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- What are the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit?
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As time passed on, the inspirational aspect of the ministry began to recede in favor of the institutional in the form of the offices of presbyter and deacon, and many of the supernatural manifestations of the Spirit disappeared altogether. There can be no doubt that this trend impoverished the Church, and the struggle to keep the Church from becoming a merely institutional structure within human society, with the loss of that vital inspiration that only the Spirit can give, remained a constant factor throughout the centuries of Christian history.
The rise and rapid growth of Pentecostalism at the present time is a striking testimony to the need of the institutional church for spiritual renewal.
Without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Church is simply a sociological phenomenon. The gift of tongues. In the discussions of the sovereignty of the Spirit in bestowing His gifts, of the renewal of the Church, and of the wide range of the charisma, no subject will more quickly reveal a difference of opinion on all these questions than that of the gift of tongues. Because of the present recrudescence of interest in this subject, a brief discussion is necessary from the point of view of the general treatment of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
Some dismiss this question on the score that Paul evidently found the gift an embarrassment, placing it last in a list where apostleship was first 1 Cor , and exhorted his readers to covet the greater gifts , saying that he would rather speak five words in church with his understanding than a thousand in a strange tongue On the other side, however, is the obvious fact that Paul, the chief of the apostles, recognized the gift as given by the Spirit , and thanked God that he spoke in tongues more than anyone else The gift of tongues, furthermore, was central in the Pentecostal effusion of the Spirit and the founding of the Christian Church.
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Whether the initial gift of tongues at Pentecost was the same as that later manifested in Corinth is not altogether clear. The same word, glossa, is used in both instances, and the same inspiration of the Spirit is presupposed. Even the same reaction on the part of unbelievers is possible.
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Some mockingly accused the apostles of being inebriated Acts , and Paul feared that unbelievers would consider the Christians as lunatics 1 Cor There is, however, the plain testimony in Acts that the Jews of the Diaspora heard the apostles speaking in their native dialects Acts Such, however, was not the case with the glossolalia of Corinth. Some have argued that glossalalia are unknown tongues in the sense of very obscure languages, but linguistic analysis does not support this thesis. Unbelief will, of course, dismiss all such manifestations as mere enthusiasm, there being no need to invoke the supernatural to explain them.
It must indeed be granted that the emotions are radically involved in the use of tongues, just as the glands are radically involved in the exercise of love and anger. It may be emotion evoked by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. The popularity of the gift both in the Ancient Church and in certain circles today is understandable. As a man is drawn up into an ecstasy, he feels his spirit suffused with the divine Spirit, hence he is intensely aware of being in favor with God and in closest fellowship with Him.
Nonetheless, the gift is obviously a showy one in public and gratifying to anyone who craves personal prominence. In his classical evaluation of the gift chs. Yet it is a gift by no means indispensable, and the more excellent way is the way of love Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue renounce all self-glorification and seek the edification of the body When such rules are observed, there is no reason to demean the use of tongues.
It is not so much the presence or absence of a particular gift as much as the lack of spiritual power in the lives of individuals and the Church that is at issue. This is the summons which the Pentecostal movement addresses to the whole Church: Do not quench the Spirit, but earnestly desire His gifts. Where has it ever been shown that 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 are for the apostolic age alone? Only let those who claim to have discovered the neglected gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 not neglect the love of 1 Corinthians 13 , which is the best and only commendation of the Spirit-filled life.
Baptism and the Holy Spirit. One receives the Spirit at the time of his baptism, it is taught, and needs, therefore, no other experience of the Spirit. On first consideration this might seem anomalous, since John the Baptist expressly contrasted his baptism in water with the baptism in the Holy Spirit and in fire that his successor Christ would perform Matt , and parallels.
What are the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit?
How then can these two baptisms, which are so sharply contrasted by the Baptist, be associated in the teaching of the Church? First, it must be recognized that the prophecy of baptism in the Spirit and in fire had its fulfillment at Pentecost, when the Spirit descended upon the disciples with the manifestation of tongues as of fire Acts There is no reason to associate this experience in any direct way with the baptism in water, which apparently took place during the earthly ministry of Christ John The phrase used both by John the Baptist Mark and by the risen Lord Acts clearly refers to Pentecost, and Pentecost is obviously unique in redemptive history a uniqueness that is commemorated in the Christian year in Whitsunday.
It should be noted that this incident was looked upon by Luke as unique. Thus Peter directly linked this outpourng of the Spirit to the first outpouring at Pentecost. The baptism in the Spirit simply describes that coming of the Spirit upon the Church at the beginning in a new and permanent way, in contrast to the partial, transient, and limited manifestations of His power in the OT age.
Because the Spirit has come in a final and full manifestation, He remains present in the Church in all ages to bestow every spiritual gift and blessing necessary for the life and growth of the individual Christian and the ongoing of the mission of the Church. Although baptism in the Spirit is to be distinguished from water baptism, it by no means supersedes baptism with water as the Quakers have taught.
The work of the Holy Spirit is closely related in the NT to water baptism. Such a command would indicate at least this much, that the baptized Christian is placed in a relationship of dependence upon the Holy Spirit throughout the remainder of his life and consecrated to the service which He inspires. Baptism itself does not effect this relationship, but there is no true baptism where this relationship between the Spirit and the one baptized is lacking.
Jesus traced the spiritual life of the individual back to its origins in the new birth effected by the Spirit. The use of water for the religious purpose of ablution and cleansing, with which Nicodemus was familiar as a Jew, was subsumed into the meaning of the Christian rite of initiation by baptism. It can hardly be overemphasized, however, in the light of the long history of sacramentalism, that this distinction between the outward sign and the inward grace must be carefully maintained.
The symbolism and the inner reality move along parallel lines. Therefore baptism is the appropriate symbol of the inner renewal of the Spirit, but baptism itself does not effect this renewal. The new birth is the result of a supernatural work of the Spirit in the heart. See John ff. This last instance is interesting, since Paul, when he perceived that the disciples in Ephesus did not have the Spirit, raised the question of their baptism, which he would not have done had there been no connection in his mind between the two.
It is likely that the whole verse refers to baptism. The figure is that of being immersed in the Spirit or drinking of the Spirit as the potion of new life, which is the experience of the baptized Christian. Another passage that possibly indicates that Paul associated the reception of the Spirit and baptism, is found in his second letter to Corinth. As early as the 2nd cent. But, in the larger context of his teaching on the efficacy of baptism, it is best to understand this passage in a manner that takes away neither from the meaning of the outward sign, nor from the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit and confirmation. Confirmation is a rite closely related to baptism and is practiced in one form or another by many Christian churches. Because of the association between the reception of the Spirit and baptism, reflected in the Scriptures that have been discussed, in ancient times the Church symbolized the receiving of the Spirit by a special rite immediately following baptism. This rite has been practiced down to the present time in the Eastern church. Since baptism is now commonly administered in infancy, the newborn child is anointed in token of his reception of the Spirit.
The Reformers minced no words in depriving this rite of its sacramental status. When the question is asked what precisely the rite of confirmation signalizes, classically the answer has been given esp. Speaking of the child about to be confirmed, he sings:. Draw, Holy Ghost, thy seven-fold veil Between us and the fires of youth; Breathe, Holy Ghost, thy freshening gale, Our fevered brow in age to soothe.
Whereas it is true that in two instances in the Book of Acts baptism is followed by the laying on of hands and the reception of the Spirit Acts , the Samaritans, and Acts , the Ephesian disciples of John , there are no other instances of this exact order of events. Furthermore, in both these instances, those who were baptized were adults confessing their faith, and the coming of the Spirit involved the use of charismatic gifts.
SACRAMENT: CHRISTIAN SACRAMENTS
This is not expressly said of the Samaritans, but the response of Simon Magus, as he observed the effect of the laying on of hands, implies as much. By contrast, the present-day rite of confirmation is given to those who have been baptized as infants and it is not concerned with the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit.
It is doubtful, therefore, if the view that one receives the Spirit at confirmation can be established from the NT. The Holy Spirit and Scripture. Throughout the history of the Church, the written Word of God and the Spirit of God have been closely associated. The authority of the Jewish Scriptures in the apostolic church is expressly grounded in the inspiration of the Spirit.
The most comprehensive statement is found in 2 Timothy , which reads that all Scripture is God-breathed theopneustos. The words that He spoke were Spirit-filled and they are life. He, in turn, promised that when He left His disciples He would send another, who would bring to their remembrance what He had said and lead them into the truth John The Church has universally understood this leading by the Spirit into the truth to mean that the apostles were uniquely inspired by the Spirit as witnesses to Christ and as teachers of the Church.
The documents, therefore, that they and their associates wrote, are of final authority for the Church, along with the OT Scriptures. The role of the Holy Spirit in revelation is summarized as follows: From the day of Pentecost onward, the Spirit assured the validity of the apostolic testimony to Jesus Christ Acts ; f.
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This truth was the object of their witness Acts , a witness that has been preserved by the Church in the NT Scriptures. The inward testimony of the Spirit. The inward testimony of the Spirit is called by D. When it comes to authority in matters of faith, Rome appeals to the magisterium, or teaching office, of the church; the sectarians appeal to the direct inspiration of the Spirit, which tends to merge with enlightened reason or conscience, or religious ecstasy.
The Protestant church appeals to Scripture alone sola scriptura.
This inward testimony adds nothing to the written Revelation, for outside of Scripture there is no Revelation. This is said in a larger context of admonition and warning aganst false teachers, whom John called antichrists, teachers who deny the Christ. As an inspired apostle, he wrote to his converts urging them to abide in the truth that they had heard from the beginning v. Significantly, he did not rely solely upon his own authority as an apostle, important as it was that he should exercise this authority by writing a letter to them.
He appealed for the authentication of the truth of his teaching over against the false teaching of those whom he opposed, to the anointing that his readers had received as Christians. It is natural to understand this anointing by the Holy One, as the Holy Spirit. They had the anointing that enabled them to discern all things.