The Apostle Paul encountered Jesus on the Damascus Road and was born again; three days later in the Damascus Room through the laying-on-of-hands by Ananias he encountered the Holy Spirit and received the Spirit's baptism. Later, this same man wrote an 84 verse treatise on spiritual gifts. I Corinthians 12,13,14. His Biblical explanation provides the most comprehensive, authoritative information we have on the subject. More importantly, it is the only resource bearing the seal of Divine Authorship. All conflicting opinions, no matter how cherished or long-established, are but human speculation and must be discarded. Scripture is our final, absolute authority.
The Apostle begins his dissertation with the plea: "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant." 12:1. Interestingly, this appeal that we "not be ignorant" appears seven times in the New Testament concerning different topics. Once, it is by Peter and six times by Paul. Each time, the request reveals an especially deep concern of the writer. Its’ appearance here should command the attention of every conscientious believer. The Apostle then proceeds carefully to detail the operation of nine grace-works of the Spirit. These are the direct result of the Spirit's baptism. Having defended the need and purpose of the gifts, Paul then concludes his discourse with the stirring rebuke, "But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant!" 14:38. In other words, he says, "After this careful explanation of spiritual gifts, if anyone refuses to learn, I have nothing more to say to him. Let him remain illiterate!" Paul seemingly anticipated that some believers would reject his teaching on miraculous works of the Spirit and added this harsh warning:
"If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord." I Corinthians 14:37.
What are the "commandments" of which he speaks? The answer: The Apostolic teachings on spiritual gifts. I Corinthians 12 and 14 speak with God's authority as much as any other of Paul's writings. We are no more at liberty to reject these Biblically mandated instructions than any other commandment of the Lord. Until recent years, there was probably no other subject about which the Church was more ignorant than that of spiritual gifts. Instead of heeding Paul's instruction, the modern Church has engaged in open warfare against them. This was done in spite of Paul's exhortation that we:
1. "Earnestly desire spiritual gifts." I Corinthians 12:31.
2. "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy." 14:1.
3. "Since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel." 14:12.
These admonitions do not indicate the reluctance that typifies the modern church's attitude against spiritual gifts. There was no such lukewarmness on the part of Paul or the Corinthians. Identically, believers today are encouraged to exercise the gifts for the benefit of everyone: "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all; for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills ... But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant." I Corinthians 12:1;4-11;38.
The argument immediately arises, "These gifts passed away. They are no longer valid." Paul did not believe that. Nor does the New Testament teach it. In the introduction of his Corinthian letters (29 chapters and longest of all New Testament writings) Paul exhorted believers to " ... Come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ." I Corinthians 1:7. In that brief statement, Paul equated the duration of spiritual gifts to be the same length as the Church's waiting for Jesus' return. Examine it for yourself. This is precisely what the Apostle said. Today, however, there is probably no greater ignorance in the Church than of spiritual gifts and Jesus' offer of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. You may ask, “Why do I need the baptism in the Spirit and the imparting of spiritual gifts?” Here are a few of the many reasons:
1. Jesus said you needed it.
2. Without it, you are an incomplete disciple.
3. Good as you presently are, you will be better with it.
4. You need to be moved out of "soulish" effort into spiritual effort.
5. The baptism in the Spirit releases power in your life which can be had no other way.
6. Once you and others recover from the personal change the baptism brings to your life, everyone will recognize you are a better person.
7. The Bible teaches it. Early Christians depended on it. History confirms it.
On the Day of Ascension, Jesus told the disciples at the Mount of Olives, "John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now ... You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you." Acts 1:5,6. In a single statement, Jesus connected baptism in the Spirit to the imparting of His power. That wonderful event occurred on the day of Pentecost when 120 disciples in the Upper Room received the blessing. Scripture carefully explains that others who were not present at Pentecost experienced the same empowering later. That included the Samaritans, Acts 8:14-17, Saul of Tarsus, Acts 9:17, the household of Cornelius, Acts 10:44, and the Ephesians, Acts 19:1-7. Young Timothy followed the example. II Timothy 1:6. Identically, today, multiplied millions around the world have stepped into the Spirit's wondrous baptism.
We are told seven times in the New Testament to “be not ignorant.” The same Greek word for "ignorance," agnoeo, is used in all seven references though the King James version is probably the only one that translates it consistently. If you listen carefully you can detect the similarity between agnoeo and ignore. (agno/igno). It simply means "not to know;" that ignorance can come from lack of information, inadequate intelligence, or willful rejection of truths. These seven topics are fundamental to the Church. Notice they are in pairs. Two concern Israel, two concern the gospel, two foretell the end of the earth, and the final topic, # 7, the Church's spiritual gifts. Sincere Christians cannot deny the value of any. In all probability, there is no one topic about which Christianity at large is more ignorant than spiritual gifts. Quoting from the King James Version, the seven are:
1. Israel's rejection and restoration; Gentile fullness: "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in." Romans 11:25.
2. Israel's dual baptism in the cloud and sea: "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea." I Corinthians 10:1. Israel's baptism unto Moses in the cloud and sea portrays Christian baptism unto Christ in the Spirit and water. The parallel is exact.
3. Opposition to the gospel in Asia: "For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life." II Corinthians 1:8.
4. Opposition to the Gospel in Europe: "Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you (but was let hitherto), that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles." Romans 1:13.
5. Jesus' Second Coming; Resurrection of the saints: "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." I Thessalonians 4:13.
6. The "thief in the night" destruction of the earth: "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day ... But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night ..." II Peter 3:8,10. II Peter 3:3-5 “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water."
7. The Holy Spirit's miraculous gifts to the Church: "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant." I Corinthians 12:1.
The New Testament contains six passages in which gifts of the Spirit are identified. Since the New Testament is a Covenant, not merely a book– inalterably ratified by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ--not of bulls and goats, all these gifts are still active; none have been removed. Hebrews 9:19-26.
1. 1 Corinthians 12:8-12: “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”
2. 1 Corinthians 12:28. “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.”
3. Romans 12:6-9. “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
4. Ephesians 4:11-12. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers...”
5. 1 Corinthians 7:7. “For I wish that all men were even as I myself (unmarried). But each one has his own *gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. 1 Corinthians 7:7. *chárisma ek Theoú
6. 1 Peter 4:9-12. “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
There is a blurring of the distinction between others. While prophecy is mentioned four times, teaching three times, and the other gifts a lesser number, we are expected to believe all of them without challenge. If the Bible says something one time only we are to believe it without question.
The Argument Against The Gift Of Tongues
“Whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away ...” I Corinthians 13:8-10.
Those who oppose gifts of the Spirit frequently quote the passage above to defend their position. Though an invalid claim, it is their only defense. The assumption is, “That which is perfect”, is a reference to the completed New Testament and that tongues were removed when the canon was complete. I find great conflict in believing that Paul's Corinthian letter was written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit” (I Peter 1:21) but when ‘the Bible was perfected’ --completed--those ‘perfect’ writings about prophecy, tongues, knowledge, became imperfect. My question is this: How can the Bible qualify to being 'that which is perfect' if it contains passages which are erroneous and unsafe for us to believe? If this claim be so–that perfect Bible writings became imperfect when “that which is perfect had come”--we have a crisis that throws us completely out of authentic theology and into irrationality.
The key is the word “then”–which is used three times in the text–and in all three instances referring to the same future date. Observe the times it appears: “When that which is perfect has come, Then that which is in part will be done away ... For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but Then face to face. Now I know in part, but Then I shall know just as I also am known.” I Corinthians 13:10,12. All three times the word 'then' appears, it points to the same future perfection. Question: Have we come to the time when we no longer ‘see in a mirror, dimly,’ “but ‘face to face’? No. Have we come to the time when we no longer know ‘in part’ but ‘as I also am known”? No. Then we have not yet come to the time when that which is perfect has come’. Thankfully, knowledge has not yet vanished away.
My final word is this: “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10. As a conscientious Christian, you want to serve God and His people by allowing the free demonstration of His gifts in you. Being religious is not what He seeks from you. He wants genuine spirituality to be the hallmark of your life. That can only happen when His gifts are free to glorify Jesus through you. Do it!
Thanks! To all of you who responded to our cry for help with ministerial expenses, we say Thank You! Our monthly Newsletter will continue because you continue to provide! – Charles
HOORAY and HALLELUJAH! 70 Years Of Ordained Ministry
Easter Sunday, 2019, I complete 70 years of Ministry and am now writing my Memoir of that wonderful era. The title is Hooray and Hallelujah! It is told story-like, beginning with events before the 1930's, then America’s Great Depression, Second World War, my call to the ministry, and incidents leading to the present day. This is a large book you will enjoy; in it, I share facts--the good, the bad, the blessed and the embarrassing, If you would like to help with the publication, your gift would be greatly appreciated. Your contribution may be made on-line through Paypal at www.CharlesCarrinMinistries .com, or checks sent to Charles Carrin Ministries, P.O. Box 800, Boynton Beach, Florida, 33426. Please pray that I will get the work done successfully. Thank you!
God bless you! Charles