5 Responses to “UCG and “Gifts of the Spirit””

  1. Watcher says:

    It is good that you have highlighted a potential trap that UCG could fall into. However, to me it is still unclear what direction they are going to take. The plan seems to go back to the COE meeting on 27 February 2013 (http://coe.ucg.org/council-report/council-elders-meeting-report-february-27-2013-2013-03-01) where spiritual gifts were discussed at length. The discussion clearly identified that talents are not the same as gifts.

    My experience in both WCG and UCG is that ministers are often control freaks unwilling or unable to delegate and utilize the member talent pool. Happy to delegate the dirty low jobs like hall set up, but not really involve members in meatier roles. I have experienced this first hand myself. Also I have heard first hand from others where taking initiative was equated with the rebellion against authority. The story of Korah’s rebellion often quoted. It seems the eleventh commandment is “Thou shall not take initiative”.

    My hope is that UCG is genuine in wanting to develop its member talent pool. However I see some of the ministry as blockers to this.
    In the meantime I will watch with interest this development. Only time will tell if this is the trap of Pentecostalism.

    • Watcher wrote: “The discussion clearly identified that talents are not the same as gifts.”

      No, they are not, but people have often confused them. That handout makes it seem like they really don’t know the difference, if that is going to be their guide.

      I agree that none of the churches have done a very good job in the past at tapping the talent pool, but I do see signs of that changing. Many of the articles on LH&T, for example, are written by members rather than ministers. If UCG starts doing the same, I’m all for that, but again talents are not spiritual gifts. That doesn’t mean, however, that the Holy Spirit won’t enhance a natural ability, just as apparently was the case with Bezalel in working with the Tabernacle.

      For the record, I will stress that I doubt UCG is going Pentecostal, but it seems like they could gravitate to the evangelical notion of the gifts of the Spirit, which is still based upon the same idea if not as dramatic.

  2. Watcher says:

    It seems to me that the need to survey member talents and abilities in itself shows one of the key problems in the church. The ministry don’t know their congregations.

    Also in relation to spiritual gifts, are humans really able to assess these? The end time false prophet exhibits spiritual signs. However the source of these signs is Satan, not God. Yet the Bible warns that the very elect could be fooled by these.

    I think we need to assess our talents and abilities and work out ways to use these through the application of the Holy Spirit. That is, how do we use them in love? If the UCG ministry can assist people to do this it will be good. But it is clearly an area fraught with potential traps if not handled properly.

    • @Watcher: I thnk we’re on the same page. Keep in mind, though, that the handout was specifically for, and the continuing COE dialog is about, “spiritual gifts”, not abilities or talent. I don’t have nearly the problem with the latter as with the former.

      Also, something that gets overlooked in a lot of assessments (and businesses seem to engage in far too many of these sorts of things) is that people generally don’t know what they are good at or what their abilities are until they get up and try them. In general, people don’t like to get outside of their comfort zones, but God gives people many talents in varying degrees, and He expects each of us to use them to His glory.

      None of us want to be the person with one talent, if you don’t mind the pun. I’ve often wondered if the only reason he received the one talent was because he never took the time to learn the skills to handle more (and even then, he didn’t handle his one!).

  3. Deborah says:

    Hi John,
    Thank you for your post on this. Fwiw, I agree with the concerns posted here. I think you hit the nail on the head by quoting the following scripture:

    “But “covet” earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”

    It does not require surveys and inventories for people to be allowed to serve, and frankly, a lot of these things are things that should be able to be handled at the local level without major involvement from the Home Office and COE. Frankly, this sounds like another idea of trying to figure out how to grow the church that actually stands in contravention to the principles of properly discerning the Lord’s Body (i.e., application.)

    It seems that whenever the approach of trying to inventory spiritual gifts has been adopted, it has led to strife, conflict, competition – a lack of orderliness and a lack of consideration and outgoing concern for others. In other words, fruits of “covet”eousness. Ezekiel 33:31.