@barefoothannahb That is a great question. There are two basic views - cessationists who say that miraculous gifts are a sign to unbelievers when God is doing something special in history and no longer function today. And continuationist who believe that God is the same today as ever and therefore we should expect to see miraculous gifts for this reason. I’ve included an overview and some articles for each perspective below. I’ve also included a book that goes through 4 views at the bottom.
In truth, many Christians are not at either of these extremes. I personally believe God can still heal, but I am very skeptical of tongues and prophecy. I have seen so much false prophecy - people claiming to have words from God for a person and those words not coming true. If it were truly the type of prophecy we see in Scripture it would always come true - that was the test for a true prophet of God in the Bible. If their words came true 100% of the time they were God’s prophet.
So I think we need a balance. We should not put God in a box - people in my own family have been healed. But we should also not give into superstition and people who are faking gifts they do not truly possess. I think prophecy is dangerous because there is so much false prophecy and I am very cautious of it. I do not condemn the people who are misled into behaving in that way, but I am very cautious.
Hope those thoughts are helpful. The Spirit of Christ grant you wisdom and understanding as you study and give you discernment to be able to tell truth from error. Feel free to ask further questions.
The general opinion of cessationist is that:
1 - God gives miraculous gifts as a sign during times he is working in powerful ways in the world or when the Gospel is shared where it has never been heard (days of Moses, Elijah, Jesus, tribes that have never heard)
2 - Most of the claims of miracles or tongues or prophecy today do not meet the test of real scrutiny - the prophecy is fallible (in the Bible a prophet was stoned if they made a false prophecy - if they prophesied it and it did not come true that was false prophecy)
" My position falls somewhere between a cessationist and open but cautious, with a heavy amount of leaning on the former. This view comes from a few different angles:
1. Historical Observation: As I look around today and at church history I don’t see happening what I see in the early church. I don’t see people speaking in known languages, healing people completely and instantly, as well as speaking and giving new revelation from God.
2. NT Trajectory: As you read the NT it seems that in the early days of the church (cf. Acts) you have an abundance of these miraculous gifts. People are speaking in tongues, prophecy, and people are being healed. However, as time passes, the trajectory of the New Testament seems indicate these supernatural gifts are tapering off. Their function of authenticating the preaching of the word has served its purpose.*
“I know of no credible accounts of the kind of dramatic miracles we see described in the New Testament—a limb regenerating, a dead and decaying man being raised. Whatever “miracles” I hear of today are nowhere near as dramatic, visible, and instantaneous as the ones we see described in the ministry of Jesus and his Apostles. I know of no Christian who has been able to preach the gospel in a language he does not know. A number of times I have had well-meaning people prophecy to or about me but these have always been vague impressions more than authoritative words from God.”
The continuationist stresses that:
1 - God is the same today as He was in Bible times and therefore we should expect miraculous sign gifts to still be present
2 - There is no indication in Scripture that the sign gifts would cease
3 - Evidence for miracles and tongues today
Comparison of Views