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The Gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church
Faith in Jesus must produce a natural love and generosity toward others and a desire for unity within the one Body of Christ. Sadly, this is not the condition of our Church today. There is much debate regarding the topic of Baptism in the Holy Spirit and it is unfortunate that people on all sides quickly dismiss others as evil or apostate. My hope is that this book will take this debate out of the hands of those who would divide the Church and place it back within the context of the whole Body of Christ. Read and discover the power of the Spirit and the bond of peace only He can provide.
Ambiguous and man-centered teaching regarding Baptism in the Holy Spirit have over the past hundred years served to feed the problems we face and have lent to the decay of Christ's Body. This book takes a critical look at the history of denominationalism, separates the fact from the fiction, and paves the way to healing the legacy of division in the church.
The New Testament knows no technical term for what we call 'the church’s ministry'. Paul talks about charismata, meaning the energies of the new life (I Cor. 12.6, 11), which is to say the powers of the Spirit. These are designations of what is, not of what ought to be. They are the gifts of grace springing from the creative grace of God. When he talks about the use of these new living energies, on the other hand, he evidently avoids all the words expressing conditions of rule. He does not talk about 'holy rule' (hierarchy) but chooses the expression diakonia [service].There are a couple of interesting and important points in Moltmann's statements. In Paul's descriptions of the working of spiritual gifts, the apostle does not talk about hierarchy, or a rule associated with those gifts. Perhaps a case can be made that some gifts are more important than others (although an equal case can be made that we usually place importance on the wrong gifts), importance of gifts does not equate with importance of the individual, nor does it equate with a certain leadership. Instead, the Spirit works his gifts according to his own will - that is, through whom he desires and for the purpose he desires.
By linking his teaching about charismata with that about the body of Christ Paul at all events made clear that the Church is never - as some people in Corinth seem to have supposed - a gathering of charismatics enjoying their own private relationship with Christ independently of the community. According to Paul, all charismatics are part of the body of Christ, of the community. The fact that all charismatics are members of one body does not of course mean uniformity, but on the contrary a variety of gifts and callings. But fundamentally all individual members, having been baptized, are equal. But, by contrast with this fundamental equality all differences are ultimately without importance.Here, Küng makes another couple of important distinctions about spiritual gifts which follow nicely from Moltmann's observations. The body of Christ is not made of individuals who gather and exercise their gifts for the sake of the individuals and "their own private relationship with Christ". Instead, because of the work of the Spirit, the individuals become part of the body of Christ together. Thus, the gifts are to be exercised for the good of the community, not primarily for the good of the individual.