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Short Essay on Pneumatology: Spiritual Gifts

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By emt5903
Words 1401
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Todd M. Lynch
THEO201 C03
Short Essay #3

Short Essay on Pneumatology: Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Gifts and their place in today’s world is a topic that has been debated for some timed. One gift that has received specific attention is the gift of speaking in tongues. This essay will define what spiritual gifts are, as well as differentiate them from Spiritual fruits and show which one is a sign of spiritual maturity. This essay will also discuss speaking in tongues, defining it, discussing if it is a sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit and arguing whether or not it is still a valid spiritual gift today. Spiritual Gifts are “gifts of God enabling the Christian to perform his or her (sometimes specialized) service” in the church.[1] They are supernatural gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit that enhance the work and ministry of the Christian. [2] Depending on which gift is given you use them to spread the Word of God and help the church to grown. They can be anything from the gift of prophesy, to the gift of speaking in tongues to the gift of administration. The gifts all have a place in ministry within the church. Spiritual gifts are not to be confused with Fruits of the Spirit. Fruits of the spirit such as love, joy, peace, kindness, etc. are all things that are produced in us by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). These things are not given to us, but brought out from inside of us through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Fruits of the Spirit relate to our character, not the things we can do. Having these brought out in us is a sign of spiritual maturity. Spiritual Gifts are given to us by the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:6-8). These gifts can be given to and employed by the most immature believer.[3] Therefore, Spiritual gifts are not a sign of spiritual maturity. Speaking in tongues is speaking in a language you do not already know in order to praise God (1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:3-5).[4] In order for it to be of any benefit to the church it must first be interpreted (1 Corinthians 14:27). Speaking in tongues can also be used as a private prayer language (Romans 8:26). It can also be used as a tool for reaching unbelievers. It was used in the book of Acts to reach unbelievers by speaking to them in their own language by those who did not already know it (Acts 2:11).[5] Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the act of a person being placed within the body of Christ.[6] This happens through a person’s conversion to Christianity and many believe through the physical act of baptism.[7] A person is commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and is baptized in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11, Luke 3:16). There are some, mainly the Pentecostals, which argue that Baptism in the Holy Spirit occurs immediately at conversion and such a vital occurrence could not wait for such a ritual as a water baptism to happen.[8] Those who argue this issue and defend the water baptism stance, point to Christ’s baptism where the Holy Spirit descended upon him at the time of his water baptism.[9]

In Pentecostal and charismatic culture speaking in tongues was a main sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit.[10] Speaking in tongues showed that a person had been endowed with the spiritual gifts and had in fact received the Holy Spirit.[11] Outside of those circles however, it is not a necessary sign. Spiritual gifts are given to all believers, and not all who receive spiritual gifts receive the gift of speaking in tongues.[12] Therefore, the displaying of speaking in tongues is not necessary to signify baptism in the Holy Spirit.

There is an argument today about the validity of speaking in tongues. Is it still a valid spiritual gift? In order to address this argument, you need to first address 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 which deals with Paul and his discussion of gifts and their cessation at the arrival of “The Perfect.”[13] First you need to decide what the perfect is. There are some who argue that “The Perfect” is the completion of the Canon of Scripture and it has already arrived.[14] There are others who argue that “The Perfect” is the maturation of Christ’s church.[15] Is the maturation the maturing of all of its members? Not possible, for there will always be new members coming into the church and members will always be at a different level of maturity. Maturation of the church will be the return of Jesus Christ. [16][17][18] This writer believes that “The Perfect” is the former, the coming of Jesus to his church. This has not happened yet, which means “The Perfect” has not occurred and all spiritual gifts are still valid. Therefore speaking in tongues is still a valid spiritual gift today.

Word count: # 799

Bibliography
Biblestudying.net Bible Study Resource (2007) Preliminary Proof: Additional Commentary. Retrieved from: http://www.biblestudying.net/proof7.html

Caulley, T.S “Holy Spirit” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A Elwell, 2nd ed., 568-573 Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001

Dyer, JT (2013) Spiritual Gifts Are Not Sign of Spiritual Maturity. Retrieved from: http://jtdyer.com/dailydevo/?p=120 Fairchild, Mary (2013) Speaking in Tongues. Retrieved from: http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/g/speakingtongues.htm McDougall, Donald (2003) Cessationism in 1 Cor 13:8-12. The Masters Seminary Journal 14(2) 177-213 Retrieved from: http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj14g.pdf

Pratt, Richard (2011) The Perfect. Retrieved from: http://reformedanswers.org/answer.asp/file/39825

Osborne, G.R. “Tongues, Speaking in” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A Elwell, 2nd ed., 1206-1209 Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001

Thomson, J.G.S.S. and W.A. Elwell “Spiritual Gifts” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A Elwell, 2nd ed., 1135-1138 Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001

Towns, Elmer Theology for Today Mason, OH: Cenage Learning, 2008

White, R.E.O “Baptism of the Spirit” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A Elwell, 2nd ed., 137-138 Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001

Williams J.R. “Charismatic Movement” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A Elwell, 2nd ed., 220-224 Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001

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[1] J.G.S.S.Thomson and W.A. Elwell “Spiritual Gifts” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A Elwell, 2nd ed., 239-245 Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001, 1135

[2] Ibid, 1135
[3] JT Dyer (2013) Spiritual Gifts Are Not Sign of Spiritual Maturity. Retrieved from: http://jtdyer.com/dailydevo/?p=120

[4] J.G.S.S.Thomson and W.A. Elwell “Spiritual Gifts” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A Elwell, 2nd ed., 239-245 Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001, 1137

[5] Mary Fairchild (2013) Speaking in Tongues. Retrieved from: http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/g/speakingtongues.htm

[6] Elmer Towns, Theology for Today Mason, OH:Cenage Learing, 2008, 296
[7] Ibid, 296
[8] R.E.O White “Baptism of the Spirit” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A Elwell, 2nd ed., 239-245 Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001, 138
[9] Ibid, 138
[10] T.S. Caulley “Holy Spirit” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A Elwell, 2nd ed., 239-245 Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001, 572
[11] R.E.O White “Baptism of the Spirit” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A Elwell, 2nd ed., 239-245 Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001, 138
[12] Elmer Towns, Theology for Today Mason, OH:Cenage Learing, 2008, 306
[13] McDougall, Donald (2003) Cessationism in 1 Cor 13:8-12. The Masters Seminary Journal 14(2) 208
[14] Towns, 308
[15] Richard Pratt (2013) The Perfect. Retrieved from: http://reformedanswers.org/answer.asp/file/39825
[16] Biblestudying.net Bible Study Resource (2007) Preliminary Proof: Additional Commentary. Retrieved from: http://www.biblestudying.net/proof7.html
[17] G.R. Osborne “Tongues, Speaking ins” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A Elwell, 2nd ed., 239-245 Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001, 1209

[18] J.R. Williams, “Charismatic Movement” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A Elwell, 2nd ed., 239-245 Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001, 223

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