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 Miracles - Have they Ceased?

Introduction

John Hoole April 26, 2009


In June of 1992, Edward and Jewell Levsen of Tustin, California, were attending a conference in Kansas City, Missouri, where Paul Cain was one of the speakers. The Levsen's were retiring and preparing to move back to Iowa. They were feeling their usefulness to God was either over or would be significantly minimized in their retirement years. Both of them had significant physical problems. Edward had severe arthritis in his shoulders and Jewell had both neck and back problems.

The Levsen's had attended other conferences where Paul Cain had been speaking, so they were familiar with the way the Lord uses Paul's prophetic and healing gifts. Yet neither of them really expected any direct public ministry from Paul.

One afternoon, about a week before the conference, Jewell prayed something like this: "Father, I know Paul Cain calls out leaders in meetings, but do you ever use Paul to call out ordinary people? I don't ever expect to be called out, but if I am, would you call me Jewell Floyd?" (Floyd was Jewell's maiden name." "If you speak through Paul Cain, I want to ask you a question. I have heard what a lot of people have said about women in ministry, but I want you to tell me what you think about women in ministry. I know I am too old to be in ministry any more, but I will want to know what you think about women in ministry."

A week later, during the conference, the Lord gave Paul a vision of Jewell and her husband while Paul was praying in his hotel room before the meeting. After the message that evening, Paul looked out across the audience and said, "There is someone here named Edward. You are from out west and your wife's name is Jewell." Then when Edward and Jewell stood up, Paul looked at Jewell and said, "Does the name Jewell Floyd mean anything to you?" Immediately Jewell began to weep, being overcome with the tender omniscience of the Lord.

Then Paul spoke to her discouragement. He said to Jewell, "The Lord said he called you, and it was real back there in Iowa. The Lord called you and had his hand on you. It's not over until its over! And something is happening to Lisa [their daughter]. Something is happening to your whole family! Your prayers have been heard. And Lisa has been already having an encounter with the Lord for this life-changing thing to come to her.

Let me tell you, you are two people that I talked about tonight who can have dreams after sixty. You are two people that are going to come through and see the glory of God while you are yet alive. And I want you to know that it is not over for you, Edward, and for you, Jewell." As he looked at Jewell, Paul said, "You have pain from your neck all the way down to the end of your spine and in your feet and legs." Jewell acknowledged that this was true. Paul told her that the Lord was going to heal her that night. Then Paul looked at Edward and said, "I am having a vision of your pain right now. You have almost worn out your shoulder, and arthritis is there from driving something big. It has almost killed you. The Lord is going to heal that arthritis." Then he looked at Jewell and said, "I believer you have a birthday in July. The Lord just healed your husband for a birthday present."

Six weeks later, Jewell writes to Jack Deere, and says:

"Right after the meeting on Friday night with Paul Cain I felt my neck, and I knew I had a creative miracle in my neck, as the whole muscle structure in my neck had changed! After this I felt so good and healed of the trouble from the nap of my neck and all the way down to the end of my spine. I would take a few pages to tell you what the doctor diagnosed."

Jack Deere, in his book, "Surprised by the Power of the Spirit," (page 70) records:

"I saw Edward and Jewell in the fall of 1992. They had enrolled in the Emmaus Road Ministry School in Euless, Texas. Both of them were still completely healed from the conditions Paul had called out, and they were filled with a new passion for God in their hearts. They were awestruck over the healing God had given them, but Jewell was just as grateful for the specific answers God had given to her prayer a week before the conference. God demonstrated his tender affection for Jewell by calling her by her maiden name, Floyd, by letting her know that God does call and use women, and by letting her and Edward know that they were not too old for God to use them significantly in ministry."

There is a school of thought among some theologians that says, special revelation - Prophecy, tongues, dreams visions and miracles, along with the office of the Apostle and Prophet, have ceased when the first Apostles died. This school of thought is called Cessationism. The belief is that signs and wonders, dreams, visions, prophecy, and apostolic authority were for the purpose to give authenticity to the early apostles.

The statements made by those who believe these charismatic gifts and signs & wonders, along with offices of apostleship have ceased take a number of forms.

1. Miraculous gifts were given only during three period of history when a new revelation was needed. And in each of the three periods, it lasted for only two generations.

2. Charismatic gifts, such as speaking in tongues, predictive prophecy, and miraculous healings died out when the last apostle passed away.

3. The necessity or purposes for these gifts ended with the completion of the New Testament.

4. Allowing miraculous gifts, in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, such as prophecy undermines the sufficiency of Scripture. The Bible alone is enough for salvation - no other revelation is required.

5. The nine spectacular spiritual gifts were only needed to help the early church get started.

6. Such gifts were only necessary to authenticate the apostle's message until the Word of God was completed.

7. The continued operation of these gifts are not based on Scripture, but on experience.

8. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 says that prophecy and tongues will cease, and these are just representative of this entire list.

9. Since these gifts can be greatly abused, they can't possibly be real.

10. The so-called healings and/or miracles aren't real miracles. They are psychosomatic. They only think its real.

11. Church history proves that all evidence of miraculous gifts passed away after the first century.

12. Jesus says, "A wicked and adulterous generation looks for miraculous signs" (Matthew 16:4). This means that we should not pray for the miraculous in our ministries today.

13. Jesus warns us that in the end times false prophets will work miracles and deceive the elect. Therefore we should not seek miraculous gifts.

14. The New Testament epistles rarely speak of the miraculous gifts. This may indicate the passing away of these gifts toward the end of the first century.

15. The miracles worked by the apostles were always successful, instantaneous.

16. If Jesus and the apostles were here today, they would empty the hospitals. This shows that which is called miracles today is not like those done by Jesus and his apostles.

Before proceeding, I need to say that not all Cessationists believe all 16 arguments on this list. But some believe a select number of them.

Allowance for various opinions within the Body of Christ

The Scriptures say that we should "Earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). This implies that God has handed over to His people some things we can't back down from, and whatever they may be, they are included in something here called "The Faith."

This is a phrase that is used often in the New Testament. In the King James Bible, we find this two-word phrase 37 times. Consider the fallowing, for instance.

1 Tim 4:1 NKJV

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,

1 Cor 16:13 NKJV

13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.

Acts 6:7 NKJV

7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Eph 4:11-13 NKJV

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

In 2 Tim 4:7 NKJV, we find Paul near the end of his life, saying:

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

SO, WHAT IS "THE FAITH"?

It is obvious from the context of these verse, especially from the book of Jude that "The Faith must include:

1. the love of God (Jude 2)

2. salvation (vs. 3)

3. the Lord Jesus Christ (vs. 4)

4. the grace of God (vs. 4)

I believe that "The Faith" includes primarily those things that give an accurate view…..

a. Of who God is,

b. Our relationship to Him, and

c. The things which are important and necessary for salvation.

Things such as:

a. God exists and is holy and righteous altogether.

b. Jesus is the eternal Son of God.

c. Humanity has sinned and we are all lost.

d. Only through the death of Jesus can we have fellowship with God.

e. Jesus died for our sins, was resurrected from the dead, and lives today at the right hand of the Father.

f. Personal salvation comes only by believing in the atoning work of Christ and making Him the Lord of my life.

These are some of the basic tenants of "The Faith." But beyond these basic truths, the Lord has made allowances for considerable variations. Why else would He say, in Romans 14:5 (NAS): "One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike, Let each man be fully convince in his own mind." The Bible leaves room for debate and differences of opinion on non-essential issues.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS BELIEVERS CAN DIFFER ON WHICH DO NOT AFFECT THEIR STANDING WITH JESUS?

1. Pretrib. Rapture vs. Post-trib. rapture.

2. The ministry of women in the church

3. Instrumental music in the church

4. The method of baptism

5. Styles of worship (e.g., clapping hands or not)

6. Church held on Saturday or Sunday.

And then there are some that are even less important:

a. Whether to have Sunday p.m. services or not.

b. The time of worship

c. Teaching styles.

In other words, two people can have differing interpretations of some issues in the Bible, outside of what is included in "The Faith" without it affecting the salvation of either of them. History has proven that theological differences among people who seriously study the Word of God are a virtual given. It is just going to happen. The only churches I know that are one-minded in all matters of theology are churches where only one mind is allowed to function. Fortunately for the Christian Church, whether or not the charismatic gifts are for today is not a salvation issue. I have many brothers and sisters in the Lord that do not believe as I do on this issue. The issue of whether or not the charismatic gifts are still around is, and will continue to be, a debated issue.

   
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