This seems to be question week. I’ve got to others that I’ll include over the next cvouple of days. Here’s one that I got this weekend:
I don’t think I tread lightly, but I find a lot of the ‘charismatic language’ has been co-opted by those in the ‘movement’ whose priorities are far less than spiritual and use the terms in ways that are divisive and self-exalting. Thus, I am careful how I use them.
I believe living in the continued and growing fullness of the Spirit is the normal life of the believer. I believe in the present-day value (I would say necessity) of the Spirit’s presence and the gifts. I regularly pray in the Spirit and look for other gifts to be made available through my life and through others as God desires in any situation I am in.
I am not convinced, however, that we are on theologically solid ground when we describe that initial experience as ‘The Baptism of the Holy Spirit’. Scripture uses that term primarily to describe the result of those who are born again in the New Covenant. This is how Jesus works in the heart of every believer. For many of us we were never trained to recognize that initially and had subsequent experiences of yielding to that presence that we have termed ‘the baptism.’ Paul called that ‘being filled’ with the Holy Spirit and described that as an every day reality, not a one-time historical event.
The problem today, 40 years into the so-called renewal, is that we have lots of people who claim to be ‘baptized’ and ‘speak in tongues’, who live self-centered empty lives with no reality in their life in God. They claim to be following the Spirit’s leading when they only manipulate people to their own advantage. I also know many people who wouldn’t claim to have been ‘baptized in the Holy Spirit’ by Charismatic terminology, but who live vibrantly alive in the Spirit’s fullness every day. So, I guess I’ve become less focused on past experience and theological debates and more on the present reality in a person’s life. But if people don’t know how to ‘be continually filled with the Spirit,” or grow in the functional use of gifts God wants to share through them, that may be something they will want to sort out with Jesus. I yearn for more of that reality in my life every day.
Also remember this is the five-minute answer, so there is a lot I’ve left out here!