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  • Writer's picturePeter Clayton

1 Corinthians 12:7 - To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Sometime in the exceedingly dim and distant past I recall being warned not to try to find the perfect Church. After all I might then join it and consequently would spoil it. A couple of times in the last few weeks I’ve pointed out that the Church in Corinth, though exciting and vibrant, got it wrong in a number of ways. Here’s another example. The Corinthian Christians can be commended for their openness and responsiveness to the ministry and operation of the Holy Spirit. At the same time it seems that they lacked the necessary disciplines and order to effectively operate in the Holy Spirit’s power and needed to be brought into line.

Nicola and I were strongly influenced by what was called charismatic renewal in the early 1960. We valued, and still do value speaking in tongues in the context of worship and other spiritual manifestations. Personally I have always found the discerning of spirits, the word of knowledge and word of wisdom to be particularly relevant and significant in ministry.

Sometimes over the years the unbridled enthusiasm of some has resulted in difficulty and division in the local Church, but this need not and should not be the case. There is one Spirit – and He is the Spirit who brings unity in the Church. Obviously when the wind blows there can be a degree of Godly disorder, because the wind of the Spirit cannot be controlled, but essentially when He operates in the Church in gifts and graces He brings blessing to us and equips us to be effective as the Body of Christ.

It seems to me that as the charismatic activity of the Holy Spirit has become increasingly acceptable and more widely evidenced there has been some diminution of His power. We need to recapture a fresh openness to the Lord the Spirit that He might have opportunity to manifest himself in worship and in witness. He will always respond to our longings, will refresh and invigorate and repeatedly renews the People of God. (RS)

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