3-2-8 Questions About Spirit Gifts
Any questions now to Mr. Heaster?
The lady says that she questions Mr. Heaster’s statement that the casting out of demons and other examples of New Testament use of the Holy Spirit are not available today. She says he says this is not available, it doesn’t exist. She says that she has seen this and would like to know from Mr. Heaster how he explains her experience.
Well, I did try and make it clear that I do not doubt that what I call “paranormal things’ do occur. That is, things for which there is no human physical explanation. I do not doubt that these things happen. But what I have tried to outline is the nature of the gifts in the First Century, and I see absolutely no evidence that the gifts are now being manifested in any form like they were in the First Century. Now we take healing. The clear examples of healings in the Acts of the Apostles were very clear: somebody who was dead, suddenly raised from the dead. Now those sort of miracles, I do not believe are happening today. Now, as I have also said, I do not question your personal experience, but we cannot put personal experience above the Word of God. As I said, Deuteronomy 13:1-3, God told the people of Israel that the fact that these things may happen, is no proof that you are of God, I am afraid to say. We cannot base our faith on our own experience. I quoted the example of the people walking on fire and not getting hurt. Now that is something for which there is no human explanation and yet it is the result of mind over matter. Similarly, people quote so-called examples of people speaking in foreign languages now and again, but on the other side of the coin, there are monks in Tibet and rural parts of China who have been heard to speak in English, French, all sorts of languages even, apparently, to quote whole passages out of Shakespeare when they’ve apparently never had any knowledge of it. Now obviously what has happened is that they have somehow or other picked up these things on their subconscious mind or somehow or another it has got into them and through the trigger of their religious experiences and their religious ritual, those things have been triggered and have therefore come out.
So the test is whether we are performing miracles as performed in the First Century. The fact that these things are going on apparently miraculous, well, we have to accept that Muslims also are doing these things; that people who do not believe in God are doing these things. It is no evidence that we are a true Christian, the fact that these experiences may be happening to us.
Excuse me, Sir, what is your question.
FROM THE FLOOR:
There is no question, I am just making a statement.
I don’t know whether you came in late but I did actually…I’m sorry I have to stop you there. Because time is very short, I did say…
FROM THE FLOOR:
What is time? God could take you right now, never mind time is short.
You would like to know from Mr. Heaster what his view is on whether the spirit is at work now through individuals or just through the Word.
In 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 Paul says that there is one spirit but that it has a diversity of manifestations. Now that spirit of God doesn’t change basically. God’s spirit, God’s power is always His and always retains His characteristics. God chooses to manifest Himself with that spirit as He wishes. In the early days of the Christian church, he chose to manifest Himself through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I am saying that He is now manifesting Himself through the Word of God, that it is from there that we have access to the spirit of God.
Now of course, God does work through individuals, but how does He work through individuals? Well, He has worked through them in the past – through their control of the gifts. He can now work through them by the power of the Word of God. In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, we read that the Word of God “worketh effectually in you that believe”. “Effectually” means “energetically”, “powerfully”. So then the Word of God is at work today. That is what is working in us and that is what is working through us.
The gentleman would like to know from both of our speakers the purpose for which Christ is coming back to the earth, to which both of them have referred. In view of the time, I will ask both of them to be as brief as they possibly can.
I believe that the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth to set up God’s Kingdom upon this earth. 2 Timothy 4:1 speaks of the appearing of Christ and his Kingdom as if those two are parallel. In Daniel chapter 2 we read of a prophecy of Christ’s return as a little stone that comes on to this earth at the end of human history and we are told that that symbolizes him setting up a kingdom over this earth which shall not be destroyed and which will not give way to man’s kingdoms like other kingdoms of men have done, but “it will last for ever’ (Dan. 2:44). So then I believe as I’ve mentioned earlier that the conditions of that kingdom on this earth are described in Psalm 72 and Isaiah 35 and other passages, where the curse that was put on this earth in the Garden of Eden will be taken away and ultimately God will be all in all. That is what I believe Jesus Christ is returning to this earth to do and therefore, as I have said, those who follow him and help him in that work will need the gifts of the Holy Spirit to accomplish that.
Well, I would say ditto to most things that were said there. Obviously, when Christ comes back, it’s going to be the fulfilment of the administration of God. I believe that the world is going to get progressively more and more Christianised and that the commission that God gave to the disciples will be fulfilled and that the gospel will be preached in all the earth and that by and large the world will be Christianised prior to Christ returning. I believe that he will then return to hand over the kingdom to God. Now there is a problem here. It is very difficult to be adamant and put this down to a precise formula. I’ll tell you why. So many great scholars read the same verses and come to different conclusions. It is very difficult to be firm, but I would say, by and large, Christ is going to come back when the church has triumphed and he is going to set up a visible administration. At that time, there is no longer any need for evangelism, there is no longer any need for healing because people will be healthy, there will be no more curse. At that time we will see Christ face to face and what had, up till then, been dependant on faith will no longer be, because we will see him. Exactly what format that will take and in what time sequence I don’t know. I mean everybody that reads the Bible comes to a different conclusion.
One more question to Mr. Heaster, please.
Right, the gentleman would like to know how Mr. Heaster can have faith if he hasn’t seen miracles or other examples of the spirit gifts.
Well, I’m afraid I have seen quite a bit of speaking in tongues and I’ve had countless discussions with people who have claimed to be healed, I’ve been quite involved in one way or another with people from that kind of background and I think I’ve probably seen as much evidence as there is going and I’ve tried always to have an open mind and yet personally I’ve not found it at all conclusive. As I said in my first address, in Acts 4:16 we read of that miracle that was done on the lame man and that the Jews who had their minds far more closed to accept miracles could be done than I have, said “that a notable miracle hath been done we cannot deny, (because) it is manifest to all those who dwell in Jerusalem”. Now if I see miracles like that, then I will believe and I will climb down and accept I’m wrong. But I’m afraid the so-called evidence that I’ve seen has only confirmed my belief that the apparent gifts which are being claimed today are in fact in contradiction to the commands concerning the use of those gifts; I gave that long list of things that I’ve experienced in watching Pentecostal services which are not in accordance with the Word of God. So that’s my answer to that question I’m afraid.
We now move on to the concluding summing up remarks of both speakers and I call up Mr. Liliekas to do his summing up for 10 minutes.