Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Normal Holy Spirit

Fellow blogger Adam made an interesting, and very honest, comment on my last entry regarding his reaction to the Holy Spirit and I wanted to follow up with a few comments of my own on this subject.

I am, like Adam, a recovering Baptist who was raised to believe that God answers prayer and heals, but most likely won't in my case.

It's a pretty common thing, I believe, for us to doubt testimonies of miraculous healing or Divine Appointments. Our everyday experience often conspires against our inner faith in God's willingness to intervene in daily life.

Part of the problem, I think, is that we've all seen the Holy Spirit used as a tool to coerce people or manipulate them. Usually this manipulation involves sending in a check to an Evangelist with bad 70's hair and an immaculate Armani suite on channel 40.

However, the Holy Spirit is real. He is the third person of the Trinity. He is continuing the ministry of Jesus in the actual world you and I live in every single day. Without the Holy Spirit the Church, you and I, would have no hope of accomplishing anything in the Kingdom of God on our own.

Todd Hunter recently made a statement about the Holy Spirit that helped to center this discussion for me. He said, "In the Early Church, and in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit was not a controversial subject. It just wasn't. Because the Holy Spirit was simply the manifest presence of God empowering them to continue the ongoing message and ministry of Jesus".

Part of our problem is fear. I also think that, speaking for myself, I need to overcome the delusion that God doesn't want to heal or to speak or to move or to empower His Church to utilize their Spiritual Gifts. Of course He does! Why would God want to cripple His own Body? Why would the Holy Spirit desire to bring doubt to God's people? Why would Jesus want to withold the power necessary to encourage His Bride to live and love as He did?

Answer: He wouldn't.

The Holy Spirit is real. He is no more "weird" than Jesus. He is no more inaccessible than our own thoughts and prayers.

In fact, the same Holy of Holies that once hid behind a 300 pound veil is now located somewhere in your chest, nestled just inside the doorway of your heart.

He is near. He is real. He wants to bless and heal and empower us to be the Church we're called to be.



Like a Mustard Seed said...

Keith: So true, so true! I believed this early on in my faith, and His spirit comforted me, encouraged me and strengthend me through many tough days. However, when I began going to church there was no mention of the Holy Spirit and when I would bring Him up, I'd get looks like I was coo coo or silence. It's only now that I have complete confidence in what you say, after searching and understanding scripture and the Holy Spirits role. Thank you for taking the time to write these things down, very good and very edifying to my spirit this a.m. Peace & Love in Christ - Heather

GrayDawn said...

I think a part of this is the West's (at least, the US's -- not familiar enough with Canada and Europe) success with science, and an understanding of the world from a purely mechanical perspective. We've gotten good at understanding how stuff works, and pretty good at fixing it. We have become functional deists.

In some ways this is a pretty modernist view. I think Post-mod's still hang onto some of this baggage.

I see change in this attitude in some places too.