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Particulars of Christianity:
310 Pentecostalism,
the Charismatic
and Faith Movements



Preliminary Proof: Additional Commentary

Preliminary Proof: When the Gifts Would Cease
Preliminary Proof: Counterargument 1
Preliminary Proof: Counterargument 2
Preliminary Proof: Counterargument 3
Preliminary Proof: Counterargument 4
Preliminary Proof: Conclusions
Preliminary Proof: Additional Commentary

Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3 | Section 4
| Section 5



An Additional Note On a the Maturing of the Church

There is only one possible way to understand the maturing of the Church that Paul spoke of in Ephesians 4. Certainly, some individual members of the Church will mature before others. This could be because they were born before the others or because they came to Christ before the others, or because they sat under better teaching or were more disciplined than the others.

However, this process of individual believers maturing at different rates would still require that the entire Church's becoming mature must be understood as the single point in time when an entire generation of the living Church reached maturity.

Here's why.

It would be impossible to define the Church's reaching maturity as anything besides a single generation of living Christians being mature at a single point in time. To prove that this must be the case let us first suppose that this is not the case.

Suppose we defined the Church's reaching maturity as not requiring an entire generation of living believers to all be mature at a single point in time. How many believers would have to be mature at a single point in time in order to constitute that the Church had become mature? A million? A thousand? Fifty? Ten? One? Or, how many Christians would have to become mature before the gifts would cease to be distributed to new converts? A million? A thousand? Fifty? Ten? One? These questions are impossible to answer. They also demonstrate the absurdity of the opposing proposition. Therefore, we would not be able to come up with any other working definition for the Church reaching maturity besides an entire generation of believers all being mature at a single point in time.

Furthermore, since we can only define the Church's reaching maturity as an entire generation of living believers all being mature at a single point in time, we must conclude that the Church will not reach maturity at anytime prior to Jesus' return.

Here's why.

At any other single point in time besides at Jesus' return it would not be possible for an entire generation of living believers to all be mature at the same time. Even as some believers in any generation matured there would always be new converts joining the Church and others who had still not reached maturity. Then as the mature believers die and others mature in their place, new converts are still coming into the Church who would not be mature. Any single snapshot of the Church at any time in history besides Jesus' return will show that the Church contained both mature and immature believers. There will never be a point when an entire generation of living believers would all be mature at once except for at the return of Christ.

Because of this, we must conclude that the Church will not reach maturity until Jesus' return. Additionally, since the gifts do not cease until the Church becomes mature, it cannot be said that the gifts were supposed to cease (either to be distributed to the Church or to operate in the Church) at any time except for at Christ's return.