When referring to spiritual gifts, because of theological difference, two types of spiritual gifts have developed. Charismatic gifts and non-charismatic gifts.
Examples of Charismtic gifts would be:
- word of wisdom, 1Cor 12:8
- word of knowledge, 1 Cor 12:8
- faith, 1 Cor 12:9
- gifts of healing, 1 Cor 12:9, 12:28
- miracles, 1 Cor 12:10, 12:28
- Prophecy, 1 Cor 12:10, 1 Cor 12:28, Rom 12:6, Eph 4:11
- discernment of spirits, 1 Cor 12:10
- speaking and interpretation of tongues, 1 Cor 12:10
Whether or not the charismatic spiritual gifts are for today has caused much debate and division in the body of Christ. The extremes are amazing. There are groups that say that if you do speak in tongues, then you are under demonic control and are not saved. On the other hand, some say that if you do not speak in tongues then you are not saved. Both of these are extreme views.
It is my opinion that the charismatic spiritual gifts are still in effect. I do not believe they ceased with the apostles or with the completion of the Bible. There are many great paper and books talking about this topic. Wayne Grudem for example looks at this topic very thoroughly in his book on Systemic Theology (chapter 52).
Therefore I don’t to wish to enter into this argument today, but rather explain that the main reason I believe the charismatic spiritual gifts are still in effect is because we see them active in the church today. Look at these examples:
Iris ministries: A friend, Nelda Lawrence from the U.S. Embassy, came over with some chili and rice for the Baker family. Heidi said, “We have a very large family!” Nelda said, “No, no this is only for you and your two children.” Heidi said, “We have a lot of children and the Lord said there would always be enough!” They prayed over the pots of food and told the over fifty children to sit down. Everyone ate and was full, including the Bakers!
Smith Wigglesworth – Running down a street in Vevey, Switzerland, young Kenneth Ware heard someone call out to him, “Come here, boy! Put out your tongue!” Since his mother had many English-speaking friends, he thought the man must be an American doctor. But far from a medical doctor, it was Smith Wigglesworth, one of the premier healing evangelists in the Pentecostal movement.
Ware had been a neglected child and now at age 15 stuttered badly. Standing before the evangelist, Wigglesworth took hold of the boy’s tongue and abruptly declared, “Lad, this tongue will preach the gospel.” From that moment the stuttering ceased, and Ware later became a missionary in France
I could just keep on listing testimony after testimony, it is so amazing what the Holy Spirit does in peoples lives. I just want to finish with a quote from Calvin who when questioned on the abundance of spiritual gifts in Paul’s day compared with Calvin’s day wrote.
“Today we see our own slender resources, our poverty in fact; but this is undoubtedly the punishment we deserve, as the reward for our ingratitude. For God’s riches are not exhausted, not has His liberality grown less; but we are not worthy of His largess, or capable of receiving all that he generously gives.”