“Well, I do not believe in the supernatural. I am a Bible believer. I do not believe in healing, the manifestation of the Holy Spirit or any of that other supernatural monkey business that people call the Holy Spirit. I do not need that. I have the Bible and that is what I believe!”
That sounds, oh, so spiritual, godly, and taking the high road of spiritual, intellectual thinking. However, these are the very words spouted by the religious establishment of Jesus’ day. The Saducees believed in the first five books of spiritual illumination (The Penteteuch) and nothing else; no manifestations of the spirit; no prophets; nothing. The Pharisees went a little further but basically just had a system of rules and regulations to God. It was rigid and looked, oh, so pious while excluding people from entering the real presence of God.
The whole idea of proclaiming you are a Bible believer while denying miracles, healing, the manifest presence of God, the gifts of the spirit, and a one on one encounter with Jesus in the power of God, is a pretty absurd belief system. How do you read the Bible and conclude you are a Bible believer and then proclaim your disbelief in the miraculous? There even seems to be a certain kind of religious disdain from certain Christians toward people with a powerful experience. One minister told me that he is very suspicious of these people who declare deep religious experiences that may include visions, dreams, prophecy, or hearing the voice of God. He sounded like he felt sorry for them.
Should we feel sorry for Abraham who had astounding visions? Should we feel pity for Jacob as he wrestles with God and has a “ladder-vision” of the blessing of God coming to earth? Should we be suspect of Joseph’s dreams, Elijah’s fire from heaven and running ability; Elisha’s raising the dead; David’s powerful worship experiences and visions; Peter, James, and John meeting dead people with Jesus; Paul’s encounter with the risen Christ in the road; or how about Jesus’ own experience with the heaven’s opening and God speaking and doves fluttering down upon him? Are these deluded people? Was Phillip just to be pitied or did God really transport him through the air?
One might say, “those were Bible times!” What time is this? We are living in the most extraordinary opportunity in history! The time is ripe for an outpouring of the spirit on a godless generation. They are begging for the real, powerful, God of the Bible!
You say, you believe the Bible! Good! So does the devil! The Bible is a consistent chronicle of people who have met God in power…over and over and over again. The Bible is an invitation for you and me to experience the living God in all of his love and power. We have allowed the Pharisees once again to steal the word of God and create a system of godliness that neatly seals God off and does not allow him to show himself in glory. The Pharisees have a neat form that denies the power!
So, you believe the Bible, but not in a present day presentation of God’s glory. So, what was Pentecost? Did the Holy Spirit come and leave? Did the Holy Spirit come and do some stuff and say, “well, that should do!” Wow, six billion people on the earth that do not need God to show himself strong and powerful.
Perhaps, the church ought to stop looking with suspicion on people who have had a powerful experience with God and start wondering about “Bible believers” who have had no experience with God. Maybe they are not Bible believers after all.