Saturday, September 22, 2007

Holy Spirit and Adventist Futures

Traditionally Seventh-Day Adventists have been afraid of the Holy Spirit. Only in recent years have ministers and some church members opened up by talking comfortably and frequently about the Holy Spirit. Most of the time only a passing mention is made of the Holy Spirit. With Christ being physically absent for 2,000 years it's odd that we don't speak more of the physical reality of the Spirit in our churches and in our lives. Some ultra-conservative minister-bloggers have even counseled against the "Cult of the Holy Spirit" which has existed during different ages of Christianity and, no doubt, exists in some Christian churches now. It would be an electrifying and life-changing experience if Adventists also experienced the cult of the Holy Spirit in a controlled manner. I'm not talking about Charismatic Adventists, although if such Charismata were genuine and life-changing, would that be such a bad thing, really?

I've witnessed so-called Charismatic Christians in action. Some have been obviously feigned experiences which speak ill of the people in question. Others, however, were more loving and life-affirming than any Adventist congregation I've ever experienced, and I've experienced the full gamut of Adventist congregations: Conservative Spanish, Mainstream black Adventists, Ultra-Progressive Adventists, Collegiate Adventists, Ultra-Conservative "Yuchi Pines" types, and conceptual Adventists. None of them had the vitality, except for an occasional fluke, that I've experienced in Pentecostal church gatherings.

We worry about the dwindling numbers of young people in the North American and European churches. If an Adventist Cult of the Holy Spirit genuinely manifested itself in our churches, think of the joy and transformation we'd see among our young people, as well as in other age groups of the Adventist church. We’d see this first here and in Europe and eventually everywhere.

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