Paul admonishes believers to not shy away from the manifestations of the Spirit .
Don’t quench the Spirit. Don’t despise prophesies.
(1Th 5:19-20 WEB)
The word quench is the Greek word sbennumi. Its translated quench, extinquish, go out. Here’s an example where it is translated “going out”.
The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ (Mat 25:8 WEB)
This is a great example with great visualization. Picture a flame going out because it runs out of fuel or you block its access to oxygen, that is the word sbennumi. Now Paul charges us believers not to do that to the spirit. One way to extinguish the Spirit is to despise prophesies. To despise means to hold in low esteeem.
The opposite of despising is valuing something highly. Paul charges us believers to earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially prophecy, and that is valuing something highly:
Follow after love, and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. (1Co 14:1 WEB)
There are many Christians who hold the manifestations of the spirit in our day and time in low esteem. I have listed a number of websites that teach against the manifestations of the Spirit after the Apostles.1 If you look at them remember that all the points in a Charismatic lesson are not necessarily invalidated if some points are wrong. Likewise for faulty logic, just because some charismatic group misinterprets some instruction about the manifestations, that doesn’t invalidate all what the Bible says about them. For example, I agree that equating Paul’s experience of being blinded by the light and thrown to the ground with the modern practice of being slain in the spirit as a regular and expected experience in services is an overreach. But just because someone teaches that does not mean that everything they teach about the manifestations and everything they experience is false! That’s throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
So, yes, there are errors in charismatic theology just as in so many other places. There are multiple instructions on when the spirit is received. One teaches that there is only one baptism where the spirit is received at the time of the new birth.
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you also were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in us all. (Eph 4:4-6 WEB)
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit. (1Co 12:13 WEB)
The above verses clearly say that there is one baptism and when we are baptized into the body of Christ we drink of that one Spirit. But others teach that there is a second Baptism where the spirit is received. One record used to teach this is:
Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for as yet he had fallen on none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of Christ Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. (Act 8:14-17 WEB)
This verse appears to say that they were baptized a second time which is the second baptism position. But does it really? It doesn’t say baptized twice. It says baptized and then hands laid on them to receive the Holy Spirit. The word translated receive in the Bible can be different words in Greek. Here the Greek word is lambano which means, according to Strong’s “to get ahold of”, even “to take”. It is an active verb, the person gets ahold of the Spirit and does things. Another Greek word translated receive is dechomai which is not active and it means simply to accept. That word dechomai is also in the above verses, “Samaria had received the word of God”. Samaria had accepted the word of God, but they didn’t take hold of the Spirit and actively use it or manifest. When hands were laid on them, they took hold of the Spirit and manifested, or how else would they have known that they received (lambano) the spirit. So there are not two baptisms here. Rather, it appears that the norm was for believers to manifest the spirit through speaking in tongues and prophecy when they believed, and when they didn’t, as in this case, apostles were sent to remedy the situation.
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word. They of the circumcision who believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was also poured out on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in other languages and magnifying God. Then Peter answered, (Act 10:44-46 WEB)
This point of receiving (lambano) Holy Spirit with accompanying manifestation is seen in another record where some say that there are two baptisms:
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper country, came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They said to him, “No, we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” He said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in the one who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke with other languages and prophesied. (Act 19:1-6 WEB)
This section shows that the first century standard since Pentecost was that when people accepted(dechomai) the word of God it was expected that they would receive (lambano) the Holy Spirit and manifest. As it says here when the Holy Spirit came upon them the people spoke with other languages and prophesied. In other words, they received (lambano), took ahold of the spirit and manifested.
The fact that we have records that show that when new believers didn’t manifest the Holy Spirit they got the attention of the apostles who come and laid hands on them so that they did manifest shows that the tradition of the Apostles was to lead people into both accepting, receiving (dechomai) Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit into manifestation.
Now, as to times when there aren’t any prophets or other displays of the Spirit we can say this. The absence of manifestations of the spirit in a place or time is not as much proof that God has stopped being willing to send these manifestations as much as they are indicators that the people are not believing to receive them. Jesus chided the Pharisees with the fact that there were a lot of lepers in Elisha’s time who didn’t have the will to ask for healing, and only a non-Jew received this miracle of healing from this mighty prophet.
I have also heard that the teaching correcting the use of the manifestations was just given to the Corinthians in the Apostolic age because it is in that book to the Corinthians. First of all, that book is written to all believers in every place, not just to the Corinthians:
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, to the assembly of God which is at Corinth; those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints, with all who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours: (1Co 1:1-2 WEB)
Furthermore, if you say that the sections on the manifestations were just written to the believers during the first apostles time, then what is to stop someone from saying that every word in every epistle is just written to the believers during the first apostles’ time. To say that the instruction on the manifestations was only written to believers in one time or place is just flawed logic. God has always desired to pour out his Spirit on all flesh!
Christian theologians were not the first to teach cessation doctrine, that prophecy and other manifestations were ended for one reason or another. Jewish theologians did it in Old Testament times. For example, some Rabbis declared Malachi the last prophet for various reasons.2 In the cited article several possible reasons are given as to why God declared the end of prophecy”. One reason cited is:
“Some sources suggest that the loss of prophecy was punishment for sin. Over 200 years before Malachi, the prophet Amos predicted the cessation of prophecy”3:
Behold, the days come,” says the Lord Yahweh, “that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing Yahweh’s words. They will wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they will run back and forth to seek Yahweh’s word, and will not find it. (Amo 8:11-12 WEB)
Yes, that verse says that there will be days coming when men will seek the word of Yahweh and not find it. There will be a famine of God’s word. But famines end. There’s nothing in that verse that requires that famine to be of any particular length. That’s twisting scripture.
The truth is that some theologians, whether they be Jewish or Christian seem to have a habit of thinking that if they are not in a time where they see prophecy then prophecy must be over, which is just wrong, if for no other reason than what James declared when he wrote, “you have not because you ask not”.
Lastly, the manifestations of the spirit are listed as an explanation for how the Spirit works. Some groups claim that the gifts have ceased still claim to be led, inspired, or otherwise somehow moved by the spirit, but they are not going to call it prophecy, or word of knowledge, or word of wisdom, or any of the other listed gifts because they claim those things have ceased. If a person or a group is claiming that the Spirit led them to some truth somehow, then they are saying that the spirit of God was manifested in some way. Manifest simply means to make known, If something from the spirit is made known, then the spirit was manifested. It doesn’t matter if it is the Spirit leading you to go another way to work one day, to teach the Bible in a new light or you are led to minister healing to someone. Calling those things spiritual impressions or anything else doesn’t make them not manifestations. If the Spirit in any way makes something known to you or enables something in your life that is a manifestation.
Now, of course, it could be that what someone, especially a Cessationist, thinks is of the Spirit is just an idea that that moves them a certain way. It could be thinking that looks brilliant, or wise, but really is not from the Spirit. The very idea that the Spirit could give spiritual impressions where the Spirit guides people to certain doctrines and practices but that it is not a manifestation of the Spirit falls into that category. For that reason, the possibility that it is not the Spirit guiding us, that it is just an idea we came up with or from some other source, is why we speak carefully, and why other prophets judge. And God forbid, that you align yourself with a group of professed prophets that think some worldly idea is from the Holy Spirit. Need I remind you of the warnings against false prophets.
So, yes, parts of what each Pentecostal and Charismatic teach about the Spirit could be wrong. But that doesn’t negate that the Apostles’ tradition is to manifest the holy spirit. Remember that this verse is written to us:
Follow after love, and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. (1Co 14:1 WEB)
Don’t put out the spirit. Don’t hold prophecy in such low esteem that you avoid it and/or teach against it. Desire spiritual gifts and especially to prophesy.
1Some websites that preach against the manifestations of the Spirit after the Apostles: https://www.the-highway.com/charismatic_Schwertley.html, https://www.scionofzion.com/18dangers.htm, http://www.biblelineministries.org/articles/basearch.php?action=full&mainkey=THE+CHARISMATIC+MOVEMENT+IS+DANGEROUS+BECAUSE%3A,
2The End of Prophecy: Malachi’s Position in the Spiritual Development of Israel, at https://www.jewishideas.org/article/end-prophecy-malachis-position-spiritual-development-israel,