Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Detecting The Spirit

C. Michael Patton on preaching and the Holy Spirit:
Let's begin this way. Have you ever heard a preacher or a teacher in church say something like: "I had prepared all week to teach on __________, but the Holy Spirit changed my lesson at the last minute."

I have. Dozens of times. It conveys the idea that the particular message that was prepared was not of God (or was no longer of God) and this new message was most certainly of God. In fact, the new message is miraculously of God! Why? Because the preacher did not really prepare for it. It must have been God who prepared it. "I just step back when that happens and let God do his thing. Who am I to interrupt God?"

Let me—as I conceal myself behind a large object for cover—say something rude: That's a stupid thing to say!
He then goes on to state an number of very valid reasons why it is a "Stupid" thing to say that I will some up in two basic idea - one the Holy Spirit works in process as much or more that the sudden and miraculous and two, it's just wrong to claim Holy Spirit power for our capriciousness.

I'll be honest, about 90% of the time when I hear the Holy Spirit invoked it is to claim authority that I have no means of telling is really there or not. But I will say this, the louder the claim, the less likely I am to believe it.

See, one of the things that the Holy Spirit should produce in us if He really is at work is humility. And humility will tend to let the work speak for itself. If the Holy Spirit did indeed change the sermon, then such will be evident in the sermon itself.

And frankly that is true for most things....

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