Volume 3 of God’s Prophetic Spirit
Available on 12/16/13
The third installment of God’s Prophetic Word will be available for purchase next Monday, December 16th. This third volume examines the conclusions that should be drawn from understanding what was established in Volume 2 of this series: Joel 2:28-32 is the Promise of the Holy Spirit. The three essays of this volume look at the place, purpose, and duration of the prophetic gifts of the Holy Spirit in the early church. Two important truths are discussed in this volume. First, the prophetic gifts of the Holy Spirit were essential for the growth of the early church and so were made available on a universal basis to early Christians. Second, the Bible is specific about the ending of those prophetic blessings and the date of their ending is revealed in the text. This volume is an important read within this series.
Volume 3 contains three essays:
Essay #6: “The Extent of Prophecy in the Church”
Essay #7: “The Purpose of Prophecy in the Church”
Essay #8: “The End of Prophecy”
Here is a quick preview of Volume 3 for your enjoyment:
Planting a new congregation in a new location is never an easy task. However in a modern context, we have an almost unlimited supply of tools and resources at our disposal. First, we have the completed Bible and can provide lost-cost copies of it in nearly any language to as many individuals as we need. Second, we have all the supporting literature and supplies that we could need. We have Bible school materials, hymnals, periodicals, and more books on church growth and organization than we could ever use. Third, we have the expertise of dozens of generations of Christians from which to draw. That experience gives us a history of successes and failures, of apostasies, reformations, and restorations to guide us. Fourth, we have the support of established congregations of God’s people. Every mission point today can find mature Christians that can provide counsel and spiritual and financial aid to help in the growth of an infant congregation. Perhaps, living so intimately with these blessings, we can forget sometimes how blessed we are.
For just a moment, imagine all of those blessings were stripped away. The New Testament is no longer in written form. No hymnals exist. In fact, no Christian hymns have even been written. There are no mature Christians or established congregations in the world. All of the expertise that exists is the experience of man in the three-year long studies of the apostles during the earthly ministry of Jesus. You have been with them for a time in Jerusalem, but the persecution that began to grow caused you to flee Jerusalem for your hometown. You are one of those who was “scattered abroad” as is described in Acts 8. Soon after your arrival at your home, the first Sunday of your new life rolls around. In Jerusalem you had been with the saints who had “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and of prayers” (Acts 2:42). But you did all of those things under the direction of the apostles. Now you are on your own with maybe a small handful of disciples who had fled back home with you. What do you do now?
The problem would have been a very real one. Who would preach? What would he preach? How would you sing and what songs did you have to sing? Do you really know the proper way to pray? Do you think you could instruct someone else about the true significance of the Lord’s Supper? If a personal problem or doctrinal difference arose, are you equipped to know how to address it? You would quickly realize that you are not equipped to address any of these issues fully. Worse yet, other than twelve men located hundreds of miles from you, no one in the world has been a Christian longer than you have. There is no one in your congregation, in your town, or even in all of your country that knows more about Christianity than you do. There is no way for you to find a quick and reliable answer to all the problems facing you and your fellow saints as you try to strengthen your congregation and tell others about the gospel of Christ.
That is of course, unless God has provided a way to overcome those problems. If every saint who left Jerusalem in the dispersion of Acts 8 was gifted through his receiving of the Holy Spirit to be a tongue-speaker, an interpreter of tongues, a prophet, a teacher, a healer and/or a host of other functions then your small fellowship of believers would have access to a divinely provided lifeline of support to help grow your faith and congregation. It is that function that the miracles of the Holy Spirit would have played in the early church. For the day-to-day existence of the early congregations, the constant presence of the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit would have been the most impactful effect of the Spirit’s work among the saints.