No. 57 I�m sorry, but I�m still thinking about the Charismatic Movement. With the rise of Pentecostalism and neo-Pentecostalism worldwide, questions on the gifts of the Spirit abound. Did some or all of the gifts of the Spirit listed in Scripture begin to cease after the apostolic period, or are these gifts normative for churches of all times and places? Is there another position? Has the CTCR of our Synod had anything to say on this issue? Those are my questions. >>DR. LEOPALDO SANCHEZ M.: Nick, this question came up before in a different form when we reflected on whether the gift of tongues in connection with the so-called Baptism of the Holy Spirit had to be normative for all Christians. I would like to summarize what was said there once again in a slightly different way. There is, first of all, a cessationist view of the gifts of the Spirit which affirms that all or some of the gifts that appear in Scripture cease completely or began to cease over a period of time after the time of the apostles, after the apostolic era. According to the cessationist view gifts such as speaking in tongues and healing cannot manifest themselves among God's people today. One of the problems with this position is that it also relies too heavily on historical hearsay, on historical accounts of people throughout time who may not have seen the so-called extraordinary gifts of the Spirit at work. In the end, however, it does not seem that strong biblical support can be gathered for a consistently cessationist position. There is also a biblicist view of the gifts of the Spirit which asserts that the list of gifts in Scriptures, for example in I Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4 and I Peter 4 are exhaustive lists or normative. According to this biblicist position, only the gifts specifically listed in the Bible can manifest themselves in the congregations of all times and places. A CTCR document on spiritual gifts does point out that one of the weaknesses of the biblicist's position lies in the ad hoc character of the lists of gifts in Scripture. In other words, because such lists differ in various ways from one another, they were most likely meant to address specific congregations. Not all congregations of all times and places. The lesson here is that gifts of the Spirit in this or that congregation Paul is addressing does not translate necessarily into the same gifts of the Spirit in all congregations for all times. Both cessationists and biblicist's positions say too much and end up domesticating the Spirit. So I propose an open but cautious solution. On the one hand we may say that all gifts of the Spirit listed explicitly in Scripture do not necessarily have to be present in all churches of all times and all places. The second point I would want to make, too, is that ultimately the Holy Spirit must have the freedom to give churches the gifts which he deems necessary for her to fulfill her mission in the world. At any particular time or place. Even if these gifts are not necessarily listed in Scripture. As Paul teaches us, the Holy Spirit apportions to each one individually as he wills.