Vol.X No.III Pg.1
May 1973

Trying The Spirits

Robert F. Turner

If one wishes to preach a sermon about charismata— see Corinthians! If one wishes to preach a sermon re. church problems— see Corinthians! Is there some sort of message in this?

How could the church that seemed to have the greatest zeal for spiritual gifts, also seem to have the most problems? Well, a study of 1 Cor. 14: will show (a) they failed to understand the purpose of the gifts, their place in the greater goal of revealing truth for the edification of all, (14:1, 3-5, 12, 18-19, 22-26); (b) they acted like children, selfishly content with child-like use of developmental stages of revelation, when they should have been contributing to the maturing process, (14:20, 13:9-f); and (c) they excused themselves on the basis that they were spirit-moved, but Paul said, the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, (v, 32). Paul further contended that truth is unified, so that each new claim of revelation could be checked against the Apostles teaching, (v.37-38). Truth is objectively determined— not better felt than told. Try the spirits by the word. (1 Jn. 4:6)

Gal. 5:25 reads, If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. According to some, how could one do otherwise than walk in the Spirit if he lived in it? It seems to me Paul is saying that some might think or claim to be in the Spirit when their life proved otherwise. (5:16). Subjective con-clusions— how we feel, or what we think within ourselves— is not the final judge in the matter.

The chief fallacy of the whole Spirit movement of today is its appeal to the individuals inner feeling for authority, rather than an objective appeal to revealed truth.

Paul said, If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord, (1 Cor. 14:37). Genuine Spirit action is not cooled by an objective search for truth set forth in the written word.

In previous generations a direct application of the sword of the Spirit quelled holy-rollerism. It will do the same thing today.