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The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today

 

Earlier it was said that perhaps these pages will have come as a surprise, even a disturbance, to some readers. It is also hoped that for others this book may have come as a source of some pleasure in that the attempt has been made to clarify much about the gift of the Holy Spirit. For it is undoubtedly the case that many persons who are either participants in the contempo­rary spiritual renewal, or strongly attracted thereto, are look­ing for a more thorough biblical and theological grounding. If these pages have been helpful in that direction, I am grateful.

It should be added that throughout the writing I have been fully aware of working in a seldom charted theological area. For the church at large has never given adequate consideration to the gift of the Spirit—“baptism in the Spirit,” “the fullness of the Spirit,” and other related matters—accordingly, there has been little from the past to go on.2 Hence, though this has been largely a biblical study in the area, I trust that it has helped set the stage for further theological reflection.

Surely what has been dealt with in these pages is no small matter. It is verily, for those who receive forgiveness of sins and become new creatures, the gift of God’s presence and power. Thereby the Spirit of God comes to fill the heights and depths of human existence, bringing forth transcendent expressions of praise, performance of mighty works, and many new aspects of Christian living. It is the outpouring of God’s Spirit upon a redeemed people—a people who having been set right with God now become the arena of His reflected glory.

How much this is to be desired: for the church in our time not only to be “the ark of salvation” but also the tabernacle of the divine fullness! Thus the church may become the earthly counterpart to the praise of God in the heavenly sanctuary, the continuation of her Lord’s ministry in mighty word and deed, and such a moving force against all evil that the citadels of darkness cannot withstand the mighty impact. Indeed, through the Holy Spirit the church may truly become that place of beauty and wonder that presages the final coming of Christ in glory.

And the church described consists of people—people who have become open to the mighty wave of God’s Spirit in our time, and, whatever their frailties and shortcomings, are moving in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit. For all such persons, what God is doing is a matter of continuing joy and amazement.

Finally, as we close, it is good to be reminded once more that the gift of the Holy Spirit is a continuing promise. This extraor­dinary gift from the exalted Lord is not something that belongs to past history. For we have the sure word of Scripture that “the promise is to you and your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.”

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Category: Fall 2004, Spirit

About the Author: J. Rodman Williams (1918-2008), Ph.D., is considered to be the father of renewal theology. He served as a chaplain in the Second World War, he was a church pastor, college professor, and key figure in the charismatic movement of the 1960s. Beginning in 1982, he taught theology at Regent University School of Divinity in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and became Professor of Renewal Theology Emeritus there in 2002. Author of numerous books, he is perhaps best known for his three volume Renewal Theology (Zondervan, 1996).

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