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Switch to Forum Live View The Holy Spirit and Miracles Today
10 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2008 - 6:04PM #1
LiveOak
Posts: 119
Another topic suggested by Pam, though I don't know if she meant to combine them or not. But, since this was the topic of my Bible Class today (the Junior High class - we are following a curriculum that cycles through the Bible, and today was conveniently Acts 2.

Acts 2 starts with the apostles gathered together, when what seemed to be tongues of fire separated and came to rest on each of them ("what seemed to be tongues of fire" - I still can't imagine what mental picture that description was supposed to create, but OK.) The important part was that the apostles were able to speak in other tongues (languages) as the Spirit enabled them. Because, of this, all the visitors to Jerusalem at Pentecost were able to hear their own language - not that they were given a Spirit of translation, but the apostles were able to speak to them in their own language. The key is, that it was the Spirit that enabled them

This is key, because the Spirit also determined what gifts to give other Christians as well, "Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit themessaeg of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophesy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as [he] determines[/u]. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, underlining mine.  When I went to a Pentecostal church, I was taught that all gifts of the Holy Spirit were available to all Christians, we just had to desire them, as 12:30 said (though 12:30 also asks if all have those gifts, meaning the implied answer was "no".)

Acts 2 continues with Peter telling the crowd the evidence that proved Jesus was the Lord and Christ, and they crucified him. When they understood this, they asked what they should do, and Peter told them to "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgivness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

But later in Acts 8:9-19, we read where Philip taught people in Samaria the gospel, and they believed and were baptized, and they followed Philip everywhere because they were astonished by the great signs and miracles that Philip performed. If they were all saved, and all received the Holy Spirit as Christians, then why were the following Philip - they all should have been doing these miracles. But we read on, that when the apostles heard that the Samaritans accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. Peter and John prayed for them, and  placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. I understand this, not that the Holy Spirit had not been indwelling them, but that they did not have the manifestations of the Holy Spirit that people could see and know that they had the Holy Spirit. "When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, 'Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."

I believe the Holy Spirit still moves powerfully in Christians today, but I don't think the Holy Spirit gives the same manifestations to Christians today, since the apostles aren't around to lay their hands on us. We are like those Samaritans before Peter and John came to lay their hands on them.

Thoughts?

Cheers,

Dave
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10 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2008 - 6:22PM #2
Campbellite
Posts: 2,068
[QUOTE=LiveOak;361045] I don't think the Holy Spirit gives the same manifestations to Christians today, since the apostles aren't around to lay their hands on us. We are like those Samaritans before Peter and John came to lay their hands on them.

Thoughts?[/QUOTE]Playing the Devil's Advocate here.

Are you suggesting that God was so short-sighted as to leave us without a witness today? Or that there is no way for us to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit by being "Apostleless"?

There are many Christians (a majority, in point of fact) who will tell you that the Apostles laid hands on some to be overseers in their place for subsequent generations, and that they in turn laid hands on others, ultimately down to our generation.

The Greek word for overseer is episcopos, from which we ultimately derive the English word, bishop. !
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10 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2008 - 6:22PM #3
Campbellite
Posts: 2,068
[QUOTE=LiveOak;361045] I don't think the Holy Spirit gives the same manifestations to Christians today, since the apostles aren't around to lay their hands on us. We are like those Samaritans before Peter and John came to lay their hands on them.

Thoughts?[/QUOTE]Playing the Devil's Advocate here.

Are you suggesting that God was so short-sighted as to leave us without a witness today? Or that there is no way for us to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit by being "Apostleless"?

There are many Christians (a majority, in point of fact) who will tell you that the Apostles laid hands on some to be overseers in their place for subsequent generations, and that they in turn laid hands on others, ultimately down to our generation.

The Greek word for overseer is episcopos, from which we ultimately derive the English word, bishop. !
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 02, 2008 - 1:43AM #4
LiveOak
Posts: 119
I would never suggest God was short-sighted, and believe that all Christians are witnesses today, as all Christians were to be witnesses back then. I also read in Acts 2:38 that believers were promised the gift of the Holy Spirit when they were baptized into Christ, but they did not necessarily receive all of the "gifts" or abilities that the Holy Spirit provided to some in the NT church at the time they were baptized. In Acts 8, Peter and John were able to impart on these Christians powers that Philip was unable to impart, even though Philip himself was so empowered. I'm not saying that the Holy Spirit does not work in our lives, or that God's power has changed one iota, but I have not met anyone that has demonstrated the gift of healing or of tongues in the way described in the New Testament. I would love to meet someone like that - not just to tickle my inner Doubting Thomas, but to learn how I could be a better disciple and witness.

I agree that the Apostles appointeed elders (overseers/shepherds/bishops/pastors/presbyters - whichever word you like to reperesent the office) over each church to guide the flocks. Does this give them the same abilities in the Holy Spirit, and should we accept their words/writings with the same authority as scripture (We would have the Epistles of St. Bernard at our congregation).

Am I understanding your point correctly?
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 03, 2008 - 9:29AM #5
Campbellite
Posts: 2,068
Well, you are right that we don't see the gifts of healing or of tongues in the same way as described in the NT, but we DO see people who are gifted as physicians and translators. I know that I cannot do those things, but I thank God that there are people who are so gifted.

As I understand early church history, the primary function of the bishops (beyond pastoring their respective flocks) was to serve as guarantors of right belief. Bishops were in communication with each other, and in turn they were responsible for (and to) their assistants and the people. If a bishop strayed from the Gospel once handed down from the Apostles, he would be immediately called on it, thus preserving the truth. (That was the idea, anyway. It seemed to be fairly effective.)  That means that Bishop Bubba is/was accountable to all other bishops. This helped to prevent loose cannons from doing or saying whatever wild notion that poppped into their heads. Everyone is accountable to everyone else.
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 03, 2008 - 1:39PM #6
Clydson
Posts: 75
[QUOTE=LiveOak;401769]I'm not saying that the Holy Spirit does not work in our lives, or that God's power has changed one iota, but I have not met anyone that has demonstrated the gift of healing or of tongues in the way described in the New Testament.[/QUOTE]

I appreciate the honesty in your statement.  My opinion is the reason you haven't met any of these miracle workers is because they do not exist in this generation.

Jake
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 04, 2008 - 12:33AM #7
LiveOak
Posts: 119
[QUOTE=Campbellite;404640]Well, you are right that we don't see the gifts of healing or of tongues in the same way as described in the NT, but we DO see people who are gifted as physicians and translators. I know that I cannot do those things, but I thank God that there are people who are so gifted.

As I understand early church history, the primary function of the bishops (beyond pastoring their respective flocks) was to serve as guarantors of right belief. Bishops were in communication with each other, and in turn they were responsible for (and to) their assistants and the people. If a bishop strayed from the Gospel once handed down from the Apostles, he would be immediately called on it, thus preserving the truth. (That was the idea, anyway. It seemed to be fairly effective.)  That means that Bishop Bubba is/was accountable to all other bishops. This helped to prevent loose cannons from doing or saying whatever wild notion that poppped into their heads. Everyone is accountable to everyone else.[/QUOTE]

Sounds right to me. I especially like Bishop Bubba - would he be  loose shotgun?

Cheers,

Dave

Thanks for the words of encouragement, Clydson!
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 04, 2008 - 9:12AM #8
Campbellite
Posts: 2,068
[QUOTE=Clydson;405217]I appreciate the honesty in your statement.  My opinion is the reason you haven't met any of these miracle workers is because they do not exist in this generation.

Jake[/QUOTE]
I wonder why that is.

Is God withholding those gifts? Do we no longer need them for the building up of the Kingdom?
Or are we not faithful enough to receive them?  Or are they given to us, but we fail to make use of them?
Or are they still with us, and the people who have those gifts are busy putting them to use, and not making a fuss about it and thus draw attention to themselves?

Thoughts?
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 04, 2008 - 3:18PM #9
Clydson
Posts: 75
[QUOTE=Campbellite;407477]I wonder why that is. [/QUOTE]

Probably from lack of divine authority, such as exhibiting the signs of an apostle;

2 Cor 12:12
12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.
NKJV

Jake
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 05, 2008 - 11:15AM #10
Campbellite
Posts: 2,068
[QUOTE=Clydson;408503]Probably from lack of divine authority, such as exhibiting the signs of an apostle;[/quote]And what would those signs be, if not faithfulness to the gospel which has been entrusted to us, to hand down (in Latin - traditio) to the next generation of believers? That seems to still be among us to this day, does it not?

[QUOTE=Clydson;408503]2 Cor 12:12
12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.
NKJV[/QUOTE]
Beep! Beep! Beep! Back up the truck, Jake.

Read the whole paragraph (and for that matter the whole letter) for context. Paul is responding to critics who are saying that he is not really an Apostle, because he was not one of the original twelve. He is pointing out to them that he is exhibiting all the same signs of true apostleship as the "super-apostles"  (see vs 11)  he is being compared unfavorably with. So it seems to me that this passage is supporting the position that apostolicity is NOT limited to the original twelve, but continues to succeeding generations.
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