I was visiting my ninety-seven year old father-in-law and he was telling me about the old man who was cutting his lawn at that time. He interjected, “He speaks in Jibber-jabber.” I paused offering a quizzical expression, to which he added, “We used to call them Holy Rollers.” I just said, “Oh”, as there are few things to discuss with a ninety-seven year old, but afterwards I wondered what would have been his reply if I had asked, “Did you know that speaking in tongues or heavenly inspired language is in the Bible?” It is not worth talking about things which others have already decided apart from the facts. Moreover, the gifts of the Spirit are distributed by the Spirit as He determines. (1 Cor. 12: 11). If one does not have a particular gift it may be very difficult for them to accept that anyone has such a gift. I know people who do not believe in many clear teachings of scripture because they have not experienced what is taught there in. It’s like what Yeshua said to Thomas, “…blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (John 20: 29). The Apostle Paul did not believe Yeshua was the prophesied Messiah, until he was confronted by Yeshua himself, though as a Pharisee he must have been well aware of the Scriptures.
The issue of spiritual gifts is rather mystical because they are Spiritual, consequently a purely rational or mental reasoning will not produce a working knowledge or understanding of the Holy Spirit. I once asked a minister friend about the Holy Spirit and His reply was, “It’s the third part of the Godhead.” He had very little personal experience regarding the Spiritual life, though he was a true Believer and I do not doubt his Faith in God, nor do I offer any judgment regarding his service to God. We speak of what we know. (John 3: 11). Another scripture that is simply tossed aside for some strange reason has to do specifically with the organization of the church. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues….Now eagerly desire the greater gifts…”. (1 Corinthians 12: 27-28, 31).
A case could be made that Yeshua selected and appointed twelve apostles and that was the end of the office of apostles when they died. There could be apostles in our day, some leaders have proclaimed themselves apostles. Prophets are the second office in the Church and they are ignored even by those who recognize the gift of prophecy. David Wilkerson is the only prophet I know who held such an office in the church, but he was also a gifted teacher and evangelist. Teachers are the third office in the church and they have taken precedence over the entire church organization. Why is this? Is it scriptural? What would be the consequences of following the scriptural model provided.
What about the remaining giftings, where do they fit in?
I believe natural reasoning of a worldly mind has been given precedence in the church and seminaries because the Spirit is easily quenched and the Spiritual life is one of surrender and submission to the the Holy Spirit, whereas human reason, effort, striving, and argument come from pride which is opposed to humility, the way of the Lord, Yeshua Messiah. We all experience this struggle of pride verses humility within ourselves. Can you say in your life that humility has most often prevailed? If so, you probably are advanced in the Spiritual life. Also, you are probably a nobody in this world, and perhaps in the church. Yet, if you have combined love with humility, you will be great in the Kingdom of God.
The scriptures provide a glimpse of what a Spirit lead and organized church would be like. “So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, ‘God is really among you!’ ” (1 Cor. 14: 23-25). Like I said, we all struggle and fail too much, but the Lord will save us by His great grace, likewise he will save all Believers, even those that have given in to much worldly thinking. Yeshua alone is the judge and we have no authority to judge anyone, particularly the servant of another. What I’m encouraging is to believe every word of God, act on it, seek humility, love and the Spiritual life in Yeshua. Accept every good gift God offers in this life and the next, it requires faith alone.