Monday, December 04, 2006

Do You Pray for an Outpouring of the Spirit?

Recently over at Sharper Iron, Pastor Joe Roof posted this statement:

When I used the term revival, I am speaking of a needed outpouring of the Spirit of God upon the people of God. Evidences of genunine revival are found in places like Acts 2 and Ezra. What happened in the days of Josiah was refreshing as well.

I read through the posts after he made this statement to see if anyone corrected him, and no one did. Neither Bruce, Greg, Stephen, Dave, Bill, Jay, Jim, Ellis, Bob M., Bob T., Ed, Rick, Christian, nor Cindy nor Michelle (women correct theology too at SI) laid a finger on him. Maybe he is just someone no one really takes seriously or that he is off-limits because he fits the SI profile too closely. Do you see anything wrong with the statement?

I wish it was obvious to most. I guess it isn't, though. Peter explained the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. Jesus prophesied the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in every Gospel and in Acts 1. Peter said that the Acts 2 experience was a fulfillment of Joel 2. He quoted that OT prophecy in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost. Here's the quote from verses 28-32:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: and I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
We know that Acts 2 fulfilled Joel 2, but it could not be more than a partial or pre- fulfillment. The sun to darkness and the moon to blood were missing on the Day of Pentecost. The ultimate fulfillment for which Acts 2 was a sample will occur in the tribulation period when the Holy Spirit is outpoured on the Jews.

So this is the outpouring of the Spirit passage. The Spirit was poured out on saved, immersed believers, accompanied by signs and wonders. Pastor Roof says:

Evidences of genunine revival are found in places like Acts 2.
What were the evidences in Acts 2? Pastor Joe says that we are to look for evidences of revival there, proof of genuine Holy Spirit outpouring. Look at verses 2-4:

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Even if we don't get the blood and the darkness, according to Pastor Joe, we should at least hear the sound of "rushing mighty wind," see "cloven tongues like as of fire," and "begin to speak with other tongues" (languages).

Joe says we need to be praying for this. Were the saints of that first church at Jerusalem praying for it? Yes. They were praying for the Holy Spirit to come. Do you know why? Because He hadn't come to all of them yet. I pray for the kingdom to come like the Lord told us in Matthew 6 and Luke 11, but I know that it will still not be coming until after the tribulation time on the earth.

The Holy Spirit will not be outpoured upon us because we don't need an outpouring. We already have the Person of the Holy Spirit. That One Person indwells each believer. I can't have another one of Him because He is only One, and I can't have more of Him because He is a Person. You either have a Person or you don't.

When we pray to God for something that He has already given us, that isn't a prayer in God's will. It is at least an ignorant prayer, if not worse. It is a faithless prayer that refuses to recognize what God has already done. He already poured out the Holy Spirit in answer to the prayers of that Jerusalem church that they offered to God between the ascension of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. It could be unthankful to keep praying for the Holy Spirit. If we already have the Holy Spirit, we should be thanking God for Him, instead of continuing to ask for Him. If you keep praying that prayer from now on, it will be a rebellious one too. It also has a crazy quality to it. If my wife is in the room, then I don't keep asking her to be in the room. She's already there. It would be borderline insanity to keep asking her to be in the room. She would rather have me acknowledge her presence and then take advantage of the benefits of it. The Holy Spirit as a Person would not be different than this.

What people want is an experience. Of course, Jesus repudiated seeking for these types of experiences. He said that a "wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign" (Matthew 16:4). People may deny it, but reaching for these kinds of extrascriptural events fits into a false view of sanctification.[1] God wants us to yield to His Spirit, the One we already possess (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Instead of passing off the responsibility for "revival" on the need for a "fresh outpouring," we should just obey the Holy Spirit who is already here. If revival doesn't come, it won't be because we don't have what it takes, but because we were not willing to take advantage of what God has already given us.

I might say more about this in my next post.
[1]This fits into the Keswick or higher life view of sanctification and second blessing theology, which does not represent historic, orthodox doctrine.


Dave Mallinak said...

I would have to say that this statement by Pastor Roof is a commonplace among fundamentalists in particular. Whether we have evidence for it or not, it certainly is a view of revival that has been held for many years.

In fairness, I'm sure that when he spoke of evidences, he was referring to the multitude of conversions, not the cloven tongues. It is a good point to show that if Acts 2 gives the evidence of genuine revival, then the cloven tongues should be included.

I think that the past generations of Independent Baptists (in particular) held pretty common views of revival that were greatly influenced by Finney in particular. This would be an example.

That being said, to overcome this commonly held idea, I think we need to look more carefully at what revival is (biblically) rather than what we want it to be.

I preached from Habakkuk 3:2 last Sunday morning, and in preparation, studied the word for revival found there. It was interesting to note that of the 235 some odd times the Hebrew word was used, nearly 200 of the uses referred to "life", "alive", or something similar.

That being said, I felt like we had a nice little breath of revival this past week, and look forward to even more (I hope). We certainly were refreshed here.


Nicholas Cardot said...

I don't read SI, although I hear a lot about it in the parts of the blogosphere that I venture into. That said, your post seems right on. Everyone seems to look at revival differently. And it certainly is true that people are often seeking for an emotional experience rather than for the power of God to serve Him in winning souls and living for Him.

Caleb said...

Kent said: "I pray for the kingdom to come like the Lord told us in Matthew 6 and Luke 11, but I know that it will still not be coming until after the tribulation time on the earth." Maybe I'm being picky, but wasn't Jesus talking to OT Jews here? If he was then the Lords prayer is not exactly for the NT believer. While "all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable, it is important to know that "Those things which were written aforetime were written for our LEARNING." Wasn't the kingdom being prayed for the kingdom that "could have been" if Christ had been accepted as Messiah? I do agree with you about the misunderstanding of what revival is. I have always thought that revival was a "reawakening" or of the Holy Spirit. I realize the Holy Spirit is not asleep, but is possibly "quenched." Would revival then be the "unquenching" of the Holy Spirit and the rededicating of ones self to God?

Kent Brandenburg said...


I can't accept the Sermon on the Mount as just for something for a hypothetical kingdom like some people have taught down at Dallas Theological Seminary among other places. This teaching is found in Luke 11 and in Matthew 6 and I believe it is for all believers. We are already members of His kingdom by being born again (John 3:3ff), and we pray for the literal physical kingdom to come as well. The Jews, by the way, also would have known the kingdom was coming, based on OT prophesies, so it really does not change anything on this praying for something that you don't have versus praying for what you don't have. We don't have the kingdom and it is coming and we will be in it, but we are still to pray for it. If your view is true, the Jews are still waiting for the kingdom, but Jesus brought both Jew and Gentile together in the church.

The Holy Spirit we do have, so we don't pray for an outpouring of Him.

Stop quenching the Holy Spirit is good.

Thanks for asking, Caleb.

Anonymous said...

Be careful as I get my foot in my mouth, but...All my adult life and maybe before (can't remember) we have always prayed for the "out pouring" of the Holy Spirit before, during and after any service.

Revival comes from within the heart of the believer when they are awakened to the needs of their Christian lives.

I have heard many times during the invitation at the end of a srvice.."Do you need to rededicate your life to the Lord"? Never have I found that in the Bible.
Confess your sins?....YES!
Abandon your worldly ways? YES!
Give God your ENTIRE life? YES!
As Paul said...."for me to live is die is gain"!

And, for anyone that might wish to know...I gave up on SI a long time ago..way to much "self serving" there. It reminds me of the "word verification" part of blogging.

Just one woman's opinion....Now, excuse me while I go and see if I can extract this foot from my mouth!!


Caleb said...

I know this isn't the point of your post, but I wanted to follow up on the Sermon on the mount stuff. When Jesus first called his disciples he told them to go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:5-7). At that point in time was Jesus earthly ministry just for the Jews. If it was, then when the disciples asked him in Matthew 6 "teach US how to pray" wasn't Jesus teaching the OT Jew how to pray? I guess what I mean is wasn't Jesus teaching them to pray for "the kingdom" to start. If the Jews had accepted Jesus when he came would the kingdom of heaven started then? Is that what Jesus was telling them to pray for? If so then that prayer, while instructive in principle, is not for the NT believer. Are we supposed to be praying for the Kingdom now? That seems a bit out of order when we know the kingdom won't start until after the rapture and the tribulation. The ews are still looking for the kingdom right? Because they didn't accept Jesus as Messiah they are looking for someone else to fill that role. This next question may be going down a different path, but Paul said we are "grafted" into the tree. Is the church just a paranthesis in the history of God dealing with Israel? Many questions? Looking forward to seeing you in a couple days.

Don Johnson said...

Like all systems, the one Caleb is espousing is simply human reasoning. There is no explicit Biblical revelation for this view. It is human reasoning posing as Scriptural interpretation and should be roundly rejected.

And no, the kingdom would not have come if the Jews had accepted Christ. He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. The cross wasn't plan B.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Anonymous said...

Please tell me what "system" I am using? If you mean dispensationalism then, I guess I'm guilty. 1 Timothy 2:15 tells us to "rightly divide the word of truth." Ephesians 3:2 talks of "the dispensation of the Grace of God." Romans 15:4 talks about those things written "aforetime," being written for our LEARNING (not to us, but for us). As I'm sure you know, there are many other verses teaching dispensationalism, so I believe that there is "explicit Biblical revelation for this view." It's a shame that you believe I am using human reasoning when I believe that I have merely compared scripture with scripture. Please tell me where I went wrong. Jesus told the Disciples to go only "to the sheep of the lost house of Israel (Matt 10:5-7)."

"John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus and the disciples all proclaimed this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand' (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 10:7). The expression 'at hand' means near. The King Himself had come to earth and the kingdom was so near it was almost here! But one fact must not be forgotten. The kingdom offer was conditional. It was offered on the condition of repentance.(taken from Middletown Bible Church website)." If the Jews had accepted him as Messiah, Christ would have begun his reign then. Where is the human reasoning? Please provide me with scripture to refute my position rather than make a statement with nothing to back it up.

Don Johnson said...

Sorry, Caleb, I won't bite. I don't have time for a fruitless online argument. The only point I will make is that I didn't just give you nothing to back up my statements. I gave you this:

Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

This time I'm giving you the reference as well. The point is that the crucifixion was God's eternal plan. The Scriptures plainly declare it.

The mythical offer to Israel has nothing to back it up except human reasoning. There is no plain declaration in the Scriptures concerning that point, but there is plenty about the Lord's eternal plan for the crucifixion. What was Isaiah 53 about? A conditional statement? If you don't accept the kingdom, I'll kill the Messiah?

There is plenty of literature on the subject, written by dispensationalists, you can find it and read it yourself.

BTW, you made an error regarding Mt 6 and the Lord's Prayer, stating that the disciples asked the Lord to teach them to pray. Not on that occasion. Different context, two different renderings of the same teaching. The Mt 6 instance was part of the Sermon on the Mount, not the occasion on which the disciples asked the Lord to teach them to pray.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Anonymous said...

Why is this a fruitless online argument? I am honestly trying to learn what you believe and more importantly why you do.

I completely and whole heartedly believe that Jesus Christ is the "Lamb slain before the foundation of the world." I don't think that nullifies my belief though. I think it is a false characterization to say that the Cross was "plan B." Acts 15:18 tells us that "known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world." This includes his plan for Israel, His plan for the church, and Christs death on the Cross. Isaiah 55:8 tells us "my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." I admit I don't totally understand all of this, but there are many things I don't totally understand that I have to just accept. Maybe a way to understand it is that this was Gods "myster plan." Ephesians 3 talks about this. The Cross is not to be minimized or diminished through this belief. Paul tells us in Galations 6:14 God forbid that we should boast in anything else.
God gave Israel the opportunity to accept Christ as Messiah just as he made Salvation open to all who will believe. He knows who will and who won't believe, but he doesn't force us into believing. We are given free will just as Israel was given free will ("the kingdom of heaven is at hand") to accept Christ as Messiah. They rejected him. God knew this would happen so there is no "plan b." This is just God dealing with man.
My apolgies for messing up Matthew 6. I should have said Luke 11. That was careless. -- Caleb

P.S. for some reason I am having to post anonomously. I couldn't get it through any other way.

Don Johnson said...

Ok, Caleb, I tell you what. We really are off topic on Kent's article anyway. What I suggest is that I will write up something on why I reject this offer of the kingdom doctrine and post it on my own blog. It may take me a week or so. The address is:

You can commment there if you like, as I said, I don't want to get drawn into a lengthy discussion, but I will at least give a rationale for the statements I have made here. Is that fair enough?

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3