Our study this week examines spiritual gifts within 1 Cor 12:1–31a. As churches take varying positions on the use of spiritual gifts, what questions do you have on this familiar passage? What are some ways we need to apply this passage?
- 1 Corinthians 12 is often either completely neglected or abused by modern believers. Many Pentecostals where I'm from will question your salvation if you don't speak in tongues because, to them, it means you are not Baptized in the Holy Spirit... which 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 flat out contradicts but whatever. My best friend, the best teacher I've ever met, has actually been hurt by this because as he's prayed for other gifts of the Spirit that don't seem to be given, people want to take the "what sin is blocking you from receiving these gifts" approach and that's just harmful. That's why Paul concludes 1 Corinthians 12:27-31 the way he does. He's tying it back into 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. We are called to be a community. God knows human nature and knows that if we all had ALL the gifts we would use them to exalt ourselves rather than His Name. So some people are teachers, some are healers, some speak in tongues, some interpret. We need each other. The hand is no less important than the eye just because it performs a different function. So it is with the Body of Christ. Lastly, we as a modern Church no longer see the Book of Acts in our Church because we don't have faith in the gifts of the Spirit or disregard it as something that happened along time ago... or too busy committing gluttony to fast, pray, and wait for the Holy Spirit. Some Churches understand this and perform healings every Sunday. I'm don't want to paint with too broad of a brush here but for the most part the American Church does not seek gifts of the Spirit, and even if we do... we use them in direct violation of 1 Corinthians 14:23. Leading other denominations to dismiss gifts of the Spirit as weird or the product of a bygone era. It's quite sad actually. This is not what we are called to be. The Kingdom of God is radical. It defies logic, reason, science etc. A few months ago, I cleansed my first house of 5 unclean spirits. I grew up very NON-charasmatic. In my weeks of preparation leading up to the cleansing, the guy who was coaching me through the cleansing via phone asked me if spoke in tongues... I said, "no, don't believe it's a thing nowadays." He said, "you might want to ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of tongues because you might run into something in that house you need tongues for." Later that night, I asked and received. For 5 minutes I was unable to speak English. It's been absolutely amazing!!! To be a believer and still go from unbelief into belief is very humbling. And yes, it was needed. In the attic, I ran into something. I couldn't really see it as the eye is used to seeing things but I could barely make out a form. I could sense the evil and I knew we were making eye contact. A had a 13 year old seer by my side who was able to see the figure. Holy Spirit took over and, through me, spoke in tongues until the thing left. I now pray mostly in tongues, usually privately or under my breath so as not weird anyone out. Sometimes using my mind to direct as I would normal prayer. Sometimes not using my mind and just speaking whatever comes out and trusting the Holy Spirit to guide me that what needs to be prayed will be prayed. I earnestly pray as well for the gifts of interpretation, healing, prophecy, dreams, visions, and to see the spirit realm. I do not know when or if any of them will be granted but I desperately desire *ALL* gifts the Father is willing to give that I might use advance His Kingdom. I don't resist Him anymore. Prayerfully, that speaks to someone on here. Especially the more educated, scholarly, intellectual types of which I count myself a member (though I am officially a layperson). We need each other. Scripture is more than just Greek and Hebrew and theology. We must advance the Kingdom. To be on the offensive.
- Thanks for sharing, Nathan. You are absolutely right. There is no true, exegetical support for cessationism and neither is there any support for a "name it and claim" it approach to a particular gift. We are more than welcome to pray for certain gifts and God may choose to give them to us but he may also choose not to do so. He gives the gifts as he determines. In the New Testament the term "baptism/baptize" is used with the "Spirit" only to refer to the Spirit initially coming to live in a person when they first accept Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:13 is very telling because Paul says all the Corinthian Christians have this baptism and yet we know from the whole letter how immature, sin-filled and theologically misguided many of them are on so many issues. What charismatics call the baptism of the Spirit is what the New Testament calls the filling of the Holy Spirit. On three occasions in Acts it results in tongues; in all instances in the New Testament it yield bold witness and proclamation of the gospel, which, of course, can't be effective unless there is interpretation of tongues. D. A. Carson in his wonderful little book, Showing the Spirit, makes two very simple statements that if followed would prevent most of the abuse, excess, and wrongheadedness in this area. If those who have not experienced certain gifts would stop ruling any of them as out of bounds for our age, and if those who have experienced certain more so-called charismatic gifts would stop requiring them as criteria for anything, the two sides would come a lot closer together. That's probably part of exactly what Paul had in mind in 1 Corinthians 14:39-40: be eager to prophesy and stop forbidding tongues (the one side) but do everything decently and in order, i.e., in line with all the other instructions Paul gives in these three chapters (12-14) (the other side).
- 100% agreed sir. Will have to check out Carson's book.