Biblical Summary about Spiritual Gifts
The primary places in the Bible we learn about Spiritual Gifts are: 1 Corinthians 12–14; Romans 12; Ephesians 4; 1 Peter 4
From these Scriptures, we learn the following key information about Spiritual Gifts:
- Spiritual gifts are sovereignly given by God and are not received as the product of human effort or training (1 Corinthians 12:7–11, 18).
- No one spiritual gift is universal (1 Corinthians 12:27–31).
- Every believer has at least one spiritual gift and is responsible to God for being a good steward of that/those gift(s) (1 Peter 4:10).
- Spiritual gifts help indicate God’s call and purpose for the believer’s life (Romans 12:2–8).
- Spiritual gifts are given for the purposes of the building up the body of Christ, the advancement of the gospel, and the glory of God. All are to be used for the “common good” of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7, 14:12, 22, 26; Ephesians 4:11–13; 1 Peter 4:10–11).
- At any given gathering of believers, some gifts may not be operative (1 Corinthians 12:28–30).
- A certain spiritual gift is not an indication of greater maturity, spirituality, or a greater filling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:14–31).
- The “sign gifts” are the least important in a ranked list (1 Corinthians 12:28–31).
- The exercise of gifts is to be done properly and in order, under submission to the elders of the church or the ministry leader in other contexts (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40).
- Spiritual gifts are exercised and strengthened in the believer’s life through a combination of the Spirit’s power and the believer’s obedience (1 Corinthians 12:4–7; 2 Timothy 1:6.)
- Gifts exercised without love do not accomplish God’s intended purposes (1 Corinthians 13:1–3).
- The manifestation and exercise of every spiritual gift is to be carefully and consistently evaluated by biblical truth (2 Timothy 3:16).
- When exercised in love, spiritual gifts produce godly fruit in the life of the body (John 15:8; Matthew 7:16–20; Ephesians 4:16).
Biblical Summary of the Holy Spirit and His Work
- The baptism with the Holy Spirit is a one-time experience at the moment of spiritual birth, while the filling of the Holy Spirit is a repeated event in the believer’s life (Ephesians 4:5; 5:18).
- The Holy Spirit indwells and seals all believers at the moment of spiritual birth (Ephesians 1:13–14; Romans 8:9).
- The Holy Spirit fills believers as they yield their will to God in obedience (Ephesians 5:15–18).
- The Holy Spirit draws attention not to Himself or the individual person, but to the Son (John 16:14).
- The Holy Spirit leads believers, convicts of sin, comforts the hurting, illumines Scripture, bears spiritual fruit, emboldens for proclamation, sanctifies, and is essential to the believer’s walk with God (John 16:5–16; Acts 1:8; Galatians 5:16–26).
- The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal “force” that should be feared or somehow controlled. The Spirit is the third person of the Triune Godhead, and He should be related to with respect, love, faith, and devotion (John 14:15–31).
- The Holy Spirit continues His sovereign and powerful activity in the believers’ lives, the church, and the world today (John 16: 5–15; Romans 15:13; Ephesians 1:13, 14; 2 Timothy 1:14; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 2:4).
- The primary evidence of walking in the Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit in the believer’s life (Galatians 5:22–26).
Benchmark Parameters for the “Sign Gifts”
- We believe the “sign gifts” (tongues, interpretation of tongues, healing, miracles, and prophecy) had a special role in validating the presence and power of God during the initial expansion of the church, as well as providing important guidance until the canon of Scripture was in place. We also recognize that if and when God does choose to bestow these gifts today, they must fit the biblical descriptions given for them, as well as be subject to all of the guidelines of Scripture that govern their exercise.
- Also, concerning these gifts Cadence accepts into membership those who believe they have permanently ceased (cessationists). Cadence also accepts into membership those who believe that they still exist today, although not necessarily present in every church or in every period of history (non-cessationists).
- Cadence accepts into membership those who exercise these gifts as part of their spiritual lives so long as that exercise is governed by the biblical principles outlined in this policy.
- Concerning the subject of “private prayer language” (privately spoken tongues), Cadence accepts into membership those who exercise a “private prayer language.”
- Scripture, composed of the 66 books of the canon, is God’s complete revelation and the final authority for doctrine and practice (2 Timothy 3:14–16; 2 Peter 1:19–21).
- Scripture provides all that we need to know “for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” and also “for being thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:14–16).
- Experience is always to be tested by and submitted to the authority of Scripture.
- Since the canon of Scripture is closed, no current revelation from God exists on the level of that contained in Scripture. Moreover, if someone claims to have a “word from the Lord,” it must be tested for validity by the other godly believers (1 Corinthians 14:29–31) and be in total compatibility with what God has already revealed in Scripture.
Prophecy, Healing, and Miracles
- In the formation of the early church as described in the texts of Scripture, these gifts contained unique and important power in establishing apostolic authority and in validating the presence and power of God (2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:4).
- In the established New Testament church, these gifts contained the same purposes as all the spiritual gifts which were to be exercised for the edification of the body, the advancement of the gospel, and the glory and praise of God (1 Corinthians 12:7; 14:3, 4, 24, 25, 31; Ephesians 4:16).
- As with all of the rest of the spiritual gifts, results are not dependent alone on the possession and exercise of the gift by the user. The Spirit who gives the gifts as He wills also determines the results as He wills.
- In other words, those who have the gift of prophecy (the ability to know revealed truth from the Holy Spirit) may not always be accepted; those who have the gifts of healing (the ability to pray for and see miraculous healing in other people) may not always see healing; and those who have the gift of miracles (the ability to ask for and see a special power of God) may not always see God’s special power. The exercise of spiritual gifts will reveal an eventual pattern of consistent fruit and results over a period of time, as is true of all the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:6, 11).
- The gift of prophecy is intended to be exercised in order to edify, strengthen, encourage, instruct, and comfort the church, and it can even cause visiting unbelievers to exclaim, “God is really among you!” (1 Corinthians 14:3, 4, 24, 25, 31).
- All prophecies are to be tested and weighed by the body of Christ as to their validity. These instructions take into consideration the sinful nature of man, and that the gift of prophecy does not guarantee the infallible transmission of revealed truth from the Holy Spirit. The person with the gift of prophecy may perceive, understand, and/or deliver it imperfectly. Therefore it must be tested and weighed by other godly believers, as is true for the exercising of all the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:19–22).
Nature of Tongues
- In the Church, or other gatherings of the body, one at a time (1 Corinthians 14:27).
- In the Church, or other gatherings of the body, only with an interpreter, if there is no interpreter the person should “keep silent and speak to himself and God” (1 Corinthians 14:27–28).
- If anyone speaks in a tongue, “two or at the most three should speak” at any given meeting, and only if there is interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:27).
- The primary purpose is to build up the body, not the individual (1 Corinthians 14:26).
Attitude toward “Sign Gifts”
- We are to test the spirits – maintaining a godly discernment (1 John 4:1–3).
- At the same time, we are not to put out the Spirit’s fire and not treat prophecies with contempt. We are to test everything and hold on to the good (1 Thessalonians 5:19–21).
- While these gifts are not the “greater gifts,” those that exercise these gifts are not to be treated with suspicion, disrespect, or contempt by the rest of the body just because they exercise these gifts (1 Corinthians 12:14–31).
- Concerning miracles and healing, Cadence does not support the belief and attitude that all unanswered prayer or all lack of healing is the necessary result of either unconfessed sin or inadequate faith on the part of the believer who is praying or being prayed for.
- Concerning the use of tongues, Cadence does not support the belief and attitude that the presence of tongues is a sign of one’s salvation or that it is a mark of maturity.
- Members of Cadence are united in our common task of obedience to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. We believe that the central truths in which we are united are more important than those beliefs on which we differ. We also recognize that staff members of Cadence may have a responsibility to sending churches that they represent. As such, Cadence staff has the freedom to represent and teach these policy matters in accordance with their own convictions as well as those of their endorsing and sending churches.
- Cadence believes that the biblical doctrine of the Body of Christ teaches our oneness together, and demands that we do our utmost to keep the “unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). Therefore, Cadence staff has the freedom to teach their biblical convictions on these matters but must not denigrate and belittle other possible biblical views and interpretations held by other Cadence staff, which could possibly cause unnecessary strife and division within the Cadence body.
- Ministry leaders in local settings have the freedom to shepherd and lead their local body’s exercise (or non exercise) of the “sign gifts” according to their own personal biblical convictions and in accordance with the guidelines of these policies and procedures.
- As military ministry is a “high rotation” type ministry, and since “sign gift” issues are not a part of Cadence’s central biblical truths as outlined in the mission Doctrinal Statement, any over-emphasis in teaching on this subject (from any of the perspectives) in local ministries will be strongly discouraged.
- The Cadence screening and selection process will continue to be a rigorous and thorough process in accordance with all HR policies and guidelines. Only mature and qualified people will be accepted as Cadence missionaries.
- Mission leadership will endeavor to align field assignments so that local team entities (within the same, multi-staffed local ministry) will contain personnel with the same or similar beliefs on this policy.
- In the effort to preserve harmony within Cadence and stability within the ministries of the mission around the world, and in order to avoid misunderstanding regarding the position of the mission as a whole, no member may take a lead or be involved in organizing special meetings for the promotion of one biblical interpretation over another.
- Concerning the gathering of Cadence staff at meetings, huddles, conferences, retreats, and other like gatherings, it is understood and mutually agreed upon, that those staff that exercise the “sign gifts” as a part of their spiritual lives will in these settings thoughtfully exercise these gifts in a mature and moderate manner according to biblical guidelines.
- The use and practice of all spiritual gifts should always be governed by the principles and guidelines of I Corinthians 13—the love of one’s brothers and sisters will always take preeminence over the personal fulfillment gained by the use and exercise of one’s spiritual gifting.
- Field Leaders will shepherd and monitor their field staff and ministries according to these biblical guidelines and mission procedures. They shall also exercise leadership with love and wisdom in instances that may occur on their fields which are not covered in this policy and procedures.