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Pneumatology: On Spiritual Gifts and the Fruits of The Holy Sprit

(The relevancy of speaking in tongues to the Post-Modern Christian)

 

Introduction

Pneumatology: Spiritual Gifts  

“An old friend you have not seen since high school finds your profile on Facebook and notices that one of your interests is systematic theology.  He sends you a message asking you, the “expert,” about spiritual gifts, especially the issue of speaking in tongues that is being debated in his home church (Dr. Ted Rivera [Professor of Theology Liberty University]).”

Pneumatology is the theological study of the Holy Spirit. This doctrine explains the identity, office, and empowerment of the Holy Spirit and establishes the monotheistic relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Pneumatology explains the Spirit has both a human and spiritual relationship much like Christ and is a persona (Psa. 51:11, Acts 7:51, John 14:17, Romans 8:16) and like Jesus is omniscient (1 Cor: 25), omnipotent (Zech. 4:6), and omnipresent (1 Cor. 2: 10-16). The Holy Spirit was present from the beginning and part of creation (Genesis 1:2; Gn. 1:7) and originated from the father but sent forth from the son and is present in all men but awakened at the time of salvation.

The Holy Spirit is responsible for ones conversion to Christ, seals and protects us from sin, grants spiritual gifts and empowers the fruits of the spirit. The Holy Spirit also, illuminates us on the Word (reveals the truth in the Bible) and give us the gift of prophecy (preaching, judgment, revelations). Like Christ, the Spirit is subservient to the Father. Christ in our present age serves as our advocate and intercessor (Christ act much like an attorney petitioning for the removal of judgment against the sin we committed to God.  Jesus Christ also, answers and petitions our prayers), Jehovah is the judge and creator.  The Holy Spirit acts as the persona of God in this age of man and is the force that evokes our redemption which was brought about by the crucifixion and can only be obtained in a believe in Jesus as ones Lord and Savior( John 3:16-21).

The above paragraphs are a summary of research taken from my personal experience and academic knowledge my main sources are: Elmer L. Towns Theology for Today and the Bible. My preferred version for scripture quotation is the New International Version, unless otherwise indicated, as I find it to take balanced approach between the contemporary and literal translations (Towns 2008,2002, 261-322).

Spiritual Gifts

Leslie B Flynn in his book well known book on spiritual gifts provides the following definition, “A gift is a Spirit-given ability for Christian service (Towns 2008,2002, 311). Romans 12: 3-8, 1 Corinthians 12-14 and Ephesians 4:7-11 illuminate us on spiritual gifts. “These Scriptures suggest gifts are given to men (1 Cor. 12:11) and these men in turn to the church (Eph. 4:11). Lewis Sperry Chaffer expands on this by explaining the gifts are wrought by the Spirit and not by human ability (Towns 2008,2002, 307).”

Spiritual gifts contrast Fruits of the Spirit as the Fruits of the Sprit relate to our spiritual character as expressed and taught by Christ and illustrated by the Law (Exodus 20). The Fruits of the Spirit are such things as love, compassion, mercy, justice, faith, hope and the like and form a singular unit within our God Conscience. Fruits are present in all humankind, are in a limited or unknown stated do to sin, and will awaken when the Holy Spirit enters and dwell in one’s body once one accepts Christ as one’s Lord and Savior.

Although the book of Galatians teaches us that we are free from the oppression of the Mosaic Covenant   Christ himself stated He would not abolish the Law (Matthew 5:17-20).

The Book of James also teaches the importance of deeds in the balance of faith:

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds. “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead (James 2: 14-26 [NIV]).

Spiritual maturity is develops in faith through the blossoming of the Fruits of the Spirit and by exercising of our spiritual gifts. Some individuals may have only one gift while other people may have several. However, one may be more prominent. An overly willful sinful nature, excessive pride or use for personal gain may cause the extinguishing of the gifts either temporary or permanently depending on one’s sanctification and the will of The Holy Spirit.  Other individuals can help develop a gift and gifts may be sought (2 Timothy 1:6). Some theologians believe gifts are bestowed originating  at The Baptism of The Holy Spirit ( The time the Spirit dwells in the believer, usually at salvation, but more accurately when one sincerely accepts The Crucifixion, Redemption, Salvation,  Grace,  and Sanctification of Christ). This refers to The Great Commission, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28: 18-20).

Some theologians argue that the Holy Spirit became present to all men at the time of Pentecost or during the Ascension. While other use the term to describe period when an individual is under the influence of the Holy Spirit such as the description of the disciples speaking in languages unknown to them at Pentecost ( Acts 2) or the healing of a sick individual ( Acts 3:1-16 or the performance of some other spiritual gifting.

Speaking in Tongues

Biblical Definition

“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.2For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.  I would like every one of you to speak in tongues but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified (1 Corinthians 14:1-5).”

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way (1 Corinthians 14:39-40).”

The Bible contrasts and defines the gifts of prophecy with speaking in tongues in the book of 1 Corinthians. Many theologians argue the gift of speaking in tongues and the sign gifts of interpretation, healing, miracles and apostleship are not relevant today.  The church was founded by the Apostles in the early millennium and the gifts were necessary to only bring the Gentiles to Christ, Establish the Church and bring harmony among Greek, Gentile and Jewish Christians(1 Cor 22).  The early church was founded primarily by oral tradition and many people did not understand or read Hebrew or Greek so sign gifts were necessary to communicate the Word (Towns 2008,2002, 307). There was not an established Canon until the Vulgate of the 4th Century although there were manuscripts, Targum, The LXX, and Epistles in circulations in the early Church.

Relevancy Today

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears (1 Cor. 13:8-10)”.

On the relevancy and necessity of tongues versus prophecy (Preaching and fourth telling), 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 states speaking in tongues will end.  However, it one reads in (1 Corinthians) Paul explains that if done with love the speaking in tongues and the gift of prophecy are necessary. He also explains that speaking in tongues is for unbelievers and prophecy for believers to bring judgment and convict nonbelievers of their sinful natures. Paul also warns that if the whole Church is speaking in tongues an inquirer or nonbeliever may not be able to interpret the Gospel and consider the congregation and the minister mad. Therefore, it is far better to preach than to speak in tongues.

Many Churches still practice and advocate the speaking in tongues. I visited a few Pentecostal Churches where the practice is common. Although Paul also states one may pray for interpretation this did not happen for me. It is my believe all gifts of The Spirit are a sign of a person who has been Baptized by the Holy Spirit but I am also aware the Bible warns of the appearance and gifts of false prophets as well. It is my conclusion that it is only relevant to speak in tongues when used for evangelism in a language unknown to the native speaker.

Conclusion

In Conclusion, one should be careful of any church or religious group that advocates the use of speaking in tongues for daily or weekly communion with God or worship. Such practices may be the result of false teachers and bring about division in the Body of Christ. Only when the Holy Spirit leads an individual to speak in tongues to communicate the Gospel or a message from God and by Faith, Hope and Love should one readily accept it.  We as Christians know Jesus will appear soon but do not know when the exact time will be. We do know for certain there will be false teachers appear who will lead believers astray and the Antichrist will appear as a secular and religious leader. We also, know that many will fall and rapture will come to pass, followed by a tribulation and then a thousand year reign of Peace by our Prophet-Priest-Redeemer-King. It is of the utmost importance we are prepared and we prepare those around us for the coming age. This is not a mere request of Christ but a commision (Commandment). Much like the commission taken by a military member entering into service we are compelled to serve and prepare other for the Service of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.

In the name of Christ, the Father and the Spirit,

Trenton Clark Rindoks

Bibliography

Towns, Elmer D. “Theology for Today.” In Theology for Today, by Towns L. Elmer, 261-331. Mason: Cengage, 2008,2002.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Why should the Holy Spirit be the medium to communicate for us with Christ Jesus? Jesus is the mediator between God and men. The Holy Spirit is the Force of God (Jehovah His thinking, handling and speaking.) Jesus made that we can direct ourselves directly to the One and Only God. Jesus who is god His son and not god the son, is allowed ot judge us at the end times, and he will do that, not God.

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    • In our present age the Holy Spirit is the active force present on earth. It is true at the time of judgement Christ will serve as our judge. The Holy Spirit serves to inspire, shield, and deliver our messages to God. We certainly can pray to Christ directly as well.

      One must remember all three personas are equal in their power of omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience. However, Christ is slightly less subservient to the father and the Spirit to Jesus.

      In respect to the current Offices od God the father serves as our creator and our judge, Christ as our intercessor and advocate and the Spirit as our messenger, inspire, giver of gifts and healer. once again any aspect of the monotheistic Jehovah can take on any role at any time as all are present from begining and end and limitless in power. All are the alpha and omega. All are in the confines of time and space and even in that does not exsist (antimatter).

      The only limit to God is He can not look upon Sin directly or create evil.

      Hence the reason for the forsaking of Christ on the Cross at the Crucifixion.

      In God, Christ and Spirit,
      Trent

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  1. […] Pneumatology: On Spiritual Gifts and the Fruits of The Holy Sprit (The relevancy of speaking in tong… (hades1solution.wordpress.com) Pneumatology is the theological study of the Holy Spirit. This doctrine explains the identity, office, and empowerment of the Holy Spirit and establishes the monotheistic relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Pneumatology explains the Spirit has both a human and spiritual relationship much like Christ and is a persona (Psa. 51:11, Acts 7:51, John 14:17, Romans 8:16) and like Jesus is omniscient (1 Cor: 25), omnipotent (Zech. 4:6), and omnipresent (1 Cor. 2: 10-16). The Holy Spirit was present from the beginning and part of creation (Genesis 1:2; Gn. 1:7) and originated from the father but sent forth from the son and is present in all men but awakened at the time of salvation. […]

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