by Marc Dupont, August 2008
Since the beginning of the Charismatic movement in the sixties there has been a fresh exploration of the spiritual gifts within the Body of Christ worldwide. While moves of the Holy Spirit replete with the operation of the spiritual gifts have taken place since the beginning of the church (the church was birthed on the day of Pentecost- a day of great power in the Holy Spirit), the charismatic movement ushered in a fresh hunger for everyday Christians to move in the charisma gifts of the Spirit. It is clear from the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the church of Corinth that everyday Christians are to be seeking after the supernatural gifts of the Spirit. (1 Cor. 14.1)
Historically speaking, however, with a few exceptions, the realm of the spiritual gifts has been reserved by church leaders as strictly for church leaders. In the famous Pentecostal moves of the Holy Spirit over the last 100 years it has primarily been the well known evangelists, preachers, prophets, and apostles, and to a lesser degree the pastors and elders of Pentecostal type churches who ministered with the gifts of healing, miracles, word of knowledge, prophecy, etc.
Over the last forty years, or so, since the heyday of the charismatic movement there have arisen a number of charismatically gifted men and women who have had a God given burden for releasing everyday men and women in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. People like John Sandford, Francis McNutt, John Wimber, and Ian Andrews are just a few of those contemporary pioneers who did what Jesus did with His disciples. He modeled, trained, and released people into the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit for the work of the Kingdom of God. Today a large portion of the body of Christ in the Western world nations can trace their current focus on team ministry to what was rebirthed in the church at large in the sixties with the Charismatic movement and especially in the 70’s and 80’s as many traditional churches caught vision of team ministry. Today there are millions of Christians all over the world who take seriously the Apostle Paul’s encouragement to seek after the spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 14.1). In this article I would like to briefly discuss some of the root differences between the charisma gifts of the Holy Spirit and the callings God gives for our very lives.
Charisma & Doma Gifts
First of all, it must be understood that a spiritual gift is not a title, or position, rather it is an anointing, or capacity, to serve God. It should be viewed as a tool to do the work of the kingdom much in the same way as a plumber, or carpenter, has tools to accomplish their tasks. The supernatural charisma gifts, or graces, from the Holy Spirit are simply tools, not trophies, which are always given by God to serve others not promote oneself. While many seem to succumb to cult of personality due to the giftedness in a leader it should always be remembered that giftedness speaks more about the gift giver than it does the recipient of a gift.
The nine charisma gifts, listed in 1st Corinthians, chapter 12, basically fall into three categories. There are the power gifts- the gifts of healing, miracles, and faith. There are the speaking gifts- the gifts of prophecy, tongues, and word of knowledge. And then there are the discernment gifts- the gifts of word of wisdom, discernment of spirits, and interpretation of tongues. Any Christian who seriously desires to serve God can pray to God for an impartation from the Holy Spirit. An impartation from the Holy Spirit can be a release of the gifts and/or power of God to move in the areas of ministry that motivate our hearts. This in turn brings up the motivational gifts found in Romans, chapter twelve.
Paul lists seven motivational, or personality, types God gives to the church in the book of Romans, chapter 8. While there are many different personality types I believe God has made each one of us with a primary, and sometimes secondary, motivation, or impetus, which falls into these seven categories. They are serving, teaching, exhortation, giving, prophecy, mercy, and leadership. What ever your core drive may be it should propel you to seek after certain spiritual gifts in the same way that a carpenter who finds he prefers finish carpentry rather than framing will end up buying very specific tools for finish carpentry.
While one is born with a motivational gift, or gifts, the spiritual gifts are imparted as one begins to actively desire to serve God. This impartation can happen sovereignly. The Holy Spirit may quite unexpectedly in a time and place of His choosing simply impart the gifts to you, or it may happen through the laying of hands in a church ministry time or at a conference type setting. It should be noted what with several of the gifts- particularly the gifts of healing, miracles, faith, and prophecy, they are often imparted with a great release of the dunamis (Greek for dynamite) power of the Holy Spirit. However, it should be known that some receive these gifts with no outward sense, or manifestation, what so ever. Either way is okay, as long as we receive the gifts of God by faith, not by sight! Additionally, God often uses prophets to impart and encourage people in their potential gifts and callings.
Where there is a great deal of confusion with the gifts of the Spirit is the difference between those spiritual gifts for the work of the ministry which are imparted as opposed to the doma gifts where one is simply born to become the gift itself. These five doma gifts are the ministries of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher which Paul calls ascension gifts in the book of Ephesians, chapter 4, verses 7-12. Many incorrectly refer to these as offices as in a position of authority. In the original language, however, the word for office is not really used. As with the charisma gifts, the doma, or calling gifts, are for serving, not a hierarchal posturing.
One can seek a charisma gift, where as one can only be born to become a doma, or calling gift. While the charisma gifts are usually stronger and more in evidence with someone called to one of the five ascension gifts the true mark of someone walking in a doma calling is not so much that they operate in the charisma gifts. A true doma person is committed to training and equipping the church at large to grow in each one’s gifting so we can all bear fruit for God the Father. (John 15.8) As well, they normally have a strong desire to help grow the church in Christ like maturity. This is why some with the gift of prophecy can prophesy, but not necessarily be a prophet. On the other hand a prophet can come to your church and minister and they might not actually prophesy over anyone, but they communicate the heart of God for your congregation for that particular season! A doma person with a strong anointing for healing should be more interested in training others to pray for the sick than simply praying for the sick themselves. A true pastor may not actually hold the responsibility of pastoring in a local church, but everywhere they go they end up building people up with genuine love and hope.
Another area having to do with the power and supernatural gifts of God, which seems to come into a lot of misunderstanding, is the topic of spiritual mantles. Specifically, the word mantle, as used in the Old Testament, means a cloak, or covering. As with the case of Elijah and Elisha the word becomes somewhat synonymous with a calling, or doma gift. A mantle has much more to do with the ethos of whom God has created you to be rather than an impartation of a charisma type gift.
Frequently, I hear people saying things like “so and so’s mantle has come upon me”. Really, the only place in the Bible where there is even a hint of that sort of transference of a mantle is with Elijah and Elisha. But even then it was not something that could be passed on through the laying on of hands. Rather it had to do with the God given destiny over each of their lives. It was not Elisha’s for the asking like with a charisma gift. Neither was it Elijah’s to give away. Rather it had to do with Elisha coming into spiritual maturity (eyes to see) and stepping into the Father’s will for his life. (2 Kings 2)
Mantles, very much like a fine garment, are very tailored things, which God creates in a specific way for specific people. It is more than gifting. It has to do with the spiritual and emotional DNA, destiny and calling God has put with in some special people. It is not their specialness that qualifies them; rather it is simply the unique will of the Father that makes them special. The current focus some have of wanting to come into another’s mantle speaks of the brokenness of our culture and a lack of faith that the Father has something both unique and wonderful of each of His sons and daughters. In any case, the mantle of Elijah is unique in that God invoked that ethos, or impetus, within certain people through out history for the purpose of true revival. People like John the Baptist, who came to prepare the way for Jesus some 800-900 years after Elijah.
A Greater Joy
Lastly, let me say that this season we are in right now is the “Season of the Broadplace”. (2 Sam. 22.20, Psalm 18.19, Job 36.16) It is a season that for those who have, more shall be given! (Matthew 25.29) The wonderful thing about the anointings, gifts, and power that God gives us to serve Him by is there is always more to be had. (Read through Acts 1.4-5,2.1-13, & Acts 4.23-31) Jesus is the one who gives the Spirit without measure. God calls us to ministry not simply for utilitarian reasons but also because it is more fulfilling to give than it is to receive. God wants us to seek Him for more of Him, so that our joy might be made full in Him, as we extend His love, grace, compassion, and power in the wonderful Name of Jesus.
Marc A. Dupont
August, 2008- The year of the Broadplace