Where did the Holy Spirit go?

Vandyck69Anthony van Dyck. The Descent of the Holy Spirit c. 1618-20

The older and wiser I get the more I lose interest in the mere technique of ministry. The more I thirst for the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit.

It seems God has had me on a long journey of learning to trust him in weakness. Learning that he is sufficient. Check out: As good as it gets? and Home again.

Now I sense the call to move beyond the theme of my weakness to rediscover the power of the Holy Spirit for mission. So what does one do?

Well, I booked myself into the refresh conference at St Marys for two days and soaked up everything that God was doing. I've spent the last week fasting and praying with Michelle.

Gordon Fee's Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God has been a goldmine.

I've started reading and praying through the book of Acts with the help of a good commentary by John Stott.

I've tracked down a couple of other titles: “The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke” (Roger Stronstad) and “The Acts of the Holy Spirit: Tracing His Work in the Early Church, Discerning His Life-Giving Presence Today” (Arthur T. Pierson).

I've been surprised at how little attention the Holy Spirit gets in both general theological discussion and surprisingly, in writings on mission.

The Emerging-Missional church is pretty quiet on the work of the Holy Spirit. In recent times the Southern Baptist hierarchy has taken a stand against missionary candidates who speak in tongues privately. I guess the Apostle Paul and the Twelve can go elsewhere.

Sydney Anglicans are fond of describing charismatic and Pentecostal groups as preaching a “gospel plus equals gospel minus” message. Ironically those same charismatic-Pentecostal movements—at least in Australia—are domesticating their experience of the Spirit as they move to the cultural mainstream.

I feel so good now. I've just offended everyone I can think of.

Seriously, why is the work of the Holy Spirit such a problem for us? At our moment of crisis in the West, why must we domesticate the Spirit of the living God?

Whether we're Emerging-Missional, or Reformed, or contemporary Pentecostal—somehow as Westerners we feel we can work it out on our own.

Meanwhile wherever you see the dynamic and dramatic expansion of the Christian movement, you'll find both Biblical orthodoxy and a supernatural worldview. Oh, by the way, those movements just happen to be outside the Western world.

See: Christianity moves “south”

As the church in the West continues to decline, why are we so far from the Biblical norm when it comes to the dynamic, empowering presence of the Holy Spirit?

Great question. Before I answer, I want to spend some time alone with God in His Word, perhaps there is a fresh work the Holy Spirit wants to do in me. I'm thirsty, and I can't work it out on my own.

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