“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
~1 Corinthians 12:7 (NIV).
I was accosted recently by a zealous ‘Spirit-filled’ evangelist. He asked me my interest and I mentioned I was Christian. Then he said something rather funny, after referring to ‘the tongues,’ something I didn’t expect: “Have you received the Spirit yet?” he asked. Then I thought, “That’s right, there are some Christians and denominations who believe you must speak in tongues as a manifest sign of the ‘receipt’ of the Spirit within.”
I must say that certain biblical bigotry wrangles me. It smacks of false teaching. Whilst I’ve been baptised in the Spirit at least twice (without intention mind) I haven’t of my own conscious knowledge spoken in tongues.
The Hypocrisy of this Attitude
I find it bewildering that some Christians—who do in fact have the gift to speak in tongues—think they’re special repositories of the Holy Spirit, not recognising that every Christian has the Holy Spirit dwelling within them.
The hypocrisy is most marked in those who take on a superior attitude in their ‘healing ministries’ in the name of the Lord, and who yet haven’t applied the same healing powers—in the name of the Lord—to heal their own lives. Their brokenness is visible to the discerning, especially in pride.
I must admit to some reticence to follow leaders of the faith who purport openly and boldly certain powers or gifts. I wonder if they’re from God at all and I’m quickly looking for evidence of the gifts. We see, it is not the Lord’s way for ministers to spruik gamely about the wares they’re peddling—actions always prove more credible than words. I believe that was the intent of Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:19.
The Apportionment of the Gifts
The Apostle Paul makes it very plain that the gifts are not universal.
To say tongues—or any other Spiritual gift—is the only manifestation of the receipt of the Spirit is a direct contravention of the intent of 1 Corinthians 12–14, especially, for example, verses 7-11 of chapter 12. It is the Spirit who apportions the gift—in all manner of manifestation—and the Presence of God the Holy Spirit within.
Comments to the contrary are based in Spiritual naivety.
Now, to Healing
As the title of the article suggests, the focus is on healing—the desire to be healed.
Many might be attracted to healing ministries, and those given to be gifted in healing by the Spirit certainly have a very special and needed ministry. Millions attest to the healing power in Jesus’ name, as is their experience, and no one’s defrauding them of that.
But healing by method is beyond the instantly miraculous means.
This is not saying that the instant miracle doesn’t count; it’s simply not the only way.
I truly wonder how many faith-healers are themselves ‘healed,’ and not simply physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually also.
For mine, it seems a contradiction in terms that certain people highlight physical healing as more important, or more manifest as Spiritual healing, than the other just-as-miraculous forms of healing... they just aren’t as instant in their manifestation, that’s all.
The desire for healing is the most important issue.
Whoever desires to be truly healed, and we all will need healing—even continual healing, should be healable. It is not just down to the healing ministries, however, to do it. As Paul argued, the Holy Spirit—and the healing power of the Spirit—is much bigger than we can construct or begin to understand.
The desire for healing—and to be healed, and that continually—is most important thing. There is no ‘set’ way healing works. We cannot hem the Holy Spirit in like that.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.