everlasting-gospels.gif  Moving Toward A Doctrne Of Spiritual Gifts-3

May 3  Moving Toward A Doctrine Of Spiritual Gifts-3



He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets. . . . Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ, until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord. Eph. 4:11-13, NLT.

By 1856 Ellen White had come under more and more criticism from her detractors. Thus the Sabbatarians felt a more pressing need to develop a theology of prophetic gifts and to integrate that concept into their entire theological package.

In February of that year James White wrote an artical that set forth his understanding of the topic. He first supplied several texts that indicated that the gifts of the Spirit (including prophecy) would remain in the church until the Second Advent.

Then he focused on Joel 2:28-32 with its promise of an outporuing of the gift of prophecy, noting that Pentecost was only a partial fulfillment and that the real emphasis of Joel involved a special outpouring of the gift of prophecy on the "remnant" of verse 32.

White next equated the remnant of Joel 2:32 with the last-day remnant of Revelation 12:17 who would be keeping the commandments and "have the testimony of Jesus Christ." And "what is the testimony of Jesus Christ?" James asked. "We will let the angel who addressed John answer this question. He says 'The Testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.' Rev. 19:10." In conclusion, White implied that  a special mark of God's last-day church would be a revival of the gift or prophecy, a gift that he firmly believed his wife possessed.

Thus by 1856 the Sabbatarians had not only rationalized a biblical understanding of the gift of prophecy but had fit it into those apocalyptic passages that supplied their own self-understanding and identity. As a result, the doctrine of spiritual gifts by the mid-1850s had become one of those Bible teachings (along with the Sabbath, sanctuary, Second Advent, and state of the dead) that began to set them apart in the religious world as a unique church body.

But once again in his February 1856 artical James pounded home the truth that a person "is not at liberty to . . . learn his duty through any of the gifts. We say that the very moment he does, he places the Gifts in a wrong place, and takes an extremely dangerous position."

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Thank You, Lord, for the clarity of the Adventist pioneers on the centrality of the Bible and the place of the gift of prophecy. Help me to be equally clear.