The Continuation of Spiritual Gifts – John Boruff

If a cessationist were to ask me, “If the spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12-14 have continued after Biblical times, throughout church history, and into the modern day–then through whom did they continue?”

Stigmata of St FrancisMy answer would be: “This is an essential question that Pentecostals and Charismatics need to be grounded in. And I pray that more are. In my judgment, after Biblical times, the spiritual gifts passed on after the apostles to the apostolic fathers, the Desert Fathers, and multitudes of Catholic saints: such as St. Patrick, St. Benedict, St. Columba, Hildegard of Bingen, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Dominic, St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. John of the Cross.

After this period, the Protestant Reformation through Martin Luther was clearly a move of God, for obvious reasons, and was even prophesied about by Hildegard of Bingen and Jan Hus (see Thomas Boys’ The Suppressed Evidence); Luther was not necessarily a man of spiritual gifts–more of a theologian–but if you dig, you will find that he had a number of mystical experiences, probably due to his background as an Augustinian monk.

Among Protestant saints, the spiritual gifts seem toSmith Wigglesworth continue in this fashion: John Knox and the Covenanters; George Fox and the Quakers; John Wesley and the Methodists; Charles Finney and evangelical revivalism; William J. Seymour, Smith Wigglesworth, and Pentecostals; John Wimber and the Vineyard churches; Derek Prince and independent charismatic ministries. Various books by Gospel Publishing House, the arm of the Assemblies of God, have become standards for Pentecostals on the subject of spiritual gifts: Donald Gee’s Concerning Spiritual Gifts, Harold Horton’s The Gifts of the Spirit, and Howard Carter’s Spiritual Gifts and Their Operation; so also has Stanley Frodsham’s Smith Wigglesworth: Apostle of Faith.

John Wimber’s Power Healing stands alone as a unique work, on putting prayer for healing into practice, with the experiential use of spiritual gifts.

I am aware of B. B. Warfield’s Counterfeit Miracles, John MacArthur’s Charismatic Chaos and Strange Fire, and Hank Hanegraaff’s Counterfeit Revival. And many of the concerns they raise about charlatans are valid; however, I believe they often overlook the good saints in the process, and still have no valid reason to believe why the spiritual gifts cannot be experienced today. Plus their arguments have been sufficiently answered by Jack Deere’s Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, Jon Ruthven’s On the Cessation of the Charismata, and Gary Greig’s The Kingdom and the Power.”

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About John Boruff

John Boruff is a Philosophy and Religion graduate from UNC Pembroke. In his free time, he blogs about the Christian life; and has special interests in evangelism and spiritual gifts. He identifies himself as a Reformed Arminian Pentecostal. He’s also a husband and dad. John loves street preaching. His influences are Leonard Ravenhill, David Wilkerson, John Wesley, Charles Finney, etc. John is always in the process of writing; and is posting free e-books on this site for cultivating a deeper Christian life. Among them are his 'How to Experience God' and 'The Gospel of Jesus Christ.' He is currently working on the lives of great prophets in church history—from Catholic saints to Protestant reformers and revivalists. He is also working on a Biblical theology of poverty alleviation.
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