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Statement on the Sign Gifts


Dear Grace Family,

Another issue about which there have been questions in recent weeks is that of spiritual gifts.  In our ongoing efforts to eliminate confusion and communicate openly, the elders have prayerfully created a statement clarifying GBC’s position on this volatile issue.  Before getting to the statement itself, we’d like to clarify that 1.) With this statement, we are only delineating guidelines for belief and practice at GBC, not commenting on the nature or validity of any other organization’s positions or practices, and 2.) Most spiritual gifts — such as leadership, hospitality, and mercy — are not controversial at all.  This statement is not concerned with these, but rather with a subset of spiritual gifts known as the “sign gifts.”

For centuries, and especially within the last century, certain spiritual gifts (commonly known as the “sign gifts” and including speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing, words of knowledge and wisdom, and apostleship) have been highly controversial throughout Christendom due to the myriad of interpretations and practices within the Church.  Grace Bible Church believes that God is most glorified when believers set aside their personal views on this contentious, non-essential issue for the sake of unity within the body, and seek to minister side-by-side with those who may or may not agree with them in accordance with Paul’s teachings in Romans 14 on how the Church should deal with disputable matters.

Grace Bible Church believes that God can do the miraculous at any time and place and that all believers should pray for one another to be healed of spiritual, emotional, and physical infirmities.  However, we resolve that this church, whether in theory or practice, will not affirm one orthodox interpretation as superior to another, nor will it affirm that a particular view of the sign gifts is essential for salvation, Christian living, or church governance, except the following: while we believe that God may give individual believers guidance in various ways, we reject any teaching that implies that individuals can receive revelation from God that has the same authority as Scripture.  Furthermore, those who are in leadership at Grace Bible Church (elders, staff, deacons, lay small group leaders and teachers, etc.) agree not to publicly practice or promote the sign gifts while acting in that role.

It is our sincere desire that holding this position will enable the members at GBC to engage in open, honest, edifying, and respectful conversations about the spiritual gifts and so get to know and understand one another better.  In all things, we are to be motivated by God’s love and glory, and to act in a way that builds up the body of Christ.

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Pertinent Scripture passages include (but are not limited to): Romans 12:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:1-16; 1 Peter 4:7-11. For further study, see Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?: Four Views, edited by Wayne Grudem.