From a reader on gifts of the Holy Spirit

From a reader on gifts of the Holy Spirit February 12, 2006

“I am constantly amazed by how many people in the church can be utterly faithful to the gospel, but then can be unwilling to be reformed by Scripture in other areas. In my Sunday school class on James, we recently discussed what it means for a man to ‘walk away from a mirror and forget what he looks like.’ James laments a common problem… the unwillingness to use God’s Word to look at and reform those areas in your life or church that aren’t glorifying to God or making full use of his blessings. So, the real goal here is to be faithful as I’m assaulted by a wide variety of Christian resources. Unless convinced by Scripture (and be assured, I will continue to study this issue… much as I admire your ministry, yours is not the last word!), I see no reason why the term ‘Apostle’ should have such a limited definition. Why is it that Matthias can be an Apostle when Jesus did not appoint him as one of the original Twelve? Why didn’t Simon the Zealot use his ‘right’ as an apostle to scribble out some Scripture in his spare time? If an apostle is, as Paul says, called to be an apostle, then we should look at what they DID with their lives and call that apostleship, rather than define it so tightly that the term has no meaning in the Bible anymore. At the same time, I want to be cautious. For instance, I think the gift of tongues is wildly mishandled in a lot of circles. [I once spoke to someone about her experiences in a pentecostal church] Three very poignant things stuck out to me. 1.) She couldn’t understand why they had church services every day of the week, but never went out and helped the poor. Didn’t the Bible talk about that?2.) She couldn’t understand why people put massive pressure on her to speak in tongues… screaming in her ear, telling her she wouldn’t go to heaven if she didn’t, etc. She worried that when she did it, it wasn’t sincere.3.) She could not repeat the basic gospel message. Her church never emphasized it. I’ve heard many such stories of how the gift of tongues became a focus and a status symbol that it should not have been. So, I’ll reserve judgement on that one for now. 🙂

This guy seems like a genuine searcher after truth – I welcome all such people here, whatever their views. The same guy is interested in what exactly happens when people excercise Spiritual Gifts – well you are in the right place and I will get to answering exactly those questions in my 1 Cor 12 series.

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