If everyone said the same things that would make it easier to accept but they don’t. Very different things are being said and that begs multiple questions.
Why is the Holy Spirit so prominent and how do we explain the divergent, sometimes contradictory, interpretations?
Outside of Jesus, He is the most common topic among Christians and the differing opinions not only confuse they sometimes cause conflict. One person’s ideas are often countered, not with “different” ideas, but with opposing ideas offered in a fractious manner. How do we understand this phenomena?
The one thing most Christians agree on is the Holy Spirit’s place in the Trinity. He is the third person of the Godhead and that, of course, means He is God. He has all the attributes of personality and divinity.
But, that also means we should be careful what we say about Him. Our teaching should be shaped in carefully worded statements all of which are substantiated by biblical reference. Spontaneous gushings, though sincere, may be ill informed.
A Word About Experience
That brings us to a very important topic, “Experience.”
People often base their ideas about the Holy Spirit on a personal experience they believe He caused. The experience becomes the guiding principle for everything they say or believe afterward. It is so paramount in their thinking that the experience is imposed on the Bible rather than the other way around.
That isn’t the way it is supposed to work. But, on the other side of the coin, those who oppose this approach aren’t very helpful. Merely mentioning the word “Experience” sends them into overdrive attempting to deny, not the theological implications, but the possibility that an experience ever occurred.
Dismissing “experiences” out of hand gives no one the right to claim higher intellectual/spiritual ground. [Read more…]