We Need Reformation In the Church: A Reflection On The Word and The Spirit

 

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Evangelical and Charismatic Churches in America are in desperate need of Reformation. We need to rediscover the Word of God as our final authority for our faith and doctrine. It is vital to the health of the evangelical Church to embrace the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit.

Let me explain: The miraculous gifts of the Spirit that we see in the book of Acts have never ceased to exist. It’s not that hard to look back over Church history and find examples of these supernatural gifts in operation.

The Bible does not teach that spiritual gifts would cease to operate before the return of Christ. Admittedly, there is some debate over the function of the office gift of the apostle today. (I won’t get into that debate here.)

Church history is full of examples of the abuse of revelatory gifts. The Apostle Paul warned the church at Corinth against the misuse of spiritual gifts. Paul encouraged the Corinthian believers (who had a history of misusing gifts) to pursue spiritual gifts, not to stop using them.

“Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” – 1 Corinthians 14:1 ESV

Cessationists believe that revelatory gifts undermine the sufficiency of Scripture. Sam Storms says:  “It is the cessationist denial of the on-going validity of revelatory gifts that compromises the sufficiency of Scripture. (1)

For example, someone giving a prophecy is not giving a message equal to the authority of the Scriptures. The Bible encourages believers to prophesy. So, if we want to be biblical, we should pursue spiritual gifts. The Spirit releases revelation to strengthen and encourage fellow believers. Not for the purpose of adding to the canon of Scripture. Any prophecy we give must never contradict the Scripture. If it does – it’s a false prophecy.

It’s a mistake to devalue something that God’s Word values.

Those who reject controversial gifts such as tounges, prophecy, and healing overreact to their misuse. A lack of experience with these gifts has caused many to fear them.

Some in the Church today doubt the authority of the Bible. Others who claim to believe it deny God’s power.

It’s time we rediscover the Word and the Spirit.

(1) Convergence: Equip Guidebook, page 3.