Donald Gee on Prophets, Ministry Gifts, etc.
One of the Bible teachers that Brother Hagin referenced frequently when he was teaching along the lines of spiritual and ministry gifts was the British minister, Donald Gee (1891-1966). Known for depth, simplicity, and balance, Gee was an important voice for the Pentecostal movement in the Twentieth Century, and what he taught then is still powerful and relevant today.
Re-reading his books recently has been tremendously encouraging to me, and I thought you would enjoy some of the following rich quotes.
Donald Gee / The Ministry Gifts of Christ (1930)
We believe the Pentecostal movement will absolutely fail in obedience to the heavenly vision God placed before it, if it goes back to dependence upon purely natural gifts for the work of the ministry. (14)
We must not confuse IMITATION with INSPIRATION. There have been hasty attempts, well-meant we believe, to establish a so-called “apostolic church” with all of its nominally scriptural offices of apostle, prophet, etc. without always waiting for the Holy Spirit to bestow the actual endowments necessary. We must not let ourselves be misled by mere labels of office. True ministry-gifts consist not in name, but in power. The gift will make the office: and until Divine Grace has bestowed the spiritual gift we can only wait and pray. (17-18)
It is perfectly true that there can be extremes in evangelism which are superficial: there can be extremes in teaching which are heavy and barren: there can be extremes in prophesying which are most undeniably fanatical. Yet the true remedy is not to be found in repressing therefore any particular one of these lines of diverse ministry, for thereby we may all too easily quench the Spirit of God also. Indeed, this has been actually done too often; men have dealt with the false and unprofitable at the terrible expense of cutting out the real at the same time. It needs an inspired touch to regulate inspired ministry. The divine plan is for each and every ministry which God has set in the church to correct and complement the other, thereby providing just the elements lacking and just the check needed to restore overbalanced tendencies on any one line—the prophet to inspire the teacher, the teacher to steady the prophet; the evangelist to continually remind us of the needy world outside dying for the gospel, the pastor to show us that souls still need much caring for even after they have been “won.” The apostle above all to inspire and lead the way to fresh conquests for Christ and His church. (24-25)
[Regarding New Testament Prophets] With regard to this type of prophet, it should be carefully noted that in the present dispensation there is no suggestion of “enquiring” through such a gift, or of systematically applying to it for guidance. The prophecies of Agabus obviously came quite spontaneously, and without any seeking. It is evident from the New Testament that this was not the regular way by which the Holy Spirit guided the church, although He used it on occasion. (43)
[Regarding New Testament Teachers] …for the most part the ministry of a teacher will be less openly spectacular than that of these other brethren, and to the casual observer will provide less in the way of what he may choose to call “results.” The teacher’s work is not so much to evangelize, as to “help much those who have believed through grace” (Acts 18:27); he is usually called to “water” that which another has planted, and to “build” upon a foundation already laid by another servant of the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:6-10). Before God, the planter and the waterer are of equal value and importance. (66)
The proud spirit that scorns teachers invariably ends in a pitfall of hopeless fanaticism and miserable shipwreck. (67)
How often a glorious gift from God is spoiled by hardness or pride or greed in the one who exercises it. Such inconsistency not only grieves the church, but it absolutely repels the world. (100)
It is a solemn thing to remember that a gift which I may not have been exercising, or an office which I may not have been filling for years, is still with me and must inevitably be accounted for. (101)
Donald Gee / Spiritual Gifts in the Ministry Today (1963)
If our conception of what is “supernatural” stands in the way of seeing the gifts of the Spirit in ministries of preaching and teaching, then it is clear that our understanding of the meaning of “supernatural” needs correcting. Perhaps with some of it is a confusion of “spectacular” and “supernatural.” (24)
So many ideas of power run only on the lines of miracles and spectacular types of ministry, but those who touch power without knowledge usually end in disaster. No type of ministry needs spiritually gifted teaching to complement it more than a ministry of the miraculous. (28)
Always in the Bible there is this exquisite blending of the natural and the supernatural. Happy is the man whose eyes are open to see the hand of God in the common things of life. (36)
To live and work in a sane, but truly Pentecostal spiritual atmosphere can be our constant privilege and delight. To recognize the grace of God at work in a wide variety of ministries given by His Spirit, whether in the spectacular, or in the quieter, ways of life, provides a constant delight to reverent hearts. (38-39)
It has been said that a large part of Church history has been a struggle between her prophets and her teachers, between the inspirational and emotional elements, and the reasonable and logical… but instead of a conflict between the two there should be the fullest cooperation; and there always is when the same Spirit is recognized in both, and the personalities He is using have known His sanctifying, as well as His inspiring power. (44-45)
The claim to inspiration is permissible, but not the claim to infallibility. (47-48)
The prophet has a responsibility to judge the measure of his own inspiration when exercising his gift. It is a common practice for all and sundry when prophesying to use the first person singular, and so claim to be nothing less than the mouthpiece of Almighty God for rather ordinary exhortations. We hear to a point of weariness the phrase, “I the Lord say unto you.” This admittedly carries the root idea of prophesying, but it is not essential. The message can be given in less elevated language. To suggest this is not to doubt the sincerity of the speaker, but it does impose less of a strain on those who have the scriptural duty of judging the amount of divine inspiration involved. (48)
An examination of the Scriptures will show us that as a matter of fact the early Christians did not continually receive such voices from heaven. In most cases they made their decisions by the use of what we often call “sanctified common sense” and lived quite normal lives. Many of our errors where spiritual gifts are concerned arise when we want the extraordinary and exceptional to be made the frequent and habitual. Let all who develop excessive desire for “messages” through the gifts take warning from the wreckage of past generations as well as from contemporaries. For most of our Christian pathway we are to walk by faith and not by sight. The Holy Scriptures are a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. (51-52)
When a woman with a notoriously critical spirit came to John Wesley and claimed that this was her gift from the Holy Spirit he caustically replied, “The Lord would not be displeased if you buried that talent.” (60)
I hope you found this collection of Gee quotes edifying and insightful as you continue to lead God’s people into growth and maturity.
Here is a link to an article Gee wrote in 1929. In this article, he gives three warnings to Pentecostals. Though written 91 years ago, it is as relevant as if it had been written yesterday.