Pneumatology: Spiritual Gifts
Sharon Holmes Theo 201 Short Essay #4 Short Essay on Pneumatology: Spiritual Gifts It’s been quite a while, since we last spoken. I understand that you have some questions concerning Spiritual Gifts, in particular speaking in tongues. Unfortunately this is a widely debated subject in the body of Christ. This subject is so controversial it has split churches, and continues to separate denominations. However the bible tells us in Proverbs “In all thy getting, get an understanding. ” The Bible also tell us that “My people parish because of the lack of knowledge. So to answer your questions, let’s see what the word has to say concerning Spiritual Gifts, and speaking in tongues. Before we can speak to a subject we must first understand the meaning, and purpose of the subject matter. Paul tells us in (1 Corinthians 12:1) “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. ” Spiritual Gifts are, Gifts of God enabling the Christian to perform his or her (sometimes specializes) services. There are several words in the New Testament that’s used for spiritual gifts. Pneumatikas, and charismata are frequently found, with charismata being the most common.
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Charisma signifies redemption or salvation as the gift of God’s grace (Rom 5:15; 6:23) and a gift enabling the Christian to perform his services in the church (1 Cor 7:7), enabling a Christian to perform a particular ministry in the church. The purposes of spiritual gifts are always for the edification of the body of Christ. As we begin to understand the gifts, we must realize that there is a difference between Spiritual gifts, and the fruit of the Spirit. Spiritual gift is an ability to be used in service, whereas spiritual fruit relates to a Christian’s character. It is possible to have a spiritual gift, and lack spiritual character.
The Corinthian church has numerous gifts, but was guilty of envy, divisions, and fleshly sins. It is possible to have the gift of faith to move mountains yet lack love (1Cor 13:2). Flynn describes this person, “Possession of gifts does not indicate godliness of life. ” Spiritual gifts cannot be substitute for spiritual fruit. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), represents the maturation of the believer in Christ. Towns goes on the say that the most immature believer, if he is open to the Holy Spirit, may be Spirit-filled and excision extraordinary gifts, and yet have experience little of the Spirits sanctifying grace.
Such a person needs all the more to grow into Christ. Out of all the gifts the one that Paul speaks of the most controversial is the gift of tongues. “Glossolalia” is the most commonly accepted term for “speaking in tongues. ” It comes from the Greek words meaning “tongues” or “languages,” and “to speak. ” Although not exclusively, “speaking in tongues” is primarily practiced by Pentecostal Christians. Glossolalia is the “prayer language” of Pentecostal churches. Some Christians who speak in tongues believe they are speaking in an existing language.
Most believe they are uttering a heavenly tongue. Some Pentecostal denominations teach that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Among the greatest blessing conferred by the Christian gospel is the personal indwelling and endowment of divine Spirit. First conceived as the invisible energy of God active in nature and in history, but occasionally coming upon artist, prophets, leaders, or kings with enabling power, the Spirit of God was promise as the personal and permanent equipment of Messiah for his work (Isa 11:1-2;61:1-2).
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is an act whereby the individual is placed in the body of Christ. John the Baptist, after witnessing the descent of the Holy Spirit as a dove at the baptism of Jesus, recorded these words: “He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he who baptize with the Holy Ghost” (John 1:33). Most Pentecostal and Charismatic believe that tongues are the initial sign of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
The book of Acts is its foundation stone. If the book of Acts were excluded from the discussion there would be no other source of information since the only other passage in the New Testament that discusses tongues at any length is 1 Corinthians 12-14 which clearly teaches all do not speak in tongues. Also, Paul examines tongues as one of many differing spiritual gifts that are given freely by the Spirit after one has been baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). No “initial evidence” is then present in the Epistles.
God place the gifts in the body for edification of the church, however there is no substitute for love according to 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. Paul goes on to commend charity, and show how much it is preferable to the gifts on which the Corinthians were so apt to pride themselves, to the utter neglect, and almost extinction, of charity. Spiritual gifts such as prophecy, tongues, and knowledge will cease at the end of this age. That time is described as “when that which is perfect is come” at the end of history, when the believers knowledge and character become perfect in eternity after Christ’s second coming.
Until then we need the Holy Spirit in our churches. There is no indication here or elsewhere in scripture that the manifestation of the Spirit through His gifts would cease at the end of the first century. Word Count-908 Bibliography R. S. Wallace and G. L. Green, “Holy Spirit,” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell, 2nd ed. , 568-573, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001 C. Blasing, “Spiritual Gifts,” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell, 2nd ed. , 135-1138-573, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001
P. A. Ericksen, “Speaking In Tongues,” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell, 2nd ed. , 1206-1209, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker 2001 C. W. Mitchell, “Charismatic Movement,” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell, 2nd ed. , 220-224, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker 2001 C. W. Mitchell, “Baptism of the Spirit,” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell, 2nd ed. , 137-138, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker 2001 Towns, Elmer L. Theology for Today, Mason, OH: Cengage Learning, 2008. –