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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by targo View Post
    yeah it was one of those moments... it is not the only time I have had something prophetic to share.... it's hard for me to deal with though.
    Heh heh heh. You think that's rough? Try being a real full-blown prophet! (I am not one, but know one personally. It can be rough.
    By the way, I'm the girl in the picture, lol.... happily married though, so don't even...

  2. #12
    ~*taaa raaa raaa boom*~ targobelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RansomedbyFire View Post
    Heh heh heh. You think that's rough? Try being a real full-blown prophet! (I am not one, but know one personally. It can be rough.

    um..... my rebellion and insecurities keep me from being one at this time......
    ~t ...in need of hugs please...
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  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by targo View Post
    um..... my rebellion and insecurities keep me from being one at this time......
    Oh boy. So, you have a feeling you might be called to it? I do know that not everyone who prophesies is an actual prophet (in terms of five-fold ministry). But yeah, I kinda know what you mean. Heh. It's bad enough being married to one sometimes. As in, the pressure is on, to be more spiritually mature than I am right now. It can be scary. But at the same time, awesome. I'm just glad it's him and not me, lol.
    By the way, I'm the girl in the picture, lol.... happily married though, so don't even...

  4. #14
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    My opinion of the three lists of gifts that are usually assembled by Christian churches is that they are not exclusive, nor were even quite the same things. In one list, Paul is talking about functional roles in the body (teacher, apostle, evangelist, etc.), while other lists talk more about attribute-oriented gifts. But my point is that they were merely examples given to make a point, to get people on the same page; it was not supposed to be a specific, detailed, exhaustive list of what is and is not potentially a gift.

    I also do not know if one can make a case for some of the other gifts to be "constant gifts," they seem like individual cases. Someone might speak in tongues once; it is the sign of the Spirit, at best, it doesn't mean they always have the "gift of speaking in tongues." Just in the same way someone might once be the vehicle through which something miraculous seems to occur, but does not necessarily mean they have the "gift of miracles."

    (Besides, isn't that focusing too much on the human being involved, and not enough on the Spirit? I should not really care that Charlie or Jan has uttered prophetic things, why do I need to label them as a prophet? Shouldn't my only concern be that "God has spoken through them"? So much of this "gift" seems to focus far too much on the human agencies involved, and who can do what, and who has been used to do what, rather than the source. Especially once it becomes part of a denomination's "religious practice."

    That bothers me as well, now that I think about it: If God is the source, then these gifts should be appearing throughout the church more regularly. But often they seem to be confined to particular denominations. Something is messing with the "natural distribution" of the gifts.)

    So far, my experience with manifestations of the gifts has been ambiguous. I have seen and talked to some people about particular anecdotes where gifts were displayed, and I have had a few "seeming mystical" experiences in my life. But I've seen many other cases where it just seemed like something natural was being mistaken for a gift or people were making themselves / labeling themselves with gifts they obviously did not have.

    The whole "Giftology" concept just tends to bother me, but maybe that is because of my personality, which wants to remove the obfuscation and reduce assumption.

    (I'm sorry, none of this meant as a personal attack on anyone. I am just stating my general position and concerns as clearly as I can, okay?)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  5. #15
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Solid post, Jen.

    I was just thinking about this the other day, actually.
    I've had a very small number of what might be considered "prophetic" instances, but I'd certainly not consider myself a prophet.
    Probably more likely it's my willingness to listen to God combined with my INTJ ability to see the situation and domino effects more clearly than some other people.

    And although I'm not going to say that I don't believe in the gift of tongues or even logic that it's just not here in today's age (like some say) I will admit to my skepticism of being around a few people; I'm pretty sure that a lot of people who think they can can't.
    I think perhaps they just get caught up in the emotions and start blathering repeated nonsense. Just 'cause you can say a non-english three-syllable repeated "sentence" over and over during worship does not mean that you speak in tongues (necessarily).

    I've been focusing on the self-improvement and my willingness to enter situations where I'm not totally competent and letting God guide as opposed to trying to develop "gifts". (not that I think they don't exist. But I don't think it's as concrete as people think it is. This whole labeling of people business.)
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  6. #16
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    (Like Jen I'm speaking purely of my own experience and opinion here, not singling ANYONE out. Just getting that out of the way.)

    These things always send up red flags for me. When I was younger my parents church-hopped and took us to all sorts of strange places. Some of these churches didn't seem to be connected to any larger body, so it tended to be one charismatic dude (always a dude) and 50-70 people who seemed almost to worship him because he had "spiritual gifts." In one of these places we went to a few Wednesday night tongues-speaking meetings. As a kid I remember feeling very out-of-control and afraid at these meetings. The grownups who were supposed to be taking care of us were falling on the floor and spouting a constant stream of nonsense syllables. It all seemed like histrionic wishful thinking to me, then and now.

    What bothers me most about this approach is the lack of oversight. I'm not really one who depends on a large church body to tell me what I believe, but since having these experiences it seems like a good idea to stay connected. It can very easily turn into one dude controlling a bunch of easily-shepherded people and getting them to revere him such that they believe anything he says.

    In that way, I totally agree with Jen that these things focus entirely too much on the awesome God-worshipping powers of the individuals involved. Frustratingly, your point wondering why they are not more evenly distributed among the denominations would have been easily dismissed by the people in the churches I have been to-- the other denominations are not really part of the Church, they're part of the Whore of Babylon and their lack of gifts is one piece of the evidence for this.
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  7. #17
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Obviously I disagree with a lot in this thread, but... I am very curious if there are other interpretations of these gifts. I seem them as being very metaphorical and not applied in the more direct sense that was talked about early in the OP.

    I'm just curious, then... are there multiple interpretations or views depending on denomination?

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I also do not know if one can make a case for some of the other gifts to be "constant gifts," they seem like individual cases. Someone might speak in tongues once; it is the sign of the Spirit, at best, it doesn't mean they always have the "gift of speaking in tongues." Just in the same way someone might once be the vehicle through which something miraculous seems to occur, but does not necessarily mean they have the "gift of miracles."
    I see where you're coming from with some of the prophetic gifts and interpretable tongues or interpretation of such tongues. But, being raised around many of them, it seems that personal use of tongues for edification of oneself and a special language used in prayer tends to be a constant gift for most people. Considering its purpose, to help the new believer express his/her prayers in a Godly manner, to give you words to pray when you don't know what to say... it seems this particular gift is usually constant; and, having it, I thank God it is. I don't know what I'd do without it.

    As for gifts of discernment, those I've seen (quite a few) who had them, also had them constantly, even when they themselves weren't doing quite right and were running from them. I consider this particular gift to be almost like a special, well, I guess you could say, a sixth sense of sorts. Once you have it, you usually develop it and never lose it. It's just like with natural sight, once we have it, we have it (unless something goes wrong). Once it's there, it's meant to stay.

    Now, with prophesy, I believe it can either be a constant gift; but this usually occurs when it becomes a five-fold ministry. Obviously, since the gift was mentioned as a gift as well as a ministry, there are probably two forms of it, one more constant than the other.

    That bothers me as well, now that I think about it: If God is the source, then these gifts should be appearing throughout the church more regularly. But often they seem to be confined to particular denominations. Something is messing with the "natural distribution" of the gifts.)
    Because they are gifts, God is not going to spring them on someone who will not receive them. So, it is not the fault of the gifts that this partial distribution is true; it's the fact the so many don't believe in them and don't want them. Paul told us to seek the gifts; and, as far as I know from personal experience, people who don't seek them usually don't receive them.

    But I've seen many other cases where it just seemed like something natural was being mistaken for a gift or people were making themselves / labeling themselves with gifts they obviously did not have.
    Sure, this probably does occur, but the gifts I have seen in operation are undeniable.

    For example, one time, I was going through a struggle with a certain struggle that I had only told my (at the time) boyfriend (whom I would later marry) about. Our assistant pastor at the time had so many legitimate gifts that we used to joke about it and say he "knew what we [or anyone else] did last summer" got up sometime after the worship and starting speaking my exact situation and admonishing me on what to do. It was so powerful, all I could do was sit, put my face down on the back of the pew in front of me, and cry.
    By the way, I'm the girl in the picture, lol.... happily married though, so don't even...

  9. #19
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Obviously I disagree with a lot in this thread, but... I am very curious if there are other interpretations of these gifts. I seem them as being very metaphorical and not applied in the more direct sense that was talked about early in the OP.

    I'm just curious, then... are there multiple interpretations or views depending on denomination?
    Yes. Most churches do think of it in a more meta way, as you say. I know I do. Which is why it disturbs me to see it taken so literally. It almost seems like idolatry to me.

    Sometimes the flipside of thinking these are literal gifts is rejection when you don't experience them literally. My mother always thought she was protected by the Cross from all illness and travail, until she got breast cancer. Then she wondered why God was punishing her with sickness, what sin she had committed to bring it on herself. At one point she actually removed all of the photographs and realistic art from the house because a self-identified prophet asked her if she was "right with God," and was she following all of the ten commandments. She thought maybe God was punishing her for having graven images. She was going to burn all of our family photos so I took them and hid them until she returned to her senses. Which she did.

    I want to emphasize that my mother is not crazy, but she was very heavily steeped in this mindset. Cancer actually helped her grow and learn.
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  10. #20
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RansomedbyFire View Post
    I see where you're coming from with some of the prophetic gifts and interpretable tongues or interpretation of such tongues. But, being raised around many of them, it seems that personal use of tongues for edification of oneself and a special language used in prayer tends to be a constant gift for most people.
    I've also seen people who use it who make no sense whatsoever, but claim it to be a gift.

    Considering its purpose, to help the new believer express his/her prayers in a Godly manner, to give you words to pray when you don't know what to say... it seems this particular gift is usually constant; and, having it, I thank God it is. I don't know what I'd do without it.
    Paul really did not seem to be much into speaking in tongues. In fact, it almost seems like he merely tolerated it, and to be encouraging and/or not really slap down people who insisted it was a valid gift, he instead said, "Well, it is more important to focus on the ability to interpret tongues, not just speak in them. But really, if you've got to choose... love each other and drop the whole silly tongue business." His most famous declaration about love, the core of relationships with every other human being, occurs in the middle of telling people to stop arguing about how great the gift of tongues is.

    Honestly, if I were God, I would rather hear you stammer and stumble and get stuck and be confused about what you were saying... and try to talk to me anyway and understand what you were saying, rather than just talking to myself through you. That would show how much you love me, and how much humility you have (because you're doing something uncomfortable but your image is less important to you than your prayers), and so on.

    As for gifts of discernment, those I've seen (quite a few) who had them, also had them constantly, even when they themselves weren't doing quite right and were running from them. I consider this particular gift to be almost like a special, well, I guess you could say, a sixth sense of sorts. Once you have it, you usually develop it and never lose it. It's just like with natural sight, once we have it, we have it (unless something goes wrong). Once it's there, it's meant to stay.
    I just don't know. You have no doubt seen many of those spiritual gift tests all around the Internet. (Someone had even had a test along with the MBTI and a skills test, but he took it off when people complained... from what I heard.)

    I always get discernment, teaching, wisdom, and exhortation/pastoral as my very highest. And other people confirm those things informally, when I give them advice or talk to them about particular situations. They will just volunteer the compliment, so it's not just me imagining all that.

    So what does that mean? Is that even the same as the gifts you're talking about? It seems to me there is this very ambiguous area and we are just making things up as we go, but we really don't know what a gift is or how it appears or why or when it is even being used. We just validate it based on how we "feel" about it and whether the results seem to mesh with what we already think and have been taught.

    I'm glad you pointed out earlier (I think I saw you say it! ) that the gift of prophecy was not just about foretelling the future but actually just declaring the will of God in a particular situation. That is an important qualification many people don't understand at first...

    Because they are gifts, God is not going to spring them on someone who will not receive them. So, it is not the fault of the gifts that this partial distribution is true; it's the fact the so many don't believe in them and don't want them. Paul told us to seek the gifts; and, as far as I know from personal experience, people who don't seek them usually don't receive them.
    I understand why you're saying this. But you probably also see why, as far as inquiry goes into the authenticity of the gifts by an outside observer, it's very much a self-fulfilling prophecy. ("Those other people don't receive the gifts because they don't really want them like we do." The counter-logic: "You think you're receiving gifts, because you've convinced yourselves you are.")


    Sure, this probably does occur, but the gifts I have seen in operation are undeniable.
    I think there are some things that are unexplained or ambiguous, but "undeniable" is far too strong a word. It's not as if I have not been exposed to deliverance meetings or large spirit-oriented worship sessions or seen "healings" on television or spoken with people who have had things occur that they deemed to be miracles. And I have a few incidents in my own life to me that seemed at the time to be inexplicable.

    But I cannot make a systematic theology out of it. It's "gray area" to me. And I am also very very aware of bias in Christian perception, in both my own life and in the lives of people I know intimately. I am very aware about how operating from a worldview based on revelation often leads us to immediately categorize our experiences in terms of that worldview, rather than being aware of other possibilities for that worldview.

    Christianity is not the only faith that has had mystical experiences.

    For example, one time, I was going through a struggle with a certain struggle that I had only told my (at the time) boyfriend (whom I would later marry) about. Our assistant pastor at the time had so many legitimate gifts that we used to joke about it and say he "knew what we [or anyone else] did last summer" got up sometime after the worship and starting speaking my exact situation and admonishing me on what to do. It was so powerful, all I could do was sit, put my face down on the back of the pew in front of me, and cry.
    I know. And I know it felt very powerful to you. I have no experience with your experiences, you are really the only witness to what you are experiencing. I just know what my own experiences have been, and what things "feel real" but later turn out to be more ambiguous, and so on. And I've watched those around me having "religious experiences" and later discover that their convictions and interpretations were not the only explanation.

    Religious experiences are very difficult to examine from the outside, because so much of them are subjective and internal.
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