It is undeniable that miraculous gifts—gifts such as the ability to heal the sick, work miracles, prophesy, discern spirits, speak in tongues, and interpret tongues (1 Corinthians 12:7-10)—were present in the early church (Acts 2:1-12; 3:6-7; 5:12-16; 8:5-24; 9:32-42; 10:44-48; 11:27-28; 13:1-12; 14:8-10; 16:16-18; 19:1-7; 20:9-11; 21:10-11). But does their existence in the first century necessitate their existence today? Must a church that seeks to emulate the first century church advocate the presence of miraculous gifts today? To answer this question we must examine everything that the New Testament has to say about miraculous gifts, and in so doing we will discover three important specifications about such gifts.
In Matthew 23, Jesus had some unusually harsh words for a group of very religious people who had gotten a lot of things “wrong.” He acknowledged that they had gone to the trouble to “tithe mint and dill and cumin,” but He also accused them of having “neglected the weightier matters of the law” (vs. 23).
The Bible indicates that salvation is received when one confesses his or her belief in Jesus as the risen Son of God (Mark 16:16; Romans 10:9-10), repents of the sins that he or she has committed (Acts 2:38; 2 Corinthians 7:10), and submits to baptism so that he or she reenacts Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection and, thereby, comes in contact with God’s grace through Christ’s blood which removes all sin (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-4; 1 Peter 3:18-22). How salvation is received is a question of prime importance, and, once answered, it breeds a corollary question, which is, “Can salvation be lost after it has been received?”
Nearly every religious body associated with Christianity administers baptism in some fashion. Some believe it is an act of obedience that symbolizes a believer’s faith in Christ and death to sin. Others believe that baptism is simply the means by which a believer becomes a member of the church body. But the congregations associated with the Church of Christ are known for their insistence that baptism is an essential part of salvation. On what is this belief based?