Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why Bother?

It is clear, if you have been following this blog, that I think a lot about the baptism in the Spirit. The question arises, why bother? What is the big deal?

I have been a Christian now for 40 years. I find that the thing I miss the most is the kind of immediacy of the Spirit that I experienced and witnessed in the first years of my journey. I miss seeing many people come to Jesus hungry for all that Jesus offers. I miss seeing people by the hundreds want to burn every and any bridge in order to serve Jesus. I miss those silly mistakes that were made because someone stepped out on to the water like Peter did only to find that even when they go beyond their faith Jesus is still there to rescue them.

Today's church seems to me to be more interested in fitting in with society than believing the gospel. Christians were never socially accepted unless they were the ruling power. Even though someday I know that we will rule, that time awaits the coming of our King. We will reign and rule with Him.

The baptism in the Spirit has the potential to blast people out of their conforming cultural complacency into the rule of the kingdom of God. This faith filled life that is entered into by a willing abandonment of the concern for how we look to ourselves and others has had a bad reputation. So many people have done harm to others because they were unconcerned with how others felt that now few want to go anywhere near this kind of abandonment.

I think that the mistake was made in what our focus became. We were so interested in seeing others come to Jesus and be filled with the Spirit as we were that we forgot that the chief goal of all this was the power to show real love. That was too hard though. We would rather tell people our version of the gospel and leave it with that, not wanting to actually spend the time to love that person.

The day is upon us when neither an emergent rehashed liberal social gospel, or a powerless Evangelicalism, or a provincial Pentecostalism will do. Not a new kind of Christianity as Maclaren wrote, but Spirit filled, supernaturally powerful, loving Christians are what is needed.

This is why I think so much about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. A Christianity without the power is not the Christianity that is needed. But since so many Christians are unaware or willingly ignorant of this power, I had hoped that if I could understand how to correctly teach it I would be able to help others of my brothers and sisters who have not yet received what is theirs in Christ would then be able to. Only God knows if I have succeeded.


Frances said...

As I see it, the Holy Spirit has been poured out since Pentecost but it is a matter of turning around to face Him fully so that He can invest Himself in our lives as fully as is possible. That is a daily process that may begin in some as a crisis experience but in others it is a growing awareness that brings a sensitivity to the love of the Father flowing into and out of everyday life. I am not so stuck anymore on demanding that a person have a crisis experience as I wait to see how Love Himself manifests in a life.

Steven Ganz said...

I too am not concerned about a crisis experience with the Holy Spirit. Just an experience would be the thing. When I was baptized in the Spirit it came at a time of prayer when I felt before the Lord that I should feel some sorrow for my many sins, but I felt nothing. So I said to the Lord, "What a schmuck I am, I cannot even cry." Only then, in my dryness and weakness, did the Lord fill me with His Spirit. Not exactly a crisis. But as you say Frances, the Holy Spirit is poured out. May we all drink deeply the drink of life we are offered.

Sharon Outlaw Hillam said...

I loved this: "Christianity without the power is not the Christianity that is needed." Yes!

You said if I've been reading your blog...I haven't. I just found your blog a few moments ago by doing a Google Blog Search on "The Baptism of the Holy Spirit." And why was I doing that? Long story.
Short answer: my husband and I--Spirit-Baptized believers of many years--are in a very remote location in TX, "doing" house church with mostly non-Spirit-Baptized believers...and earnestly praying for one of two things: 1, He gloriously pours His Spirit out on these believers or 2, He allows us the opportunity to lead some "pre-Believers" to become Spirit-filled Believers...or maybe even #1 AND #2! :-)

When I have time, I'll check out your previous posts. God bless you in your ministry to Him.


Steven Ganz said...

Well Sharon, may the Lord Himself graciously and lavishly pour out His Spirit upon you all!