Nagaland – Day 6
8th March: Day 6
There was a lovely strong flow in the teaching today resulting in about ten of the class coming forward to be baptised in the Holy Spirit, and in doing so some of them visibly met with God. Also during the chapel time a dozen or so responded. After Chapel, during the second half of the morning it became clear what was going on among the class, and indeed the wider group of students. One young guy asked a question about baptism in the Holy Spirit which led to a discussion which led to a clear conclusion: people are used responding to altar calls to be baptised in the Holy Spirit and tend to go forward again and again, not really knowing whether they have received it or not.
As we explored this further they began to see for themselves how faith is the opposite of seeking experiences. Soulish-ness has crept in from the West, has infiltrated the church in India, and even in remote Nagaland many now live their Christian lives roaming from one experience to another. This was the climax to a week in the classroom with these MDiv students and it gave clear direction to our remaining time here.
As soon as we got to this point, late in the morning, something changed. They woke up and I hadn’t even realised they were asleep. They came alive, their eyes shone and one lady who I hadn’t caught smiling the whole week was now beaming ear to ear. Isn’t it odd how it can be so comforting to hear we how we were crucified with Christ! It is the heart of the gospel and when properly received it of course it brings great joy, alongside relief that we can finally get over ourselves and live the victorious life the New Testament speaks of.
That we cannot live the Christian life without first reckoning ourselves dead, crucified with Christ, is becoming a regular topic for The Way of the Spirit. Of course it has often come up in the past, essential as it is to grasp before we can hope to make much progress, yet in the past year or two it is as though I cannot ever escape it, even coming to Nagaland! It has been the preeminent focus of our roadshows, it is the central tenet of a new course/book I have begun, and of course I am constantly challenged myself by its implications. I see as never before that if we don’t get this bit right we may as well not bother with the rest. I see clearer than ever how so much of what happens in Christendom is at best a mixture of self and Spirit.
And whenever we do teach it things happen, things change. If it is the right message at the right time, then it is a message of revival.