On Sunday August 16, 2015, a Scottish ‘prophet’ named John O’Neill rebuked pastor John MacArthur on stage at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, after Dr MacArthur had returned from a summer break and where O’Neill claimed to be a prophet sent by GOD to bring a message that MacArthur’s “doctrine of cessation is in error.” Please view the video hereunder to see the “drama” as it unfolded before O’Neill was summarily escorted out of the worship centre by the GCC’s security team!
The transcript: “You have grieved the Holy Spirit of God! Your doctrine of cessation is in error. He has been grieved, John MacArthur. I have been sent here to tell you, you are sharpening the sword and they are cutting each other. You do not believe in prophets, you are looking at one! God have mercy on you and teach you the truth. Your doctrine of cessation is in error, John MacArthur! It’s in error! I have been sent to tell you it’s in error! For the unbeliever: repent of your sin! [Unintelligible…] You don’t have time! Jesus Christ is coming back soon! God bless you, people of God! God bless you people!” ~ The Gospel Herald Opinion
Due to the above video being removed on Youtube we hereby attach a further video from SO4J-TV ~ updated February 10, 2016
Whilst much has been already written on this particular incident, and whilst the two proponents in the camps of the cessationists and the charismatic continuanists have been going back and forth for decades trying to quantify and qualify their position in this debate, this blog post will look at the two groups from a pure Biblicist viewpoint and make an impartial judgment using the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42) contained in the Holy Bible (AV1611). So was Scotsman John O’Neill who confronted Dr John MacArthur a true ‘prophet’ sent by GOD?
1. Are there prophecies and prophets in the church today?
The conflict surrounding cessationism (the ceasing of sign gifts) and continuanism (the continuing of sign gifts) is due to the presupposition from which each camp comes from in how the 1 Corinthians 12-14 Scriptures are interpreted.
We read from the prophet Joel about the last days, in which last days we are presently in which started after the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we read,
28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. ~ Joel 2:28-32
In the Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary pertaining to Joel 2:28-32 we read,
The promise began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, and it was continued in the converting grace and miraculous gifts conferred on both Jews and Gentiles. The judgments of God upon a sinful world, only go before the judgment of the world in the last day. Calling on God supposes knowledge of him, faith in him, desire toward him, dependence on him, and, as evidence of the sincerity of all this, conscientious obedience to him. Those only shall be delivered in the great day, who are now effectually called from sin to God, from self to Christ, from things below to things above. ~ Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on e-Sword
The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ was authenticated by the laying down of the foundation by the apostles and prophets as we can read,
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; ~ Ephesians 2:20
The ekklesia is founded on the doctrine of Christ which has been delivered by the prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles of the New Testament. At the time during the first century as there was no Bible as we have today and the apostles had not reduced GOD’s Word to writing yet, the Gospel would have also been declared by the prophetic word. Therefore, the apostles and those who were scattered abroad and went every where preaching the word as we read in Acts 8:4 would have given the prophecies as ‘truth tellers’ of the past events, fulfilled events and future events still to be fulfilled through the leading and headship of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, even today evangelists, pastors, teachers and even those who witness to unbelievers are in a sense being prophets as ‘truth tellers’ of the Holy Scriptures if being lead by the Holy Spirit. From Scripture it would therefore appear that the only appointed ‘office’ of persons mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 that does not exist today, which have ‘ceased’, are the apostles. As stated here before the initial apostles were called by GOD to authenticate the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and they were appointed to death, as it is written,
9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. ~ 1 Corinthians 4:9-14
The remaining “. . . and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” (Eph. 4:11) are still present in the New Testament ekklesia,
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: ~ Ephesians 4:12,13 [my emphasis in bold and throughout]
We are reminded in Scripture by our Lord Jesus Christ and the Lord’s apostles Peter and John that there will be many “false Christs” and “false prophets” (see Matthew 7:15, 24:11,24; Mark 13:22; Luke 6:26; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1) who would “arise,” “be among people” and “gone out into the world.” As there would be “false prophets” it also stands to reason that there would be true prophets for the apostle Paul wrote ca. A.D. 60-62 to “the saints which are at Ephesus” (Eph. 1:1) saying, Christ “gave some prophets” (Eph. 4:11) and the apostle Paul also previously confirmed the same when he wrote ca. A.D. 55 “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours;” (1 Cor. 1:2), and said, for it is written,
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:27-31
The apostle Paul confirms that “God hath set some in the church [ekklesia] . . . secondarily prophets, . . .” and Paul then goes on and asks questions of certain gifts, in which is included, “are all prophets?” The obvious answer to each of the questions would be “No”, for the apostle Paul had already recorded that GOD has only set some and not everyone to receive certain gifts, but he also stresses that the saints should covet earnestly the best gifts. Would the saints receive these gifts that they desire to have? If GOD determines that they should receive a specific gift, whether they desire it or not, it is the Holy Spirit who gives as He will, as we read concerning the diversities of gifts by the same Spirit (see 1 Cor. 12:1-10), and the Holy Spirit divides to each man, as it is written,
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:11
So from GOD’s Word we see that a man – not mentioning only the apostles – but it says a man could have several gifts as the Holy Spirit of GOD divides to every man severally as He will. The ekklesia – who are the called out ones, congregation, assembly which is known as “church” – is mentioned as a body and each part as members have need of the other in order to have a living function together, working in harmony and unity, as we read,
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:17-20
Every part of the body has need of the other, even the more feeble parts are necessary, and this is where we have problems and divisions within the ekklesia today for there is no true unity. In the Gospel of John our Lord Jesus Christ says, for we read,
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. ~ John 4:24
If there are so many different doctrines and teachings within the ‘institutional and contemporary local denominational churches’ we must question who have given us these doctrines and teachings? The Holy Spirit does not contradict or cause division and if we are required to worship GOD in spirit and in truth, surely we must have the same Spirit and there can therefore not be many truths! Truth is not subjective, but objective! There can only be ONE TRUTH! Back in the mid first century the problems of today were already being addressed by the apostle Paul which problems were already playing out back then, as we read,
9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? ~ 1 Corinthians 1:9-13
Is the present day ekklesia all speaking the same thing? No. Are there divisions among us? Yes. Are we perfectly joined together? No. With the same mind? No. And the same judgment? No. Are there contentions among us? Yes. The modern church of today is a spiritual cripple, it is disjointed and just as every one back then were saying “I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ”, so ‘professing Christians’ are saying today I am of John Calvin; and I of Jacobus Arminius; and I of George Whitfield, of Charles Spurgeon, of John Knox, of John Wesley, of Charles Wesley, of Leonard Ravenhill, of John MacArthur, of John Piper, of Ray Comfort, of Kirk Cameron, of Paul Washer, of Rick Warren, of T.D. Jakes, of Benny Hinn, of Ellen G. White, of Joel Osteen, of Creflo Dollar, of Joyce Meyer, of Paula White, of T.B. Joshua, of Pastor Chris of Nigeria, of Jesse Duplantes, of the charlatans on TBN and GodTV, and so on, and so on, . . . By your customs and traditions of men you make the Word of GOD of none effect (see Mark 7:13) and you divide Christ! This is idolatry making your favourite pastor or teacher or theologian your golden calf! We are not commanded to follow the aforementioned men and women. Our faith is upon the foundation of the Bible apostles’ doctrine as Paul says,
1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:1
So what is the signs of a New Testament ekklesia prophet? It certainly is NOT what one would see coming out of the mainstream Pentecostal-Charismatic-Word of Faith-Movements. There is a form of prophecies that the PCWoF Movements are peddling where they are prophesying extra-biblical revelation adding to the Scriptures when the canon of Scripture is closed. We have a sure prophecy within Scripture where GOD warns about adding to and diminishing from His Word, as we read,
2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. ~ Deuteronomy 4:2
32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. ~ Deuteronomy 12:32
5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. ~ Proverbs 30:5,6
18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. ~ Revelation 22:18,19
This is sadly done by men who self appoint themselves in the ‘offices’ of apostle and prophet to be seen and admired of men. These men are generally the health and wealth prosperity-gospel preachers who preach that ‘mighty men of God’ should be prosperous, healthy, wealthy and lacking nothing, and these are the ‘prophets’ who are the one’s who normally prophesy over their church members and teach a ‘name-it-and-claim-it’ heretical doctrine. The problem is that no one tests against the Word of GOD what is being prophesied! Scripture tells us to test all spirits, as we see in the first epistle general of John written in the late first century,
1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. ~ 1 John 4:1
GOD also gives an extremely severe warning against prophets that say they represent Him when they have not been commanded to speak for GOD, as we read,
14 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
15 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. ~ Jeremiah 14:14,15
After all, the apostle Paul to the Corinth ekklesia encourages the spiritual gift of prophecy, as we read,
1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:1
He says that “he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort” (1 Cor. 14:3) and further in Chapter 14 the difference between speaking in tongues and prophesying is compared, where the distinction is made that by speaking in tongues it is a sign not to those who believe, but those who believe not, and vice versa concerning prophesying, as we read,
22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:22
So from GOD’s written Word it is evident that prophecy does find its place as a spiritual gift in the ekklesia for by prophesying which serves the believer as a gift to reach unbelievers who can come to repentance and worship GOD, as we read,
24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:24,25
The prophesying here is not extra-biblical-further-revelation-jargon, but prophesying the great Truths of the Holy Scriptures that the indwelling Holy Spirit makes known to the prophet through the preaching and teaching of GOD’s Word! What i am saying can be summed up by Matthew Henry on verses 22, 24 and 25, quote:
Would it not make Christianity ridiculous to a heathen, to hear the ministers pray or preach in a language which neither he nor the assembly understood? But if those who minister, plainly interpret Scripture, or preach the great truths and rules of the gospel, a heathen or unlearned person might become a convert to Christianity. His conscience might be touched, the secrets of his heart might be revealed to him, and so he might be brought to confess his guilt, and to own that God was present in the assembly. Scripture truth, plainly and duly taught, has a wonderful power to awaken the conscience and touch the heart. ~ Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on e-Sword
Now therefore, was ‘prophet’ John O’Neill in or out of line to publically bring a “message from GOD” and rebuke Dr John MacArthur? It is reported that MacArthur had commented to his congregation after the event that if O’Neill was a prophet he would not have acted like that. Then how should he have acted? The only way to have tested the veracity of O’Neill being a prophet with a message was to adhere to what Scripture tells us. If GOD had in fact sent O’Neill to lovingly rebuke MacArthur, then MacArthur, the GCC congregation and the security team would have done well to have listened to what O’Neill had to tell MacArthur as a ‘sent messenger.’ If O’Neill was not truly sent by GOD, but was acting out of a ‘revengeful’ spirit to openly rebuke MacArthur due to MacArthur’s public Strange Fire Conferences, or MacArthur’s doctrine of cessationism, or the like, then it would have been wise also to have tested what O’Neill had to say. We see that our Lord Jesus Christ openly rebuked the apostle Peter with even sterner words, saying, “Get thee behind me, Satan:” (see Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33) and the apostle Paul publically withstood the apostle Peter to the face (see Galatians 2:11), so was O’Neill in line to do likewise to MacArthur?
The answer is two-fold. Firstly, as we have performed an exegetical review of Scripture we can determine from the foregoing whether O’Neill was being a New Testament ekklesia prophet, for Scripture tells us, as we can read,
29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:29-33
There had to be a plurality of prophets, two or three, that would have confirmed that GOD was speaking through the Holy Spirit and that it was not a false prophet masquerading as a messenger of GOD. For previously, we read and quoted that by prophesying “he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort” (1 Cor. 14:3). For the prophets would each take turns to “prophesy one by one” “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets” for if they are truly speaking by the Holy Spirit the others would judge to see if what is being said is True and confirm the same. Hence, the false prophets would speak into the air and be found liars when a righteous judgment is made being lead of the Holy Spirit! This is why GOD and His Word should be feared and revered lest you speak in vain, be seen to blaspheme and found to be liars and lying against the Holy Spirit (see Acts 5 – Ananias and Sapphira)! See also the severe warning of prophets that prophesy lies as mentioned in Jeremiah 14:14,15 as an example above.
And Secondly, whilst O’Neill did not meet the criteria of having a plurality of prophets prophesying for the edifying of the ekklesia (Eph. 4:12), we cannot dispel and call him a ‘false prophet’ for he could have brought a loving rebuke to MacArthur as a single messenger prophet as we find in the Old Testament, for GOD can will as He purposes. O’Neill’s ‘correction’ could also have been brought in accordance with the New Testament, for we read,
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16,17
5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. ~ Proverbs 27:5,6
It should also be noted that in the very act of preaching sermons and engaging in street-preaching evangelism we are uttering prophecies still to be fulfilled as prophets of GOD! We are ‘truth tellers’ of Scripture.
The whole contention of cessationism and continuanism rests on a faulty premise and interpretation of a portion of Scripture from 1 Corinthians 13:8-13, which reads as follows,
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:8-13
This contentious portion of Scripture is making a distinction of charity (love) never failing and that it is everlasting, but when the perfect time comes of meeting the Lord Jesus Christ we will not have need of prophecies which fails in comparison to charity, neither will tongues profit anything as they will cease in comparison to everlasting charity, and even the knowledge that we have now will vanish away compared to the charity that never fails! All the spiritual gifts profit nothing if they are done without charity, as we read concerning prophecy,
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:2
The knowing and prophesying in part now will be fully known when the perfect time comes and the knowing and prophesying will be done away with as we will not have any need of them any longer. Paul uses a further comparison with the analogy of a child maturing to a man. The prophecies, tongues and knowledge is in comparison to an immature child, and the fullness of meeting the Lord is compared to the maturity of a man. The immature things are put away when the fullness has come. Now we only know in part, but meeting Christ “then shall I know even as also I am known.”
A further summary by Matthew Henry in respect of 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 reads as follows, quote:
Charity is much to be preferred to the gifts on which the Corinthians prided themselves. From its longer continuance. It is a grace, lasting as eternity. The present state is a state of childhood, the future that of manhood. Such is the difference between earth and heaven. What narrow views, what confused notions of things, have children when compared with grown men! Thus shall we think of our most valued gifts of this world, when we come to heaven. All things are dark and confused now, compared with what they will be hereafter. They can only be seen as by the reflection in a mirror, or in the description of a riddle; but hereafter our knowledge will be free from all obscurity and error. It is the light of heaven only, that will remove all clouds and darkness that hide the face of God from us. To sum up the excellences of charity, it is preferred not only to gifts, but to other graces, to faith and hope. Faith fixes on the Divine revelation, and assents thereto, relying on the Divine Redeemer. Hope fastens on future happiness, and waits for that; but in heaven, faith will be swallowed up in actual sight, and hope in enjoyment. There is no room to believe and hope, when we see and enjoy. But there, love will be made perfect. There we shall perfectly love God. And there we shall perfectly love one another. Blessed state! how much surpassing the best below! God is love, 1John 4:8, 1John 4:16. Where God is to be seen as he is, and face to face, there charity is in its greatest height; there only will it be perfected. ~ Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on e-Sword
Therefore, MacArthur is not entirely exonerated from being corrected even if it was by a stern rebuke from ‘prophet’ John O’Neill, for Scriptures confirm that there are New Testament ekklesia prophets today. We just do not see a whole host of them in the modern ‘institutional and contemporary local denominational churches’ of the 21st century, for the ministry of the Holy Spirit is being severely quenched by congregations which are merely passive spectators in ‘church buildings’ and in the Pentecostal-Charismatic-Word of Faith-Movements you have the other extreme where the majority of churches are doing everything contrary to what Scripture teaches.
2. Have the miraculous sign gifts ceased? or do they continue today?
We know that the cessationists, like Dr John MacArthur, agree that there are spiritual gifts as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12-14 which are in operation today, but they believe the sign gifts of prophet, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues, and the gift of healings and miracles ceased in accordance with 1 Corinthians 13:8-13. The reason cessationists would believe this to be the ‘facts’ is because they hold to a faulty premise and interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 as afore-stated.
I stress, i do not hold to the cessationist position neither do i hold to the continuanist position, or to how both camps peddle their doctrine and teachings, but as before mentioned i hold to the pure Biblicist position and the apostles’ doctrine contained in the Holy Bible (AV1611).
I certainly do agree that there is Strange Fire (see Lev. 10:1; Num. 3:4, 26:61) being offered before the LORD which GOD did not command, when it comes to certain unbiblical practices in the Pentecostal-Charismatic-Word of Faith-Movements that blasphemes GOD’s Holy Name by their very actions. And there is certainly also Strange Fire that is being offered in many evangelical protestant institutional-contemporary-denominational churches of today!
In Scripture we are told to do all things orderly. In 1 Corinthians 14:40 the apostle Paul says, as we read, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” In the very preceding verse, Paul tells us,
39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:39
This is simple and clear, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul who is called to authenticate the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ through the will of God (see 1 Cor. 1:1) says, “… covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.” This statement is spoken to the brethren (saints) in the ekklesia (church).
The Scriptures teach that “the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (1 Cor. 12:7), and we can read further as the Scriptures explain how the gifts are given by the Spirit, as it is written,
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:8-14
It is therefore left to the Holy Spirit to give spiritual gifts to born-again believers for the edification of the ekklesia which is the one body which is Christ, and with the greater gifts one would need to exercise more humility so that the prideful spirit would not hinder the working of each member in the unity of the body, as we read,
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:25-27
If speaking with tongues and interpretations and the gifts of healing were not for the ekklesia of today then the apostle Paul would not have asked the following questions and encouraged the coveting of the best gifts, as we read,
30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:30,31
The answer to each of the above questions are “No.” Some receive as the Spirit will. In Chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul makes the distinction between speaking with unknown tongues and prophesying. Paul says that he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not unto men, but unto GOD, for no man understands him (see v.2). Paul then says that he that speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself, but he that prophesieth edifieth the church (ekklesia) (see v.4). Paul then says that he would that ye all (ye = plural and “all”, that is stressing that “everyone”) spoke with tongues, as we read the actual verses,
5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? ~ 1 Corinthians 14:5,6
Paul says that he has spoken in tongues more than “ye all” (see v.17) and although he says that he would rather speak five words with his own understanding than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue (see v.19), he goes on and says that speaking in tongues is as a sign to those that believe not (see v.22).
This is where the Pentecostal-Charismatic-Word of Faith-Movements get it all totally wrong and are in great error. They go totally contrary to verses 23, 27 and 28 with their “babel” or “babbling” in unintelligible gibberish tongues with no interpretations which are a cacophony of sounds, shrieks and noises that are supposed to be “unknown tongues”, but are far from it! It is a spirit of pride that drives them to speak in babbling tones out of fear of not being seen as having ‘true spirituality!’ As a result of their actions and their violations of the following Scriptures, it leaves them “mad?”,
23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? . . .
27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:23,27,28
To this day there are missionaries who speak foreign languages in distant lands and interpretations are also performed. The reason we do not see more of proper language tongues being spoken in the ekklesia is that the Holy Spirit has been grieved in many respects through unbelief that it does not take place today and also by the false performances of the gifts! And what is performed by the continuanists is a very poor unbiblical display of gibberish, babbling, cooing and at times various animal noises. This results in what the cessationists term Charismatic Chaos, which is exactly what it is, being unbiblical and heretical!
Many of today’s ‘faith healers’ and ‘miracle workers’ are deceiving charlatans who are more interested in putting on televised performances akin to circus acts with their signs and lying wonders. What comes to mind is Todd “Biker Boots” Bentley who says he was instructed by the ‘holy spirit’ to kick certain people with cancer in their stomachs. His “BAM”-healing charades were certainly not biblical and it is definitely another spirit that told Bentley to do that, but certainly not the Holy Spirit of GOD! In one word, Bentley’s actions were: DEMONIC! Other unbiblical performances that make a mockery of the gifts of the Holy Spirit can be seen at these links, which are not an exhaustive collection of the wicked charlatan brigade:
In view of what GOD’s Holy Word truly teaches, we suggest Dr John MacArthur and the cessationist camp revisit their position and stance in this regard, and where necessary recant their teachings. We also suggest that the Pentecostal-Charismatic-Word of Faith-Movements who are teaching a false gospel and performing unbiblical spiritual acts of the gifts, they too should recant their teachings!
We need to get back to the first century ekklesia where the Holy Spirit leads all proceedings under the Headship of our Lord Jesus Christ and which looked decidedly way different to what masquerades as “church” today, as we read,
26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:26
We need to be brutally honest. There are Christians who meet week after week in ‘church buildings’ that are passive and non-participating due to the way that the meeting is conducted through the ‘pastor’ and ‘clergy’, where every member is not functioning as they ought to by the leading of the Holy Spirit and under the Headship of our Lord Jesus Christ. The ‘meetings’ are devoid of the ministry of the Holy Spirit! We Christians largely have depended on being sermonized by various doctrines and teachings for decades on end and still remain babes in Christ lacking maturity. Christians are not transformed by hearing sermons – expository or topical – week after week. We are transformed by regular spiritual encounters with our Lord Jesus Christ and those who do preach Him are called to preach Christ and not information about Him! The spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12-14 are available as the Holy Spirit will to every member functioning in open-sharing, Spirit-inspired teaching, prophesying ekklesia meetings by the leading and Headship of our Lord Jesus Christ! This is how the ekklesia should look like,
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. ~ Romans 12:4-16
The power of the Holy Spirit appears to be ‘boxed’ in the ekklesia meetings through grievance and quenching of Him. However, it is good to know that GOD is still in the business of performing healings and miracles as many of us can testify to His sovereign grace . . .
Here are some previous related blog posts:
> Have We Really Been Doing It By The Book? (Part 1 ~ April 27, 2011)
> The Calf Path¹ (Part 2 ~ April 28, 2011)
> Church ~ The Ekklesia of God (Part 3 ~ April 29, 2011)
> A Spiritual House (May 13, 2011)
> “Why” Some People Quit Going to Church (June 4, 2013)
> Christian, Are You Playing Church? (October 19, 2015)
> Doctrines, Dogmas and Denominations cause Divisions! (November 23, 2015)
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