Credo #36: On the gift of faith, or on “name it and claim it”

Posted: December 7, 2010 in Credo

This is a Credo that is written “out of order” so to speak; I would have hoped to release a still-in-draft stage Credo on the present day work of the Holy Spirit before posting this one. But as most of these Credos will come to wider attention in the future when the project is done, this is moot.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are aware, whether new to the faith or seasoned, of men who claim that one can exercise one’s faith to get basically whatever you lay ahold of getting with your faith; and this has been thumbnailed by many as “name it and claim” thinking; or words to this effect. It is largely a subset of, but is not limited to, those who preach what is commonly called, often derisively, as a “prosperity gospel.” This Credo addresses only the “name it and claim it” bit.

Scripture for our consideration today:. Go read it.

Examples of the notional concept of the “Word of Knowledge” are here, here.

It is beyond the scope of this brief essay to deal with the other operations of the Holy Spirit mentioned, but I give examples for the “Word of the Knowledge” to help set up my treatment of the question at hand.

I turn your attention to vs. 9 in the passage linked to and cited: “..to another, faith by the same Spirit…”. Here we read of this separately identified operation of the Holy Spirit, an apparent movement by Him by which the believer is extra-normally empowered.

So, set this on a the back burner just a moment while I recount a story. I do not say, nor should you ever let anyone else say to you, that you should establish a doctrine on the strength of an experience. I recount this story — there are only a handful that I can so do, in my life or in the life of others – to help frame the matter at hand.

I had once upon a time this old pickup; and I needed badly to sell this puppy; the cash was needed for other things. I had the sense that I should put an ad in the local paper, and so obedient to what I understood to be the prompting of the Holy Spirit did so. After having done so (the ad ran on a Sunday), I had the strong sense* that I would sell the pick up on Tuesday. Tuesday came, and as day was closing only one couple had come by to look at it. They wanted to buy it, but for much less than the asking price. Off they drove. *Now, I was actually in a kind of desperate place in my finances; but it was also a time in my life when I was strongly seeking the Lord because of the many troubles I was having. I do not mean to say that my life is like this all the time; not at all. I knew I had heard from God that I would sell the pickup. So in prayer I had a kind of experience that I can only liken to a hole in my head opening up, and “faith” being poured in. I knew that God would cause this thing to happen. This state of mind, or of my Spirit, did not happen because I fasted and prayed, engaged in hopping and shreiking, or any such thing. It was an operation of the Holy Spirit in the same way that a word of Knowledge is; just a simple impartation by the Holy Spirit. Not something worked up. It just happened. And so I could affirm, as the Sun was setting, that God would make this thing happen – the selling of the pickup. The couple shows up the door …. and you can guess the rest of the story. The fellow even sheepishly explained ” ..there was just something …”.

************

Back to the “name it and claim it” folk.

We can see all manner of idiocy in the Church.  Bible-olators who will scrape up verses in Numbers to justify making an adult man go to an adult woman’s father to ask him permission to take his daughter out …   Sabbath worshippers (that is, people who worship the Sabbath) getting a hair in the ear or other orifice about Church on Sunday instead of Saturday.  Et cetera, et cetera.  And yet God can move in our lives, and does, to the extent that we allow him to.

So in my opinion — an opinion that I hold strongly enough to that I am elevating this essay to a “Credo” — there are men who have glimpsed beyond the veil at one time or another and have experienced this Gift of the Spirit called the Gift of Faith.  And they have seen God move.     And the worst of them have made a religion out of seeking out this experience, or attempting to manufacture it, and not a few have wound up faking it.

There are some I suspect of not being believers at all but rather opportunists who prey upon the weak.

Yet God does move in this way.  

 

 

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Comments
  1. Anakin Niceguy says:

    It’s interesting that you should mention this SXM. About this time last year, I studied myself out of cessationism by reading after folks like Jack Deere, Sam Storms’ website, etc. I was a lot like these men – formally trained in biblical studies and opposed to any pentecostal/charismatic understanding of faith, miracles, etc. But they had their intellectual Damascus moment and so have I. So I live with a new struggle – reconciling radical faith with American Christianity (which is so much like the secular society around it in relying on human wisdom and human effort … just in case God’s doesn’t show up and heal the cancer of a loved one).

  2. singlextianman says:

    Dude! How excellent.

  3. Peter says:

    After many years in pentecostal circles, I have come to the conclusion that miracles – including the Gift of Faith mentioned – are God’s “exceptions”, rather than His rule.

    By no means to I agree that miracles have ceased, however I cannot reconcile the reality I see, with the doctrine that miracles are supposed to be God’s “normal” way of working amongst His people. Even for Christ, the majority of his physical needs were met by the work of human hands and the generosity of human hearts. The one who, twice, miraculously fed thousands did not routinely turn stones into bread, but ate that which was provided by others.

    I’d argue that 99% of God’s provision to the average Christian come either in the form of our natural talents, or in those of people around us.

    When we lose sight of this, we put too much pressure on ourselves to access the miraculous, and hence we have people regarding that their own feelings (in the absence of anything better) are God’s guidance, and insisting that the sick are “healed”, even when they die.

    I don’t see support for that in the totality of scripture. I believe that God would rather we be honest about our experience, and thankful for His natural gifts and His providence.

    Regards… Peter

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