Beyond his own capabilities

“…he must preach, teach and exhort with the kind of love and concern that comes only through a genuine gift of the Holy Spirit—something beyond his own capabilities.”

I read the above quote on a website recently. It is attributed to A.W. Tozer. No doubt he was a very wise man (he died in 1963), but he was wrong in this statement.

Either one preaches from the word of God in the Bible, or one is directly inspired by the miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit. This is called a “strong disjunction.” Either one or the other is the case. Both cannot be true.

The Bible teaches there were those who spoke from a miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit. In the First Century, the apostles were given such gifts, and there were others who were granted the same. There is no concrete evidence, however, that after the written word of God was delivered to man in its entirety that such is still the case.

While I realize there are people who are sincere when they say they have the gift of the Holy Spirit, they are a little weak on proving it. That’s because there is no objective proof that can be offered. When these sincere people preach, they must still study and prepare as everyone does. That goes against what Jesus said: “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say,” (Luke 12:11-12 NKJV).

Let’s go back to our strong disjunction. Either it is the case that one preaches from the word of God in the Bible, or one is directly inspired by the miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit. We have been given the complete, inspired word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). The apostle Paul, in describing the gifts of the Holy Spirit wrote, “When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall vanish away,” (1 Corinthians 13:10). That which is perfect is the Bible we have been given. It is the complete, perfectly expressed will of God. There is no other revelation.

Another matter to consider is that if God enables some by the Holy Spirit to preach and teach and does not enable me, then God would be considered a respecter of persons. But God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Therefore there can be no special revelation from God apart from the written word. If there was, God would violate his own character, and that is impossible.

Believe me, it would be wonderful for a preacher to have the ability to achieve “something beyond his own capabilities,” but to do so would be inconsistent with God’s own character. Very simply, there is no way the Lord God would do that.

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