A while ago I went to a wedding. The bride looked beautiful, the groom had actually showered, the music was great and there was a lot of happiness to be shared around. It was a Christian wedding and so there was the usual Bible readings, sermon, prayers which were all Gospel centered. I was talking to an old friend of mine after the service and he pointed out that there wasn’t one mention of the Holy Spirit in the service. Not one.
Another time I had a conversation with a pastor who told me he was sad a particular minister was leaving town. When I asked why he replied “Because he is interested in the things of the Holy Spirit.” I was taken aback. Shouldn’t he have said he was interested in proclaiming Jesus?
We Evangelicals have reacted against the excesses of the some brothers and sisters in the church who are not only spirit filled Christians but Spirit centered Christians. But we have reacted so strongly that sometimes we are wary of anything that feels charismatic. Some of us over react and therefore we have not defined ourselves by what the Bible says but we define ourselves by what we are against. This means that our preaching and our churches are silent on the Spirit. He is, as Francis Chan has said “the Forgotten God”
Wherever we think about the Holy Spirit we need to heed John Macarthur’s words on the spirit very carefully:
“Two errors regarding the doctrine of the Holy Spirit have clouded the contemporary church’s understanding of His person and ministry. On the one hand, the charismatic movement is obsessed with the Holy Spirit, tending to focus all doctrine and worship on Him exclusively. The danger with an undue stress on the gifts and leading of the Holy Spirit is that personal experience is often elevated over the objective truth of Scripture. On the other hand, many non-charismatics tend to ignore the Holy Spirit altogether. Perhaps weary of the controversy, confusion, and subjectivity of the charismatic movement, too many have responded by going to the opposite extreme. They simply avoid the Holy Spirit in their teaching and study.”
John Macarthur, The Silent Shepherd: The Care, Comfort and Correction of the Holy Spirit.
Are you and your church more likely to fall into Charismatic errors or Conservative Evangelical errors when it comes to the Holy Spirit?
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