If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” -Luke 11:13 (HCSB)
One of the divisions among Christian brothers and sisters that has bothered me perhaps more than any other has to do with the gifts of the Spirit. Are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as tongues, healing and prophecy for today or have they truly ceased with the age of the Apostles? I used to think that, but no more. There are a few issues such as women preachers, what day of the week to keep as the Sabbath and the requirement of tithing that have been at the root of many divisions among those of our faith, but perhaps none so well known as the argument between cessationists and charismatics.
There are many respected preachers and teachers that embrace the reformed traditions such as R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur that are cessationists. In fact, most who embrace reformed theology are such, with the exception of such notables as John Piper. I have read many things by both Drs. Sproul and MacArthur that are fantastic Christian resources with much biblical wisdom to offer. I do not allow the fact that they are cessationists or reformed to cloud my judgment of the rest of their theological understanding. In fact, many of my brothers and sisters in the Baptist tradition are cessationists (many are not too) and some are reformed. I just read this morning that evangelist Greg Laurie’s megachurch has just joined the Southern Baptist Convention. A few years ago, you could not serve in missions with that denomination if you admitted to a belief in or practice of speaking in tongues. (Greg Laurie is well known to be charismatic in his belief and practice). I understand that question of tongues has since been removed from the application as the Spirit of God moves in the lives of his people here on Earth, including the SBC. Maybe it’s a “don’t ask, don’t tell” sort of policy? The Holy Spirit will use who He will to achieve the purposes of our LORD. I have no doubt of that.
And it will be in the last days, says God,
that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity;
then your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams. – Acts 2:17 (HCSB)
A short break from Psalms, to which I shall return soon enough.