Bedtime....and here I am at a keyboard. No biggies yet. I'm still at work on my Major Concerns entries, as I want to be clear in making my points. Passion is good, but polemic does get in the way of reasoned discussion.
Just a preview, though. The Charismaniacs of today (as opposed to charismatics and classic Pentecostals) are all about 3 miracles before breakfast, and being unable to get through the day without God's direct intervention or "leading". Yet, frankly, as one who operates Biblically in spiritual gifts, I have a great deal of puzzlement. For all the foofooraw about present-day miracles, healings, and "signs following", I have YET to hear of a single documented case of an eyeless man receiving sight, a legless woman becoming mobile, an armless child receiving new limbs. NOTHING of New Testament proportions; all "hidden healings": my headache's gone. The pain in my back is diminished. I will not deal with leg-lengthening parties, save that I find NO evidence of these methodologies in the New Testament.
A definitive picture of the correct "use" of spiritual gifts follows
And he (Jesus) said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. Mark 16:15-20
(Note that "them" is italicised. It does not appear in the Greek text, so a more accurate reading would be:
"And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.")
My concern is- and I hold the Dispensational doctrines of Darby and Scofield as error to rival the Gnostic heresy of the early church- my concern is that if signs are not confirming what we are preaching, then does God not consider what we are preaching to be worthy of confirmation?
How does the preaching of the Church at the beginning of the 21st Century measure up to the apostolic preaching of the New Testament? I believe our message is weighed in the balance, and found wanting.
The Gospel has been changed.