Assembly 2.0: Part 11.9: When Did Prophecy End?


When Did Prophecy End?

Many theorize that prophecy was received by the laying on of apostolic hands, meaning that the gift ended in the early Second Century. Others believe that prophecy and other miraculous gifts ended when the NT was complete — when the last book was authored. Historians disagree as to when this was, but the early Second Century would seem to be the outside date.

What our theologians sometimes forget is that we have early church writings going back to the late First Century. The uninspired writings from church authors tell us a great deal about life in the early church, and they testify that prophecy continued at least to the Third Century.

F. David Farnell’s “The Montanist Crisis: A Key to Refuting Third Wave Theories of NT Prophecy,” TMSJ 14/2 (Fall 2003) 235-262, reviews how the early church reacted to the Montanist heresy, which included claims by its leaders of the power to prophesy with the same authority as the apostles.

Farnell quotes the Fourth Century author Epiphanius, who quotes an unnamed source from the Fourth Century regarding the refutation of the errors of Montanus in the late Second Century —

[Epiphanius’s source] goes on to separate qualitatively the Montanists understanding and practice of spiritual gifts from that of the orthodox community: “God’s holy church also receives the gifts of grace—but the real gifts, [alla ta ontos charismata], which have already been tried in God’s holy church through the Holy Spirit, and by prophets and apostles, and the Lord himself.”

For Epiphanius’s source, the Montanists’ practice of spiritual gifts differed sharply from the genuine gifts of the orthodox, because the orthodox practice corresponds to that handed down from the NT period. Important, the source affirmed a direct continuity between the current orthodox community’s practice of spiritual gifts and those exhibited by Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets. A NT expression of spiritual gifts was markedly different from that exhibited in Montanism.

(p. 251). Epiphanius’s source plainly believes that the gifts of prophecy were continuing among the orthodox churches. His criticism of Montanism is not that they claim to prophesy but that their prophecy differs from orthodox prophecy.

Epiphanius’s source further argues,

For look here, their religion is itself proof that they cannot keep their contentiously made promises. If we must receive the gifts of grace, and if there must be gifts of grace in the church, why do they have no more prophets after Montanus, Priscilla and Maximilla? Has grace stopped working, then? Never fear, the grace of the holy church does not stop working! But if the prophets prophesied up to a certain time, and no more after that, then neither Priscilla nor Maximilla prophesied; they delivered their prophecies after the ones which were tried by the holy apostles, in the holy church.

The source argues in the alternative: either prophecy died with the apostles or else it continues. If it continues, why were the founders of Montanism the last of their sect to prophesy? But the author clearly exults in his belief that that the grace [charis] of the church “does not stop working,” meaning that prophecy continues among the orthodox.

The Shepherd of Hermas (ca. 150 AD) assumes the continuation of the gift of prophecy —

When then the man who has the divine Spirit comes into an assembly of righteous men, who have faith in a divine Spirit, and intercession is made to God by the gathering of those men, then the angel of the prophetic spirit, who is attached to him, fills the man, and the man, being filled with the Holy Spirit, speaks to the multitude, according as the Lord wills.

In this way then the Spirit of the deity shall be manifest. This then is the greatness of the power as touching the Spirit of the deity of the Lord.

The following quotations are from Grant R. Jeffrey

Irenaeus. The brilliant Christian teacher Irenaeus wrote a treatise against heresies called the Refutation and Overthrow of Knowledge Falsely So Called (A.D. 185) that recorded many manifestations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and supernatural miracles that still continued in some churches, including accounts of people being raised from the dead: Some drive out demons really and truly, so that often those cleansed from evil spirits believe and become members of the Church; some have foreknowledge of the future, visions, and prophetic utterances; others, by the laying-on of hands, heal the sick and restore them to health; and before now, as I said, dead men have actually been raised and have remained with us for many years. In fact, it is impossible to enumerate the gifts which throughout the world the Church has received from God and in the name of Jesus Christ crucified under Pontius Pilate, and every day puts to effectual use for the benefit of the heathen, deceiving no one and making profit out of no one.

Similarly, we hear of many members of the Church who have prophetic gifts and by the Spirit speak with all kinds of tongues, and bring men’s secret thoughts to light for their own good, and expound the mysteries of God.

Irenaeus also wrote about the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Against Heresies: “In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the church, who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages, and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of men, and declare the mysteries of God.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5:6:1)Justin MartyrJustin Martyr wrote his Dialogue with Trypho in A.D. 165 and clearly referred to many supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit appearing in the daily life of the second-century Church. He wrote, “Daily some of you are becoming disciples in the name of Christ, and quitting the path of error; who are also receiving gifts, each as he is worthy, illumined through the name of this Christ. For one receives the spirit of understanding, another of counsel, another of strength, another of healing, another of foreknowledge, another of teaching, and another of the fear of God.

Tertullian. Tertullian was a major theologian and Christian writer ministering in Carthage. In A.D. 215 he described supernatural visions and prophetic gifts of the Holy Spirit as operating normally in the third-century Church. “And thus we who both acknowledge and reverence, even as we do the prophecies, modern visions as equally promised to us, and consider the other powers of the Holy Spirit as an agency of the Church for which also He was sent, administering all gifts in all, even as the Lord distributed to every one.”

Origen. Origen was a Christian theologian who lived and taught in Alexandria, Egypt, from A.D. 185 to 254. In his book Against Celsus written in 250, Origen described the gifts of the Holy Spirit as still continuing in the life of the Church. “Traces of the Holy Spirit who appeared in the form of a dove are still preserved among Christians. They charm†demons away and perform many cures and perceived certain things about the future according to the will of the Logos.

Origen noted that these charismatic gifts were gradually diminishing, although some “traces of His presence” were still evident. “Moreover, the Holy Spirit gave signs of His Presence at the beginning of Christ’s ministry, and after His ascension He gave still more; but since that time these signs have diminished, although there are still traces of His presence in a few who have had their souls purified by the Gospel and their actions regulated by its influence.

Novatian. The Christian theologian Novatian (A.D. 270) of Rome wrote a strong defense of the doctrine of the Trinity and died as a martyr during the second last wave of persecutions by the pagan Roman emperors. Novatian wrote about the key role of the Holy Spirit in supernaturally empowering the Church. “they were henceforth armed and strengthened by the same Spirit, having in themselves the gifts which this same Spirit distributes, and appropriates to the Church, the spouse of Christ, as her ornaments. This is He who places prophets in the Church, instructs teachers, directs tongues, gives powers and healings, does wonderful works, often discrimination of spirits, affords powers of government, suggests counsels, and orders and arranges whatever other gifts there are of charismata; and thus make the Lord’s Church everywhere, and in all, perfected and completed.

St. Augustine. Augustine (354ñ430), bishop of Hippo, was the greatest theologians of the early medieval Church and systematized much of the theology that governed the teaching of the Western Church for over a thousand years. Although in his early years Augustine believed that all miracles had ceased by the end of the lives of the apostles, his view was transformed by the compelling evidence of many well-attested miracles that occurred during a powerful revival that occurred throughout the churches of North Africa that were under his supervision. In the last section of his epic work The City of God, Augustine wrote about numerous miracles that he had personally witnessed and investigated, including remarkable miraculous healings involving breast cancer, paralysis, blindness, and even people who were resurrected from the dead. He wrote, “For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ.

Professor Peter Brown wrote in his book Augustine of Hippo that Augustine carefully collected the evidence of a variety of supernatural incidents and miracles “until they formed a single corpus, as compact and compelling as the miracles that had assisted the growth of the Early Church.

For example, Augustine reported on a person healed of blindness, “The miracle which was wrought at Milan when I was there, and by which a blind man was restored to sight, could come to the knowledge of many; for not only is the city a large one, but also the emperor was there at the time, and the occurrence was witnessed by an immense concourse of people.

The Venerable Bede. The great early English Church leader known as the Venerable Bede, the father of English history, quoted a letter sent by Gregory the Great, the bishop of Rome, in A.D. 601 to Augustine of Canterbury, a missionary sent from Rome to England. Gregory acknowledges the fact that miracles were occurring and that they were very effective in drawing the English natives to faith in Christ: “I know, most loving brother, that Almighty God, by means of your affection, shows great miracles in the nation which he has chosen. Wherefore it is necessary that you rejoice with fear, and tremble whilst you rejoice, on account of the same heavenly gift; viz., that you may rejoice because the souls of the English are by outward miracles drawn to inward grace.

Gregory also acknowledged in his letter that Augustine personally had “received the gift of working miracles.”

Continued Supernatural Miracles. If space permitted, I could quote from a variety of Church authorities over the centuries that followed who witnessed the continued operation of supernatural miracles. These other sources include the famous Bernard of Clairvaux (A.D. 1190-1153) and Martin Luther (A.D. 1483-1546). In addition, there is overwhelming evidence of supernatural miracles that have occurred during the last few centuries during the Welsh Revival and remarkable healings and other miracles witnessed by many reliable sources in the tre mendous growth of the Church around the world in the last few decades. There are many scriptural promises of Jesus Christ regarding His continued supernatural empowering of the Church through His Holy Spirit. “For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel” (John 5:20). Jesus promised that His faithful followers would be able to do “greater works” because He was empowering the Church with His Holy Spirit. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (John 14:12).

There are other authors, such as Payson Johnston, who’ve reviewed the same materials and reached the opposite conclusion. And I would readily grant that some of the descriptions of miracles and prophecy in the post-apostolic age sound more like legend or magic than the miracles founds in the Bible. But this cannot be said of all of them, nor are all the miracles easily dismissed as based on rumor or the like. Some, yes, but not all.

The bottom line is that those arguing for an end of the work of the Spirit at the end of the apostolic age cannot prove their case from church history. There were some within the church, beginning around the Fourth Century, who declared that the age of miracles was over, and yet there are accounts from very credible men, such as Augustine, that miracles continued. But, evidently, the miracles that the church experienced were not to be found everywhere.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
This entry was posted in Assembly 2.0, Church of Christ Doctrinal Issues, Holy Spirit and Providence, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Assembly 2.0: Part 11.9: When Did Prophecy End?

  1. Price Futrell says:

    Perhaps they were only found by those that continued to believe…. Perhaps that is true today.

  2. laymond says:

    “Has grace stopped working, then? Never fear, the grace of the holy church does not stop working!”

    I certainly hope the miracles of God have not, and will never cease to be. Every time a sinner goes under the water, and comes up a new man,(person) that is the most performed miracle today, or ever. But as Paul said the need for man to work miracles through gifts from God has ceased to be. Any miracle we might receive today comes straight from God. Was your sins forgiven by the man who dunked you in the water, or by the grace of God. The still most preformed miracle is baptism.
    If I feel in need of a miracle in my life I go no farther than prayer, for as Price said I believe.

  3. SteveA says:

    Admittedly, my views have been formed by our rationalist heritage. My Dad, from the pulpit, was emphatic that miracles ceased. The “speaking in tongues” movement in the late sixties occurred in my late teens. So I heard and read refutations to that. Even read J. D. Bales book about it. I’ve never seen or experienced a miracle. Most accounts of such are bogus, think Benny Hinn and Oral Roberts. They are charlatans. I am always skeptical of them. I can see how some one like Michael Shermer, who was raised in the Church of Christ, could easily come to his total skepticism. If as we were taught, miracles only occurred prior to 2000 years ago in Biblical times to ancient people, it is not a big leap to conclude that perhaps those were not authentic either. Still I cannot disprove each and every miracle story in more recent times. It does seem that occasionally one learns of something that seems unexplainable by standard means and has the feel of authenticity. It seems to me these are independent of faith, race and religion. And they seem to occur randomly. That is where I am now.

  4. Jay Guin says:


    Jonathan Storment, preacher for the Highlands congregation in Abilene, writes,

    But I believe I’ve heard the voice of God, and I’ve prayed for people who I believe have been healed, and several who haven’t. But I didn’t always think this way.

    The problem for me started about 9 years ago, when I went to Sri Lanka to do Tsunami relief. We were with a small gathering of Christians there, and a blind woman came up to get prayed for, and God opened her eyes.

    I’ve got a bachelors and a graduate degree in Bible, and I immediately said to myself, “I know seven reasons why that can’t happen.”

    But as I started to think about it, I realized that the reasons I knew that this couldn’t happen had nothing to do with the Bible. It had everything to do with the philosophy and ideology I was reading the Bible through.

  5. Ray Downen says:

    In my 86 years of life, I’m not aware of ever witnessing a miracle from God during any assembly I’ve attended. But it seems to me that the sermon preached by Matt Proctor at the North American Christian Convention a few years ago comes close. I quote that sermon in my tract which can be read at my website

  6. Dwight says:

    I think the reason we dont see miracles in the coC is that we don’t want to see them and we preach against them so that we don’t have the faith to ask for them. While they may not exist any more, they might. If we pray for another to be healed are we not asking for a miracle? And worse we separate from those who believe in miracles.
    Now having said that those that argue for miracles in the presence of salvation are way off the mark. They were not the indicator of your salvation. It is interesting but Simon the sorcerer was saved and yet wasn’t able to heal others.

  7. laymond says:

    “But I believe I’ve heard the voice of God, and I’ve prayed for people who I believe have been healed, and several who haven’t. But I didn’t always think this way.”
    Jay, I have also prayed for people who recovered and those who did not. but not once did I take credit, or blame for how things turned out.
    I don’t recall ever praying for anyone not to recover. but sometimes they just don’t.

  8. Kevin says:

    What’s your point, laymond?? I don’t believe that Jonathan Storment has ever attempted to take credit for a healing or any other work of God. Why would you imply that he has?

  9. laymond says:

    And, I never said he did Kevin.

  10. To begin with, I confess that my rational mind tends to want more evidence, a sign of sorts, that distinguishes the hopeful from the substantial with regard to the workings of the Holy Spirit. So I am still markedly on the skeptical side when it comes to talk of the miraculous occurring today. I imagine that others share this skepticism and desire for a more definitive test of the miraculous.

    That being said, I have seen God’s handiwork up close and personal. It was in 1987 or 1988 that a dear sister in Christ, a member of the congregation for which I then served as preaching evangelist, had a series of incidents that caused her to schedule a visit to her physician to get a handle on what was wrong. She had excruciating headaches, problems with her equilibrium, and what seemed to be some focal seizures or short, temporary blackouts. Indeed, when driving with her husband to the Doctor’s office for her appointment, she sideswiped a couple of other vehicles without realizing what she had done. The Doctor performed several tests and asked her to report to the hospital for more tests as soon as possible. At that point, we were asked by the family to pray for Joyce. Walter, her husband, took her directly to the hospital from the Doctor’s office, and Joyce was admitted for testing and observation and an oncologist was assigned to her case. Brain cancer was suspected as one possible cause for Joyce’s deficits, and there was a noticeable tumor or cyst growing at the base of Joyce’s skull on the lower left side of the back of her head. Slightly larger than a handball, the growth had only first been noticed the evening before Joyce’s appointment with her Doctor. A biopsy was performed, along with several other tests and scans of Joyce’s head and body. Within a few days, the results were made known: Joyce had a stage 4 brain cancer and surgical intervention would have to be done quickly, as the tumor had grown in just a few days to nearly the size of a medium grapefruit.

    Walter and Joyce prayed together and with the family ad decided to call me and ask me to bring the elders of the congregation to anoint her with oil and pray for her a la James 5:14-15. It took a while, but all of the elders were contacted and we agreed to meet in the lobby of the hospital just a few minutes before the end of visiting hours. We would go up to Joyce’s room together and anoint her and pray for her healing. We gathered at 7:45 pm and took the elevator to Joyce’s floor, the pre-surgical preparation floor in the oncology wing. When we went in, Joyce asked us to listen to her reasons for calling us together.

    Joyce was very lucid and aware and thinking clearly. She spoke of her concern for Walter’s ability to care for himself in the event of her death, and was very specific in her request. She asked that we pray to God to heal her so that she could have at least 6 months to prepare Walter fully to handle life without her, if God so willed. Quietly, all agreed to heed her request and we went around the room, praying specifically for her to be delivered from the cancer that was by then shutting down her body’s functions. We asked God together to give her 6 months to prepare Walter to be able to live without her and care for himself. Each of the elders anointed Joyce, on the forehead, on the protruding tumor itself, and on her hands and arms, asking that God heal her and give her the time needed to train Walter to do things he had never had to do in over 50 years of marriage (45+ to his 1st wife, who had also died of cancer just a year before he met Joyce, and now nearly 6 years with Joyce). There was a feeling in the air I cannot describe adequately. We opened our eyes after this prayer to find that Joyce’s medical team of Doctors and nurses were also with us in the room, having come for their final visit with her on the evening before they would come for her for final scans and surgery the next morning. They were there to answer questions and preview what to expect when they came for her the next morning. The elders and I left, promising to continue in prayer for Joyce throughout the evening and the following day. It was a little after 9:00 pm.

    The next call I received came at 5:45 am. Walter was on the phone, and it seemed he was weeping and his voice was hoarse, so he handed the phone to Joyce. She said something had happened and it was no longer certain they would be doing surgery that morning. She asked me to take my time, but to come as soon as I safely could to her room at the hospital. She would not give me any details over the phone. I arrived at Joyce’s room about 45 minutes later, greeted at the door to her room by Walter and 2 of her nurses, who I recognized as having been there the evening before as we were leaving the room. As I entered the room, I almost immediately noticed there was something different about Joyce … the huge mass at the base of her skull was gone!. Joyce positively beamed as she asked me to sit on the side of her bed and hear all about what had happened. That was when I noticed that some of the family had gathered as well.

    Joyce was excited as she related that she had spent some time with the medical team after the elders and I had left. She said they were uncharacteristically awkward with her, but expressed confidence that they would be able to remove the tumor and find an effective treatment to follow up. They described a series of scans that would be taken just prior to surgery, to assist them in mapping out the places for incisions and to survey how much mass they expected to remove. She said one or two members of the medical team were smiling as they left. She visited with Walter and they prayed together again before he stretched out in the recliner next to her bed and they went to sleep. Her pause at that point focused us as we poised to hear more. Joyce awoke just as the nurses were coming into her room to shave her head and take her down for the scans just prior to her surgery. That is when things started to go off track.

    The nurses seemed confused and began checking their paperwork and whispering to one another. Joyce was about to ask them what was going on when one of the nurses told her that she was going to shave her head and the other nurse would go see if the oncologist could come to the room. As the nurse finished the shaving, the other nurse returned with the oncologist in tow, followed by the rest of the medical team. At first they were quietly examining Joyce’s head and the area where the tumor should have been very easily visible. They asked Joyce to turn her head back and forth and each took turns looking at the back of her head … as did Walter, for the first good look he had taken since waking. Walter’s expression made Joyce ask what was going on. Walter said, “It’s gone, honey.” The Doctors then spoke up and said they would be sending Joyce down for the scans, but that there seemed to have been a change overnight. The entire area where the grapefruit sized tumor had been obvious just hours ago, was now completely normalized, at least from the outside. No swelling, no sign of the tumor from the outside at all, but the next words cautioned Joyce and Walter that it might not be such a good thing. They wouldn’t know for certain until they had the new scans. When I arrived, Joyce had just returned from getting those scans done and so we settled in to wait and see what the Doctors might tell her when they returned with the scan results. It didn’t take long. Within about 15 more minutes it seemed like the whole medical team was back in the room with fresh X-rays, scan results, and even a video and a lot of whispering until the oncologist turned to address Joyce and the family and I. They had reviewed the records of the biopsies taken about 6 days earlier. They had documented everything. They had expected to spend 3-4 hours removing the tumor from the base of Joyce’s brain. Then, the mass seemed to be gone. Now, the scans were conclusive … there was absolutely no trace of the tumor where it had been confirmed and diagnosed and prayed over just the evening before. They showed us the video of the scan of Joyce’s brain taken the week before, then showed the scan from just an hour earlier. The first scan had an obvious mass at the base of the rear of the brain, but the second scan showed nothing abnormal in that area … the tumor was truly gone!

    The Doctors said they wanted to explain this disappearance, but there was no medical explanation that could account for the disappearance of the tumor. Then one of them blurted out that this is what one would expect to find if a healing had occurred. The oncologist seemed stunned. The whole team was quiet. Then the oncologist said they would schedule some routine follow-up testing, but that it now looked like Joyce would be going home the next day, barring contrary results. I thought the team would probably leave then, maybe after asking if we had any other questions, but they stayed rooted where they were, huddled at the foot of Joyce’s bed. I looked at Walter … then at Joyce. Tears of joy were streaming down their faces, I realized only then that nearly everyone there was silently weeping tears, or wiping them out of our eyes. The family gathered around the other side of the bed and we all, including the medical team, bowed to pray together. We each took turns thanking God for Joyce’s healing … everyone there taking a turn. Then I noticed the doctor who had said it was like what one would expect from a miraculous healing, was no longer weeping, and he spoke again. He told us he had never been one to believe in God and how he had always had an answer for people who imagined they had been healed or had known someone who had been healed miraculously. That had all changed for him in that room. He asked if we could tell him about the God we knew who had so clearly answered our prayers. We seemed to all answer him at once.

    That’s not the end of the account. Over the next several weeks the results of more testing kep coming back that Joyce was completely clear of any sign of cancer. Clear blood work, clear scans, clear X-rays … all added up to one conclusion: the healing was complete and sudden. The scientific evidence was compelling. And that skeptical Doctor? He was immersed into Christ about a week after that morning at the hospital in Joyce’s room.

    The final chapter would take months to write, and when it was written, it was nearly as remarkable as the healing. It was exactly 6 months after Joyce’s scheduled surgery that she was re-admitted to the hospital. Three days later, I received a call from Walter to inform me that Joyce had gone home to the Father. God had given her exactly what she had asked … time to train Walter to take of things, to care for himself when God took her home. It was the most celebratory funeral I have ever been a part of … then and to this day. I cannot tell you how many people who heard about it became disciples of Jesus, or rededicated themselves to serving the Gentle Healer who hears our prayers. And in the nearly 30 years since then, a lot has happened in the lives of those who were there. I’ve never even heard of a case that was so well documented. I have seen others healed, but none with the kind of scientific supporting documentation. We (the elders and I) never went on a healing crusade or anything like that. All of us who were there know now and knew then that the One who did the healing was not any of us.

    Maybe sharing this has helped someone consider the subject with more openness. Maybe some who read this will think I am a crackpot, or a liar. I can only assure you that I am not lying and leave it up to each reader what they believe about what happened. But it really did happen. And God was and is glorified by this writer every time it is my privilege to share the account. It is up to the reader to decide what he or she thinks about these events.

  11. Kevin says:


    It might be a good idea to read what you have written before pressing ‘submit.’

    You wrote:
    ““But I believe I’ve heard the voice of God, and I’ve prayed for people who I believe have been healed, and several who haven’t. But I didn’t always think this way.”
    Jay, I have also prayed for people who recovered and those who did not. but not once did I take credit, or blame for how things turned out.”

    Notice that you have quoted Jonathan in the first sentence, and in the second sentence you draw a distinction between the actions in Jonathan’s quote and the manner in which you do things. In reference to Jonathan’s quote, you stated that you have “also prayed,” BUT you do something differently. By combining the word ‘also’ with the coordinating conjunction ‘but,’ you imply that Jonathan IS taking credit.

    So, yes, you did imply that he was taking credit. Perhaps it was unintentional, but you did it nevertheless.

  12. Jay Guin says:



    Thanks. You made my day.

  13. Monty says:

    Thanks Glenn for sharing your amazing story about our amazing God! To Him be the glory!

  14. laymond says:

    Kevin, if I thought I owed you an explanation I would give you one.. That is what is wrong with bible interpretation , people read to many “implied” things, instead of what is actually said.

  15. SteveA says:

    Thanks for your testimony Glenn!

  16. Laymond wrote, “But as Paul said the need for man to work miracles through gifts from God has ceased to be.”

    Paul never said anything even remotely like this in scripture. But Laymond is not the only one who believes this untruth. Allow me to briefly unwrap where they get it. Here is the chain of reasoning, which all springs from I Cor 13:8.

    1. Paul said, “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” Note, this is the end of our scripture on the subject.
    2. Since our group does not speak in tongues or prophesy, these gifts have clearly passed away already. In other words, if God were still giving these particular gifts, surely people in our group would have them. Since we don’t, nobody does.
    3. Since tongues and prophecy are spiritual gifts, and have passed away, then ALL spiritual gifts have passed away. (Syllogism: I once owned two cats. Both are now dead. The man next door says he has a cat. Therefore, my neighbor has a dead cat.)
    4. Since nobody in our group exercises spiritual gifts, this is conclusive evidence that they no longer exist. Others who claim these gifts are either deceiving or deceived. (Syllogism: My sister lives in Detroit. She does not have a mustache. Therefore, nobody in Michigan has a mustache. If you see someone in Michigan with a mustache, it is obviously fake.)

    That’s pretty much it. I wish I could tell you it was more spiritual or reasonable, but it’s really not.

  17. Kevin says:


    You don’t “owe” me an explanation. There is nothing contractual here; everybody knows that…except for perhaps you. I’m not sure why “owing explanations” would even enter your mind. That’s so far beyond the scope of the discussion that I don’t even know where to begin.

    I merely asked a question because you either 1) implied Jonathan takes credit or 2) you used very poor grammar.

    You have subsequently stated that you didn’t intend to imply that Jonathan takes credit, so I’ll just chalk it up to #2.

    No worries then.

  18. laymond says:

    Kevin, I didn’t realize you were the grammar police here, don’t bother sending the ticket , just send me straight to the slammer.

  19. laymond says:

    “where there is knowledge, it will pass away” knowledge of what Charles.?

    Do you think Paul was talking about algebra, there or maybe physics . maybe history .

  20. Kevin says:

    When my own poor grammar unintentionally impugns another writer, I typically just apologize for the confusion that I created and move on.

  21. laymond says:

    you are a good boy Kevin, you were taught well.

  22. Kevin says:

    You’re welcome.

  23. David says:

    Yeah, on my first reading from Eusebius’ account of the Montanus heresy, I did a double take. The Montanus charismatic gifts were declared fake because (paraphrase) “the apostle clearly said the gifts would last until the Lord returned, but the followers of Montanus had allowed them to cease by not passing them on to others”. I had been taught that all later day charismatic gifts were fake because the apostle clearly said the gifts would cease before the Lord returned, and only the apostles could pass them on to others.

Comments are closed.