I Think I Have “Issues”

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

I am, again, not quite sure what to write today. Experiencing the effects of one less hour of sleep due to Daylight Savings Time is never fun. But I went to church today and experienced something that I’m quite confused about. There was a guest speaker there with the last name Bombay (I forget what his first name was) who spoke about a bunch of different stuff, mostly about getting back the “resurrection power” that Pentecostals seem to have lost. At the end, a bunch of people came to the altar to receive baptism of the Holy Spirit. But the problem is that I have no clue what that really is. I mean, I’m a Pentecostal by upbringing, but up until a couple years ago I had never heard that term. A couple people were shaking or falling back when the pastor laid his hands on them, and I was just sitting there taking it in. I don’t know what to think about the subject.

On the one hand, if it’s real, I don’t want to doubt God and miss out on it. If God is doing this, then I’m all for it. On the other hand, if this is due to some strange mystical thing, I’m not sure I want to be a part of it. I’ve read some pretty strong opinions against this sort of thing, but I also don’t see much evidence of it in the Bible. I’ve read about speaking in tongues, yes, but not about “holy laughter” or being “slain in the Spirit.” I’m not sure whether to believe that it’s something supernatural or that people just want something so bad that it happens to them. I mean, if you’re trying hard to feel something happen, you’re going to eventually feel something change and experience the effects of it. It’s similar to the placebo effect, where because a patient thinks they’re taking medication, they get better.

I’ve been struggling through this issue for a few weeks now, ever since my youth pastor, Pastor Dave, started bringing up the issue of baptism in the Spirit. I don’t see that term in the Bible anywhere, and so I don’t have a firm stance on the issue. Angelie, a Baptist who comes to our youth group, asked him about it once, and she told me that he didn’t really give her a clear answer. Perhaps I should ask him myself, but somehow I don’t really think that’d help. It’s just a vague term that isn’t really used in the Bible as far as I’m aware of. It just seems sometimes that the pastors are saying something like “you need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit,” when I’m really not sure that it’s necessary. It’s definitely not necessary for salvation of course, but when John the Baptist said to “repent and be baptized,” the Holy Spirit wasn’t even around back then, at least in all believers. If anything, it seems that baptism through immersion is much more important than this elusive baptism in the Spirit. As far as I can tell, it refers to the time when the Holy Spirit gives you tongues to speak in – but that’s just what I’ve picked up from here and there. I don’t really have a definite answer on the topic. So that is what puzzles me.

On a completely different topic, last night I went over to Jon’s house with Bethany and Lana to work on our upcoming Biology project on bovine somatotropin. We figured out a few things that we need to do, and now it’s just a matter of doing it. After we got that settled, though, we sat around and talked for a while. I mean, we had a good discussion. It was deep and thought-provoking, a type of conversation I really haven’t had in a long while. It was awesome; I think we really connected there. We talked for a couple hours about a variety of different things – mostly differences between the way guys and girls think, some issues and concerns with the Grade 9s, and also just some stuff about university/college, a point which we’re all going to be dealing with soon. I must say, though, that I really admire all three of them. We’re all able to help each other grow spiritually and socially, and I think that’s great. We’re really close and united, something which I don’t think a lot of people experience.

One of the people I look up to in particular is Jon. He’s always been the person who isn’t afraid to stand up for what he believes, but not in a rude way. If he comes across something he doesn’t think is right, he’ll quietly hold to his convictions and try to remind me of mine, and if it doesn’t work, he doesn’t push it. It’s amazing, really. Even when people don’t listen to him, he won’t get into some argument about it, but rather just holds onto what he believes instead of trying to push it on others. I really respect him and have learned a lot from him. He’s not the “coolest” person in the bunch, at least not by the normal standards that “coolness” is measured by, but I think he’s cool just because he has integrity. He doesn’t fall apart when people attack him spiritually. He also integrates God into the rest of his life. There have been many times when some of us have been caught up in something stressful, and then he comes along and says, “Hey, why don’t we pray about it?” I just sort of sit there and think, “Hey, yeah, why didn’t I think of that?” I mean, it’s not like I don’t believe in the power of prayer; it’s just that I forget to pray about something I care about. Jon is a constant reminder that someone can keep ahold of his faith and still live in the world without conforming to it. I really admire and respect that.

I think that’s all I wanted to say. I could probably write equally long paragraphs for both Bethany and Lana, but I just don’t have the time right now, and I’m suffering from exhaustion. Man, I really needed that extra hour of sleep. That, combined with shoveling the wet, slushy snow really drained everything out of me. It was like shoveling 60 pounds of water each time you pushed the shovel. Here I thought that spring was finally here, with the warm weather and all, and suddenly ten feet of snow gets dumped on us (okay, slight exaggeration). Oh well. Spring will come soon enough, and there’s not much you can do about speeding it up except perhaps plug in your hair dryers outside and leave them running. Unfortunately, that would contribute to global warming – but hey, who wouldn’t want year-round summer?!

One response to “I Think I Have “Issues””

Derek

Baptism in the Spirit.. Baptism actually comes from a (Greek?) term that means “immersion” or “envelopment.” That should probably clarify the basic meaning a bit. Although I don’t really see it used in the Bible. People (all Christians) received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and the Bible says that when we become Christians, the Holy Spirit indwells us.

For examples, see Romans 8:9-11, 2 Corinthians 5:17.

The problem I have with a pastor saying, “come to me and I will lay my hand on you, and you will be ‘baptised in the Spirit'” is as follows. 1 John 3:24 says, “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” That’s just it – God gives us the Spirit. It never says that it comes from a pastor, or through a pastor, or with a pastor present. God gives it – just like He gives faith (Eph 2:8).

So the whole thing with peoples’ foreheads getting smacked with a pastor’s hand – I’m not going to say that it’s all of works, because I don’t know. God has worked in mysterious ways before. But that same pastor had better not say that he’s the sole source of God’s Spirit … and if I say that God gave me His Spirit outside of the Pentecostal Church, he’d better not say “that’s not possible.”

But yeah, that’s about all I can say on the subject, because that’s all I really know. 🙂

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