Does the Holy Spirit operate the same way with all of us, or not? Scholars have different opinions. Classical Pentecostalism points to some Passages like 1 Corinthians 12 to show that the Spirit has the same intentions for all of us. When it comes to the Gifts of the Spirit, what God offers to one Christian He offers to all Christians.
series on the Gifts of the Spirit
- Joseph Castleberry and others on the spoken word CLICK HERE
- on the energetic working of the Spirit CLICK HERE
- spirits, tongues, and interpretation CLICK HERE
on all the Gifts of the Spirit
i. the Early Church experiences ongoing manifestations of the power of God
Stanley Horton says of the Early Church, “The whole of their Christian life and worship transcended the merely natural and human. The supernatural was a part of all experience.”
In other words, there is not an indication that the Early Church is living the supernatural. They are merely living what is natural for the church, what is meant to be.
Furthermore, there is no stop to the revival in the Book of Acts, for over three decades. This is more than a revival, but a renewal of what God intends for mankind to be!
ii. the supernatural does not stop with the Apostles
There is documentation of charismata from Church Fathers well into the 3rd Century A.D. Philip Jenkins is a professor at Penn State and Baylor. He makes this observation.
“Indeed, early Christian apologists repeatedly used the evidence of spiritual triumph as a key selling point for the faith. For Justin Martyr or Origen, the truth of Christianity was proved every time an ordinary Christian cast out demons, not through great occult learning, but through prayer and simply invoking the name of Jesus. As Tertullian boasted, ‘All the authority and power we have over them is from our naming the name of Christ.’”
Why is it important to note that renewal history continues far beyond the New Testament?
- According to church history, no one can claim that the supernatural ceased with the Apostolic Age, a view known as Cessationism.
- Furthermore, no missionary can claim that there are more Gifts of the Spirit on the field because of Evangelistic efforts. Church history reports the Gifts in action in well-established churches.
- No one can claim the supernatural is only for super Christian leaders. Leaders like Justin Martyr and Origen report the power of God in operation in “ordinary Christian(s).”
To claim that there is some type of impediment to the Gifts of the Spirit, like the three listed above, is in effect a cop-out.
- First of all, it is a cop-out because it is usually based on a lazy approach to church history that disregards the testimonies of the Church Fathers themselves.
- Secondly, it takes a bit of Christian homework, a bit of pressing-in, to become a little more yielded to these works of the Spirit. So we often hear a cop-out when one wants to avoid the road less travelled, so to speak.
Nonetheless, from the start we should establish that the Gifts of the Spirit remain in effect powerfully impacting the Church, and they are here to stay.
iii. Gifts of the Spirit
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 1 Corinthians 12.4-5, NRSV
Paul calls these experiences Gifts from the Spirit. The term gift is charisma (khä’-rē-smä) in the singular and charismata in the plural form for Gifts. Charismata is where we derive English terms like charismatic, charisma, etc.
The root word is charis, the Greek word for grace. In effect, a Gift of the Spirit could be called a charism, something like a droplet of grace. It is important to note that the association with grace means that these Gifts are freely bestowed. They are truly Gifts.
We don’t deserve to participate in a powerful move of God, but the Spirit may decide to flow through us anyway. Furthermore, grace does not prove that we are good, but that God is good. It is the same way with the Gifts.
The Gifts of the Spirit are for a congregation, i.e. the worship gathering. We see this if we place 1 Corinthians 12 in the context of chapters 11-14 that are about corporate worship. In these chapters, the Lord is instructing us about how to participate in the worship gathering.
iv. ALL the Gifts of the Spirit are for ALL of us
All of the Charismata are for everybody.
and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 1 Corinthians 12.6
And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. KJV
Paul makes it clear that God works all of them in everyone . . . all in all. Therefore, all of the Spirit’s Gifts are available and can be manifested in all of God’s people depending on His will and our availability. Here we are speaking specifically of Paul’s following list of Gifts that are manifested in corporate worship (verses 8-10).
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12.7
Everybody participates in the gifts for the common good, or for the profit of all of us. Stanley Horton explains.
“This does not mean that everyone has a specific gift, but there are gifts manifestations, disclosures, means by which the Spirit makes himself known openly – being continuously for everyone for the ‘common good.’ The word translated ‘common good’ has the idea of something useful, helpful, especially in building the Church, both spiritually and in numbers.”
Opening up to all the possibilities
Someone may say, “That’s just not me,” or “I’ve never done that before.” Indeed as a minister who has taught on this topic from coast to coast, I have often heard statements like this.
My response is usually pretty simple. “Show me in the Bible why you can’t be a part.”
On the other hand, it is clear from Scripture that the Holy Spirit truly desires to use all of us. He wants us to be His voice, His hands, and His feet. If He desires this of me, then who am I to question Him?
One of the hopes of this article is to answer the question about who can participate. Everyone can, we all can.
At the risk of sounding redundant, I would like to personalize it. My hope is also that you will see that there is no reason why you can’t participate in the Gifts of the Spirit.
notes: Stanley M. Horton, What the Bible Says About the Holy Spirit, Rev. ed. (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 2005), 12.
 Philip Jenkins, The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 103.
 Stanley M. Horton, Systematic Theology, ed. Stanley M. Horton (Springfield, MO: Logion Press, 2002), 641.
 Horton, What the Bible Says About the Holy Spirit, 208.
 Ibid., 212.