Some in the modern healing movements claim 'continued authority' for themselves and their ministry based upon the belief that God 'never' recalls a gift he has given to a person (such as wisdom, healing, etc.), or the office to which they were called (such as Apostle or Teacher, etc.). From what I can tell the argument is produced to hold duty bound, anyone who believes 'one' of their miracles to be true, to accept their office and all their miracles to be true 'always', because God never 'revokes' a particular individual gift or calling within the ministry.

The prooftext for this belief is often this:

for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. (Romans 11:29, NIV)

It seems obvious that this proof text is a wresting of scripture rather than an exegesis. My question is what is the biblical basis for concluding on an individual basis gifts and callings can most definitely be revoked.

Note: This question is not related to eternal security. There are those in the healing movements that support Calvinism and some support Arminianism. This subject is not within the scope of the question.

1 Answer 1


Yes, that is a wrestling of scripture. The gifts in question here have more to do with God's plan for Israel, and more generally irrevocable covenants and irrevocable gifts such as Marriage and Baptism. See also Numbers 23:19 ("I was summoned to bless; I will bless; I cannot revoke it!").

The Bible is pretty clear, though: God will not revoke gifts and callings. You may have problems taking an approach that contradicts this... in addition to the problems you already face in explaining that passage to those who do not want to hear.

Consider the following, though:

  • Adam and Eve lost, among other things, the gift of eternal life
  • Samson lost his gift of strength, granted due to having been "a nazirite for God from my mother’s womb" (Judges 16:17)
  • Even Judas seems to have been chosen by Jesus in Luke 6:13, but should one follow Judas?
  • You might also mention figures like the Egyptian magicians and their staffs-turned-snakes, who could perform magic tricks, but who were not of God

The most appropriate way to address this might be to point out that, though God does not revoke His gifts, people may reject them through their own sin.

  • I would not think of Judas as a pseudo example, but a real one. However to say that God revokes a calling and gifts due to his unbelief, disobedience and sin, is a fair cause for the revokation. I am not upvoting only because you gave a good example but then seem to call it a false one?
    – Mike
    Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 9:05
  • @Mike edited. I don't actually think that any of these examples count as Divine revocation. It seems very easy to say that Judas simply rejected his calling (his seat among the 12) for some coin, just as the twin Esau gave up his birthright for some stew. The first three are all clear examples of people losing gifts, though. You get the proof without contradicting Romans 11:29.
    – Alypius
    Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 23:39
  • Ok, that's enough for (+1) for me, adding Esau and Saul, etc. is good. I do not think this contradicts Rom 11:29 as this is about a nation, not each individual, while rejecting individuals God has not rejected his plan for Israel.
    – Mike
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 1:15

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