The Marginalization of the Holy Spirit – a guest blogger Bill Lewis, apostle of the Lord Jesus and friend of this ministry and me personally.
I was taught that the work of the Holy Spirit, as far as the miraculous was concerned, ended somewhere around the end of the first century when the apostles of Jesus died. It was kind of a slow fade as each one was martyred or died. Dating John’s death concluded the Holy Spirit’s work that started on the day of Pentecost. That was what I was taught. The Holy Spirit was nothing more than the third part of the trinity and no one really described what He did. Theologically He existed, experientially, He was distant at best.
My pursuits and questions began long before there was a Charismatic Movement that I was aware of. Mine began with a book about inner city ministry to teens on drugs and alcohol who were addicted to the point of death. My interest began with teens since I was in youth ministry at the time. Dramatic conversions and complete turn arounds were what I was looking for too. If this Holy Spirit thing could do that for teens in that predicament, then I was all for it.
I came into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit from that angle. I was not birthed out of the Catholic Charismatic Movement or Lutheran or Episcopal. I was looking for power to work with teens. When I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, it was a hard fought battle to overcome the intellectual assaults made against Him. I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in a meeting in the YMCA that met on Sunday afternoons. It was after that experience that I became aware of something going on called the Charismatic Movement.
Movements, Revivals, Restorations, whatever you call them are really God wooing His people to something real that has been lost. The people coming into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit were not being revived or restored; they were finding life for the first time. They were dead, religious, lost, stagnant, or just ignorant of God, as was I. It was not that I was fighting God; I was ignorant. I was more like the ones Paul met who said they had not heard that there was a Holy Spirit.
I am convinced that without God moving sovereignly in matters of the Spirit from time to time, we would not have a church on the face of the earth. Yet, each time Go moves, along come the compromisers. We slowly see the move erode as fakirs, truth prostitution, excesses, and power struggles become uncomfortable and not dealt with biblically. Rather than judge the issues, we allow them to destroy the move. What comes is a plausible appeal to rationality, social acceptance, control for safety, and a slow, but continuous down turn and turn off of anything that smacks of Holy Spirit movement. Then once again, the Book of Acts becomes a piece of history rather than a guidebook for Christianity.
I see it now. Parents who are spirit filled and their children who are not and do not know about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, period. Churches, who are Spirit filled, have not had a sermon or reference to the Holy Spirit for years. Churches, who believe in the gifts, have not had a gift of the Spirit move or happen in their service for months. Pentecostal churches who refuse to allow a message in tongues are becoming more prevalent.
Someone may say you are just an old war horse, but say what you may, the truth is the truth. The Holy Spirit still wants to move, express himself, teach the church, perform His mighty deeds. He will break out somewhere. He has kept the church alive for 2000 years through all kinds of moves. Denominations, cults, teachers, have come and gone, but the church continues to be resurrected and the Holy Spirit breaks out once again. There were those who taught that God is dead, and there are those who continue to try to drive the Holy Spirit out of the church, but neither will happen. God is alive, and the Holy Spirit will move.