The Spookification of the Spirit, part 2

Baptist Vices

The “Spookification” of the Spirit, part 2

In our last edition, I addressed a Baptist vice which I named the “spookification” of the Spirit.  In it, I used examples from the charismatic movement and how they have distorted the relationship and work of the Holy Spirit.  In this issue, I’d like to zero in more on independent Baptist. Sadly, we do some of the same things that charismatics do.

First, too much emphasis is put on an experience that some famous pastor had in his life.  Young preachers look at churches that exploded in growth and desire the same thing. Instead of seeking God’s Word for what they are supposed to do, they study the life of the man who pastored the church or the evangelist who was winning many to the Lord to see what experience they had to gain this explosion of power.  These pastors end up living defeated lives because they don’t have a large exploding ministry, and they continually look for some mystical experience instead of obeying the Bible.  As a result, they’re not being filled with the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to work in their lives like the Bible teaches.

As Baptist, we have no problem sharing the meme “I’d rather be hated for telling the truth than be loved for spreading lies”, which includes a picture of a lone preacher and Joel Osteen with his large crowds. Yet, it’s exactly what we look for to see if we have the power of the Holy Spirit. Large crowds!  We even judge fellow independent Baptist pastors that have large crowds and deem them to not have the power of the Holy Spirit even though they have large crowds because we “know” they got those crowds from another method then the power of the Holy Spirit.  Confusing, isn’t it? 

One question to ask, was Paul not filled with the Holy Spirit’s power when he preached in Athens? That was a large city and he preached to a large crowd. Yet, the Bible tells us there weren’t very many believers. According to some of our fellow Baptist, he must not have had the power that day.

Another problem that arises from looking to only an experience is that some pastors start believing because they had a time where the Holy Spirit worked mightily in their church that they officially are endued with power from on high and so they can ignore all the rest of the fruits of the Spirit listed in the Bible.  Things such as love, joy, peace, long suffering, temperance… Those are just for the lowly church members who haven’t had the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on their life.  Galatians 5 does not say “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, many, many souls saved in one meeting, joy, explosive church  growth, peace, no teen problems,  longsuffering, (You really don’t need long suffering, because you won’t have to be patient with new believers because they will automatically grow and be bus captains within a couple months) gentleness, offerings will always high, goodness, no family problems, faith, meekness,, temperance (except when you’re very angry): against such there is no law.   Anyone who reads that knows that’s utterly ridiculous. However, it’s a trap we can fall into when we’re not studying all of what God’s word tells us about His Spirit.  Sadly, some pastors have gone so far in believing in some experience that they’ve allowed known sin to be in their lives and have excuse it away because of some mystical experience.

Many have felt such defeat that they’ve reverted to tricking folks to gain false professions so that they believe they are a success to God.  We uplift men like Adoniram Judson because we know the end of the story. However, I’m afraid there would be a whole lot of us that would have been criticizing him for years. We would know for sure he did not have the power of the Holy Spirit in his life!

I point out these errors not saying that I do not believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. That would be utterly false. I couldn’t do ministry that I do without His power.  I like this quote by C. H. Spurgeon:

“Jesus Christ said in John 14:12, 16, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Jesus of Nazareth was anointed of the Holy Spirit. Now then, if Jesus Christ, the great founder of our religion, needed to be anointed of the Holy Spirit, how much more our ministers?”

Yes, we need the anointing of the Holy Spirit on our life; nevertheless, that doesn’t take away from the everyday emptying myself of sin and weights, and filling myself with the Spirit.  It doesn’t take away from the fact that I could be grieving the Holy Spirit or even worse, quenching Him.  When I only look to an experience, I am disregarding God’s Holy Word and his commands about my relationship with His Spirit.

All these passages were listed in my last article. I will just give the references now. Please study them. 

John 1:12-13; John 3:5-8; Acts 2:38; Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Titus 3:5

Examine your life. Every day, are you filling your life with the Holy Spirit?  Are you emptying yourself of pride, sin, weights that pull you down?  Are you careful not to grieve or quench Him? Then believe God’s Word!  Rest upon God’s promise! Live a life of fulfillment being used of God.