Our Distinctives

8. Cessation of Miraculous Gifts

 
 
Distinctive 8 – We teach that the miraculous gifts, including tongues, ceased after the apostolic age
 
 
 
God bestows His Holy Spirit upon the church to each believer (1 Cor 12:13) accompanied by a variety of gifts for the purpose of edification in the faith (1 Cor 12:4-11; Eph 4:8-16). However, at the originally outpouring of the Spirit, some of these gifts were miraculous in nature. These signs were prominently practiced by the apostles to validate the divine nature of their writings (2 Cor 12:12). With the Bible completed and the apostles passed on, the purpose and practice for these miraculous gifts ended.
 
Along with the cessation of miraculous signs, GBF believes that the gift of speaking of tongues is no long in operation today. GBF does not practice speaking in tongues for several reasons. First, Scripture itself foretells their cessation. In 1 Corinthians 13:8, we read that tongues will cease. We believe that we are currently living in the cessation period because God’s full revelation in the Bible is complete.
 
Furthermore, the purpose for tongues no longer exists. In 1 Corinthians 14:21-22, we read that tongues were intended to be a sign for unbelieving Jews. Tongues confronted their hard hearts for rejecting their Messiah as they heard people speaking foreign languages. This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 28:11-12 where Israel was judged for their unbelief by being subject to invasion and hearing the strange languages of their conquerors.
 
We also discover the evidence in the Bible that the gift of tongues had ceased even before the close of the canon. The last mention of this gift (Acts 19; 1 Cor 14) is dated early in church history before the apostles died (AD 59). Seventeen biblical epistles were written later with no mention at all of speaking in tongues. Given the controversial nature of the topic, we would expect more instructions would be given to clarify the situation. However, the complete absence of the discussion of the topic gives us confidence that either the gift of tongues has ceased, or they have solved all the problems relating to speaking in tongues. Furthermore, Hebrews 2:3-4 mentions miraculous gifts in the past tense. There is nothing further said about their ongoing practice.
 
Finally, leading figures throughout church history affirm that tongues ceased in the apostolic age. Such important church leaders as Augustine, Chrysostom, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, B.B. Warfield, and Charles Spurgeon spoke of these gifts ending in the apostolic era.
 
While God still heals and works wonders to reveal His power, this does not mean the gifts of healing or miracles still operate in the church. The church itself is built on the teaching of the apostles and prophets. That foundation of revelation cannot be added to. There are no further apostles or prophets today adding to the Bible. Thus, it is clear that some gifts of the Spirit have ceased. Tongues, interpretation of tongues, healing, and miracles were briefly in operation as the church began in the first century.