Showing posts with label Holy Spirit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holy Spirit. Show all posts

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Who’s Minding the Store?

I’m seeing more and more of those “self-checkout” units at the local stores. They always creep me out a bit. There just seems to be something really weird about the idea of walking up to a mechanical box, shuffling around my own transaction, and then leaving, going out of a store without passing by a person.

I feel as if I owe somebody some kind of explanation, like “Here’s my purchase, and here’s my money, and they match up; so don’t call the cops.” And then this person is supposed to give me the nod, like, “Okay, you’re alright this time; but when you come back, we’ll need to see each other again.”

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Honoring the Spirit

The congregation I was in last weekend was singing this new song:

“Holy Spirit, come invade us now
 We are your church
 We need your power …”


These people believe the Spirit of God is outside of believers, and has to be called on to “invade”? They think the church of God does not actually have the Spirit of God already?

Surely not! But why were they singing such nonsense?

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Testing the Spirits

The biblical injunction to test the spirit behind a religious teacher or doctrine requires more of us than merely weighing the worth of a teaching by its popularity. Nor should we allow the smile, charisma or demeanor of the one presenting a message to influence our judgment.

In the apostle John’s three letters, the word “Spirit” shows how believers are equipped to detect unseen and intangible forces, even though they are more accustomed to living by what they see and feel.

Monday, September 06, 2021

Anonymous Asks (161)

“What does ‘walking in the Spirit’ involve, and what do I do when I don’t feel like it?”

Walking by the Spirit is mentioned explicitly in two NT verses, Galatians 5:16 and Romans 8:4:

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

“... in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

The first is a command, the second is merely descriptive; it tells us what constitutes a normal state of being for Christians, that “all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God”.

Monday, July 05, 2021

Anonymous Asks (152)

“Should we worship the Holy Spirit?”

Long before the Word was made flesh, the Holy Spirit was present in the world and active on behalf of the Godhead. We find him in the second verse of Genesis, the fourth-last verse of Revelation, and everywhere in between. He is mentioned approximately 100 times in the Old Testament and well over 200 in the New. It has been demonstrated from the scriptures that he possesses the same attributes as both Father and Son.* His significance to us can hardly be overstated, since without him we would not have the written Word at all.

So it’s a good question: Why not worship the Holy Spirit? He’s certainly worthy of our worship.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Witnessing and Misdirection

Most falsehoods don’t come with handy labels
Put them on the spot, and people won’t always tell the truth.

They may throw up smokescreens, use cover stories, ask questions they don’t really want answered, tell outright lies — engage in every variety of misdirection.

This comes as no surprise to anyone with the gift of evangelism, or anyone without it who tries to talk to people about the Lord. Where the subject of faith is concerned, it takes wisdom and experience to discern what really matters.

At least initially, people tend to be least candid about the things that mean the most.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Anonymous Asks (60)

“How can I tell if it’s my own feelings or the Holy Spirit?”

Depending on the sort of feelings you are talking about, distinguishing between one’s own natural internal impulses and the promptings of the Spirit of God is not always perfectly straightforward. There are many emotional reactions that are completely in harmony with the Spirit.

This is true of the obvious ones like love, peace, joy and so on, but it is also true of emotions some Christians consider more questionable. It is not wrong, for instance, to be angry, vexed, disappointed, perplexed or even jealous when your feelings are aligned with God’s.

On the other hand, it is not the Spirit of God that makes us content to ignore sin in our lives and hearts, even if that feeling seems a comparatively peaceful one.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Who’s Minding the Store?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Giving and Taking of the Spirit

Today I want to do a short follow-up from yesterday’s post, which was about bad songs that conservative evangelical congregations are singing these days.

My particular concern in that one was the really atrocious doctrine of the Holy Spirit that they seem to be teaching in song. I pointed out some of the raw falsehoods that are being sung passionately by those of us who really ought to know better: and I said that the victims of our error include all untaught believers and our own children, as well as the Spirit of God himself, concerning whom these songs promote raw falsehoods.

I ended with a passionate plea for us to stop.

And I really hope somebody is listening.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Honoring the Spirit

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Anonymous Asks (9)

“In the Trinity, we know the attributes of God and Jesus, but do we really know many about the Holy Spirit?”

No. Next question.

Kidding, of course. But the question spotlights a truth quite plain to us if we read our Bibles attentively, and that is that not every member of the Godhead gets equal time in the scriptures. This is, I think, by design, and has to do with the nature of the Spirit’s work. In fact, the Lord Jesus told his disciples, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Trinitarian by Osmosis

I tend not to get into the whole Trinity argument much.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe in a triune God; one Divine Being manifest in three persons. But how that’s all worked out within the Godhead, like many theological issues, is simply too big for my head. When I see highly educated believers in the Lord Jesus going hammer-and-tongs at one another over the fine details of Trinitarian dogma, I’m often perplexed as to what the disagreement is actually about.

And I’m definitely reluctant to weigh in. I mean, what happens if I inadvertently use a theological term incorrectly and get read out of polite Christian society for heresy?

Nobody wants that.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Truth Recycled

Novelty can be overrated.

Oh, people like to hear new things. An original twist on even the most well-worn religious theme is bound to perk up an ear or two.

One of the more remarked-on features of Jesus’ earliest ministry was that it was accompanied by demonstrations of spiritual authority. Unclean spirits fled at his rebuke. But Mark records that at least part of the excitement in Capernaum was that the Lord’s teaching was thought to be new.

And new ideas get people talking.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Giant Problem, or That Stupid Sword Again

There are giants in the land.

Not Goliath, whom David slew, but that bad habit you can’t give up, and most of the time don’t really want to.

Somebody I know is fighting a giant. In his thinking, maybe 5% of the time he’s in a place where he makes an offhand remark about how he needs to go back to church, or how he needs to start reading his Bible again, or how he really needs God in his life. The rest of the time he’s just doing his thing like he’s always done it, and I suspect the will and character of God are the last things he’s thinking about. Life provides bucketloads of convenient distractions.

But can God work with 5%? I’d estimate he can. See, I’ve been there too.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Agenda is Served

I don’t read much that comes out of the wilderness of liberal Christendom (some will argue that’s a good thing, and I won’t argue back). So it was a little jarring to come across a rather poetic meditation on the Holy Spirit here that refers to him throughout as “she” and “it”.

Uh, no. Just no.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Inbox: Measuring the Wind

WD writes, “How does the Spirit work in a person’s life and how can one know He is?” An excellent question.

It’s also a question I wouldn’t dare try to answer in a single blog post, even if I thought myself an expert on the Holy Spirit’s guidance, which I don’t. But our reader’s question has been lurking at the back of my mind as I’ve worked my way through William Trotter’s little pamphlet on worship and ministry in the Spirit.

As much as impressions may be powerful things, I remain cautious about attributing to the Holy Spirit anything that is merely subjective, mystical or personal.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Who’s Minding the Store?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Where Did Those Gifts Go?

Yesterday I tried to establish that of the eighteen spiritual gifts listed in Romans and 1 Corinthians, at least half seem to have gone missing in our churches somewhere in the last two millennia.

Most Christian commentators agree this is at least partially true. We may argue about how to recognize the various supernatural abilities on the Holy Spirit’s gift list and about the nuances of a few of the Greek terms Paul uses. But in the end, most Christians acknowledge that unless we describe the gifts of tongues or prophecy very differently from the way we see them occurring in the book of Acts, or wildly dilute the concepts of miracles and healings, some of the Holy Spirit’s gifts are unaccountably absent today.

Very well then, let’s do some accounting.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Missing in Action

How many gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed in the New Testament? I suppose it depends on the criteria you use.

Whatever your standards for inclusion on the gift list, and whatever your final gift count, you will surely notice that several factors complicate our application of these familiar passages of scripture to the church today:
  1. In many instances the exact nature of the gift and how we might expect it to show itself are not precisely spelled out for us;
  2. We no longer have apostles in the sense the word is used of the Twelve;

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Spirits and Spirits

The original Greek New Testament consists entirely of capital letters. It has no spaces, no punctuation, no accents or diacritical marks.

Before this morning I knew most of that, though not the bit about the capitals. There was, apparently, no functional equivalent in ancient Greek to our lower case letters, which leaves us at the mercy of translators when we try to make distinctions between concepts like “Spirit” (as in “Holy Spirit” on the many occasions when the word “Holy” is not supplied) and “spirit” (the human spirit, or possibly a spirit of another sort entirely).

I’m indebted to Tertius for many of the following thoughts …

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Trained or Gifted?

A few posts back I promised to try to answer the question How can we recognize teaching gift?

In one sense the title of this post represents a false dichotomy: why not be both trained AND gifted? In fact, many gifted men are trained, whether in Bible schools, seminaries or less commonly through private mentoring, or discipling. Still, there is a distinction to be made between what can be supplied by a seminary (good study habits, recognition of logical fallacies, general principles of homiletics, familiarity with Greek and Hebrew, etc.) and what can only be supplied by the Holy Spirit of God.

It is the latter set of qualities I’d like to consider.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Witnessing and Misdirection

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Top 10 Ways To Argue Like A Christian

The internet is full of people arguing.

Yes, I know, the sun also rises in the east. Humans breathe air. Tell me something slightly less obvious.

Okay. The internet is full of Christians arguing. Some of us do it well. Some do it really, really badly. And the thing is, Christians shouldn’t argue like unbelievers. When you know the Lord Jesus, you have access to a weapon nobody but a believer can wield: the word of God, which is:
“… living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
There isn’t a more effective weapon forged, assembled or built in a lab in the history of the human race.