Tear Open the Heavens!

Clark H. Pinnock on the Holy Spirit:

There is a growing interest in spirituality and religious experience in modern culture, owing no doubt to the extreme dryness of secularism. People cannot go for long without raising questions about meaning and transcendence. Church statistics go up and down, but interest in ultimate questions do not. It stays high.

If Christians are to be effective in mission, they must offer a faith that is vibrant and alive. People want to meet God and will not be satisfied with religion that only preaches and moralizes. Knowing about God is not the same as knowing God. Christianity was born on the day of Pentecost because a question was asked about a transforming experience: “What does this mean?” (Acts 2: 12). Speaking about God is meaningful only if there is an encounter with God back of it. Only by attending to the Spirit are we going to be able to move beyond sterile, rationalistic, powerless religion and recover the intimacy with God our generation longs for.

May the Spirit kindle a fire in us all and put within us a longing for the power of love to be poured out into our hearts. With the prophet we cry out: “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down!” (Isaiah 64: 1).

Now that I think about it, it bothers me that despite the people’s obvious interest in spirituality, many of them are not getting inside evangelical Christian churches. Personal religion is on the rise. People are making customized version of Christianity for themselves, but they do it outside the walls of the church. What does this say about us?