Friday, June 08, 2018

The Very Personal Power of the Holy Spirit

While traveling the nation, speaking in a wide assortment of congregations, I’ve observed a troubling trend of language that depersonalizes the Holy Spirit. Rather than the supernatural and personal indwelling of God’s Spirit, the vernacular of songs, and even preachers, might lead many to believe that the Holy Spirit is some ethereal “force” that periodically appears, perhaps blowing in from the building’s ventilation system. I get the feeling in many places that we are conjuring up an elusive “it” rather than celebrating and cherishing the transforming power of an indwelling “Him.”

Majority Confusion

According to a recent study by Lifeway Research, 56 percent of evangelical Christians say the Holy Spirit is a force rather than a person. In that same study, 28 percent of responders said the Spirit is a divine being, but not equal to God the Father and Jesus. Only 51 percent disagreed. Twenty-one percent were not sure.1

I am convinced that even among those who intellectually and theologically affirm that the Holy Spirit is a person, many still speak of Him as a “force” that mysteriously arrives from some obscure location. They describe Him in third person language as “The Presence” or a “power” in the atmosphere. I am deeply concerned that the Holy Spirit, even in contexts where His work is emphasized and His presence evoked, has become the “misrepresented God.” Read More

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