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Today there is a plethora of books using questionnaires or similar tools in order to identify what spiritual gifts a person might have. I am wondering who was the first using this methodology and/or what book was the first to be published using this approach.

(I am looking for the first book, not the "best" book or the "first good" book, nor am I currently wishing for answers about the benefits or drawbacks of the approach.)

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1 Answer 1

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Spiritual Gifts Inventory (SGI) is a type of material that is associated with the Church Growth Movement (CGM). It combines theology with sociological methodologies, including questionnaires, in this case for identifying Spiritual Gifts. All SGI materials are based on the assumption that gifts are given once and then remain with the bearer for life, a thought championed by Peter Wagner in his books about spiritual gifts. (A contrasting view can be found in the exegesis of James Dunn and Gordon Fee. Both interpret 1 Cor 12:7-11 as manifestations of the Spirit in the moment, based on many details in the text, including the fact that it is using the present tense for all verbs.)

The first SGI material that was published was SGI-McMinn in 1972. In order to avoid controversies it excluded gifts like tongues miracles and healing. Other popular tests that followed were:

  • SGI-WMHQ (1979).
  • SGI-L (1984), a modification of SGI-McMinn.
  • SGI-Gilbert (1986), the material presently being recommended by Church Growth Inc.

Source: Pochek, Robert (2011) Toward An Ecclesiocentric Model of Spiritual Gift Identification. (+ Jesus and the Spirit, by James Dunn and God's Empowering Presence by Gordon Fee.)

Pochek has written a critical evaluation of the various SGI materials, and bases many of his arguments on the exegesis of Kenneth Berding. (See Berding, K. (2006). What are spiritual gifts? : rethinking the conventional view. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.) But regardless of ones view on the gifts as such, Pochek seem to be a credible source to provide an authoritative answer to my specific question.

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+1 nice research! – Paul A. Clayton Jun 30 '13 at 19:12
Questions and Answers on Spiritual Gifts first published in the 1930s by howard carter is much older – user4060 Jun 30 '13 at 23:26
and I'm sure if you ask the Catholics they have documents organizing the spiritual gifts from even earlier. – user4060 Jul 1 '13 at 0:29
I have read everything I could lay my hand on by Howard Carter, Donald Gee and Thomas ab Aquino on the topic of Spiritual Gifts. They do not share the methodology of the SGI-type of material. Please note the word "questionnaire" in the question. (There are in fact many differences between the SGI material and the pentecostal tradition.) – itpastorn Jul 1 '13 at 22:10

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