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Author Topic: Have the spiritual gifts ceased or they around today?  (Read 4430 times)
carlos123
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« on: July 16, 2004, 01:36:46 AM »

Hi everyone,

I would like to discuss whether spiritual gifts are still around for today or whether they have ceased as a way of continuing to learn how to work toward agreement with other Christians. I am not out to convert those who believe they have ceased to believing they are still for today or vice versa. I am out to unite around what God says.

Rather than just have us all just spout forth our own opinions ad infinitum as often happens when discussing this type of issue I think we need a more disciplined approach. One where we go verse by verse and build a consensus of understanding before continuing to other verses which might be more controversial.

If no one has any objections I would like to start by focusing on 1 Cor 13 and discussing whether it supports a ceasing of the gifts or not.

Let me ask the following questions first if I might to stimulate discussion.

Quote
1 Corinthians 12:31 (NASB)
But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.


It seems obvious from this verse that there are varying degrees of gifts. Some being greater than others. Setting aside the issue of whether any of the gifts are around for today or not for the moment, what does it mean for a gift to be greater than another? What is Paul saying when he says that he will show a more excellent way. A more excellent way when contrasted or compared with what other way? A way to what? Does anyone have any thoughts?

Quote
1 Corinthians 14:1 (NASB)
Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.


In this verse Paul seems to be summarizing the major point he made in 1 Cor 13. Pursue love. He also seems to bring in what he said at the tail end of 1 Cor 12. Namely that we are to desire spiritual gifts. And he even makes once again the same sort of distinction he made in 1 Cor 12:31. Namely that there are some gifts (the greater) that we are to especially desire. Prophesy being one example of such a greater gift.

In trying to understand what Paul is saying in 1 Cor 13 it seems important to understand it in the context of what he is saying immediately before the 13th chapter and immediately afterwards in 1 Cor 14:1. Namely pursue love, desire spiritual gifts in general, but especially the greater ones.

Does that about summarize what Paul is getting at just before and just after 1 Cor 13?

Remember...just a few verses at a time starting with the one's I have started the thread on if ya all don't mind . I know that some of us have a tendency to just spew forth verses in support of our respective positions on this but such does not ever seem to lead to more unity of thinking. Rather to the opposite.

Thanks.

Carlos
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2004, 10:58:11 AM »

Welcome Carlos. Hope you enjoy your stay here.

Just a small note of disagreement, in that where you are starting (IMO) is a little further into the question than it should be.

Chaps 12, 13 and 14 are really a very excellent and logical discourse on the subject of gifts, but they are put in relation to HOW they occur, and everything really begins in 12.

How can you have any rational discussion (meaning logical) of what constitutes a "greater gift" or "a more excellent way" without first establishing some groundwork, or the foundation of the discussion.

Who gives the gifts, when are they given, what constitutes a gift, what is expected of the recipient, and when do they come into "play".

After that, what are the gifts, are they restricted to only those named, and how are they to be exhibited.

Lastly, is the "proof text" concerning cessation (found in Ch. 13) actually a proof text, or is it (by interpretation) being "forced" into a proof where it should not be?

It is an excellent subject to study, and should be required reading (and intense study) for ALL who know Christ, but it definitely should not be entered into with any pre-conceived notions about this, that, or the other.

Looking forward to more responses.
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2004, 11:40:35 AM »

You are absolutely correct Evangelist!  Your response is one of the best one's I have yet seen on any forums I have started this discussion on (three so far).  All I have usually seen is the normal response on the part of Christians which leads us nowhere closer to agreement.  

Namely Christians will start in with opinions about this or that spiritual gift citing this or that verse and then veer off to express another opinion with thiis or that verse cited all over the place.  Or they will "pound" their point accross with so many verses cited that it makes it virtually impossible to come to agreement unless it is with them.  No disciplined study or going over verses.  No closer to agreement.  

I even had one Christian post a large section of a book he is writing on a thread, supposedly to help others see the irrefutable logic of his reasoning Smiley.  Not that it did any good in that regard mind you.  

So let's start in chapter 12 then and see where this discussion goes.  Hopefully one's will stick to the progression and not veer off so that we can see God move us all toward agreement.  

Quote
1 Corinthians 12:1-2
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.
You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led.

I will share what I see in these verses as a springboard to discussion rather than asking questions as I did before.  

With the word "Now" Paul introduces the subject on which he will  be speaking.  That is "spiritual gifts".  Right in line with our discussion Smiley.  Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to not stay in ignorance regarding spiritual gifts by saying "I do not want you to be unaware.".  When they were unbelievers (i.e. pagans) they were led astray to worship dumb or mute (unable to speak) idols.  Paul is reminding them of that I think to have them realize that even now as Christians they can still  be led astray just as they were as pagans.  And that he does not want them to continue in ignorance regarding spiritual gifts.  

Does that about summarize what this is saying?  Any other thoughts on these first few verses?  Let's stick to this verse by verse ya all so that we might get further than Christians usually do when discussing this subject.  

Let's reign in our tendency to just spout off at the mouth Smiley.  Mine included.  

Carlos
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2004, 01:18:50 PM »

Sounds good, Carlos!

I would add just one thing, which is implied rather than spoken. Recall that the entirety of Corinthians is addressed to born-again believers living in a pagan setting, and most of them (as noted) had been pagans. Paul here, I believe, is also setting up the arguments that will follow to contrast the realities of God's gifts with those supposedly evident in the pagan religions.

Of note here is the historical reality that most (if not all) of the pagan religions being practiced throughout history involved several important considerations: one, reliance upon a priest or priestess to dole out favors or punishments; two, the use of sensual favors or preparatory embellishments to facilitate "getting closer to..." whatever deity they wanted to contact; three, ecstatic utterances, both by the priest/priestesses that were then interpreted by them to the seeker, and by the seeker who had "succeeded" in making contact with the spiritual realm.

I'll briefly (by notation only) make reference to Elijah and the priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel, and what those priests went through before being burned!

As you say, Paul is beginning by clarifying that there is indeed a difference between the charismata being exhibited by the pagans, and the true gifts given by God, who alone can actually speak to and through His followers.....the pagan gods were mute...dumb as it were (indeed!).

Carry on!!
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2004, 02:16:49 PM »

Well put Evangelist!  

I will continue unless anyone has anything else to add.   It feels a bit like I am having a discussion with myself (with encouragment from you Evangelist and some additional insight of course) but one never knows on these boards who might be reading and liable to jump in at any moment I guess.  

So continuing with 1 Cor 12....

Quote
Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.  Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.
And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.  There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.

Paul sums up his first few sentences by saying "therefore...".  That is in view of how the Corinthians were led astray as pagans and Paul's wish that they no longer walk in ignorance about matters pertaining to spiritual gifts....he begins to lay out truths about manifestations being experienced among them as Christians.  

He begins by helping the Corinthians realize that all manifestations are either of God or not.  And that those that are of God will confess and acknowledge Jesus as Lord.  Or in other words uphold the essence of who Jesus Christ is.  Not contradict it.  I do not believe Paul is saying that anyone who says "Jesus is Lord" verbally is of God but rather more in line with the spirit of what Paul said in Romans...that one believes with the heart and confesses with their mouth attesting to the reality of their relationship to God.  

In other words to say "Jesus is Lord" involves more than just a verbal saying of these words.  Rather it involves a true recognition of Jesus as Lord such that the verbal confession of such evidences a genuine held belief in Jesus as Lord.  

One can not do that unless God has been at work in the heart to have that person recognize and embrace that.  

I believe that Paul then makes the point that God expresses himself through various gifts in various ways through various individuals.  Such that no one individual can claim to have gifts from God exclusively over and against another who has a different gift.  Which are all from the same God.  

This is in line with the corrections of the Corinthians earlier in the book of Corinthians were Paul rebuked them for their divisiveness.  And no doubt they were putting great stock in various gifts as making them closer to God or superior to others.  Paul is stressing that it's not any one Corinthian in particular that is at the root of what is happening.  But rather God manifesting himself through all.

Anyone have any additional comments, corrections of what I have said, or disagreement so far?  

There are some important implications in just these few verses that contradict the practice in some Christian circles to put great emphasis on and to elevate some gifts over others as being more indicative of true spirituality.  One of the very problems Paul was addressing in these verses I think.  

Carlos  
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2004, 03:03:48 PM »

Looking good, Carlos.

It might seem strange to consider that Paul introduced the phrase about "cursing Jesus" at this point, but again I will interject: Early on in Christianity a particular heresy began to arise, aided and abetted by prevalent Greek thought and philosophy. That was the Gnostic heresy. Simply put, gnosis (knowledge) stated that flesh is corrupt, and spirit is pure, and that spirit and flesh could not co-exist. Add to that from Judaic tradition and scripture that "whosoever hangeth on a tree is cursed", factor in that fact that Jesus was hung on a cross (from a tree), Judas hung himself from a tree, and you have the deranged notion that it was therefore spiritual to say Jesus was accursed. As flesh, He could not possibly be spiritual, or God incarnate. Thus arose the "Jesus is cursed" notion and saying.

At the same time, Paul iterated a foundational part of his argument that we see through all of his epistles, and that is a re-framing of something Jesus said.

Jesus said "no one comes unless the Father calls...", and then in John 18 talks of the Holy Spirit "convincing the world of sin, righteousness and judgment to come...". Paul, in Romans, says "whosoever confesses with his mouth....and believes in his heart", establishing the connection....God calls via revelation in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, we acknowledge that truth, then make confession while believing.

I'm in complete agreement that there is a difference between just the saying of the words, and the actual belief, as you point out.

Again, as you say, Paul makes certain that the groundwork is laid....God is in charge, He is in control, He dispenses, and all of the results work to the good of HIS plan, not ours.

I suspect that we will soon arrive at a point where some of the lurkers chime in...especially when we get to some other parts. Grin
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2004, 03:15:13 PM »

Indeed we will get to some parts that are prone to be interpreted differently by various Christians.  But what is neat about our approach so far is that we are setting the groundwork that will help us properly understand and hopefully work through those parts to arrive at unity of thinking.  As God would have.  

I do not see this setting of the groundwork and working from a consensus of agreement undergirding most such discussions over this subject so I am hopeful Smiley and getting a bit excited.  

I really appreciate your excellent and valuable input Evangelist.  It rounds out my own comments and fleshes out what I believe God wants to say through these verses.  

Carlos


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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2004, 05:07:21 PM »

Danke!

I also meant to add in re the gnostic thought, that later on in 1, 2 and 3 John we see that again being refuted with John's insistence that the "spirit of anti-christ" is found in those who "do not confess that Jesus came in the flesh".

Blessings
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« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2004, 10:21:38 PM »

Good point Evangelist.  Interesting how parts of the Scriptures attest to the truth of various other parts no?  

Alrighty then...continuing on with our discussion before the silent masses Smiley....

Quote
1 Corinthians 12:7-10
But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  For to one is given the

word of wisdom through the Spirit,  and to another the
word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;  to another
faith by the same Spirit, and to another
gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the
effecting of miracles, and to another
prophecy, and to another the
distinguishing of spirits, to another
various kinds of tongues, and to another the
interpretation of tongues.

I took some liberty with the quote to make the list of gifts clearer in arranging the verses as I did.  

So far we have seen how Paul wanted the Corinthians to not be ignorant about the manifestations they were seeing among them.  As they had been regarding the manifestations they experienced when worshipping idols.  What they were seeing among them now was of God and He was working all these through them.  

Now Paul brings in the purpose of these manifestations. Namely that they are for the common good of the Corinthians.

He then begins to list some of the various manifestations of the Spirit among them.   Notice how much he emphasizes that these manifestations are from the Spirit.  The same Spirit of God.  

As a side note it is interesting that only certain gifts are emphasized in the Church of today even among charismatics.  Such as prophecy and tongues speaking.  It is also interesting to note how much emphasis is put on the manifestation of suppossedly genuine gifts in today's Church when Paul's main emphasis was on God.  Producing all such manifestations for the common good.  By the same Spirit.  By the one Spirit.  

It's a subtle shift from what Paul was saying but profoundly important to realize I think.  Paul was not emphasizing any one gift per se, at least not up to this point.  Rather he was focusing and trying to draw attention to the one God working out all of them among His people for the common good by His one Spirit.  He was not emphasizing the gifts themselves.  

How strange in some respects that some parts of the Church today put great emphasis on this or that particular manifestation of a gift.   It strikes me as odd to how God views things as we would view a person emphasizing how they breath in every conversation we have with them instead of just breathing and interacting with us in a more normal fashion.  

To sum up this section....

The gifts are given for the common good and are the manifestations of the one Spirit working through His people.  

Any other thoughts before I continue?  Are we in agreement so far?  

Carlos
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« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2004, 11:19:39 PM »

As I was thinking about what we have discussed so far it dawned on me how far the Church of today has strayed into being just as divisive as the Corinthians were.  

May I venture to say the following?  

Wherever we find an emphasis on this or that gift in the Church of today as opposed to an emphasis on God we will find the flesh.  Rising up to take glory away from God and bringing  attention and glory to those people operating in said gift.  

Just as we find in the Corinthian Church!  

Quote
1 Corinthians 4:7
For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

Quote
1 Corinthians 3:1
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.  I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?

Quote
1 Corinthians 1:10
Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.  For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you.

We so pride ourselves on being able to teach against the divisiveness and fleshly pride in the Corinthians yet remain blind to the same thing happening in us as a Church.   As individuals within that Church.  Like the Corinthians we too have been walking around in ignorance and in the flesh.  Rising up to boast in God's particular manifestations through us, rather than in the God who works out all of it through His one Spirit.  For the common good of all.  

How it must grieve the heart of God.  Loving Father to us all.  

Carlos
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« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2004, 05:00:08 PM »

If no one has any objections I would like to start by focusing on 1 Cor 13 and discussing whether it supports a ceasing of the gifts or not.

It's a good thing you brought up 1 Cor. 13 as the point at which to decide whether some gifts cease and others do not.  

When we turn to verses 8-13 we learn that (1) prophecies, (2) tongues, and (3) knowledge* would FAIL, CEASE, AND VANISH AWAY, which all mean the same thing -- STOP.

There's always argument about this by those who claim to speak in tongues ( but actually speak something else). However, while the apostles were on earth ,the NT Scriptures were being completed or "perfected". When the book of Revelation was completed, then Scripture was indeed perfected, and it is GOd-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16). We should strive to be satisified with Scripture, not go chasing after gifts which actually ceased.

We also know that the sign gifts -- signs, wonders, and miracles accompanied the apostles, and when the apostles left this scene, those also disappeared (Heb. 2:1-4). So in facts, many spiritual gifts are not operational today, and when claims are made about healing miracles for example, we discover that these are generally false claims. Also there can be real miracles from demonic sources which are meant to deceive.

Therefore we are left with all the gifts given for the edification of the saints. There's a considerable list, which is derived not just from 1 Corinthians, but from other portions of Scripture as well.

*which is not ordinary knowledge but supernaturally given knowledge of things not revealed earlier, such as revelation of the Church the body of Christ, with both Jews and Gentiles in it
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« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2004, 05:25:44 PM »

Well thank God someone disagrees with my view that none of the gifts are intended by God to have ceased!  Great to hear from you Sower.  

Now we can trust God to help us work toward agreement in a spirit of humility heh?  Not as in agreement with me per se but as in agreement with the Word.  Perhaps I am not seeing some things correctly and you Sower or others on this forum may be able to be used by God to help me see that.  Or vice versa.  

So I look forward to discussing this more with you as we progress into 1 Cor 13 and then into 1 Cor 14.  

I'll continue with more verses after giving anyone else that cares to, a chance to say anything about what we have gone over so far.  

Is there any disagreement with anything I have shared so far Sower?  Other than that I am discussing gifts that in your view have ceased of course.  But I mean more in terms of what I believe Paul meant to say through the first few verses of 1 Cor 12?  Are we in agreement regarding that or does that need further discussion?  

Let's keep going one step at a time.  We will soon enough get to the parts over which Christians disagree in 1 Cor 13 centered on the meaning of the "perfect".   But unlike so many similar discussions that I have seen we will be in a much better position to move toward agreement when we have first come to agreement on the verses sorrounding 1 Cor 13 in context.  

Carlos
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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2004, 12:32:28 AM »

Okay then.  Since no one else has anything to add at this point in our thread I will continue Smiley.

I am going to quote quite a few verses below in order to get through the material quicker.  I don't think too many would have differing opinions about what the following verses mean anyway so we can quickly get through it I think to the more controversial stuff while keeping in mind what we have gone over so far.  

Quote
1 Corinthians 12:11-27 (NASB)
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body is not one member, but many.

If the foot says, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.  And if the ear says, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?

But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.

If they were all one member, where would the body be?  But now there are many members, but one body.  

And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."  On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary;  and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it.

But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it.

Lot's of good stuff in there.  Basically I see Paul once again rephrasing and saying once again that the Holy Spirit is behind the manifestations that the Corinthians are experiencing.  And that God is at work in the Corinthian Church, through His Spirit, to place the gifts in operation however he desires to place them.  

Paul emphasizes that the Body is made of many members.  That the Body is Christ's Body and that all the members should work together as a Body to equally care for each other and express the life of Christ as a Body.  

Again the emphasis is on God working through His Spirit in the Body not on any particular manisfestation of a gift.  The gifts are many and varied.  The gifts can only be truly appreciated when seen in light of how they work together to glorify Christ through His Body, the Church.  

The whole thurst of what Paul is saying is so different from what we see in the Church today.  Today we see splits and divisions between those exercising various suppossed gifts and those who think they are not genuine.  We see some emphasize the need for this or that gift as evidence of being baptized with the Spirit and yet others saying that no such gift is neccessary.  Division, splits, arguing, endless debates and wranglings in a spirit of partisonship.  Where we are of the Baptists.  Or we are of the Dispensationalists.  Or we are of the need for freedom in Christ in expressing ourselves to God through tongues or otherwise.  

Paul would have rebuked the whole lot of us I think.  

It isn't that determining whether a gift is genuine or not is not important.  Rather it is the spirit with which we approach such a determination that is oftentimes wrong.  It is the underlying pride in our respective positions that leads us astray.  To bicker and fight and act more like children than spiritual adults.  

Paul has not so far said anything that would indicate that the gifts in question have ceased (we will get to that Smiley).  Nor has he denied what the Corinthians were experiencing in the exercise of said gifts however fleshly they were in their exercise of them.  Rather he was focusing the Corinthians back on Christ working for the common good according to His will within the Church, His Body.  

That was the starting point for the Corinthians learning how to use their gifts in line with God's desires and not their own.  Paul needed to set this foundation up before going on to talk about the specific way to operate in certain of the gifts.  

If anyone has any thoughts please feel free to share them.  

Carlos
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2004, 02:26:36 AM »

Amen! Very good bible study through socratic dialogue I might add.  Wink  I have to disagree with

Quote
When we turn to verses 8-13 we learn that (1) prophecies, (2) tongues, and (3) knowledge* would FAIL, CEASE, AND VANISH AWAY, which all mean the same thing -- STOP.

This is out of context. This verse does not mean that prophecies, tongues, or knowledge will stop or pass away. The entire verse is:

Quote
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Paul is saying, Love will never ever fail whereas other things such as prophecies, tongues, and knowledge will (or pass away). I do not quite understand the rest of chapter 13. Input on that will help.

Thus, this does not say gifts of tongue and prophecy are not  around today. They still are here just as much as teaching, singing, etc. are all gifts in the body of Christ today.


On account of what seems to be troubling carlos: "gift envying", "gift fakers", "gift boasting", and possibly "gift projection". This has always been a problem in Churches throughout time. Satan obviously hates a body of believers working together, and he tries to make sure these problems split up Christ's church.

"Gift envying" is where we desire a gift that someone else has. I really like music, and I wish I could write songs as well as some friends; but God just didnt give me that gift. We must not envy something we don't have. Envying is not love. We must "eagerly desire the greater gifts" but at the same time follow Paul's way "and now I will show you the most excellent way." (cor 12:31) - the way of Love.

"Gift fakers." Gift envying may lead to people who desire a gift so much, that they pretend they have it. For instance, if I desired to be able in song writing; I may be lead to copy someone else's work and call it my own. This is bad.  Sad

"Gift boasting" People who boast about what they can do in comparision to others.  Self-explanatory. As was quoted by carlos

Quote
1 Corinthians 4:7
For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

Also

Quote
"Does the ax raise itself above him who swings it, or the saw boast against him who uses it? As if a rod were to wield him who lifts it up, or a club brandish him who is not wood!"
Isaiah 10:15
Glory belongs to God!


Lastly, "Gift projection". This is when we think everyone else has our abilities. Just because we are able to do something, we can't assume that everyone else can. You're a teacher and you can explain something very well. Then when you ask someone to explain something to you and they do a real crappy job, you can't get mad at them because you can help him but he can't help you in this aspect. The Holy spirit determines who should have what gift. "he gives them to each one, just as he determines." (cor 12:11)

In speaking about gifts, they don't just include the big ones (prophecy, healing, teaching) but EVERYTHING that goes on in the church. The man who goes to church every Sunday who does nothing but donate money has a gift, gift for giving. The person who cleans the church, gift for cleaning. The person who stands at the door and greets people, gift for greeting.  Each is important regardless of how small or big.

Quote
Corinthians 12:25-26
so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, EVERY part suffers with it; if one part is honored, EVERY part rejoices with it.


The reason there is so much dissention in the Church over gifts is because people are not practicing the greatest thing of all: Love!! It is the lack of Love that leads to this problem you see in the church today Carlos.

Quote
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Cor 13:13

Gifts are not anywhere near faith, hope and love so why do people put what gifts they want or have after these three things??
« Last Edit: July 19, 2004, 02:41:52 AM by felix102 » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2004, 10:46:53 AM »

Felix and Sower:
Thanks for jumping in!! As Carlos noted, we will be getting to the verses you speak of when we get there, but for right now we're just trying to do a careful exegesis of everything surrounding the "questionable" verses.

Carlos:
Quote
1 Corinthians 12:11-27 (NASB)
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

Small disagreement....I don't think that Paul is emphasizing that the manifestations occuring are all from God, nearly as much as he is stating the fact that that which IS from God, is given by God, and is given differently. This is an extremely important point.

We see in these verses that on believing in Jesus Christ, He does an immediate work. He baptizes (immerses) us IN the Holy Spirit, who  seals us (locks us up tight) against the day of redemption. We belong to God, lock, stock and barrel. The Holy Spirit then begins His portion of work....He dispenses to each born-again believer a gift. He makes the decision as to what gift it is. This is an implied statement, confirmed later, that everyone gets a different gift. While there may be many who have the "same" gift, there is no indication that everyone in a given church or group will all have the same gift.  This is by way of Paul setting up the argument to follow that everyone manifesting the same gift is an indication of something wrong.  "how is it (Paul asks) that when you all come together, EVERYONE has a message in tongues, and EVERYONE has an interpretation...".  Paul goes on to say (paraphrased) "I don't THINK so!!....that is NOT how it works."

Having early on brought in the references to pagan religion and practice, and then coming to this stage  is Paul's way of saying..."look and what you used to do....look at what you are doing....and look at the way God does it."

Of another note further into your quoted scriptures. Paul makes abundantly clear that the Holy Spirit places members in the church where He wants them.  Something we too often ignore. We tend to go where WE want, to hear a preacher WE like, or to participate in worship that fits OUR psyche.  Not good. We need to work harder at learning to hear where God wants us, WHY He wants us there, and then to DO what He wants, rather than what WE want.

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