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Here’s a quick top 5:
5. “It scares off non-Christians.” If you believe in God then you believe in God’s Spirit and things like that. Non-Christians know YOU believe it: So it’s no use trying to hide it. We shouldn’t try to “sell” a version of Christianity that (we think) is palatable to our unbelieving friends; instead we should do our best to be honest with explain fully the more difficult and hard-to-believe things.
4. “The Spirit doesn’t work today the way it did in the Bible.” In Acts 19 the first believers in Ephesus had not heard of the Holy Spirit when Paul got there. They managed to have a version of Christianity without the Holy Spirit… so it was possible even then. When Paul got there, he didn’t think it was a good thing: instead taught them more fully about *Jesus*…(which was what they needed) and then they too got the Spirit. Because there’s no such thing in the Bible as understanding and believing in Jesus without also getting the active indwelling presence of God.
3. “The Holy Spirit is not practical to our everyday lives.” That’s like saying having an “inner life” isn’t practical…all you need is outer success. But we know that’s not true. If “practical” means it will help you have more joy and peace and live more fully, then what could be MORE practical than that? God doesn’t promise that you’ll have more money or luck or success or beauty or connections…no, you’ll have what everyone else gets. But, you’ll be more-than-conquerors because you’ll have an inner life with the Spirit that powers everything else you do…and that is very practical.
2. “Talking about the Holy Spirit can lead to a lot of bad theology, and crazy beliefs.” This is absolutely true. Probably the stupidest things people do in the name of Jesus happen in conjunction with belief in the Holy Spirit. But…that doesn’t mean we should stay away from it. Electricity can kill you if used wrongly, but we don’t decide to go through life without it. Falling in love (with the wrong person) can be dangerous, but no one decides to go through life without it. All good and real things are dangerous – the more powerful it is, the more dangerous it is when our sinful side takes over and skews it toward stupidity… But God helps us with these things, and teaches us to do better.
1. “We don’t need the Spirit to be ‘saved’ so why not just focus on stuff we need?” Being “saved” and the Bible’s idea of “Heaven” is to be in a face to face relationship with God as our Father. So having the Spirit is not just a bonus feature of what Jesus did, it IS what being saved is all about. The point of being “saved” is to be able to communicate with God, to have His indwelling Spirit… so, in a sense, you do need the Spirit to be saved: being saved is nothing without the Holy Spirit…