A DIVINE STEWARDSHIP

A recent gracEmail brought more than the usual number of responses, including the following comment from one reader about gracEmails in general. "I am so glad," she said, "you write these and send them." * * * Thank you, my friend! So am I. The first gracEmail (then still nameless) sailed into cyberspace seventeen years ago in 1996. My friend Rubel Shelly suggested that I shorten its length … [Read more...]

CHARISMATIC ‘PURITANS’

California fundamentalist pastor John MacArthur recently sponsored an anti-charismatic conference. His promotion of the event included MacArthur's blanket condemnation of Pentecostals and charismatics in general. Not only are charismatics the fastest-growing element in the global Church, they (and their sympathizers) are some of the most highly-respected evangelical pastors, teachers and other … [Read more...]

CHARISMATIC PURITANS?

California fundamentalist pastor John MacArthur recently sponsored an anti-charismatic conference. His promotion of the event included MacArthur's blanket condemnation of Pentecostals and charismatics in general. Not only are charismatics the fastest-growing element in the global Church, they (and their sympathizers) are some of the most highly-respected evangelical pastors, teachers and other … [Read more...]

SPRINGTIME IN SEARCY

April 13, 2010 -- The deadness of Winter has given way to the greening of new life, and the fields and forests of Arkansas are now lavishly adorned in a living palette of jonquils, firepinks and wisteria, complemented by redbuds, dogwoods and flowering trees of all kinds. Contributing the audio to this visual splendor, a host of robins, bluebirds and martins cheerfully announce the arrival of … [Read more...]

SPIRITUAL GIFTS SEMINAR

March 2006 -- Great joy, human brokenness and divine renewal marked our seminar on gifts of the Holy Spirit last weekend in Searcy, Arkansas. Sponsored by Covenant Fellowship Church (CFC) and hosted on Saturday by First United Methodist Church (FUMC), both of Searcy, the seminar included two teaching sessions followed by a question-and-answer session on Saturday morning and a healing prayer … [Read more...]

VERIFYING SPIRITUAL GIFTS

A preacher in the South asks: "If the miraculous spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12-14 are still available, has anyone in your congregation received them, and how do we verify whether they are genuinely from God?" * * * As the sovereign of heaven and earth, God bestows grace-gifts and performs miracles as he sees fit (1 Cor. 12:4-11; Gal. 3:5). Has anyone in my home congregation received … [Read more...]

RECEIVING SPIRITUAL GIFTS

A preacher in the South asks: "If the miraculous spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12-14 are still available, how do we go about receiving them?" * * * Scripture does not distinguish between "miraculous" and "non-miraculous" spiritual gifts, so we must think of the grace-gifts (charismata) in general terms. We receive such gifts today the same way God's people always have. Scripture gives us no … [Read more...]

IMPARTING SPIRITUAL GIFTS

A brother from a Baptist church in North Carolina writes, "My view has been that only the apostles had authority to bestow spiritual gifts through the laying on of hands, but I've had to rethink that in the light of other passages of Scripture. What do you think, based on your study of Scripture?" * * * New Testament authors tell us that spiritual gifts come from the Father (1 Pet. 4:10-11), … [Read more...]

POWER, LOVE & SPIRITUAL GIFTS

A gracEmail subscriber writes concerning a relative who has "discovered the amazing power of the Spirit," and is now eager to share this miracle-and-wonder power with everyone else. The subscriber admits that she would like to have more direct displays of supernatural power in her own life, but she thinks that this relative is stressing power to the neglect of love. She asks if I have any … [Read more...]

WHEN THE PERFECT COMES

Scripture says that supernatural gifts of tongues, prophecy and knowledge will cease when "the perfect" comes (1 Cor. 13:10). "When will that be?" a gracEmail reader asks. "Does this verse refers to the last biblical book being written?" * * * The notion that "the perfect" here refers to the completion of the New Testament is of fairly recent origin. Barton W. Stone, a pioneer father of the … [Read more...]