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The subject of the purpose of the gifts of the Holy Spirit has been raised earlier on this blog, but I’d be interested in discussing it further.

Ephesians 4:7-12 explains the reasons why the gifts were first given.

“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned
it. This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.”

… It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Paul here speaks of the “gifts of grace” – a concept he also writes about in Rom 12:6-8. Some of the gifts enumerated in Rom 12 and Eph 4 also appear in the two lists in 1 Cor 12 which describe the “spiritual gifts” (charismata) or “gifts of the spirit” (pneumatika). The gifts common to all 3 letters are prophesying and teaching. In addition, Romans 12 and 1 Cor 12 have 2 more in common: “leadership” and “administration” (probably the same or similar) and “contributing to the needs of others” and “those able to help others” (also probably the some).

Some gifts occur in 1 or 2 only of the 4 lists.

A comparison of these gifts reveals that no one list is complete. In my view it is inaccurate to say that there were/are 9 gifts. If we combine the lists we have the following:

1. Apostles
2. Prophets / prophesying
3. Evangelists
4. Pastors
5. Teachers / teaching
6. Serving
7. Encouraging
8. Contributing to the needs of others / those able to help others
9. Leadership / administration
10. Showing mercy
11. Wisdom
12. Knowledge
13. Faith
14. Gifts of healing
15. Miraculous powers / workers of miracles
16. Ability to distinguish between spirits
17. Tongues
18. Interpretation of tongues

So, there were at least 18 gifts, possibly more. In fact, it is possible that these lists give just a “sampling” of the gifts available and there may have been many, many more.

What was the purpose for these gifts? Paul mentions several:

(a) to prepare God’s people for works of service (Eph 4:12)
(b) so that the body of Christ may be built up (ibid)
(c) to reach unity in the faith (v13)
(d) to become mature (ibid)
(e) to attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (ibid)
(f) they are for the common good of the church (1 Cor 12:7)
(g) for service (1 Cor 12:4-5)
(h) for the strengthening of the church (1 Cor 14:3, 26)

Using language similar to Paul’s “gifts of grace” Peter says (in 1 Peter 4:10-11) “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”

Under these two groupings, “speaking” and “serving”, we could name all the gifts in Paul’s lists. So Peter has the same emphasis as Paul – the gifts are for serving the church, to bring it to maturity.

Some will argue that the gifts were given in the first century to meet “special needs”. However, when we look at the Scriptural reasons why they were given (above) we see that these “special needs” still exist. The church is still immature in many places; the church is divided; we have not yet attained the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. We still need to be built up, and we will always need those who serve.

Paul makes another important point in 1 Cor 12:18 which is relevant to whether all the gifts need to be present in every church. He says: “God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be”. The word translated here “arranged” (tithemi) is the same word translated “appointed” in verse 28: “And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles …” and then he enumerates several gifts. God knows the needs of every church and knows which gifts they need. He provides the gifts necessary to bring each church to maturity. In my opinion (and this is just my opinion) this means that God need not provide all 18 of the gifts listed above, or He may provide gifts not on that list. He knows what we need, and He provides.

Peter says we carry out our ministeries in the body of Christ “with the strength God provides”. Paul makes the same point about the gifts of the Spirit: “there are different kinds of gifts … but the same God works all of them in all men” (1 Cor 12:6). This is the work of God. The church cannot bring itself to maturity. It cannot unite itself. It cannot build itself up. We need God! And the way God does this work is “with the strength God provides”, with “His incomparably great power for us who believe” (Eph 1:19).
Having explained in chapter 12 the importance of the gifts, arranged in the body just as God wanted them to be, Paul explains that a time is coming when we will no longer need them.

“But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (Vv 8-12)

He says the gifts will pass away “when perfection comes”. The word translated “perfection” (teleios) is the same word translated elsewhere as “maturity”. In other words, when the church reaches the maturity, the unity, and the measure of Christ elsewhere written about we will no longer need the gifts because we will have something better. That perfection/maturity comes when we are changed to be “like Him” and when we will experience “the powers of the coming age” and “the heavenly gift” in such fullness that our present experience will be just a “taste” (Heb 6:4) or a “poor reflection”.

27 Responses to “The purpose of “gifts””

  1. on 06 Oct 2007 at 8:38 pmSean

    Steve, thanks for this nice list of the gifts of the spirit. The verse from Hebrews comes to mind:

    Hebrews 2:4
    God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.

    I have a question though…what happens when the gift mentioned is in fact a requirement? I mean, we are all to show mercy…even if we do not have that gift. We are all to do evangelism, have faith, and encourage each other. I have heard of people using this gifts theology to get them off the hook from doing evangelism. What would you say to someone in that situation?

  2. on 07 Oct 2007 at 11:58 amSteve

    Sean,

    Good question! My personal view on that is that some people seem to have extraordinary faith, or are much more merciful than your ‘average’ Christian, or are outstanding evangelists. While all Christians are called on to be merciful, to have faith, and to witness it seems to me that some people are particularly gifted in those areas. As such they model these strengths to the church, encourage other believers to grow in these areas, and help the church to be ‘complete’ and ‘mature’.

  3. on 09 Oct 2007 at 11:57 amKen

    The focussed purpose of God’s energizings/ gifts/ manifestations according to God’s desire is well expressed here. I sometimes think of these things in terms of God’s everpresent (as in the meaning of YHWH) willingness and power available in any place and time (as foreknown by Him) to help those humble to participate in His progam of edification. Someone is sick; a praying,God-fearing believer is there to heal. Someone is praising God for His magnificence and in quietness knows that a time of speaking or singing to God in the spirit (in tongues -a language unknown to the speaker) for a few minutes would honor God. (I Cor. 14: 15) Someone is “hanging out” somewhere; an aware Christian has an idea of how to start a conversation that leads to evangelism. Someone sees a bizarre traffic danger on the freeway, prays that disaster be averted, and protection occurs in a way that could only be miraculous. The believer rejoices; maybe someone else is awakened into acknowledging God’s powerful existence. Thus believers simply, humbly focus on God Himself and the commitment to serve and obey Him (while aware of how God can work: i.e. the lists mentioned above) with a readiness to receive God’s invigorating help, that will always build- up or develop the body of Christ. The focus is not on numbers of spiritual evidences (or an ensuing theology) but on trusting God without limiting his intervening power as we grow in maturity. Those focussed on doing “with all their might” “whatever task lies to their hand” (as in Eccles. 9: 10) would not seek theological excuses to evade any potential means of help, even if it does not seem to fit with their specialized spiritual talents.

  4. on 09 Oct 2007 at 1:13 pmSean

    Well put, Ken. The life in Christ is the spirit filled life which is unpredictable, powerful, and flexible depending on the need of the moment. Check out the quote of an Emory Professor on the way the earliest Christians viewed the holy spirit (click here).

  5. on 09 Oct 2007 at 2:55 pmKen

    Thanks, Sean.
    I enjoyed listening to Dr. Johnson’s observations, including the “energy field” illustration.

  6. on 09 Oct 2007 at 5:17 pmSteve

    Ken,

    Thanks for that contribution – it was helpful. Paul said that we should “eagerly desire the greater gifts” (1 Cor 12:31). This suggests that God can give us “new gifts” at any time, and that we should seek to add new ones to the ones we already have. If I have a weakness in a particular area, let’s say evangelism, then I could ask God for a gift which would overcome my weakness. I may not know myself what I need, but God does. It may not be a “gift of evangelism” that I need, but a “gift of courage”. This also suggests that we should never be contend with the progress we have already made, but should seek new gifts, new channels for glorifying God, and new resources for enabling us to grow towards spiritual maturity.

  7. on 10 Dec 2010 at 8:31 amGill White

    Steve, I too would like to thank you for your words of encouragement.

    As directed by God and as you have said, we need to desire spiritual, for the purpose of building up the Body of Christ.

    1Co 14:1
    (1) Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially the gift of speaking what God has revealed.

    Each and every believer has a purpose and a service, to build up the body of Christ:

    Eph 4:12
    (12) Their purpose is to prepare God’s people, to serve, and to build up the body of Christ.

    We all need help, and that help comes from God. It’s not under our strength, but under the strength which God provides.

    Eph 4:13
    (13) This is to continue until all of us are united in our faith and in our knowledge about God’s Son, until we become mature, until we measure up to Christ, who is the standard.

  8. on 10 Dec 2010 at 6:14 pmDoubting Thomas

    Gill,
    I also think this is a great article.

    Steve says, “…In other words, when the church reaches the maturity, the unity, and the measure of Christ elsewhere written about we will no longer need the gifts because we will have something better. That perfection/maturity comes when we are changed to be ‘like Him’ and when we will experience ‘the powers of the coming age’ and ‘the heavenly gift’ in such fullness that our present experience will be just a ‘taste’ (Heb 6:4) or a ‘poor reflection’…”

    I pray for the day when we are all changed to be “like Him” and the body of Christ comes to full perfection/maturity. As Yeshua said, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…

  9. on 11 Dec 2010 at 3:24 amGill White

    Hi Doubting Thomas, for a moment, I would like you to look at this as an unbelievers point of view. No doubt you have, like me and like many others, have family, friends, colleagues who are still unbelievers, who have not accepted Jesus as their Saviour yet and no nothing about the Kingdom and are not part of the Body of Christ?

    Now you believe, I believe and so does many others believe, so we may have matured enough, to put our trust in God, by walking & talking with Him, and having a relationship with Him and His son, but you are not looking at the unbeliever, who hasn’t matured. The unbeliever who doesn’t believe in God, the unbeliever who doesn’t walk with God, the unbeliever who doesn’t have God on his mind all day, nor has he accepted Jesus? So can not God use a believer anyway He wants to, to get that unbelievers attention back onto Him, either through speaking prophecy, through a miracle, through healing etc. So what is the purpose of the believer manifesting the evidence of the spirit? Was it to exalt himself, or to bring that unbeliever back to God?

    Perfection has not reached to all in the world today, as there are still many unbelievers out there, who are not yet part of the Body of Christ. So perfection has not yet come, and will not come, until the Kingdom comes, then all things will have been restored.

    Instead of looking at the believer (person) who is manifesting the evidence of spirit, we need to look towards God and thank Him. It’s Him who is working through that believers, God is speaking to him, God is working through that believer. But yet we still make the same mistake and look at the person, thinking that person is more godly than another believer, that is carnal thinking and not spiritual thinking. If we do see a brother or sister, manifesting the spirit, working for God, bringing people back to God, we should be rejoicing & thanking God, and not being negative about all this, as the Word of God tells us, is to desire.

    Act 3:11-12
    (11) They were excited, and everyone ran to see them at the place called Solomon’s Porch. The man wouldn’t let go of Peter and John.
    (12) When Peter saw this, he said to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed about this man? Why are you staring at us as though we have made him walk by our own power or godly life?

    You see these people looked at Peter & John, with a carnal mind, thinking they were more godly.

    In conclusion, The Body of Christ (The Church, His Church) has not reached maturity yet, if you are saying it has, then I don’t agree with you, because there are thousands upon thousands, who have not yet come to Christ, who are not yet matured. It’s His Church that will reach maturity, and not man’s church. I don’t look at denominations, ministries etc, I look at people, His calling out. Christ’s Church, and His calling out, is not yet complete, and He is still adding to His Church daily and it’s His body we are talking about and not man’s church.

    I hope this helps you, and God bless

  10. on 11 Dec 2010 at 11:16 amDoubting Thomas

    Gill,
    You said, “It’s His Church that will reach maturity, and not man’s church. I don’t look at denominations, ministries etc, I look at people, His calling out. Christ’s Church, and His calling out, is not yet complete, and He is still adding to His Church daily and it’s His body we are talking about and not man’s church.”

    I also am not that interested in a person’s denomination, background etc… We all have a unique story to tell about our path to God and His truth. I’m not saying the Body of Christ (The Church, His Church) has reached maturity yet. I actually agree with you when you said, “So perfection has not yet come, and will not come, until the Kingdom comes, then all things will have been restored.”

    May the peace of God be with you and with us all. Have a great weekend…

  11. on 11 Dec 2010 at 2:07 pmWolfgang

    Gill,

    you wrote

    In conclusion, The Body of Christ (The Church, His Church) has not reached maturity yet, if you are saying it has, then I don’t agree with you, because there are thousands upon thousands, who have not yet come to Christ, who are not yet matured.

    You mention “thousands… who have not yet come to Christ” as an indication of the church which “has not reached maturity”.

    How do you understand “maturity”? What you state above seems odd, for how could those who do not yet belong to the church of the body (“those who have not yet come to Christ”) even have anything to do with the process of the church “reaching maturity”?? IF one were to follow your logic here as concerning the church and it reaching maturity, one would simply have to say that it will NEVER reach maturity, for there WILL ALWAYS BE folks who will “have not come to Christ yet” …

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  12. on 11 Dec 2010 at 2:11 pmWolfgang

    Doubting Thomas,

    you mention

    “So perfection has not yet come, and will not come, until the Kingdom comes, then all things will have been restored.”

    what do you understand under “perfection” in this context? As we read certain kingdom passages and how they describe the rule of Jesus, it certainly sounds that there is quite some “imperfection” to be dealt with … for example, how about “shall smite them with a rod of iron”? will he smite “perfection” with a rod of iron? Or is that time during which he will rule them with a rod if iron not really part of what you consider to be the kingdom?

    Wolfgang

  13. on 11 Dec 2010 at 2:13 pmWolfgang

    Doubting Thomas

    slight correction to my post above …. it was not actually you who made that statement which I quoted, it was originally from Gill, you only mentioned in your post that you “actually agree” with what he had said …

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  14. on 11 Dec 2010 at 2:49 pmXavier

    Guys/Gals

    Who or What is “the body of Christ” in the world today? What defines it etc.

    Do you believe these should display the same miraculous power and spiritual gifts as experienced by the first century churches?

  15. on 11 Dec 2010 at 4:43 pmDoubting Thomas

    Wolfgang,
    You asked, “What do you understand under “perfection” in this context?”

    Like I said above, “So perfection has not yet come, and will not come, until the Kingdom comes, then all things will have been restored.” To me perfection is when we are all changed to be “like Him” (Yeshua) that will be when the body of Christ comes to full perfection/maturity.

  16. on 11 Dec 2010 at 5:43 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    You asked, “Who or What is “the body of Christ” in the world today? What defines it etc… ?”

    I would think that anyone that does the will of God/Yahweh and follows the teachings/parables of Yeshua would be considered to be part of the body of Christ.

    Of course this is just my humble opinion…

  17. on 11 Dec 2010 at 10:11 pmDoubting Thomas

    Correction for Gill,
    In msg #10, I had said, “I also am not that interested in a person’s denomination, background etc… We all have a unique story to tell about our path to God and His truth.”

    I didn’t mean I’m not interested in a person’s background. I love hearing stories about how people came to find the love of God/Yahweh and his son Yeshua the Messiah. What I meant is that I don’t judge people because of their background, or their doctrines. I try to look past that and will instead observe their behavior…

    Xavier,
    I just realized that I didn’t answer your second question where you asked us, “Do you believe these (in the body of Christ) should display the same miraculous power and spiritual gifts as experienced by the first century churches?”

    I’m don’t believe we can achieve the same levels in regards to the miraculous power and spiritual gifts of the Apostles and their brethren. But, I do believe we can still receive spiritual gifts. I am not convinced that people can still speak in tongues the same way as the Apostles and their brethren did.

    However, I must admit that I’ve never actually met anyone that claimed to be able to speak in tongues, and I have no first hand experience with this phenomenon…

  18. on 12 Dec 2010 at 12:04 amXavier

    DT

    I am not convinced that people can still speak in tongues the same way as the Apostles and their brethren did.

    Let alone the other gifts like healing, prophecy, etc.

  19. on 12 Dec 2010 at 10:48 amDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    I do believe that we can still receive spiritual gifts. I just believe we can’t achieve the same level of miraculous powers and spiritual gifts, because of our lack of faith. At the time of Yeshua and the Apostles and their brethren, the faith of the saints was comparably much stronger than today.

    Yeshua said, Matthew 21:22, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

    Yeshua also asked, “Will there be any faith left when I return?” Or words similar to that. I tried using biblegateway to find the exact words, but I couldn’t find it.

    Acts 2:17, “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;'”

    I use to think that the word prophesy meant to foretell the future. But I recently discovered it could also mean, to speak the word of God, to speak on behalf of God, to speak the truth of God. These gifts mentioned in Acts are obviously still available for us to access, if we have the necessary faith.

    Spreading and teaching the word of God increases the faith. Increasing faith has many other direct and indirect effects as well. That’s why God wants us to spread the faith (the truth) as best we can. At least that’s the way I see it anywaze…

  20. on 12 Dec 2010 at 11:09 amXavier

    DT

    …the faith of the saints was comparably much stronger than today.

    How can we know this? If anything, it seems most, if not all, of the churches Paul is writing to had serious ethics/moral/faith problems [i.e. Corinthians, Colossae, etc.]. This sort of view brings about much division because, in a way, it foments a certain amount of ‘guilt trips’ onto people.

    For example, ‘little old lady’ that has been congregating for most of her life has never experienced nor shown “spiritual gifts” due to her lack of faith? Why has she been in church most of her life then? Do you know what type of psychological damage that does to an individual? Let alone their particular “faith”.

  21. on 12 Dec 2010 at 4:35 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    You asked, “How can we know this?”

    The Apostles and their brethren had first hand experience with what Yeshua did and taught throughout his ministry. All religious experts agree that there has been some corruption in the writings we have today. We cannot have the same (first hand) faith in what Yeshua did and taught as they would have had. They also had eyewitnesses to the resurrection and to the many miracles performed not only by Jesus but by the Apostles and others as well.

    You also asked about the ‘little old lady’ that has been congregating for most of her life. She like everyone in the body of Christ has been given gifts. I don’t believe the list of ‘gifts of the spirit’ in the bible were meant to be all inclusive. She probably has the gifts of strong faith, endurance, patience, kindness, etc…

    The bible talks about how we should pray for the higher gifts, that are mentioned in the bible. This is especially important if your a teacher or a preacher of God’s word. The bible says, James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

    The bible also says, James 1:6 “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” Yeshua talked a lot about faith. Faith is a very powerful thing. I don’t think it is wise to try to downplay the importance of faith.

    You also asked, “Do you know what type of psychological damage that does to an individual? Let alone their particular ‘faith’…”

    Even in the time of the Apostles only a select few were given the higher ‘gifts of the spirit’ (supposedly the ones with the strongest faith). A person should appreciate the gifts they ‘DO’ have, and not be jealous or envious of what they don’t have. I’m far from being an expert on these things, but that’s the way I see it anywaze…

  22. on 12 Dec 2010 at 6:19 pmXavier

    DT

    They also had eyewitnesses to the resurrection and to the many miracles performed not only by Jesus but by the Apostles and others as well.

    First you claim that the NT documents are untrustworthy due to their corruptions. So on what do you make such claims? Corruptions based on a theological/political bias are present [i.e. ‘Johannine Comma’] but they are not to such an extent as to deem them unreliable.

    I do not think that the “corruption” of Scripture means that scribes changed everything in the text, or even most things. The original texts certainly spoke at great length about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. The issues involved in the corruption of the text usually entail nuances of interpretation. These are important nuances; but most of the New Testament can be reconstructed by scholars with reasonable certainty — as much certainty as we can reconstruct *any* book of the ancient world. Bart Ehrman, The Gnostic Gospels

    You also say that “the little old lady” has other gifts like “strong faith, endurance, patience, kindness”, but that is not what we are talking about now is it? We are talking about particular “gifts”.

    Faith is a very powerful thing. I don’t think it is wise to try to downplay the importance of faith.

    I think modernity has confused what the bible means by “faith”, in its broad/general sense to believe in the Gospel message, and willing oneself [almost working] to manifest the gifts in question. In the NT no one is struggling to manifest a particular faith like, say, resurrecting or healing people. They just did it!

    Even in the time of the Apostles only a select few were given the higher ‘gifts of the spirit’ (supposedly the ones with the strongest faith).

    Really?! Can you cite some scripture to support this?

  23. on 12 Dec 2010 at 7:51 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    You said, “First you claim that the NT documents are untrustworthy due to their corruptions. So on what do you make such claims?”

    Just the other day Robert gave a quote from the book of John and Sean said that this particular quote has been proven to be unreliable. The point I’m trying to make is that the Apostles and their brethren didn’t have to deal with these kind of problems. At that time the gospel was being spread ‘orally’ from people who were eyewitnesses to the events. They didn’t have to worry about corruption. The majority of the gospels were not even written yet.

    You also said, “but that is not what we are talking about now is it? We are talking about particular “gifts”.”

    You might be limiting your self to talking about a few particular “higher gifts” mentioned in the bible. But, I am talking about ‘the gifts of the spirit’, which like I said in msg. #21, “I don’t believe the list of ‘gifts of the spirit’ in the bible were meant to be all inclusive.” I believe there are many ‘gifts of the spirit’.

    You also said, “I think modernity has confused what the bible means by “faith”, in its broad/general sense to believe in the Gospel message…”

    I don’t know anything about that. To me faith means believing in something that cannot be proven (believing out of trust). I first had faith that God existed (based on trust – not facts), then after many years of exploring different belief systems, I eventually became a Christian. So I had faith long before I was Christian and began studying the Gospel message.

    You also said, “In the NT no one is struggling to manifest a particular faith like, say, resurrecting or healing people. They just did it!”

    Peter and the Apostles had to travel to various places and physically lay their hands on people before they were given the ‘higher gifts of the spirit’. Who do we have today to lay their hands on us??? I don’t know if there is anybody alive today that has the Holy Spirit in the same way that the Apostles and their brethren did.

    But, I do believe we can still receive ‘gifts of the spirit’, like I said above in msg. #19, “I just believe we can’t achieve the same level of miraculous powers and spiritual gifts, because of our lack of faith.” Of course I might be wrong, but this is just what I believe. I really don’t understand why it is that you always take a simple discussion like this, about what I might or might not believe and why I believe it, and try to turn it into some sort of heated argument.

    I really don’t want to argue with you. If you are sincerely interested in what I believe and why, I am more than happy to share this with you. Of course you are free to disagree if you want. This whole conversation started with you asking me some apparently innocent questions about what I believe. All of sudden, I find myself in the middle of heated of debate.

    If you want to disagree that’s fine, but there is no reason for the hostile attitude…

  24. on 12 Dec 2010 at 8:24 pmXavier

    DT

    The point I’m trying to make is that the Apostles and their brethren didn’t have to deal with these kind of problems.

    Sounds like your referring to the ‘Johannine Comma’ found in 1Jn 5.7-8. Which is an addition to the text. I am sure that amongst the ‘oral communities’, before they were written down, they either misheard or misspoke as well. But one example does not disprove the whole story. If what your suggesting is right, then on what will our Christian faith depend on?

    You might be limiting your self to talking about a few particular “higher gifts” mentioned in the bible.

    People who claim speaking in tongues, healing and the like are still prevalent today limit themselves when they point to the others as evidence for the ones we do not have.

    I don’t know anything about that. To me faith means believing in something that cannot be proven (believing out of trust).

    I would suggest you pay close attention to Jesus’ sayings regarding “believe/faith” regarding his Gospel message of the coming Kingdom of God at Mar 1.14-15 etc. Then study the very important parable of the sower.

    Peter and the Apostles had to travel to various places and physically lay their hands on people before they were given the ‘higher gifts of the spirit’.

    Yes, at times. My point is that it came almost natural to them. They did not have to go into some ecstatic fit or lock themseleves up in a closet praying for the anointing of the HS or prove themseleves worth of enough “faith” to be eligible. Your also assuming they were the only “apostles” able to do that. The NT notes many other “aspotles” [in the secondary sense of course].

    I really don’t understand why it is that you always take a simple discussion like this, about what I might or might not believe and why I believe it, and try to turn it into some sort of heated argument.

    No one is arguing just disagreeing with some of your observation. They do not seem to be scripturally based. I may be wrong though, perhaps others might like to comment.

    DT, my apologies if the posts seemed “hostile” to your person. They really are not. I do not even know you. Just countering some of the things your saying its all.

  25. on 12 Dec 2010 at 9:50 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier,
    You said, “DT, my apologies if the posts seemed “hostile” to your person. They really are not.”

    I apologize if I overreacted. Like I said this conversation started out with some apparently innocent questions about what I believe and why. Then it seemed like I suddenly found myself in the middle of a heated debate. I don’t make any claims about being an expert, but I’m always open to share what I believe and why I believe it, with anyone that asks. I always admit that I could be wrong and that these are just my own humble opinions.

    You also said, “People who claim speaking in tongues, healing and the like are still prevalent today limit themselves when they point to the others as evidence for the ones we do not have.”

    I never said that I believed speaking in tongues, healing and the like are still prevalent today. The fact is I am not convinced that any of these things are prevalent today. Like I said when I talk about the ‘gifts of the spirit’ I’m talking about a wide range of gifts like love, patience, endurance, compassion, preaching, teaching, strong faith, empathy, understanding, wisdom, etc…

    I believe God has given each of us different gifts, or combinations of gifts. I don’t believe everything that Paul said, but he did say that we should pray for the higher gifts, and he lists these higher gifts. I am always asking God/Yahweh to send me his Holy Spirit and to give me wisdom and guidance in my day to day life. I believe God answers prayers like this.

    You also said, “I would suggest you pay close attention to Jesus’ sayings regarding “believe/faith” regarding his Gospel message of the coming Kingdom of God at Mar 1.14-15 etc. Then study the very important parable of the sower.”

    I am trying to learn the Gospel message. I pray that I am good soil that will always produce good fruit. God/Yahweh says he will depose the proud and arrogant and lift up the humble and meek. I try my best not to be proud or arrogant. I hope I don’t come across as anything but humble and meek, peaceful and loving, honest and caring.

    My honesty sometimes gets me into trouble, because I will say that I have my doubts about this book or that letter etc… It would be much easier for me if I just kept these doubts to myself, but then that wouldn’t be very honest would it. If you or anyone else is genuinly

  26. on 12 Dec 2010 at 9:54 pmDoubting Thomas

    Sorry I accidentally posted that before I was finished. If you or anyone else is genuinely interested in what I believe, I will be happy to share my beliefs with you. But, I do not try to force my beliefs on anyone. I am just a student of Christ, not a teacher.

    May the peace of God be with you and with us all…

  27. on 12 Dec 2010 at 10:00 pmXavier

    DT

    Like I said this conversation started out with some apparently innocent questions about what I believe and why.

    Actually was directed to anyone who might want to dialogue about these issues.

    I don’t believe everything that Paul said, but he did say that we should pray for the higher gifts, and he lists these higher gifts.

    Yes, I had forgotten that about you. 🙂

  

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