81245 Muenchen (Munich)
I just discovered you via your post at Unsettled Christianity, in which you linked to your May 8 article entitled, “How to Use the Word, “Antichrist”. I’ve tried to participate in discussions at “Unsettled Christianity” and found it to be impossible. I assure you that if you continue there, you will come to the same conclusion. The problem is that the Spirit which indwells you is quite different from the spirit in operation in the gang/pack that you will encounter there. I am reminded of Ezekiel 28:17 and Isaiah 14:13-15. Pride is such a deadly poison. But I commend you for the exceptional politeness, and respectfulness of your posts at “Unsettled Christianity. I confess that I lost my composure there and wrote the sort of things that bring reproach on The Lord. I read your excellent piece on gay clergy and I found it to be balanced, thoughtful and in accordance with scripture. I have a number of questions for you, but I’ll do some research in your articles and then return with any unanswered questions.
I read your commentary entitle, “Holy Spirit and Baptism” which was addressed to John Blake, author of a CNN piece entitled, “My Faith: A reluctant Churchgoer Gets the Holy Ghost”
In the Gospel of John, 20:22 we learn that when The Lord Jesus breathed on His disciples, He told them to receive the Holy Spirit (reminiscent of the breath of life that was breathed into Adam’s nostrils at the time of his creation ?)
Yet in Acts, 1:4 & 5) The Lord tells the disciples to remain in Jerusalem to await the baptism of The Holy Spirit, and indeed it seems that the promise of Baptism in The Holy Spirit was fulfilled on Pentecost.
So what was occurring in John 20:22? It seems to me that the disciples were being born of The Holy Spirit or”born again”. Therefore the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” that The Lord promised in Acts 1:4-5 is a different experience, altogether. Although the Baptism in The Holy Spirit doesn’t appear to be essential for salvation, it seems to be a sort of infusion with power from God. After the disciples were Baptized in The Holy Spirit (Acts, chapter 2), The church begins to grow explosively. The disciples proclaim the Gospel with boldness, and miraculous signs and wonders follow.
Yes? No? Maybe?
In any case, thank you for reading this.
I appreciate your serious comment.
The object of John, 20:22 is the authority to forgive sins in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, which was given to the Christian Church by Jesus Christ. By the way private confession was an important subject both for Luther and Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer’s book “Life Together” contains some teaching about “private confession”: Sometimes a Christian may not be sure, whether God has really forgiven him, after he has prayed: “please forgive me that I have … (a concrete sin)”. God has given the power to release from sins to the Church in the name of the triune God (of course the Church cannot forgive in her own name). After the pastor or just an ordinary, Christian brother has told me: “your sins are forgiven”, I can be sure that God himself has forgiven me and I will be set free from the concrete sin. God keeps His promises.
This is the main office of the Christian Church: To absolve people from sin. By Holy Baptism and faith we become Christians, by confession we remain in Christ.
We cannot do anything, Christian, without the power of the Holy Spirit. As long as we don’t have the Holy Spirit we are mere sinners, poor and weak.
At Pentecost the Christian Church was established. The Apostles became able to preach the gospel even in different languages. By the way the disciples had yet been “baptized” by Jesus’ CALL to follow Him. You could read the book “The Cost of Discipleship” by Bonhoeffer, to really understand, what baptism is. Briefly said: As Jesus lived visibly on earth He called people directly and personally to follow Him. Today He calls people be baptism. Baptism is administrated by the Church, but comes directly from heaven (Jesus). God is the invisible baptist. When you read Acts 2, 38: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”, you can see that after Pentecost the giving of the Holy Spirit and baptism have become one single act. It is not important, whether the Spirit is given shortly before, during or after baptism. It is just important that the Spirit is given near-tearms to baptism.
In conclusion: Baptism is not a mere symbolic act, but God acts during baptism. Romans 6 there is written that we really get a New Life in Christ by baptism, because at baptism the power of His death and resurrection is dedicated to us.
Are you a pastor?
I read your post on the article in which Obama was describing how Muslim Americans have lost and contributed just as much as any other american and you retaliate by saying that Islamic holy book the Koran is a war strategy. Then you ask us to look at history, I remember something in history known as the Christian Crusades (A war mongering crusade in the pursuit to spread Christianity) perhaps you too have heard of them a rather dark time for Christianity. I’m not here to say Christianity is evil in no way is that the case. In my opinion no true christian would ever think its right to kill another human being in order to spread the word of god just as no true Muslim would kill in the name of Allah, there are extremes in every religion, but pointing the finger asking to look at the past and spreading fear like you are doing isn’t the christian way.
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