Adrian Warnock: Receiving the Holy Spirit

It seems so long since I responded to Adrian Warnock. But my last post on Mark Driscoll prompted me to respond on a post by Adrian which I found sad (again), it is on some teaching by his pastor Tope Koleoso: Receiving the Holy Spirit. Lots of the normal techniques of selected Bible verses dotted all over the New testament rather than proper exegesis of any. Even though there is a reference to 1 Corinthians 12 the impact is totally ignored in that Paul makes it clear that we are all different and should not all expect the same gifts.

Sadly the the post repeats the same views and methods we have heard from Adrian many times:

  • You will be able to talk in tongues and this is how we know you have received the Holy Spirit. Poor Paul so much of his teaching still ignored today.
  • This is all about you. An incredibly individualistic re-interpretation of the gospel (there is essentially no recognisable gospel here).
  • No mention of the purpose of the Holy Spirit in terms of other people (the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians for example or the teaching of Jesus which gets barely a mention).
  • Hiding from the impact of the Bible. The Well in John 4 is mentioned but of course the way that passage demolishes New Frontiers understanding of Male Headship is not mentioned.
  • We have programmed what it is to become and be a Christian. It is now 4 simple steps that will happen exactly like this: (Repent of your sins; Be Baptised in water; Be Filled with the Holy Spirit; Be Added to the Church). As always limit God to our pre-determined pattern (ignoring for example the many people who receive the Holy Spirit before Baptism in Water and for whom Water Baptism is a response to what the Holy Spirit has already done). Or those who serve the Church for many years before receiving the Holy Spirit (depending on your understanding of the events in Aldersgate Street this might well include John Wesley).
  • The utter sinfulness of doubt. You cannot receive the Holy Spirit until you drive away your doubts. 

I feel like a good, biblical lament at this waste. Waste of the wonderful gift that is Scripture. Waste of the enthusiasm and dedication of these devoted Christians. Waste of the 50% of humanity that they believe have nothing to say and who cannot help correct this bad theology & exegesis.

As an alternative I would suggest reading the 4 passages from the Lectionary today. They don't need a lot of explanation, simply a challenge to respond:

  • Micah 6:1-8
  • Psalm 15
  • 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
  • Matthew 5:1-12

5 thoughts on “Adrian Warnock: Receiving the Holy Spirit

  1. PamBG

    Not only does Paul tell us in 1 Corinthians 12 that not all have the same gifts (the Greek is something more like “not everyone speaks in tongues, do they?”) but he then goes on to say – in the famous verses of 1 Cor 13 used at weddings, that speaking in tongues is no good if we don’t have love. “Love” I take here not to mean a sentimental feeling but a getting-up-and-doing-something about helping others. So the latter is greater than the former and not all believers are given the former.

  2. Methodist Preacher

    David I totally agree that we need to understand the fruits of the spirit as well as the gifts. I have only spoken in tongues on one occasion and it was very special and quite involuntary. However I have seen the gifts of the spirit help build up new Christians and give them the confidence to continue in the Christian life so I am reluctant to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    Scripture makes it clear we should “test the spirits” and we have to ask that our faith matures in such a way that we are able to do that.
    When Methodists start talking down the desire for the gifts of the spirit I feel really very frustrated.
    On a historical level, what on earth do you think happened at Mow Cop?
    And each Sunday we pray for healing. Is that not asking for that the gift of the spirit to be exercised within the body of believers then gathered?
    And why should we feel some see us as second class because we don’t speak in tongues. What on earth do you think happens to thousands of us when we sing – for example – “LOve Divine”? We may sing in English but who is anyone to say that we are not speaking in tongues.
    One final point: don’t knock New Frontiers. I have heard some good reports of their work and hospitality from someone I love very much.
    Let’s encourage one another. It isn’t as if our one denomination don’t have one or two problems which other Christians find difficult

  3. Dave

    In no way at all would I ever propose rejecting the gifts of the Holy Spirit and I did not suggest that in this post.
    We absolutely need all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I love it when I see them in Christians and in the Church. Speaking in tongues will always be welcome at any Church where I have any input.
    But Adrian’s post does the opposite. By claiming that all gifts of the Spirit are essentially validated by the gift of tongues he actually shuts down the Spirit.
    In the same way trying to control the Spirit by defining the order things have to happen (an order that does not fit either with all Scripture nor with experience of many people, including you and me) he again tries to control and restrict the Spirit. This is bad.
    So my rant is against restricting the Spirit not for restricting.
    I agree totally that it is wrong to see some people as second class citizens because they don’t speak in tongues. It is Adrian who is making that claim, not me.
    Good reports of New Frontiers are welcome. However, I will not support their Male Headship views nor bad theology. They do not always have a good track record of hospitality to people who do not hold to some of their views, their response to Steve Chalke being a good example.

  4. Methodist Preacher

    Thanks Dave for clarifying that point. I think the emphasis on tongues as the premier sign of the gifts of the spirit is seriously overdone and can be faked. I think I will put up a post on this sometime because I’ve had a lot of experience of those who promote charismatic gifts, both positive and negative. I’m glad that you would accept worship in tongues. It took me a long time to become comfortable with it.
    Interesting discussion, I think we need more about this as I see it as being a major stumbling block for many in the mainstream denominations.

  5. Dave

    “I’m glad that you would accept worship in tongues.”
    Not “would” but “do” :-) It does not happen all the time but mine is not simply a theoretical view but also one rooted in experience.


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