“Now Concerning Spiritual Gifts” — Part Three
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“Now Concerning Spiritual Gifts” — Part Three

From Series: Firm Foundation, Volume 5

1 Corinthians 12:1-11  (ID: 1701)

Are all spiritual gifts still active, or were some gifts unique to the apostles for the purpose of authenticating their ministry as they established the Church? Alistair Begg explores this issue as he walks us through the gifts of healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, discernment, and speaking in tongues. Because these particular gifts often provoke controversy, he encourages us to apply spiritual sensitivity and an open Bible as we examine their place in today’s Church.


Sermon Transcript: Print

Well, I invite you to take your Bibles. Before we come around the Lord’s Table tonight, we continue to pursue our studies here in 1 Corinthians 12, and specifically as it relates to this question of spiritual gifts. We’ve been looking at this subject now for a couple of weeks and will do for some time beyond this, but we are in the midst of the list that is provided for us here between verse 7 and verse 11.

Last time, we sought to ask and answer four questions: Who gives these spiritual gifts? The answer to which was “God.” Why are they given? The answer to that was “for the common good.” They’re tools to be used, not toys to be played with. Who gets them? The answer to that is “Every Christian gets them.” And what are they? Well, then we began to look at the list that was provided for us, and we said it was a selective list, not an exhaustive list.

We have said various things about spiritual gifts. I came across a quote this week by the late Ray Stedman, who said that a spiritual gift, and I think quite helpfully, is “a capacity for service which is given to every true Christian without exception and which [is] something [that] each did not possess before he became a Christian.”[1] A spiritual gift is given to each Christian, and it is something that we didn’t have before.

Natural talents are not spiritual gifts, although natural talents are gifts from God. And a Christian, interestingly, may exercise a spiritual gift through a natural talent. If you think about it, an individual may have a natural talent for communication and be given the spiritual gift of teaching. And the spiritual gift combines with their natural talent to make it a powerful impact.

And also we discovered, and importantly so, that these gifts are given “to each one,” reminding us that every one of us, having received a gift, is to have a part in our expression within the body of Christ. And all the members are involved in ministry—unlike a papal encyclical in 1906. I’m sure they would want to step back from this, but nevertheless, this reads as written, sent out to the various bishops of the church: “As for the masses, they have no [right other] than that of letting themselves be led, and of following their pastors as a docile flock.”[2] Well, wherever that comes from, it does not come from 1 Corinthians chapter 12. For 1 Corinthians 12 calls for all to be gifted and all to be involved.

Now, we have reached the gift of healing in our going through this list. And we come to the issue of healing in Calvin’s commentary on 1 Corinthians. In addressing these various spiritual gifts, he gives some time to the first three, and when he comes to this gift of healing, he says, “Everyone knows what is meant by the gift of [healing].”[3] And then he proceeds to the next gift. So either everybody knew something that we don’t know, or else he didn’t want to touch it, or whatever it was; I’m not sure. But it made me smile. It really made me smile. In fact, I’m still smiling. It’s quite incredible.

Coming to this gift, which is one of the most volatile of the list of gifts in the minds of some people, it’s necessary for me to dip into an area that needs to be addressed and to which we’ll return, certainly when we come to chapter 14. And it centers on the question as to whether this gift and other spectacular gifts are still present in the church today or whether these miraculous occurrences were actually signs of the apostles; they were given for a specific period of time in order to authenticate the ministry of the apostles in the establishing of the church. That’s the question; that is a very important question that needs to be addressed. And along with it this question: When we read here concerning the gifts of healing that were manifest in the New Testament church at this time, are we to believe that what is spoken of today in terms of healing ministry, in terms of gifts possessed by individuals whereby they are apparently able to heal—are we legitimate in assuming that those present-day professions are identical with the New Testament instruction provided for us here?

In order to answer that question, there are a couple of things we need to note. First of all, the healings that marked the ministry of Jesus and of the apostles was direct. They were able to heal by their words or by their touch. They spoke or they touched, and people were healed. The healing was an instant healing. The healings were not simply psychosomatic, but they were organic, many of them, such as wasted and crippled limbs being restored as well as functional and symptomatic things being addressed. The healings of Jesus and the apostles lasted. There is no record in the New Testament of any relapse in relationship to healings. So, their healings were direct, they were specific, they were by word, they were by touch, they had immediate impact, people were immediately and apparently healed, and there was no apparent relapse.

Now, for those of us who’ve lived and moved in charismatic circles, we need to be honest enough to say that that is very, very different from what is mostly spoken of today in relationship to the gifts of healing. Most of those expressions cannot be squared with the outline that I’ve just given you in terms of apostolic ministry. That, loved ones, does not mean that we no longer have the privilege of asking God for healing. We do. And God does heal and may choose to heal to accomplish his purpose and his glory. But I do not believe that individuals possess gifts of healing as per the abilities of the apostles in the first century, whatever their profession may be.

In the same respect, “miraculous powers,” which is next on the list, are directly related to the foundational element of the apostles. Let me quote to you: these miraculous gifts “were part of the credentials of the Apostles as … authoritative agents of God in [the] founding [of] the church. Their function … confined them [distinctly to] the Apostolic Church, and they necessarily passed away with it.”[4] That’s B. B. Warfield. So that we begin to put together an understanding of things where there were certain gifts which are said to have been temporary in their foundational element, and there are other gifts which are permanent.

Some people choose to be exceptionally dogmatic concerning this. Others are helpfully or unhelpfully vague. But you should understand that there is a very great difference between the view which says that all the gifts of the New Testament were operative, went into abeyance, and all of a sudden, lately, in the resurgence of interest in the Spirit’s ministry in the last thirty years by means of the charismatic movement, have once again been unleashed upon the church. They were gone, and God has blessed them to the church.

That view is very different from the view which says, “No, there were certain signs of the apostolic church which were there to authenticate their ministry and to lay foundation, and that even as you read the Acts of the Apostles, you discover that those events are beginning to dwindle before you come to the conclusion of the book of Acts in the founding of the church. And by the time you get into the New Testament epistles themselves, there is largely no mention of them whatsoever.”

What about the gift of prophecy? Prophecy. “To another miraculous powers, to another prophecy.” Some of you may not know what I’m talking about here, but that’s all right. That’s not unusual, actually. But the question, once again, is whether what is spoken of in terms of charismatic prophecy can be realistically viewed as the restoring of this New Testament sign gift.

We ought not to think of the prophetic gift in terms of the augmentation of truth, but rather the application of truth.

Those of you who’ve not been exposed to this won’t really know what I mean. But, for example, I have friends who come over to my home—at least did in Scotland. They would come over to my home, and before the evening was ended, they would give to my wife and I various “words of prophecy.” And on the strength of that, then we would go to bed and get on with our days. I can make mention of that; I probably will in a moment or two from now. But by prophecy, in charismatic circles, what they mean is an immediate revelation from God, the receiving and the relaying of what purports to be a divine message. Okay? An existential moment disconnected from and not necessarily related to the revelation which we have in Holy Scripture.

And in charismatic circles, the understanding of this gift of prophecy is, number one, that it is a direct revelation from God of thoughts that are on the mind of God that would not otherwise be known. It’s very important. If this person did not say this in this moment, then all of us who were within earshot would not be the beneficiaries of this word which was on the mind of God.

Secondly, that such words of prophecy frequently include specific directions from God concerning his plans for the future.

Thirdly, that the proper verbal form of these words of prophecy, in my experience, is in terms of the Old Testament oracles, in which the “I” who speaks is frequently God himself. If you’ve moved in these circles, and some of you have, you will know that when a word of prophecy is given, most usually in this context it comes in the first-person singular: “I say to you,” “I say to you, my people,” “I say to you, Alistair Begg,” or whatever it might be. So it creates and brings with it a tremendous sense of transcendence and power, and it can be tremendously compelling, especially for those who are unsure concerning the Scriptures.

Fourthly, the notion is that it was a sign gift in the apostolic church, which, with the other sign gifts, as I said, has been in abeyance until lately.

Now, that’s the view of prophecy from the charismatic point of view. What would we want to say in relationship to that?

Well, first of all, I would want to say that the prophecy of Joel in Acts chapter 2, where Peter quotes from the prophet Joel concerning the fact that “in the last days,” God would “pour out [his] Spirit on all people,” and the “sons and daughters” would “prophesy,” and “your young men will see visions,” and “your old men will dream dreams”[5]—one of the things that most marks this prophecy is the fact that it is universal. Rather than it being unique and exclusive, we ought to expect it to be manifest in every age. Rather than the spirit of prophecy having been put in a box, as it were, for hundreds and hundreds of years and just all of a sudden being brought back out, the spirit of prophecy that is manifested here, recounted in the prophecy of Joel, suggests to us that this is not something that we ought to find absent in any age but present in every age, and that the essence of the prophetic ministry was not foretelling but was forthtelling; in other words, that the prophetic ministry was and is God’s present word for God’s present people.

Ask yourself the question: Where do we have God’s present word for God’s present people? Right here. Okay? So we have it all. All that we need, with nothing left out and nothing put in that shouldn’t be there. God has completed his word of revelation to us. All of the word that is necessary for all time and for all of his people is contained right here in this book. And in the same way that Old Testament prophets proclaimed the law and recalled the people of God to face the claim of God upon their lives and to call them to obedience, so the New Testament prophets, if you like, they preach the gospel. They preached the life of faith, they called for conversion, they called for edification and for encouragement.

And interestingly—and we’ll find this when we come to chapter 14—Paul’s concern for the church at Corinth was that all without exception should share in this ministry. Isn’t that what he says? “I would that you all prophesied.”[6] “I would that you all were involved in bringing God’s present word to God’s present people.” And when we come to 1 Corinthians 14 (and you can note it, if you want to flip over to it), in verse 26 and in verse 30, we’re going to see that a prophetic revelation was a God-prompted application of truth that in general terms had been revealed already—a God-prompted application of truth that had been revealed already, rather than a disclosure of divine thoughts and intentions that hadn’t been previously known and hadn’t been previously knowable.

So when you think in terms of the prophetic gift, we ought not to think of it in terms of the augmentation of truth, but rather the application of truth. And there’s no indication whatsoever that any of the New Testament prophets gave their messages in a verbal form that personated the Father and the Son. They never spoke in that way. The authority of the prophetic message is not in its form. It’s in its content.

Now, let me explain to you. If you come to me for a word of counsel—right?—and you come, and you share your life with me and tell me what you’re involved in, it would be possible for me, having listened to you, to say, “Dear friend, I want to give you a prophetic word, just for you, before you go. So let’s bow in prayer and let me give it to you.” And then, in the first-person singular, I can speak to you and tell you that I believe that this is what God has to say to you at this moment in your circumstances, a present word from God for your present situation. I could take my knowledge of the Scriptures and frame it in such a way as to make you feel or believe that I am speaking in some kind of ex cathedra fashion as a result of being on the receiving end of a previously unknowable truth that is coming directly to me and through me for you.

And I could say something like this: “I say to you, my sister, that if you will only find your joy and your delight in following after me and in listening to my Word, I will give to you all that your heart desires.” You could go out the door and say, “It’s unbelievable. The guy’s got a red telephone up there. It really freaked me out. He had a thing he said, and it just came right through. I don’t know what happened. It came right through, and it came right to me.” What was it? It was Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself [also] in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

That is why, for many of my dear friends who are involved in this kind of prophetic ministry in charismatic circles, I don’t get upset with them, and they don’t get upset with me. ’Cause I tell them, I say, “Frank, if you want to turn Romans 12 into a kind of divine transactional statement for me, that’s okay. But I know what you’re doing, Frank. You’re just quoting Romans 12. ’Cause I know Romans 12 too. And Frank, if you ever pull one of these stunts in my house where you don’t quote something from the Bible, I’m gonna throw you out the door so fast you won’t even imagine it.” Because if there is something that is supplemental to the Bible, we know to throw it out in any case. And if what it is is simply a restatement of the Bible, what in the world are we going through it for in the first place?

The gift of New Testament prophecy is the application of God’s given Word to God’s given people in a given moment in time. Search the Scriptures to see if these things are so.[7]

Let’s go on. Let’s try one or two more.

“Distinguishing between spirits.” The gift of “distinguishing between spirits.” That’s simply the gift of discernment. John writes of it in 1 John 4:1: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see [if] they[’re] from God.”

And we find in apostolic times that there were some specific instances where this became particularly apparent. For example, in Acts chapter 16 we have the record of one who was speaking true words, but Paul detects in this girl something that is actually evil. “Once … [they] were going to the place of prayer,” Acts 16:16. “We were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.” And the girl follows Paul around, and she’s shouting, “These men are [the] servants of the Most High God.” And she keeps it up day after day, and “finally Paul became so troubled that he turned [round] and said to the spirit, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!’ [And] at that moment the spirit left her.” Paul was given a unique gift in that moment to discriminate between what was going on in that individual.

The gift of New Testament prophecy is the application of God’s given Word to God’s given people in a given moment in time.

To some is given a unique ability to recognize lying spirits. If you think about it, it was a particularly important gift before the New Testament canon was completed. One commentator says, “The Holy Spirit’s discerners were the church’s protectors.”[8] John Owen, writing of this, said that God gave the special gift of discerning spirits to contend against the “mischief done in the church.”[9] Because at that time, with an abundance of spiritual gifts in operation and the ease with which they could be counterfeited, it was absolutely necessary that they would know what was true and what was false. And while all are given a measure of discrimination between the spirits, it would appear that to some there is given special insight into its meaning and to its application and to the manner of it, in a way that is definitely similar in kind to what is mentioned here and expressed in Acts 16, if not so immediate in terms of degree.

Now, loved ones, I want to say to you again that you’re gonna have to think these things out for yourselves. I don’t believe that my purpose in going through this is to browbeat you into some kind of position on spiritual gifts. I will teach you as best as I understand the Bible. But you’re sensible people. You need to examine the Scriptures. You need to test your life, your experience, your encounters against the Word of God.

Okay, from discriminating between the spirits to “speaking in … tongues.” “Distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to … another the interpretation of tongues.” Now, I’m tempted to go right by this, because we come to it in its fullness in chapter 14. But I don’t think that I should, because I sense in these early weeks a great interest in this. Let me make one or two general observations for now, which will have to suffice.

At the end of chapter 12, verse 29 and 30, we’re surely going to agree together that the expected answer to each of these questions is “No.” Okay? “Are all apostles?” No. “Are all prophets?” No. “Are all teachers?” No. “Do all work miracles?” No. “Do all have gifts of healing?” No. “Do all speak in tongues?” No. “Do all interpret?” No. So we’re gonna assume, I hope, that the answer to that is, realistically, “No.”

Traditional Pentecostalism—for those of you who’ve come out of that background or understand it—traditional Pentecostalism, wrestling with this, distinguishes between the Acts 2 experience of God’s Spirit, where they were all baptized and all spoke in tongues… Traditional Pentecostalism says this: every believer must be baptized in the Holy Spirit as a postconversion experience, and as a result of their baptism in the Holy Spirit, they will involuntarily speak in tongues. Having done so, traditional Pentecostalism says, they may not, however, continue to have a gift of tongues as per 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. Now, as cogent as that appears to be, it seems to me to be touched with more than a little sophistry.

Second general statement or question: Can we equate what Paul describes here and in chapter 14—that is, this public expression of truth in these other languages—with the largely private, unstructured language which our charismatic brothers and sisters give testimony to? In other words, is what they’re talking about and what the New Testament here is talking about one and the same thing? We’re going to examine this in detail in chapter 14, but it seems to me that what Paul is talking about is something very different than the expression of someone who with all sincerity may claim to possess a “private prayer language.”

Now, some of you’ve wondered—because I answered a question out there in the open air during the summer—someone said, “Do you believe that the gift of tongues is still present in the church?” My answer to that was, “Yes, I do. The real question is, what is it?” What is it that is present in the church? And here we’re at the question. Is what people give testimony to what Paul is addressing here in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14? I actually don’t think so. That’s, once again, an area of study where undue dogmatism is really unhelpful and where spiritual sensitivity is vital.

And you can take some of your favorite theologians and lay them end to end; they won’t reach a conclusion. For example, Charles Hodge regarded both the Pentecostal—i.e., the Acts 2—tongues and the Corinthian tongues as the same: a gift of other languages.[10] Abraham Kuyper “regard[ed] both as the uttering of unintelligible sounds.” He said that it was probably the language that we’re going to speak in heaven, so that the gift—in that case, the miracle—was one of both hearing and speaking.[11] Now, people spoke what they didn’t know, and people heard what they couldn’t understand. That’s far out. Calvin and many who followed Calvin think that “the Pentecostal tongues were languages and the Corinthian tongues were not.”[12]

So how are you doing? You feeling real clear on this? Huh? Here we got Charles Hodge. I carry his Systematic Theology around like this. This guy’s bright. He says they’re both languages. Here comes Kuyper. He says they’re both unintelligible sounds. Here comes Calvin. He says, “Hey, I think one’s one; I think one’s the other.” What do you think? Hoekema—that’s quite a name—says, “It seems difficult, if not impossible, to make a final judgment on [the] matter.”[13] Oh, thank you! Good.

But what has your experience been? Your experience has been—because of a great desire for black and white and no grays in life—your experience has been you’ve got to come down on one side or the other here; and as soon as you do, somehow or another, you go into a defensive shell to fight off anybody who doesn’t believe what you believe. Or you go on the antagonistic route to try and bring everybody who hasn’t got what you’ve got into the experience that you have.

Remember this, loved ones: the main things are the plain things, and the plain things are the main things. This doesn’t seem real plain, does it? What should that tell us? It should tell us that any time we exalt something that there isn’t amazing clarity on in the Bible to a position of undue significance, we’re probably getting really out of line.

Let me give you the wisdom of J. I. Packer on this, if I may, for a moment. He gives six areas of agreement among present-day investigators into this phenomenon. And here, he says, are the areas of agreement in terms of honest research on the part of people both involved and observing.

Number one: tongues-speaking, as expressed today, “is not language in the ordinary sense.”[14] It “is not language in the ordinary sense.” Forget for a minute the stories that you heard about Mr. So-and-So in the missionary thing, and he was trying to explain John’s Gospel, and all of a sudden he found himself speaking, and the people started to listen to him because he was speaking in their language. That is a separate issue for now. We’re talking about going to the average charismatic church, where when you finish singing the song, everybody keeps singing, and then they start singing in glossolalia or in tongues. Okay? That is not intelligible language.

The main things are the plain things, and the plain things are the main things.

What is it? This is what Packer says, and he doesn’t mean this in any pejorative way: “It is … a willed and welcomed vocal event in which, in a context of attention to religious realities, the tongue operates [with] one’s mood but apart from one’s mind in a way comparable to the fantasy-languages of children, the scat-singing of the late Louis Armstrong, yodeling in the Alps, and warbling under the shower or in the bath.”[15]

Now, for those of you who believe that God has given you a private prayer language, don’t let that unsettle you in any way. That is an explanation—that’s almost like a medical explanation, a physiological explanation—of what is happening when you do what you do, no matter what the religious overtone or connotation we may put on it. Because after all, we know that this same phenomenon is present in cults, it is present in other countries, it is present in other environments, and it is present in other religions. Okay?

Secondly, “though [this] sometimes start[s] spontaneously in a person’s life”—that is, “with or without [some kind of] attendant emotional excitement”—tongues-speaking “is regularly taught.” And some of us were told how we could do it, with instructions like this: “Loosen [your] jaw and [your] tongue, speak nonsense syllables, utter [it] as praise to God the first sounds that come [into your head], and so forth.” And as a result of that, before you know where you are, you will be able to do what other people around you are doing. It’s not that difficult. It can be learned. It is not something hard if you want to do it.[16]

Thirdly, “many, if not most” people who speak in tongues are folks of—unlike what people have said, that the only people who would engage in this are folks who, you know, fell off buildings or are emotionally unstable, or they’ve got something wrong with them; no, he says, “many, if not most” tongues-speakers “are persons of at least average psychological health, who have found that glossolalia,” tongues-speaking, “is for them a kind of exalted fun before the Lord.”[17] It’s fun. They like it. It’s spiritually in tune.

Fourthly, “glossolalia,” or tongues-speaking, “is sought and used as part of a quest for closer communion with God and regularly proves beneficial at [a] conscious level.”[18] Those of us who have sought to speak in tongues or have spoken in tongues know that this is actually true. It has been part of our spiritual quest for a closer walk with God. Someone has said, “Do you know that you can know God better than you know him now if you are only able to do this?” And you’ve said to yourself, “I want to know him so badly, if that’s what you have to do, that’s what I will do. And however I end up doing it, I am going to do it.” And in the doing of it, there is a “relief of tension.” There is “a certain inner exhilaration.” There is “a strengthening sense” of the presence of God and of his blessing, without doubt.

Fifthly, tongues-speaking “represents, [and] focuses, and intensifies such awareness of divine reality as is brought to it.” In other words, the context is very important. “Thus it becomes a natural means of [giving voice to] adoration.”[19] “A natural means of [giving voice to] adoration.” Hence many people say, “It is my private prayer language.” Question: What is this private prayer language in relationship to what we’re dealing with here and about to deal with in 1 Corinthians 14? He’s not talking about private prayer languages. He’s talking about something that was happening in the church, was being spoken out in the church, and people were interpreting in the church. We’re not talking about the same thing, loved ones.

Sixthly, “usually [tongues-speaking] is sought, [and] found, and used by people who see” it, or “see the tongue-speaking community as spiritually ‘special’ and who want to be fully involved in its total group experience.” And since they “see their tongues[-speaking] as mainly if not wholly for private use and” by their own testimony “do not claim to know what they[’re] saying”—okay?—and “Paul speaks only of tongues that are for utterance and [for] interpretation in public,” and it would seem (and we’ll get to this) that he has some notion “that the speaker [has] some idea of his own meaning,”[20] it is virtually impossible for us to square the two things. So whatever we’re talking about over here, we’re not talking about what Paul is talking about over here.

Now, when we come to the interpretation, it’s much along the same lines. It’s very perplexing to be in a context—and with this I will conclude tonight—it’s very perplexing to be in a context where people speak in tongues supposedly prophetic words. I’ve been there many, many times, ever since the age of about sixteen. And once a person has given an utterance in an unintelligible language in a way that they themselves do not know what they’re talking about, then it is open, it is up for grabs for somebody then to interpret that in the immediate aftermath of the utterance.

Now, here’s the problem: so long as what is said by way of interpretation is biblical, it stands unchallengeable, because it is uncheckable. Okay? So if somebody says something that nobody knows what they’re talking about, and I immediately give you an interpretation which is true to the Bible, you can’t challenge it, because it’s true to the Bible, and you can’t check it. And empathy with the speaker, the mood, the need, plus a mind well stocked in Scripture will be sufficient to produce interpretations.

Now, here’s the thing, loved ones. When somebody does this and somebody interprets, it may well bring blessing, irrespective of the question of reality or not, for this reason: that let’s suppose we’ve got a well-meaning person who has been led to the conviction that here is the way to really know God, and this is the real expression of true spirituality, and when you’re able to do this by divine gifting, then you’re really close to God, and if you do it in our little prayer meeting and you’re quiet for a moment or two, there’ll be somebody else who will stand up and will interpret it for you. When they stand up and interpret it and they give a word of God-given spiritual encouragement which is essentially from the Bible, you see, without it necessarily being a God-given rendering of a God-given language, it’s still going to be encouraging, because it’s a God-given Bible out of which it came.

Now, to go beyond that and say that all of my charismatic brothers and sisters are led of the devil, are involved in spurious and counterfeit satanic antagonism, is a leap that I, for one, am unprepared to take. And one day my brother and my sister and I are gonna get to heaven, and one of us is gonna have a redder face than the other, ’cause they’re gonna turn around, say, “Hey, you thought it was just out the Bible? You’re wrong.” Or I’m gonna say, “Hey, you thought you had a red telephone? It was in here all the time.”

Our time has gone. I can tell by the perplexity on your faces that you just can’t wait for chapter 14. If it’s this confusing in 12, you can see the great wisdom of the Spirit of God to put chapter 13 in the middle of 12 and 14, can’t you? To stop us all from fighting with one another. And if there is any sense… I wanna say a word here to any of my brothers and sisters who come from a charismatic background: if there is any sense in which anything that I have said tonight appears to be either condescending or antagonistic or bombastic in any way, then the problem is all mine, the sin is all mine, and I intend none of it. We are all learners from the one who knows the answers, and together we need to seek the mind of Christ.


[1] Ray C. Stedman, Body Life (Glendale, CA: Regal, 1972), 39.

[2] Pope Pius X, Vehementer Nos (1906), quoted in John Stott, One People: Helping Your Church Become a Caring Community (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1982), 15.

[3] John Calvin, The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, trans. John W. Fraser, ed. David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 262.

[4] Benjamin B. Warfield, Counterfeit Miracles (New York: Scribner’s, 1918), 6.

[5] Acts 2:17 (NIV 1984).

[6] 1 Corinthians 14:5 (paraphrased).

[7] See Acts 17:11.

[8] John MacArthur, 1 Corinthians, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody, 1984), 304.

[9] Pneumatologia: or A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit, in The Works of John Owen, D.D., ed. Thomas Russell (London, 1826), 2:22.

[10] J. I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God, rev. and enlarged ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005), 167. See Charles Hodge, An Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (New York, 1860), 248–52, 276–302.

[11] Packer, 167. See Abraham Kuyper, The Work of the Holy Spirit, trans. Henri de Vries (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1900), 133–38.

[12] Packer, 167. See John Calvin, Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, trans. John Pringle (Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1849), 1:435.

[13] Anthony A. Hoekema, What About Tongue-Speaking? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1966), 83, quoted in Packer, 167.

[14] Packer, 168.

[15] Packer, 168.

[16] Packer, 169.

[17] Packer, 169.

[18] Packer, 169.

[19] Packer, 169.

[20] Packer, 169–70.

Copyright © 2021, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.