Sunday, May 20, 2007

Baptism in Spirit Evidenced by Gifts

I had the tremendous joy of listening to all of Jesse's podcasts on "Prophetically Speaking" yesterday while I was preparing the Sunday lunch for my family. If anyone hasn't visited them yet - I urge you to go do it! Of particular interest to me was his session reporting on Brent Detweiler's day at the SG Pastor's College on the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit". It occured to me that since the Charismatic Renewal days of the 1970's - the issue of the baptism of the Spirit seems (to me anyway in the UK) have dropped off the Christian radar. I wonder if it is because of the increasing interest in the Third Wave emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit or maybe a desire for unity with cessationist brethren hence ... "let's not discuss it".

Anyhow I am extremely grateful to Jesse for putting it back on the agenda, and in the interests of our "Charismatic blogging resurgence" I have been reading a book by Professor Howard Ervin called "These are not drunken as ye suppose". I think it's out of print but I found it in a second hand bookshop in Bristol for 10p! There is a lot of vital material in there, and I might post a full book review later but for now I wanted to post this quote because he touches on something quite obvious that I haven't thought of before and it will fit in perfectly with Jesse's slogan; "the conduit of earnest desire". So here's the quote from Professor Ervin;

"We have argued from Scripture that the baptism in, and the fulness of the Spirit are synonymous; and furthermore, that a charismatic dimension is evidence of the Holy Spirit's fulness. Consistency dictates then that the continuing manifestations of this charismatic dimension are abiding evidence of the Spirit's fulness in Christian experience. Consequently the nuture of these charismatic manifestations "edifies", that is to say, maintains the charismatic flow of the Holy Spirit's fulness. Nor have we improved upon Paul's simple formula; "stir up the gift of God, which is in thee through the laying on of my hands".

I think what he is arguing is that while the classical Pentecostal position of "baptism evidenced by tongues" isn't quite accurate - it IS correct to expect that when a believer is baptised in the Spirit he will utter some form of charismatic manifestation - i.e the gift of tongues, prophecy, word of knowledge and so forth. But what struck me about Ervin's quote is that consistency demands that the evidence of continued fulness of the Spirit then surely is - continued exercise of the charismatic gifts that the sovereign Spirit has bestowed upon that believer.

And that makes sense to me! If the Spirit of God gives a gift such as prophecy to the believer to edify the church and if the "gifts and calling of God are irrevocable" then we cannot attribute the downgrading of that gift to anything but slackness and worse, quenching of the Spirit. So the question is - have we received any gifts from God? Have we received the baptism of the Spirit? When was the last time that you or I shared that gift in the local church for their corporate edification? Let's be about it!! And if it has been a while since you or I last prophesied or spoke in tongues or gave a word of knowledge, then let's heed Paul's command in Scripture to "stir up the gift that is within you through the laying on of my hands".

PS: The picture is a very wonderful shirt which I will be buying when I get paid from Jesse's merchandise store! I am thrilled that he has agreed to ship international - so if anyone wants to come in on a bulk buy then let me know! I love it. Let's be proud of our charismatic heritage - but let's make sure it isn't just a heritage but a living, daily experience of God!

3 comments:

jul said...

THAT is a great shirt!!! And it's so you...

Peter Day said...

I love that shirt. Put me down for 1 large, please!

I can't wait to wear it at Together on a Mission!

JamesB said...

Me too!! Me too!! One small please!! :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

oh sorry C. J .... ;)