Sunday, February 27, 2011

Terry Virgo on the Spirit-Filled Church

This is a further interview between Simon and Terry Virgo on the life of the Spirit in church. I have transcribed two outstanding short interviews on the baptism of the Holy Spirit - a key doctrine abandoned by many churches sadly these days - here and here. But the mistake that many made in the charismatic movement of the 1970's was to believe that the experience and encounter with the Holy Spirit was a personal feeling for them as individuals and did not play out in mission or church life.

Here is the interview - the video is below;

Simon Virgo: How does that affect church life when different people experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit and how would you want it to affect church life?

Terry Virgo: Well I think it is important because the church is the place where the Holy Spirit dwells. We are told in Ephesians 2 that the church is the "dwelling place of God in the Spirit".

So the church should be open to the phenomenal manifestation of the Presence of the Holy Spirit.

So for me when I was first baptised in the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the Charismatic Movement - some would say well that is a private experience. And they would use expressions like; "You now have your private prayer language" and you may want to do that somewhere but don't mess with the church!

Simon: Why weren't you satisfied with that?

Terry: Well because the Presence of the Spirit is our huge privilege and it says that the manifestation of the Spirit is for the common good. So it is for all of us together to experience the Presence of the Spirit with us! We are not meant to live in a church where the Spirit is not manifest and then go away to charismatic conferences and then come back to church where there is no manifestation of the Spirit. It is obvious that you gather to the Presence of the Holy Spirit.

Simon: That sense of experiencing the Presence of God and living in the good of that - what does that look like in church life? How would you expect to see that manifested?

Terry: I think that when we come together, we come to the certain promise - Jesus said; "I won't leave you orphans - I will come to you.

So when we come to church and begin to worship - we are looking for the awareness of the Presence of the Spirit here.

I love that song of Matt Redman's that says; "Praise is waiting for you in this place". We are beginning to praise;

And we are waiting for the phenomena of the Presence of the Spirit.

We are not coming just to sing a few songs. We are not coming just to hear preaching. We are coming to meet with Jesus - we are coming to encounter our risen Lord.

Simon: So there is an expectation of an encounter?

Terry: Absolutely! So church without the Presence of the Lord - doing church without Jesus is terribly boring! So we want the manifestation of His Presence!

Simon: I remember you saying before that church can have almost a synagogue-model to it where the synagogue was the place where the people of God gathered to the Book but you would covet rather a Temple-like model where we would not gather to the Book but rather to the Presence of God.

Terry: Absolutely and I think going back to the Psalms and the building of the Tabernacle and then the Temple - this was the privilege of God's people - that God was dwelling among them! That glory was among them - that is what it is to be God's people!

This is what makes us distinct - His Presence is with us!

Synagogues were initially built when Israel was taken into captivity. They were away from the Temple and they build synagogues around the sacred Scriptures, to retain their distinctives, to remember the teachings and the promises - of course. But NOW - we are His Temple since Jesus came - He was the Temple - and now we are the Temple of His Presence. His Presence is manifestly with us.

So we are not looking for synagogue life as you say - we are looking for Temple life where ANYTHING can happen. God is with us!

4d. Baptism into Christ and the Holy Spirit from Terry Virgo on Vimeo.

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