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The Comforter Passages

I will now address the "Comforter" passages of John's account.  Some of Paul's teaching and thinking about the Holy Spirit have their base in these passages, reflecting points in the evening that Paul saw in vision.  Unlike the "in-ness/one-ness" passages, they are all fairly consistent.  The first is from John 14:16-18:

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

This passage is familar to us, describing the Comforter as coming from God the Father, abides within us, and stays with us forever.  He is called the Spirit of truth, and he is knowable because he dwells with us and within us.  He has a personality because Jesus uses "He" instead of "It".  It is through the Comforter, by whom the Father and the Son commune perfectly together, that allows Jesus to say, in verse 18, that he would come to us.  This fits perfectly with Paul's phrasology of the Spirit being the ink that writes the message of Christ in the human heart.  The apostle John also had no problem understanding that the Spirit abode within people.  Here is 1 John 3:20-24.  Note that he uses the "abiding in us" language when Jesus gave the parable of the Vine and the Branches, and tells us plainly how we know we abide in Him:

20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.  21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.  23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.  24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

The next is from John 14:25-26:

25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.  26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

And here is John 15:26-27:

26 "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

While the first described the Holy Spirit, these two define His mission.  Firstly, he is to teach us all things.  For this teaching to be useful, it has to be true, so one would expect good teaching out of the Spirit of Truth.  The second is that he is to bring all things to their remembrance, including the words that Jesus spoke.  Just as Paul, in his letter to Timothy, counseled him to read and teach the Scriptures until he came, I recommend a continued study of the Scriptures.  I will discuss how the Spirit interacts with such a regimen of study later in this essay in brief, and more fully when I address Stage 2. 

Here is John 16:5-11:

5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

This passage teaches that the Comforter not only interacts with the disciples, but His coming also convicts the world of sin (unbelief in Jesus), of righteousness, and of judgment (the judging of the prince of this world). 

The first work of the Spirit is an indirect reference to the Weslyan concept of prevenient grace.  The only way that the Spirit can convict anyone of sin is to physically enter into the person and physically affect neurotransmitters and current flows to generate the sense of being convicted of one's sins.  This conviction is all that the Spirit does within that person while they do not believe in Jesus Christ.  The moment the person accepts Jesus as the Christ and their Lord and Savior, then sin is erased by the atoning effects of his spilled blood, removing the need of imposing conviction on the individual.  Further conviction would constitute an unjust accusation, which God has historically treated as being equivalent to the accuser committing the crime of which he is accusing the innocent person.  This the Spirit never does, because the Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and knows the true state of the individual.

It should be pointed out that the imposition of conviction is a work of the Spirit, and not of man.  While evangelists are called to preach the Word of God, they should not believe that they create conviction within the hearts of their hearers.  It is notable that the most well-known "hellfire and brimstone" preachers who preach as if it was their job to convict the sinner happen to be Calvinists, so it is rather ironic that those so zealous for God's glory insist on taking on a job reserved for the Holy Spirit.

The second work of the Spirit can be somewhat perplexing unless it is seen in light of what happened to Stephen.  Recall that the Sanhedrin ceased being a Court of Law and became a bloodthirsty mob in response to Stephen's testimony that he saw Jesus Christ standing at the right hand of the Father.  These were the men who had condemned Jesus as a blasphemer, so this testimony was actually a statement that God had found their judgment as wrong, and that their hands were stained with the blood of an innocent man.  The Ascension of Christ, and the continuing fact of his being ascended, is a testmony to the entire world that Jesus is right and that all other men claiming to speak for God are wrong.  In passing, I point out that this is a clear contradiction of the Muslim belief that Mohammed was the greatest of the Prophets: he supposedly had visited heaven briefly before he died, but the "prophet" he supposedly displaced as the "greatest" lives on and has resided in heaven since his Ascension, per the testimony of the Koran itself!  It seems to me that Solomon's observation that a live dog is better than a dead lion applies here, although when talks of Jesus, he is more a live lion than a dog!

The third work of the Spirit has more implications than at first sight.  Note that "judgment" is not reserved for the world, but for Satan, the true ruler of this world.  The world, at this time, does not get judgment from the Spirit, but conviction of that judgment.  Judgment implies that guilt has already been established and that all that is being carried out is the sentencing and carrying out of the punishment: there is no chance of blocking judgment nor evading the punishment.

It is a fact that the majority of wars cease when the leadership of the enemy is destroyed or captured.  Remaining elements of the enemy naturally give up their arms and cease fighting when informed by a trustworthy means, such as an order issued through the military chain of command.  Holdouts are either uninformed or are mutinous units meriting ruthless elimination.  This language states that the Head of the World system is judged, implying that all hold-outs informed of the judgment yet still rebel against the conqueror are mutinous and no longer deserve the protection of the usual Laws of War.  The coming of the Holy Spirit does not perform that judgment, for that was done by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.  Rather, the job of the Holy Spirit here is to duly inform (convict) the world of that judgment.  The world may not believe the message given by the Spirit of that judgment, but because it is coming by the Spirit of Truth, they have no excuse for not believing it.  Continued belief that the devil is "the ruler of this world", rather than a rebel leader on the run committing acts of terrorism, is akin to surrendering the portion of the world you are responsible for to him.  Why people should believe that the Great Commission is binding on them and yet do not believe the preamble that "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth" haven't thought through the implications of the Cross and what Jesus did on it and through it.

Here is John 16:12-15.  It is a "Comforter" verse because the Comforter is the Spirit of truth as well, so the phrase "spirit of truth" signals a "Comforter" verse:

12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Verse 12 is Jesus' frank assessment that the Disciples were not mentally prepared to accept everything that Jesus wanted to tell them, so he assures them in verse 13 that the Holy Spirit would teach them and guide them unto all the Truth.  Verses 14 and 15 are equally pertinent: the Spirit was to take of Jesus and show it to the disciples, including those things that the Father gives to Jesus.  This teaching even extends to "glorifying me (Jesus)".  

I can now state my belief of what Paul "brought to the table", and is based on the fact that this passage explicitly states that the disciples were not mentally prepared to absorb everthing that Jesus wanted to tell them.  This is a common phenomenon encountered by educators at all levels of instruction, and a considerable amount of work is invested in coming up with different formats and orders of presentation.  Students considerably underestimate the value of them asking questions to clarify their thinking about the material being taught: they may believe that they are only clarifying some point in their own minds, but the truly great educators use the questions to gauge the effectiveness of their instruction for the entire class. 

My belief is that the difficulty the disciples were having truly understanding what Jesus was saying was because they were hearing these passages pre-Pentecost/pre-symbiosis.  While they certainly had a lot of personal experience with people who had the Holy Spirit (Jesus and John the Baptist), they had zero experience with the Holy Spirit himself.  I am continually frustrated with the belief people seem to have, when I am giving some involved explanation of a technical issue, that they can reproduce everything I am saying without taking copious notes.  It isn't until later, when they have to actually perform that which I was trying to instruct them in, that they realize that their belief in their abilities to recall complex information and instruction as being adequare is actually quite unfounded.  I am sure the Disciples were nodding their heads and thinking they would have no trouble recalling every detail of this Last Supper, but the reality is otherwise: the lack of this discussion in the Synoptic accounts of the Last Supper clearly tell us that they "didn't get it". 

What Paul "brought to the table" was a brilliant mind trained by rigorous debate at the foot of one of the finest Rabbis of that age listening in on this conversation with the benefit of a post-Pentecost experience.  It was easy for him to compare what he experienced when he received the Holy Spirit with what Jesus was saying.  He would be nodding and saying, "Yes, I can see what Jesus meant by that!" all the time.  Although he did not have the benefit of the modern concept of Symbiosis, the experience he had with the Holy Spirit being literally within him led him to realize that Jesus' vocabulary was the most optimal for describing the phenomenon.  Ask any educator, and they will tell you that a steel-trap mind pre-prepared  by experience to have the correct initial assumptions that help them capture and focus on the real essenials is the mind that will benefit the most from instruction. 

There is a lot of dispute about the dating of the Gospels and of the supposed root document ("Q") from which they sprang, but there seems to be no disputing the fact that any written documents that were the Gospels, or the prior document on which they are supposedly based, did not include these details of the Last Supper that John's Gospel divulged decades later.  It was the use of this vocabulary that established, in the minds of the Disciples who had heard it directly from Jesus, the truth of Paul's claim that Jesus showed him, in vision, the key events of his life on earth.  To their credit, they did not behave toward Paul  like the people of Nazareth behaved toward Jesus when confronted with this evidence of intimate knowledge of a time period they had not written or spoken about publicly because they did not understand it at the time they heard it.  The Nazarites were openly offended at the thought that Jesus had somehow broken out of the intellectual box they had constructed to contain him in over the years of his childhood and early adulthood among them, but the disciples avoided that pitfall.  In truth, if they were the suspicious sort given to conspiracy theories, they would have all looked at John and accused him of coaching Saul/Paul.

These verses are quite explicit in saying that the Comforter is sent by the Father at the request of the Son to dwell in the disciples, and there are measurable benefits.  This is in contrast to the "one-ness/in-ness" verses, which give information about what appears to be an internal relationship between the Father, Jesus, and those who believe that Jesus and the Father are One.  Jesus promises that this one-ness allows him to bestow the glory he has from the Father on us, but that merely is an indicator of the internal presence of Diety. 

Who's Missing?

However, there is a signifiant point that further distinguishes the Comforter verses from the "one-ness/in-ness" verses: the Holy Spirit is notably absent from the latter set of verses.  There is no talk of the Holy Spirit being in the Father or in the Son: the only "in-ness" talk worth noting is that the Holy Spirit will be "in us", but there is no talk of us being in the Holy Spirit coming from Jesus' lips during this discourse.  However, there are many other verses elsewhere in the New Testament that imply that there is such a thing as us being "in the Spirit".  Jesus talks about worshipping the Father "in spirit and in truth" in John 4:23.  He masterfully stumped the Pharisees and lawyers by citing a verse from the Psalms by David.  Here is the passage from Matthew 22:41-46:

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

In this case, David was "in spirit" when he prophesied about Jesus in verse 44. 

The letter to the Galatians was Paul's first written epistle, and he states in Galatians 3:1-5:

1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

In Galatians 5:16-26, he further elaborates what it means to walk "in the Spirit", tying it to the production of the Fruit of the Spirit:

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

In Romans 8:1-9, Paul again contrasts being "in the Spirit" against being "in the flesh":

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

These verses explicitly state that being "in the Spirit" is the same as the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

What was John the Apostle's take on being "in the Spirit"?  In 1 John 3:24, he says "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."  In 1 John 4:13 he says "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit."  Thus, the evidence of us being "in the Spirit" is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

There is a definite functional aspect to being "in the Spirit".  In Ephesians 6:18, Paul states that prayer is to be made "in the Spirit". adding to Jesus' words in John 4:23 to worship God "in Spirit and in truth" (which Paul also echos in Philippians 3:3).  Since prayer is a vital part of worship, it makes sense that the component practices that constitute worshipping "in spirit" should also be "in the Spirit". 

The Nature of the Holy Spirit's Work within the Trinity

In the absence of self-revelation, speculation on the natural history of Deus would be an exercise of vanity and a striving after wind.  However, the above verses constitute a member of Deus giving information about the inner workings of the Godhead.  This is not merely to satisfy our curiosity, but to help us understand the profound offer being made by Jesus to the disciples, and to us through them.  My understanding of the reason that the "one-ness/in-ness" verses never mention the Holy Spirit is that the Holy Spirit is the mechanism by which the Trinity is made One.  The Holy Spirit appears in the phrasology as the sentence structure within which the nouns referring to the Father and the Son, gluing the two together.  Take the phrase "The Father is in me, and I am in the Father".  Remove the nouns and you get "__ is in __, and __ am in __".  Take the phrase "I am in you, and you are in me.".  Remove the nouns and you also get "__ am in __, and __ are in __".  Outside of the frame of the sentence, the two nouns stand apart.  Place them within the phrase, and their unity is effected.

As an illustration, consider any really fine piece of wooden furniture that has been glued together.  The skill of the craftsman is determined by the invisibility of the glue.  Without the glue, the wood pieces of the furniture are many and apart.  They cannot connect together or remain together.  They need the glue to "become one".  However, the illusion of "oneness" is maintained by the fact that the glue is not seen, and any signs of glue apparent on the exterior of the furniture is a sign of sloppy craftsmanship. 

Here is how this concept of the Holy Spirit being the bonding mechanism within the Trinity explains Jesus' verbiage: the Spirit is given to each believer to effect a bond between him and Jesus that constitutes Jesus being in the believer and the believer in Jesus.  This bond is exactly the same as that between Jesus and the Father, because it is effected by the same mechanism, which is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Being a member of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit's presence is signalled by "glory".  This "glory" is exactly the same as that which the Father gives to the Son, and which Jesus then gives to us.  Just as a magnetic field indicates the presence of flowing electrons, so the glory within us indicates the presence of Diety within us.

The "in Christ" and "Christ in us" phrasology is thus a remapping of Jesus' "The Father is in me and I am in the Father".  The first part of the mapping requires that Jesus have the Holy Spirit to enter into the "in-ness" relationship effected by the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit was given to Jesus at his baptism, and it was at that moment that he was literally connected to his Father while in human form.  Though he was conceived of the Holy Spirit, it was not the same as John the Baptist's being anointed with the Holy Spirit from Elizabeth's womb.  The fact that he did not have this connection was the reason why he insisted that John baptize him "in order to fulfill all righteousness".  The phrasology is interesting: Jesus' righteousness was not fulfilled until the Holy Spirit came.  He may have lived a sinless life, but "righteousness" demanded that he be baptized.  Baptism, as John the Baptist preached, was symbolic of the Baptism by Fire that the one who would come after him, and who was greater than he, would baptise his followers.  This was essentially a prediction that was fulfilled at Pentecost, establishing the truth of John's preaching and his claim of being a true prophet sent from God.  John the Baptist's doubt about the truth of Jesus being the Messiah was alleviated when Jesus exercised miracles of liberation in front of the messengers he sent.  (An aside: the term "righteousness" is not only a theological term, but also an engineering one as well.  "Righteousness" is essentially doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, for the right reason.  Engineers know that one has to get all these things "right" before any mechanism, complicated or simple, will function as intended.  Indeed, the more complex the mechanism, the more rigorous one must be in this kind of "righteousness".) 

In these verses, Jesus prays that the Holy Spirit be given to the Disciples (and to us, per John the Apostle).  This effects a unity similar to that between Jesus and the Father.  The bond of the Spirit between Jesus and the Father forms the Trinity.  In the same way, the bond of the Spirit between Jesus and us pulls us into the Trinity.  

Having accomplished my goal of explaining the "In Christ/Christ in us" terminology, I will address the benefits that this unity gives us after I address a "pet peeve" of mine.

Too Good of a Job?

Based on my reading and listening to religious radio, I believe that many theologians, pastors, religious writers, and bible scholars have adopted an extremely unhealthy attitude toward the Holy Spirit that is not only scripturally unjustified, but may prove harmful to them at a personal level.  These individuals appear to believe that John 15:26 and John 16:13-14 teach that the Holy Spirit has a zero-footprint personality, leading to such a belief manifesting itself as a perverse delight in putting down Pentecostals and Charismatics who demonstrate manifestations of the Holy Spirit by reminding them that "the Holy Spirit doesn't speak of Himself, but only of Jesus!" in a tone and manner that suggests "And you shouldn't either!"  Such people would lodge similar complaints against the emphasis of this website on the Holy Spirit and his interactions since, "after all, he doesn't speak of Himself, but only of Jesus, so you shouldn't either!"  It is rather strange to read the final book of Dr. LaHaye's "Left Behind" series, Kingdom Come, where its wooden biblical characters (including Jesus) continuously spout long passages from the bible in semi-King James English (as if they themselves were incapable, in real life, of an original thought), yet encounter far fewer words concerning the Holy Spirit in the book than what Jesus and Paul said and wrote about Him.  This attitude reaches astounding depths in Frank Viola's "From Eternity to Here".  As an example, he adapts the story of Rebecca's courting to his concept that the Church, as a collective entity, is the literal Bride of Christ (and illustrating the problems inherent in taking a metaphor too far).  He maps the Church to Rebecca, God the Father to Abraham, and Jesus to Isaac.  The Holy Spirit is relegated to the nameless servant Abraham sends to fetch a bride for Isaac.  Mr. Viola has him talking up Isaac to Rebecca to illustrate how the Holy Spirit plays up Jesus without calling attention to Himself.  (An aside:  a review of Mr. Viola's personal history that he gives at the end of the book indicates a man of questionable character since he is not above stooping to the use of a patently invalid argument to put down the charismatic branch of Christianity.  He is probably counting on the intellectual and scholastic distain potential reviewers have for the "hands-on" "blue collar" emphasis of a personal interaction with the Holy Spirit emphasized by that part of the Body of Christ to "avoid" noticing his hypocrisy.  While he shows good scholastic rigor in some of his other books (such as "Pagan Christianity"), the intellectual foundations of "From Eternity to Here" are rather shaky.  The introductory quote of the book is from Ivan Illich, an Austrian philosopher, who states the best way to change a society is to put forth an alternative story more gripping and exciting than the currently held one.  His "narrative" explanation of the "new creature" in Jesus Christ as a new species is so woefully and painfully inadequate, I felt like a Quantum Phycisist reading an amateurish stab at explaining his latest work by a fifth-string science reporter.  Truth?  Provability?  "Irrelevant to The Alternative Story!" I hear him saying.  Mr. Viola's re-interpretation of the "real meaning" of the Rebecca story also betrays his lack of attention to details, for he overlooks the fact that the servant makes no attempt to locate Abraham's family upon his arrival at Haran as he was ordered to do by his master.  Instead, he resorts to "potluck" by sending up a prayer to Abraham's God asking for someone to water his camels insead of doing it himself.  No one, in a real sense, selects Rebecca: the girl selects herself by her willingness to work for the benefit of the nameless servant.  If Rebecca had respected the servant as "much" as Mr. Viola respects the Holy Spirit, she would have perished nameless in Haran, her name among our daughters long replaced by one who possessed more sense and less pride.)

There is no incongruity nor contradiction with a Holy Spirit who does not call attention to Himself and the attention paid to Him by Charismatics, Pentecostals, and this website, as is claimed by such critics, for just because someone doesn't draw attention to himself in the course of pursuing an objective in a professional and deliberate manner for the benefit of others does not impose a requirement of silence upon his beneficiaries.  In the real world, pointing out the vital function that such people play in a society, praising them for their service, admiring their selfless professionalism, encouraging our youth to emulate their example, and informing everyone that their work is made easier and more effective on our behalf by an educated cooperation on our part, is called gratitude.  However, it appears these "educated" individuals hold such an attitude as superfluous with regard to the Holy Spirit.  If the explanations coming out of the mouths of theologians regarding our obligations toward the Holy Spirit in response to His working sound eerily like the explanations coming out of the mouths of teenagers explaining why they don't have to thank their grandparents for their birthday or Christmas presents, with names changed, then a rebuke of them as being lazy and ungrateful is called for.  In the same way that a rarely seen skin cancer in Homosexuals became a reliable marker for AIDS, ingratitude has always been recognized by the wise as a spiritual disease that is a reliable marker for pride.

I would normally grant a measure of indulgence to such people if they pleaded an ignorance of the Holy Spirit's implementative work within us due to the fact that the Spirit Himself does such a good job of representing Jesus within us without calling attention to Himself that missing Him was easy to do.  However, I cannot do so because this explanation is patently untrue: the witness and works of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements should have given notice that something bigger was at play, but to recognize that would have been an admission that God had bypassed the religious wise of the present age to work on the Church "from the ground up".  Instead, the "few King Sauls, the few Baalams, the few Samsons" (Viola, "From Eternity to Here", P 294) are brought forth and paraded about as reasons for not inquiring further into the matter, depriving the movement of an orderly analysis and exposition that would have put matters on a firmer basis.  Saul and Samson were followed by David, and Baalam by the Prophets of Israel, all of whom were better than their predecessors because they studied what had gone wrong before, took warning, and eventually figured out how to separate the baby from the bathwater.  The spectacular proportions of the failures of Pentecostal ministers of late is entirely consistent with the size of the forces they foolishly mis-manipulate.  Popping a test tube of hydrogen in a school science lab to impress the girls is one thing, while fusing the same to vaporize Elugelab is quite another, but to deliberately confound the two to excuse oneself from exploring the real differences takes a certain amount of deliberative misrepresentation that does not deserve any indulgence when one gets caught doing it.  

I remind all with an ungrateful attitude toward the Holy Spirit to recognize, from Paul's illustration of the balancing of the parts of the body and James' counsel on the treatment of the poor in the Church, that God continues to balance function, power, and honor by investing those lacking one aspect with a greater measure of the other two.  The exact distribution will be discussed in the introductory essay of Stage Two.

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