What do you think about the convictions of Charles Finney about the power of Holy Spirit today?  It´s possible pray to receive a miracle?
The biblical evidence is that the events at Pentecost (Acts chapter 2) and when Cornelius and his friends were baptized (Acts chapter 10) were unique.   The apostles certainly saw it that way.  In fact, if you look at the scene when Peter explained why he baptized gentiles in Acts 10, he explained that something very unusual, "the same" as at Pentecost, the apostles were satisfied.  They realized that a supermiraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit had occurred both times.   In both cases, people who had not even been baptized yet began showing miraculous gifts.  At Pentecost tongues of fire were apparent.   There was a great rushing of wind.  These events were the fulfillment of the passage in Joel, as Peter said during his sermon.  Everything points to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost being a special event–one which was prophesied many times, both by Jesus and in the Old Testament. 
When Peter says in Acts 2:38-41 that "this promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call," he is talking about the immediate context.  He is talking about the promise of reception of forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit at baptism.  He is not talking about the miraculous speaking in tongues.   There is no evidence at all that everyone in the NT church had miraculous gifts.  In fact, the evidence is that only a few had these gifts.   When Phillip baptized people in Samaria (Acst 8) none received the miraculous gifts at all.  Phillip had to send for an apostle to lay on hands in order for some of the disciples in Samaria to receive the miraculous gifts.  The miraculous gifts clearly were not the promise that is for you and all your children.  Church history tells us that this modern-day claim that all Christians will  have some sort of miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit is simply not true.  It is not biblical and it is not in agreement with the evidence.  If you read the early church fathers it seems that miraculous gifts were already rare by the end of the first century and had disappeared or virtually disappeared by the middle of the second century.  It is reasonable to conclude that this was both because there were no more apostles to lay hands on the people and that the very reason for the gifts–to testify to new revelation–had disappeared.
So, you can discount the false claims of Charles Finney.  That is my opinion.  His claim is a very recent invention.  The Charismatic Movement is a very recent thing–having started just over 100 years ago.  If he is right, then there were no "real" Christians in the world for about 1800 years.  An unlikely conclusion.  This is bad logic, bad biblical interpretation and bad historical accounting.
Can you pray to receive a miracle?  Of course you can.  Should you expect a positive answer?  I see no reason biblically to say yes.  I say very likely–indeed almost certainly–no, but God can do whatever he wills.  If he chooses to give someone today the gift of tongues, I will not question God, but Finney’s claim that miraculous gifts are the true mark of being a spiritual Christian are bogus.
John Oakes

Comments are closed.