Old Doxoblogy

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

'Non-Miraculous' Gifts

Spiritual gifts are divided into two categories by Peter. These are speaking gifts and serving gifts. I would like to delineate further by adding to more categories. Miraculous gifts and natural gifts. The so-called 'non-miraculous' gifts are the natural gifts. However, I do not believe 'non-miraculous' is a good description. I will state the reasons in a moment. Right now I would like to provide a list from Scripture of the natural gifts.

Helps, Administration, Serving, Teaching, Encouraging, Contributing, Leadership, Mercy, Marriage, and Celibacy are all natural gifts.
By this I mean that they are not unique to Christianity. Many unbelievers, for example, have a gift for administration. The uniqueness of these gifts for the Christian lies in the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
Wayne Grudem, although I pretty much diverge from his interpretation after this, offers a good definition of Spiritual Gifts.
A Spiritual Gift is any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in any ministry of the Church. Grudem, W. Systematic Theology (Zondervan, IVP Leicester, Grand Rapids, 1994).
So all gifts are essentially miraculous in this definition. They are all empowered by the Spirit to accomplish the purposes of God in the furtherance of His kingdom on this earth. All Christians have a Spiritual gift. All Christians are empowered by the Spirit in their exercising of that gift.
Whether it be something undramatic, such as Administration, it is still a gift from God that He is using that Christian to accomplish.

It should be noted that these gifts are only considered Spiritual, when they are being employed in the power of the Spirit, and when they are advancing the Kingdom of Christ. This does not mean that (we'll stay with administration) a person at work does not use a Spiritual Gift on the job. What it means is this, A person at work, who is gifted with administration and views his job as a vocation where he has been placed by God, should administrate in the power of the Spirit for the advancement of Christ's kingdom.

Now there are many other gifts that are not listed in Scripture. Your vocation is a gift. Whether you are a Janitor or a Lawyer, God has placed you in your position in order for you to be the best Lawyer or Janitor you can be, and He has gifted you and empowered you in this way, for you to be a Janitor or Lawyer.
You can tell when you are operating in the power of the Spirit by your attitude, your performance, and whether not God is the One who is glorified by your work.

Let the reign of terror from the Centuri0n begin.


Jonathan Moorhead said...

You sound Edwardsian.

centuri0n said...

It's a short fight, Doxo. You have changed the topic from my original complaint from "signs and wonders to perform in order to validate the Gospel proclamation" to any non-miraculous non-wonderous gifting.

I don't deny that there are many members but one body. Cessationism is not about whether a pastor is gifted to lead or a deacon is gifted to serve. Cessationism is about whether miraculous gifts -- like speaking in tongues, or the intentional healing of the sick, or prophecy -- are active and present in the church today.

That's what the debate it about. C'mon over and join in. :)

Jeremy Weaver said...

You don't want to follow all the way through, Cent? I don't know how to talk about the gifts if I'm not going to include all of them.
This post is still foundational to my thinking.
I realize that I haven't got to the so-called 'miraculous' gifts yet. But the reason for not doing so is this: I need to fix Jonathan's 'Total Cessationism' while I'm at it.:-)

centuri0n said...

I don't think this is about follow-through: I think this is about the topic I originally presented.

My view is that the Apostles were gifted in ways ways which we are not gifted. For example, why can they write Scripture and we can not? Why could Paul or Peter heal someone whenever they intended to and we can not?

I have no doubt that the Spirit has an on-going place in the church today by calling and quickening and gifting men and women for service in the church. I just don't think those gifts include the kind of gifts the Apostles (or prophets) demonstrated becuase we are not producing Scripture. We are only delivering or providing Scripture.

The entire controversy, as it began at Phil's blog, was about whether the miraculous signs were still in play in the church -- it was not about whether there were any gifts at all in play in the churh.

However, if you want to find a way to conflate the miraculous with the "normal" gifts using the testimony of Scripture, bring it.

Jeremy Weaver said...

"Why could Paul or Peter heal someone whenever they intended to and we can not?"

You are basing this statement on two assumptions:
1) The Apostles could heal whenever they wanted to, and
2) We cannot heal anyone EVER.

They are both wrong assumptions.
I'll tell you why later.

Did you catch the next post?

centuri0n said...

| "Why could Paul or Peter heal someone
| whenever they intended to and we can not?"
| You are basing this statement on two
| assumptions:
| 1) The Apostles could heal whenever they
| wanted to, and

You can name examples of them intending to heal after Pentacost when they failed to do so.

| 2) We cannot heal anyone EVER.

I think you are overstating my position in order to argue against it – in both cases. You are grouping gifts together as if the spiritual gift of leadership is the same as the miraculous gift of tongues. They are not the same things.

| They are both wrong assumptions.
| I'll tell you why later.

I'm dying to read why.

| Did you catch the next post?

I'm going there next. I had a feeling that you were going to try "all gifts are gifts, so why ignore some when you affirm any of them?"