VLI: Leader’s Self Understanding and Spiritual Formation Lecture 7
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Recognize Paul’s definitions of grace (charis) and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (charisma). (Sect. 68.2 &
Definition: Grace is God’s unmerited favor and generosity toward us.
Grace is a central, foundational concept in Paul’s letters. Grace in the fountain from which all authentic ministry springs. It’s all grace—always God’s action.
- Definition: The gifts of the Holy Spirit are grace-gifts (charismata) given to build up the church and equip it for ministry. They are a real manifestation of the presence of
- the Age to Come or the Messianic Age breaking into our midst through the Spirit’s dynamic presence.
Explain (in 1 sentence each) the basis and purpose of gifts. (Sect. 68.4 & 68.5)
The basis of gifts
The purpose of gifts
- Sometimes God gives grace out of his prodigal (wasteful), ridiculous generosity when it makes no
- sense to us. God always gives gifts to those who do not deserve them! We do not earn gifts. They are
- not rewards or merit badges or trophies for our goodness. A past fallacy of popular Evangelical piety
- claimed that, “God gives gifts to those he can trust with them.”
- Gifts are to glorify God and increase his reputation in all things. + to build up the church. We exist to make God famous. We
- are God’s public relations (PR) agents one way or the other: God’s reputation goes up because of your
- love and obedience or goes down because of your disobedience.
Recognize the seven positions taken by the church on spiritual gifts. (Sect. 69)
- The sacramental view
- The gifts of the Spirit are resident in the clergy, coming through the sacrament of ordination, going back to the Apostles, led by the Primacy of Peter (the Pope as the living Apostle in Peter’s See) and continuing through them in the life of the church.
- The modified Cessationist view
- The gifts of the Spirit were resident in the Apostles and their immediate associates. The “charismatic gifts” and “signs and wonders” such as working miracles, tongues, and healings, validated their ministries and ceased with their death and the closing of the canon of Scripture.
- Over all, this view is also hostile to a “second work” of the Spirit beyond coming to faith. Rather, after being filled with the Spirit at conversion (and/or baptism), we are to ideally experience a continual filling (John Stott).
- This, however, may come at a point of time after conversion through repentance and prayer.
- There is no necessary immediate experience of filling; it comes by an act of faith.
- For Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, its purpose is to empower evangelism, bearing fruit (converts).
- The eschatological view
- The power and gifts of the Spirit have always operated in the church to some degree as a sign of living in the “end times,” the Kingdom come as well as coming.
- This may especially be seen on the missionary frontiers of the church and today in the Southern Hemisphere, Africa and Far East.
- The Pentecostal Movement view
- The Pentecostal movement claims that the “charismatic gifts” were restored to the church at the
- beginning of the last century (the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles) and are present through the
- repetition of Pentecost in the believer’s life today.
- Usually the gift of tongues is seen as the “gateway” gift into the rest of the gifts.
- The Charismatic Movement view
- The Charismatic movement sees itself as a restoration of Pentecost in non-Pentecostal churches.
- As with Pentecostals, the gift of tongues is often viewed as the gateway gift to the rest of the “supernatural” gifts of the Spirit.
- The “Third Wave” view (C. Peter Wagner)
- The “Third Wave” sees itself as a new move of the Spirit beyond the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements.
- Tongues is not the necessary “gateway” gift to the other supernatural gifts.
- There is, however, an experience of empowering or filling by the Spirit beyond conversion.
- The Apostolic/Prophetic Restoration view
- The Apostolic/Prophetic Restoration views itself as the end-times movement bringing about world-
- evangelism, returning the church to its proper order and functioning, before the final move of evangelism (“the Big One”) and the return of Christ.
Recognize positions taken by the Vineyard (John Wimber) on the work of the Spirit and spiritual gifts. (Sect. 70)
- Early on, Wimber adopted a view close to Pentecostalism
- There is a second experience of the Spirit after conversion, called the “Baptism of the Spirit,”
- which empowers the believer for supernatural ministry, especially releasing the “charismatic” gifts
- of tongues, miracles, discernment of spirits, prophecy, healings, etc.
- These gifts issue in a ministry of “signs and wonders.”
- Next, Wimber responded to the theological correction that all believers are “baptized by the Spirit” at conversion into the Body of Christ
- He therefore taught that the second experience of the Spirit is the believer being filled with the Spirit or empowered by the Spirit for ministry.
- This is usually experiential and is often repeatable.
- It may or may not be accompanied by the gift of tongues. This separated the Vineyard from Pentecostalism and Charismatic theologies.
- Wimber taught that the gifts of the Spirit are not simply structural or constitutional (such as apostles and pastor-teachers) but situationalThis means that anyone can receive and employ a specific gift for ministry on occasion.
- (“Everybody gets to play”).
- Wimber called the gifts of the Spirit, “graceletts,” based on the Greek “charisma,” or “gift.”
- They come depending on the need and opportunity for ministry and are not a permanent possession.
Illustrate (in 2 paragraphs) Tozer’s point that the Holy Spirit is identified with and experienced as “power” (Sect. 71.2.1) by stating the name of any four of the individuals described in Sect. 71.2.2–71.2.5 and 71.3
briefly describing the Spirit’s power in their experiences.
We frame the following accounts with a quote from A. W. Tozer:
- “Christ taught not the coming of the Holy Spirit and power, but the coming of the Holy Spirit as power; the power and the Spirit are the same.” (A Treasury of A.W. Tozer, p. 56) Jesus commanded and promised, “You [the disciples] are witnesses of these things. I am going to
- send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city [of Jerusalem] until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:48f) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
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