The gifts of the Holy Spirit,are they for today?
The arguements for and against have been debated in Christian circles,probably since scripture was presented as we know it today in the Bible.
What I want to do here,is tell my testimony,regarding the gifts of the Holy Spirit.Noting,that my testimony,does not constitute as scripture,nor makes it an absolute truth.
I was bought up in a Christian home,that for the most part attended a Baptist Church in Mount Gambier South Australia,with the pastor being Rev Joe Westlake and my youth pastor Gina Stone.Also attending various home fellowships in the district and attending Keswick conventions,whenever they were held.
I remember being taught what I know know as Free Grace theology,by my parents,during Bible readings after the evening meal,and just before we went to bed.After the latter,we prayed around the world,ie,prayed for missionaries,that we knew and some of whom my parents supported financially out of their small income that Dad earnt,shearing and falling pine trees,when he was not sick and Mum earn’t, dress making,her specialty was Brides and bridesmaid outfits..( we where very poor).
Is far as I can remember the gifts,were never,taught or even spoken about by anyone at any of those venues,churchs,conventions or at the time by my parents.
After I left home at 17 to go to my first job,then returned to visit several times,during that 4 years.Dad began speaking about the gifts,in particular tongues and discerning of spirits.I remember being very confused about this.I remember a few times praying,God,your not a God of confusion,I’m confused,show me,teach me,what is the truth concerning this gifts business.
One time after I got married,Dad was visiting and asked to pray with me.What he said stunned me.He said one word “freedom”,I said yes dad,when I first left home,at 16 yo,as I travelled the 1700 miles towards my first job,I said to myself,”now I am free to do what I want to do,without constraints of my parents.And I did.I had been saved at 14/15byears old.I lived as I wanted,drinking swearing,sleeping around,generally living in sin,with no restraint.
Some time After that,I started walking again with the Lord.My then wife and I attended a baptist church,Prospect Baptist,with Pastor Paul Hooganrad and Pastor Les Crawford.They too taught the gifts had ceased.I had a conversation about it,with them and I guess agreeded to disagree,Yet they asked me to keep teaching the home fellowship groups they had asked me previously to lead.In doing so they recognised the gift of teaching that God had given me.
They also had a indigenous Australian Pastor Bob Brown,who was a brilliant verse by verse teacher.
The church had a singing group called Cornerstone,that sang in church and where ever else they were invited to sing.
There was/is a mission for indigenous Australians,,Umeewarra Mission 250 miles north of Adelaide S.A.,which was run by the brethren,who every year had a convention for Indigenous people,that came from all parts of Australia.,travelling in some cases thousands of miles/kilometers,by car,bus,plane to be there.
Ps Bob brown was invited along with cornerstone to have an outreach to that mission over a weekend(cornerstone also sang at the local prison in Port Augusta ).
I drove Ps Bob up in my car.
On Saturday,I was asked to go out to a local community and pick up some people to attend the evening service.While travelling down a very bumpy,rough dirt road,somehow my radiator jumped from its mountings into the cooling fan,destroying the fan and radiator.It was a late Saturday afternoon,no mechanics open.I eventually was able to contact a mechanic who was prepared to change the radiator,He in my mind miraculously had a radiator and fan for my car.and affered to fix it at no cost to me.He could only do it on the Sunday.I did give him a small amount as thanks,but no where near what it would have cost for the radiator and fan,plus his time.
So when called,to pick car up,it was evening.while the final service was being started,I was very disappointed to be missing it.As God had bought quite a few indigenous people to Himself during previous meetings through the weeekend and so they believed and were saved/born again.
I got back to the church,it was packed and Ps Bob was standing at the entrance.As I stood along side of Him,praising God as several people went forward to say they wanted to be a Christian.I started hearing my voice, my praises in another “language”.I noticed Ps Bob,looking at me side ways,can’t imagine what he was thinking.Went home,not giving much thought about it.I should say my wife at the time,Dallas,was saved in a N.Z penticostal church.So she always believed in the gifts and speaking in tongues.But she went along with me for a while,to the Prospect Baptist church.I spoke to Pastor Paul and Les,about what had happened,they dismissed it as a experience(which is what most traditional churchs,like baptist and other non penticostal/charismatic churchs,used to say about penticostal/charismatics in general.”they were just in it for the experience,not about a relationship with Jesus” and how someone could be born again),but they asked me to keep teaching the Bible studies,until they found someone to replace me,but not to mention the gifts.To which I agreed.
Interestingly to a large part,when I observe,what is being taught and the carry on,seen in churchs today,that claim that what they are doing is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit,I find myself agreeing whole heartily with them,today.
I now say I am a very,very cautious continuist,because of what I see and hear
Not long after,we moved to a small country community,Aldinga,where we attended a small AOG church.In time,I was asked to be an elder.I said,I think I’m too young,let me pray about it(I was in my early 40’s).So I prayed and God give me a scripture,take up your office,Acts 1 :20-25 in particular //to take the place in this ministry//,definitely not as an apostle.but to take the position as an elder,offered to me by my pastor and elder at the time.I then queried,but God how will I know what to preach,agian a scripture Luke 12:13,that God said to Moses,through Aaron.when he questioned Gods call,I will teach you what to say and when to say it.Exodus 4:12
Now go! I will help you as you speak, and I will teach you what to say.
So as an elder,I was preaching in church and teaching in various Bible study home fellowships..And I can honestly say,God taught me what to say and when to say it.Sometime I would leave the pulpit or Bible study sometimes and just shake my head in amazement at what I had just preached/taught.God was teaching me as I was teaching others.Please understand in saying that,I dilegently studied,the word of God,using commentaries,,Hebrew,English Greek lexicon and strongs concordance in preparation of the pending preaching appointment.I used very little notes,yet as I preached,God brought to my remembrance what I had prepared.
My preaching/teaching,presented the ,what I now know as the free grace message.Some who later testified,they never heard about being saved by grace,they were taught that you had to work for their salvation.A false gospel.which is not a gospel at all.
Problem is pride comes before a fall.Man,this, fella,Trevor Craig McNamee had a hugh pride problem and he fell hard,but that’s another story,you can read about elsewhere here on this website.
So while an elder,I attended various penticostal/charismatic conferences.A preacher spoke about the gifts,and said,that the gift of tongues was evidence of Gods annionting and after the service there would by a school to teach you how to speak in tongues.I went to it and a couple placed hands on me praying in tongues.I started to speak in tongues and then thought hang on,Ive done this before,what I was speaking and hearing,it was the same as i spoke in the door way of that little brethren church,some years before.I was not a well practiced tongues speaker,still aren’t,today,but I do believe,they,the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for today.
When I think about that today,how dare they think that they could teach someone to speak in tongues.How dare they think tongues could be taught,when it’s a gift given freely by God whenever He wants,to whoever he wants,when he wants to..It doesn’t need to be taught.God gives it,not we can be taught how to speak in tongues.They are corrupting,selling the word of God see 2 Cor 2:17.For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
The word corrupt here in v 17 is
From κάπηλος kapēlos (a huckster); to retail, that is, (by implication) to adulterate (figuratively): – corrupt
The most common verse that is used to say the gifts have ceased is.
1 Cor 13:8-13“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
The phrase when the perfect comes,is most often said by those who believe the gifts have ceased,refers to the perfect,completed canon of scripture.
But is that really what the perfect comes,means.?
The one and only perfect is Jesus Christ himself,who came to us and who will return again to us.It is Jesus who is actually also called the Word.John Chapt 1.Note,not saying the word of God is not complete and perfect.We have to be careful here,as The word was inspired by God and handed to man,by the Holy Spirit,then written down.Translation of words and meanings of words can change over time.
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Referring to Jesus.
So to me it stands to reason,the perfect coming in 1 Cor 13:18- 13 is about Jesus/The Word,returning again for believing people.Born again people.
Notice,also,how we at the moment, we see through a dark glass dimly,but when we see him,we will see Him face to face.,Who is him?it’s Jesus Christ ,then we will know in actual reality,who He is and who we really are in Christ,At the moment we must read scripture and learn,then understood it .It is something that we need to be pursuaded of and then to reckon it to be so,about ourselves,but then at His appearing again,we will then know completely,perfectly,without any shadow of doubt,without looking through a dark glass dimly.Who Christ is and who we are IN Christ and He IN us.
I ask also,if the perfect refers to the canon,has everyone,does every person cease to understand as a child but now we have the canon,we all understand it as a man,who understands it completely and perfectly?.
Remember Jesus said, unless we become as a little child,we cannot see the kingdom of heaven.So this idea,that the perfect is the word of God,falls down ,because we know,none of us even as men,understand fully the length,depth and width of Gods love towards us.And never will this side of glory.Paul prays that we would,know it,however,we are all still learning,to understand it and then we have to appropriate,reckon it to be so,to be true about ourselves,as individuals.
As Paul finally exhorts us “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts”
So that is my testimony and my understanding of why the gift of the Holy Spirit are for today and are given to each of us according to gods call on us to service for Him and to His glory…….I truely hope and pray,you seek God for yourselves,to be a Berean to see if what I have said agrees with scripture.If you come to a different conclusion,that’s Ok.Just as we should do with everything that is preached,taught,that we hear,listen too.We should ask Does it line up with what scripture says?
I’m not infallible.Gods word however is.And through prayerfully, reading the word in a contextual,word by word,verse by verse manner,( not in a grab a verse here,grab a verse there,you can make scripture say whatever you want,by doing that).
I pray that you will come to know the depth,the width and the length to which God demonstrates his love towards you,even while you were/still a sinner.That you may know the power of His grace that works in you to both will and to do of His good pleasure.That you lack nothing because He has given to you/us EVERYTHING,that pertains to life and godliness…………Everything we need to do the work of the ministry God has called us to do,The gifts have been given so that we may do what he calls us to do.
God has not left us powerless,left it completely up to our own abilities and strengths,
2 Tim 1:7For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me, His prisoner. Instead, join me in suffering for the gospel by the power of God has saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works, but by His own purpose and by the grace He granted us in Christ Jesus before time began……………..trev.
ps edit, I believe a much needed gift today is sorely needed and that is the discernment of spirits,see my other post for the reason.,Herehttp://What are you teaching,preaching?Who are you listening too?New Age in the church.