Monday, December 18, 2006

No Gifts? No Problem

AP--Ross Stanley, pastor of Living Waters Pentecostal Church in St. Louis, has been in this business for 22 years. He thought he had seen it all. Parishioner Randy Klugh, however, gave Stanley the surprise of his career. Recently, the pastor and elders of the church completed a process that confirmed that Klugh has no gift or grace of the Holy Spirit.

This appears to be the first confirmed instance in history of a church member being completely ungifted. The most recent suspected case was in 1952, but the 53-year-old man in Mississippi Springs, Florida was eventually found to possess the ability to whistle “Amazing Grace” through his nose, clearly a charismatic gift. Yet, because no previous person in the 2,000-year history of the Christian church had ever been found completely graceless, scholars assumed it was impossible.

Then along came Randy Klugh. The 47-year-old unemployed carpenter became a member of Living Waters in 1996. He participated in several spiritual gifts surveys in his first years of membership, but the results were inconclusive. Likewise, during worship services, Klugh showed no obvious gifts, such as speaking in tongues or the ability to run the church’s audio-visual equipment.

Pastor Stanley arrived at the church three years ago. Klugh’s case puzzled him, and he subjected the man to even more spiritual gifts inventories. Stanley even invited several visiting evangelists to interview Klugh, and still, there was no evidence of any gift.

Stanley and the elders engaged in a marathon 24-hour prayer session before they reached their painful conclusion: Randy Klugh was the first baptized Christian in history to be certified giftless. In a statement to the press, the leaders of the church said, “We remain certain of Mr. Klugh’s salvation, and accept that it is God’s will that he has not received a gift of the Holy Ghost. In the future, God may choose to bless Mr. Klugh, but it is not for us to unravel the mysteries of God.”

Ellard Howard, one of the leaders that examined Klugh, said, “We’re all perplexed by this, but none of us are particularly surprised that it was Randy. He’s one of the heavier hymnbooks in the rack, if you catch my drift.”

“I’m not going to give up on him,” said a hopeful Stanley. “Maybe he’ll get a gift someday. Not even the Apostle Paul got it right away.”

Klugh, though, is not disappointed at his fate. “I don’t mind,” he said. “It makes me special, doesn’t it? It’s like my spiritual gift is to have no gift. Maybe I can be an inspiration to others who don’t have gifts.”


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