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Together on a Mission mp3s

Joel Virgo - Preaching the Bible in the 21st Century
This is a great plea for young preachers given at the Mobilise conference. Brilliant challenge to take the word seriously and preach it with clarity and Christ-exalting passion.

Terry Virgo - The Holy Spirit and your church
A helpful balanced defence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Even if you don't entirely agree with what's said it'll be eyeopening to hear this. My response was to believe God's promises about the Spirit.

More recommendations to follow...


  1. Genuine question in response to Terry's talk: Does this mean Romans 8 doesn't apply to me? "... if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you." (8:9)

  2. I hope and think he's saying that there is having the Spirit and there is being full of the Spirit... we can't have any definition of being a Christian that doesn't include having the Spirit, but I think there is some weight of biblical evidence for something additional. Pondering.

  3. Interesting, I might be hearing him wrong. But to me it sounded like he was saying there is conversion to faith in Jesus, which doesn't necessarily entail receiving the Spirit, and then seperately there is receiving God's Holy Spirit. Based on the experience of the Samaritan believers (Acts 19) he's arguing that there are Christians today who don't have the Spirit at all. This is clearer when you note that he rejects:
    - The evangelical view: you get it all at conversion
    - Second-blessing view: extra power comes with surrender
    - Pentecostals: waiting for the Spirit's power to come, tongues necessary
    - Third-wave: release of the Spirit some time after receiving (Wimber)

    So I would summarise his position by saying that one repents and has faith in Jesus which makes you a Christian, and the reception of the Spirit happens either initially or later on, and is nearly always evidenced by speaking in tongues (he doesn't say how we can know it's happened if there is no tongues speaking). Am I right?

  4. Hmmm. I'll relisten to it.
    I suppose I want to say from Acts 19 that the question asked about the Spirit is good. It is the question. So, is Acts 19 a normal situation in today's church... is it an abnormal one... is it one that would never happen...

    What I'm not prepared to do is say that anyone can be a Christian without having the Spirit in some sense. Neither Romans nor Galatians allows that. But, could it be that there are Christians lacking some fullness of the Spirit?

  5. Yeah, I'm not prepared to say that either, and I would hope that a discussion of this nature would almost demand that clarification. The fact I didn't hear it raised bells.

    But, could it be that there are Christians lacking some fullness of the Spirit?

    Either way, I don't think that can be shown from Acts 19 (the Ephesian disciples, contra my earlier comment).

    It seems to me this is a fairly significant issue, one which touches on God's saving work in the lives of many of those who call Jesus Lord. I'd hope that someone of Terry's obvious position and influence (as an outside observer to the British evangelical scene) would be clearer here. Given the current battles over the cross which precipitated New Word Alive, it would be disturbing if such a divergent view were held by one of the speakers of this new event.

  6. He clearly believes that the Holy Spirit lives in all those he has regenerated. He will have had to agree to the UCCF DB to speak at the event.

    I don't agree with his view, but I think we can probably stay calm.

  7. He clearly believes that the Holy Spirit lives in all those he has regenerated.

    Yes, this is what the UCCF DB states, but I think he explicitly denies this statement in his talk. This is the 'evangelical' view which teaches that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in a person at conversion, which he then contradicts, along with the other views he mentions.

  8. Scott - perhaps he is rejecting part but not all of the view he describes as the 'evangelical view'.

    Perhaps he agrees that all believers have the Spirit in some form (as repentance requires a work of the Spirit as the BOB states). Yet that there is a subsequent filling of the Spirit that he terms 'Baptism of the Spirit' which is rejected by the 'evangelical' position [as defined by Terry]

    I've yet to listen to the whole talk sorry - but his rejection of the evangelical position may not be on every point - just that they don't go for a second baptism experience.

    A question we might like to think about is - what was the difference in the operation of the Spirit in an OT believer to a NT believer?


  9. Hi Nick,

    Perhaps that could be assumed if he didn't also explicitly reject Holy Spirit baptism as a 'subsequent filling' as you've just described. He says (and rightly I think) that this position of a 'two-stage' operation can't be sustained from scripture.

  10. That kicked off more debate than I expected.... whichever way we go, what's the application?

  11. I would have thought denying the presence of the Spirit in some believers would have some pretty big consequences!

    Not sure on the historical background of the IFES BOB - would be interesting to see what they were trying to exclude.


  12. I listened to the whole talk yesterday....

    Little Mo and Bish - I think you should listen again. If he is agreeing to the IFES BOB, he is not expressing it clearly at all in this talk. It doesn't even appear from his comments that he is aware that he is coming up on a creedal boundary line. Just asserts that his position makes best sense of the data (largely from Acts) - without an apparent awareness of the implications of claiming that the filling by the Spirit of Christians is a 2nd stage event.

    Others who make this distinction - are at least careful to redefine 'filling' as some distinct experience from the Spirit's work at conversion and hence that all Christians have the Spirit in some sense. I listened carefully for such a distinction but couldn't hear it.

    I had lesser problems (that I'm sure Little Mo has too) in that the evangelical position was very poorly understood. It was asserted that this view excluded narrative (such as the gospels and Acts) from expressing doctrinal statements. This is a terrible parody. Especially when Terry goes on to make exactly the mistakes that the prescriptive/descriptive division is trying to warn against. The division does not assert that nothing can be learnt from narrative - far from it. Instead the division calls on us to ask 'how does their experience then relate to my experience as a Christian now?'. It simply asks a question - what hermeneutical permission do have to say - 'here is a pattern in Acts' and THEREFORE 'here is a pattern for me'.

    Again Terry I think missed the point of the 'evangelical position' in his descriptions of 'the Samaritan Pentecost' and 'the Gentile Pentecost' - arguing that simply labeling them doesn't explain them. He misses the point that the labels are not simply labels - but attempts to answer the question - 'what permission does the text give me to apply this example as normal Christian experience?'. This is a simple and basic hermeneutical step required for responsible interpretation - in precisely the same way as we would not normally choose leaders by 'drawing lots' as described in Acts.

    My point here is not to expect complete unity on our understanding of the gifts and working of the Spirit. However, the IFES BOB does draw limits of exploration here, doesn't it?

    I see a real importance in listening to each other carefully on this issue - and perhaps not expecting full agreement. I feel I've got a long way to go in understanding these issues - and moving beyond my own cultural blinkers.

    My disappointment is that I've been very interested in hearing 'reformed charismatics' articulate their position in their own terms. I've been reading Adrian Warnock's plea for the bringing together of Word and Spirit. For people like me - this doesn't really advance his cause very much...

    I'd be interested in your thoughts.


  13. 'what permission does the text give me to apply this example as normal Christian experience?'

    This is a key question I think. And not just for the charismatics, but also for anyone who takes their example from Acts - e.g. those who advocate certain apologetics on the basis of what Paul does in Acts etc.

    In terms of Terry's talk - which I will re-listen to - I think there is always a problem in doing an overview of different views briefly - representing others well is always difficult. That doesn't justify doing it poorly.

    Seems to me, that whatever the order of things every Christian should expect a full experience of the Holy Spirit as inherent to what it means to be a Christian. Acts 19 does show this is important.

    Would we see a similar thing today? Not perhaps in terms of evangelicals who have missed the Spirit - though could it be that some evangelicals have less power/joy than they could have? Or indeed have more power/joy than they are perceived to have due to a reserved culture...

    But, I think of the liberal 'church' I grew up in and think that there is something that looks very much in need of Acts 19 - in that it knows little of the cross, little of the Spirit... and has probably not really been offered it.


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