Archive

Archive for January, 2008

What I’ve Learned

The big issue with spiritual gifts, like with baptism, is determining their purposes. If the purpose of baptism is to indicate personal faith, then infant baptism is irrelevant and a misapplication of the sacrament.

If the purpose of “sign” gifts was simply to establish the church, not to continue building it up, then contemporary speaking in tongues is irrelevant at best, and misleading at worst.

However, I still struggle with this issue. My church has taken a clear stand on this issue, but it appears to me that Paul specifically forbids forbidding tongues (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:39-40).

As long as I keep in mind that this policy is in place to encourage non-Christians to attend services and learn more about Jesus, and to avoid Paul’s concern in verses 22-25.

What these verses say to me is that the purpose of speaking in tongues is outreach to people who speak different languages. The way I’ve experienced tongues in charismatic services is very disorderly, the way Paul criticizes in these verses.

As so often happens in life, it appears that both extremes miss the point as a result of fear. Charismatic congregations ignore Paul’s guidelines to keep things orderly, and conservative congregations adopt a cessationist perspective which denies the reality of tongues in today’s world.

In my mind, the gift of tongues is a miraculous outreach gift that can expand God’s kingdom today, but that is used unbiblically in many worship services.

Like many other things I belive on faith, not sight, I believe in the contemporary biblical application of tongues, and am not a cessationist. However, I can balance this perspective with the church’s teaching and my tactful facilitation.

Categories: bible

Spiritual Gifts v. Personality Type

I appreciate the approach that my church adopts.

There is a balance between biblical truth and secular discoveries. It makes sense that if performance objectives work in business, then they should be applied responsibly to the operation of a church organization. If personality typing can improve relationships among colleagues at work, that this thinking should also apply to ministries at church.

This is particularly significant since Gary Smalley, a well-known Christian relationship expert, is a world leader in the interaction among people of different personality types.

Lord, I pray that I will be able to teach these concepts with wisdom and insight, and in a way that helps our church members and church ministries grow in capacity.

What are my performance objectives for facilitating NH301? I think I can follow the structure of national health objectives for breastfeeding: an initial percentage of “new recruits” and a lower but significant number of people firmly established in new ministries. How can we track this data through existing systems in the church office?

Categories: bible

Face-to-Face

January 29, 2008 1 comment

Paul writes, in Romans 1:11-12, that he wants to see the members of the Roman church in person.

A principle which I see in these verses is that there is great value in meeting people in person. There is a level of emotional connection which cannot be replicated online or via email, texting and IM. It appears that there is a similar limitation spiritually.

What this says to me is that I need to apply the concept of Management by Walking Around not only to my teaching, but also to my spiritual objectives as well.

As an aside, it is surprising to see Peter Drucker, the management guru, credited with coining SMART objectives in 1954. Hmm…a couple of posters claimed to review the primary source, The Practice of Management, and can’t find SMART goals anywhere in his writings.

Categories: bible

1 Corinthians 14:1

In 1 Corinthians 14:1, Paul encourages the members of the church in Corinth to desire the gift of prophecy. He goes on, later in the chapter, to compare prophecy to speaking in tongues.

One verse that stands out is 39. I think I should explore this with my cofacilitators. In our materials, our church specifically forbids speaking in tongues. I wonder why we make this restriction, since Paul specifically forbids forbidding tongues?

Categories: bible

1 Corinthians 12:4-6

A foundational explanation of spiritual gifts is found in 1 Corinthians 12.

The is the chapter in which Paul describes the Church as a body. His key point is that every Christian brings unique skills to the table, and only by working together can we accomplish the Lord’s work effectively.

In 1 Peter 4:8,10 we are reminded to use our gifts in love.

Categories: bible

Spiritual Gifts

I was just approved to help teach a course at church which deals with the relationship among spiritual gifts, natural talents, and service in the body of Christ.

Therefore, I will explore different views of spiritual gifts in preparation for this great opportunity.

Dr. John Ruthven, a professor at Regent University, has concluded that cessationism, as outlined in Benjamin B. Warfield’s 1918 book, Counterfeit Miracles, is seriously flawed. His online summary of a more substantial doctoral thesis, is available here: On the Cessation of the Charismata: The Protestant Polemic on Post-Biblical Miracles.

Brilliant, Christian minds, clearly believe in a full range of possibilities, from full cessationists to full continuationists.

See the following blog related to this debate: Continuationism and Cessationism: An Interview with Dr. Wayne Grudem.

Categories: bible

Where Does Love Come From?

In 1 Thessalonians 3:12, Paul writes, “May the Lord make your love for each other and for everyone else grow by leaps and bounds. That’s how our love for you has grown.”

When I think about loving other people, I always imagine that it’s a feeling and an action that I generate within myself. Paul teaches us that since God is love (cf. 1 John 4), love grows as God allows it to grow.

Therefore, when I feel the need for more love, I should first pray to God to allow my love to grow.

Again, I see that the best first step toward growth is prayer.

Categories: bible
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