Friday, July 20, 2007

Spiritual Gifts throughout Church History...

Sam Storms has written a helpful article showing how there have been Christians throughout history who have believed in the more "miraculous" gifts of the Spirit. Below is an excerpt from the article:

Gifts in Church History by Sam Storms
The question is often raised: “If the so-called miracle or sign gifts of the Holy Spirit are valid for Christians beyond the death of the apostles, why were they absent from church history until their alleged reappearance in the twentieth century?” My answer follows:

1) They were not absent. They were possibly less prevalent, but to argue that all such gifts were utterly non-existent is to ignore a significant body of evidence. After studying the documentation for claims to the presence of these gifts, D. A. Carson’s conclusion is that “there is enough evidence that some form of ‘charismatic’ gifts continued sporadically across the centuries of church history that it is futile to insist on doctrinaire grounds that every report is spurious or the fruit of demonic activity or psychological aberration” (Showing the Spirit, p. 166).

Here are just a few examples (for more evidence, see Ronald Kydd’s book, Charismatic Gifts in the Early Church [Hendriksen Publishers]).

Justin Martyr (a.d. 100-165) boasted to the Jewish Trypho "that the prophetic gifts remain with us" (Dialogue with Trypho, 82).

Irenaeus (a.d. 120-200) also bears witness to the presence of the gifts of the Spirit. He writes:
"We have heard of many of the brethren who have foreknowledge of the future, visions, and prophetic utterances; others, by laying-on of hands, heal the sick and restore them to health" (Against Heresies, 2:32,4).

"We hear of many members of the church who have prophetic gifts, and, by the Spirit speak with all kinds of tongues, and bring men's secret thoughts to light for their own good, and expound the mysteries of God" (Against Heresies, 5:6,1). (Click here to read the whole thing)

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