I once heard a pastor say that he has a gift of healing but unfortunately the gift was taken away from him by God when he started to become proud. (I Thought God does not take back gifts.) Another pastor professes to have the gift of discerning evil spirits. Lots of spiritual giftedness being claimed.
I was watching an evangelical preacher on TV raising the hand of an American preacher who they said has a gift of prophecy and they made a lot noise about his prophecies on the Philippines. Aren't these people had enough of prophecies in the Bible? I mean, some of the Bible prophecies are nightmare inducing and they want to add more to it? Ha, ha, ha…super bananas spare me the gumamelas!
The gifts of the Holy Spirit is Biblical and without a doubt true and are meant for the common good—for edification. But sometimes people who claim to possess these gifts are in reality just trying to attract attention to their selves, to project an image of “super spirituality.” This is especially true of the gift of discerning spirit and the gift of tongues. I have seen how some of these people act, and even our senior pastor are weary of these “spiritually gifted Christians” because he had the experience of being “cast out or exorcised” by one of them. Their gift, unfortunately, is non-edifying rather it is self aggrandizing. There's nothing more creepy than people or pastors who are casting out demon in a theatrical manner.
These are some of my observation about them:
Sometimes casting is abused. Casting evil spirits out of people sometimes fellow Christians to prove one’s “super spirituality.” It is at best offensive and at worst super offensive; it edifies the devil.
Sometimes gifts of spiritual powers like “the ability to discern evil spirits” are nothing but mere defense mechanism for inadequacies. Or simply a ploy to attract attention, to be above the rest, to feel special.
Sometimes people or even pastors think other people have evil spirit for the simple reason that they simply don’t like them. And they have the practice of making the people they don’t like around them feel uncomfortable by continually casting out evil spirit to the point of making the name of Jesus Christ sound like a skipping CD. They even have this strange hand gestures. Unfortunately this speaks more of poor bible study and understanding of demonology. I am led to believe that they believe that it is the mention of the word Jesus Christ (Acts 19:13-16) and those weird hand gestures that casts out evil spirits.
A ritualistic approach to overcoming demons seems to have inherent weakness of playing the devil’s game by the devil’s rules. It maybe true that demons are subject to complex symbolic and ritualistic laws, but the Christians authority does not spring from a manipulation of them (ritual being at best a “figure of the true)but from the very fountain of all authority (God). To depend on ritual for the exercise of power is to depend on magic. It undermines dependence in God.
Sometimes people who are simply sick is accused of being demonized thus embarrassing them and putting to question the integrity of their faith.
Sometimes claims of spiritual powers “of magical proportions” are used to manipulate people.
Here’s what I think:
I sometimes think that some Christians who like casting out evil spirits from fellow Christians, and sometimes embarrassingly more mature and hardworking Christians than they are, are bothered by evil spirits themselves that their weak faith cannot get rid of—sort of overcompensating They need to learn to pray and fast and fast and pray fast.
I sometimes think that some people who claim to possess the gift of discerning evil spirits are really nothing more than people who claim to possess the gift of discerning evil spirits. They walk around like the Ghostbusters pointing to places here and there pointing to people and whispering “There’s a presence here. That guy smells like teen spirit” I mean, they discern these malignant evil spirits as if they have built in spiritual Geiger counters and giant Doppler Radars yet they cannot discern more obvious evil spirits like “spirit of laziness, spirit of temptation, spirit of lusts, spirit of lying, spirit of the glass…etc.” I mean it’s comical, really—too much cartoons and too little Bible study. They don’t discern themselves.
I sometimes think that some people who announce to the world that they have the gift of healing are nothing more than people who have super extra large egoistically egotistical ego and poor knowledge of statistics and actuary. The same with some people who profess gifts of prophecy, all they need is a Tarot card and they’ll get more credibility.
I sometimes think that some if not most people who exhibit gift of tongue does not understand what they are doing even if they did memorize their ecstatic tongue twisting. One of our pastors told me that some of these tongue practitioners practice different tongues at home—the tongue used to cast out evil spirits in the church is the same tongue used to invite and manifest evil spirits in the homes.
I think most of these people who like to boast about their gifts are nothing more than airy and eerie Christians for they lack one gift—humility.
I remember Christ’s attitude whenever he healed the sick and exorcised evil spirits: “Go and tell no one.” Of course the healed always tell. The point is that Jesus heals and cast out evil spirits but he does not walk around carrying a 50 foot bill board and a 1 billion megawatt P.A. system and a personal PR consulting firm announcing to the world that he has superpowers. Jesus was humble and secretive.
Of course, I believe that there are Christians that are authentically gifted with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and I think they are so overwhelmed by the gifts that they use them, just like Jesus, wisely, humbly, secretively and careful that the glory will be to God and not to them.