Extraordinary Gifts Have Ceased

I don’t intend to debate the entire issue; I have done so in my book, Signs and Wonders in the Last Days. Rather, I’d like to mention one or two facts to add to the debate.

First, we are often told that the Scriptures have no record of gifts that have ceased. I should like to say that such an assertion is contrary to fact.

Listen to this,

Having ascended to the heights, He . . . gave gifts to the people (Ephesians 4:8) . . . He gave some as apostles, some as prophets . . . (Ephesians 4:11).

Now, I’m writing to those who agree that there are today no apostles or prophets. On that assumption, connect the verses above and notice that these two “gifts” have ceased.

Next, let me indicate why they have.

In Ephesians 2:20, Paul speaks of the church as having been built “on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.” When you build, you first lay the foundation. When that’s completed, you build upon it. But you don’t continue to do foundational work up the walls and on to the roof! Foundational work goes on at the outset, and comes to a completion when a foundation is laid. Since their task was foundational, it ceased when completed. And, since they are long gone, the work has been completed.

One more note—The foundational work that they did was revelational, as Ephesians 3: 5 makes explicit when it speaks of data that were “revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” Since we have no prophets and apostles, there is no more revelation to be had—revelation was foundational work. And since we need no more revelation (having received all we need in the Scriptures written by the apostles and prophets), we need these offices no longer.

And, finally, in that regard, remember that revelation is complete since “all truth” was given to the apostles by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). He enabled them to remember (inerrantly) all that Jesus spoke, so that they could write the Gospels with complete accuracy (John 14:26).