Jack Deere, PhD was an Old Testament professor at Dallas Theological Seminary when he felt challenged through a series of events to examine his theology regarding the ministry of the Holy Spirit today. In his book title Surprised By The Power Of The Spirit, Deere writes:
“If you take a new convert, who prior to his conversion knew nothing about the history of Christianity or the New Testament, and you lock him in a room with a Bible for a week, he will come out believing that he is a member of a body that is passionately in love with the Lord Jesus Christ and a body that consistently experiences miracles and works miracles. It will take a clever theologian with no experience of the miraculous to convince this young convert differently.”
So often we allow our experiences and past to dictate how we view God and his Kingdom. The reality for many is they were trained with both conscious and unconscious walls being built up that keep them blocked from understanding the fullness of the Holy Spirit. It isn’t necessarily that they are intentionally shutting God out. Many avoid the full ministry of the Holy Spirit from a desire to honor God; forgetting all the while they are limiting the Holy Spirit who is God .
This isn’t a call for everyone to start speaking in tongues (though I will cover that in a blogpost eventually). It is a call to reexamine how the Holy Spirit operates among his people.
John 15:26-27 (ESV)
26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
If Jesus was truly sending us the Helper from our heavenly Father who is the Spirit of Truth then it doesn’t make much sense to push the fullness of Scripture away. The Gospels and the book of Acts demonstrate to the believer exactly how Jesus operated in ministry and exactly how Jesus continued his ministry through the early believers.
Miracles, signs and wonders, healings, radically changed lives, racial and cultural boundaries crossed and destroyed, economical barriers overcome with generosity, and gender divisions mended. These were the norm of the early Christianity. What has things changed? Deere offers a genuine explanation:
“There is one basic reason why Bible-believing Christians do not believe in the miraculous gifts of the Spirit today. It is simply this: they have not seen them. …It often goes unnoticed that this appeal to history either past or present is actually an argument from experience, or better, an argument from the lack of experience.” (p. 55)
My challenge to you today is to reopen the Gospels and the book of Acts. As much as possible read them as if your were encountering Scripture for the very first time. Read them as truth. Ask the Spirit of Truth to teach you how he operated. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Allow him to show you how he was doing things yesterday (the early church), today (the present church), and forever (the future of the church). Invite him to reveal to you a new experience; one that gives room for him to be fully God in your life.
Come, Holy Spirit!