May 2019

TruthTalks Spiritual Gifts

TruthTalks: What are Spiritual Gifts and do we have them or give them?

TruthTalks Spiritual Gifts

What are Spiritual Gifts and do we have them, or give them?

In this and subsequent TruthTalks, I am looking at some of the underlying issues that make the subject important yet problematic to some.

In this podcast, I speak about the common misconception that Spiritual Gifts are supernatural abilities permanently conferred upon Christians. I argue that the key text of 1 Corinthians 12 points rather to The Holy Spirit temporarily entrusting gifts of healing, prophecy, and so on to believers to deliver to those in need of the gift.

You can listen to or download this TruthTalk by clicking on the play button below.


Revival Revisited
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What are Spiritual Gifts and do we have them or give them?

top image for post on Spiritual GiftsWhat are Spiritual Gifts and do we have them or give them? I used to find this difficult to answer… but not any more.

As a very new Christian, back in the 70’s, I was introduced to something called the Houts Questionnaire designed to help believers discover their dominant spiritual gifts. C. Peter Wagner later modified this approach and I see that his book ‘Discover your Spiritual Gifts’ is still available.

The common Charismatic understanding of Gifts

The basic idea in these approaches is that God bestows permanent spiritual gifts upon His followers, but that we don’t always recognise which of gifts we have. The available number of these gifts range from the 7 listed in Romans 12:6-8, to a composite list of 28 drawn from Romans, Ephesians and 1 Corinthians. Common words in the descriptions of the various current questionnaires are discover, find, release, and activate. So the main point presented is that God gives them to each of us but that we need to discover what they are.

My problems with this approach

I have long had a few problems with this whole concept. Firstly,  I don’t think it stems from a correct understanding of the key biblical passages. Secondly,  it places the focus on us and not the Holy Spirit and tends towards pride and status distinctions. Thirdly, it confuses Holy Spirit empowered ministries with manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

I have written my own book on the subject to join the hundreds already out there and I will tell you more about that later.

The difference between Ministries and Manifestations

In this article, I want to focus on just one of the problems I have identified, the distinction between ministries and manifestations.

  • A ministry is an area of service in and through the local church.
  • A manifestation is what the Holy Spirit does in and through us as we minister.

Ministries are what we do to build up the church and to extend the Kingdom of God; manifestations are what the Holy Spirit does to make this ministry supernaturally effective.

Who receives the gift?

In a sense, we discover our areas of ministry, but the Holy Spirit manifests His gifts through us when they are needed. He distributes the gifts through us as we minister, but the ones who benefit from them are the ones who receive the gift. For example, if I respond in obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and speak prophetically to the church or to an individual, then they have received the gift of prophecy. This might happen while I am preaching or performing some other ministry in the church. I would not be entitled to think of myself as a Prophet simply because I have prophesied from time to time. Conversely, as one who ministers as a preacher, I would be foolish not to ask and expect the Holy Spirit to manifest words of prophecy through me as I preach, because this is what imparts spiritual life to the preached message.


A new book about to be published

I develop these ideas more fully in the soon to be published ‘The 9 Spiritual Gifts & How to Find your Ministry’. The book is part of the Christian QuickReads collection specifically designed for those who prefer reading something around the 100-page length, rather than a longer and more comprehensive volume.


In my next post I want to address the matter of how we can determine from scripture what the 9 spiritual manifestations listed in 1 Corinthians 12 actually are. I also want to touch on apparent ‘gifts’ that may not be from God.

If you would like to be notified when these articles appear and when the book becomes available on Amazon Kindle, then just click HERE and subscribe to (if you have not already done so)


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New Book – The 9 Essentials of Building your Life in Christ: Christian Foundations

New E-Book heading

I have just published a book on Amazon Kindle called ‘The 9 Essentials of Building your Life in Christ: Christian Foundations’. You can purchase it HERE or if you want a free pdf of the book then just click HERE and go straight to the opt-in page.

The book is part of the Christian QuickReads collection specifically designed for those who prefer reading something around the 100-page length, rather than a longer and more comprehensive volume.

Why this book

When, at the age of 30, I was born again into a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, a Christian friend gave me a set of lessons by Derek Prince called the Foundations Series. They helped me to understand some of the basic teachings of my new faith, but they also puzzled me a little. Dr Prince had built his series around Hebrews 6:1-3 and his six booklets were respectively titled Repentance, Faith, Baptisms, Laying on of Hands, Resurrection, and Judgement. Even then, as a brand new believer, I wondered why these six were more important than subjects like the Bible, Prayer and Worship, the Church, and so on.

My own experience as a new believer highlighted the need for something short and simple. However, something that covered the actual foundations of the Christian Faith and not teachings based on what I later realised are the foundational doctrines of Judaism (Hebrews 6:1-3) and not Christianity.

Of course, there have been many other foundational teaching books since Derek Prince’s, but they all seem to fall short of the mark in one way or another.  So, when I became a pastor of a local church at the age of 40, I took on the task of writing something for the new believers around me.

What the book is about

I listed what I thought were the foundations of the Christian Faith. Here are the 9 that I came up with:

  1. Salvation – including covenant, repentance, new birth, Fact, Faith, and Feelings, water baptism, assurance, being filled by the Holy Spirit, and obedient living.
  2. The Bible – including Inspiration, what translation to use, how to study the Bible, and what Jesus said and did as the key to understanding scripture.
  3. The Kingdom of God and Spiritual Warfare
  4. The Stewardship of Time, Money, and Talents
  5. Prayer and Worship
  6. Ministering in the Power of the Holy Spirit
  7. Fellowship and the Church
  8. Witnessing and Making Disciples
  9. The Christian Family

Who the book is for

It is obvious from what I have already written that I designed the book primarily for new believers. However, two other groups could benefit from it:

Christian Leaders – Men and women planting new congregations or considering a teaching series for their church could find it useful as an outline and seedbed for further research and development.

Mature Christians – It has always surprised me just how many folk who have been Christians for a long while have such a sketchy idea of the basics of their Faith. A prayerful read through ‘The 9 Essentials of Building your Life in Christ’ would prove very helpful to them.

In the near future, I will be publishing further books in the Christian QuickReads series. If you would like to be notified when these appear, then just click HERE and subscribe to


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TruthTalks: The Moment of Truth – Elections 2019

As I hit ‘publish’ on this podcast the national elections are just one day away.

So, the best thing we as ordinary citizens can do right now is to pray and ask God to send revival to our nation… then VOTE.

Listen to theTruthTalk podcast based on THIS post plus a Q&A,  by clicking on the play button below.

New Book Published

Revival. It always comes back to this, so I have published a short book titled ‘The 12 Key Aspects of Revival’ that I am making available free to everyone within my circle of influence. All you have to do is CLICK on the link below and you can download your own no-strings-attached copy.

About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.