Surprised by the Power of the Spirit -- By: David J. MacLeod

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 10:1 (Summer 2001)
Article: Surprised by the Power of the Spirit
Author: David J. MacLeod


Surprised by the Power of the Spirit1

David J. MacLeod

A Review Article
(Are Miracle Workers and the Gift of Miracles for Today?)

“This whole place [viz., Paul’s description of spiritual gifts in 1 Cor. 12] is very obscure: but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur but now no longer take place”—John Chrysostom.2

“But now that the apostles have preached the Word and have given their writings, and nothing more than what they have written remains to be revealed, no new and special revelation or miracle is necessary”—Martin Luther.3

“In demanding miracles of us, they act dishonestly. For we are not forging some new gospel, but are retaining that very gospel whose truth all the miracles that Jesus Christ and his disciples ever wrought serve to confirm.… The Donatists of old overwhelmed the simplicity of the multitude with this battering ram: that they were mighty in miracles.

We, therefore, now answer our adversaries as Augustine then answered the Donatists: the Lord made us wary of these miracle workers when he predicted that false prophets with lying signs and prodigies would come to draw even the elect (if possible) into error [Matt. 24:24]”—John Calvin.4

“Another distinction which divines make of the gifts of the Spirit are of extraordinary and ordinary. The extraordinary gifts of the Spirit are the same with miraculous gifts; such as gifts of prophecy and working miracles, and others mentioned by the Apostle in the text [1 Cor. 12:12–14] and other parts of the epistle. These are called extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, because they are as such as are not given in the ordinary course of God’s providence. They are not bestowed in a way of God’s ordinary providential dealings with his children; but only on extraordinary occasions, as they were bestowed on the prophets and apostles to enable them to reveal the mind and will of God before the canon of the Scripture was complete. And so they were bestowed on the primitive church in order to the founding and establishing the Christian church in the world. But since the canon of Scripture has been completed, and the Christian church full founded and established, those extraordinary gifts have ceased”—Jonathan Edwa...

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