All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.



Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!

4/01/2014

For Susan: CWV Holy Spirit

For Susan: CWV Holy Spirit is the third in a series of posts on this topic.  The first two are, For Susan: Christian World View and For Susan: Developing a Christian World View.

In my last post For Susan: Developing a Christian World View, I included a bullet point about being open to the leading of  the Holy Spirit.  I feel a need to expand that topic.  First a little background about my religious training.

I am not a Pentecostal minded person.  I was brought up in a denomination that spent more time explaining what the Holy Spirit, did not, could not and would not do, than it did in explaining the involvement of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.  They only begrudgingly admitted to a concept of "the indwelling of the Holy Spirit".  I do not remember this topic addressed in any length.   I do remember that the "gifts of the Holy Spirit" were not for "today".  I Cor 13:10 was used to proof text this belief.  At the time I accepted that explanation and put the matter out of my mind.

As I grew in my faith, especially the last 7 years or so I have reexamined my thinking and come to the realization that a large part of Jesus's remarks in John chapter 16 are a preview of the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.  The role of the Holy Spirit is described in advance of his arrival.
  • He will convict the world concerning sin
  • He will convict the world concerning righteousness
  • He will convict the world concerning judgment
  • He will guide you into all the truth
  • He will glorify Me (Jesus)
  • He will take of Mine (Jesus) and will disclose it to you
What about speaking in tongues?  What about it?  Nobody, not even the Apostles are promised all of what we call the "gifts of the Holy Spirit".  In that I Cor 13 passage I pointed to earlier it clearly states that not everyone has all, or in my reading any of the "gifts".  Even Paul, the great man whom God used to pen a large chunk of the New Testament, didn't get every miracle he asked for.  However back in John 16 Jesus states six activities that the Holy Spirit will do when He comes.  My current thought process on this is that Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will do these things.  The Holy Spirit hasn't left yet.  I believe he is still doing what Jesus said He would do. 

I'm not going to say that the Holy Spirit can't do the miracles that we read about in the New Testament today.  I believe as a matter of logic and faith, that He CAN do them.  IF He is doing them is another story.  On that topic, I'm a skeptic.  My skepticism is based on observation.  What I see in some of the churches does not compare favorably to what I read about in the Bible. 

My first objection is because of fraud.  See Benny Hinn as an example.  If you saw the Steve Martin movie "Leap of Faith", you saw examples of things that were based on Benny Hinn's "ministry".  I never read about miracles in the Bible that required an up front cash payment.

My second objection is due to people claiming one thing and doing something I can't find a biblical example for.  For example being "slain in the spirit", "holy laughter", "angelic tongues", "gradual healing" and "divine revelation". 

There are exactly two biblical examples of being "slain in the spirit" they occur in Acts 5.  Ananias and his wife Sapphira decide to lie about an act of giving to make themselves look good.  The Holy Spirit struck them dead.  I believe God can slay people, when He does they don't generally head off to Cracker Barrel afterwards. 

"Holy Laughter" isn't in the Bible and its not an act of worship.  Speaking in tongues has to be the most misunderstood and abused "gift of the spirit".  The Bible clearly teaches that it CAN happen, when it does happen it occurs in a specific context.  Not saying that it can't happen Biblically, just saying I haven't seen it.  Anyone who lays on hands prays and claims "you will get better and better, over time", has not preformed a miracle.  It might be an answered prayer.  It might be the immune system.  We don't know and neither do you.

My favorite is divine revelation.  If someone says, "thus saith the Lord", the Lord better have said it.  If He didn't, the speaker is guilty of a capital offense.  IF someone is giving a "message from God" and that message contradicts scripture, we have a liar on our hands.  If that person makes a prediction in the Name of God or gives a sign and it doesn't come to pass they are by definition a fraud.

There is a verse in 1 John  4:1 that instructs us to "test" the spirits, because not all spirits are from God.  I believe that this corresponds with instruction found in the Old Testament concerning prophets.  Deut 18:19-22 speaks about how to know who is and what should be done concerning a false prophet.  Hint, it involves getting stoned and I don't mean Boulder Colorado style.

I'm ready to believe right now that the Holy Spirit does miracles today.  I hope He does.  It would be a great encouragement to me to be part of or witness a legitimate "gifting".  I haven't seen any that are according to the Biblical pattern.  That doesn't mean He isn't doing them.  I'm not calling anyone who has been part of a fellowship that practices those things a liar. 

What I read in scripture about what the Holy Spirit does for us is as amazing as any of the "gifts".  Jesus says He will convict us, guide us and disclose what belongs to Jesus to us.  Maybe we should spend time asking for and working on those things we are promised.  I believe spiritual discernment is on the list of things that all believers can have.

This post's aside note:  I realize I remained true to my upbringing and spent the majority of my time talking about what the Holy Spirit isn't, or at least what He doesn't seem to be doing right now.  My intent isn't to define something in terms of the negative.  I believe that the Holy Spirit does amazing things.  If we believe that the word of God is living and active and sharper than a two edged sword and that the Holy Spirit discloses that to us and convicts us and guides us, and that He lives inside of us and can direct our hearts and minds, we are claiming something far more incredible than jibbering incoherently or flopping around on the floor.

6 comments:

Susan said...

One of your best posts ever.
Several years ago, my daughter and I drove from our home in Oregon to her house in Colorado. On the second day we his Salt Lake City. We stopped in the outskirts and gassed up the car and picked up snacks and beverages. All of a sudden, as we are getting back in the car, I start having what felt like a panic attack. It was telling me something bad was coming.

So daughter and I held hands and prayed for protection. Not 5 minutes later on the freeway, as we are driving about 65 or so, we come up on an access lane. Also hidden from view until too late was a 10ft aluminum ladder laying on the freeway shoulder, but just enough in our lane to cause problems.
We could not go right because there was two vehicles right beside us. We should have hit that ladder and the cars coming on the access lane. At the speed we were driving we should have been in a bad wreck. But the angels were holding us back until the traffic passed on the right side and allowed us to go around.

Something else that the Holy Spirit will do is let you know you are in the presence of evil spirits. The husband of a dear friend of mine works at the Oregon State Hospital. He worked for a while in the high security lockup area for a while. He said he would get literally sick and nauseated when he would walk by certain of the cells in that wing. It got so bad he had to change departments.

The main thing is Res, you have to keep your spiritual ears open. The Holy Spirit will talk to you, you just have to be open to listening. I think with your studying, you are opening your ears to God.
In your example of Ananias and his wife, I believe that their death or slaughter in the spirit refers to their Spiritual or eternal death. They might not be allowed to go to Heaven Res, because they both lied to the Holy Spirit. That is the big unpardonable sin I believe. You don't mock God, or lie to His spirit.

Res Ipsa said...

Susan,
I don't want to pass judgment on someone's salvation. When I hear people talking about getting "slain" in the spirit it bothers me because I know that they aren't talking about an experience that is found in the NT.

I believe that the H.S. is and does much more than we give Him credit for. I also know that His work is often something that we can't "prove", especially to a non-believer.

About 19 years ago I was doing ministry work inside a prison. I've also had some experience with people who are involved in the occult.

I agree that we get special protection. We also get special insight into things of God. I believe the reason we are allowed to touch those things is because of bullet point 5. It brings praise and glory to the Lord. Incidentally there are times that a news story or someone gives me information that causes me to stop and pray. Sometimes its to ask for blessing for someone else, sometimes to give praise.

Can I prove what I just said, no. It is true. I just can't demonstrate it empirically.

Res Ipsa said...

BTW, I've got a couple of other posts in the queue for you.

Susan said...

Actually, I don't believe that you would be passing judgment on someone's salvation if you have read the(can't remember which book)passage that talks about the unpardonable sin. Lying to the Holy Spirit is high on the list. A & S lied.

God gives us examples to live by, and while that one is very shocking, with that passage in mind, I don't believe it is judging or assuming anything.

I still have problems wrapping my mind around some of the examples in the Bible regarding God's punishments and why humans would choose to incur such anger from God. I just don't understand it.

Res Ipsa said...

I think this is the passage you are thinking of:
Matt 12:31-32

31 " Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32 " Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
NASU

I have another passage I want to give you to consider but I'm going to have to remember where it is and look it up first.

Res Ipsa said...

Susan,

I was going to make a point about God sometimes taking a life in order to save a soul. I thought I could give you a quick verse or two to demonstrate that. I can't. Accepting that belief requires a line of abstract reasoning that I can't provide clear cut text to definitively support. I happen to believe that God sometimes does end a life to accomplish a greater goal, but I can't give you book chapter and verse to show you that you should accept that too.