By Chris Chalmers
I truly love and respect all my non-Charismatic friends who faithfully preach the gospel, pray and study the bible, but who aren’t active in the spiritual gifts. In fact, throughout church history, many of the great revivalists and godly men and women of God were unaware that all the spiritual gifts were available for them and as a result saw fewer manifestations of them. I also appreciate that many are wary of the spiritual gifts because there have been so many abuses of them in the last sixty-five years.
However, I worry we will miss all God has for us and may not even experience revival if we don’t open ourselves to what the Scriptures say on this matter and how God wants to move. If we want to place limits on the way God moves because certain Scriptural manifestations of his work make us uncomfortable because of our own fear or unbelief then we are saying we know better than God. We are attempting to limit his sovereignty and have revival on our terms. Will he even send revival if we have this attitude?
I believe God has been tolerant of the unbelief and misunderstanding of his miraculous work in the past, by in our day and age there is little excuse to claim that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased today (because there are now so many millions of testimonies from all around the world) and this idea is nowhere taught in Scripture. In fact, Scripture teaches that the spiritual gifts will not cease until Jesus returns (1 Cor 13:8-12). The bible clearly teaches time and time again that miracles are God’s main way of attracting an audience to hear the gospel and if we neglect this dimension of the Spirit’s ministry, we are significantly limiting the impact of our evangelistic efforts.
I was bought up in a church that did not believe that the gifts were for today, so I understand if you are uncomfortable with this area. But if you are new or unsure about this area of the Spirit’s ministry then I would like to strongly encourage you to watch the video below where renowned NT Scholar Craig Keener talks about this question and/or read one of the many books that address this issue (top on my list would be “By Signs and Wonders: How the Holy Spirit Grows the Church” by Stephen D. Elliott and “Surprised by the Power of the Spirit” by Jack Deere).