Fair Oaks, CA

Spiritual Gifts

Christians receive the Holy Spirit when they place their faith in Jesus Christ and become his (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9). Every believer is baptized in the Holy Spirit. We also see in Scripture that God may, at times, specially fill us with his Spirit (Acts 4:8, 31; 13:9), and that we are to continually seek for our lives to be completely filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

We find no place where Scripture teaches that any of the gifts of the Spirit have ceased and are no longer valid for Christians today. However, these gifts must be practiced in an intentionally biblical manner, and have unfortunately been often abused. A perfect example would be speaking in tongues (speaking in a language one has never learned and does not understand). We should neither fear this gift nor obsessively pursue it.

The gift of speaking in tongues is a good one given by the Holy Spirit for the benefit of God’s people (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). Paul thanked God for this gift and used it often (1 Corinthians 14:18). But many Christians overemphasize this gift in a way that isn’t healthy. Paul shows us very clearly that not all believers will speak in tongues (1 Corinthians 12:29-30). We’re also told the exercise of this gift is a form of prayer directed—not to other members of the body—but to God (1 Corinthians 14:2, 14-17, 28).

If this gift is used during an assembly of believers, it’s to be done in an orderly manner with no more than three speaking, one at a time, and there must be an interpretation (1Corinthians 14:27-28, 32-33, 39-40). However, Paul also shows this gift is best used in private devotions rather than in public worship (1 Corinthians 14:4, 13-19, 28). There is no scriptural need for speaking in tongues during the worship service. The use of tongues is primarily for one’s personal edification, not for the strengthening of the body.

While we believe no gift from the Holy Spirit is invalid today, we wouldn’t consider ourselves part of the Charismatic movement. We believe all Christians should have the freedom to passionately praise God, but also believe that when we come together as a body the honoring of God and the edification of our brothers and sisters must come before our own spiritual gratification. Just as there are expressions of intimacy between a husband and wife that are beautiful and wonderful but inappropriate for public display, so there are expressions of adoration between the believer and God that are more appropriate for private devotions.

We believe the worship of God and the study of his Word will often be deeply emotional. But a preoccupation with our emotions isn’t healthy and doesn’t lead to spiritual maturity. We believe God may at any time manifest his presence and power with signs and wonders. However, an obsessive expectation of continual signs and wonders is dangerous and can be very detrimental to the health and vitality of the body of Christ, especially when such experiences are not evaluated according to Scripture.

Spiritual gifts are not a measurement for spiritual maturity. Spiritual gifts are beneficial and should be used with a thankful heart, however we must always be mindful of the dangers of misusing these gifts. The more spectacular the gift seems, the easier it is for a believer to fall into using the gift with wrong motives or even pretending to use a gift one does not truly have. We’re striving for the balance taught by the apostle Paul:

So, my dear brothers and sisters,
be eager to prophesy,
and don’t forbid speaking in tongues.
But be sure that everything is done properly and in order.

1 Corinthians 14:39-40


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