In this new series “Seek the Gifts” we have been discussing the gifts of the spirit and how they apply to each of us. We have just discussed if the gifts are for today. Now we will discuss what denominations believe about the gifts today.
When I use the word “denomination” I am referring to the Christian groups from Catholicism to Protestantism, and all other groups. Any of these groups that believe in the basic Orthodox doctrines and truths of Christianity fit into these groups.
Not everyone believes in the gifts of the Spirit. Even though you can find them within the pages of Scripture, the way I teach them through these posts is not the way every Christian believes them to be or function. So let’s get into what denominations believe and teach about the gifts of the Spirit.
Robust Theologies of the Holy Spirit
In researching to answer this question because I have spent my entire life within the Pentecostal perspective and practice, I found that answering whether a particular denomination practices the gifts of the Spirit depends on their theology of the Holy Spirit.
Those with a more robust theology of the Spirit practice the gifts in some form. But when they only stick to a doctrinal statement of the Holy Spirit, they don’t seem to go any further than the words on the page. This is not criticism, but my observation. I applaud them for having a statement in doctrine.
As I go through the rundown of the major denominations and groups of the Christian Church and state what I have learned in my research, I do my best to be true to their beliefs and practices. But I could only research so much for this article.
Orthodox doctrine credits the apostles who received the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost with the ability to recount Scripture in their preaching and their boldness for lateness to the Holy Spirit coming upon them.
The agreement Scripture that however it happened, the people who listened to the apostles on the Day of Pentecost understood them in their own tongues. Luke gives many nationalities of Jews who came to Jerusalem to worship at this festival. But all of them spoke the languages of the places they live.
Orthodox Christians believe that Christians have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside them. They quote the Scriptures that mention the gifts of the Spirit. On their website they provide detailed explanations of how they view speaking in tongues for today. But they do not go into detail on how they practice the gifts of the Spirit.
When I looked up the Roman Catholic stance on the gifts of the Spirit, I found they refer to the seven gifts of the Spirit found in Isaiah 11:2. Catholic Answers describes these gifts of the Spirit as wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of God.
However, I don’t know if they talk about passages in the New Testament like 1 Corinthians 12-14, Ephesians 4:11, 1 Peter 4:10-11, or Romans 12 that talk about and enumerate the gifts of the Spirit as I will discuss throughout these posts.
People don’t know Lutherans for their doctrine of the Holy Spirit or practice of His gifts. They emphasize the death and resurrection of Jesus, and rightly so. But they are wary of those who teach or practice the gifts of the Spirit.
They have probably had some unsettling experiences with such Christians. The ones that I have read mention things like pride in the gifts or putting themselves ahead of Christ. Of course, there are some that do this.
But even we who practice the gifts of the Spirit and believe more robustly in the Holy Spirit and His ministries don’t agree with prideful people who put the gifts and themselves before Jesus.
Like Roman Catholics, Episcopalians emphasize the seven gifts of the Spirit found in Isaiah 11:2. The Episcopalian Church is mostly a liturgical church built on a set form of worship. But the charismatic renewal has also come to the Episcopalian Church.
Some include a “three streams” approach to their worship and practice. This approach emphasizes the evangelical, “catholic,” and charismatic traditions. Some Episcopalian churches of these three streams try to live in unity.
As far as the gifts of the Spirit, I found no clear teaching on how they approach them. But if they have a charismatic approach, I imagine that they may have some teaching and practice in the charismatic parts of the Episcopalian Church that may teach and practice the gifts.
Presbyterian and Reformed
While Presbyterian and Reformed churches have a robust doctrinal understanding of the Holy Spirit, His Person as part of the Trinity, they do not teach or practice the gifts of the Spirit. One joked that some often refer to them as the “Frozen Chosen” because their liturgy is often stiff in worship and spiritual practice.
Baptists do not ascribe to the gifts of the Spirit and have quite an aversion to speaking in tongues and prophecy. They believe in the Bible as God’s Word and focus on that. Some of them can be very abrasive toward any Christian who practices the gifts of the Spirit.
As a Pentecostal, I know Baptists make anyone who receives the baptism in the Spirit with the evidence of peeking in tongues leave their church. I have heard many testimonies of this personally and met a few who end up joining charismatic and Pentecostal churches.
Baptists rather emphasize the life and ministry of Jesus, the Bible, and evangelism. They have a different theology of the baptism in the Spirit. They do not see a difference between salvation and the baptism. They do not emphasize the gifts of the Spirit.
Methodists have a couple of different groups under them, Wesleyan and United Methodist churches. In one of his sermons, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, expresses a semi-charismatic understanding of the gifts of the Spirit.
The Methodist Church makes no mention in doctrine or practice of the gifts of the Spirit. They have an orthodox theology of the Holy Spirit in connection with the Trinity.
By name, Pentecostals identify with the Day of Pentecost on which the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples in the Upper Room, and were baptized in the Spirit (Acts 2:1-13). After reading this in Scripture, Pentecostals sought this experience in the beginning of the 20th century.
Pentecostals have the most robust theology and practice of the gifts of the Spirit. We regularly teach, seek, and practice them within our fellowship. We believe what the Scriptures say about them and the Holy Spirit, and we practice a vibrant, Spirit-led worship and lifestyle.
As part of the Charismatic Renewal began in the early to mid-1960s and carried through the 1970s. Charismatics received the baptism in the Spirit and practice the gifts. Unlike Pentecostals, who were no longer welcome in their denominations, Charismatics remained in their denominational homes but continued to believe and practice what happened to them.
Pentecostals and Charismatics believe and practice a vibrant relationship with the Holy Spirit and practice the gifts of the Spirit regularly. As a Pentecostal, I will approach the gifts of the Spirit with teaching as my teachers have taught me, and as I practice them.
Other Denominations and Groups
If I did not mention a denomination or Christian group you be interested in, you may do your own research. I can only cover so much in this post on Christian denominations and their doctrine and practice.
I have found that only a few denominations teach and practice the gifts of the Spirit. Some of the doctrinal statements I have read about the Holy Spirit explain why many Christians don’t have a solid foundation and understanding of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit courses through the pages of Scripture, as do the other members of the Godhead. It’s imperative that we Christians understand and know Him as well as we know the Father and the Son. As He dwells in us, He makes Jesus known to us and wants to minister through us.
Many denominations and groups within Christianity have beliefs and practices about the gifts of the Spirit ranging from doctrinal statements only to full-fledged beliefs and practice in the gifts. You will not find teaching on the gifts of the Spirit in every church or denomination.
Because so many Christians are not as familiar with the Holy Spirit or His gifts, I endeavor to give details and definitions of the gifts throughout this series. I hope you enjoy the subject matter and details of these posts. In what denomination do you celebrate Christ, and what do they teach about the gifts of the Spirit?
Now that we have discussed the denominations’ views on the gifts, we will now ask the important question, “How do the gifts help us?”