Spiritual gift

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Spiritual gifts (or charismata), according to Christianity, are gifts that are bestowed on Christians, each having his or her own proper gift (or gifts) to strengthen the Church. They are described in the New Testament, primarily in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4.

Some believe their operation was limited to early Christianity. According to some Protestant denominations gifts like speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues were enjoyed only for a short time and were suited to the Church's infancy, not to later times. This view is known as cessationism. This opinion is held by John F. MacArthur, Jr., Robert L. Thomas and many other conservative mainline Protestants. In contrast, some Christian teachers such as Zola Levitt have maintained that the number of gifts cannot be determined.

Other groups, including Pentecostals, and other Holiness denominations of Christianity, take an opposing view, believing that the Spiritual gifts are still given by the Holy Spirit today, and Pentecostal meetings often involve ordinary parishioners displaying the use of these gifts (1 Cor 14). In addition, Catholic charismatics, Eastern Orthodoxy, and many other Protestant denominations also continue to believe in and make use of Spiritual gifts.

Yet others believe that the lists of gifts found in Scripture are representative, not exhaustive. They maintain that any talent or ability that the Holy Spirit uses for the good of the Church is a Spiritual gift.

Emphasis on teaching about the nine gifts of the Spirit originated from Howard Carter, an early Pentecostal evangelist. This is based on the text from 1 Corinthians 12:27-30 giving the gifts and listing them as the "gifts of the Spirit." They were later taught and popularized by Lester Sumrall, who accompanied Carter on many missionary journeys in his youth. Modern Bible teachers and scholars have come to the conclusion that there are other gifts of the Spirit listed in Scripture, as seen in the chart below.


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