The Gifts of the Church

 Atty. Adriel B. Gran

If Pastors and Evangelists today are “gifts” of the church, why do they differ in their preaching and teaching? Among the various church denominations and religious sects in the Christendom today, whose pastors really are the “gifts” of the church?

It is really hard to change from what man used to believe right, specially when he had already accepted and lived for it a long period of time. Thus, tradition flourished and anybody questioning the long-adhered “truth” should first suffer massive setbacks before he can ultimately gain the worth of change.
Even during the biblical times, truths had been clouded with traditions (Col. 2:8). The only traditions, which the apostle Paul wanted for believers to follow were his teachings (2 Thes. 2:15), so that he exhorted believers to withdraw from “…every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the traditions which ye received of us” (2 Thes. 3:6).


Believers, however, are not refrained from changing. In fact, change is essential in the study of dispensationalism.
Since God, from dispensation to dispensation deals with man in many various ways. We should not be contented with mere status quo. Rather, we should suit our doctrines in harmony with the kind of dispensation God is dealing with, for he told us to go on unto perfection, and to lay aside the “amended truths” in the Holy Scriptures (Heb. 6:1-2).
Still many of the Christians today cling to the elementary teachings of Christ because they are afraid to change. While most of them are “biblically correct”, they are not, most likely, dispensationally sound.


Let me point out one of the so-many traditions, which the church had accepted without considering the change, which God himself had initiated.
Undeniably, most Christians call their church worker “Pastor”, with the exceptions of the Roman Catholic’s “Priest” and the Iglesia Ni kristo or
Church of Christ’s “Minister”. The title seems, for most, a Godly-endowed gift that only authorizes them to bring glad tidings to the flock.
“Pastors” acted with much religious authority and called on their respective members to heed only to their biblical interpretations and dogmas.
Well, considering the so-many religious affiliations in the world today, from what denomination could we safely say that such “Pastor” is really the gift from God? And if so, then why these present “Pastors” taught differently from each other, not just in style but moreover in doctrines - even contradicting themselves.
It is indeed true that church leaders and workers differ in their teachings and doctrinal leanings. What do we think was the cause?


Having not known to most, the giving of “gifts” is an intra-dispensational issue. For instance, at the early part of the dispensation of grace, Paul practiced miraculous signs (Act. 19:11-16), water baptism (Act. 18:8; 1 Cor. 1:14-17), taught about ordinances (1 Cor. 11:2), and tongues (1 Cor. 12:10), but these do not mean that we would also do the same, although they were all taught in the same dispensation.
For a dispensationalist believer like us, we must know that God cares the Body of Christ like a husbandry (1 Cor. 3:9). For this reason, the church should undergo various processes and these differ from the very beginning until its culmination.
When the church was still young, he dealt with it like a babe (1 Cor. 3:1-4), but not when it is already mature (1 Cor. 13:11).
These are the very things that need to be studied well, or else, we will be adduced into believing the snare of traditions.


The dispensation of grace- in order to be understood clearly and profoundly must be delineated into three divisions akin to man’s childhood, adolescence and adulthood. This is very important since it shows how God acted on the church differently and in progression.
These divisions may just be taken for granted by some, due probably to spiritual complacency, but without understanding them may caused us to serious blunder into the reception of truths, which were in fact had already been amended by God.


The first portion of this age of grace covers Paul’s pre-prison epistles. It is the time called by most, “the transition period”. Here, we could hear of terms such as miraculous gifts, sign gifts, or spiritual gifts all actively participated in and practiced by early members of the Body of Christ.
God, during this time, bestowed the church with “gifted men” for its edification. These gifts were “manifested to every man…severally as he will…according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (1 Cor. 12:7, 11; Rom. 12:3).
Among others, these gifts include: word of wisdom; word of knowledge (v.8); faith; healing (v. 9); miracles; prophecy; discerning of spirits; tongues (v. 10); ministry; teaching; exhorting and giving (Rom. 12:7). What is noteworthy here is that God, during this period, GAVE “gifted men” to the church in association with the “ministry gifts”. “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, AFTER THAT miracles, then gifts of healing, helps government, diversities of tongues” (1 Cor. 12:27-28).
After God GAVE the apostles, prophets and teachers as “ministry gifts”, he also gave “sign gifts”, “miraculous gifts” and other “spiritual gifts” to the church. They were given in tandem with each other for the edification of the YOUNG Body of Christ.
Since at this time, the church was still babe, signs and miracles were required, more so with the Jews (1 Cor. 1:22). SO that when Paul started his ministry, he also had to show signs and miracles to the people to prove that he was no fake. “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds” (2 Cor. 12:12).
No wonder, Paul during the transition period spoke with tongues, casted out demons, resurrected dead corpse, and healed the sick, among others. But if these “gifts” were present with the “ministry gifts” before, why were they not also present at this point in time? It simple means that there were amendments to God’s dealing with a young church. What he did before may not be true today.


Another portion of the dispensation of grace covers the period when Paul wrote his prison epistles. Here God considered the church as mature, but it still needs the assistance of “the gifts” for its edification because the Holy Scriptures at this time is not yet complete. “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and GAVE GIFTS unto men… And HE GAVE some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers…”
These men are not “GIFTED” like what God has endowed during the transition period, because they themselves are “the gifts” for the three-fold purpose of: 1.) perfecting the saints; 2.) work of the ministry; and 3.) edifying of the body of Christ.
Unlike the former portion of the same dispensation of grace, gifts are no longer afforded to all men severally as he wishes. What was given instead was “…grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (v.7).
Because it was traditionally believed and accepted, most in the Christendom today failed to note that God’s giving of men as “gift” to the church was only “…TILL we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the son of God, unto a perfect man unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:12). The giving of “gifts” to the church has limitations according to the scriptures itself.
Now, have we already attained to that “unity of the faith”? And, do we have all the grasp of knowing the son of God?
“THE FAITH” in the Holy Scriptures has a definite connotation. It does not mean UNITY OF ALL BELIEFS in the entire world, but the coming together into the reception of the pure grace teaching, THE BODY OF TRUTHS, or the SET OF DOCTRINES as taught by the apostle Paul.
This he meant when he said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept THE FAITH” (2 Tim. 4:7)
Paul did not think of keeping his belief to Christ for the latter is the author and finisher of it (Heb. 12:2). However, he meant that he had already attained and KEPT all the teachings of Christ for the equipping of the saints in this present dispensation of grace.
Same usage was also made during the Acts period (Act. 16:5), so with Paul’s letter to the Colossians (Col. 1:23).
Now let us go back to the question, have we already come to the unity of the faith? Or, to be simplified, do we already have a unified set of doctrines today? The answer would be “YES”, because Paul had already received and made available for us all his teachings in the Holy Scriptures (Col. 1:25).


From then on is the third and final portion, the ultimate portion of the dispensation of grace. Paul then was asked to fulfill (Gk. Plerosai- fills up to completion) the word of God. Thus, the unity of the faith HAD ALREADY BEEN ATTAINED since we now have the completed, preserved and perfected word of God, unless we still believe that God is still revealing messages today.
That means, the giving by God of these “gifted men” were only up to the completion of the Holy Scriptures, for by it we could “come to the full knowledge of the son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13).


They said that one of the purposes of the giving of gifts is for the perfecting of the saints (v. 12). So, since we are not yet “perfect” as they say, that said “gifts” are still present today, until we become all perfect.
The argument really does not hold water. The bible did not say, until we are made perfect, but the “gifts” are FOR the “perfecting of the saints”. The word “perfecting” (a gerund) connotes a process. The question would then be, how would God perfect his saints today? By the “gifts”, or by other means?
Now the bible is already complete. It is the means by which God used today to perfect his saints (2 Tim. 3:16). The Word of God will establish (Rom. 16:25) and work IN the lives of the believers (1 Thes. 2:13) whoever delivers it, be it a church leader or a mere church member.


In Eph. 4:11, Christ GAVE the “gifts” to the church. How? By personally ordaining them to become apostles, prophets, evangelists, and teaching pastors.
There is no hint in the Holy Scriptures that Christ gave the authority or power to ordain “gifts” to the church or to any religious organization. No verse ever supports that notion. The fact is, he himself has the sole power to ordain “gifts” and such was not given to anybody.
God, however, through Paul told the church to ordain church leaders, not to become “pastors” or “evangelists”, but to become “bishops” or “elders” in the local church (Tit. 1:5).
The problem is that the mission, organization or church leadership today ordained persons to become “pastors” and “evangelists”. They, however, refrained from ordaining somebody to become apostles or prophets, but they still violated a clear and direct teaching of the bible considering that they were only told to ordain faithful men to become a “bishop” or an “elder”. Is it not that many are performing some religious acts, which God did not ask? Or, are they not doing that which God ask them to do instead?
In fact, the qualifications of the persons set by God for the church to ordain are not the qualifications of the pastors or evangelists, but rather the qualifications for the bishops and deacons. (1 Tim. 3: 1-9; Tit. 1:7-9).
Another point, the bible says, “He (Christ) GAVE gifts…” It did not say, “He is GIVING or WILL STILL GIVE gifts today”. The giving of gifts was already done after Christ “…ascended far above heavens” (Eph. 4:10).
This left us to the conclusion that the so-called “pastors and “evangelists” at present are only titles endowed upon by the religious organizations after a self-imposed process of selection and ordination. That is why, these men do not have the same teachings although they came from the same denomination.
Let us, therefore, study the Holy Scriptures more profoundly, so that our ministry will be approved of God, and that we will not later be found embarrassed before Him in glory (2 Tim. 2:15).

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KJV 1611




"To the pastors and deacons and all the Christians in the city of Philippi."  Phil 1:1b


"To all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons" Phil 1:1b




"For a pastor must be a good man whose life cannot be spoken against."  1 Tim 3:2a


"A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach" 1 Tim 3:2




"The pastor must not be a new Christian, because he might be proud of being chosen so soon, and pride comes before a fall"  1 Tim 3:6


"Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil." 1 Tim 3:6




"Pastors who do their work well should be paid well and should be highly appreciated, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching." 1 Tim 5:17


Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 1 Tim 5:17




"Don't listen to complaints against the pastor unless there are two or three witnesses to accuse him." 1 Tim 5:19 


Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 1 Tim 5:19




"Remember that some men, even pastors, lead sinful lives and everyone knows it." 1 Tim 5:24a 


Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.




"In the same way, everyone knows how much good some pastors do, but sometimes their good deeds aren't known until long afterward." 1 Tim 5:25


Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid. 1 Tim 5:25




"I left you there on the island of Crete so that you could do whatever was needed to help strengthen each of its churches, and I asked you to appoint pastors in every city who would follow the instructions I gave you."  Titus 1:5


"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee" Titus 1:5




"These pastors must be men of blameless lives because they are God's ministers."  Titus 1:7a


"For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre" Titus 1:7


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