I am not particularly up with the play on the debate over charismata, so quite possibly I will say nothing new. But two separate lines of argument occurred to me today based on Matthew 24:24. I’ll sketch them below.
For false messiahs and false prophets will appear, and will produce great signs and wonders in order to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Matthew 24:24; cf 2 Thess 2:9-10; Rev 13:14
Jesus takes for granted here that signs and wonders are still available to false messiahs and prophets. Not merely a single, eschatological figure, but to numerous false representatives of God. This suggests two arguments that run parallel to this fact:
1. An a fortiori argument
- How much more excellent will God’s works among his people tend to be, than Satan’s works among the reprobate?
- Satan’s works among the reprobate include great signs and wonders.
- Therefore, how much more excellent will God’s works among his people tend to be, even than great signs and wonders?
2. A presuppositional argument
When I say “presuppositional” I mean that Jesus’ prophesy in Matthew 24:24 seems to make sense only if he presupposed that spiritual gifts would continue in the church:
- If signs and wonders have ceased among God’s people, they would not appear to be authentic works of God that might deceive the elect
- But the signs and wonders of false prophets do appear so authentic as to deceive, if possible, even the elect
- Therefore, signs and wonders have not ceased among God’s people
These arguments are, of course, merely sketches. Perhaps they could be refined, or perhaps they can be attenuated to have no force at all. But I found them interesting.