by: Gary L. Hutchens
There are entire religious groups that seem fixated on miraculous gifts. Indeed, one might become somewhat confused as to just what is at the core of their doctrinal beliefs. Is their main emphasis on Christ as Lord and Savior, or on the Holy Spirit as the bestower of miraculous gifts? Is their most basic desire to be saved, or to receive a miraculous gift? Is the chief emphasis of their worship to glorify God, or self-gratification over supposedly taking part in some miracle?
Some religious groups teach that a person first comes to salvation, and later becomes sanctified. Their idea of sanctification is, basically, moving up to a more spiritual level than that of just being saved. They believe that a person’s reaching sanctification is evidenced by speaking in tongues. But there is no such teaching anywhere in the New Testament!
Here’s a question for people who are so focused on supposed miraculous gifts: Why do you want them? God is not a God of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). He is a God of order, and He expects His church to present an image of orderliness before the world in the way it conducts itself (1 Cor. 14:40).
The supposed manifestation of miraculous gifts among many of those who claim such today often creates a scene of confusion, even near chaos. Sometimes, such supposed manifestations might include several people speaking different kinds of utterances simultaneously, the meaning of which is unknown to the rest of those present. In other cases, people may fall to the floor, shake uncontrollably or roll around on the floor. Others may start jumping over pews. Others may laugh uncontrollably for prolonged periods of time. Still others may start barking like dogs. Others might start going through some kinds of contortions strongly resembling dancing.
Now, how do such displays serve to teach the gospel during those gatherings? What purpose is served by such displays? For what reason would the Holy Spirit guide worshipers to do such things during worship assemblies? How do such demonstrations bring glory to God? How are the lost taught how to be saved by witnessing such? These are valid questions that need to be answered.
The miraculous gifts of the New Testament were given with specific purpose: to communicate and confirm God’s will before it was written in New Testament form (Mk. 16:20). The word has been communicated, written down as scripture and confirmed (Heb. 2:3-4). God does not have to repeatedly confirm His word, over and over again.
We need to study God’s word and live by its teachings. We need to teach His word throughout the world around us (Mk. 16:15-16), for it is the gospel message that communicates God’s power to salvation (Rom. 1:16). Faith comes by hearing God’s word (Rom. 10:17).
Gary L. Hutchens