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Don Stewart :: Does the Book of Acts Provide Evidence That the Sign Gifts Have Ceased?

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Don Stewart
Some have argued that the Book of Acts gives proof that the sign gifts were not necessary beyond the first century. The Book of Acts reveals that the Old Testament Scriptures did not have to be authenticated by signs; they were the final court of appeal.

For Moses truly said to the fathers, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you." And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear the Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people. Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have been spoken, have also foretold these days (Acts 3:22-24).

Whenever the Old Testament was cited, it was believed and did not have to be confirmed. This means that once the Word of God had been committed to writing, there was no longer any need for authentication. Thus, the New Testament Scriptures also should be believed without external confirmation. Since the miraculous gifts appear on the scene only during periods of prophecy or new revelation, they are no longer necessary. With the completion of the New Testament we see the cessation of the miraculous gifts.

Response

The argument for the cessation of the gifts from the Book of Acts is also not conclusive. Again, those who argue this way assume what they should be proving. To assume that the gifts were the confirmation of the Word of God and had no other purpose does not fit the facts. The description of the use of certain of the gifts in 1 Corinthians 12-14 shows that they had a purpose beyond confirming the Word.

Miraculous signs did not appear only during times of new revelation for confirmational purposes of the written Word. Many examples can be cited where God performed miracles without adding new revelation.

Why, it may be asked, would certain gifts become unnecessary when the Word was committed to writing? Is there something about the written Word that makes it more believable than the spoken word?

Thus, the argument from the Book of Acts is inconclusive.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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