Saturday, February 10, 2007

Random Questions

One of the questions I am going to be answering tomorrow is: Are the gifts of the Spirit for today?

I am always amazed at the polarization there is amongst Christians when it comes to certain issues, and there is some definite lines in the sand around the gifts of the Spirit. I think tomorrow will be helpful to anyone who has had teaching in this area no matter the perspective they have been taught.

Frankly those who differ from me regarding questions like this don't bother me. The essentials of faith are salvation by faith through is a gift from God. I have many wonderful friends who are men and women of God that differ from my perspective on the gifts of the spirit and we have fantastic wholesome relationships. I even go to their conferences, read their books and listen to their preaching! Gasp:)

What I struggle with is those who say God doesn't give people the gifts of the Spirit any longer. No where in the Word of God does it say the gifts of the Spirit that the early apostles and church operated in are not for today. Nada! No where! Zilch! And yes, I know that the Corinthian church didn't have the whole Bible and that Paul illustrates other characteristics given by the spirit in later letters, but I am convinced that if the operation of gifts was meant to cease, then it would have happened and Paul would have made this distinction without any gray area. Why is it that in every major move of God for centuries the miraculous has been included!

By the way, there are nine gifts of the Spirit, and I know that 7 of them were present in the Old Testament, so we generally accept those. However, the two new ones in the New Testament mess with our comfort levels, but Jesus came to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." And yes, Mark 16:9 and through the end was added in the 2nd century, but it still made the cut at the council of Nicea when the gnostic (overly spiritual) did not. Something must be with that portion of scripture.

Now before you throw me out as a fanatic and label me with the fruits, flakes and nuts, I am far from that. In fact, I am just excited that God would want to use me in any capacity as any believer, and if His Spirit is to overflow from my life and speaking in tongues is part of it, then I want it as a part of the package. It doesn't make me superior, or higher, or better than anyone else, especially those who believe and practice different than me.

Yes, the interpretation of tongues in public meetings must be adhered to, but a prayer meeting is not a public meeting! A prayer meeting is where believer's come together and pray corporately for the edification of the church, the body and the saints.

Rarely, once in 7 years, has there been a manifest gift of tongues over the microphone during a Sunday or Wednesday public meeting at The Rock Church that was not specifically interpreted. And in the one instance, correction was given. But yes, you will hear people pray in tongues at The Rock Church. They will pray in consideration of specific prayer requests, they will pray to edify themselves and they will pray in specific prayer meetings where believer's are all present praying. And in every case, scripture warrants such practice.

People get all excited over little nuances, so I can't help but laugh when some all-knowing religious conservative comes up to me and says, "You speak in tongues?" As if the devil makes me do it.