Sunday, May 21, 2006

Corinthian Chaos?

When teaching on the essential role of the charismata in the church, on occasion some object that an emphasis on the charismata can lead to chaos in the church. Turning to Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, they attempt to make the point that the manifestation gifts were the cause of much trouble for the Corinthian church.

My response?

First, the manifestation gifts were not the source of chaos among Corinthian believers. The problem in Corinth had to do with their carnality and relational dysfunction (i.e., lack of deference, love, and humility).

Second, look closely at the text (1 Corinthians 14:3, 12, 26 for instance). The purpose of the gifts is to strengthen and edify the church, not to tear it down.

Take a fresh look at 1 Corinthians chapters 12 through 14. Is Paul downplaying the gifts of grace (charismata), or did he have such a high regard for the charismata that he found it necessary to correct Corinthian disorder so that the integrity of the gifts might be upheld?

Yes, there was chaos in Corinth, but the gifts of grace most certainly were not the cause.