1.26.2009

Q Follow-up

OK,
What a great discussion we began on Sunday. I love those Q Sundays. I love opening up the discussion to hear what everyone adds to an idea or an issue. Our discussion of the use of tongues got cut way too short. I have been clouded by the sense that we really were not done and that our worshipping community is left with some unclarity. (I must say that when it comes to these overtly mystic spiritual gifts, I often feel a sense of unclarity.) PS I know that "unclarity" is NOT a word.

So, lets keep the conversation going here.

Let's start with this idea. Does EVERY spiritual gift have a place in the church?

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
(1 Corinthians 12:4-8)

So the phrase "common good" sticks out to me to be a highly significant phrase in the whole discussion of spiritual gifts. The Holy Spirit in other places describes the gifts as building up the "whole body"... It seems the common good and what is common good in a give place at a given time would be the factor that God uses to dispense and inspire any of the gifts for you. The phrase "all men" also sticks out to me. The idea of all leaves no one out of the gift reception process.

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. (verse 11)

Again the idea of each one. One of my thoughts whenever we discuss spiritual gifts is the idea that we are all gifted and we should take seriously the idea to find, develop, and use that gift.

OK, all this to say that it seems to me that if every person has a gift, and every person has a place in the church, it is likely that every gift has a place in the church. In fact, as I read on in 1 Corinthians 12 - 14, the Holy Spirit leads Paul to write in such a way as to completely enmesh the identities of people and gifts into one notion.

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. (1 Corinthians 12:14-20)

Paul seems to start up this discussion of the body without ever defining it. He seems to assume prior knowledge. Could this be from his writing to the Romans or from his discussion while present in Corinth? He mentions the idea of the church as a body previously in 1 Corinthians 10:17, referring to the persons as the members of one body. But his metaphor here seems specifically to deal with people in regard to their gifts and the contribution their gifts bring to the whole church.

OK, now I'm rambling like a preacher. Post your comment and lets keep digging. I'll bring up another idea tomorrow.

1 comments:

Peter P January 26, 2009 at 10:41 PM  

Great post Bruce.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said: "it seems to me that if every person has a gift, and every person has a place in the church, it is likely that every gift has a place in the church."

So the question then arises:

What is Church?

If someone were to think that church is just what happens on a Sunday morning then there is no way that every spiritual gift can be used 'in church'.

However, if the Church are the people wherever and whenever they are, then every gift can and should be used for the benefit of the whole body.

Does every spiritual gift have a place on Sunday morning? probably not.

Does every spiritual gift have a place within the church as they do what they do 365 days a year? Definitely!

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