Ministry Division




John Witvliet

Reader 1

David Rylaarsdam


Joan Beelan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)


Spiritual gifts, Nigeria, Charismata, Mainline and Pentecostal churches


The use of spiritual gifts is a blessing to the Church today, especially when it functions within the liturgical forms in a worship service. Specifically, the liturgical use of spiritual gifts is a great benefit for the edification of both the mainline and the Pentecostal churches. In Nigeria, the use of spiritual gifts is significantly contextual to the African world view. Some Nigerian theologians suggest that the compatibility of spiritual gifts to the African world view is one of the main factors that contributes to the fast growth of Pentecostal and charismatic churches in Africa. Due to its compatibility with the African world view, charismata has gradually gained acceptance into the mainline churches in Nigeria. The problem is that while the mainline churches refrain from the practice of spiritual gifts in their gatherings and thereby face the consequence, the Pentecostals engage in it in a disorderly and abusive manner. Thus, this study suggests the liturgical use of charismata in both the mainline and Pentecostal churches as a mediating approach which can minimize these ills. Creating space for the exercise of spiritual gifts within liturgy will challenge mainline churches to embrace something they have resisted, and will challenge the Pentecostal churches to discipline their use of the gifts in ways that avoid disorder. The paper offers a comparative survey of some recent theological reflection on spiritual gifts alongside Calvin’s teachings on this subject. In this study, the introduction provides an overview of the state of the question along with a description of the methodology, scope of research, and thesis statement. Chapter one is a survey of recent theology of spiritual gifts by modern writers. Chapter two discusses the potential of the recent theology of spiritual gifts for use in Nigeria. Chapter three presents contemporary examples of the liturgical use of spiritual gifts and sample liturgies adapting the use of spiritual gifts. The conclusion summarizes pastoral application and suggests further research questions.



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