I did not plan to have a discussion about baptism of the Holy Spirit. But what was I going to do, say “OK, let’s talk about experiencing God’s power and love some other time, right now let’s watch the movie”?
Some highlights of our discussion:
- Though all believer are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (freaks — one body with two spirits), Scripture indicates that belief and water baptism do not necessarily coincide with “fire baptism” or being submerged in the Holy Spirit.
- Coming to faith in Christ is an internal experience. Immersion in the Holy Spirit is an external experience, something that can be observed by others.
- Even in times of revival when many people are experiencing the Holy Spirit at the same time, there are people who stand there watching and wondering why nothing is happening to them.
- The main act of a believer being immersed in the Holy Spirit is surrender — in particular, relinquishing control over your body. There is a physical element to the experience. It is irrational and emotional. It’s weird.
- People who wonder why nothing is happening to them are usually held back by fear — fear of relinquishing control, fear of the irrational, fear of the emotional, fear of the weird.
- Another reason people may not be experiencing anything is that God wants to do something else first. Some people need to give up trying to earn an experience; it’s a gift. Some people need to be healed of emotional pain that holds them back.
- To receive baptism in the Holy Spirit, it’s important to tell God that you’re open, and that you want more of him.
- Some people have an “anointing”, the ability to impart the Holy Spirit to others. It can be very helpful to find such people.
- At least one member of our group is not certain if they’ve ever experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But I asked everyone else, “When was the last time you experienced this?”
- We are all hungry for more.
It’s one thing to tell people the history of revivals and try to stir something up. But this was completely spontaneous. Is Aslan on the move?
(After this discussion, we did share communion, and prayed for a couple people. And it was getting kind of late, but we watched the movie anyway. I had forgotten how amazing The Miracle Maker is — how the portrayal of events and in particular the portrayal of Jesus seems so natural, so unforced and inviting. I think it’s better than The Passion!)