Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Terry Virgo - Brighton 2005 - On the Holy Spirit.

In conducting this series on "The Kingdom of God becomes Reality Through the Holy Spirit" - I was reminded of the powerful conclusion that Terry brought to his 1st message in his two-part series on Gideon at the Brighton Leadership Conference in 2005. It is available from Newfrontiers here. In listening to it again I decided to transcribe the relevant section. It fits in beautifully with what Dr Ern Baxter is arguing for!

"It says in verse 34, "So the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon. He blew a trumpet and the people were called together to follow him". The Spirit of the Lord! The book of Judges is really about people who are distinctive because they are clothed with power. That's what made them stand out - there was a "coming upon" them of the Holy Spirit. It wasn't because their father was king before them. The only thing that marked them out was the clothing of the Spirit upon them. The Spirit came upon Samson and the Spirit came upon Jephtha. The Spirit came upon and clothed Himself. He clothed Gideon - there came that energy from heaven! And we mustn't lose our longing and expectation of clothing with power from on high!

We mustn't get confused. We mustn't say "Well we're charismatic because we have an overhead or a guitar". We need to know that energy factor. We need to make sure that people are experiencing the "coming upon" of the Holy Spirit - God's Spirit falling upon us and energising us and strengthening us. And God wants you to make you to make sure that you know that the Spirit of God has come upon you. That God has met with you. That you're not vague about this. This is God's wonderful provision for His church! In the Old Testament, isolated individuals - a king, one of the judges, a priest, a prophet - they're just isolated rare individuals who knew this high privilidge. But in our generation, in the last days, "I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh - your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions". God is expecting to clothe a whole community with power from on high. So that as we gather, as we go with Him, we can see phenomenal things taking place so that we can give evidence that God is amongst us! His Presence is with us!

Let's not water down our anticipation of the Spirit of God in our life and experience. And even as we're here together to know what it is to have the power of God amongst us in our church lives, in our individual lives. To know what it is to be clothed with another power, another force - nothing to do with us. This which has come down out of heaven is God's gift to us. This is a thing that marked out those judges and it marked out Gideon".


ABWPD said...

I love Terry. He just isn't afraid to say exactly what he means and exactly what is the passion of his heart - which is to see more of the Spirit of God come down upon the church.

I think the word "confused" is very very significant here. I wonder how much of that was for the benefit of certain speakers who approved papers released trying to explain why the baptism of the Spirit and it's timing isn't really necessary for church life?! ;)

James B said...

Thats a bit cryptic! Who and what paper do you mean?

ABWPD said...


THAT paper.

Olls said...

That paper was an interesting release. I don't know how many people know of the context. It shot out just before I left SGM, and I got a tape from the Leadership SGM Conference where Mahaney officially "launched" it. The paper had his official blessing, and one particular comment caught my attention and it should be borne in mind when reading it.

Mahaney said;

"If the Presence of the Spirit in your church is quenched, dont blame us (Mahaney, Harvey, Shank, Detweiler), don't blame this paper" - direct quote.

Note - I am not passing judgement on what I think this meant - I am just including in the discussion.

james b said...

How did you find out all about that? That's very interesting. I just keep re-reading that paper and I just don't quite "get" why it is even necessary. I've never ever heard of the downgrade of a doctrine that you've believed in and taught before just so that people will feel comfortable in your ranks!

Baxter's Boy said...

I want to bring the conversation off the "when" question and more onto the "what" question. I think this is the aim of what Terry was saying at Brighton.

Interestingly enough I heard a very fascinating account when I was driving into work this morning and listening to the CD of Terry's "Half Time Team Talk" that he gave in Switzerland in 2003. He recounted how he was at the SGM Celebration Conference Mid-South in 2001 and after his sermons, two seperate people came upto him and both said:

"It seems you believe in an experience of the Holy Spirit after conversion"

He said yes of course. The first was desperate to receive such a blessing and so Terry prayed for him and he received the Spirit and spoke in tongues.

The second lady wasn't sure she believed "the theology" and so Terry wouldn't pray for her. His point being he wanted her to get the theology right and sorted before he would pray for her.

This fascinated me and startled me somewhat because it seems that we are slipping back into a culture where the question is once more; "We have not even heard of the Holy Spirit" - or however you translate it.

I don't particularly care anymore about the "when" factor as long as the direct Scriptural teaching is given that the "coming upon" of the Holy Spirit is a glorious experience and inheritance for every child of God. And my concern is that if there is "confusion" as Terry called it, then the tendency is to not address it at all, rather than hold fast to the teaching of the Bible.

James B said...

Yah that's fair enuf. Good points. Very good points. You've made me think!

Anonymous said...

Yes but I would argue that you cannot really and truly seperate the "When" question from the "What" question. I remember hearing Dr David Martyn Lloyd-Jones argue a profound piece of logic in his series of sermons on John 1:26,33.

He argued that ... if you agree that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an experience (which I think all who take the New Testament seriously must), then go on to insist that it MUST occur simultaneously with regeneration as well as automatically then you are arguing de facto that every Christian who has a silent, non-experiential conversion is NOT a Christian BECAUSE they did not have an experience.

And that, he insisted, "is a very cruel thing".

If the great Dr Lloyd-Jones insisted and argued that, then I think we must take his logic seriously.

Dr S A J Burgess

jul said...

Can you be saved without experiencing the Holy Spirt? This is a real question that I would be interested in hearing answers for. Would it be cruel to assume that if someone has not had an experience with God then maybe we should question their salvation? Reaffirming a false assurance seems crueler to me, however, I'm assuming it would be impossible to be born of the Spirit without experiencing something and knowing that you have experienced something (whether dramatic or not). Mavbe I've misunderstood the above logic from Lloyd-Jones and he's referring to the specific experience of Baptism in the Spirit, but he seems to be saying that conversion does not necessarily involve an experience with God. I don't think I can buy that.

Baxter's Boy said...

I think Dr Lloyd-Jones would distinguish between regeneration and conversion. Regeneration is what he would have called that secret work of the Holy Spirit where He begins a process in our lives in drawing us to God. That is a secret work that we are not aware of and probably couldn't state when it started.

Conversion is that act where we realise the irresistable call and draw of God and respond to Him pleading with Him to save us. THAT can indeed be a vital experience. But not necessarily.

So I think Dr Lloyd-Jones was arguing against those who say that the baptism of the Spirit occurs at regeneration. He saw the vast chasm between the amazing experiential descriptive accounts of the baptism of the Spirit in Acts and the Epistles, and then what the Bible has to say about regeneration.

Can you be saved without experiencing the Holy Spirit? Good question. Yes if you mean can you be a question without that sealing or baptism of the Spirit of power. No if you mean an awareness of His gentle but resolute convicting work of sin and a love and deep appreciation for Christ and His finished work.

That's where I would come from.

James B said...

I can understand that. Yes I think that sometimes we use regeneration and conversion almost as simultaneous words so I think it is helpful to seperate them out and acknowledge that the Spirit of God is present and key in beginning the work to awaken us from the dead.

And it is encouraging because it kind of knocks on the head the Pentecostal divide of those who are not baptised in the Spirit have nothing of the Spirit! Well that cant be because how else did they become Christians?!

jul said...

Thanks both of you. That was very helpful to me in understanding more. I am currently trying to believe in the baptism as a subsequent work, but am not quite fully convinced yet. I have to say though, I'm becoming increasingly convinced and ironically I think my own experience lines up with this. I just want to truly be convinced from Scripture by God. All of these kinds of discussions are so good for me.

Baxter's Boy said...

You're so right I think to look to be convinced by Scripture. I must admit when I heard that account of Terry Virgo when he was at Celebration Mid-South and he said he wouldn't pray for that woman because she wasn't quite convinced, I was quite surprised!

But as I understand it the only qualifications for receiving the Holy Spirit are found in the words of Jesus - "if anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink".

There's another text to me which argues against the automatic - nonexperiential argument by the way. How can you be thirsty and come to the Lord to drink without being aware of it?

But if you aren't fully persuaded then that could affect your thirst I guess. But it's interesting that you mention that your own experience lines up with this. To me that demonstrates the sovereignity of the Spirit - that sometimes He will act of His own accord without the theology lining up perfectly!!

A challenge to those of us who are guilty of "smug orthodoxy" and don't think the Spirit will act on people who are non-Calvinists and non-Reformed. What rubbish!