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 12:4-11 Romans 12:6-8 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:
- 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 Gifts Rose Publishing
- Can a Charismatic Theology be Biblical? (Pro) by Jon Ruthven (Note: Ruthven supports the Toronto Blessing Movement).
- "Counterfeit" Spiritual Gifts A testimony by Gayle Rogers
- On the Cessation of the Charismata: The Protestant Polemic on Post-Biblical Miracles Jon Ruthven, on the continuing availability of spiritual gifts
- Spiritual Gifts and Manifestations A brief, verse-by-verse look at 1 Corinthians 14
- What the Bible Says About Spiritual Gifts The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to Christians to help build the life and ministry of the Church. This glossy-coated pamphlet from Rose Publishing describes the different biblical gifts, explains what they are for, and helps you determine which of them you may have.
Related topic(s): spiritual gifts
First published (or major update) on Tuesday, January 18, 2011.
Last updated on November 19, 2011. Original content is © Copyright Apologetics Index. All Rights Reserved. For usage guidelines see link at the bottom.