There are several fears I have observed over 30 years, but I want to concentrate on one. When conversing with my conservative, non-charismatic brethren about spiritual gifts the fear of success dominates the conversation or correspondence. Why would the fear of success dominate the discussion?
For many preachers and leaders in non-charismatic churches the personal cost of accepting that spiritual gifts actually happen today would be too high for most. They would suddenly find themselves very much alone spiritually, socially and academically. In many cases their denomination would fire them, their family would be ostracized and close acquaintances in church circles would challenge, condemn and eventually avoid them.
Yet, despite the potential costs involved, there can be no edification, exhortation or consolation of the Body of Christ without active spiritual gifts in ministry, 1 Corinthians 14:1-3. Edification has been replaced in some gatherings with shallow Biblical education. Exhortation has been replaced in many others by superficial oratory. Consolation has been replaced in most with psychological consultation. These three have their roots in the flesh and the world and not in the Spirit of God.
Surely the Holy Spirit has never retired? All that He is and can do remains available to minister to the Body of believers, I Cor. 12 -14. Nothing has changed His mind or His will to participate in the life of every believer; man and woman. What has changed is men and women fear that He might actually work alongside them as the paraclete He was promised to be and actually do what He came to do that is – to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment and edify, exhort and console the Body of Christ through the exercising of His charismata in the life of humble believers.
So to my fellow preachers I say, the choice is ours – stay comfortable and secure in church employment and minister “for” God according to a fleshly, board approved “job description” or get uncomfortable in God’s kingdom ministry and begin ministering “unto” God and not “for” God, 1 Samuel 3:1; Matthew 25:37-40; Acts 13:2.