November 24, 2014
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
The controversy rages of whether the miraculous gifts of I Corinthians 12 and the first two offices of Ephesians 4 are valid for today. Due to the influence of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement over the last hundred years – and according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, there are about 279 million Pentecostal Christians and 305 million Charismatic Christians worldwide. That’s a total of 584 million – almost 27% of the total Christian world population of 2 billion, 179 million!
• The miraculous gifts generally in question are “…gifts of healings…the working of miracles…prophecy…discerning of spirits…different kinds of tongues…[and] the interpretation of tongues.” (I Corinthians 12:9 and 10). The first three Spiritual gifts listed in verses 8 and 9 are generally accepted as valid for practice today (although they are often misunderstood): “…the word of wisdom…the word of knowledge…[and] faith….”
• The first two offices listed in Ephesians 4:11, “…apostles…[and] prophets…,” are also too often relegated exclusively to the first century of Christianity.
But what about the scripture we used in the four-part series Maturing in Christ – Ephesians 4:11-15?
…He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and
some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the
ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of
the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the mea-
sure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; that we should no longer be child-
ren, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the
trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive,
but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the
head — Christ….
We discussed in that study why Jesus gave us these offices: “…for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…” (verse 12). But when did He intend for these offices to be in effect? The answer is in verse 13: “…till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ….” Has that happened yet? Consider…
…Stephen Rowland wrote an article for the Columbia (Tennessee) Daily Herald, November 10, 2014 edition, entitled “Splitting Hairs.” He talks about church splits, especially frivolous ones:
My personal favorite story (if church splitting can be considered a “favorite”!) is
the Presbyterian church splits in the little town of Centerville, Ga., — population
of around 5,000 people. It all started with one original Presbyterian church that
had an internal conflict around 1911 over whether to take up the offering before
or after the sermon. The splitting-off church became the “Centerville Reformed
Presbyterian Church.” Just four years later another church split occurred over
whether to have flowers in the sanctuary or not. The church that split off was re-
named “Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church of Centerville.”
A total of seven more splits happened between 1915 and 1929 over various issues,
and by 1931 the latest addition was named “Third Westminster Trinity Covenant
Presbyterian Reformed Church of Centerville.” More church splits occurred be-
tween 1931 and 1975 over the conservative/liberal bifurcation within that denom-
Since 1975 a few more church splits over various issues has brought the total num-
ber of church splits in that one town for that one denomination to 48 — apparently
a record. The last one was over whether or not it was a violation of the Sabbath Day
to check your email on your personal computer. The church split over that “issue”
— some folks left the Second Street First Ninth Westminster Covenant Reformed
Presbyterian Church and renamed their new church “The Presbyterian Totally
Reformed Covenantal Westminsterian Sabbatarian Regulative Credo-Communionist
A Millennial Presuppositional Church of Centerville.
…A teaching elder (Paul Davis) in the PTRCWSRCCAPCC was quoted as saying
“I think we’ve finally got it right now, we have a church with 100 replacement doc-
trinal purity. We’re up to 6 people on Sundays now — I know that numbers are not
important, but we’re hoping to grow a little more.”
Is this reflective of God’s goal in Ephesians 4:13? “…till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ….”
More on this subject, What Is The Perfect To Come? in Wednesday’s blog.