Comments

  1. Nancy says

    I’m reading some of these recent articles a little late; just haven’t had the time lately. It’s really sad that spiritual gifts have not been explained properly in any of the evangelical churches I have attended throughout my life. I have never collectively experienced anything like what you are talking about. I’ve just recently started attending an evengelical church again after a long break away and once again am coming home empty, not feeling like I’ve experienced “church”. Where in the world can I go to experience “real church”? Not a criticism just a real felt need.

  2. Nischelle Reagan says

    Ditto on the dream comment above =]
    I’ve had many dreams that end up coming true, and it’s quite a strange thing to be on the receiving end of. Often times the dreams are so realistic and I am led to pray for a particular person. Often later the person was going through the exact situation that I had a dream about.

  3. Teague says

    If I’m getting ahead of you, just let me know. Do you think people receive certain gifts for life or could someone operate in all 9 gifts at one point or another? This isn’t a burning question for me but I was just curious if you had any thoughts.

  4. Al says

    Question … A friend of mine told me she received a gift of “spiritual writing”. She says though it is not listed in the bible, it is like a gift of tongue. She scribbles an unknown writings and she can sense the content of it… I guess like interpretation. A preacher came to her church and handed out pen and paper suggesting everyone try it. Recommended especially to male congregants to release stress and become more spiritual. Would like to know your take on such a gifting. Thank you.

    • says

      My take is that I have nothing to say about this. Just a few observations, however: 1. There is no such gift mentioned or exemplified in the NT. 2. Most Christians in the first-century couldn’t read. And even less could write. So if such a gift did exist in the first-century, very few Christians could have made use of it. 3. I’m an author and I write constantly. I can sense when the Lord’s anointing is on me enabling me to write beyond my natural capacity, however, it’s not automated like using a Ouija board. 4. “Automatic writing” is something that is used in the mystic cults. Those are just observations. Again, I have no opinion on whether or not your friend has a true gift from God or not. But it’s something I’m not terribly interested in, personally. I prefer to focus on what the NT actually teaches about the spiritual gifts that Paul talked about.

  5. Angela says

    I love the last paragraph about not using the gifts in a flashy manner. Naturally there might be some leaping and praising God after a big miracle, but that should be the thankful response, not the result of trying to whip up excitement in a crowd.

    I am reminded of how Jesus normally ministered, and gave the Father the glory.

  6. Marc Goodman says

    Frank thank you very much for this fuller explanation of the gifts. It’s incredibly valuable in another way besides simple understanding. I believe that it enables the believer to discern through prayer specifically where they are in their walk with God and also how to be more effective in that walk.

  7. Matt Bray says

    Thanks Frank! Wow! Another great post on a topic I am really passionate about. About your statement that faith is required to receive miracles… the three verses that most closely support this position are acts 14:9, Matt 13:58, and Mark 10:46-52, but none of these illustrate that faith is required. They only demonstrate that faith makes it more easy to receive a miracle and that sometimes having faith can make one well, not that faith is REQUIRED. Obviously, faith is required to perform a miracle. But aren’t there countless examples of people in scripture receiving a miracle without faith? For instance… the dead probably didn’t have any faith to be healed… they were dead. People who walked by Peter’s shadow didn’t even know they were about to be healed, how could they have faith? Your thoughts, Frank? Thanks again!

    • says

      I suppose there are exceptions, as in the raising of the dead. But if one examines all the cases where Jesus healed someone, for instance, He would often ascribe the healing to their faith.

  8. says

    Thank you for this wonderfully descriptive post. Very helpful and interesting to see how they each intertwine with the others. I think one day we will be amazed how God’s power worked in the daily little things we often brush off as ordinary.

    Have you written anything on dreams?

  9. Matt Ziemer says

    Good stuff Bro. That is a new thought for me that public toungues are primarily for Jewish unbelievers. I will have to spend some time pondering.

  10. Jeff says

    Love your work. Must though take issue with your explanation of the gift of tongues. You really had to stretch scripture beyond its plain, common sense words, to support your view that tongues include something other human languages or that it includes self indulgent gibberish and call it a prayer language.

    • says

      Nope. Paul talks about the “tongues of angels and men” in 1 Cor. 13. Many studies have been done by linguists by tongue speakers and the consensus has been that 1) it’s a language but 2) it’s not a known, human language. So I believe Paul helps us by saying that some tongues are angelic languages and others human. I don’t recall anywhere saying that “self-indulgent gibberish” is tongues. Where did you get that idea?

      • Jeff says

        PS: The only place in scripture about which I am aware where ‘unknown tongues’ is clearly described is following Pentecost. In that setting, it is clear that the ‘unknown tongues’ were known languages not previously known by the ones speaking them, but fully understood by the ones listening as they were those from other cultures who had flooded the city for pentecost. They heard and undertstood the gospel in their native languages. Nowhere else, including those scriptures you cite, is there any place that expands the meaning of ‘unknown tongues’ beyond the pentacostal experience. I try to use the clear verses to govern the interpretation of the more obscure. Thanks again.

        • says

          There’s no way to prove the case one way or another. Using Acts 2 to support the idea that tongues is *always* a human language while dismissing 1 Cor. 13:1 as being an unrealistic metaphor doesn’t work. Too many assumptions made there. NT scholar Gordon Fee makes a compelling case that when Paul refers to “tongues of angels,” he is speaking of the language of heaven (Fee, NICNT, 1 Corinthians). Others scholars agree with him. But again, one cannot prove it one way or the other. That said, “tongues” was a tiny piece of this article. I trust my readers are taking in the whole of it. I’m far more interested in prophecy than I am tongues, as was Paul. ;-)

          • says

            “I’m far more interested in prophecy than I am tongues.”

            Me too and I want to hear “read” more. Incredibly curious about your thoughts on dreams. :)

    • says

      I’ve experienced prayer in an unknown language (at least unknown to me). It occurred only once – when I was alone and quite broken in prayer so there is no way to know if it could have been interpreted.

      Was it known or unknown to men? I don’t know and it really doesn’t matter. I know it was real; I felt God’s power give me strength to get through a terrible time. I can’t explain it – I have no witnesses. I’ve come to believe it was the intercession of the Spirit; not a human language.

      Honestly, why would it need interpretation if I was alone and why would it make any sense for it to be another known language if there was no one there to hear it?

      There are some things that will be a mystery to us and my heart is that we have to be okay with that. Jesus gives us what we need, when we need it.

  11. Al. Bajus says

    Fantastic! Thank you for this, and parts 1 & 2. I am looking forward to the rest.

    Recently, in the little fellowship we attend, there have been some distinct words of knowledge as well as the discerning of spirits. Coupled with the display of these genuine gifts (which have been used for edification and glorifying Christ), there has also been the display of counterfeit gifts that have been used to try to divide, cut down and destroy. It has been an… interesting drama to observe as it has unfolded. Fortunately, the posture of most of the brethren has been to fall on our faces and beg the Lord to search our hearts. So much marvelous growth has happened!

    I did leave a comment with a question regarding a bit of the issue here, if you have time to answer: http://frankviola.org/2012/03/07/forgottenbeatitude2/

    Thanks for all you do!
    Hope one day to be able to shake your hand…

  12. mainpain says

    Frank

    Thanks for this series. I am part of a group that meets monthly for prayer etc for our city and notice that many from similar church structures imitate the same behaviours in the things of the Spirit. This is solid teaching, and I hope will help us jettison the Azuza St. type actions in favor of what God is doing in His Body now. Many times we are emulating behaviours we observe rather than experiencing the fresh move of God in our lives. In one of your house church stories you mention the coming together of several church experiences and the friction it caused. So much so, that you all refrained from doing what you “knew” and the result was seeing God move in ways none of you had experienced before, that is what I pray the Body will do with this teaching, listen for God’s voice, set aside our own knowledge and let God move. Thank you, thank you , thank you.

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