Marketing the gifts of the Holy Spirit
Looking at the trend of materialism in the Christendom today, how some men of God in charismatic and Pentecostal churches uses their “Gifts” and God – given talent (if it’s really from God) to amass wealth and abuse their members, I think there is a need to have an intensive discourse on the topic Marketing the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Beloved, it is important for us Christians to appreciate the story of Balaam, the prophet and Balak, king of Moabites (Numbers 22; 4-18). It is a lesson for all who have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Balaam was not an Israelites but he refused to curse Israel as Balak had requested even when he was lured to do so with gifts.
“Though Balak were to give me his houseful of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord to do less or more” (Numbers 22; 18).
The same attitude we find in Daniel, king Nebuchadnezzar was going to pay Daniel with high-ranking position in the kingdom, asking Daniel to be the 3rd in – command of his kingdom.
Daniel rejected the gift and position but went ahead to read the writing for the king. “Keep your gift for yourselves or give to someone else, I will read for your majesty what has been written and tell you what is means” (Daniel 5;17).
I have been wondering whether there are charismatics – Prophets, Pastors and Ministers of God today who will have the courage of prophets Balaam and Daniel to reject the great gifts which the kings offered.
In fact, where these gifts are not giving by the members of some churches, most neo- Pentecostal pastors and ‘so-called’ Prophet will persuade the worshippers to do so in an excellent sermon on ‘seed-faith’ and ‘seed sowing’ mechanisms to enrich themselves.
I suppose the uprising of the “seed sowing” is derived from St Paul’s teaching on generosity towards needy believers which has been misunderstood and largely misinterpreted by many Pastor’s and there goes the ‘multiplication of erroneous teachings’ on 2 Cor 9;6-14.
Catholic charismatics do not endorse that sort of method of homiletic delivery which is not much different from fund-raising. We should resist the temptation to use our spiritual gifts to acquire wealth.
The healing ministry in our time has become one of the lucrative enterprises. Bill boards advertising healing in Christian healing centers and crusades for healing are literally in every nooks and cranny of our cities, towns and villages, every man of God today is a healer and miracle worker. This for me is because as a country we have not improve our medical cure of the materially poor persons significantly.
Most Neo-Pentecostals take advantage of the awful situation to source for money by setting up healing centers and crusades, all in the name of evangelization.
I must state clearly that healing ministry is good and needed to enrich the faith of believers but I am not in support of the abuse of the gift of healing and the use of the gift as a ‘buy and sell’ mechanism making it usage as purely enterprise ventures.
The Catholic Charismatics Renewal is not involved in this practice but to ensure that none of its members gets tempted by neo-Pentecostal ‘money-making’ spiritual gathering where offerings are made with a view of securing divine favors. In the Catholic church, there are guidelines for setting up prayer-groups, which must be in Parish-setting.
The catholic charismatic renewal does not operate outside the umbrella of the Catholic Church. This is to ensure that the gifts received from the Holy Spirit for the common good of the church do not become like those of montanus of the second century – ‘Prophecy movement’ that had no humility of being guided by the hierarchy of the church.
The emergence of renewal movement can be summaries in the following two points;
- To foster mature and continues personal conversion to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour
- To foster growth in spiritual life through an intensive devotion to the Holy Spirit.
The early members of the renewal movement enunciated the reason for the foundation of charismatic renewal which is a renewal of Christian life and Charisms of the Holy Spirit which members receive when they become Christians.
I must say that this primal version after a while was beclouded by a preoccupation with prayers for healing, protection and prosperity. This was however an attempt to remove all the pressures and worries that were on those who joined the Charismatic movement for such purpose.
But frankly speaking, all such hopes for a ‘better life’ for all human cannot be over in our present life.
As I speak, some Catholic Charismatic prayer meetings have become centers for healing and deliverance, this sort of spiritual orientation appears to be an imitation of neo-Pentecostalism their fosters a relationship with Holy Spirit for purpose of improving human earthly needs.
Christians must know that Christ did not die on the cross so that human beings can have a happy time on earth. Throughout the biblical times and in the life of the early Christians, the Holy Spirit was never understood as the one who will offer the believers in Christ abundant wealth on earth (Phil. 4:19). Jesus did not tell us that the Holy Spirit will supply all our needs and worries, (Phil 4: 19).
There is an error in practical application of this text to every day needs of those devoted to the Holy Spirit.
Our Divine Master has counseled us not to be worried about food and drink. (Mt 6:25-34).
Yes, our God loves, cares and saves, this salvation is not about health, food, drink, wealth. Neither is about merry – making, for the world is full of such things. St. Paul reminds us: ‘for God’s kingdom is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness peace and joy which the Holy Spirit gives’. (Romans 14: 17).
Therefore beloved, it is out of order then to set up prayer houses and ministries for the Holy Spirit to come and free people from bodily ailment, is that his primary mission on earth? Why are most Christians not bothered about living right-living? It is crystal clear among Christians that holiness of life is replaced with the guest for wealth and prosperity.
For this reason, many believers in Christ have erred in the understanding of the use of gift given by the Holy Spirit. For this reason, again, some people do not focus on purity of life which the Holy Spirit comes to strengthen in every believer, instead many people involve the Holy Spirit in their pursuit of material wealth.
Our Divine Master is not pleased with that way of life. The pursuit of wealth, is gradually eating the core values of the neo-Pentecostals, materialism has advance in all sides of Christianity pushing every believer towards ‘a fearful abyss of confusion’ which is gradually leading the whole Christendom into a chair of devastative scandals in the world.
I must conclude with these few counsels to us all.
A person who has for example the gift of the healing and turns it into business enterprise is doing something wrong. The pursuit of material wealth with the gifts of the Holy Spirit is a clear case of illicit diversion and inappropriate use of the gift. For the gifts are not given for business motivations and marketing.
Marketing the gift of the Holy Spirit brings a serious indictment on the soul of such charismatic Pastors, Evangelists, ministers, Prophets, and Priest. (Mt 7; 21-23).
They will inevitably receive the remarks of the Saviour in Matthew 7:21-23
‘Lord, Lord, in your name we spoke God’s message…Drove out many demons, Performed many miracles…’ Then Jesus will say ‘I never knew you, get away from me’.
A part from the bad use of power, an indictment might be because of the source of such miraculous power such as ‘power of Satan’ with which some perform all sorts of false miracles and wonders. (2 Thess. 2: 9).
With Satan nothing is free, it is pay as you go or cash and carry system. But in Christ our Lord Jesus, he says give freely as you have received freely from the abundant of the grace of God.
Be blessed and receive the Holy Spirit with all spiritual blessing for the purpose of the gospel message Centre in the salvation of all men not for your own self- aggrandizement.
Source: Rev Fr Amos Kwabena Quansah SMA