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Monday, February 21, 2011

Learning from experience

Picture the following scenario. You are going to build a new church building from the ground up. You need to hire an architect. Cost is not a consideration so you are not looking to “go cheap”. You could choose a veteran architect with twenty plus years experience or you could choose a young architect right out school who has no experience but he has studied the latest trends and architectural theories. Whom would you pick?

Likewise, if during the construction a problem arises with a structural issue, who are you going allow to instruct your contractor as how to proceed, a young trainee right out of school or an experienced seasoned structural engineer who has solved many problems like this? Whom would you choose?

In each case, a person with reasonable common sense would choose an experience person over someone that has only studied and practiced from a book, which brings me to the place of my immediate concern. I listen to sermons and teaching downloads when my work does not require most of my attention. I listened to a recording today about gifts of the Holy Spirit, a teaching on I Corinthians 12. Before I start I want to say I have been functioning in the gifts of the Holy Spirit for more than thirty years and I am aware there are many problems with different teachings on the Gifts.

My concern today is there are many people who teach about the Gifts and the spiritual applications when they have never functioned in the supernatural operations of the Holy Spirit. Most have learned their Holy Spirit doctrines in college and have never progressed beyond those teachings. In effect, we have people who teach in churches, schools and universities, propagating the same ideas to their student, which amounts to teaching them not to use the gifts of the spirit. They are teaching their students unbelief. To teach that the gifts no longer function or to minimize the Holy Spirit gifts (teach that the gifts are just enhanced natural abilities) is to teach unbelief.

If someone says the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are not in operation today he is probable correct. They are not operational in him because he lives in unbelief. He receives what he believes. The sad part is he teaches that unbelief to others. Just as Jesus could not heal many in His hometown because of their unbelief the Holy Spirit cannot work through those who accept teachings of unbelief.

Read the four gospels. Jesus operated in the spiritual gifts. He taught his disciples how to operate in the spiritual gifts. He taught the seventy how to operate in the spiritual gifts. Then before He ascended, He told His disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit, which would endow then with the supernatural power, the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He told them to teach others what He had taught them. Then the church continued to grow and operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Allow the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and truly see what the bible says. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth. Let Him.

The lesson I heard today from a well-known teacher was more interested in protecting and defending his doctrine and opinions than he was searching for and finding the truth. I could sense a feeling of anger as he opposes theological straw men and their supposed "wrong" views on the Holy Spirit and the Gifts. He was more concerned with showing how right he was than understanding that God gave us the gifts of the Spirit so we could spread His love to the world.

The love chapter is sandwiched right in the middle of two chapters about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts are about love, they are the tools God gave us to show His love, the love that reveals Christ. Take the three chapters in I Corinthians (12, 13, and 14) very seriously. They are not for self-aggrandizing or self-exaltation. Through the gifts, we are able to be true ambassadors for Christ doing the same things He did.

If I were a student of the bible, I would want to hear all there is about the Holy Spirit and His Gifts and lets the Spirit Himself guide me into all truth. For one thing, I would find a teacher who has operated in the Gifts and see what he has to say. I would ask him to take all the points from the theological schoolteacher as questions and explain with scripture his viewpoint and why the difference. I would certainly want to know if the gifts and powers of the Holy Spirit are operating today as they did in the early church. Most of all if they are just available today as they were in the book of Acts, I would want somebody with experience to teach me about them so I become experienced in all that God has and use all the tools of love He made available.


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