Theology Discussion Question: Holy Spirit

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Theology Discussion Question: Holy Spirit

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:46 pm

Personal experience often plays a significant role in shaping our beliefs about God and scripture. This is especially true with topics like baptism in the Holy Spirit, where scripture sometimes gives us only minimal instruction. Reflect on your experiences with the Holy Spirit. How do you think those experiences have shaped your beliefs and practices? What convictions do you have that aren't exactly spelled out in scripture? Take a paragraph or two to write up your reflections below.

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Re: Theology Discussion Question: Holy Spirit

Post by Brittony on Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:32 pm

Before being baptized in the Holy Spirit, I was convinced that I didn’t need it. Mainly because not only was I confused about Baptism in the Holy Spirit and a little scared of it too. I argued many times that I didn’t need go through that whole process. I believed I had the Holy Spirit at conversion based on verses such as Ephesians 1:13, and John 3:5. Especially in my early years of college, I didn’t think about Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I didn’t grow up with that kind of theology. So even if these verses are suggesting Baptism in the Holy Spirit, I didn’t see that until the end of my time in college. To my understanding you gain the Holy Spirit when you become a Christian, then you have the Holy Spirit no matter what. This is how I would justify not striving to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and to actively not seek the gifts of the Holy Spirit. As Bird says, “There is not template as the Spirit blows and goes where, when, and on whom he wishes.” It makes it challenging from the beginning because the Holy Spirit does whatever He wants. No man can control him or explain him as to why he does the things he does. I feel like for myself I was hesitant to be willing to be baptized in the Holy Spirit because of that unknown. I didn’t know if I could trust Him at that time.


It wasn’t until the World Missions Summit where all of my thoughts and concerns of baptism in the Holy Spirit came to a head in my spiritual life. I remember on the last night, they had the alter call and in my mind I was rolling my eyes because I knew it was coming. However in my heart there was something different. I very much like to think I have a lot of life together, including my spiritual life but when people around me were praying over other people, I remember thinking I didn’t have it together and I had this sense of wanting to be in more submission and obedience to the Lord. I remember trying to find someone to pray with me and they did, it didn’t seem super spiritual, it was actually kind of short and then done with. I didn’t feel different; there wasn’t a warm, fuzzy feeling or anything out of the ordinary. I didn’t speak in tongues right away; nothing was different. It wasn’t until I was in the midst of worship and prayer that I began to belt out words that I had never heard or said before. I knew I was baptized in the Holy Spirit but I’m not entirely sure when that happened. Was it when people laid hands on me? Maybe. Was it when my heart was in the middle of genuine worship? Probably but I don’t know. It did however come as a secondary experience, the Pentecostal way. I do know that the Bible talks about people laying hands on other people and they were filled with the Spirit. I also know that others in Acts were filled with the Spirit without people laying hands on them, like in Acts 2. This is because the Spirit can do whatever He wants because there is not a template. Even I, days after being baptized in the Holy Spirit would try to come up with reason or an order as to why I was baptized. I’ve heard baptism in the Holy Spirit explained as another tool in the tool belt of Christianity. While this might be true, I feel that it and him are so much more. He’s an unending well of wisdom, and insight, and communication with God, the creator of the Earth and everything in and out of it. He expands our capacity to dwell with God mentally and emotionally. I've seen this first hand in my life. In the past year I've felt closer to the Lord than I have my whole Christian life. And if we aren’t baptized in the Holy Spirit we may never be able to see what that is like more fully on this side of Heaven. We may be limiting our understanding of God and who He is and what He wants to give us. To my understanding, now, baptism in the Holy Spirit is not essential to conversion, but it is essential to deeper a relationship with our God.

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Re: Theology Discussion Question: Holy Spirit

Post by kellyrenelantz on Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:14 pm

I came to college knowing very little about the Bible, theology, and the Holy Spirit in general. My core group leaders taught a lesson on it before Fall Breakaway and I remember Derek doing a sermon on it and the various denominations' acknowledgement of the spiritual gifts. I remember thinking it sounded kind of weird, and wasn't quite sure if it was real (mainly because I had never really experienced the exercise with those gifts). I researched a lot and didn't have a lot of opposition to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and was baptized during a break out session at Fall Breakaway. It was something I was still learning to understand, and honestly didn't use my prayer language a ton in the years following my baptism.

I think since World Mission Summit I was reminded of the power the Holy Spirit gives us, and have become more aware of how this influences my every day life, especially in ministry and in sharing the Gospel with others. I think I can in general feel overwhelmed by many people speaking in tongues at once, but I think it's more of a personality/preference thing, not feeling like it is unbiblical, as I think I feel similarly if a bunch of people are all praying in English together. After reading our text, I feel more convicted to consistently pray for the filling of the Spirit, and feel like I still do forget the power of the Holy Spirit, and do not practice speaking in tongues in my prayer time as much as I would like.

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Re: Theology Discussion Question: Holy Spirit

Post by matthewostermeyer on Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:41 pm

Before coming to college I was not a believer and Chi Alpha was my first real experience with the love of Jesus except for one quick week of my life that I went to Springhill. However, no one ever spoke to me about the Holy Spirit before coming to Chi Alpha. While the followers of John in Acts 19 may not have known of Jesus they also had never heard of the Holy Spirit. This was how I felt coming into college and into my encounter with the Holy Spirit. No one had ever spoken to me about the filling of the Spirit and its empowerment for the purpose of proclaiming the gospel.

I went to Fall Breakaway my freshman year and this was the first encounter I had with the Holy Spirit. They taught us from Scripture what the Spirit was and after seeing the evidence of it in Scripture I had an enormous hunger to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit took time to come on me when my core group prayed over me to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. After about 20-25 minutes of praying my body seized up and I couldn't move. I slowly fell to the floor and could not move my body. My friend Alan was terrified by what he saw and my friend Holden who had told me the day before that he didn't believe in speaking in tongues started speaking in tongues during my baptism in the Holy Spirit. It was the most terrifyingly amazing feeling that I have ever felt and no joy like it has ever happened since that day.

I believe that the Spirit comes where it is welcomed and desired by his people. I believe that where there is hunger the Spirit will fill his people(Matthew 5:6). I believe that the Spirit emboldened me that day to spend the rest of my life speaking the truth of the gospel into the lives of those around me. God has since confirmed that calling in my life and has compelled me to many places. I believe that it is the presence of the Spirit in our lives that enables us to do the work of the kingdom and understand the heart of the Father (1 Corinthians 2:8-15).

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Holy Spirit Theology Discussion

Post by lleeson on Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:04 pm

Before coming to XA, I didn’t think of the Holy Spirit that much. I knew He was a part of the trinity but the Holy Spirit was very vague to me. I didn’t think about the Holy Spirit at all. I thought about Jesus and God, and understood they were both God in one, but I thought the Holy Spirit was just a dove that appears here and there or the wind around us. I thought of God as being this large king in the sky, Jesus was the human version of God, and the Holy Spirit was just this mist that was “God all around us”. I know my church would talk about the Holy Spirit and definitely believed in it, yet I never understood what He did or if He did anything today.

When I came to XA, the first service I came to my sophomore year, Derek was speaking on the Holy Spirit. At this time, I was so desperate for healing and purpose in my life, I was open to hearing and accepting a different view of the Holy Spirit. I learned so much about the Holy Spirit that year and actually read the New Testament for the first time that I understood He is just as God as the Father and the Son and we desperately need the Holy Spirit to do any work God calls us to. He is our advocate, our comforter, our connector, our helper to God now that Jesus is raised to Heaven. I’m so thankful for my understanding of the Holy Spirit now.

Even though I was very open when I came to have a personal relationship with God, my background definitely affected my convictions with the Holy Spirit and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I never knew what the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was before XA. I wanted that power and fullness of the Spirit, but when I prayed for it with friends, I didn’t speak in tongues. I focused a lot on tongues, because I thought that was the proof I was filled with the Spirit.
As I learned more through reading Scripture and learning at XA services, I realized the baptism in the Holy Spirit isn’t about tongues. It’s about power you receive through depending more fully on the Holy Spirit. I struggled because if I didn’t speak in tongues, AG would say I am not baptized in the Spirit. This was hard for me because I saw a huge change in my life when I understood grace for the first time, when I understood what Jesus had done for me on the cross, when I truly understood I needed Jesus and wanted to have a true relationship with Him. I felt changed, free, and so on fire. After that moment, I had a hunger to understand the Word, to share the gospel with others, to let go of chains in my past and to begin being sanctified. I stopped worrying so much about what people thought of me and started really walking in the identity God had given me. But, I didn’t speak in tongues. I went for 3 years of praying for this gift, but not receiving tongues.

During our new leaders retreat this past February, Luke spoke about Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I was working on some admin work, but felt like I should listen even though I had heard what he talked about before. Liz came up and shared her testimony of being baptized in the Holy Spirit and doubt she had before being baptized. Derek shared earlier that day about the faith of the Centurion in the gospels and how Jesus marveled at his faith. In that moment I felt what was blocking me from receiving this gift was my doubt. Whenever I would go in and pray for this gift, I had doubt and didn’t believe it would actually manifest. Yet, during Liz’s testimony, I felt a weight release from me. I thought, “I’m not going to doubt anymore. I’m going to believe God will give me this gift and I will pray for it today. And whatever happens, if I speak in tongues or not, I don’t care. I will continue to pray for it and believe God will give it. I don’t want this gift just to say I have it; I want to be more dependent on Him. I want less of me, and more of Him. And if this brings me closer to Him in some way, I truly want it.” I prayed with Jordan after that session, and spoke in tongues. It wasn’t this crazy change in my life, like Peter going and boldly speaking to hundreds of people about Jesus. But I did feel my faith increased. Now when I have doubts, I know they don’t have to have a hold on me and I can choose to believe in the truth, whether I feel it or not.

As for my convictions, I struggle with some things, if I am being completely honest. Based on my experience, part of me feels I was baptized in the Holy Spirit back at Fall Breakaway my sophomore year when I understood grace for the first time and chose to follow Jesus because looking at the fruit of my life, that is when things really started to change. That is when I started to exude fruits of the Spirit and things I would never do in the past, I began to do. Yet, I didn’t speak in tongues. I also struggle with tongues being the only manifestation of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 is one passage that shows the Spirit can be manifested in the gift of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, distinguishing spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. This makes me think that tongues is one of the ways to see someone is baptized in the Spirit, yet, why don’t we look for these other gifts to be shown to see if someone is baptized? Also, verse 11 states that the Spirit gives these gifts to each person “as He wills”. This is hard for me also, since I had such a long time of praying for baptism in the Holy Spirit, it doesn’t seem fitting that I can just receive it when I ask and that all can just get it right away or even at all. God waited to give me this gift, for some reasons I think I understand but others I don’t yet. I think AG believes all can receive baptism in the Holy Spirit/tongues, yet what if God doesn’t think tongues would be good for that person? What if they are seeking for the wrong reasons, and God withholds that gift? These are some things that I struggle with.

Overall, I believe in the baptism in the Holy Spirit, that it is for today, and that it is usually separate from conversion (but could happen at the same time). We should seek it and continually be filled in and be dependent on the Holy Spirit every day. We need to have faith to ask God for the gifts He has for us. He wants us to trust Him and believe He is can “do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20.

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Re: Theology Discussion Question: Holy Spirit

Post by DaneMiles on Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:04 pm

It's been my experience that how people are raised is often the greatest factor in what they believe about God. Everything from parental relationships, hurts, best vacations, friends in school, status, etc. combine to form people's opinions and views about God. In many ways, this has been true of me. I grew up in church and in communities of believers, and had many positive experiences (playing music, good discipleship, etc.). While we went to a few different churches throughout the course of my life, not one would be called charismatic/Pentecostal. Most were non-denominational churches, with a baptist and a United Methodist thrown in as well. Additionally, while my family (siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins) all are Christians, none of them are or have gone to churches that teach of a second filling of the Holy Spirit, of the normative experience of tongues, or any other belief which would differentiate an AG church from other evangelical churches. So, put simply, I didn't grow up around people (that were close to me) that knew or believed in such things.

I should take a moment here to mention that my mom and step-dad are the two most faithful people I grew up around, and neither speak in tongues. They are not hostile, but they would say that it is not a necessary step to have Spirit-power. In fact, I've witnessed my mom receive supernatural words of wisdom and discernment -- things she couldn't have known by her own self. So, I am inclined to believe that she and other members of my family (though not all) are imbued by the Spirit with power.

The one family I did know as a kid who were Pentecostal did not leave a great impression of the theology. While they attended a large AG church in Greenwood, they espoused the belief on multiple occasions that those who don't speak in tongues are not saved. While I now know that is not an AG position, it definitely left me under the impression that most AG churches / Pentecostals subscribed to such a view.

Joining XA as a junior was an awesome and life-changing experience. Never before had I considered that the HS filled a person after conversion, or that there could be a verifiable sign of this. The CMIT program and ISOM classes have continued to teach me about the Scriptural basis for such beliefs.

As of now, while I have earnestly sought the Baptism and the sign of speaking in tongues, I have not spoken as of yet. While I'm not fully certain, I do believe that I have sought it without abandon before, and that God has chosen to not yet give me the gift for some reason (though I'm not sure on this).

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Re: Theology Discussion Question: Holy Spirit

Post by SHKelly on Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:14 am

I was baptized with water when I was 8ish, and I was “baptized” (we’ll see if this is the proper term) in the Spirit when I was twelve. My dad was the Kids Church pastor and one Wednesday he had us all line up and he laid hands and prayed that we would receive. He did give some coaching, such as “just say whatever you feel is coming to mind” and things like that. I remember the two or three syllables that I began to pray still to this day.
Through High School I was on the worship team and our leader was very charismatic. She would speak and sing in tongues in the mic and basically our entire church prayed in tongues during worship. The gifts (1 Cor. 12) were not as normally operative, but praying in tongues certainly was. So, I sang in tongues, and still do, but mainly in any personal times or I do it away from the mic.
College was a time of being cynical and skeptical of all things from my upbringing, and so I stopped speaking in tongues for a while and didn’t view it as very important. I would still do it occasionally in my personal prayer and worship times, but not very much in public. I believe that this was mainly a corrective measure against the potential misuse of my home church.
One major turning point was World Mission Summit. I tend not be very emotive during a worship service if I’m not playing an instrument, but I had a decisive conversation in my head where I said “we’re here to worship, so let’s go at it!” After I made the decision to engage and push in, I experienced the most ecstatic “filling” experience I’ve ever had. I spoke in tongues, but it was beyond my normal prayers. It was fervent and excited.
That experience served to galvanized my feelings towards the gifts and I now practice them more than ever and have had several other experiences similar to that one where the Spirit “came on” me and I had the warmth and compulsion to speak in tongues that people often talk about.
As for how this effects the way I talk about and teach about this, I think I am cautious and reserved when it come to ecstatic public expressions, but am very convinced of the gifts personal use and benefit. I see speaking in tongues as an exercise of faith. You must have faith that the sounds you’re making are from God and that he values them, and by using faith, it grows (1 Cor. 14:4).

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Re: Theology Discussion Question: Holy Spirit

Post by kkuriyama on Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:40 am

This Thursday April 12th will be the 11th year since I was baptized in the Holy Spirit at the Design Building 101 in the campus of Louisiana State University. Baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues was such a supernatural and powerful experience that it shifted all paradigms of my life and belief in Christianity. Nothing has so radically changed my life as that moment. I feel that I understand scripture and the theologies of the baptism of the Holy Spirit because of my experience. So my beliefs align a lot like the Assemblies of God's because of my experience. However, since then I have seen and learned about all kinds of experiences that people have had with it and it has also challenged and questioned my beliefs.

One major question that has come up to me is: if baptism of the Holy Spirit is about empowering, and if the evidence of that is speaking in tongues, why do I know so many Christians that speak in tongues that show now evidence of "power" bestowed upon them? They speak in tongues, but they seem as if they had never received any sort of power. This has messed me up...but I think Bird's comments on "refilling" being not just a one time occasion but continual helped me. However, it is still difficult to understand. My story seems to work very "chronologically" so maybe that's why it informs my theology so cleanly with pentecostals. I have also seen the flipped version where some friends have shown clear signs of "power" and yet don't speak in tongues. So that is what I struggle with, but personally it has not been a difficult time to affiliate with common pentecostal theology.

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