Have the Gifts Been Done Away?

Why do so many churches deny the existence of the gifts of the Spirit?  There are churches, and people, that frown if you speak in tongues.  They will argue that there is no longer a need for prophets.  They don't pray for healing, but for God to make the ill person comfortable.  They may say they believe in the gifts but they deny and ignore that manifestations of them.

Before we begin, let me emphasize that this is not something that falls under the category of "apologetics."  I really don't like that term.  The dictionary describes it as:  offered in 1.  defense or vindication  2.  offered by way of excuse or apology 

I am offering you no defense and no apologies.  I'm only offering you the possibilities of things of God.  (If you haven't read it yet you may want to go read, "How to Determine the Truth of the Matter.")  Enough introduction.  Let's go on with the study!



Many churches, pastors, teachers, and spiritual leaders are teaching that the gifts are not for today.  Where do they find that in the Bible?  The only scripture I have heard them use to substantiate their teaching is:

1Cor 13:9-10,  "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."

The portion of verse 10 where it refers to "that which is perfect" refers to the written Word, the Bible, according to them.  The Bible doesn't actually state, "When the Bible, the written Word, is published then there will be no need for those things which are in part.   They have interpreted "that which is perfect" to mean the Bible.

Some believe that it is only prophecy, knowledge (as it pertains to prophecy), and tongues that have been done away as those are the specific gifts mentioned in verse 8 as being in part.  Others believe that all the gifts were only needed up until the Bible was published and no longer exist.   The one thing that they all seem to strongly agree upon is that God no longer chooses to use prophets.  They usually carry it as far as to say that God no longer needs to speak to anyone because He now speaks to everyone through the Bible.

The main problem with that teaching is that people who have been taught that God doesn't speak to us any more are not going to listen for His voice.  The problem with believing that the gift of tongues is no longer necessary is that people who believe that are not going to be receptive to receive that gift.  Our minds can become closed to the things of God.

I wonder why, if this is a doctrine about something NOT existing, then why bother teaching it?  What is the value of teaching people that God won't do something?  Most of the time there is more value in teaching what God will do rather than what He won't do!  There is a lot of "God won't" being taught.  The "God won't" needs to be confined to specific topics that are 100%, without a doubt, clear as a bell in the Bible.  An example is God will not lie.  (Num 23:19; Ps 89:34; Jms 1:17-18)  In order to be clear it usually needs to be mentioned in more than one verse.  The Bible is full of verifications.  There is way too much teaching about what God won't do.  Minds need to be opened to the spiritual realm.  We don't know everything God WILL do, let's not focus on what He won't!

There really aren't very many things that the Bible says that God won't do.  We have to be very careful not to place limits on God.  If we choose to believe God won't do something then perhaps He really won't due to our unbelief.

So, let's explore some scriptures and see how they line up with the doctrine of the gifts being done away.  We'll start with the scriptures before and after verses 9 and 10.  As a matter of fact, let's look at all of Chapter 13.

1: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
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.
3: And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4: Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5: Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6: Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7: Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
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.

This is the famous "love is" chapter.  Verses 1-8 emphasizes how it is important to have God's love (charity) first and foremost above all other things.  They also describe that kind of love.  Verse 9 singles out two gifts, the gift of knowledge and the gift of prophecy, and points out how they are not complete.  God doesn't share all the knowledge about something with us, nor does He give us all the information when giving us prophecy to share or to pray over.  He knows the full story and knows why He is giving it and what the ramifications are.  As a vessel receiving the knowledge or the prophecy we are only responsible for the portion He gives us.  That is what it means by "in part."

When it comes to love we are not limited in any way.  The full "love package" is available to us.  The Bible tells us what Jesus said in Mark 12:30-31: "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." 

We can do this because God gives us the love to do it with.  We just have to choose to use it.  So, love is not in part, but in whole.  Our understanding of the other gifts is limited, as is our knowledge when we are a child.  Now we see through a glass, darkly.  We can't see clearly, in other words.  We can only see part of the big picture.  God is only giving us a portion.

Verse 12 says, now we see through a glass darkly but then face to face.  When is then?  Backing up to verse ten we can pinpoint what it means by thenThen is when "that which is perfect is come."  If the Bible is that perfect thing and since it is here, that means we are now seeing face to face and no longer through a glass, darkly.  Whom are we seeing face to face?  How come I still don't have full knowledge about the things of God?  We aren't seeing face to face yet!  We are still seeing through a glass, darkly.

Paul wrote about something that was perfect that was going to come and do away with the things that are in part.  Was the Bible the only perfect thing yet to come as Paul wrote those words?  No, it wasn't.  Jesus is coming again and He is perfect.  How can we rule Him out as being the perfect thing that Paul mentioned?  We can't!

Then, chapter 13 closes out by returning back to its original subject which is perfect love/charity.  When something is sandwiched in the middle of the same topic perhaps we need to examine it to see it's relationship with the topic on either side of it.  So, if the topic is love, how does love apply?

Everything we do should be done with charity as the main factor.  So, if we begin there we see that we need to prophesy in love.  When God gives a prophecy that is a warning then His heart is love towards the people and the prophet needs to make sure that the message is given in the spirit God gives it, out of love. 

It is because He loves us He speaks to us.  It is because He loves us He gives us knowledge about a situation.  Someone who is given a word of knowledge is able to speak to someone and share something that they normally wouldn't know.  If someone came up to you and shared something about your life that nobody knew and then proceeded to share how God would be your strength and help you through the situation, would you have a tendency to pay attention?  I know I would!  Over and over in the New Testament are examples of people experiencing miracles which cause them to listen to the gospel.

There is no miracle and no gift that is worth anything without charity.  Everything we do must be done in love.  God created us out of love and He gives gifts so we can use them in love.  Examining verses 8-12 in the light of it being in the "love chapter" is to put the emphasis of endurance and importance on love by giving examples of things that are not going to be necessary when Jesus returns.  Love is something that goes on forever and is necessary forever.  Love can't end because God IS love!  (1Jo 4:8)  So, the mention of gifts that will end emphasizes love's endurance and importance.



However, it is being taught that God no longer speaks to us because we have the Bible, "that which is perfect."  Apparently everything we need to know is in the Bible.  That brings up some issues that don't make sense:

  • God tossed the Bible to us and expects us to understand it without any further explanations  

  • God still DOES things like heal people, but He no longer SAYS anything  

  • The Bible doesn't tell us which career path to choose, whether or not to buy a house, or other personal things  

  • How can we ask God what a scripture means if He won't tell us?  

  • Satan is still influencing people, why isn't God?  

  • How do the same ones that say God doesn't speak to us say, "God called me to ministry," or "God showed me something?"

We can' t pick and choose what we want to believe.  We must find out what God wants us to believe.  The ironic thing is that if people are teaching that God doesn't speak to us then they and the ones that believe that same doctrine won't ask God for understanding of scriptures.  They won't ask God what His opinions are.  Interesting, isn't it?  If satan can get people to quit listening for God then he has won a big battle, hasn't he?

More scriptures that indicate that we still have the gifts today:

Col 2:3, "In [Jesus] whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Knowledge is supposedly done away in 1Cor 13:8 based on the "gifts are done away" theory.  Knowledge is when God shows you something and prophecy is the telling of it.  If knowledge is a treasure then why is it gone and wisdom is not?  Did Jesus hide one so deeply that we can't find it any more? 
Eph 2:20-21, "And [all Christians] are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord." The temple is the Body of Christ.  In the Body Jesus is described as being the head.  The temple/Body is alive.  It is a living, breathing organism, knit together by the Holy Spirit dwelling within each person.  It is not built on a foundation of dead people, the Bible's apostles and prophets.  The foundation of apostles and prophets is referring to what the apostles and prophets do and have done for the Body.  What they do is an ongoing thing.  (See the description of what they do.)  They are tied in securely to the cornerstone, Jesus.
1Cor 14:3-4, "But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.  He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church."  Edification, exhortation, and comfort are still needed in the Body.
1Cor 14:22, "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." Non-believers are touched by the things of God that they see in Christians.  If God only speaks to us through the Bible, then how are non-believers, and even believers who don't read their Bibles, going to connect with God?  They won't. Jesus, Himself, used miraculous things over and over to gain people's attention so He could teach them.  Why would God discontinue that method of teaching?

1Cor 14:24-25, "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:  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."   

God sometimes gives a prophet the knowledge about what is in someone's heart (a non-believer in this case) and they prophesy it.  The person falls on his face, worships, God, and reports that God is in the prophet.  They become a believer.  Why would that personal touch no longer be something that is needed?  That non-believer didn't have to read the entire Bible or even one book in the Bible to be touched by God.  Are we going to be so bold as to say that God won't do that any more now that we have the Bible???

Let's say for example that someone desperately needs to hear someone say, "God knows about your struggles in your marriage (this is a Word of Knowledge not specifically stated in the Bible).  He loves you.  If you draw close to Him and allow Him to fill your heart with love and patience then your marriage will be healed (prophecy which is not specifically stated in the Bible for that person).  Once your marriage is healed then your problems at work will vanish."  The Bible does tell us lots of things like God loves us.  However, a non-believer or new Christian will most likely not have the benefit of what the Bible teaches us.  If they need to hear from God, personally, is He going to refuse to speak to them?

I, personally, have proof that God speaks.  If you choose to hold the doctrine that God speaks to us today, then you need to find your own proof.  If you choose to hold the doctrine that God doesn't speak to us today, then that is your choice.  If He tries to speak to you and you don't hear Him because your mind is set against His speaking then you are the loser.  Perhaps your job in the Body will be hindered as well.

Eph 4:10-16, "And he [Jesus] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  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:  that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."  Jesus gave these gifts and jobs.  The jobs are good until we all come in the unity of the faith... unto a perfect man....  So, if there are no more apostles and prophets then that means we are a perfect man.  That doesn't seem right, does it?  I don't feel perfect... do you? Jesus created those jobs to minister to the Body.  They are to keep us from being like children, believing false doctrine made up by men.  The Body needs to have all those parts as well as all the other parts.  They each supply something that is necessary.  The Body is increased by the working of all the parts.  

Some people just can't hear from God themselves.  Perhaps they aren't spending enough time with him.  Perhaps they aren't saved.  There are lots of reasons why.  Sometimes God has a Word for them to encourage them, edify them, to draw them closer to Him, or whatever.  How is He going to get that message to them?

Did God give us the Bible so He doesn't have to speak to us any more?  Doesn't He want to speak to us?  Does He expect us to interpret and understand the Bible all on our own?  Does He want us to apply our human knowledge to the Bible to help us understand what it is saying?  In my mind I can see a picture of God tossing us the Bible and saying, "Good luck!"

What about people who believe God uses the Holy Spirit to speak to us but not prophets?  What is the difference?  Why is one acceptable and the other is not?  They are choosing to limit God.  I personally know of instances where God has spoken to people in dreams while they are asleep, in visions while they are awake, through bumper stickers and billboards, in their mind as if He had just finished speaking verbally, through TV commercials, through songs, and more ways than those.  God communicates with us in whatever way is suited to our ability to hear Him.  He reaches out to each of us in a personal and individual way.  We really need to be careful when we say, "God won't do that any more."  God doesn't change (Mal 3:6; James1:17).  He continues on wanting to communicate with His children. 

My own Bible has a footnote that tries to explain away Joel 2:28 with logical thinking, "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:  and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit." as well as Acts 2:26 which refers to those verses in Joel.  It gives a feeble attempt to say that those things either have already happened or won't happen until just before Jesus returns.  They are basing their comments on that same verse we discussed before, 1Cor 13:9-10.  Once again a great deal hinges on the interpretation of that scripture in 1Corinthians.

If all those things mentioned in Joel have happened already do we have proof?  No.  If they aren't going to take place until Jesus returns, or closer to the time that He returns, do we have proof?  No.  Stating that they aren't for today is as much fact as is teaching evolution.  However, look at what it says in Joel 2:28!  What does it mean?  Is it for now?  Can we rule it out as NOT being for now?  I don't think so.

There is no proof other than what God can provide us!  I can't emphasize enough that it is our responsibility to find out from Him what is truth and what isn't!  God doesn't work in logic that our minds can understand.  We can try all we want to explain everything spiritual in logical terms, but that doesn't make it so!



We have to approach the things of God with a totally open mind.  If someone comes up to you and says they have a Word from God, what harm does it do to listen?  However, I'd say you are foolish if you accept that Word without verifying that it is true.  Ask God to confirm it.  He will if He wants you to believe it.  Be open to His confirmation.  God has the use of the members of the Body of Christ.  It is nothing for Him to orchestrate His plan.  He can bring 100 people to you to confirm what He wants to tell you if He chooses.

We must not believe something we hear just because it sounds good or just because we want it to be true.  That isn't the way God works.  If you read your Bible you will see where He has done some really strange things and the people who walked in His will were very blessed.  If you were in an army, would you go to war with no weapons, just empty pitchers and lamps, if God told you to do it?  (Judges 7)  We can't predict God's ways nor can we control them.  The only thing we end up controlling is our own mind.  We can close it to the things of God.

In order to find out what God wants us to believe we have to read our Bibles ourselves and not depend on someone else to read theirs and tell us about it.  We need to absorb the things that are in it.  We need to learn how God does things.  We need to learn that He doesn't always do things the same way.  Most importantly, we need to read with an open mind.  It isn't good to read our Bibles just looking for scriptures to back our viewpoints and to back doctrines we have been taught.  Chances are good we will find them.  Chances are also good that we will bypass scriptures that indicate that perhaps we are misunderstanding the scriptures backing our viewpoints.

God isn't keeping secrets from us.  He wants us to know the truth about Him and about the Bible.  He is willing to help our understanding.  He has given many people the gift of teaching so that they will teach others about Him.  However, He expects us to take what we have been taught and clear it through Him before we label it "the truth about God."

Hearing from God takes practice.  It takes time to learn how to recognize His voice.  That is one reason why He still uses prophets today.  Prophets who are accurately speaking what God tells them have practiced listening.  They have learned how to differentiate God's voice from their own thoughts.  They have learned how to recognize the enemy's voice as well.  They also have learned what to do with what God is giving them.  Sometimes He wants them to pass the Word on to someone.  Sometimes He wants them to pray over a situation rather than share it with anyone.  Sometimes He is giving them a Word that is just for them and is not for anyone else.

The thing we must always remember is that prophets, pastors, teachers, Godly people of all kinds are HUMAN!  They will make mistakes.  That means we cannot rely totally on people for our information about God.  The only source of information we can totally rely on is God, Himself!  If a prophet makes a mistake don't condemn all prophets.  A prophet has a large responsibility in verifying that what they are hearing from God is correct.  Sometimes they actually heard correctly but did the wrong thing with what they heard.  Prophets are humans that have a job in the Body of Christ.  They are no more and no less important than any other member of the Body and they are as fallible as any other person.

I have seen people who say the gifts are not for today asking God for specific things such as healing or help with finances.  They pick and choose what miracles they want to see.  They pick the ones that fit within their comfort zone.  Anything that assists us in living comfortably is acceptable.  Anything that causes us to have to possibly move outside our comfort zone is rejected.  Hearing a Word from God through another person is not comfortable.  We have to be familiar with our Bibles, which most people aren't.  We have to spend time seeking God's confirmation which causes us to have to remain in a listening and waiting mode.  That isn't comfortable.

If we are open to any miracle then that means we don't look at a rock as being a solid, dead, heavy object.  It won't surprise us if it yells (Luke 19:40).  If we look out our window in the morning and see a mountain that had been in the distance was gone we would know that God had a reason to move it and we wouldn't be concerned (Matt 17:20).  We will be living in faith.  That isn't comfortable.

Many people withdraw out of the area of the miraculous and retreat to a comfortable zone where God doesn't come up with any surprises.  They close their minds to the fact that God is God and works in the spiritual realm.  We can't do that.  In Isaiah 55:9 God said, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."  Proverbs 3:5 admonishes us,  "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."  Should we ignore those scriptures in order to embrace others?  If we are only interested in being comfortable I guess we could.



False doctrine causes the Body of Christ to become splintered.  Different denominations have resulted.  Splits within denominations and within churches have resulted.  People are afraid to share their beliefs because of how violently some people react to different doctrines than that which they learned.   God doesn't want us divided.  He wants all of us to understand the scriptures as He presented them to us.  He doesn't want each of us to have an interpretation.  He wants us all to have HIS interpretation!

I've been attacked by people over some of the Bible studies at the Clarion Call.  I've even been attacked for using the King James version of the Bible!  Lots of people would rather attack others of different opinions rather than take their beliefs to God and verify whether they are true.  The first thing we must do is find out from God if what we believe is what He wants us to believe.  The second thing we must do is find out from God if He wants us to do anything with those beliefs.

The Bible warns us about humans teaching things that aren't true:

Heb 13:9, "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. . . ."

Eph 4:14, "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"

Don't just assume that what you believe is the truth and everyone else falls under the "false teacher" role.  Can you honestly say that you know everything there is to know about what God will and won't do?  There are a lot of people that pretend that they do.  They have an answer for everything.  Don't be one of those people.  Be continuously seeking to find out more about God.  Be continuously asking Him to reveal the things in your life that aren't put there by Him.

Acts 5:12-14, "And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.  And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.  And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)"

As in the previous verse, the Bible contains verses that speak of signs and wonders.  If they no longer happen today then does reading about them produce the same effect?  No.  What about people who don't read the Bible and who don't know God.  Will hearing about things that happened over 2,000 years ago work as well as actually seeing those types of things?

People listened to the gospel because of miracles.  We see examples of that over and over in the Bible.  Luke 5:7-8 and Acts 8:6 are two examples.  You can find more when you read your Bible.  (I'm not going to do all the work for you!)

Were you aware that satan, the enemy of mankind, uses miracles to influence people?  Why wouldn't God?

I have placed more emphasis on the prophetic gifting of God speaking to us because that is the one that God has prompted me to emphasize.  Without hearing God we are adrift and at the mercy of "every wind of doctrine" mentioned in Eph 4:14.  There are scriptures supporting opposing viewpoints, so how can we say the Bible is enough?  It isn't enough.  Now, wait, don't get excited!  It isn't enough if we don't have God's help in understanding it.  We need to hear from Him.

When people believe that God won't speak to us any more then they are probably not taking into consideration that the Holy Spirit was given to us so we can communicate with God.  If not, then why did He give the Spirit to us?  Was it just for spiritual hugs?  If God hugs us, then why won't He talk to us?



Perhaps the reason for most miscommunication about the things of God is pure lack of commitment to learning the truth.  If we don't read our Bibles (again and again) and we don't spend time attempting to communicate with God then we are like clay, waiting to be molded by the first intelligent sounding teacher that catches our attention.  That is why there are so many intelligent people firmly entrenched in the doctrines of their denomination or their cult.  The secondary factor is possibly pride.  Once we get locked into a belief and have proclaimed it to other people, we aren't interested in hearing anything else because we don't want to have to admit we were wrong.

It is a sad thing to see people not examining everything they hear for themselves.  Over and over we see examples of people believing what they are taught about the things of God without questioning.  Perhaps they heard it from their parents and choose to believe it just because they don't feel their parents would teach them something that was wrong.  They need to examine where their parents got their information.  Maybe they heard it in church.  After all, a pastor is always correct about what the scriptures mean because they went to school, right?  Wrong!  Many people believe what they are taught because they are too lazy or too disinterested to read their Bibles for themselves!  Far too many others believe what they are taught because they don't know that they can check with God to see if it is true.

I don't profess to be a Bible scholar.  I had a class in college called The Bible as Literature once, but it got cancelled for lack of interest.  Everything I know about the Bible I read for myself.  I've  allowed God to teach me about the things I read.  I've read my Bible through a number of times and continue to read it.  I have read it from beginning to end more than once and have also done numerous studies on different topics.  The more I read it the more I understand.  The more I read it the more questions I have, too.  So, I keep reading and looking for the answers. 

Where did I get all these Bible studies at the Clarion Call?  God did the Bible studies, not me.  What I am trying to tell you is that I know a lot about the Bible and never went to school to learn it.  God has been teaching me.  You, too, can be knowledgeable about what is in the Bible because God will teach you what to believe.  God didn't design it so that we would be totally dependent on other people to understand the things about Him.  He wants to teach us, Himself!

In conclusion, don't accept the fact that the gifts have not been done away just because this article says it is so.  Accept it because God says it is so!


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