What we see for ourselves and what we teach to others must be governed by the Scripture alone.
What does Scripture say about the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts? And what do evangelicals believe about charismatic gifts?
- All believe the Holy Spirit is at work in the world today.
- All believe the Holy Spirit supernaturally works in the hearts of people.
- All believe the Holy Spirit brings people to the point of salvation through faith.
- All believe the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to people for ministry.
- All believe that God can, and often does, intervene in miraculous ways in people’s lives.
This list is not comprehensive, for sure, but toss in words like “tongues” or “prophecy” or “laying on of hands” and division soon follows. Doctrines become messy. Feelings become the judge. And we begin to roll our eyes and pronounce verdict against the other.
There are 5 different passages that list gifts given to the church by God. Let’s start with the longest list:
1Cor. 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually, as he wills.
1Cor. 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Rom. 12:5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Eph. 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds* and teachers,* 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 4 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
1Pet. 4:7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
In the New Testament, the charismatic gifts were given to the church for 3 main reasons:
- They attested to the apostles’ authority of the early church
- They helped lay the foundation for the church
- They provided divine guidance to early believers when the final revelation of God (the Bible) was not yet complete.
So what do you think? Are charismatic gifts intended by God to be used throughout the entire Church’s history until Jesus returns?
Let’s reflect on these verses tonight. See ya in the morning!