IS THIS 'SPIRIT' STUFF REAL?
Analysing the sensation of being 'touched' by the Holy Spirit,
and the manifestation of his gifts,
in the Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement.
I have already admitted in the previous article that I doubted the sincerity of people
who spoke of ‘marvels’ happening in
this type of Christian fellowship, within the ‘movement‘. I was a member of the
Christian Church. I had faith in God. He had proven to me beyond
existed within my life.
I had also accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. But, I really was
sceptical about miraculous healings etc
happening during that time. And all that falling over? Well, I got to see it; indeed experience
all for myself. Great
stuff! And, as I often state, there can be no physical reason
for it as far as I am concerned. I will explain why later in this article.
2. ANALYSING THE HOLY SPIRIT'S TOUCH
The same enquiring
mind, that a decade before had drawn me into mystical
experiences (religious meditation) – discussed in the article, “So, what is God?” –
to accept the
opportunity of being ‘touched’ by the Holy Spirit when
it arose. And what did that feel like? Well initially, to be
honest, nothing like what I had expected or hoped for! People around me
began to mutter in ‘tongues‘ so I knew ‘something’ was underway. Yes I was ready,
but I was also a bit anxious and having trouble opening myself up to
the Spirit. To make matters worse, someone was trying to talk to me while all this was happening. I
could feel a little flutter going on in my tongue. ... maybe the gift of ‘tongues’ was coming my way ... I thought it just
might happen for me ... but I could not be rude to that person. So, it all seemed to fall apart.
wife and I kept in close contact with that community of faith and amazing
stuff did happen for us. I have detailed some of those experiences in the article, “Gifts of the Spirit”.
And the next time (i.e. my second) I had the opportunity for an infilling; to be touched, things were different! I was ready and I was able to open myself in anticipation. I wanted it to happen! Nothing could have prepared
me for the depth of that full blown experience: the truly unexplainable
filling sensation, the
massive ‘high’, the primary knowledge of what was causing it!
another occasion – whilst a clergyman within a Protestant church anointed my forehead with oil during a spiritual healing service – the overall sensation included the unexpected and powerful thick feeling of being ‘filled’
with warm oil. It felt like it was flowing into the
top of my head, then going down through me to immerse my entire being,
from within, to a state of overflowing. In other words, I was ‘highly affected’
from the strength of that experience. Interestingly, the experience is
identified very simply in the Old Testament (written well before Jesus’ birth), “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Extract from Psalm 23:5.)
So it was not anticipated by me at all. It did not relate to any
verses in the area of the Bible that details Charismatic experiences, let’s say the Biblical book of Acts or 1Corinthians.
And, I have since heard from one other Charismatic Christian who
similarly experienced the same mega sensation during an anointing.
I must explain here, before going on, what is meant
by anointing with oil. It is performed by running a finger, just dipped
in blessed oil,
across the forehead of an unwell person. Within Christianity, the oil is spread in the form
a small cross.
Getting back to the details: as stated, I was not expecting any sensation at all from my healing; did not even know
that the clergyman was a ‘gifted’,
so-called “Charismatic”, prior to that time. And it was actually one of those examples that
showed me clearly that the sensations of ‘Charismata’ are definitely not created by hysteria. Obviously, that particular experience of mine had happened without even an expectation on my part. None!
I went on to clearly discover that if one Christian from ‘the movement‘ does lay
hands on, or anoints with oil, another Christian from ‘the movement’ it will likely open
them to experience a ‘spiritual‘ touching from the Holy Spirit during the process. However if a Christian, who is not in ‘the movement’, lays hands on
(or anoints) a Christian, who is in ‘the movement‘, for healing then they will not experience it. That is also further evidence that these experiences do not rely on emotions or the like.
I am meaning that it is impossible to know who is in the ‘the movement’ and who
is not, when we Christians just look at each other. If I have
permission from a fellow Christian to lay hands on or pray for them, I do not say, “Oh by the way, I am member of the Charismatic movement” before doing so!
To make it even clearer to you, I have personally laid hands on many Christians for healing, and only
those Christians who report they are members of the Charismatic movement, after the
event, have actually had an experience of the Spirit as a result. I have never
had a Christian, who is not a member of the movement, mention they have had that
same experience, when I laid hands on them. Bear in mind too, it is not
us so called Pentecostal/ Charismatics who make each other have these experiences. No indeed, that
has to be the Spirit himself. He clearly likes to lovingly touch/ anoint us in that way to reassure us of his powerful and holy presence when the chance arises.
3. HOW DO WE KNOW THAT "GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT" ARE REAL
And what of the gifts of the Spirit? You may think, like I once did, can they even be remotely ‘for real’? Well ...
most impressive gift to be observed is actually miraculous healing. I
would have balked at the thought once, but I can now say that is
impressive because it is indisputable. If you, or someone closely known
to you, is genuinely healed of an obvious physical impairment right
there and then in a Pentecostal/ Charismatic church service, or maybe even at an “Alpha Course” (available in 100 countries),
then you have to acknowledge that something seemingly impossible has
happened. I have given instances, to which I have been a witness, in
the article, “Gifts of the Spirit”.
Now I do not expect readers to just accept what I have written. It is
stated in that article mentioned above so that you know where to go in search of it for
yourself. And you must enter appropriate Christian fellowships of faith, or even attend an Alpha Course, to actually see it for yourself. I mean if you want to believe in God and go on to build sound Christian faith for yourself, then this is one available method with real clarity.
And to be on the receiving end of say “words of knowledge” or a “prophecy” can be quite dramatic too. These words spoken by God, through a gifted speaker, will ‘rattle your cage’ and ‘make no bones’ about it. They are so clearly about you that there can be no doubt about it when it genuinely occurs.
Man oh man, this stuff really delivers evidence of God’s existence; his presence in the person of the ‘Spirit’. It really does!
(The who’s, how’s and why’s relating to the development of this website are presented on the home page.)
4. OPENING OURSELVES IN TRUST TO THE SPIRIT
not be concerned if that second “full blown experience” of being touched by the Spirit looks
for you personally, i.e. it puts you off from trying it for yourself
during your Christian journey of faith. Some other Christians, who have
told me of their experiences of being touched by the Spirit, described
much gentler experiences. I
have, for example, heard reports of people just receiving a strong ‘sense of peace’ when touched by the Spirit. And one of them actually
received a healing gift along with that sense of peacefulness.
guess, and it is no more than that, is that the Spirit touches each of
us in the way that is right for us individually. So from my experience, and that of others, please do not let anxiety
or fear of the unknown stand in your way of opening yourself to the
The same applies to fronting a healing service, or making yourself available to words of knowledge or prophecies.
We are, after all, opening ourselves to our loving God there in all these experiences.
Do not lose track of that fact. The Spirit will not harm you. He knows
that you are there in that fellowship with the intention of building
stronger belief in him. He will personally assist you in that regard. Trust him!
Indeed invite him to include you in events, “Come Holy Spirit”. I have even just pleaded silently in a service, “Me Lord, me Lord” when the Spirit began to work through a pastor there. And it came to pass.
Continue to the next article, “Placing it in perspective”.