The practice of spiritual gifts in the churchgreenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
I am curious to the displays of spiritual gifts within the church service. By that I mean prophepsying, speaking and interpretation of tongues, words of wisdom and knowledge and the others described in 1Cor 12:4-11. If these occur in your church, how is it managed or should it be allowed. I am of the camp that these are current giftings for each believer. I however have been involved in several camps where these displays are given free course throughout the service. Also, if these displays occur in our churches, does that change the nature of the AME Church (i.e. make us charismatic)? I really desire to hear from pastors on this matter.
-- Anonymous, May 14, 2001
I am not a pastor but I have studied this issue some. These things are evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and are part of what is called the Spirit filled life. These manifestations are common in charasmatic and pentecostal churches. Together they make up the full gospel movement. That term is important because they believe churches that do not believe or practice them are missing out on part of the gospel. AW Tozer said the Spirit filled life is not a special edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people. Full gospel people call baptism in the Holy Spirit the 2nd blessing with salvation being the first.
The gifts as they are known cannot be manifested in the natural tho they can be faked. In the utterance gifts the words come a few at a time then suddenly run out. In the knowlege gifts the thoughts just come to you out and are not part of the persons normal knowlege. The power gifts are demonstrations of the miraculous.
To see how they are managed in a service I say visit such a service or study there literature. Generally prophesy, tongues, and interpretation happen during quiet moments in the worship time. Full gospel song leaders often leave times of silence among the songs to allow God to speak thru a person. It is called waiting on God or listening. The message in tongues should not be confused with the prayer language tho. Prayer language is speaking in tongues to God. Full gospel people in prayer or worship will effortlessly go back and forth from tongues to the native language as they speak to God under the annointing. Should a message occur in tongues the service will come to a sudden stop and not proceed until the interpretation is manifested by someone. They wait in silence or quietly praise God and/or ask for the interpretation. The wait is not usually long.
Prophesy is handled the same way accept that being in the native language the service may proceed right away. Usually it is followed by tears and praise for God being kind enough to speak. One crucial point is all utterances are judged against scripture. No conflicts allowed.
The other gifts may happen at any time. Healing may come at the altar. Word of knowlege may come in the car. Word of wisdom may come in the board meeting. The gifts are not restricted to services. They manifest at any time as the Spirit directs. That is why they call it the Spirit filled life.
If such things earned any church including the AME the label of charasmatic I would not be ashamed of it.
In Christ, Nathan Paujo
-- Anonymous, May 15, 2001
I understand how such churches operate, but that is not necessarily the question I am asking. Perhaps I should have asked why do we as AME not see such phenomena in our worship experiences? And should such phenomena be embraced or denounced. The other thing is if we embrace such phenomena, how do we control regulate them within our services without appearing to methodical? I completely agree that the gifts are for today, but my primary concern is is there room for it in the AME church. Besides that every church that is sanctified by God is charismatic because we all share in the gift of grace of God of Father and therefore should not be ashamed to be called charismatic. He gave gifts to men for the building of His kingdom and for our edification.
-- Anonymous, May 16, 2001
I am not pastor but I have a question about the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues. In Acts 2 when the disciples spoke in tongues, they spoke in languages that were understood by Jews from foreign lands that were in Israel that day for the annual festival of Pentecost. Most of the people that speak in tongues today speak in unknown languages. The disciples of Jesus that were speaking in tongues were praising God in a language that the Jews from other countries understood. Therefore, the Holy Spirit gave them the ability to speak in an established foreign language. Where in the bible does it say that when one speaks in tongues, he speaks in an unknown language that has never been spoken on earth? Perhaps if the original translator had said " foreign languages" instead of " tongues", there would be less confusion about this particular gift of speaking in tongues.
-- Anonymous, May 17, 2001
JazzMan, I believe what you are saying here is very close to the heart of the matter. The modern mega-church has sold us on the idea of recreating Pentecost, when in fact we have lived in the Pentecostal Era for the past two thousand years. Thus the bulk of the Church Calendar for each year is know as Pentecost. There is, therefore, no need to recreate or seek for it again. The Comforter has come, the Promise has been given, and the Spirit lives and dwells among all believers.
While I believe that all spiritual gifts are present in every congregation and the Spirit may speak in any language He so chooses His message is never missed and He does not, and will not, dwell in confusion.
One year ago I went to worship at a church whose name, denomination and location I will not mention here. Once the pastor, in his bright red robe, and the choir finished their twenty-minute ballroom-like shake, bump, grind and dance procession down the aisle, nearly every member of the congregation paired off and began to "speak in tongues". I sat back and said. "Lord, I am open to whatever is your will, why then don't I hear what you are saying to your people here"? I am certain without a doubt that the Lord immediately spoke to me and said, "You know why you don't hear Me, I AM not the speaker. " Immediately I stood and ran from that environment. I had brought to worship with me a brother who grew up in a "Pentecostal Church". When I reached my car he was already there. I said to him, "I did not tell you I was leaving or where I was going, why are you here." He responded, "We are in danger here." We then went to another church where order was in place and were immensely blessed by it.
I later remembered that the Doctrine and Discipline of the A.M.E. Church addresses this very issue. In Article 15 of the 25 Articles of Religion it states, "It is a thing plainly REPUGNANT to the Word of God, and the custom of the primitive church, to have public prayer in the church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understood by the people.
Saint Paul also devoted much of his letter to the Corinthians addressing the fallacies of many issues we see so prevalent in our churches today. He said in I Corinthians 14:27,28, "If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most three, and that BY COURSE; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. He further implies, as I have stated, that without this we know not who the speaker is. The Love Chapter (13) also addresses this issue.
Proverb 14:12 and 16:25 are identical, they each read, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." When God repeats something more then once, he certainly intends for us to hear it. Satan is not afraid to come into our churches and attack us, or any saint, or any preacher. Job tell us that he did not even fear to approach the Throne of God and that when the angels came before God he was one in their midst. Revelation 12:10 also states that he is an accuser of the brethren and accuses us before God day and night.
When we carelessly and aimlessly spout off tongues in the church, we play a dangerous game, the import of which we are not aware. For who knows if the speaker is in fact, God the Holy Spirit, or Satan the prince of darkness? How indeed shall we know if we are being blessed or being cursed? Like going the wrong way on a one way street, the end thereof is the way of death.
-- Anonymous, May 17, 2001
Dear Mr. Matthews,
I found your comments to be most educational.
-- Anonymous, May 21, 2001