Loving God, Equipping People, Mentoring Leaders, Reaching Nations
An earlier entry in response to one of my blogs mentioned a specific denominational name. I removed it – edited it right out – which is my perrogative as it is my blog. I wrote the man who had responded to my blog and explained why. he was fine with it and thanked me for correcting him.
The night before I had been talking with a Christian from a Network or group of churches that is not favourable theologically to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. More to the point – it is just not in their paradim as believers. From their historical perspective they cannot see what it is that I am involved in. I don’t think they are negative towards us. In fact, in the past couple of years I have had a number of great and open conversations with several leaders from this group of churches.
Now – up front let me tell you – I am born again, Baptized in the Holy Spirit, a tongue talker who flows in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and holds a role or ministry function within the five-fold ministry of the Church as outlined in Ephesians 4:11.
But, we need to work with our fellow believers seeking common ground. Then we can then work together to see the Church fulfill its mandate and the world saved. Our common ground is our recognition that Jesus is the Saviour and came to pay the penalty for our sins (death) and as a result we can now receive forgiveness and cleansing from our sin and rebellion against God. This is the message of the Bible. The basics of our faith. You don’t need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit to go to Heaven; just in relationship with Jesus, born again. Let’s major on the majors and not on the minors.
If our fellow believers are open to hearing what we believe about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, the power to witness, and the gifts and callings – fine! Great, in fact. My new friends are open to hearing. We shared, laughed together, ate a wonderful meal, talked about Jesus the whole time, discussed scriptures about the baptism with me encouraging them to be like the Bereans (Acts 17:11) and check out what I was telling them to the Bible. The Bible, afterall, is our only authority.
It’s God’s Church and His Word. Don’t be pushy. Let people sort through their thoughts and check things out for themselves. God will lead them – He promised to do that for all His children and not just for the Spirit-filled ones. Relax and let God do what He does best. We are not dealing with issues of Heaven and Hell here. We have settled that already by repenting with godly sorrow and being saved.
I would say that many of the things that divide us and cause us, as the posting to my blog did, to be critical of a specific group are really the things that are temporal and not eternal. Before you get mad – hear me out. We trip over tongues as a manifestation of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Well, it is one but only one. Acts 19:1-7 tells us that another equally important and prominent one should be prophecy. But again, they are only temporal. When Jesus returns or we die and go to Heaven it says that then tongues will cease as will prophecy. So, it is an important feature of the Spirit-filled life but not one worth slandering another group of believers about. They are temporary gifts not directly affecting our salvation.
I love some of the teachings of Dr. John MacArthur and yet he does not believe in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gifts as I do. And, he is good friends with Dr. Jack Hayford of the Four Square Churches who is a tongue-talking, Spirit-filled, Charismatic believer. Ah, this is the Kingdom as it should be.
Let’s stop being critical of other believers and groups of believers and invest that time and energy in getting to know one another, celebrating our common heritage and faith as born again believers. Let’s invest the same amount of emotion, time, and energy in letting the billions upon the planet we call Earth know about the Saviour they have yet to hear about and certainly do not know.
We need all the workers in the harvest field cooperating and working together in harmony and unity.
So, slow on the criticism and finger-pointing. For the world will know we are His disciples because we love one another.