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Gospel Gazette Online

Vol. 11 No. 5 May 2009

Page 16

Questions and Answers

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Racial Generalizations

Louis Rushmore

When someone speaks about false teaching or sin, do you think it wise to say things like: “This sin (or false teaching) is common among the [fill in the blank] race”? Do you believe that this makes an unnecessary generalization, and the sin and/or false teaching would be better refuted without linking it to a particular race, even if the statistics may show it more common with that race?

Louis RushmoreYes, of course, the answer to these questions is obvious. Generalizations are never universally true. I can see, though, how one might observe, for instance, that our black brethren have more instances of evangelistic oversight, or our white brethren have more instances of apostasy from New Testament principles; yet, either race or mankind in general irrespective of race, ethnicity, nationality, etc. may dabble with either. The apostles and Jewish brethren in Jerusalem gave tailored instruction to Gentile Christians in Antioch of Syria because of true generalizations respecting Gentiles and sins common to them would likely tempt Gentile Christians, too (Acts 15:20-32; 21:25). The Holy Spirit, according to this passage was behind the instruction, and the apostle Paul accompanied those who delivered the epistle and further expounded upon the same. Later, the apostle Paul referred to this episode and included himself as complicit in that instruction. The motive, of course, was good, and the instruction was intended for the welfare of fellow Christians. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor

Most Important Gift

Tell me what you think of this. There is a woman who said she has been called to be a prophet. I don’t have a problem with that but she said this: “Prophecy is the most essential gift.” I totally disagree with that statement, but don’t quite know how to address it. Have you addressed this in one of your earlier Gazettes? If so, please direct me where to look. If not, please respond to my e-mail. I truly respect your opinion. Thanks and God bless! Maxine Collins

Prophecy was inferior to love: “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2 NKJV). However, among the miraculous, spiritual gifts available to the Lord’s church in the first century, the apostle Paul ranked prophecy as primary: “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:1-2). Howbeit, miraculous, spiritual gifts are no longer available since the time that biblical miracles ceased around the close of the first century A.D.

The purpose of miracles is clearly stated in Mark 16:20: “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.” Once the purpose of miracles was accomplished, confirming the New Testament as from God, miracles being provisional, were no longer needed. Both 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 and Ephesians 4:11-14 prophesied the ending of miracles.

No new revelation is forth coming (Galatians 1:6-9; Jude 3; Revelation 22:18-19), which was one of the functions of a prophet. There is no need for prophets in the absence of continuing, new revelation from God.

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