The concept of the “Five Fold Ministry Gifts” comes from Ephesians 4:11 where it says ” Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostle, the prophet, the evangelist, and the pastors and teachers”. The term “five fold ministry gifts” comes from man alone. That term is not used in scripture, it’s just a catchy phrase to sum this up without listing them all off when discussing them. I don’t have a problem with the term “five fold”, my issue is the premise that only a few get the gifts by election.
Some translations read “He gave some….”, others say “He gifted some to be….”, the Passion translation says “He appointed some with grace to be….” while others simply say “He (speaking of Christ) gave to the church…”
Of the various translations I find a combination of “He gave to the church” and “He appointed some with grace” to be the most consistent with the rest of the New Testament. If we look at it like this, He gave to the church those whom He gave grace to be …, we will get a better understanding of what Paul was saying.
When we phrase it as “gave some” it denotes an election by someone or something. Was the election by man or by Yahweh? If we say they were given by God to some, why do we have church and denominational boards to determine who has what gift? Why do they look at the external package and talents to determine? If we say man determines who has which of these gifts then that would be consistent with the above mentioned entities telling this one you have it and that one you don’t just because they look the type and have talents that closely resemble a certain gift.
Jesus made it clear that those who answer the call, die to themself, and follow Him at any cost all the days of their life are gifted with talents (gifts). A precedent is also established in scripture that Yahweh does not care what a person looks like, what they do, have done, live, have lived, stutter, not stutter and educated or not educated. He has made a practice of using the least likely and least remarkable to do the impossible so the praise will go to Him. Scripture also tells us not to worry what to say, that when the time comes the Holy Spirit will speak for you. We claim we know that Yahweh’s grace is sufficient for every situation for those who are in obedience to His will. Despite this we still have highly educated people evaluating others to deem them fit for what they themselves are not doing and have not done. How many people have been legitimately called by the Lord to something and people talk them out of it claiming they aren’t qualified?
Given this, I do not believe the “Five Fold Ministry Gifts” are just for certain people or that certain elect get two gifts bestowed on them. I also contend, in an unpopular opinion in many circles, that there are still apostles. If the position of apostle was only valid for those who walked with Jesus then we have two problems. The first, how does Paul claim to be an apostle? I’ve heard different dances around this centering on He was a witness to the life of Jesus. That holds as much water as a spaghetti strainer when the next question is posed. Secondly, if apostle was only good for the 12 plus Paul, why list it? By listing it, then man discounting it as not valid opens the door to say other passages of scripture are not valid for today. After all, things today are not the same as they were 2,000 years ago. This is a slippery slope that bit us on the marriage issue and will continue to bite us. We can not quote verses and say the entirety of scripture is good for learning and rebuke then turn around and say “well this one…it doesn’t apply” simply because we haven’t experienced it, understand it or like it.
So, what if the grace to be any of these gifts was given to anyone when it was needed to edify and build up the church? What if those who were unabashedly sold out, 100% committed to Christ with no regard to the cost, were in a position where the Holy Spirit was free to release anyone of these gifts at the right time in any follower? I say those who walk fully in the Spirit have that grace and it is not accepted nor understood by religion.
See, religion can not control the gifts when Yahweh decides to release them. Religion can not control when it happens. It can not control how it happens, what it looks like and who it comes through. Religion tried to have its way and claimed Jesus was so unorthodox and such a threat to them they killed Him. Religion still tries to stifle the Spirit in a bid to maintain control in the erroneous belief that they know best. This is why we have so many churches and ministries concerned with performance and appearance over the power of His presence. I will take a group under the bridge, in the woods, in an old theater or the Wal-Mart parking lot any day over religion! Everywhere religion has a stronghold there is difficulty and poverty. When religion is chucked and presence is embraced signs and wonders follow.
Afterall, Paul walked in all five gifts. When a gift was needed it was there. This was due to his faithfullness to Jesus and comittment to not being distracted by outside influence. Nowhere in any translation of the Bible can I find where it says that God will not give like kind giftings to others like Paul. It’s up to us to determine how bad we want to be used. How important is it to be truly set apart.