One of the effects that all the discussion surrounding Strange Fire has had on me, personally, has been to renew my interest in the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. And not just the discussion as it relates to the gifts of the Spirit, but in all the ways the Third Person of the Trinity exists and works to be worthy of all worship.
To that end, I’ve been reading some stuff on pneumatology. And one of the books that has invariably come up in discussions of good theology books on the Holy Spirit is George Smeaton’s The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, first published in 1882. Having been published two decades before Charles Fox Parham and Agnes Ozman would introduce the modern versions of the miraculous gifts to the church, Smeaton’s discussion of the gifts is particularly interesting to me. So, I’ve been reading selections of his work, and wanted to share with you some of the things he includes in his lecture entitled, “The Work of the Spirit in the Inspiration of Prophets and Apostles.” I’m quoting from the 1958 Banner of Truth edition.
The Sufficiency of Scripture
“These extraordinary gifts of the Spirit were no longer needed when the canon of Scripture was closed. Up to that time they were an absolute necessity. They are now no longer so. Nor is the Church warranted to expect their restoration, or to desire prophetic visions, immediate revelations, or miraculous gifts, either in public or in private, beyond, or besides, the all-perfect canon of Scripture. The Church of Rome, which still claims these extraordinary gifts, is to that extent injurious to the Spirit as the author of Scripture. And enthusiastic sects [he gives as examples ‘the Montanists of the second century and the Irvingites of the nineteenth century’] that cherish the belief of their restoration, or an expectation to that effect, have not learned or duly pondered how great a work of the Spirit has been completed and provided for the Church of all times in the gift of the Holy Scriptures.” (150–51)