Melissa Kruger, Jasmine Holmes, and Jackie Hill Perry all come from different church backgrounds with different views of spiritual gifts. Yet when they talk about this sometimes-contentious subject, they find a lot to agree about. Scripture teaches that unless we exercise spiritual gifts in love, they are worthless. And when we truly understand God’s design for the body of Christ, we won’t be threatened by others’ giftedness.
On this episode of Let’s Talk, our hosts discuss whether spiritual gifts are tied to natural giftedness, and whether they only show up only after conversion. They also address how to discover spiritual gifts, and whether we should use spiritual-gift “tests” or inventories.
- A Compilation of Resources on Spiritual Gifts
- How (Not) to Discover Your Spiritual Gifts
- The Gift of Prophecy
- Can Any Christian Learn How to Do Miracles?
Favorite Music Mentioned in this Episode:
- Trust in You by Antoine Bradford
- Be Held by Christy Nockels
- Intercession by Tasha Cobbs Leonard
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Jackie Hill Perry: Hey, everybody. Welcome to Let’s Talk, a podcast from the Gospel Coalition Podcast Network, where we seek to apply biblical wisdom to everyday life. My name is Jackie Hill Perry, and I am here with my friends, Jasmine Holmes and Melissa Kruger. Today, we are talking about Jasmine’s favorite topic ever. She is excited. You don’t even see her over here. She has confetti in her hand, she got balloons. She’s texting her husband saying, “Oh my goodness. I’m just so grateful that we’re talking about this topic,” which is spiritual gifts. How do you feel about this topic, Jasmine? Let us know.
Jasmine Holmes: I’ve just never thought about it. I’m going to be really honest with you, I …
Melissa Kruger: She says she doesn’t have any.
Jasmine Holmes: Whenever anybody talks about spiritual gifts, I’m like, “I don’t have one of those.”
Melissa Kruger: It’s like the poor child on Christmas who didn’t have any presents under the tree.
Jasmine Holmes: I don’t think about it. I just don’t think about it. And it’s maybe a downfall of my upbringing, where I grew up in a very reformed Baptist context where we only talked about spiritual gifts to talk about cessationism. And so it just wasn’t a normal conversation that I had in church growing up. And whenever people are like … people talk, they’ll sit around and talk about spiritual gifts. There’s even tests you can take. I’ve never taken the test, but everybody’s like, “Yeah, the spiritual … ”
Jackie Hill Perry: We should have had you take a test before we started.
Jasmine Holmes: I know. They’re like, “The spiritual strength finder,” and I’m like, “No.”
Jackie Hill Perry: We’re doing it before the day is over.
Jasmine Holmes: We haven’t figured it out.
Melissa Kruger: You’ll have prophecy as oyurs.
Jasmine Holmes: I’m convinced I don’t have it, which is bad news.
Jackie Hill Perry: What do you think about this conversation, Melissa, when you hear about spiritual gifts?
Melissa Kruger: So I think there’s a lot of mystery when we talk about spiritual gifts, in some sense, even practically. Are these natural genetic proclivities or are they … it seems to be different to me. When I look in scripture, it seems to be something that only the Holy Spirit can do in us, and somehow does it differently precisely because we’re Christians, almost like the stamp of our adoption, that the Lord through his spirit works in each of us in diverse ways, same spirit, diverse manifestations of that spirit.
And it’s a real mystery, but it’s not so that … I do think it’s clear it’s not so my name will be praised or your name will be praised, but so that God’s name will be praised. And I think that’s where … sometimes I think we do the tests and the inventories so I can know, “Well this is how I’m special. This is why I matter,” whereas I think spiritual gifts and even the notion of them says you matter. You’re part of the family. The body cannot work without you. I mean, if my body doesn’t have my pinky toe, I’m not going to walk as well. And so I think special gifts, the purpose of even talking about them is we all matter in the body. It’s not going to work without us. So deeply needed, and yet small part.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. I think it’s a conversation no one should be afraid of, because it’s helpful to know if and how you have spiritual gifts so that you know how to best serve the church. This is ultimately I think what all spiritual gifts were given to us for, is to equip the body for the work of ministry. And so don’t be afraid, people.
But for some context, one passage … there are a few, but one passage that identifies gifts is 2 Corinthians 12, starting at verse seven. I’ll read it for the saints. It says, “To each is given the manifestation of the spirit for the common good … ” somebody say for the common good … ” … for to one is given through the spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another, the utterance of knowledge, according to the same spirit. To another faith by the same spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one spirit, to another, the working of miracles.” Ooh. “To another, prophecy.” Oh. “To another, the ability to distinguish between spirits,” Ooh. “To another various kinds of tongues.” Oh. “To another, the interpretation of tongues. All of these are empowered by one and the same spirit who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”
So a lot was said there, a lot of things were thrown out. I think some of these gifts are easily welcomed in the church. Others are … they have a lot of controversy surrounding them and if they still exist and how they function, et cetera. So yes, some of what was mentioned was teaching, mercy. In other passages, there is hospitality, healing, wisdom, faith, prophecy, administration, tongues. Out of those, Jasmine, you said you don’t think you have …
Jasmine Holmes: I don’t have one . . .
Jackie Hill Perry: If you had to guess, in what ways has God used you or empowered … in what way do you feel empowered to serve the church that might not be natural to other people?
Jasmine Holmes: Speaking in tongues for sure.
Jackie Hill Perry: Okay. Got it. How’s that been working for you?
Jasmine Holmes: I’ve never done it before, but it’s coming. What is the list again?
Jackie Hill Perry: Teaching, mercy, hospitality, healing, wisdom, faith, prophecy, administration, tongues.
Jasmine Holmes: Teaching.
Jackie Hill Perry: How do you know?
Jasmine Holmes: But see, that’s hard to say because I don’t really … when I’m at church, and maybe this is a conversation worth having, I think about spiritual gifts as something for people in leadership. I don’t think about spiritual guests as something for people in the pews.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s interesting.
Jasmine Holmes: And I’m pew person at church. I’m not in leadership at church. I don’t want to be in leadership at church. I am very happy with my pew person status. And so maybe just whenever I’ve thought about spiritual gifts, I’m like, “Oh yeah, that’s, that’s the cream that rises to the top, the people at the forefront.” Obviously Jackie’s spiritual gift is prophecy and discernment.
Jackie Hill Perry: Oh, Lord.
Jasmine Holmes: That’s just how I feel, but then with … and you do that. You know what I’m saying? So it’s more clear to me I think.
Jackie Hill Perry: What about you, Melissa?
Melissa Kruger: That’s a good question. I do have this notion, and maybe I’m wrong, that spiritual gifts can develop in our lives. I mean, I think we have things that the Lord does through us, but I also think of the parable of the talents. The one person who was given five and comes back and gets five more and then he’s giving the other one who just buried his, he’s giving him more. And so do you think there’s some sense sometimes by doing ministry, the Lord uncovers gifts. I feel like the Lord has gifted me with teaching, but the manifestation of that has now become through writing. And I wouldn’t have known that at 20. I didn’t put together that, oh yeah. I write out my prayers every day. Maybe I like writing. I didn’t even …
So sometimes I feel like the Lord is uncovering our gifts, but sometimes it is what does the common good need and how can I step in? Because I think one danger of spiritual gifts can be like … you’ll hear people say, “It’s not my spiritual gift to work in the nursery.” I’m like “It’s nobody’s spiritual gift to work in the nursery.” Sometimes we just serve. And now some people are more gifted I think at serving in lots of different areas and there’s a gift of service. But I do think it’s good to say, “Hey, this is how God’s gifted me, so I can say no to this request or no to this request,” but also at some points in the body, we say yes, because it needs to be done.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. Because I mean, everyone is called to teach.
Melissa Kruger: That’s right, Colossians.
Jackie Hill Perry: To even fulfill the Great Commission, you have to teach everyone. Even if you don’t have administrative gifts, sometimes you might need to get behind a computer and email somebody or be the front desk receptionist during a conference the church is having. And so I think not having a particular gift doesn’t excuse you from serving in a variety of ways is what we’re saying.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. And I think sometimes in the church, it can take on that, like, “Oh my gift is this, so I can’t do that,” whereas it’s really an excuse to not serve rather than a, “Oh yeah. I may be more gifted than this, but this is the need of the hour, so I’m going to come in here and try to use what I’m good at to help.” But I do think what I do love when I look at this passage, when we’re looking at 1 Corinthians and it talks about all these spiritual gifts and some of them harder to understand. Like what does it mean the gift of healing or the gift of prophecy? Because so often, to be quite honest, especially with gift of healing, we see wrong use of that, like it’s almost used for a show to get money or we’ve all seen …
Jackie Hill Perry: The prosperity gospel where you sow a seed and you get healed.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. We’ve seen wrong uses of this. So I think it’s important all of our gifts are always made so that the church goes forward and Christ is glorified, not self is glorified. And then the other thing, what I love, this 1 Corinthians 12, it flows right into 1 Corinthians 13.
Jackie Hill Perry: About love.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. And so what he says, he has this whole discourse on spiritual gifts. “The body doesn’t consist of one member, but many.” He’s talking about it, and then he says, “Desire the higher gifts and I will show you still a more excellent way,” and it’s love. And so I feel like love is a spiritual gift that every Christian has. It’s the way we all look alike.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, it’s the spirit’s work in us.
Melissa Kruger: It’s like, I’ve gone to churches in other countries, and sometimes you look at people’s faces and there’s this smile, and you’re like, “Oh, you’re a Jesus person.” We do have a common spiritual DNA, and it’s love. And so sometimes I think we can maybe think, “I don’t have anything to offer,” or maybe we can think, “I’ve got the special gift to offer.”
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. Because I think both of those, the arrogant or the insecure, I think both of those can kind of be done away with if we function in love. Because the insecure, it’s like, no love your neighbor enough to get outside your comfort zone. And the arrogant is like, no love God enough and love your neighbor enough to lower yourself down a little bit because you’re not that bomb just because you can teach, or just because you can do this.
One question I’ve gotten … some questions I’ve gotten before, but the preeminent one I think is how do you know or how do you find out what gifts you …
Jackie Hill Perry: … I think is how do you know, or how do you find out what gifts you have? Because you have the tests that Jasmine is going to take when this is over.
Melissa Kruger: We will announce later.
Jasmine Holmes: Wow.
Jackie Hill Perry: But, from my experience, the way that I was able to discern my gifts was through the body, like you said, particularly with being discipled. And so I remember asking the woman who was mentoring me, I was like, “What do you think my gifts are?” And she said, “Well, I think it’s evident that you’re probably… I don’t know what passage that is, but exhortation is one, and teaching.” And I think that’s a big deal to find out gifts within the church, because it’s people that know you, it’s people that are able to, I guess, observe you, it’s people usually, hopefully, that are wiser than you, and so they’re able to, I think, help identify the best ways that God has equipped you to function within the body. In a way that you may not be able to see yourself, in a way that a test just doesn’t have access to. We can answer all kinds of questions on tests, according to what we want to be.
Melissa Kruger: That’s where I was thinking this is a self-fulfilling prophecy, like, “Oh yeah, I like being in front of people, so I must be a really good teacher.” And everybody’s like, “She’s terrible.”
Jackie Hill Perry: Exactly, exactly. So I think when you ask, or just pay attention to what you tend to just do well, and not only excellent, but just with some ease.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. I would also say what bothers you when it’s not done well is kind of a good sign of maybe how the Lord’s gifted you. And that doesn’t give us an excuse to grumble and be critical, or whatever. But I know, for me, I would find myself so frustrated when someone didn’t teach well. I would be like, “Don’t they know we are 60 minutes in, and people checked out 40 minutes ago? You’ve got to give people some help here. People need to learn this way.” And I realize, “Oh, that’s because God made me to understand those things.”
And so sometimes I would say the place you find yourself frustrated might be the very place God has equipped you to serve the body.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s right. Yeah, I think for me, I remember when I became a new Christian, I immediately started teaching people, and things would open up to me in the scripture, and there was a desire to learn it, to understand it, and to communicate it, and to communicate it in a way that was received. And when I say “new Christian”, I mean like three weeks in I was like, “We’re doing a Bible study.” I ain’t read nothing. I hadn’t read Hebrews, Revelation, or nothing, so what I did is… I was like, “We’re going to watch the Passion of the Christ, and we’re going to watch it alongside the Gospels.” And so I would press pause, and then we would find where these particular scenes were in the Gospel. And to me, that was like me being able to teach the scriptures in a way that made sense, and this is me as a baby Christian. And so I think even just paying attention to man, when you are a new believer, where did you lean?
Melissa Kruger: That’s good. Because somebody else may have become a believer and immediately said, “I’ve got to go serve in this area.”
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, I got to go help.
Melissa Kruger: Or, “I’ve got to open up my home, and have people in, and let this happen. Have a Bible study at my house, or something like that.” It’s interesting, what did, and mine was teaching too. I think back to the Bible study I led when I was like 16, and I’m like, “Oh, how many wrong things did I say then?”
Jackie Hill Perry: I bet it was fire though, you had all the zeal.
Melissa Kruger: But it’s this moment of that’s what you have to do. Maybe that’s a good way to even say a spiritual gift, it’s like you’re compelled.
Jackie Hill Perry: It does feel like an urgency, a compulsion, like I just don’t think I can not do this. And it’s not even for any other reason but to make Jesus known.
You mentioned this earlier, Melissa, but do you think that spiritual gifts are tied to natural giftedness, or do they just show up when you become a Christian? What do you think, Jasmine?
Jasmine Holmes: It makes sense to me that they would be things that you were already gifted in before becoming a Christian, because the way that God works, just thinking about all of the ingredients that he puts into us when he makes us come to bear fruit, at some point in our lives. And so it makes sense to me that if you have a proclivity towards exhortation, becoming a Christian is the way to see that in all of its fullness. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that if you’re not a Christian, glimpses of that are not going to be seen in the choices that you make in your life.
Melissa Kruger: So Jackie, did you like to teach at all before you became a Christian, was that in you? I don’t know if there was any-
Jackie Hill Perry: I wasn’t a teacher, but I was a learner. And I wasn’t a communicator because I was introverted, but I was able to communicate clearly if need be. And so that’s what makes it really odd, even for people in my life that are non-Christians, just kind of this intrigued of, “Huh. I wonder how that will manifest when the spirit fills you?”
Because even my husband, when I think about him, one of his gifts is teaching, but also… Well, some people argue that evangelism isn’t a gift, but just this desire and this compulsion and this empowerment to go out and reach people and to explain the gospel, he has that in ways I don’t have. But even before Christ, he was bold. He had no problem doing the hard thing when it came to strangers, and so when the spirit of God filled him, that then switched his, I guess, direction to say, “Ooh, look at that stranger over there on the bus, I’m going to tell him about Jesus.” I don’t have no inkling of that in my body. So it is very interesting to me that the way God originally makes people, and kind of fuses within how he uses people.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, because he uses all of Paul’s background. So here he was, the Hebrew of Hebrews, the Jew of Jews, had studied, he used all that study. So now this man, when he’s writing a lot of the new Testament, it’s all in him. Like all those years, I’m sure, of being a little Hebrew kid and studying the Torah, it’s all there, and even his boldness. He was not just a not-liker of Christians, he was like the Nazi of the… I’m saying he was going around, rounding up Christians, and on the way to Damascus, he was going there to find Christians and hunt them out and put them in jail. And that zeal is then evident in his Christian walk.
Jackie Hill Perry: And Moses. Before Moses goes to Midian, you see him kill the Egyptian, but it’s out of a sense of justice. It’s out of a, “This isn’t right.” Before he became the Moses that we all know, you see glimpses of him acting out those same behaviors, maybe just not in a pruned way. He had a sense of justice, he had a desire to champion a cause, to make sure that people were not being oppressed, and then he just so happened to be this kind of pre-Messiah figure for Israel. It’s just… I don’t know, it’s interesting. I don’t know what to do with it, because I can see how that can make it harder to discern what’s a spiritual gift and what’s just a personality trait.
Melissa Kruger: Right.
Hey, Let’s Talk listeners. My name’s Melissa Kruger, and I’m so excited to share with you about our sponsor for this season, Reformed Theological Seminary. I have loved being a part of the community there for the past 20 years with my husband, Mike Kruger. He’s the president at RTS Charlotte, and we love getting to be part of all that’s going on there. They have a lot of different degree programs. Jackie, you’re going to be a student this spring.
Jackie Hill Perry: Sure am.
Melissa Kruger: Can you tell us anything about the degree program?
Jackie Hill Perry: Well, RTS offers three Master’s of Arts degree programs, and they are available a hundred percent online. These degrees are perfect, I think, for anyone who wants to just pursue full-time vocational ministry, interested in PhD work, the real smart people, or enhancing any of their gifts through theological education.
Melissa Kruger: Jasmine, your husband’s also at RTS.
Jasmine Holmes: He is. He’s the vice president of communications at RTS, and a cool fact about us is that we met at an RTS-sponsored booth at the Gospel Coalition Conference.
Melissa Kruger: So you can find love at RTS?
Jasmine Holmes: You can find love at RTS and TGC. If you would like to join the online degree program, which, granted, is probably less of a chance to find love there, you can study at your own pace, attend virtual classes, and you have regular interactions with your professors and teachers assistants. Overall, you just study in a way that suits you best, and if you want to find out more about the RTS Global Degree Program, you can go to rts.edu/online.
Melissa Kruger: What are you doing that’s for the common good? Yeah, I do like how that passage says, “They’ve been given for the common good.” So while God fashioned you, he knit you together in your mother’s room, there were parts of you that are just you. He’s going to then give us these compulsions of ways we feel like we have to serve the body, that are going to be used for the common good now.
And I think about that… How do y’all feel about this? Like whenever I read that next passage in Corinthians, it talks about the foot looking at the hand, and kind of feeling insignificant because, “I’m not as good, that I’m not this, you’re this.” How do we battle against this notion… I look at Jackie, and let’s say we even have the same gift. I might be like, “Oh, well, she’s so much better at it, so I just need to sit down and not say anything.” Or how do we look at someone who maybe has a different gift and say, “Well, that type of gift is better.” How can we fight against comparison when it comes to spiritual gifts?
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s a great question.
Jasmine Holmes: Even the way that Paul addresses it in that passage is by pointing to the fact that all of us are necessary to make the body function. So it’s not like-
Jasmine Holmes: To make the body function. So it’s not… Jackie may be really good at teaching and discerning, but that doesn’t mean that Melissa’s gifts for teaching are then all of a sudden not needed, because Jackie can’t teach everybody. Melissa can’t teach everybody. The things that Melissa is passionate about teaching everybody might not be the things that Jackie’s passionate about teaching everybody. And I think our union with brothers and sisters would be so much richer if we understood that. Because I think so much disunity comes from wanting everybody to fight the exact same battle, the exact same way, that we’re fighting it.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, I remember… This isn’t about spiritual gifts, but I think it can apply. There was a season in my life when I was single, when I would go to Chicago a lot. And Chicago is a super artsy city. And so I would just hang out with a lot of Christian poets or whatever. And we would go over our friend, Ito Hahn’s, house. And she had a roommate. And the roommate was not a poet and she would always talk about how she felt so out of place and insecure because she was not able to have a spoken word gift, quote unquote, in the same way that we did. But she was a super type a person. So if you need her to give you an Excel sheet, that’s her thing.
And so I think the same thing happens in the church because there are gifts that are given more honor, typically. The more visible gifts, the more, what do you call it, impressive gifts. While at the same time, we need administrators, we need people who are hospitable, we need people who are merciful. Paul says this in First Corinthians 12, verse 22, “On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.” And so I think we probably just, as a body, need to make sure that we’re continuing to affirm and acknowledge and be thankful for those parts of the body that don’t get all of the Instagram followers. Thank you for serving us in the way that you have. Thank you for opening up your home so that we can have a Bible study here when church closed during the pandemic.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. Well, the way that 10,000 women get to come hear you TGC 21 will be because someone set up registration, someone set up all the chairs, someone had the ability to do microphones and put it all together. And so, in some sense, we’re all, Lord willing, moving forward the gospel together. And it’s actually a beautiful picture when we can see each part mattering. And then it just becomes… I think of Paul’s words when he says, “What makes you different from anyone else? Why do you boast as though you’re special?” In some ways, it’s God’s spirit. So it’s kind of like… All of us have Brown eyes. It’s like us walking around and being like, “We are so much better than you because we’ve got Brown eyes,” or whatever, than the blue ad people out there or whatever. And you’re like, “That’s so silly.” Well, whatever your gift is, it’s just given to you. So it’s not like we own it.
Jackie Hill Perry: It is indeed a gift.
Melissa Kruger: Yes. Yeah. It’s a gift. And so-
Jackie Hill Perry: I had a situation where-
Melissa Kruger: . . . always used for others. And I think it’s when we start thinking of it as our own that we get envious of others and we get competitive with others. And then that takes on this ugliness that I think we see in the church a lot. I don’t want to praise you, because then people might listen to you more than they listen to me. Or I don’t want to tell you about Jasmine’s book, because then you might read her book and not read my book. Rather than being like, “No, we can’t all write about the same topics. I’m not going to write a book on the holiness of God anytime soon.”
Jackie Hill Perry: You should. I could’ve used it as a resource, girl.
Melissa Kruger: And someone would be like, “Read Jackie’s.” And rather than seeing that as a… That’s good. Yeah. It means actually the work of Christ is going out in all these different ways that it can do more with us together than it can do as one individual, and I find that really helpful. Because sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the needs in the world. And I’m like, “Oh, I can’t go serve refugees in Greece who are coming over right now, but God’s church can, and it’s happening.” And I can say, “This is the body doing what I can’t do on my own.”
Jackie Hill Perry: And which, again is, I think, why Paul had to write chapter 13, by saying, “If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but I don’t love, I’m a noisy gong or clanging symbol.” And so yes, you could have this spectacular, extravagant, miraculous, amazing, awe inspiring gift. But if you’re not loving anybody, it’s not helpful. And so we want to be helpful. And if that is the case, then we need to be loving in whatever gift that God has empowered us to. I think we should step on toes. Just real quick, real quick. Why is prophecy…
Melissa Kruger: Jasmine’s going to answer this.
Jackie Hill Perry: I know. Why is it scary, Jasmine Holmes? Huh?
Jasmine Holmes: Who, me?
Jackie Hill Perry: Have you not had someone come up to you and see your future and say, “Thus sayeth the Lord.”
Jasmine Holmes: I have. It was really creepy actually. Maybe that’s why it’s scary. Literally, I was walking into the mall, and it was the day that my first boyfriend had dumped me. And it was really hard because we thought that we were going to get married. He was literally like, “I was going to propose to you and I changed my mind.” Which why did you tell somebody that? Men, don’t do that. [inaudible]. I had a couple pastors tell me that they listen to our podcasts.
Melissa Kruger: We thank all the male listeners out there. Thank you for listening.
Jackie Hill Perry: Hey, y’all. Look at me being judgmental.
Jasmine Holmes: I don’t know. I’ve had a couple of them hop into my… And be like, “I really enjoyed your podcast. My wife was listening to it so then I started listening to it.” But they’re already married, but just in case any single guys are out there, just don’t propose. But don’t say that you were going to and you’ve changed your mind. All right. So I was brokenhearted, I’m literally walking to the mall and there’s this guy standing outside the mall. And I walked by. I walked past him and he was like, “Hey, I’m so sorry that he did that to you. And I just want you to know that…”
And he was like, “God.” And he mentioned God. It wasn’t like… Because sometimes they stop you outside of the mall and they’re trying to get money. And he was like, “I want you to know that God loves you and God has something really good for you. And I wish I could tell you that this is not going to hurt for that long, but it’s going to hurt for a really long time. But you’re going to be okay, because you’re a daughter of God and you’re going to be okay.”
Jackie Hill Perry: And you were scared.
Jasmine Holmes: And I was scared, because I was like, “Who? What’s happening?” And my cousin is kind of hustling me along, because she’s like, “He wants money.” He’s like, “I don’t want any money. You don’t need to pay me anything. I was just walking out and I saw you,” and-
Jackie Hill Perry: I love that. Look, because y’all know I’m all into gifts. And I love it because you were down and discouraged and hurt and God sent you somebody random, a stranger, to just kind of put some pep in your step.
Jasmine Holmes: He did. That’s true. I don’t think about it a lot because it’s one of those things that I don’t know what to do with it. And I’m just like, “Okay, that happened.”
Melissa Kruger: And I think that’s part of the mystery. I think there should be a little bit of discomfort for us as believers that we don’t understand how God works. Because his ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. And so I think when we get to some of these spiritual gifts, we’re like, “Tongues, what are those?”
Jackie Hill Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative). What do they have now?
Melissa Kruger: And it is uncomfortable, because sometimes it can be used wrongly as a, “If you haven’t done this, you’re not saved,” or whatever. And so there are definitely things that, I think, make us fearful to even explore what are these. And what are they in scripture? Because when I look at scripture in tongues, usually, what everything I’ve read about it, someone could actually speak a foreign language, and someone could then hear the gospel and respond. And so it seemed to have a direct purpose rather than kind of a secret language.
Jasmine Holmes: Only for you and God.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. It just seems different than sometimes how it’s-
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah. I’ve had missionary friends who have changed my perspective on spiritual gifts just by sheer nature of things that happened in the mission field that do not happen here. In the course of being somewhere foreign and bringing the gospel where it’s never gone forth before and stories of healing and stories of speaking in tongues, meaning being able to communicate across language barriers and stories… I think my dad always called it being a leaky Cessationist, where you’re like, “Yeah, I believe the gifts has ceased,” and then you hear this miraculous story and you’re like, “There’s some holes in that theory.” Because these stories come from credible sources. They’re true. And God, in the pushing forth of his word, which really is what we’re seeing in the first century church, is a miraculous going forth of the word of God into places that it is never been before. And I do see that when that is done in modern day, miraculous things happen. And I’m completely comfortable saying that.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. Yeah. When you have a God who reveals himself as a pillar of smoke or a cloud by day and a fire by night, or a pot passing through severed animal bodies, or a bush that is burned and not consumed, or an incarnate God, he kind of, himself, just does not function in a way that makes sense. And so I think with that, there has to be some… I think you’ve said this already. We have to be okay with not being able to just make sense of all that God is and all that God does through his church. I think that is one of the downsides of reformed theology, to be honest, is that we want to be so accurate and so clear on how we understand the scriptures, which we should be, that we sometime end up boxing God in, and therefore quenching the spirit. And so that’s one of the, “Eeh!” things, for me.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, trying to take out all the mystery so that we can explain every little… It’s like, “No, he’s transcendent.”
Jasmine Holmes: … so that we can explain every little-
Jackie Hill Perry: It’s like, “No, He’s transcendent.” And so, there’s that. Have you had any experiences with the prophetic?
Melissa Kruger: I don’t know that I have.
Jackie Hill Perry: Okay, let me prophesy, so you will.
Melissa Kruger: Okay, okay.
Jackie Hill Perry: I don’t have anything. Jesus rose from the dead. There you go.
Melissa Kruger: Maybe I’m not a Christian.
Jackie Hill Perry: You definitely are.
Melissa Kruger: I would say, the most close to something that happened to me, and this is different. I think this is probably a helpful caveat. What we’re not saying is that scripture is still open.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yes.
Melissa Kruger: We believe that this is the Holy Bible, that what’s been recorded, and this is the authoritative Word of God.
Jackie Hill Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s final.
Melissa Kruger: However, I do think people have dreams still.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah.
Melissa Kruger: You hear a lot of Muslims who will have dreams about Jesus before they come to faith. One thing that happened to me, and this was just really comforting. I felt it was from the Lord. A friend of mine lives in Prague. And I found out… No, I didn’t even know this. She texted me. She’s a missionary in Prague, and she said, “Are you pregnant? I had a dream that you’re pregnant.” And I was like, “No, that’s so funny.” And then I took a test.
Jackie Hill Perry: You were pregnant.
Melissa Kruger: And I was pregnant, and I actually miscarried that baby. And I can’t tell you how much comfort it brought me to feel like the Lord was like, “This child’s real.” This isn’t just a dream child or whatever, meaning your friend even knew about this child before you did. It really brought me a lot of comfort. So, sometimes I just think there are these people seem to know things. I know you were talking about this earlier. They know things. And it was a gift to me that she knew this.
Jackie Hill Perry: It served you.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, and I took this test, and we shared in that together. She was one of the few people I hadn’t even told I was pregnant, and so then she could mourn with me when I lost the baby. I don’t know. So, it’s a mystery though. It’s a mystery.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, those are great, I think, examples of good times when someone has shared something that they should not have known that it’s comforted you. But I think on the other end, there are people who share dreams, or so-called words from the Lord that are not that. So, then you’re put in the position of, “Okay, what do I do with this?”
In Jude chapter one… Well, there’s only one chapter. In verse eight in Jude, talking about the false teachers in the church he’s communicating to, who he wanted them to contend for the faith against, he says how these people in like manner, they rely on their dreams. But then he says that they defile the flesh, reject the door, and blaspheme the glorious ones. Contextually, what he’s saying is that these people use prophetic or utterances to speak things that are actually not in the scriptures.
And so, Jude actually says “Contend for the faith, even against people like that.” I think the way we do that is we say, “Hey, I appreciate…” Well, no, it depends on what’s being said. If they’re saying Jesus ain’t God or something like that.
Jasmine Holmes: Don’t appreciate that.
Jackie Hill Perry: I don’t appreciate you sharing that with me. But there’s a contention that we should have with those who are sharing things that are not from God or God’s word. And especially if they are coming to us as if God sent them, as if they are Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and Amos, and Jesus, or an apostle. Which is awkward, which is hard, which is difficult. But I think that’s actually one way that we preserve the body is by making sure that we’re willing to call out and address those who are coming in and bringing things that are not true.
Melissa Kruger: Absolutely, and I think that’s such a good guardrail. If someone is prophesying in some way that is against scripture, you know that’s out.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, that’s wicked.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. I mean, so if they’re saying something like, “Oh, you should go do this,” and clearly scripture says don’t do that. Yeah, we have guardrails in God’s word that says this is what the Lord thinks about things. So, everything should always be helping us love God’s word, obey God’s word more.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah.
Melissa Kruger: The gifts of the spirit are not going to be in opposition to the Spirit.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yes.
Jasmine Holmes: Right.
Melissa Kruger: So, we can take heart in that. Let me ask you all one question. We’ve talked around these things, there are different views of the Spirit. There’s…
Jackie Hill Perry: Sensationalism?
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, that’s it, that’s it.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s such a wordy word.
Melissa Kruger: And then, there’s people who still think that some of these gifts are active.
Jackie Hill Perry: Is that continuationism?
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, and I think what we can say here is study that. These are different views that different theologians have. I know I definitely don’t have all the answers on these topics.
Jackie Hill Perry: I don’t, I don’t.
Melissa Kruger: But it’s really good to take the time to study what different theologians have said about it, so that we don’t find ourselves in places where we’re really confused, and listening to voices that maybe aren’t saying the right things to us. So, it’s clear that it’s in scripture, it’s clear we’re all giving gifts to serve the church. And then, I think it’s a good thing to keep studying.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yes. We have to, because we want to make Jesus known. But I also wouldn’t stress yourself out about it. Just love God, love people.
Melissa Kruger: But we’re making Jasmine take a test.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, she’s taking the test.
Jasmine Holmes: Oh, really? I hope it’s not prophecy, because I’ve been having recurring dreams that I’ve had twin girls.
Melissa Kruger: Ooh.
Jackie Hill Perry: Would that make you happy if you had twin girls?
Jasmine Holmes: No, ma’am. So, that would be like a doomsday prophecy. I literally wake up in a cold sweat, like, “Oh, my gosh. No, no.”
Jackie Hill Perry: Well, we’ll see. All right. It’s time to share our favorite things. So, what is each of you’s favorite song right now, or album?
Melissa Kruger: I actually have a couple. I really have been liking City Light. I don’t know if you’ve heard them. They have this song Yet Not I, But Christ. It’s good. But another one I heard, it was actually at our TGC prayer night, Antoine Bradford. I don’t know if you all have heard him.
Jackie Hill Perry: I have.
Melissa Kruger: He sings this song Trust in You. I love it. I mean, I had it on repeat.
Jasmine Holmes: I love that.
Melissa Kruger: I think it was so good. So, I’m going to give a shout out to him, because really, I love that song.
Jasmine Holmes: My favorite right now, my kids ask for it all the time, Christy Nockels has an album that came out in 2017, called Be Held, and it’s an album of lullabies. And Win comes to me and he’s like, “I want to listen to Kisty Knuckles.” He’s like, “From Amazon Prime. Can you tell Echo? She’s not listening to me.” I’m like, “Because you’re not speaking English, but I will do it for you.” But he listens to that.
Melissa Kruger: Alexa needs a translator.
Jasmine Holmes: She does. He listens to that or Scripture Lullabies every night before he goes to bed, and those two albums-
Jackie Hill Perry: Those scripture lullabies… Man.
Jasmine Holmes: They’re so good.
Jackie Hill Perry: When my children are small, them things ministered to me. Be still and know that I’m God. And I’m over here like, “I’m tired. I’m so sleepy, but yes, Father, I do need to be still.”
Jasmine Holmes: I listened to them a lot in my last days of pregnancy with Win, because I was just like, “Get out, let me hear this.”
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s how I feel.
Jasmine Holmes: I know.
Jackie Hill Perry: My album of choice lately has been Intercession by Tasha Cobbs Leonard. If you know me, you know that I love gospel music. I love churchiness in all of its forms, and so that’s my go-to for now.
But we want to thank you. Thank you all for listening to another episode of Let’s Talk. Next week… If you are gifted prophetically, you should already know what we’re going to talk about, but if not, we’re going to talk about conflict, and how to stay godly whenever we do have it. You can subscribe to Let’s Talk through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you like to get your podcasts. Check out other shows from The Gospel Coalition podcast network at tgc.org/podcast. The Gospel Coalition supports the church in making disciples of all nations by providing resources that are trusted and timely, winsome and wise, and centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This season of Let’s Talk is sponsored by RTS Global, the online program at Reformed Theological Seminary. Learn more at rts.edu/online.