Monday, December 20, 2004

Spiritual Gift Misdiagnosis Ruins Life
AKRON, Ohio - Chad Banker recently found out that his entire life has been a sham. Banker, who grew up believing his spiritual gift to be Giver, recently learned that he had been misdiagnosed.

After attending his first Advanced Seminar the year he turned thirteen, Chad sought counsel from his pastor, Rev. Spillman of Fifth Third Baptist, regarding what his spiritual gift might be. "Everyone in my family had an opinion, but I felt that I should seek counsel from my spiritual leader to discern which gift I had been given." As all ATIers know, one's spiritual gift is very important for choosing an accountability partner, picking teams for Volleyball, making friends, and influencing people.

Rev. Spillman informed Chad that he received a Rhema from God regarding Chad's spiritual gift. "He was convinced that I am a giver. He told me that I should be a giver, not a taker. I completely trusted his decision." Chad spent the past ten years giving his time, money, and old clothes to all the deserving IBLP charities. He extended himself to the point where his piggy bank was completely emaciated and he was indentured to various ministries for the next 32 years of his life.

Chad's world came crashing down when, last week, he found out that it had all been a mistake. Chad's father had been increasingly burdened about his son, and after fasting and praying for an unspecified period of time, he received a word from the Lord which said that Chad's true spiritual gift is Prophet.

Chad received the news with gratitude, but is left with a sense of sadness over all the time he spent fulfilling the wrong spiritual gift. "I mean, I spent all this time giving and giving and giving, when I really should have been discerning right from wrong, and passing judgment on people."

To add insult to injury, the father of the young lady Chad has been courting for the past three years has expressed concern about the change in Chad's spiritual gift. "I am concerned. Chad and Heather had complementary spiritual gifts, but now that Chad is a prophet, it throws their entire relationship out of whack. We need to seek counsel from our family coordinator to determine whether the two of them can ever minister together, and how this change may affect the genetic imprint of their future children."

In a related story, Big Boi from the Grammy-winning band Outkast was disappointed to learn that he has no spiritual gift. Last month, Big Boi called the Institute Headquarters to purchase some literature on discerning spiritual gifts. Big Boi, who is famous for such songs as "Hey Ya" and "Where Are My Panties" was informed by a fifteen-year-old female phone operator that it is impossible for him to have a spiritual gift since no one who profits from the moral destruction of America is allowed salvation.

Despite the refusal, Big Boi ended the call politely, telling the young lady, "Stank you very much." Big Boi's agent says he is considering making an appeal directly to Mr. Gothard.

-Submitted by a guest poster


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't bother trying to figure out what it is... After 20 years of trying to discover what my spiritual gift is I still haven't settled whether I'm a giver or a servant or an exhorter.

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spiritual gifts are SO emphasized in ATI. Too much emphasis, really. And God forbid if you have the gift of speaking in tongues. Straight to hell for you, buddy.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real problem, as everyone in Michigan knows, is that Fifth Third is a bank, not a church. That might explain the counsel. ;)

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was good, the comment about speaking in tongues. However, years ago, in the early seventies I think, IBYC (now IBLP) had a short mention of the gift of tongues within the Advanced Seminar material. It gave the impression that glossolalia was a valid or legit gift, even for today. Later, this was altered. .... I liked the descriptions about the gift of prophecy, that was good.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just in ATIA families, but in the broader (though very narrow-minded) very conservative, Christian circles that I see similar things.

I bought into certain ideals when I was very young. (Oh, why did I have to read Mary Pride at 15?) Married young, had lots of kids right away, idealized parenting and homeschooling. . .

And now I'm really struggling. I put so much stock into a certain "vision" of what my ideal Christian family would look like. I didn't spend the time really seeking out who God had created me to be, the gifts, strengths, weaknesses, directions--those things that were in line with how He created me.

So, in many ways I'm not stuck. Stuck with a great spouse (when objectively, we shouldn't have married.) Stuck with great kids (would have been wiser to space them out.) Stuck in a "traditional" husband/wife roles because of outside expections (though, we're modifying those as we go.)

In short, I'm realizing 10-15 years later that so many assumptions I had when I was younger and life decisions I made were really based on someone else's values--not really on the Bible or what I value.

So what do you do? Make the best of it, seek God's grace, and warn others to be very, very careful.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous VeganHunter said...

So often, parents are the ones who "ascertain" their children's spiritual gifts. What are the chances this will be free of the parents' own biases? A child's role in her or his family is often in large part determined by the parents' own needs, weaknesses and unresolved issues, before the child is even born.

My parents decided that I was a Server. What a perfect, gourd-given gift for the oldest of a large family, especially when that family is running a ministry and that child's appearance doesn't quite fit what the parents would like to display. (My unruly hair and eyebrows merited twice-weekly slots in my mother's prayer diary.)

Gift or no gift, I certainly served. And boy were my parents and siblings (#s2-6) surprised when I woke up one day and started expecting and demanding treatment as an equal human being. Unless I'm producing, providing, performing, forget it. This unhealthy role would have been in place anyway, but the "spiritual gift" designation was the perfect conduit to ensure the priority of my parents' own needs.

It's funny - I rarely think about The Gothard Years much any more. But visiting this site reminds me of old warps and wounds I haven't yet worked out. That's a good thing, but I can imagine readers (and my mother!) saying, just get over it already.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

My church is the Third Fifth Presbyterian, where the Spirits are poured out regularly. But then, I'm in the PCA (Poker, Cigars, and Alcohol) denomination.


9:53 AM  
Anonymous Nate S. said...

I think everyone would agree that the greatest spiritual gift (though not one of the technical ones) is LOVE.

When you get to heaven, you're not going to be given a "performance review" or get graded on how well you followed your gift.

But did you love?

You might think I sound like a hippie-but take a look at the two greatest commandments.

When I was young, I was graded to be a Prophet. This was used by my mother as a convenient explanation for my weak and strong points :D
When we take a healthy Biblical thing, and insist on compressing it into a box, labeling it, and perhaps creating an instruction manual or diagram for it, WE DENY/DISREGARD THE POWER OF THE WORD.

"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (II Tim 3:5)

"You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." (Mark 7:8)

All to often these healthy gifts become a religious caste system completely void of love (remember how love is supposed to be the focus in everything)

When I see a young person who is confused because something in his life didn't match up with what gift he was labeled as, or a kid who feels like a failure because he "let his gift down" I get really bummed at the 'system'!

VeganHunter, rockon dude! You got a taste of the real deal and you aint goin back! The life you exude is the most powerful gift you can have.

Besides who are we to try and determine our gift? If we are really in process, we must continually lose control, which then enables the Holy Spirit to work whatever gift is best. One that far exeeds any definition we can create.

By the way- I've taken the test several times and come out differently every time. It's really not our job to diagnose.

you guys are da bomb!

10:05 AM  

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