Origen was a Christian theologian who lived and taught in Alexandria, Egypt, from A.D. 185 to 254. In his book, “Against Celsus” which was written in 250; he says, “Traces of the Holy Spirit who appeared in the form of a dove are still preserved among Christians. They charm demons away and perform many cures and perceived certain things about the future according to the will of the Logos.”
In another place he writes, “Moreover, the Holy Spirit gave signs of His Presence at the beginning of Christ’s ministry, and after His ascension He gave still more; but since that time these signs have diminished, although there are still traces of His Presence in a few who have had their souls purified by the Gospel and their actions regulated by its influence.”
Although I don’t agree with much of Origen’s theology, (as some believe him to be a heretic); he does give some insight about the early church. He agrees that much of the working of the Holy Spirit had diminished, however he says that it still operated in a few.
He says; “signs have diminished, although there are still traces of His presence in a few who have had their souls purified by the Gospel and their actions regulated by its influence.”
Had the signs really diminished, or did the church diminish (change)? Why point out their purity and the influence of the Gospel on just these few people? Could it be that the only reason they, (or we), don’t see more gifts of the Spirit (miracles), is the church’s lack of purity and lack of the Gospel’s influence in their/our lives?
So, what really changed? Could it be that the Church was no longer living the gospel message and allowing its message to change and empower their lives, (to the degree needed to see or experience the Spirit’s signs as in the beginning of the Gospel)? Origen seems to point in that direction! What of today; could it be that the Church really isn’t living the Gospel and allowing it to regulate us by its influence?