Beware of Spiritual Gifts
Many of you know I believe one way to address the rapid decline in church attendance is the camping experience founded by Glenn Clark in 1930s. Here is a 1954 talk where he makes some very hard-nosed assertions about what drags churches down and dissipates the commitment of their members.
In a nutshell, he asserts that we need to focus on fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control—and we need to let go of gifts of the spirit, which include not only administration, prophecy and speaking in tongues, but also include Ouija boards, fund raising and even healing.
Although he’s gentle and conciliatory in his delivery, there is something in there to offend just about everyone who leads or attends a church. He’s not saying these things don’t belong in a church, but he does say they are a mixed blessing that may need to be let go. And he also says they have no place in his camps.
I’m providing a transcript here with audio clips because I think he has an important message for anyone who wants to revitalize a church. We may disagree about what gifts to raise up and what gifts to let go, but my sense is that all of us will find inspiration in focusing on the fruits.
Sunday, September 10, 2023
Listen and Read
Next to God the Father and God the Son is the most important subject and perhaps the least known in the whole realm of theology. I want to speak on the Holy Spirit: God’s Greatest Gift to man. I want it to be so smooth and accurate that I may refer to my notes more than I usually do.
For 30 years I’ve lived with the Holy Spirit. Everything worthwhile that I have done has been done through the Holy Spirit. The time has come when I should tell to others some of the truths that I’ve learned through this greatest gift that God has given to me.
02 Glenn’s 1st discovery about the Holy Spirit
When I was in college, I told my pals that I had an inordinate thirst for four types of immortality. When they asked me what they were, I replied that the first kind was literary immortality to writing a book that would live as long as Brother Lawrence’s Practicing the Presence of God or Henry Drummond’s The Greatest Thing in the World.
The second form of immortality I long for was like the longing of Abraham and the other patriarchs that I should have children and grandchildren whose descendants would give me physical immortality through all times.
The third longing was for what might be called impersonal immortality, living through the unconscious and unseen influence I might have upon the hearts and souls of the students I should teach.
And finally, the fourth kind I long for was personal immortality to live through all eternity in bliss with Christ.
But every one of these wishes failed to materialize until the Holy Spirit put his touch upon me. Even my children could not come until I’d been married seven years and until I turned to the Holy Spirit. One evening at supper, the whole room was bathed with a vast celestial light and I said to my wife, “Now I know that children will come.”
So the first lesson I learned was that if anyone is seeking that which is immortal or eternal or has any element of permanence in it, he must turn to the Holy Spirit. My grandfather established a general store but it failed. My father was president of an insurance company that doesn’t exist anymore. They were both men of exceptional business ability and devoted their entire lives to business.
I, on the other hand, with no interest in business, but filled with the Holy Spirit, started a publishing company that may go on forever. I started Camps Farthest Out, which are spreading over the world. I wrote books which will live long after I am gone. They were all born of the Holy Spirit and seem to verify the truth that whenever the Holy Spirit starts anything, it has the touch of eternity upon it. Five hundred years from now, all these things may still be going on.
03 Glenn’s 2nd discovery about the Holy Spirit
Having made this startling discovery that everything the Holy Spirit touches becomes eternal, the second amazing discovery I made was that the only way the Holy Spirit could be given was through death and the only way it can be received is also through death.
This sounds like a rather rugged paradox and it is the most amazing of all of Jesus’ paradoxes, his most repeated statement phrased and rephrased in many different ways from precept to parable was, “He that loses his life shall save it.”
For centuries, the world had been waiting the fulfillment of the promise of the prophet Joel, “And it shall come to pass afterwards that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. And your sons and daughters shall prophesy. Your old man shall dream dreams. And your young man shall see vision.” But no one could meet the conditions necessary to bring the prophecy into fulfillment till Jesus came, and not in its fullness, strange to say, till Jesus died. “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth,” he said, “it is expedient for you that I go away for if I go not away, The Comforter will not come unto you, but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” John 16:7.
Little did the disciples realize that the hidden power greater far than the atomic energy being released today wrapped up in the gift of the Holy Spirit was to find its most powerful manifestation when Jesus left this earth. Only through Jesus’ passing was the gift of the Holy Spirit made possible to men.
How are we to receive the Holy Spirit? By going through the same process in a symbolical way that Jesus went through in an actual way, dying to the little self-centered self and being born again to the God-centered self. A man who went through this marvelous experience described it perfectly in the following words, “I am crucified in Christ. I live, yet not I, but the Christ in me.” Thus, we see that only after Jesus stepped out of his mortal body was the Holy Spirit released for us. And as a corollary that follows this, only as we step out of our little self-centered selves through repentance and obedience in utter surrender to Jesus are we ready to receive the Holy Spirit.
04 Fruits and gifts of the Spirit
How do we know when the Holy Spirit comes? What kind of shivers do we have down our spine? How many lights do we see? What voices do we hear? You don’t need to hear voices or get any shivers or see any lights. In answer to this question, how will we know when we receive the Holy Spirit, Jesus has only one answer, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
And what are the fruits of the Holy Spirit? The fruits to the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, temperance, humility and faith. If you find that you have no faith and no gentleness, no humility, no love, no joy, no peace, that’s a pretty good sign that you have not really got the Holy Spirit. But if you have those qualities, all nine of them, you have met the best test of having the Holy Spirit.
And what are the gifts? I just told you about the fruits, what are the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Are they different from the fruits of the Spirit? Yes, says Paul. The fruits of the Spirit are those precious qualities of the soul that lifts us up into the very heart of God. By their presence, we know that we abide in him and he abides in us. The gifts of the Spirit on the other hand, according to Paul, are the means, the tools by which we can bring the precious fruits down to our fellow men when we use them rightly.
“These gifts,” he says in Romans 12:6 to 8, “differ according to the grace that is given to us. Let us use them. If prophecy, in proportion to our faith. If service, in our serving. He who teaches, in his teaching. He who exhorts, in his excitation. He who contributes, in liberality. He who gives aid, with zeal. He who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
05 Gifts in relation to the fruits
If you have met the test of utter surrender to God and have the evidence of the fruits of the Spirit, all of them blended together in perfect harmony, then, and not till then, have you the right to ask for some of the specialized gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts have been very clearly classified and graded by St. Paul. The list he gave us in the letter to the Romans may be called his official list for the letter to the Romans is accepted by theologians as his official statement of doctrine for all times.
The list he gave in the letter to the Corinthians is the only place where he grades and ranks them, evidently, wishing to show what he considered the most important and which he considered the least important. In the Corinthian list, you’ll notice that at the head, he places apostleship, at the bottom, talking in tongues. In the Romans, his official list, he does not mention tongues at all. Now I’m ready for you to bring up the background and I’m going to illustrate this for those that can see. It’ll have to be turned around.
Speaker 2: [inaudible 00:09:39].
Glenn Clark: Yes. And then, one of the men can turn it around a little bit occasionally. Hand it to me first, please. You’ll notice that the... Yes, they’re out of the periphery. Just hold it there, please.
Speaker 2: [Inaudible 00:09:55].
Glenn Clark: We’ll turn it around.
... apostles and prophets, teachers, miracle workers, healers, administrators, helpers and tongues, that’s on the outside. Turn it around so they can see it around there.
On the inside circle... You do the holding by yourself, please. ... you’ll find the fruits, love at the very center and the rest you’ll find are peace, joy. You can turn around so they can all see on that side too. You’ll find joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, self-control, humility, and faith partway up. Now those are the inner, but love right at the center.
06 The gifts are not essential
Since it’s necessary to possess all the fruits of the Holy Spirit before one can be absolutely sure that he has the Holy Spirit is it also necessary to possess all the gifts before the Holy Spirit is yours? No, by no means. Paul makes it quite evident that it is not necessary for one person to have all the gifts. Indeed, he makes it quite clear that there are actual advantages for the spreading of the kingdom if all the persons are not equally endowed with all the gifts as this gives opportunity for cooperation and mutual aid, indeed, creates the symphony by which the blessed community can come into being.
And you can note how clearly and beautifully he describes this, “For just as the body is one and has many members and all the members of the body, though many, are one, so it is with Christ. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them as he chose. If all were a single organ, where would the body be? Now, you are the body of Christ, and individually, members of it.”
After I become filled with the fruits of the Spirit, God began to offer me all the gifts one after the other. Now I want to make this very clear, when you get out on the periphery, you’re likely to run off on a tangent, when you keep down at the center, you’re safe. And I wanted to make this very clear because there’s some people that feel unless you have some special gift like prophecy, you don’t have the Holy Spirit, or if you can’t heal people like Agnes Sanford, you don’t have the Holy Spirit.
I have found some of the most marvelous spiritual folks I know that there’s no particular gifts in healing, they just win souls. And I have found people who have the gifts of prophecy, very psychic, that not, especially, know how to love. And if one thinks that if you don’t talk in tongues, you don’t have the Holy Spirit, you’re equally mistaken.
I haven’t really heard of any of the great saints who could talk in tongues, St. Francis, Dr. George Washington Carver, Tagawa, Dr. Rufus Jones, Louise Eggleston, Starr Daily, Frank Laubach. I can only think of two very tremendously spiritual folks I know of that can talk to tongues, that is leaders that I know of, but that’s a wonderful gift, healing’s a wonderful gift. So one reason I wanted to make this very clear is that don’t let us get tangled up in the gifts. Let us all unite. As Paul said, “Let us seek not the lower gifts,” as he said, “let us seek the higher gifts.”
07 Glenn receives the gift of administration
I want to talk to you, however, from practical experience and from the scriptures. I’m not going to say anything that hasn’t been backed by Paul and by Jesus. And by my own experience. After I’d become filled of the fruits of the Spirit, God began to offer me these gifts. But looking at Christ, rather than Paul, I used only the two recommended by him, at first, apostleship, and healing. Jesus said to his disciples, “Go forth and preach the gospel and heal the sick.” He didn’t say go out and be prophets and foretell the future or any of these other gifts, he only recommended those two, so I stuck to those two.
But after a while, the gift of administration was offered to me in the form of the deanship of Macalester College. For two years, I declined this appointment, but finally accepted. I soon discovered that I’d inherited some of the administrative ability of my father who had been president of an insurance company. For three years, I enjoyed this gift that had been given to me until I began to discover that the more time I gave to organizing and directing the affairs of this world, the less effective I became in receiving and directing the powers of the heavenly world. I finally resigned from the deanship and then my creative life began.
I have a very high regard for Stanley Jones. He was elected bishop at the national meeting of the Methodists one year. He went home and spent his night in prayer, and when he came the next morning, he resigned. I think that is the greatest thing that he could have done. We need administrators, but if you have the higher gifts, don’t get puffed up over the lower gifts. I have found the presidency of things are not the greatest. It just comes looming into my memory now, an experience that I never thought much of. I think I’ll try to bring it out ad lib here in a few minutes if I feel so led when I come to another gift of mine.
08 Glenn receives the gift of prophecy
The next gift God offered me was the gift of prophecy. After the prophecy of the Japanese earthquake had come through, I became so awed and thrilled over the possession of this gift that for two years I played with this gift of prophecy as a child with a new toy. Indeed, I kept it up until I discovered, in trying to see the events of the future, I was actually slowing up the coming events that were already on the way. Those years were the least creative of my life. Having made that discovery, I ceased playing with the future and started creating the future. But at last, it dawned on me that the gift of administration and the gift of prophecy were both out on the periphery instead of at the center and if I let myself become too absorbed by them, I might go off on a tangent.
I want to tell you how folks came to me when I had this gift of prophecy. I’ll admit, once it saved my life. I was putting my automobile away in a neighbor’s garage. Attached to a strong post and with a very strong chain was their bulldog, the most dangerous creature in the whole state of Minnesota. It almost killed a man it reached once. I would go outside this garage and shut their little private door and put the padlock on which I had the key, and I was just about ready to do that when it came to me just like a flash out of the sky that that dog that was leaping the full length of the chain and he’d come to within three feet of me but no farther, it came to me like a flash that in one second that dog would break this chain.
Now that wasn’t mental telepathy because I can’t talk on the same mind as the dog, much more, the dog didn’t know it, so he couldn’t have sent a vibration to me. I didn’t know it. It goes to prove there is a higher power. It makes you realize that prophecy is a wonderful thing and might be a wonderful thing to play with. And if used rightly, if it comes spontaneously like that, it’s all right. I took off the padlock, stepped inside and pulled the door to, and just as I did so, the chain broke. The dog’s full weight came against that door with a crash. Fortunately, I was shut inward and not outward and I pulled it shut and locked it. I heard the chain rattling around that garage for several minutes, then after a while, I could hear it rattling off down the driveway, vanished in the distance. And I opened the door and with a rake in my hand to protect me, I hurried across to my home.
When the family arrived late that night, it was midnight when they arrived, and found the dog was loose, the door had been left wide open, my car was in the garage. They went in and looked everywhere for the last bones that they hoped they could find for the funeral that would be held next week. So I can say that if God sends these, it’s all right, the gifts have value.
A boy came to me and said, “Who’s going to be the next President of the United States?” Several boys. And I just listened for a moment and I heard, coming out of the ethers, a name rolling up, a name I never thought of, I didn’t even had a name, I thought I was talking in tongues. Finally, just took form in my throat and, “Borah.” Oh my goodness, what? That isn’t any name, that’s just... They said, “Well, is it Senator Borah? Sure there’s a senator, Borah.” I said, “I wonder if that could be him.” Coolidge is elected.
A friend of mine, great religious leader, later on after he’d been president for three years, took breakfast with Coolidge and he asked him his opinion. Coolidge is a splendid man. Can you hear me out there all right? Yeah? But he’s just a plain run-of-the-mill American, yet lifted our whole faith in democracy. We realized that you could pick out any man, grocer or butcher anywhere and put him in the presidency and he would rise to meet the dimensions necessary. But nevertheless, Calvin Coolidge is just a plain, common, ordinary man. And it’s a common saying all over Washington, “If you want anything done, if you want to get anything through, see Borah, he’s the real director and the power in Washington.”
Now you go back through history and who was the presidents? Can you list them before the Civil War? Do you know who the great names were? Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun. Up in heaven, they don’t pay any attention to titles. And what they were asking me was who’s to be the real power, and the real prophecy came through. Just push that aside, it doesn’t matter who’s the president, it depends who’s the power. I learned some things there that these out on the periphery, those are not so important. Administration has something, prophecy has its place, but when you go off on a tangent on any one of these things, you are slowing up God’s word.
09 Glenn resists the gift of ancient tonques
Having made that discovery, I ceased playing with the future and started creating the future. But at last, it dawned on me that the gift of administration and the gift of prophecy were both out on the periphery instead of at the center. And if I let myself become too absorbed by them, I might go off on a tangent. It is after I subordinated these lower gifts to the higher gifts, yes, after I ceased looking at the gifts at all and gave all my attention to living with the fruits, especially the fruits of love, faith, humility, and self-control, that all the permanent things in my life began, then it was that the Camps Farthest Out were born, Clear Horizons was born, the Prayer Tower was born and an entirely new hope for the church in America and the world began to be born.
Next, God offered me the gift of tongues. As with the gift of prophecy, it came from within, not from without. It came with a precious inner thrill that might come with the birth of a baby. When the gift of prophecy had come to me in the winter of 1923, I felt pregnant with a great idea. I parted my lips and I heard them say, “Japan as a military power will be destroyed by an earthquake within the next six months.” I’ll never forget this amazement which I heard myself say it. The captain of the football team who had asked the question, and our long-distance runner, Claude Hines, Wesley Domes, they turned on their heels and went out, and I turned on my heel and went out, and I said, “Why did I say that?”
But five months after that, when that great earthquake came, which destroyed all the ship building factories of Japan and their munition plants and reduced them in one night from a first class fighting nation to a third class, they came to me, they said, “We’ve got it down in our books if you ever want to prove that you were a prophet.” Well, as I say, it quite thrilled me. As a thrilling experience, I wanted to bask in it. I wanted to give all my time to that gift, but if I had, the Camps would never have been born.
The gift of tongues was announced in the same way the gift of prophecy had been, I felt pregnant with a vast, heavenly idea too big for any language of this world to express. I even parted my lips to let the idea flow through in Greek, in Hebrew, in Sanskrit, or in any other language spoken by unknown people before history began. Then I remembered the words the Paul, “I would rather speak five words with my mind than 10,000 in tongues.”
Then I looked straight into the face of Jesus, a face that had looked with compassion upon the multitude and I was suddenly lifted from the level of the gifts to the level of the fruits. I let love greater than I ever experienced before possess me. I said, “Jesus, if this idea that I’m pregnant with is such a valuable idea and would bring blessings to mankind, please let it come forth in tongues that people of today can understand.” For again, I remembered the words of Paul, “He who speaketh in tongues, edifieth himself, but he that speaketh with the mind, edifieth the church.”
I finally ended up using about the same phrase that Rufus Moseley used when he was confronted with a similar situation, I said, “Jesus, if the only way you can bring this thing forth is in ancient tongues, I’m willing, but if you can send it without the tongues, I would much prefer it.”
10 Glenn receives the gift of new tonques
And Jesus answered my plea. The great idea I was pregnant with did come into birth, not in ancient tongues, but in new tongues. The only phrase Jesus ever used in mention of tongues, he only mentioned it once and he said new tongues. It came in the English language, but not in my language, it came in tongues as new and foreign to mine as the tongues of Brother Lawrence and St. Francis and Ralph Waldo Emerson. In this way, The Soul’s Sincere Desire was born.
I received a letter from South Carolina, “Our little boy was born blind. The doctor says he will never see. My husband and I are hugging this book that came through,” and it’s new tongue for me. “And we’re praying, and will you join us?” Three months later I got a letter saying, “And our boy can see, the doctors can’t understand it. But the biggest miracle is what happened to my husband and me, we found a new way of life.”
Every year, they bring out a new edition of that. 29 years have gone by, its 29th edition. On the 25th anniversary, it came out in a silver jacket. I was in Greenville, South Carolina, and on the front row, sat a farmer and his wife and between them, a young man of 25. I knew he was a man, he was just the age of my book. I went down afterwards, and they came up and said, “We’ve got your letter framed in our house. Our boy can see, but you look at his eyes, the doctors even can’t see how he can see through them, but he is graduated from college, he rides a bicycle through crowded traffic.” Folks, if I had talked in tongues, instead of written it into a book, that boy would’ve been blind.
I got a letter from the South Pole, Larry Gould, second-in-command, who accomplished more than all the others combined that ever went on Byrd’s expeditions, according to Admiral Byrd. He wrote, “Twice the Byrd’s party’s life has been saved because I carried your book flashed to my dog sledge. I always use it before I find my sleeping bag to get in tune with God. And one night, it came through like a revelation, “Tell those boys to get off a ledge of ice and move a hundred yards away.” How they did grumble as they got out of their sleeping bags, but the next morning, there was a chasm down to the very center of the earth where all 60 of us would’ve been. When I come back, I’m going to bring this book with a stamp of Little America upon it and I’ll find where you live.” In care of the Atlantic Monthly. “But I won’t give it to you until you’ve given me one with your autograph upon it.”
And he wrote the most marvelous testimony of how God works in the time of need, and then, of danger. I say his life was saved because the Holy Spirit wrote that book through me and not in an ancient tongue.
11 Problem of looking to the gifts instead of the fruits
The tremendous power that can be released when one takes his eyes from the gifts and places them upon the fruits are so great and the slowing up of those powers can be so devastating when one reverses the pattern that I felt that everyone who has experienced the gift of the Holy Spirit should be informed of that fact. A number of projects that I have been asked to sponsor have either failed or been seriously slowed up because those promoting them have looked to the gifts rather than to the fruits. And instead of abiding in the center with love, joy, peace and humility, they have played out the circumference with the game of administration, the game of prophecy, or the game of tongues.
This giving precedence to these outer signs and wonders over the inner powers reminds me of Mark Twain and his steamboat. When he reached the city, he would blow the whistle to let the people know he was there. But his steamboat was equipped with an immense whistle and a very small engine, every time he blew the whistle, he used up so much steam, he had to wait three hours before there was power enough to go on.
The projects that I’ve been associated with that had been unduly hindered, have all been promoted by the nicest, loveliest Christian people, and I can find no flaw in any of them, and many people wonder why their projects didn’t develop faster. Their only fault is that they are doing what I found myself doing when I became unduly infatuated or involved in the game of administration and the game of prophecy. They’re out on the periphery when they should be at the center.
Please note carefully that I confess my error in playing with the gifts too long and bear witness that I am not confessing anyone’s faults in this booklet but my own. I’m telling you where I played on the periphery too long, but I can tell you of folks who have given far greater addresses than Rebecca Beard, but they talked in tongues. She’s brought out some books that’ll never die.
I took notes on some lectures one night under the Camp Farthest Out, one of them had 10 quotable lines for every one quotable line I had that Frank Laubach had, that wonderful literary one who could have written 20 books, he’s hardly written any, written just a few. I’m not condemning anyone, but I’m just saying that where if ever you let the power roll off like you do in the waterfall where everybody can see it, instead of letting it turn the turbines out of sight, you’re really getting evidence that God is, you really know that he is there, but you’re using up that precious power you might be using in other ways.
If this confession of my mistakes can bring warning to others who are in danger of spending too much time on the periphery, and especially those who are in danger of flying off on tangents, I shall indeed feel that my efforts have been well repaid. That chart, as I’ve had drawn, you might like to come up and see it because it’s so compact and you may find that you have some of those gifts and use them for the glory of the Lord, but don’t let them carry you off on a tangent. Don’t let them make you so intolerant of others that you say, “If you don’t have my special gift, you don’t have this.”
There is one book on tongues that have been recommended to me by my friends who fought me to talk in tongues, and I was very glad to read it, but in that book it says, “If you can’t talk in tongues, you can’t really communicate with God. If you don’t have this experience and if you raise the question, even ask the question, what’s the value of talking in tongues? you’re committing blasphemy and your quislings and traitors,” and so on. And I could see all that applied to Frank Laubach and Starr Daily and all that. So I said, “If any of our folks read that book and use that as a basis, I’d say they’re off on a tangent.”
12 Why CFO focuses on the fruits and not the gifts
But when you get sweet folks who use tongues, and you have that gift, I’d say, “I congratulate you.” But the Camp Farthest Out, we meet here only a week, we don’t have time to half-learn how to pray. We have to take that whole week to awaken our faith and our love and get that harmony and if we get a little group out there working with Ouija boards and prophecy, oh, where would we be?
That swept our college once until the girls didn’t come to the meals, we’d be sitting in the dining room, I’d hear up above, I’d hear... They would ask this and if the table went up and bounced twice it’d be yes, once, it’d be no. You try that, you’ll find how it works. What came out of all that? Nothing, they even missed their meals. [inaudible 00:34:12].
So I’m saying don’t play with prophecy. I’m the one who have had some prophecies and I’m going to tell occasionally how they come rolling through when they come rolling through. But when you sit down in a group and say, now let’s try to force it hothouse, if tongues come through out on the prairie and just something comes through, all right, then interpret them, but don’t pull a group aside and take the time that we should be doing other things.
Don’t take too much time in administration. I just took, there’s a vast thing that’s cost us $300,000. Camp Farthest Out has paid for it, it is Koinonia. It slowed up, slowed up. They’ve been wasting their time with administration, administration. I went up there, I said, “Until this thing is completely changed, I’m through. Get back to the center.” All the trustees who didn’t agree with me resigned, the others elected me president of it. For the first time in history, we’ve forgot the door, window completely open for God to take charge. And if the Lord wants to make Koinonia succeed, there’s nothing to prevent it.
But I feel like Moses gone out here. There’s the Red Sea. Weren’t there enough graves for us back there in Egypt? Why are you bringing us out here on the desert, putting me way out here sticking my neck out? “However cost that indebtedness, you just go ahead,” the Lord said. “And when you get there and get the soles of your shoes wet, you’re going to see something happen.” Even while we were down there, $700 came in, then later, $5,000 came in just so we got the air cleared.
Well, I don’t know if we can raise a hundred thousand, but I’m here to say I have a project that’s much bigger than Koinonia. And when I present it later on in this camp, it’s going to catch your imagination, it’s going to be right at the center. It’s already caught God’s imagination and he put it into mind. There’s no limit to what you can do when you get down at the center, but there’s a lot of waste you can do out there.
Now, I’m living on borrowed time. I’m over 70. From now on, my time is God’s, my money that comes rolling in, I can’t afford to pour out any money for Koinonia, or anything else, or my time anywhere if it isn’t a hundred percent at the center. If folks want to play in the periphery, all right, I don’t object, just so they don’t pull me in to waste my time.
13 Glenn’s 3rd discovery about the Holy Spirit
My first discovery about the Holy Spirit was that he is eternal and everything he touches becomes eternal. My second discovery was that only through death could he be given and only through death could he be received. That is to say death to the lower self and rebirth to the higher. And now, my third big discovery, which came as a natural sequence to the other was that there are different levels upon which the Holy Spirit manifests and those who are most creative always subordinates the lower levels to the higher levels.
Fortunately for us, these levels have been very clearly marked off and defined in the scriptures. So when we accept the scriptures as our guide, our lives should become very creative. The higher level is where the fruits of the Spirit are found, the lower level is where the gifts are given. If a man is filled with fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, faith, humility, and self-control, he can know for sure that he is filled with the Holy Spirit even though he may seem to possess no learning or knowledge and no gifts of prophecy or healing or tongues, whatever.
It’ll help us to remember that the fruits are at the center of a spiritual, creative life, and the gifts, in the periphery. If you look at that diagram, after Paul names the fruits of the Spirit, which are listed in the inner circle, he adds, “Against these, there is no law.” In other words, against these, there are no restrictions, no limits. You may use these fruits to the full, exercise them to any extreme. It is impossible to have too much gentleness, too much peace, too much love, too much joy, too much humility, too much temperance, that is because these are heavenly capacities, they’re dwelling place is in the heart of God.
One can have too much pork chops, too much money to spend, too much ambition for his own good for all of these belong to the lower dimensions, and against these, there are manmade and God made laws. One can spend too much time playing with prophecy or with tongues or administrative details, against these, there’s also a limit.
The problem before the church is how to handle the gifts on the outer circle without letting them carry us off on tangents. Jesus commended only two of the gifts, to go forth and preach the Gospel, that’s apostles, and heal the sick, that’s the healers. And as this was recorded by several Gospel writers, we can accept it as authentic.
He mentioned tongues only once, recorded by only one Gospel writer, Mark, and that, in the very last verses of the last chapter, which many of the later authorities who [inaudible 00:39:33] over all very carefully, claim was added later, and there’s a big question whether Jesus even mentioned the word tongues. But in the passage that Jesus reported to have used, he said, not strange tongues or ancient tongues, but new tongues.
14 The story of the son of George Hales
I don’t know of anyone who can talk in new tongues, has experienced new tongues more than George Hales. He also has the gift of talking in other tongues. He came 50 years ago, a man came into Oklahoma City with a span of mules. 50 years later, he died leaving $50 million.
One of his sons would go to his business and at three o’clock, he’d get so bored of the life, he’d go home and go to bed. He took the drink, he became an alcoholic. He came to a Camp Furthest Out, something happened, probably has told you, or will tell you. He flew up to Arkansas to another camp. He went back to Oklahoma City, and then, he flew up to Kansas City. He just flew up to spend the evening. Just like you run across the yard to talk to somebody, he jumped in his airplane.
And said, “Last Saturday, it dawned on me that I’d broken off of my brother-in-law two years before. I hadn’t spoken to him or to my sister for two years, and that wasn’t right. So I called her up. And she said, “Why don’t you come out tomorrow morning, 11 o’clock tomorrow morning?”” That was Sunday. He said to himself, “I hope my brother-in-law isn’t there. If he’s not there, I will tell her what I have found, but if he’s there, I certainly won’t.” Well, he was there.
“Where have you been this summer?” They asked, “Oh, I was up the mountains in Arkansas and went down to Lincoln, Oklahoma.” “Well, what did you do there?” “Oh, I just loafed around and had a good time.” And after a long conversation, his sister looked him straight in the eye and said, “We know where you went, you might just as well tell us.” “Well, I’ll tell you. I went to a Camp Farthest Out and I learned how to pray. I got a prayer group in my house and I wish you’d join it.” The sister said, “I know somebody I wish you could pray for just for a minute. Couldn’t we have a family prayer group?” And there was a man who didn’t know there was a God two months before teaching those folks how to pray. New tongues, I should say they were, new tongues. And then, before he left, he said, “I’m going to give all my time to Jesus.”
He said, “Anytime you need to go somewhere fast, you just phone me,” long distance, up there in St. Paul, “and in two hours, I’ll be on my plane. I’ll come up and I’ll take you anywhere.” Twice I had to use that. Once is when I was addressing the School of Prophets in Indiana, all 600 Methodist ministers, nothing but ministers. I had the chance of my life. They said, there, ordinarily, only 400 came, but Bishop [inaudible 00:42:26] said the crowds come because they heard you were here.
I had a chance to put this into the churches of Indiana, but I’d have to leave two days in advance to get to a camp where the connections, my other planes and things were so slow. He arrived and I said, “Come in here and take five minutes of my time and talk those ministers. In the next group I was with, you take five minutes.” He’s received calls all over Indiana. He has more calls to churches than he can fill. Why? Because he talks in tongues that are so new, so different from what he had three years ago.
That is what I wish every one of you could get. And if you can talk in the ancient Himalaya or Egypt or something, all right, but don’t talk to the ministers up there on that. Give them the thing that I’d rather you speak five words as Paul said that they’d understand than 10,000 tongues.
15 The problem with going off on tangents
According to Jesus, apostles and the healers should be given precedence. Well, I’ll just go down through this rapidly. Let’s look at the apostles, supposing that’s one of the gifts, supposing the only thing a minister did was to try to save souls every Sunday, and not have any Sunday schools or anything else, that would be going off on a tangent. Supposing he makes his church a healing church and that’s all he talks on, that’d be off on a tangent. But those are more valuable elements, especially apostleship. You might go on pretty well full speed on that.
Prophets are of value, but when a church turn to Ouija boards and run after fortune-tellers, they’re certainly off the track. $10 billion is spent every year in New York by businessmen going to fortune-tellers trying to find out which horse is going to win next. That just goes to show, if the church should be turned into that part of a thing, where would we be?
Miracle workers, we have miracles happen, but if you just go for miracles, you can destroy a church. Roland Brown refuses to let anyone know that he’s going to talk on healing because he announced it once in Calcutta and he saw 300 little boys about 10 years old the whole school had let out and they’re all marching in double file. And I said, “Where are they going?” He said, “They’re coming to the church where I’m going to be.” I said, “What do you mean?” “If they expect some miracles to happen, they’ll even dismiss schools. They’ll come. The little kids will sit there just expecting to see miracles happen.” Why? You can go off on a tangent of miracle working and yet, sometimes, miracles happen.
Now, the helpers in the church are valued, but you know, a helper, that’s all they do is get church suppers. What’s going to happen? They need ushers and all that. But a great minister in the Pacific Coast, said, “Mrs. Jones, President of the Ladies Aid reminds me of a porcupine.” “Well, why is that?” “She got a lot of fine points, but you can’t get close to her.” That’s those troublemakers, I’d rather have a drunk at my church than a troublemaker.
One beautiful thing about George Hales, I’ve never really heard him ever criticize anybody. A lovely thing about Genevieve, my secretary, Judy, Roland Brown, Marsha Brown, I never heard Marsha Brown criticize anyone. Martha criticized Mary because she wanted to sit at Jesus’ feet. She was a helper, but she went to sit a little bit on that.
The modern church is such a complex organization that demands administrators, which probably accounts for the fact that the tangent most churches have been carried off on is pastors becoming so engrossed in running the organization that they have too little time for prayer. I asked a Methodist minister who was the most spiritual Methodist bishop in America and he said Bishop Blake of the Indiana area.
We were having a Camp Farthest Out in California, the Pacific Palisades, and someone said, “Bishop Blake is summering down here in one of the cottages.” I went down and called on him. I said, “I’ve been told you’re the most spiritual bishop in the Methodist church.” He said, “I might’ve been once but no longer.” He said, “I have 1300 ministers to look after. I have 15 hospitals and 25 colleges. I have so much to do in administration, I don’t have time to pray.” So you see, I think our Methodist church has just run off in tangents.
Senator Watson, the great Senator Watson from Indiana said, “I learned all my politics at the annual meetings of the Methodist when they juggled around to elect Christians. I learned all my politics.” And a church that goes into politics, and you know exactly what I mean.
The New Testament records only two times the church went off on tangents. One was in the church of Jerusalem and one was at the church of Corinth. The first instance is where Peter found the church of Jerusalem is going off on a tangent in the field of administration and helpers. When he found the apostles were diverting most of their time needed for prayer and evangelizing in serving tables, he appointed seven businessmen under Stephen to take the problem of administration off their hands. This might be a good hint for modern ministers to follow.
The second instance is where Paul found the church at Corinth was going off on a tangent over talking in tongues, his letter to the Corinthians was prompted by his earnest desire to bring this under control. No one can read chapter 12 and 14 thoughtfully without reading between the lines his ardent pleading to correct their excesses. It is amazingly significant that in his official list of the gifts given in Romans, he does not even include tongues at all. Everyone accepts that as his statement of doctrine. It was just a private letter, and to the Corinthians.
Like Mark Twain’s whistle, this gift of tongues was founded at Pentecost to announce that the Holy Spirit had arrived at station Earth, any boat that tooted his horn the entire length of the Mississippi River would never reach its port. Thus, we see that the only time Paul wrote about talking and tongues was not to promote it, but to regulate it, and at the end, he especially urged that it be set aside for something better.
But unless I be accused of meddling in this matter, let Paul’s own words tell the story, “Now you are the body of Christ, and individually, members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first, apostles, second, prophets, third, teachers, fourth, workers of miracles, fifth, healers, sixth, helpers, seventh, administrators, eighth, speakers in various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? Then he answers in just a minute, but before he comes to that, I’m going to interject something.
16 A symphony on the fruits described by St Paul
The perfect description of the fruits of the Spirit is found in this 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians where he immediately ends that by saying I want to show you a better way, and he points right to the 13th. The perfect description of the fruits is found in this 13th chapter. The general tendency has been to consider this chapter to be a solo on love, that is wrong. Now, I’m going to bring you a new discovery, a new revelation, something you never heard before.
It is, in reality, a symphony on the fruits of the Spirit. Love is the central theme, that is true, but it is not the ordinary, third dimensional, sentimental love the world is so familiar with. It is love, with all the fruits of the Spirit poured into it, love lifted to its highest, most celestial height. Ordinary love, like ordinary cake can go stale or moldy or unpalatable after a few days on the shelf. In contrast, fruitcake can be kept for years growing more palatable, rich, and delicious with the passage of time. In a similar fashion, heavenly love with all the nine fruits of the Spirit thoroughly stirred into it, grow sweeter, lovelier, more nourishing and inspiring as the years roll by for against the fruits of the Spirit, woven and welded together in love, there’s no limit of time or space. Indeed, nothing can check it, circumscribe it, or limit it’s power.
On the Pacific Coast, there’s a man named Clark, who during World War II, turned out 20,000 fruitcakes, small fruitcakes a day. How that’s a big sale where those are the only things that could be shipped, sweets that could be shipped abroad to the soldiers without spoiling. 20,000 a day were sent away. His sister, Mary Clark came to the Camp Farthest Out, she has started a little factory of her own. And she’s invented a new kind of a way to cover these cakes with wax, beautiful colored wax and she’s got it patented. She’s going to give half the income when it really gets going to the Camp Farthest Out. I don’t think she’ll ever sell 20,000 a day.
But these were, of course, to prove how permanent love is and you can just send it everywhere. Just stop. Don’t waste time sending ordinary, little suspended love or egotism around, don’t, but the real thing, the fruitcake.
In fact, I’d like to read a little poem that I wrote, and somebody else, I wrote the first and last verses, “The nourishment the hungry long for, the cake this sad world requires is made with the fruits of the Spirit blended to meet God’s desires. Love for the one unthankful, long-suffering when sorely tried, joy when the way is dreary, meekness when hurt through pride, generous toward each other, peace, midlife stream and stress, trust when around is darkness, faith spite of loss and pain, goodness, his grace soweth, patience in suffering, hope with its rainbow radiant, temperance in everything. This is the cake man longs for, fruit cake the father requires filled with the fruits of the Spirit blended as Jesus desires.”
Let me just read now the 13th chapter of Corinthians, “But earnestly desire the higher gifts.” If you’re working with the gifts, don’t stop at tongues at the bottom, go up to apostleship, at least that much. But he said, “And I will show you a still more excellent way.” Even above the gifts. “If I speak in the tongues, even of men and of angels, but have not love, I’m but a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind.”
I think I’ll almost give the list. Love. Now, the fruits of the Spirit are love. Joy. I’ll just give you the list. Love does not rejoice in wrong, but rejoices in the right, the right kind of love and joy. Peace, love is not irritable or resentful. Patience, love is patient, bears all things, endures all things. Goodness, love is kind, love is not rude. Gentleness, love does not insist on its own way. Self-control, love is not jealous or boastful. Humility, love is not arrogant. Faith, love believeth all things.
And so, when I was a child I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways of playing with a gift. I was like a little child playing with the gift of prophecy, had a toy, administration, had a toy, tongues, you have a toy. It’s all right when you’re children, but [inaudible 00:54:23] but let’s come up, give our time, the short time we have to these higher things. I reasoned like a child, when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part and I shall understand fully even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.
If there ever was a fruitcake of the spirit that would endure forever and never spoil, it is love as described in this chapter, the great chapter, the 13th of Corinthians.