The Holy Spirit – what’s going on in churches today?

There’s no doubt that some of our contributors and readers have in the past had a faulty view of the Person and work of the Holy Spirit – that ‘faulty view’ the result of the false teaching they received in the churches/movements they have since left. And through our Father’s great mercy and kindness, the Holy Spirit has led them back to Jesus, their great Shepherd.

“This is the office and work of the Holy Spirit: to reveal through the Gospel what great and glorious things God has done for us through Christ, namely, that He has redeemed us from sin, death, and the devil’s power; that He has taken us into His grace and protection; and that He has given Himself utterly and entirely for us” Martin Luther

On a recent episode of ‘Issues Etc’, Ps.Todd Wilken talks to Ps. Chris Rosebrough from ‘Fighting For The Faith’, about the Person and work of the Holy Spirit as experienced within evangelicalism today:

Todd: “When Jesus sends ‘the promise of My Father’ upon His disciples, that promise is not a force, it’s not an ‘it’, the promise is a ‘He’, the third person of the Trinity. That is, the very holy Spirit of God. Now in order to rightly believe in the Holy Spirit you’ve got to rightly believe in the Trinity. You’ve got to get Jesus  and the Father straight too. And to the degree that you get one of them wrong, you get the others wrong to some degree as well. What about the average evangelical, what do they believe if anything tangible – about the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. And what does the bible teach?”

“If you could poll those evangelical pastors, those vision-casting pastors out there in American evangelicalism, and talk and ask them about the Holy Spirit – would they be able or perhaps willing to articulate the historical, orthodox, biblical teaching on the person and work of the Holy Spirit?”

Chris: “If you were to survey the average ‘big-box’ pastor, the old-school guys who founded the purpose-driven, seeker-driven movement, would be able to give a more accurate biblical definition of the Holy Spirit than the younger generation, and the millennials that have followed them. And over and again it’s like ‘the law of diminishing returns’ – the initial guys claim that they were never going to deviate from historic Christianity, they are just going to make Christianity relevant, and that they would ‘back-fill’, in other ways, the missing  doctrines that are not being taught from the pulpit anymore. What ended up happening is, the generation of people who grew up in these ‘big-box’ churches and have gone on to leadership positions, they have not been meaningfully catechised in the Christian faith or in biblical doctrine. And many of them, sadly, not only cannot articulate properly, with any kind of accuracy, the doctrine of the Trinity or what the Holy Spirit is really about. Many of them are drifting off into flat-out heresies. I think about one of the more well-known, up and coming seeker-driven guys, a guy by the name of Tavner Smith, who is a disciple of Steven Furtick. This guy teaches doctrines that are straight out of Mormonism, as fas as his understanding of deity and why humanity exists  – and nobody even bats an eyelash!”

“That being said, there are some, and that being more like the exception now, there are some who truly do know historic biblical Christianity – at least in the sense of being able to articulate the doctrine of the Trinity and the Holy Spirit. But those guys are becoming fewer and fewer and fewer.

Todd: “In the average big-box megachurch, is the Holy Spirit presented in such a way as to point to Christ?

Chris: “If they mention that at all, that’s an oddity. Over and again the emphasis of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is ‘tapping into’ the Holy Spirit, and they’ll over and again use kind of an interesting thing – they’ll point to the Greek word ‘dunamis’. And so over and again what they do is that they say: “The Holy Spirit is the ‘Dunamis’, and ‘dunamis’ is where we get the word ‘dynamite’ from” And so the Holy Spirit is the ‘dynamite’ that will explode your life and make you more like Jesus. So it’s the ‘power source’ to tap into, to supercharge the positive results they are promising you in your life. That the Holy Spirit is more or less described as ‘power’ or a ‘force’ or you know, some type of ‘energy’ by which you supercharge your Christianity so that you can get the results they are promising you.

Todd: “So you mention some teaching right out of the Mormon ‘playbook’, straight out of the Jehovah’s Witness ‘playbook’.

Chris: “Yes, one of the more fascinating phenomenon I’ve been seeing over the past few years is that in some groups, they don’t even refer to the Holy Spirit as the Holy Spirit, they refer to the Holy Spirit as just ‘Holy Spirit’. And it’s weird, it’s this fascinating thing, where, you know, you’re not even sure which ‘spirit’ they’re referring to when they start talking in this way. And they say it’s a vital part of their Christianity. And then when you think about how the Charismatics and the, you know, the NAR, have their views of the Holy Spirit, is that He wants to come, or ‘It’ wants to come, and make you uncomfortable, or make you bark like a dog, or flop like a fish. There’s weird things like that and so much confusion, when it comes to the Holy Spirit, that I’ve heard out there in evangelicalism. Very little lack of clarity.”

“But one of the things that’s fascinating is that evangelicalism as a whole, looks at historic churches, especially like the Lutheran church, and they think that we do not have a doctrine of the Holy Spirit, or that somehow our view of the Holy Spirit is lacking. And so you’ll hear rhetoric along the lines of: “Yes those historic traditional churches, they don’t even have a right understanding of the Holy Spirit because for them the Trinity is ‘Father, Son and Holy Bible’ and they deny the power and the working of the Spirit in the life of the believer”. And as a result of that, they often times present their kind of weird views as somehow the missing element of Christianity, that churches like our churches, Todd, somehow are holding back and ‘not delivering the goods’ when it comes to the people we’ve been shepherding and discipling.”

Full interview can be heard here….

Later on in the interview, Ps. Chris Rosebrough also exposes the full-blown kenotic heresy being preached by Mark Driscoll, something that may have not been noted in the past (before his ‘fall from grace’).

Source:Ps. Chris Rosebrough, Issues Etc, Published June 5, 2019. (Accessed July 28, 2019.)

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