Expecting Diversity

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“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

The Basket Case Chronicles #141

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all” (1 Cor. 12:4-6).

We need to begin our discussion of the spiritual gifts with a recognition that the whole thing is an exercise in Trinitarian theology. There is one purpose that runs throughout the manifestation of all true gifts—because there is one God. There are many different displays of God’s power because there is first the Spirit (v. 4), then the Lord (v. 5), and then God (v. 6).

So the differences between “diversities of gifts” or “differences of administrations,” or the “diversities of operations” are not themselves unworthy of God. God is not an infinite and undefined extension of Newtonian space. God is triune, and exuberantly creative. We must not disparage the manifestation of this gift here and a completely different gift over there, any more than we would slight the fact that the same God created the sea lion and the little yellow canary. That is how our God is. This is how the problem of the one and the many resolves—it resolves in the one God, who is Spirit, Lord, and God. This one God has one purpose and many tools.

So diversity is not unworthy of Him. We saw in the first verses of this chapter that there are spurious gifts, displays of spirituality that lead into idolatry. But the mere fact of differences cannot be used as an argument against the legitimacy of a gift. We should expect differences in our gifts.

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