Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Love never Ends

1 Cor. 13:8 (ESV) Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

I have really had to dive into this one verse. On the surface it looks as if it is talking about prophecies, tongues, and knowledge in the same way. But it doesn't prophecies and knowledge will pass away. Tongues will cease. The word for pass away here could possibly be better translated as will be superceded, or brought to nothing. That is on the last day, the prophecies we have, and the knowledge we now have will no longer be needed, they will be completed. But tongues, they will cease. This will also be true on the last day, when all languages will be subsumed into one. Tongues they will cease. Paul is saying they won't always be around in the Church. They had a purpose in the early church. It was a limited purpose. They are no longer needed today. They have ceased. We don't have to communicate with God, and angels in this manner anymore. We have his word. We don't need special revelation. We have the prophecies of the Old and New Testament recorded for us. These will come to pass on the last day. in the meantime we do not need any more special revelations. Our condition has not changed, God has not changed. Christ has come, He has died for us, he was raised, all has been set to prepare us for his second coming. We don't need ecstatic tongues, we don't need prophets in the sense of the Old Testament, or even those that served until the complete word of God had been recorded. We have Christ and His word in the Bible, the one thing needful. And His love for us will never cease.

4 comments:

apollo819 said...

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Nemo said...

Bror,

Still not quite seeing it. I can accept that Paul is speaking about tongues in a different way than prophecies and knowledge. You don’t need to reiterate that. But he is speaking about prophecies and knowledge in the same way, right? After that you lost me. Are you saying that tongues will cease (will be superseded) on the last day, or that they ceased (were superseded) sometime between the time when Paul wrote and now?

After explaining that on the last day prophecies and knowledge will be completed, and tongues will be superseded, you then turn and say that tongues have already been superseded. You then say that “we don’t need special revelation” and that “we have prophecies”. Are you arguing that the date at which prophecies will cease has also occurred between Paul’s writing and today, or am I completely missing you here? And if prophecies have already passed away, where does that leave knowledge?

This isn’t quite the impression I got regarding Lutheran theology from the LCMS website. Specifically, the report at http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/CTCR/charismatic_movement.pdf reads: “1 Cor. 13:8-10 should not be used to prove the opposite [that the gifts in question have ceased]. The apostle's statements that prophecies will pass away and tongues will cease are spoken in an eschatological context and do not prove that such gifts will end with the apostolic age. Moreover, his chief point in these verses is to stress the abiding character of love rather than the exact duration of extraordinary charismatic gifts….The church, therefore, will not reject out of hand the possibility that God may in His grace and wisdom endow some in Christendom with the same abilities and powers He gave His church in past centuries. It will take care lest it quench the Spirit by neither praying for nor expecting God's presence and power in building His church.”

(I know, the report also stresses that these passages should not be used to argue for the continuation of said gifts, so don’t jump all over me there. Rather than asserting that the gifts do continue, I am simply wondering if you are reading too much into this passage in concluding that they have ceased/been superseded/fulfilled/replaced.)

Nemo said...

The link didn't post in its entirety the first time.

http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/CTCR/charismatic_movement.pdf

Bror Erickson said...

nemo,
maybe i could have been clearer in writing this which I did sometime a go. However, I don't think I am reading to much into this at all. And I have to say I was very careful in writing this not to say tongues will be superceded. They will cease. Here I was talking of the gift of Tongues. But i was also making comment when I said all tongues will be subsumed into one on the last day. Meaning the towere of Babel will once and for all be reversed on that day. There will be one language, tongue, in heaven. I could have been clearer in that.