Index by Subject

The Miraculous Gifts of the Holy Spirit

There are individuals in the religious world today who claim to possess the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. Religious programs portray televangelists speaking in tongues and healing the sick. However, excitement over these gifts is no longer limited to “charismatic” churches. In recent years, I have heard members of several different mainstream denominations claim to have the ability to speak in tongues.

No one can deny that the apostles and some other Christians in the New Testament possessed the ability to perform miracles. The question that we will address in this article is whether or not the Bible teaches that these same gifts exist today?  

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The Purpose, Regulation, and Duration of Miraculous Manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

There are a great number of misconceptions concerning the work of the Holy Spirit. It is no question that the Holy Spirit works in the lives of people, and most would not argue that point. However, many believe that the Holy Spirit works miraculously in the lives of people today as he did in the first century. The purpose of this study will be to consider that view in the light of divine scripture; the “sword of the [Holy] Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17).   In addition, this study does not in any way deny the Holy Spirit’s divinity nor His power. He is God (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). He does have the power to work miracles (Acts 2). Thus this study is designed to consider His method of operation as it is laid out in the Bible, and as it pertains to followers of Christ.

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Dead Snake Handler’s Friend Responds

(Evidently, our comments on the Pentecostal who died while handling a snake last Easter have struck a nerve.  Here is yet another response.)

Larry,

I am not interested in having a bible study with you.  I am a snake handling preacher and did not appreciate the way you talked about our religion.  Serpent handling is very much real.  I have handled serpents and never been bitten.  I sometimes go to the church that brother Wayne pastored at. Poorvalley, in Virginia, is the church he preached at.  Wayne Long was a very generous man and a true man of God.  Why do you consider our faith to be false?  Why do you insist on slandering and putting down someone’s religion?  You’ll be hearing from me again.

Rev. Kamron Guin

(For further information, go to our web site, biblework.com.  There you may order video or audio tapes of, “Holy Spirit Baptism, Tongues, and Miracles,” preached in 2001, and a copy of, “If They Have Received Holy Spirit Baptism,” preached in 2002.)

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Belief, Baptism & Signs Following – Still Today?

What follows is an exchange with a Pentecostal Pastor who wrote regarding our recent article on a snake handling preacher who was bitten and died.  The bulk of the correspondence appears in my second response to Mr. Bradshaw.  It includes material from an article written more than thirty years ago which dealt with the same question.

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Contending for the Faith: Another Snake Handling Preacher Died

We take no joy in recounting the death of yet another Pentecostal preacher, Dwayne Long, who died while handling a rattlesnake during Easter Sunday church services.  Said the Richmond, VA, Times-Dispatch:

Snake-handling preacher dies after bite from rattler.  The pastor refused medical treatment after a venomous bite during Easter services.

“Long, whose father was also a snake-handling preacher for more than 30 years, died at his home Monday after refusing medical treatment….‘There have been other members of that family who have died of snakebites in the past 30 to 40 years,’ added…Sheriff Gary Parsons….

“Snake-handlers defend the practice by citing Mark 16:17-18: ‘And these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.’

“The movement began in the early 1900s, and a Tennessee native, George Hensley, is considered the father of modern snake-handling.  According to some accounts, Hensley was preaching when someone dropped a box of snakes at his feet.  Hensley picked up the snakes and continued his sermon, and soon snake-handling spread to other churches.

“According to other accounts, Hensley brought the box of snakes to the pulpit himself as he preached from the book of Mark.  He died in 1955, of a snakebite.”

Another report of the incident from Roanoke, VA, said, “Serpent-handlers believe that when people die of a snakebite they receive during a service, it was simply their time to go….

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Contending for the Faith: Word Confirmed With Signs

The Lord promised the apostles that the Spirit would be with them and in them. That is, the Holy Spirit would give and guide them into all truth, and that he would attest to their divine direction by granting them the ability to perform miracles (John 14:17, 26; 15:26, 27; 16:13). The truth of the above facts is seen in what transpired. In other words, what subsequently happened defined and described what Jesus meant when he said the Spirit would testify and bear witness with them (Cf. "also," John 15:26, 27).

What followed these promises? What happened? "And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following" (Mark 16:20; Cf. Hebrews 2:4). Both the apostles and the Holy Spirit were "witnesses" of the death of Christ and the glory that followed (Again, see "also" in Acts 5:32; Cf. John 15:27, where "also" includes both the apostles and the Spirit). When Peter later says they spoke the gospel "with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven," he was speaking of the fulfillment of these very things; namely, that the Spirit confirmed the testimony he gave the apostles by granting them the ability to work miracles (1 Peter 1:10-12). Or, as Scripture says, "And many wonders and signs were done by the apostles" (Acts 2:43). "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 4:33, which is in accord with the plea and prayer of 4:29, 30). God "gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands" (Acts 14:3). These passages are practical exhibitions or demonstrations of the declarations and promises of John 14:26; 15:26, 27; 16:13, 14. It is to such things that Paul alludes when he speaks of "the signs of an apostle" (2 Corinthians 12:12).

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