Posts Tagged ‘spiritual gifts’

Here is my study material on the Westminster Confession of Faith, for your personal edification.

Chapter XXV: Of The Church

232. What is the church? It is the whole number of the elect who have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head of the church; his spouse, the body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.

233. Distinguish between the visible and invisible aspects of the church?  The visible church is the church on earth.  It is imperfect, a mixture of elect and false professors and their children throughout the world.  The invisible church is the elect only, and therefore perfect.

234. When did the Church begin?   In Eden with the creation of Adam and Eve.

235. Who are the members of the Church? Those who profess the true religion and their children.

236. What are the marks of a Church?  Preaching of the gospel, proper administration of the sacraments, and public worship.  I’d add church discipline.

237. What is meant by a church being ‘more or less pure’? Does a church ever cease to be a Christian church? Sin taints every church with false doctrine, obscuring the gospel by degrees, improper administration of the sacraments, worship that is impure by degrees.  Some have departed so far in one or more area that they cease to be true churches (though true Christians may be found in them).

238. The attributes of the Church (not to be confused with the marks of the Church) are Unity, Catholicity, Apostolicity, and Holiness. Define each of these.  Unity points to our spiritual unity in Christ, not an organizational unity.  Catholicity reminds us that the church covers the world, not just our congregation or denomination.  Apostolicity points us to the doctrine of the apostles are believed by the church.  Holiness points us to the fact that the church is set apart for God and that its behavior should reflect this.

239. What is a credible profession of faith? One which points to Christ alone for salvation & which bears some fruit in a changed life.

240. With what gifts has the Church been gifted? Word Gifts: prophecy, apostle, teaching, evangelist, pastor, discernment, exhortation; Deed Gifts: Leadership, Administration, giving, service, helps, mercy, hospitality, prayer, faith, wisdom, knowledge, celibacy; Sign Gifts: tongues, interpretation of tongues, healing, miracles.

241. Have any of these gifts ceased since the apostolic age? Yes, the sign gifts and prophecy & apostleship.

Chapter XXVI: Of the Communion of Saints

242. What is union with Christ and what implications arise from union with Christ for the Church?  Union with Christ means that we are spiritually united with Christ thru faith such that all that is His is ours.  We have common graces and fellowship not only with him but one another.  We are to display love toward our brothers and sisters in Christ, bearing their burdens as our own.

243. What are the duties of believers to one another? We are to maintain holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, to edify one another and assisting one another when in need.

244. Are all believers united to one another in Christ, including those who have gone to be with Christ?  Yes.

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The same caveat exist for as for my post on Scripture.  This is meant to summarize the doctrine found in the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Chapter II: Of God, and The Holy Trinity

20. List some incommunicable attributes of God. List some communicable attributes of God. Distinguish between the two. Omniscience & omnipotence.  Goodness & love.  Incommunicable attributes are those God does not share with his creatures.  He shares communicable attributes with us, and we are guilty of sin in as much as we do not manifest these attributes.

21. Distinguish between the Transcendence and Immanence of God.  Transcendence is God apart and above creation.  He is not to be confused with creation, and he is sovereign over creation.  Immanence describes God’s involvement in creation, how He draws near to accomplish His purposes in creation.

22. How many persons are there in the Godhead? 3

23. What is meant that the Son is “eternally begotten”? What is being preserved by this statement?  The Son has no beginning but has always been God the Son.  It preserves his unique personhood and divinity.

24. Support from Scripture the full deity of Christ. John 1, Philippians 2

25. Does the Holy Spirit proceed from both the Father and the Son? Why is this teaching important? What does it safeguard against?  Yes.  It is important because Jesus teaches it in His High Priestly prayer (John 17).  It was one of the matters of controversy between the Eastern and Western Church prior to the Great Schism.  It maintains the eternal fellowship of the Godhead and the equality of the Son with the Father.

26. Do you believe in the deity of the Holy Spirit? On what basis?  Yes.  In Hebrews “God said” and “the Spirit said” are used interchangeably.  Jesus calls Him “another Counselor”, placing Him on equal footing.  In His instruction on baptism (Mt. 28) Jesus says “the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” indicating their unity. 

27. Support from Scripture the full deity of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit was present and active in creation (Gen. 1), the Spirit raised Jesus from the dead (Rom. 1), Jesus performed his earthly ministry in the power of the Spirit (Luke), and the Spirit works in our salvation (1 Peter 1).  Acts 5 says they lied to God, then in a parallel statement that they lied to the Spirit.

28. What works are assigned to the Holy Spirit in Scripture?  Creation, giving of prophecy, sustaining the ministry of Christ, regeneration, granting of spiritual gifts, sanctification, bearing witness that we are sons of God, leading us into obedience, bringing us into the Father’s presence in prayer.

29. What is the difference between the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and in the New Testament?  The ministry of the Spirit, apart from regeneration and illumination of the Scriptures,  was primarily related to the offices of prophet, priest and king.  Now all Christians enjoy the ministry of the Spirit.

30. What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and when does it occur?  It is the initial & permanent indwelling of the Spirit which occurs at conversion.

31. What is the filling of the Holy Spirit and when does it occur?  The filling of the Spirit refers to our submission to the influence of the Spirit by faith. 

32. What are the evidences of being baptized with the Holy Spirit? Of being filled with the Spirit?  The evidences of being baptized with the Spirit are faith and repentance (Acts 2).  As we mature, the Spirit also bears the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5).  The evidences of being filled with the Spirit are worship, gratitude and submission to proper authorities in the Lord (Eph. 5).

33. What is your view of the gifts of the Holy Spirit? In His sovereignty, the Father gives each Christian spiritual gifts for the building up of the Body.  The sign gifts have ceased.

34. Are you personally committed to the doctrine of the trinity?  Yes.

35. What does it mean for God to be “without passions” (II.1)?  God is not subject to fleeting emotions such as man.

36. Describe the work of each member of the trinity in the economy of salvation.  The Father elects some to salvation, the Son purchases their redemption thru his Incarnation, Identification, active obedience, passive obedience, resurrection and ascension.  The Spirit applies the redemption that Christ has purchased to those the Father elected.

37. Do tongues have any place in the church today? How would you describe the modern day phenomenon?  I don’t see a place for tongues in the church today.  I think they are a learned behavior, therefore a counterfeit- not a spiritual gift.

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I recently had a dialogue with another pastor about the office of prophet, priest and king in church leadership.  He had been re-reading Dan Allender’s Leading with a Limp, chapter 14: Three Leaders You Can’t Do Without (wow, how did I not blog on that chapter?!).  He wondered what my primary & secondary gifting were (prophet-priest if you’re interested).  One of these days I may try to put my more theologically oriented material into a leadership oriented book working through these issues.

In the meantime, I visited Drew Goodmanson’s blog and he had links to the Acts 29 regional conference in Raleigh.  He and David Fairchild had some seminars working through this triperspectival view of leadership.  I highly recommend them after listening to them today.  The first was on the foundations of triperspectival leadership, and the second was on the applications of triperspectival leadership.  David provided some background into their church plant, the struggles they had and how they have benefited from applying John Frame’s triperspectivalism to church leadership.

Here are some thoughts I jotted down in my notebook to keep track of them:

“When you plant (a church) you’re reacting to something you think you’ve seen wrong in the church, so you’re in this heavy, heavy deconstruction mode.”  David relating advice given by Mark Driscoll

There are differences between how Jesus exercised His office during the Incarnation and how He exercises it now in His exaltation (yes, still incarnated).  For instance, while on earth He preached directly to the people.  In his heavenly prophetic ministry, He worked through the Spirit to complete the giving of Scripture and works through the Spirit in the preaching of the same Scripture.  In His earthly priestly ministry He offered up His body as the perfect sacrifice for sin.  In His heavenly priestly ministry He lives forever to intercede for us (Heb. 7:25).


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