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IS THIS 'SPIRIT' STUFF REAL?

Analysing whether sensations of being 'touched' by the
Holy Spirit, in the Born Again/ Charismatic movement,
are indeed real
.

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1.    INTRODUCTION

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 reasonable doubt that he existed within my life. I had also accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. But, I really was sceptical about miraculous healings etc still happening during that time. And all that falling over? Well, I got to see it; indeed experience it 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.    BEING TOUCHED BY THE SPIRIT

The same enquiring mind, that a decade before had drawn me into mystical experiences (religious meditation) – discussed in the article, “So, what is God?” – led me 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 (it is discussed later) 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.

My 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 from 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! Even those deep mystical experiences, that I had experienced previously, could not be compared to being touched by the Spirit

On 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. There were other elements in the sensation I experienced, but the powerful oil-like feeling was the greatest. I can say to that I was highly affected from the strength of that experience too.

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 in this case. The oil is spread in the form of a small cross.

Getting back to the details: 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 at that time. And here is one of those examples that shows clearly that the sensations are not created by hysteria. This time it had happened without even any expectation on my part. None!

An interesting finding of mine began to become obvious through that event. I came to discover that if one Christian from the movement does lay hands on, or anoints with oil, another Christian from the movement it will likely cause 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 Born Again/ 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 Born Again/ Charismatics who make each other have these experiences. No indeed, that has to be the Spirit himself. He clearly likes to lovingly touch us in that way to reassure us of his powerful and holy presence when the chance arises.

3.    OPENING OURSELVES IN TRUST

Do not be concerned if that second full blown experienceof mine looks too much for you personally, i.e. it puts you off from trying it for yourself during your Christian journey of faith. Some other people, 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.

My 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 Spirits presence.

We are, after all, opening ourselves to our loving God here in 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!

Continue to the next article, Placing it in perspective.