Aside from Acts and Paul’s letters, we know very little about early spiritual gifts. In Corinth it’s all about glossolalia. Outside of Corinth, we hear most about prophecy and healing miracles. The historical records of church history since that time offer even less information until the late 19th Century. Suddenly they seem to burst on the scene again. A whole new body of teaching arises from the birth of the Pentecostal movement in the US.
You can read a lot about the movement from different angles, ranging all the way from hostile to servile propaganda. I’ve done that myself; start with the name Charles Fox Parham. So far, nobody has examined it from the heart-led perspective. I can share what I’ve experienced directly from working among Charismatics.
Two things stand out. First, most of it is fake. Hang out with these folks and your heart will tell you. They are deeply pickled in the Western mythology about anything supernatural, and you can easily detect a lack of genuine commitment. It’s all about the thrills and protecting their franchise; it’s exceedingly partisan and they take themselves too seriously. Second, when you encounter the real deal, it includes an awful lot of stuff the fakers won’t touch, and it usually occurs outside the officially approved Charismatic umbrella.
That includes an awful lot of manifestations of the Holy Spirit that don’t fit neatly into the orthodox list of stuff. It’s as if Paul presents a closed list, when it’s nothing of the sort. Where would you place automatic writing, singing hymns you haven’t learned, or any number of other forms of output glorifying God that clearly doesn’t come from the intellect? Why can we not call them spiritual gifts? Why do we need a discrete list of approved manifestation attempting to bind God from His typical creativity?
And of course, the most disturbing part is the ubiquitous materialism that comes with the Prosperity Gospel. It’s the false doctrine of the Pharisees all over again, insisting that material wealth is the primary evidence of God’s favor. Who hasn’t faced the sickening implication that poverty indicates your faith is weak?
Finally, it’s all tightly related to the bogus “spiritual warfare” teaching that borders on Manichean heresy (the belief that the Devil is in some ways an equal combatant with Christ). “Gotta watch what you say, because words have power!” That’s another lie of the Pharisees, reflected most clearly in Kabbalistic mythology. The Devil is not bound by magic words and written symbols used in rituals. The Devil is bound by your personal desire for the Creator’s moral character.
How did Adam and Eve manage the Garden of God before the Fall? They used a whole range of heart-led interaction with the creatures, sometimes rather mundane with hands and a little sweat, and sometimes by the power of the Holy Spirit in miracles. For Cain, the curse was that the sweat of his brow was no longer a part of the wider experience of interactions, but it was all he had left. He no longer communed with the soil and what it produced; he was forced to use the intellect he chose against a heart-led dominion.
We need to recover the full range of heart-led interaction with Creation, because we were made to be a part of it. Miracles all take place under God’s Law, under His moral character, so why can’t we just endeavor to seize back that divine gift of the Spirit? No two of us will act just alike, but it’s utter folly to rank the gifts based on how entertaining they are. Keep the intellect off the throne; keep the heart ascendant. Let’s normalize the direct interaction with the Spirit Realm in every detail of how we live our lives.