Get a tongue, or else
Yesterday afternoon late we finished a lengthy study with a lady and a Christian couple who’ve been studying with her, about the Holy Spirit, specifically, about the cessation of miracles. Many Pentecostal groups connect tongue-speaking with salvation. They teach that speaking in tongues is a sign or proof of salvation. Hence, people are encouraged to seek after a tongue-speaking experience. How discouraging that must be!
• People also labor under the delusion that God can only work in this world through a miracle. How the Lord must be disappointed that someone thinks he is so limited in his powers! One section of the handout I gave our study friends was titled, “The Spirit Continues to Work” (my translation), just so nobody would get the idea that we think the faith is a dead religion today. Far from it!
• On the flip side of this coin, some call just about anything a miracle, a sunrise, the birth of a child. Things which are decidedly not miracles. Now, the virginal conception of Christ—that was a miracle!
• Pentecostals and charismatics sometimes ask, “Does your church have miracles?” Sometimes I’ve answered, “Yes, we have the many miracles recorded in the Bible.” Their expressions reveal they don’t think much of my answer. If your church doesn’t have miracles and tongues and cures, you’re second-class. Maybe not even Christian.
• If first-century preachers could call the pagan idols false gods, we ought to help others see that the so-called miracles today are false signs. These diminish the true signs and wonders which God performed through his Son and his apostles. They also open the door to false revelations. Same ball of icky wax.
• The new NIV translation of 1 Corinthians 13.10 isn’t bad at all: “but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.” To translate teleion as “perfect” misleads, since the normal meaning of “perfect” in good ole American English is to be without sin or defect. Definitely not the idea of the verse. ISV does it well, also, with “what is complete.” WEB also goes with “that which is complete.” Since Paul still has faith and hope hanging around with love, I strongly tend toward a state of affairs well before the end of time and judgment and the coming of Christ. Which supports the timely demise of miracles. It fits, since chapter 13 comes in the middle of, and as a central point about, Paul’s discussion of miracles and tongues.
• Our study seemed to help our lady friend last night. Shaking people loose from tongue-speaking and modern-day miracles is hard. It’s something people can see, so it’s appealing and comforting. But the wrong kind of comfort. An appeal to carnality. We walk by faith, not by sight—that was a point last night as well.
• Afterwards, since man does live in part by bread, we ordered pizza, drank The Missus’s homemade lemonade, with real lemons, and feasted on her from-scratch brownies. These are real signs of God’s goodness. May they never cease!