My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND HIS VARIETIES OF GIFTS (PART II)
by Reverend Father George Mastrantonis
The "varieties of gifts" are many:
"To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophesy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, Who appoints to each one individually as he wills" (vs. 8-11).
The gift of the "utterance of wisdom" means the deeper understanding of the Will of God and mysteries of salvation; the "utterance of knowledge" means the good sense of knowledge; "faith" means the supernatural achievements through the Spirit; "healing" means the ability to heal various sicknesses; "working of miracles" means supernatural achievements; "prophesy" means the miracle in the form of preaching; "ability to distinguish between spirits" means being able to distinguish between good and evil spirits by which various spiritual expressions exist; "various kinds of tongues" means the gift of speaking in many dialects of which the meaning is known only to him who speaks them, not even an interpreter; "interpretation of tongues" means the ability to interpret the language of the speaker of "tongues" to the people who do not understand what is being said. As it with teaching it is also with prayer, which must be understood by the people. Otherwise the speaking of prayers in tongues is in vain. "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful" (v, 14). Therefore, "I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also" (v. 15). The same applies to singing and to blessing:
"Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how can anyone in the position of outsider (without gifts) say the 'Amen' to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? For you may give thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified" (v. 16-17).
Holy Apostle Paul discourages the practice of "speaking in tongues" inasmuch as the people do not benefit, for "in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue" (v. 1.9).
Saint Paul makes himself clear as being against "speaking in tongues":
"Thus, tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers...If, therefore, the whole church assembles and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?" (v.22).
If there are speakers in tongues without one to interpret, "Let each one of them keep silent in the church and speak to himself and to God" (v. 28). Saint Paul does not oppose the practice of "speaking in tongues" provided that the language of the speaker can be made known by the people either by using the language understood or using an interpreter to convey the meaning to the people. For Saint Paul, religious instruction of the people is the most important work of the Church, "For you can all prophesy (preach) one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged" (v. 31).
The varieties of gifts mentioned here, as well as those in Romans (12:6-8), "are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills" (1 Corinthians 12:11). All these "varieties of gifts" are interlocked and equal, coming from the same Source--the Holy Spirit.
The Glossolalia (Speaking in Tongues) of Today
The "speaking of tongues" in the New Testament as described above is far different from the new glossolalia, tongues movement, of today. Although the word, glossolalia, is a term which was lately adopted, in the 19th century, the phenomenon of speaking in tongues is very ancient, as mentioned before. The difference is that in the past, and especially in the Holy Bible, the speaking in tongues was the speaking of a human foreign language, which could be understood directly or through an interpreter. Glossolalia today has another meaning entirely. Nor should it be associated with the Pentencostal confession, either. This new movement of glossolalia of today started in 1960 with an Episcopal priest in California. This movement has flourished, but not without opposition. The point of this movement of glossolalia is that the "tongues" are not human languages, but inarticulated speech. Some claim it is gibberish foolish sounds; others say not. All agree that from a linguistic point glossolalia is not a human language, for one cannot identify any positive language being spoken, and there is no evidence that the glossolalia contains actual speech. Despite the claim of the members of this movement, they cannot provide any case to stand up under scientific investigation...
Many people are turning to this glossolalia movement, mystic cults, oriental philosophies, witchcraft, astrology, etc., because they do not find inner satisfaction in the material wealth of our affluent society. This dissatisfaction is partly due to the materialism and technological advances of this present century. It is obvious that material possessions cannot satisfy the spirit of many people. People today are turning to diverting mystical movements and drugs to get beyond themselves in search of inner satisfaction and contentment. The actions of today's society clearly reflect the lack of spiritual (Christian) values, and indicate the need to return to the true concept of Christianity. It is a sad situation that even though more and more people are dissatisfied with material wealth and possessions and are turning to the various cult movements, society strives for even greater materialism...
Invocation of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, Who proceeds from the Father, is He Who spoke through the Prophets and was the Divine Instrument in the birth of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the Author of the Holy Bible; He guides and protects the Church of Christ, having given it life on the day of Pentecost. It is the Holy Spirit Who endows the members of the Church with varieties of spiritual gifts for their illumination and satisfaction. This is why the Christian invokes in times of joy and in times of sorrow the Holy Spirit to strengthen his faith with His Grace to accomplish his purpose in life. The faithful member of the Church humbly should pray that he will not be led astray by "movements" outside the Church, where there is no salvation. The dire need of the people today is that they be reawakened to the realization that they already possess the greatest spiritual gift they can be given--their Christian faith. The Christian must dedicate himself (herself) to the true meaning and practice of his/her faith in God, and not to allow himself/herself to be led astray in moments of weakness. The Holy Spirit bestows gifts only on those who believe in and practice the True faith. The Christian is admonished to:
"Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance", and "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:18; 6:10-11).
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
Glory Be To GOD For All Things!
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God