On Sunday, we attended Open Door Ministries with my supervisor and her family. We hung out after church for lunch, and had a good time. What was immediately evident about ODM was that they are a “Spirit-filled” church. They definitely believe that the supernatural gifts of the Spirit exist today, especially speaking in tongues and prophecy. They also have a hint of “health and wealth” theology. That wasn’t what frustrated me (I kind of expected it). What frustrated me was thinking about my “tribe”–the churches of Christ/Christian churches.
We must think the Holy Spirit is tired.
When we look in the Bible at the book of Acts, Pentecost was a big deal, and several years later He made a big splash at a dude named Cornelius’ house. The New Testament definitely shows that the Holy Spirit was at work, and not just in the supernatural gifts. He was changing lives and transforming people, who transformed cities. All that effort in the first thirty years of the church’s existence must have worn Him plum out, because in my “tribe” we’ve relegated the Holy Spirit to coming to live in a person at their baptism… and then He just seems to chill out and relax.
I know why that is–we’ve swung the pendulum to the other side of Pentecostalism. We don’t want to be a bunch of “holy rollers” or crazy people who bark like dogs and roll around in the aisles or shout out loud in crazy, nonsensical words. But in the process, we’ve relegated the Holy Spirit to, well, not much at all.
I’m still what the smart guys with PhD’s call a cessationist. I think (and on solid, biblical grounds) that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit (like tongues and prophecy, etc.) were for a limited season in the church–until the death of the twelve apostles and the completion of the writing of the Bible. It’s not that He can no longer do it–it’s simply how God chose to do things. With the completion and distribution of the Bible, the miraculous gifts (which acted like scafolding until the Bible could be completed) were phased out. However, the Holy Spirit is still as active as ever. He’s changing people, making them holy, leading them to take kingdom-sized risks, and is involved in some phenomenal movements of kingdom expansion around the globe.
So, I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated that I was never taught or guided how to listen to the Holy Spirit outside of reading the Bible (which I still believe is His primary way of communicating to us). It’s been a tough road, but I’m learning how to listen for His prompting.
So how can we allow the Holy Spirit to do His thing and be more open to His working in our lives?