What is the Goal? | John Wimber

By, John Wimber

First Corinthians 11:18 through 14:40 deals with the abuses of the gifts and spiritual phenomena in the church at Corinth. Beginning at 11:18, Paul addresses the issue of divisions among them. In Corinth, people were polarized along lines of personal allegiance (1 Cor. 1:12), along economic lines (1 Cor. 11:22), and apparently along lines of spiritual gifting.

In the twelfth chapter, the first eleven verses he heals with ignorance concerning spiritual gifts. Paul uses the “body metaphor” to explain the exquisite interaction of the spiritual gifts. He talks about the eye, the ear, the nose, and the foot, and how we all need each other as a body. When we gather, there ought to be a functioning together for the edification and benefit of all. He hammers the theme of respecting, honoring, blessing, deferring, loving, edifying, and building up one another. We use our spiritual gifts to edify and build up the whole church, not to lift up ourselves.

Using that criteria alone, the overall effect of this visitation has been overwhelmingly positive. There was some excessive enthusiasm going on at Corinth, and we see it from time to time in contemporary settings. But we can deal with it in a positive way that will encourage the ongoing dynamic of God’s visitation among us. I’ve seen people strengthened, and encouraged. I see a greater willingness for the saints to roll up their sleeves and work in various avenues of ministry. That reality however has to be weighed against the various and sundry instances of emotional excess.