One Spirit, Many Traditions
It is unfortunate when a pastor or denomination will advocate that their “brand” is better or superior to the other ones. Or even more, that their tradition is the only correct one. In developing a more expansive way of cultivating our spirituality, we need to be open to see where the Spirit is leading before dismissing it or demonizing other traditions/brands of Christianity. Having spent time in Pentecostal, Baptist, and other traditions, I have found my own spirituality deepened by multiple Christian traditions.
One author who has personally exposed me to other spiritualities is Richard J. Foster. I first read Foster while taking a class at the Christian University that I attended. The class was called The Life of Prayer, and one of the text books was called Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home. Foster also outlines other contemporary traditions in a book called, Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith along with the workbook, A Spiritual Formation Workbook: Small Group Resources for Nurturing Christian Faith. In these two books, Foster outlines different Christian Traditions. The first Christian Tradition he describes is “Discovering a Life of Intimacy with God: The Contemplative Tradition”; the second one is “Discovering a Life of Purity and Virtue: The Holiness Tradition”; the third one is “Discovering a Life of Empowerment Through the Spirit: The Charismatic Tradition”; the fourth one is “Discovering a Life of Justice and Compassion: The Social Justice Tradition”; the fifth one is “Discovering a Life Founded upon the Word: The Evangelical Tradition”; and the last one “Discovering a Practical Strategy for Spiritual Growth: The Spiritual Formation Group”. Which of these traditions would you claim?
Like many in the Baptist faith, I follow the Evangelical and Social Justice Traditions, but I also draw deeply on the Pentecostal/Charismatic tradition in which I was brought up. The Pentecostal/Charismatic traditions hold that the role of the Spirit is vital in the life of the believer. They look to Acts 1:8, which says, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” After the baptism of the believer in water, there is another subsequent experience called the In-filling of the Spirit or the Baptism the Spirit. The early Christian leaders in the book of Acts laid hands on the believers, and they all were filled with the Spirit. As the apostle Paul says, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is the same Spirit is with us as the Counselor, the Parakletos. As a young person, my pastor Gabriel Wil- continued next page Page 2 lis prayed for me to received the Spirit. Nothing immediately happened, I didn’t feel anything, but then God began to open my spiritual eyes to see visions and dreams. I was not aware of the Spiritual realm until my pastor prayed for me to receive the power of the Spirit. The In-Filling of the Spirit is for every believer.
May this Easter season awaken within your heart a desire and passion to study the Word of God and apply it to your heart like never before. Who knows where the Spirit may lead us? Blessed Easter!
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