A question that has come out of another thread, and got me thinking.............

Thank you.



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Wow! You like to ask hard questions. Here goes!

Like most correspondents in website discussion groups, I try to avoid naming denominations, specific authors and styles, to avoid accidentally stepping on people's toes in the process of talking to an issue. To answer your question directly, though, I'll blow my cover and say the reason I "check the box" annually is that I am a worship minister with the Assemblies of God. Like other fellowships, they have a creed, or Statement of Fundamental Truths, which reads just about exactly like any other Protestant confession, except for articles 7 and 8, which deal specifically with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Article 8 describes the "the initial physical evidence" (or "sign") of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as speaking in tongues, and is part and parcel with the gift of tongues. Article 7 describes the Biblical foundation, purpose and benefit of seeking this Baptism and continuing in this aspect of the Spirit-filled life.

Now I myself, shortly after this Baptism, in 1973, walked around campus with evangelistic tracts presenting "four laws" leading a person to salvation in Christ. There was absolutely no talk of baptism in the Spirit subsequent to salvation; and quite a few among them suspected demonic influence of Pentecostals or charismatics. Yet we happily shared Christ together. While overall I have found generosity of spirit among Christians, I have, unfortuantely, on occasion heard silly talk, such as: "Them Babtus, they're such good folks, good Christians, but they don't got the Holyghost." Really? Them Babtus sure do believe in being filled with the Spirit (He's there by faith the instant you confess Christ), but question the Pentecostals' motives in seeking something that seems to superfluous. Don't get caught on that merry-go-round But if you want to have some real fun (if you have a lot of time on your hands), google "Cessationism". Dare yuh.

We just don't know what is inside other people. Amos cannot judge Andy's filledness or non-filledness with the Holy Spirit, except by the "fruit". The "fruit" of the God working with a person is Jesus' own criterion for judgment, and Paul's for lifestyle. Thus a pastor rightly dismisses a musician for having an affair – it's evidence, bad fruit. But it's tricky. The Affair-Haver has been doing this for a year, yet uncaught, while crooning hundreds to an altar of grace. Was he blank to God, a non-spirit-filled person, during this time? Did not the Spirit move upon the people at the altar, and did not the music, faithfully performed, contribute? Does music have some of the Spirit inside it, intrinsically, in the notes? The dismissal is right, for correction to repentance and to make sure the congregation doesn't see him as a role model.

But none of this answers the earlier question, about Worshiping without the Spirit. Now the Psalms repeatedly describe the mountains, the oceans, the creatures as continually giving Him praise. Was King David some ancient-new-age porpoise-lover, or was he affirming the truth (in the Spirit, as the NT affirms) about the greatness, the attractiveness, the glory of His love, such that the very stones would rise up to proclaim Him! At 6 a.m. I am a stone; from a cup of hot chocolate emerges my human spirit; b ut was He not with me all night, even as I slept? Did I not long for Him and sing his praises when I was a little child, totally unaware of terms such as "Spirit" or "spirit" or "manifestation" or "judgment"? Is such innocent worship from little children "in the spirit", and as they grow older they get "disspirited" so that a youth pastor can earn his keep?

This subject promises to yield a valuable discussion, even if we get no closer to solving the question than at the beginning. But for sure, we all can agree not to go the way of the Galatians ("having begun in the spirit, will you now be perfected in the flesh?"), but rather begin to worship God, not even knowing why, but merely in thanks for His love and a desire to come closer to Him.
Hi Greg, sorry for asking hard questions, I just like to ask questions full stop, it's how I learn. I thank you so much for such an honest answer and taking the time and trouble to answer so fully. Very much appreciated.

This subject promises to yield a valuable discussion, even if we get no closer to solving the question than at the beginning is true, there is lots of good discussion going on here by all involved and at least it shows we are giving deep thought to the things of God, even if we aint got all the answers, and that can only be a good and positive thing.
I think what we may need to define is "Can we praise God with out the Spirit vs worship God with out the Spirit." In which I would agree one could utter praise to God with out being born of the Spirit "...the fruit of our lips is praise.", but to worship God I believe is a different matter. As we talked about earlier with the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus said in John chap. 4 vs. 24 " God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." It is pretty plain to me what He is saying here about worshiping God. He is not seeking lip service( the fruit of our lips is praise) . He is seeking heart service "...the fruit of our lives is worship". We can praise ourselves into a frenzy every Sunday but if our lives and the way we treat one another day to day never changes, I mean, are we loving one another forgiving each other our faults and failures as He forgives us etc... then I ? if the Spirit of God is the motivation of our praise.
Yea, I think you're onto something here. Perhaps there is a bone and marrow division here between mere praise (still heartfelt) and true worship. So what is true worship?
This kinda comes around to why I started this discussion....I originally said something like, until I was baptised with the Holy Spirit, I didn't worship at all, but merely sang nice words which meant very little to me.

Being a cradle Catholic, I went through all the motions and classed myself as a Christian, attending church, praying etc. but I can be quite honest and say that for me it was most definitely not worship. It was not until I was prayed over and began to have a personal relationship with the Lord, that I began to worship. Remember I am only talking about myself here and not speaking for everyone.

I think having a personal relationship with the Lord, made all the difference and I don't think I could have had that personal relationship without the intervention of the Holy Spirit.

For me true worship comes not only from your heart, but from your gut. As a worship leader it is sometimes so difficult to give your all when there are so many things to think about, but man when you have a worship session alone with the Lord or with your worship team without the congregation etc. the level of worship can be so deep it's indescribable - now that's what I call worship. Praise God.
I think you can consider them the same thing. When looking at the OT, there was some association of kidneys with heart.
Sure thing! King James "bowels of mercy" (Colossians 3:12) that provoked so much excitement among teenagers in the olden days. The Greek is "splagkhna" - sounds worse than "bowels". It must be a cognate of "spleen", by which I conjecture that compassion from the heart (the subject of Col. 3:12) once went all the way to the guts. Such is man that most likely people with negative "spleen" outnumbered the guys with the good guts to such a degree that in our modern language only the negative sense survives as "anger, irritation, grumpiness, annoyance, pique, malevolence and spite":.
Leaving me with a smile once again.
True worship to me, is the every day stuff ..i.e. how we love our spouse and children ,ea. other. the widow and the orphan. Our integrity when no one is looking you know "...the fruit of our lives.", where the rubber meets the road kinda stuff. It was explained to me once using Jesus and the fig tree story. Remember He had journeyed some distance and was hungry. He saw a fig tree in the distance showing much promise but when He got there it had no fruit. It looked great (lots of praise, adornments) but served no practical purpose(couldn't feed any one). How many years did I spend as that kind of tree? But Jesus in His mercy didn't curse me as He did that fig tree instead He freed me from the curse and gave me living water and the bread of life to share with the passerby's in my life. Now, my praise the "fruit of my lips" is coupled with the "fruit of my life" in response to what Jesus has done for me thru the power and enabling of His Holy Spirit. So I maintain, no, we cannot "truly" worship with out the Spirit because in myself I don't have the power to love as Jesus does. My love is conditional at best and perverted at its most base state. " Oh wretched man that I am, who can deliver me from this state? "...Praise be to God..."
Praise be to God indeed. Thank you for sharing this Gerald, this really touched me. Yep, I spent many years too as this kind of tree..........what you say about not having the power to love as Jesus does got me to thinking........ that's another thing the Holy Spirit did, not only did He enable me to feel love for God, He also enabled me to feel God's love for me and feel love other people.

Spontaaneously I would say no, but I'll ruminate and work out why I think that. I suppose you could move forward in a car with no fuel, if you opened the door, pushed a bit and tried to steer as well, but why would you want to?

I would agree, especially in the matter of power, which we commonly associate with the Holy Spirit (as in "you shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit comes upon you...") 

But the question brings up a remarkable survey recently published in Christianity Today.  A large portion of evangelicals identified the Holy Spirit as a force, as opposed to a person.  (Quite a few also identified the person, Jesus, as being created!)   So the whole matter of trying to worship God while, mentally, we are a blinded Luke Skywalker whacking out with a stick against a flying robot hurling fiery darts, presents a ludicrous image.

Without the personage of God worship may be directed to achieve some sort of Goddish or Godward feeling, rather than the strong love, for God and everyone you meet, which is what Jesus spoke of.  The Lord had a real hard time with Goddishness, and while he exercised great power to help others on earth, he declined power both to the tempter's temptations, and declined power to escape from those who took Him to the cross.  To use such power would have made him no friend to Pilate, to Judas, or to you and me who nailed him there.


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