Are The Miraculous Gifts Of The Holy Spirit Possessed Today?
Saturday, 27th January 2001
Garner Historic Auditorium, Garner NC, USA
Speakers: Against Holy Spirit possession available today: Mr. Duncan HeasterFor Holy Spirit possession available today: Pastor M. D. Battle (Pentecostal Praise Temple Church) Chairman: Mr. Gary Burns
Duncan Heaster’s First Speech
Pastor Battle’s First Speech
Duncan Heaster’s Second Speech
Pastor Battle’s Second Speech
Questions From The Floor
Summation By Duncan Heaster
Summation By Pastor Battle
Good evening, everyone. And allow me to introduce to you our speakers for our debate concerning, “Are the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit possessed today?” On my left (on your right), the pastor of the Praise Temple in Raleigh North Carolina, Marie D Battle, and on my right is Duncan Heaster from Vilnius, Lithuania. I suspect he’s probably not originally from Lithuania but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. He kind of has an English accent, but we won’t hold that against him too much.
I would like to explain the format to you this evening, so that you’ll understand how this debate will be carried out. We will allot 25 minutes to Duncan to begin with, to deny the proposition. We will then allow Marie 25 minutes to affirm the position (or the proposition). We will then have a 5-minute break. After that break, we will have a 10-minute rebuttal by Duncan and then a 10-minute rebuttal by Marie. After that we will have 10 minutes of question & answer by each of the speakers, Duncan and Marie. We will alternate questions for a total period of 20 minutes. Now if you’ll notice, there are boxes on each side of the stage. If you have a question for either Duncan or Marie, please write that question down and put it in the appropriate box. Of course, the question for Duncan over here (points to Duncan’s box), a question for Marie over here (points to Marie’s box). And I will sort through those and make sure they get the questions and they’ll have the opportunity to look them over and answer. To finish, we will allow each of the debaters 5 minutes of summary; Duncan going first, and then we’ll let Marie have the last word.
I have a handy little timer here, and we’re going to hold very strictly to the time limits. About 2 minutes before the time is up I will signal to each of the speakers that they have about 2 minutes before the time is up. So with that in mind, let us know (staying seated) let’s bow our heads in prayer and offer the Father’s blessing on this evening.
Our most righteous and eternal heavenly Father, hallowed be they name. Heavenly Father we approach thy throne of mercy to offer unto Thee all thanksgiving, praise, honor and glory. Heavenly Father, we pray that Thou would look down upon this evening, that Thou would bless it, that Thou would give us all respectful and reverent hearts before Thee. That the things that we do and say here this evening would redound to thine honor and Thy glory. We pray, as always, for Thy Kingdom to soon come, and Thy will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. For we ask our prayers and give Thee all thanksgiving and praise through the name of Thy son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
Now what we will do because of the situation with the microphone, is I will let Marie have the microphone from here, and she will address you seated. And with that we’ll call upon Duncan to start us off.
3-1-1 Holy Spirit Gifts Not Now Possessed
Ok. Well, Marie, Gary, ladies and gentlemen, as you know, I’m here tonight to talk to you about the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the proposition that I put to you is that the Holy Spirit gifts are not now possessed. They were possessed in the first century, but have now been taken away. However, I’m not here to push anyone into any corners with argument. I’m not here to engage in any kind of dialectical argument in that sense with anybody. I’m here to talk to probably a tiny minority of the audience that’s here tonight. I’m talking to the person who’s come here because they’re seeking the truth, because they’re searching, because they have heard the claims on one side and those on the other; they have searched the scriptures and they are searching for greater truth. And it’s to those people that particularly, in the end, ultimately, I address myself.
On the one hand, there’s the issue of the Holy Spirit gifts, and I wish to put to you from the Bible tonight that the claims to possess those gifts are certainly not supported by Biblical testimony. But what I want to go much further to submit to you, is that actually this issue of Holy Spirit gifts is actually the tip of an iceberg. That the claim by many churches and individuals to possess gifts, which actually on close analysis (it turns out) is actually not the teaching of the Bible, actually is revealing a whole iceberg of other issues. For there are many other doctrines and things which are claimed in many churches today, that on the surface level appear to be credible and right, but actually under closer analysis, you realize that there is a whole system of error in Christendom generally.
So, to come, then, to the issue of the Holy Spirit, one thing we’re not here to discuss tonight is whether God answers prayer. We believe, and the Bible teaches that God answers prayer. There’s no question about that. We’re also not here to discuss whether God is active in His church today by His spirit. Of course He is active in his church today by His spirit. That is not under any debate or discussion; that is clear. What we are talking about is the possession of the miraculous gifts. I want to discuss this under the following headings, which you see there on the overhead.
I’m going to look, first of all, at the purpose of the gifts, then to analyze the claims of those who claim that they possess those gifts today. And then to talk about what the Bible says about those gifts being withdrawn, and then to talk about how actually the spirit of God is active in our world.
But starting off with defining this word “spirit”. The word “spirit” essentially in Hebrew and Greek really carries 2 ideas. One is of the mind, of the thinking; and the other is power. The doing of things. God says in Isaiah 14:24, “As I have thought, so shall it come to pass.” And it’s so also of a man or woman’s spirit: that as a man thinks, so he does, in his actions. And so the spirit of God is His mind, His breathing, the essence of God by which He also does things, because He does according to His thinking. By His spirit, He garnished the heavens, Job says (26:13). The spirit of God, the finger of God; these things are paralleled in the Bible. So then the spirit is the power of God. And so God is active in this world today.