Yes There Were Gifts of the Spirit after AD 70

Don't stick your head in the sand, silly! Of course there were miracles and gifts of the Spirit after AD 70. The scripture, history and personal experience all testify to that truth. 

I am a charismatic preterist. Yes we exist. While many full preterists are cessationists (those who believe the gifts of the Spirit ended at the coming of Christ in AD 70 or with the death of the last apostle), I believe those gifts are still in operation today. While I highly respect my brothers and sisters within the preterist movement, and many of their arguments are solid in their exegesis, they miss some key components that hinder them from seeing the full working of the Holy Spirit today. 

First of all I think an apology is due. There has been so much weirdness around the gifts, embarrassing scandals,  abuses of power and misuse of scripture that many people's hearts left to find safer fields in cessationist camps. I am so sorry for some of the crazy that you may have been exposed to. I ask, on their behalf, for your forgiveness.

May I also remind you though, that abuse doesn't invalidate the gifts. Grace reminds us that the use of the gifts are independent of character, as we read in Corinth. Paul witnessed the same craziness there when the gifts of grace were divorced from the motivation of love. The word for "gifts" of the Spirit is the same word for "grace". 

The Testimony of History

The argument that the gifts of the Spirit ceased at the time of the last apostle or AD 70 isn't confirmed by history. In fact it is just the opposite. The witness of the early church fathers demonstrate that there has never been a cessation of the gifts. A single testimony could be just a misquote, but the overwhelming evidence creates a slam dunk case for the continuance of those gifts. Please don't gloss over this section but prayerfully allow the Holy Spirit to lead you:

Justyn Martyr circa. 165
"For numberless demoniacs throughout the whole world and in your city, many of our Christian men exorcising them in the Name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, have healed, and do heal, rendering helpless and driving the possessing devils out of the men, though they could not be cured by all the other exorcists and those who used incantations and drugs" 
Irenaeus c. 130 - c. 200 Bishop of Lyons
"Those who are in truth his disciples, receiving grace from him, do in his name perform miracles, so as to promote the welfare of other men, according to the gift which each one has received from him. For some do certainly drive out devils, so that those who have thus been cleansed from evil spirits frequently both believe in Christ, and join themselves to the church. Others have foreknowledge of things to come: they see visions and utter prophetic expressions. Others still, heal the sick by laying their hands upon them and they are made whole. Yea, moreover as I have said, the dead have been raised up, and remain among us for many years." 
Against Heresies II Ch XXXII

He wrote in his book "Against Heresies", Book V, vi.: "In like manner do we also hear many brethren in the church who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages, and bring to light, for the general benefit, the hidden things of men and declare the mysteries of God, who also the apostles term spiritual."

"And some give evidence of their having received through their faith a marvelous power by the cures which they perform, invoking no other name over those who need their help than that of the God of all things, and of Jesus, along with a mention of His history. For by these means we too have seen many persons freed from grievous calamities and from distractions of mind and madness and countless other ills, which could be cured neither by men or devils" 
Contra Celsum Book III Chapter 24
Mosheim c. 150
That those gifts of the Spirit which are commonly termed miraculous, were liberally imparted by Heaven to numbers of the Christians, not only in this, but likewise in the succeeding age, and more especially to those who devoted themselves to the propagation of the Gospel among the heathen, has on the faith of the concurrent testimony of the ancient Fathers, been hitherto universally credited throughout the Christian world. Nor does it appear that in out belief as to this we can with the least propriety be said to have embraced anything contrary to sound reason. Only let it be considered that the writers on whose testimony we rely were all of them men of gravity and worth, who could feel no inclination to deceive; that they were in part philosophers; that in point of residence and country they were separated far from each other; that their report is not grounded on mere hearsay, but upon what they state themselves to have witnessed with their own eyes; that they call upon God in the most solemn manner to attest its truth (vid Origen contra Ce1sum, L. 1. P.35), and lastly that they do not pretend to have themselves possessed the power of working miracles, but merely attribute it to others: and let me ask what reason there can possibly be assigned that should induce us to withhold from them our implicit confidence. 
Historical Commentaries, Century II, sect 5, Note. 
Origen c. 185 - circa. 254                                                     "They expel evil spirits, and perform many cures, and foresee certain events ... the Name of Jesus ... can take away diseases." 
Clement c.275
"Let them (young ministers) therefore with fasting and prayer, make their intercessions, and not with the well arranged and fitly ordered words of learning, but as men who have received the gift of healing confidently, to the glory of God. Epis C. XII
St. John Chrysostom circa. 347 - 407
"He that believeth on me the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works" etc. appeals to the miracles recorded in the Acts of the Apostles in proof of the truth of this promise. But if anyone assert that these were mere smoke and a fictitious wonder unworthy of credit, let us view those of the present day which are calculated both to stop and to put to shame the blaspheming mouth, and to check the unbridled tongue. For throughout our whole habitable world, there is not a country, nation nor a city, where these wonders are not commonly spoken of, which if figments, would never have occasioned so much admiration. And you, yourselves, indeed, might testify to this. For we shall have no occasion to receive confirmation of what we assert from others, seeing that you yourselves, our opponents, supply us therewith. 
Logos pros Hellenas - Ed. Par, 1621, Tom 1, p. 728-732) 
St. Augustine of Hippo c. 354-430
We still do what the apostles did when they laid hands on the Samaritans and called down the Holy Spirit on them in the laying-on of hands. It is expected that converts should speak with new tongues."
"Significantly, St. Augustine in his early writings claimed that healing had ceased in the church and was no longer necessary. But experiences in his own life changed his mind. Notably, in his diocese nearly seventy attested miracles took place within a space in two years. In 427, just three years before he died, Augustine, in his book "Retractions" refuted what he had published in his early writings (De Vera Religione) about the age of miracles being past, and described miraculous cures which he had seen and which were enough to change his mind. CfMorton T. Kelsey Healing & Christianity; Francis MacNutt - Healing
Mopsueste c. 429 
"Many heathen amongst us are being healed by Christians from whatever sickness they have, so abundant are miracles in our midst" Christlieb - Modern Doubt p.321
Martin Luther
Some six years before his death Luther experienced a miracle after praying for his friend Me1anchthon who was dying. Five years later, in response to a request for help with a mentally ill man, Luther wrote instructions for a healing service based upon the letter of James adding, "This is what we do, and that we have been accustomed to do, for a cabinetmaker here was similarly afflicted and we cured him by prayer in Christ's Name." Perhaps like Augustine, Luther became more aware of the healing power of the Spirit in his later years.  By faith alone - the life of Martin Luther - W J Kooiman

Many more examples can be provided. These stories of respected historical leaders, from different periods of history and different geographical areas all provide common sense evidence that the gifts never ceased.

Signs of the Kingdom:

As preterists, we understand that the coming of Christ coincided with the establishment of the kingdom. As Jesus said in Matthew 16:27-28, "For the Son of man will come, in the glory of his Father, with his angels and reward each man according to his deeds. Assuredly I say to you there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." We understand this to be fulfilled in AD 70 while some of those disciples were still alive. 

But Jesus was demonstrating the kingdom before that event. His miracles were not simply proof he was the Messiah. Other prophets had provided miracles before and it was no proof they were the Messiah, right? While it is true those gifts and miracles did point to him as Messiah, it is an error to believe that was their purpose.

The primary purpose of healing wasn't an ego trip for Jesus. It was because he loved the person he was healing. Raising the widow of Nain's son was because he was moved with compassion. In the same way he healed and cast out demons in entire villages, because he was he was moved with compassion for them for they were like sheep without a shepherd (Mark 1:33,40, Lu. 4:40, Mat. 14:14, Mat. 20:33, etc).

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. In fact, one of his names which reveal his nature, is Yahweh Rapha, the Lord who is Healer. Why would one ever think that he stopped being Healer or compassionate toward people after the fall of Jerusalem?

Jesus said "if you have seen me, you have seen the Father." He only did what he saw his father doing (Jn. 5:17). The Father and Son are one. So healing, for example, was a demonstration of what the Father is like. How can it possibly be that Jesus came to reveal the Father as healer and then after AD 70 revoke his gifts of healing? Wouldn't that be a contradiction of his revelation? 

More to the point, the signs of the kingdom were pointing to what the kingdom was like.... the kingdom age in which we live in today. That means whatever was in seed form in the ministry of Jesus, was to increase from that period forward. "Of the INCREASE of his government [kingdom] and peace there will be no end." (Is. 9:7) To imagine that an increasing kingdom means a disappearance of the very things he indicated were signs of the kingdom doesn't make sense.

But what about all those scriptures that seem to indicate that the gifts were given until his coming? Instead of exegeting those, some of which DO speak of the gifts operating till his coming in AD 70, I want to you to remember what Jesus said to the disciples in the great commission. He said, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." We understand that this didn't mean he was ONLY with them till the end of the age, but he was saying that within that difficult period of history you can know that I am with you. In the same way, the gifts served a valuable purpose in that first generation and were needed for many reasons. But his gifts are also with us always because HE is with us always.

The scriptures preterists use are not limitations to that era, but promises that he won't abandon them and leave them powerless in that difficult covenant transition period of AD 30 to AD 70.

For instance, 1 Cor. 1:5-8, " that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." Paul says that the gifts were fully operational in their church AS they waited for Christ and that God will ALSO confirm them (i.e. that they are truly sons and daughters) to the end of the age. This has the same kind of language of Matthew 28, "I am with you always even to the end of the age." It wasn't a limitation. It was a promise that He and his gifts would not leave them during that trying time.

Hebrews 6:5 speaks to the Jewish believers who were in danger of apostatizing and being caught in the judgment of AD 70. He said, they "...have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come."  Scholars consistently confess that this refers to miracles, signs and wonders. The Hebrews were tasting the powers, [Greek dunamis= miracles], of the age to come. That coming age wasn't heaven. That coming age as every preterist will tell you, was the new era AFTER AD 70.

What is a foretaste if it is not a small sampling of a greater experience? Don't do hermeneutical gymnastics with that text please. It is very plain. We get to taste in this age what was only a foretaste before of the miracle power of God.

Personal Experience

I saved this one for last because preterists are die-hard students of the Bible. I am thankful for that commitment to audience relevance and context. But the danger is that we divorce the Bible from experience and turn Christianity into intellectualism. To KNOW God is not to know about him, but to grow in personal relationship and experience with him. 

I know as a reader you may not know me, and my experience of seeing all kinds of miracles, and gifts doesn't prove anything to you. But that isn't the point. The point is that a man with an argument is never at the mercy of a man with an argument AND an experience. Over the last 20 years I can attest to personally being used by God to see blind eyes open, deaf ears healed, a woman who was bed-ridden for 10 years suddenly walk, plus many, many more. I've also prayed for many people in which nothing happened. I'm no charismatic super-hero. Yet, all it takes is one time watching the look on the face of a deaf girl healed after you pray for her, and you will never doubt again.

But the greatest miracle for me was when I was dabbling in witchcraft, addicted to drugs, ruining my marriage, and breaking our bank account. One night I looked up and said, "God if you are the real God I need you to show me something." There was no arm twisting, no begging, just a sincere cry.

That night I had a dream. In the dream was a person who was doing drugs, partying and inviting me to do witchcraft. In the dream I said, "Let's do it!" and suddenly the person turned into a serpent. Then everything went black and I heard a voice like "the sound of many waters" say to me over and over again, "Ephesians 4:5"! I awoke knowing God just spoke to me! I found a bible and looked up the verse which says, "There is ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism." I cannot express to you how profound it was to encounter the person instead of just a teaching about him. 

He didn't just say, "I am God!" Instead he pointed me to the bible so I would know it was the God of THAT book. He also showed me that what I was following in my life was deception. 

I was instantly delivered from drugs and I instantly had a great love and respect for the Bible. But more importantly my life was changed, my marriage restored and I was called to ministry shortly after because God still does miracles today. I am living proof!


Many full preterists started as cessationists from the Church of Christ or other similar groups, and to be honest that lens caused them to find what they were looking for. But as you can see, the Bible teaches an increasing kingdom with the miracle power of God working throughout this age. The wide and accepted testimony of church fathers tell us the same. Today one can find stories of the gifts of the Spirit operating all over the world.

"A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."

I once asked a belligerent brother on Facebook if I could give him the names of people who have been healed through our ministry would he be willing to at least become open to the idea of the gifts of the Spirit today. He said no.

So what is at work is not simply presenting convincing arguments. Anytime a person is faced with a profoundly different theology than they currently embrace it is very difficult to overcome that limitation because of fear. It is the fear of losing friends in their "camp". It is the fear that they will be kicked out of their church and have no place of belonging. It is fear of giving up control to the person of the Holy Spirit. It is the fear of what it would cost. It is the fear of becoming one of those "crazy" people. 

So the real question is, "Are YOU willing to ask the Father if the gifts of the Spirit are for today?" God is the author of your faith, not me. You will find amazing things beginning to happen when you open your heart to be taught by Him. You will also discover that you can be a full preterist and a charismatic at the same time. 

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Reference: Quotes from Rapha Christian Ministries