Spirit and Life

If you belong to the generation that moved to “soul” music you will be aware that the ideals were mostly healthy celebrations of love and peace and good stewardship. Some soul music had no particular moral or spiritual markers. The Church’s soul music seems to have more spirit and often points to the future. Most of us however live with a view to dealing with today’s issues.
The soul of the Gospel message is the Spirit of God, whose unique intervention in human lives began on the Pentecost Festival. Along with manifestations that were entirely in His control the Risen Messiah, Jesus, gave the unmistakable sign of His baptism in speaking-in-tongues (or with tongues, called simply, glossolalia). As with many other truths there have been interpretations and applications that do not acknowledge the value of glossolalia as a sign of life.
The paths that some have taken lead away from the revealed information. The first path is that at conversion people are baptized into the Church, holding that there is no personal evidence, as in the book of acts; one simply takes it on faith that the baptism has occurred. This path equates the act of baptism by Christ with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
The second path insists on making Paul’s teaching on glossolalia in the Church the canon for understanding the meaning and importance of glossolalia. This view does not acknowledge the two-fold function of tongues in the assembled Church, namely self-edification and edification for all when the utterances are translated. This “in-the-church view tries to make glossolalia a tool for (preaching to) unbelievers.
The occurence of glossolalia in the lives of converts and its appearance in a church service are separate issues.
For example, there were no limits on the person who is being baptized by Jesus, but Paul insists that only three at most should be allowed in the church service. The most glaring sample of sucking the soul out of believers’ lives is discarding the apostolic recognition of Holy Spirit baptism (performed by Jesus) as (1) an individual experience and (2) as evidence that God had given life to the recipients.
Whatever variations of Holy Spirit descent we encounter our response should not include throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Do we need to be afraid of believers who have assurance of Christ’s sealing or are we aiming for followers who depend solely on teaching from the pulpit?
The vitality of a baptizing Jesus has disappeared; gone with the notion that there is no sign of such a momentous and promised occurence; gone with the picture of an end to miraculous gifts (because we now have the Bible). The soul is being sucked out of the lives of believers alongside a rise of demonic activity and the church’s tendency of embracing extra-biblical theories about what it means to come to life, be alive, and die. How much soul do you have left?

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry by Dr. Elbert Joseph.