Friday 10 August 2018

Spiritual gifts in this modern era

If you agree with me that this world is, at the highest level of global ruling, mostly-controlled by demonic-aligned (rather than divinely-aligned) forces; and if you also agree that God is both the creator of this world, and also stands towards us in the relation of a loving parent; then you may wonder what provision God has made for those who are aligned with the divine goals?

One thing we might expect is that, against such odds, we would probably be assisted with 'spiritual gifts' of some kind. In 1 Corinthians, Paul lists some of these spiritual gifts as miracles, prophecy, speaking and understanding 'in tongues', healing, conversing with angels...

Such things would seem to be especially useful, especially when traditional sources of knowledge are tainted (corrupt priest, ministers and church bureaucracies - of suspect authority, corrupt translations of scripture, dubious conduct of holy communion, worldly focus and false doctrines... Yet, despite their potential usefulness in our era (and probably for a long time) such spiritual gifts now seem to be very rare or (some would say) actually extinct. And those who seek such spiritual abilities often find it difficult or impossible to attain them.

It may be that we have changed, and the modern consciousness is not able to do what was possible for the ancient mode consciousness. Or, it may be that such gifts are blocked by God; because they are a kind of power, and in a corrupt world there are very few who are worthy of such spiritual power; very few who could be trusted to use such power as miracles for Good rather than selfishly.

Yet the need for spiritual gifts remains... Could it be that we have been looking in the wrong place? That we have been seeking power via spiritual gifts, we have been seeking spectacle, we have been seeking to impress-other people; instead of seeking personal discernment, knowledge, faith, hope, love, courage? 

The idea of Direct Christianity suggests that our divine destiny is that human consciousness should move from getting knowledge at secondhand via the senses, and towards getting knowledge directly - by the mind connecting with universal reality.

If so, this would suggest that we ought to be seeking spiritual gifts by direct apprehension; in thought rather than by vision, hearing and the other senses.

This direct knowing would only be possible when we are aligned-with, attuned-to, divine ways of being and thinking; but when we were so aligned, then we would simply know what we needed to know.

So perhaps we really are in an era of great spiritual gifts - if only we could recognise them?


Anonymous said...

Hi, I have been wondering about this as well! The "Church" as an institution is corrupt and spiritually dead, just another corporation. Many Christians are realizing this and leaving the "Church," which is supposed to be the place where we see the spiritual gifts displayed. Instead, pastors and worship leaders are trying to be microcelebrities and rock stars. Instead of spiritual gifts, I see a social club of one-upmanship, and the Facebook mentality creeping into real life.

The extreme individualism in the West has led to a culture of competitive narcissism, so I agree that individuals having exceptional spiritual gifts might be too much of a temptation to gain fame and a following. Others also wouldn't be receptive to this type of gifting and would start trying to compete and "one-up" the spiritually gifted person. Maybe in the end time, our spiritual gifts will have more of a collective quality?

William Wildblood said...

The only person I knew who had spiritual gifts in the old sense was almost embarrassed by them and almost never spoke of them. He took them to be a weighty responsibility and was very aware of the temptation to pride that they brought along with them.

Regarding your point about spiritual gifts of the modern era being more to do with the mind connecting to universal reality, I think this is correct. The old gifts are often observed in a rudimentary form in primitive societies which does rather imply that they belong to the past and a time when spirituality was seen as external to us.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - Yes, which is confirmed by the 'old style' spirital gifts still being frequently reported among recent converts in Africa, and indeed apparently in China.

Chiu ChunLing said...

I take it as a commonplace that most spiritual gifts are indeed spiritual, and only perceivable to the spiritually sensitive.

The gift of tongues can result in a person audibly speaking a language more clearly and coherently than would be explicable by ordinary education. But more often it results in understanding through spiritual communion that is not dependent on correspondence of human language at all. A sudden miracle of contradiction of known medical principles while under observation of doctors and instruments is a possible manifestation of the gift of healing, but how much more often are those who trust in God more than doctors healed where no doctor is present to verify it? Even when healing is not so complete as would be convenient for our human desires, it can still be miraculous.

Prophesy and conversing with angels...of the latter I would say that it should be obviously impossible for that to be 'independently verified' by anyone not worthy to see angels. Even were the unworthy to physically see and hear an angel, all historical indications are that they will soon explain it away while denying the divine nature of the ministration. Prophesy encounters much the same problem...when the event was known to be prophesied by miraculous power, the faithless will do almost anything (including commission of monstrous crimes) to deny it has been fulfilled. When it is not known to be a prophesy by miraculous power, it will be dismissed as a lucky guess, if it is noticed at all.

In short, even recognizing the miraculousness of a miracle takes a spiritual gift. If we do not see miracles, the first gift we should seek is the gift of recognizing and acknowledging the miracles that are already around us. To the uninitiated this may seem like no more than an appreciation of the ethereal and eternal beauty of 'nature', 'simple life', or whatever. But if we are really thinking that we're just subjectively enjoying our own idiosyncratic perception of an illusion hung on random events, we are not to the point of being grateful for the marvelous works of Almighty God.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - Yes, human consciousness is not the same in all times and places - and modern Western man is blind to many things which are perceptible to most people in other times and places. For example, Western anthropologists have often been unable to perceive spiritual and magical phenomena that all present members of tribal people observed and experienced.

The Crow said...

Humans seize upon everything that comes their way, intent upon leveraging it, and/or using it to exert control/power.
How would they even recognize spiritual gifts as such, in their clumsy haste to profit from them?

It's all absurdly simple, yet for humans, so devilishly fiendish in its elusiveness.
To recognize and realize that nothing is about them, or about humans, at all.

It is only about God.

Chiu ChunLing said...

But to God, it is all about love for us.

The Crow said...

Whereas to Christians, it is all about putting words in God's non-existent mouth, and speaking for God, on God's behalf, assuming that God is incapable of performing such trivial deeds for Himself.