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Have the Revelatory Gifts Ceased to Function? A Response and Refutation of Joel McDurmon on 1 Corinthians 13- #3

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This is the third part of a short series examining an article by Joel McDurmon in which he addressed the question of the charismatic, revelatory gifts, and particularly 1 Corinthians 13. In that article, McDurmon denied that 1 Corinthians 13 discusses the end of the charismatic gifts, and he denied that the text has any eschatological content: “I think that the whole endeavor to see 1 Corinthians 13:9ff as an indicator of any major eschatological, doctrinal, covenantal, or revelatory shift is to miss the point of the passage entirely.”   Be sure to read the previous articles in this series:  #1   #2

McDurmon At Odds With Church History– An Irony Revealed!

I have noted the irony in the fact that McDurmon, along with a host of futurists, like to castigate the preterist movement for holding a “minority view” that is not well attested in church history. And yet, McDurmon’s view is, to understate the case, not a popular or even that well known interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13. The consensus view of the church has been– and continues to be to this day– that 1 Corinthians 13 is in fact a major statement by Paul, about the “eschatological, doctrinal, covenantal, or revelatory” nature of the coming “that which is perfect.” Even most charismatics believe that Paul did predict the objective end of the miraculous gifts, and they posit that time as the parousia (what is commonly called the Second Coming) of Christ!

As we have noted, McDurmon denies that 1 Corinthians 13 is about an objective temporal point of time at which the charismata would cease. Further, he is insistent that Paul’s discussion of the gifts focuses on the individual gifts, not on the corporate body. Thirdly, he says “that which is perfect” is referent to a time in the life of a “gifted” individual when they arrive at “spiritual maturity.” When that given individual arrives at that state of spiritual maturity, the gifts would cease to function in their life. This raises all sorts of logical problems, and we discussed just a few of them in our first article, so be sure to read that. Be sure also to get a copy of my book Into All The World, Then Comes The End, for a discussion of the “last days” work of the Spirit. That will give a lot of excellent insights into this discussion.

Scripture and the Cessation of the Revelatory Gifts

The question we wish to discuss here is in reality the foundational issue. Does the Bible posit the cessation of the charismata as an objective reality, to occur at a given point in time, or, is McDurmon correct when he suggests that the cessation of the gifts occurs strictly on an individual basis as individuals come to personal spiritual maturity?

Just as an introductory comment, however: McDurmon, while wishing to deny that 1 Corinthians is making a major statement about the end of the charismata, is forced, nonetheless, to admit that the text does predict the cessation of the charismata! And the words of the text are clear, unambiguous and emphatic: Where there are prophecies they shall fail, knowledge shall cease, tongues shall cease.” So, at least on some level, McDurmon has admitted that Paul does predict the cessation of the miraculous gifts. This is a critical and fatal admission.

I am convinced that the Bible does teach that the charismata were given to the church as a corporate body, and that those gifts were given with a corporate goal in mind. When that goal was achieved by the sovereign work of YHVH though His Son, it was always His intent that the gifts would cease.  I will only offer a few texts, of several that could be given, that teach this truth.

The texts we will examine are:

Daniel 9:24f

Zechariah 13

Ephesians 4

Revelation 10:7f

Our discussion of these texts will have to be brief, but, I believe these texts, properly understood, are a clear cut refutation of McDurmon’s view.

We will begin with Daniel 9 in the next installment.

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