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Spiritual Gifts

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In Christian theology, spiritual gifts are special abilities given by the Holy Spirit for the common good.

The Bible indentifies these gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11offsite Romans 12:6-8offsite and 1 Peter 4:10-12.

Some people, referred to as cessationists, believe these gifts have ceased.

Many Christians who believe these gifts are still available today overemphasize them, with some even suggesting or claiming - falsely - that their presence or absence determines whether or not a person is saved.

At Apologetics Index we believe these gifts are still available today -- though not to the extend suggested by many Charismatic Christians.

The Bibles shows that the ministries, effects, and manifestations associated with spiritual gifts are distributed by the Holy Spirit "just as He determines." Consequently we believe that God can, at any time and for any reason, give any of His gifts to any person, for any purpose.

Sadly, though, much of what certain churches, movements and individual Christians present as "charismatic gifts and manifestations" does not originate with God, and consequently does not pass Scriptural tests.

One of the most debated issues in Christian theology is the question of what some people call the "extraordinary or miraculous gifts" of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are:

  • Apostleship
  • Prophecy
  • Speaking and Interpreting Tongues
  • Working of Miracles

Most Common Christian Understanding of the Gifts

  • Some believers hold firmly that these four gifts were limited to a period between Jesus' ascension and the death of the last Apostle, Jesus' beloved disciple John (about ad 90). People who hold this view are known as cessationists.
  • Other Christians affirm the continuation of all of the gifts. They are continuationists.
  • Many other believers would fall in an in-between category of being "open but cautious."
  • Still other believers hold that some of the four gifts continue, while others have ceased.

Whatever view we take, we must remember that according to Paul, the spiritual gifts are meant to promote the unity of the body (1 Cor. 12:12; Ephe. 4:12-13). In the letters of Paul, the unity of the body is necessary for the church's growth. The alternative, disunity and spiritual arrogance, tears down the church.
- Source: What the Bible Says About Spiritual Giftsoffsite Rose Publishing

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See Also

Apologetics Index research resource Apostles
Apologetics Index research resource Prophets and Prophecy


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This post was last updated: Nov. 19, 2011