Acts is a book that covers the history of the early Church composed by Luke, most likely written during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome. It details such important events as the birth of the Church, which was accompanied by the coming of the Holy Spirit in chapter 2, the giving of the Gospel to the Samarians by Philip, and confirmed by Peter in chapter 8, salvation in Christ being given to the Gentiles by Peter in chapter 10, and the salvation of Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul, in chapter 9. Finally, it details the missionary journeys of Paul and his first imprisonment in Rome. In essence this book details the period in history of the transition into the Church Age. It is in this book that we find people receiving the Holy Spirit upon confessing their faith in Christ’s atoning death and then speaking in tongues, and the Apostles having the ability to heal people. A misapplication of these truths from the New Testament to the time that we live in now has led some denominations into error, as they have not recognized the transitional nature of the book of Acts.
Where this error manifests itself most obviously is in the sign gifts. These were gifts given by the Holy Spirit that allowed individuals to speak in tongues (real languages, not meaningless babbling), and to perform other miracles such as healing. The offices of apostle and prophet were also important at this time of transition in Church history. These gifts were given in order to give legitimacy to the words being spoken by the Apostles. The signs were meant primarily to show that what was being said was true and had the authority of God since people were performing super natural acts. The book of Acts describes these occurrences, as it is a book of history; it does not elaborate on those events, as it is not a book on theology. However, the apostle Paul did elaborate on the sign gifts in 1 Cor 13:8-10 by saying that they would cease when the “perfect” comes. The term for perfect in this instance is τÎλιον, which has the meaning of mature or complete. In his complex article on this topic, McDougall concludes in speaking of 1 Cor 13:10, “What this verse clearly communicates is that there would be a time--at the maturation of the church (conceptually implied here)--when the revelatory process would cease to exist and the revelatory gifts brought to an end.” These gifts have ceased to exist as the Church has matured, specifically as it has received the whole biblical revelation, which has rendered these sign gifts unnecessary. At its core, this application of sign gifts to the present day Church is a misunderstanding of the transitional nature of Acts, during which time the Lord was instituting the Church Age and making salvation through faith in Christ available to all people.
 Christopher Cone, A Concise Bible Survey: Tracing the Promises of God 4th ed., electronic edition. (Fort Worth, TX: Exegetical Publishing, 2012), 200.
 Donald G. McDougall, “Cessationism in 1 Cor 13:8-12.” Master’s Seminary Journal (Fall 2003): 208.
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