Thursday, August 5, 2010

Smeaton On The Extraordinary Gifts

These extraordinary gifts of the Spirit were no longer needed when the canon of Scripture was closed. Up to that time they were an absolute necessity. They are now no longer so. Nor is the Church warranted to expect their restoration, or to desire prophetic visions, immediate revelations. Or miraculous gifts, either in public or in private, beyond, or besides, the all-perfect canon of Scripture. The Church of Rome, which still claims these extraordinary gifts, is to that extent injurious to the Spirit as the author of Scripture. And enthusiastic sects * that cherish the belief of their restoration, or an expectation to that effect, have not learned or duly pondered how great a work of the Spirit has been completed and provided for the Church of all times in the gift of the Holy Scriptures…

When it is alleged that the restoration of these gifts is an unwarranted expectation, the answer is, they are no longer required. The closing of the canon has superseded their necessity and value, inasmuch as the Church possesses in the Scriptures all that they were intended to accredit and commend. Beyond the written word which was completed before the apostles passed away, the Spirit has no further revelations or immediate communications of the divine will to impart.

(*) i.e., the Montanists of the 2nd century, the Irvingites of the 19th century and the Pentecostals and Charismatics of our day.

George Smeaton, The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, pages 150, 151, 152

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