues, prophecy, and healing. The theological term for this is cessationism. The following is from Grace Community Churches doctrinal statement:
- We teach that God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today, and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers(1 Cor. 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Cor. 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-12; Hebrews 2:1-4).
After studying this hot-button issue for myself; I still agree with the above position of Grace and of my church, Twin City Baptist Church. Now the other position is continuationism or noncessationism. This position holds that these gifts have continued to the present age.
From what I have seen most of the pentecostal or charismatic movement abuses this teaching, and it harms or hinders the message of the gospel. Probably the best example of this is Benny Hinn.
Now there is the side of this movement that is strong in doctrine, has a high view of God, and denounces the extreme side of their movement. Organizations like Sovereign Grace Ministries, and Godly men like C.J. Mahaney to just name a few. I apologize to C.J. for comparing him in any way to Benny Hinn. I just wanted to point out there is truth being preached, and Benny Hinn and others like him do not preach truth.
Final Thoughts, Maybe?
Piper gets the point across that I have been trying to make for this entire post from this quote in the article linked above-
- “Something is incredibly wrong when the words we hear outside Scripture are more powerful and more affecting to us than the inspired word of God…O God, don’t let us be so deaf to your word and so unaffected with its ineffable, evidential excellency that we celebrate lesser things as more thrilling, and even consider this misplacement of amazement worthy of printing in a national magazine...”
Now if you want a more complete explanation of Piper's position listen too or read his sermon entitled: By Signs and Wonders: Where Christ has not been named. He preached this sermon on August 20th of this year.
The only reason I bring up this side of the discussion is the fact that the Word of God should be central in all that we say and do, but I feel those who see the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit still at work today focus all their energy in that direction, and forget that God does still speak, but through His written Word. His written Word that He has preserved over thousands of years, it continues to stand the test of time, and is sufficient to meet every need. That should be our focus and that is what we should celebrate.