Rev. Ron Hanko
Apostolic gifts include such things as tongue speaking,
miracles, and healings (those who promote the so called "Toronto Blessing" even
claim apostolic authority for such aberrations as holy laughter and being slain
in the Spirit). Should we expect and pray for a manifestation of such gifts
We believe that such gifts, as gifts of the Spirit of God,
have ceased since the death of the apostles and the closing of the canon of
Scripture. If such things continue today, and are not sheer fraud or mere
psychological phenomena, then they are the work of other spirits beside the Holy
Spirit (II Thess. 2:9).
We say this on the basis of Scripture itself.
Scripture calls all such gifts "signs of the apostles" in II
Corinthians 12:12. This means that they belonged only to the days of the
apostles. In fact, there is no record in Scripture of these gifts being
conferred by anyone other than the apostles (cf. especially Acts 8:14-17). This
alone ought to be sufficient proof that they have ceased with the death of the
last of the apostles.
In any case, to believe in and seek their continuation is to
deny the sufficiency of Scripture (II Tim. 3:16-17; Rev. 22:18-19).
The Westminster Confession of Faith
says, "The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own
glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in
Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture
unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the
Spirit or traditions of men" (1:6).
These gifts were only ever given as signs to accompany and
witness to the teaching and preaching of the apostles while the Scriptures were
still incomplete (Heb. 2:3-4). Now that we have the complete Word of God,
inspired and infallible, we not only do not need these signs, but by asking for
their return would be showing our refusal to receive and believe the Scriptures
as the all-sufficient Word of God.
Not only that, but Scripture itself tells us that it is
better than all such things. In contrast to actually seeing Jesus, even when He
was transfigured on the mountain. Scripture is a "more sure Word" (II Peter
1:19). Let us then give heed to it and not seek the return of apostolic gifts.
Scripture is able to make us "wise unto salvation through faith which is in
Christ Jesus" (II Tim. 3:15). What more need we?