The Return of the Holy Spirit: A Modern Parable -- By: Geoffrey Thomas

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 03:2 (Spring 1994)
Article: The Return of the Holy Spirit: A Modern Parable
Author: Geoffrey Thomas

The Return of the Holy Spirit: A Modern Parable

Geoffrey Thomas

The group was singing earnestly, the drums were pounding, the guitarists were strumming away and the audience was tapping their feet—but the Spirit was not there. They sang songs for an hour, building up to a great crescendo and sitting down in an aura of well-being—but the Spirit was not there. The preacher gave his message, told his stories, made them laugh, and made them cry—but the Spirit was not there. He began his appeal and worked them over, some needed to come to the front to be saved, others to rededicate their lives, others for inner healing, others to talk to counselors about their problems. A crowd gathered. A man said to himself, “I want to be happy like these people,” and he went forward—but the Spirit was not there. After the service was over the people talked to one another about their activities and plans, and nobody realized that again the Spirit was not in their midst.

Down the road in another church the pastor announced the hymns of Toplady and Watts and a metrical Psalm, and the congregation sang—but the Spirit was not there. The New International Version was read—but the Spirit was not there. The preacher prayed for the congregation and the community; he thanked God for the gospel—but the Spirit was not there. Afterwards the congregation quietly went home, as aware as the minister had been that things were not as they should be, nor as they could be in the church of the living God.

When the blessing of God is removed from a gospel church which is worshipping in the old ways, the results are immediate and pathetic. If the Spirit of God is not inhabiting the praise of the people and the proclamation of the preacher, there is nothing left but bare walls. However, when the Spirit is driven out of a church which has handclapping, “loadsachoruses,” and a band, racy sermons, laughter and altar calls, it will be about a millennium or two before anyone notices that He has gone—because even when He is

not there they act as if He were, and the atmosphere feels “religious.”

One day the preacher fell before God and cried, “Lord, I cannot go on without Your blessing. David said of You, ‘He restoreth my soul.’ My soul stands in need of restoration. I seem to do everything like a religious robot without even thinking of You or invoking Your aid”—and the Spirit began to move.

The preacher searched the Bible, asking what are the marks of the Spirit’s presence? He learned that defiant sin in his own life or blatant sin tolerated in the congregation quenches the Spirit. If he misrepresented God and His way of salvation or if he fello...

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