If you are not from a charismatic or pentecostal background, the idea of spiritual gifts — things like tongues, prophecy and divine healing may be difficult to wrestle with. On the one hand, you may be attracted to the more relaxed atmosphere at a “Spirit Filled” church but is someone about to bring some snakes out? Or possibly you may have been taught that the miraculous gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 ceased with the apostles and the completion of the canon. These are perfectly legitimate issues to wrestle with. Former Dallas Theological Seminary professor Jack Deere wrestled with these issues on spiritual gifts in a serious way and wrote two very penetrating books about the subject: Surprised by the Power of the Spirit and Surprised by the Voice of God. If you are dealing with the Biblical data on this subject especially, or come from a Christian home where spiritual gifts were not emphasized, these may be helpful for you.
For those of us not from a Christian background at all, it’s not the Biblical data that is hard to deal with, it’s our life experience. Christian truth is one thing, but an encounter with the supernatural? Many people who come from some kind of Christian background who find themselves at a Spirit Filled church face not only the doctrinal implications, but also the personal and familial implications of this question. If I believe that “there is more” than what I grew up with, then doesn’t that say something negative about the people that mentored me and that I look up to?
The first thing to realize is that all of us need “more” of God. No one has arrived. We need Christ in our lives every day, and we hope and believe that we can be more and more like Him. Jesus healed almost constantly and prophesied on a regular basis. If I become more like Him, then it would seem to follow that I would do more things like Him. The spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 are just one way that manifests. The spiritual gifts are tools to accomplish the will of the Father, not notches on our belt of how super spiritual we are. I don’t know about you, but I need all of the tools I can get! So at Freedom Christian Fellowship we seek more of the Holy Spirit in all of the ways He manifests, and we also accept as brothers in Christ, those who do not place the same emphasis on these divine enablements. Embracing them is not a statement of condemnation of others, but of hunger for ourselves.