01 January 2008

The Methodist Church - Suppressing the Holy Spirit???

Over at The Methodist Preacher, the author asks the question on this post:
I wonder if "spirituality" is being promoted as a counterpoint to the work of the Pentecostal groups in drawing our attention to this person of the Trinity, often ignored or even suppressed by the mainstream denominations?
The blog site suggests that the Methodist Church section on spirituality contains
Lots of semi-pagan or "new age" ideas about prayer, but absolutely nothing about the person, character and activity of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.
I'm posting the question here because I think that someone in a position to answer this question might see it: Is the Methodist Church intending to promote semi-pagan Spirituality? Is the Methodist Church ignoring or suppressing the Holy Spirit?

(For the record, I don't personally believe that Methodism is doing these things.)


Turbulent Cleric said...

I have just looked at the Methodist Church site. Some things in the "Spirituality" section I find more helpful than others. But I guess that would be so for all of us.

I think there is value in emphasising reflection (something I find hard all too often)and some of what is there is of help in that regards. There is also a revisiting of ancient practices which have been lost but may help some of be spiritually fed by Christ.

Certainly, when we looked at "Spirituality" in the first part of my training at Northern Ordination Course, we refelcted on the hymns of Charles Wesley regarding Methodist spirituality. I was grateful in all of this to encounter Thomas Merton and the wonderful Julian of Norwich.

Spirituality inevitably links up with prayer and theology and so at its best is helpful ( though rubbish can be found under the umbrella). You will know that we need to be spiritually fed if others are to be helped to grow spiritually through us.

So I quite like this part of the Methodist Church website and see no evidence of a slide to gnosticism through it. BTW if your pre ordination retreat is as two years ago, you will have the treat of learning from Steven Wil about Primitive Methodist spirituality. That one has never left me!

Look forward to meeting you later in the week


Anonymous said...

I don't know about folks in England, but we North American Methodists couldn't suppress a trash can fire much less the movement of the Holy Spirit.

We may be organized religion, but we are not fast moving.

As for the site, I did not see the pagan bits that were alluded to. Of course, I missed all the really good pagan bits in college, too.

Anonymous said...

My husband & I have been in ministry, actually I should say we know Jesus personally and He's used us. We've been attending a Methodist Church, first time. It has been too crazy in the "spirit-filled" for years now. I know they feel pressured but really to counterfeit the gifts is quite a sin. We thought we would find safety in the Methodist but in this
particular one we found that the person in charge does not have a clue what a pastor is and God showed us that the people were orphans. This of course sadly means they don't have the Father because they don't have the Son. They don't know the Lord and have no joy nor do they have a spirit of praise which could bring them into the Spirit!
We tried another one to see if there were any difference and it was exactly the same - in the praise department!

Someone mentioned the H.S. could not be suppressed, oh I wish that were true!

PamBG said...

M - I don't have a background in the charismatic movement. I have known the Holy Spirit to work very powerfully and unexpectedly in my life and in the lives of others, but I really don't understand the language of the charismatic movement, so I'm having a very difficult time understanding what you are saying.

Are you suggesting that the presence of the Holy Spirit depends on the pastor's ability to give people a proper praise experience? Sincere question. Sorry to be dim.

Anonymous said...

Dear Pam,
I feel so humbled by the way you put that.
No, I heard people speak that quickened my spirit and I loved it,praised God for it and looked so forward to hearing that person at the next meeting.
I just know that worship/praise in spirit and truth is priceless. It
does allow some people to experience the Spirit sometimes for
the first time, perhaps cause a breakthrough. Also there is warfare praise which can remove hindrances and send the enemy to flight. You probably know that the
word Judah means praise and the Word tells us to send Judah first. I think because of what it can accomplish.
Also I must say that an anointed song can keep us going, lifted higher, for a few days that otherwise could be downright depressing!

PamBG said...

Thank you for the explanation, M.

I regret that your experience with Methodism has been disappointing.

Different congregations, of course, will be different. I don't know if you're speaking from a US Methodist perspective or a British Methodist perspective.

We are a denomination which believes that the Holy Spirit works everywhere but we don't tend to major on Holy Spirit experiences (again, forgive me if my language is inadequate). I expect that even our most enthusiastic of congregations may feel disappointing to someone who is used to charismatic worship; it's not really part of our tradition.

Anonymous said...

Well I don't know how to put this
hope it doesn't sound curt, it's not meant that way but then Jesus did say just speak straight fowardly (paraphrase). I don't label myself a Charismatic. Jesus is simply everything to me. Everyone will have disappointing experiences, that's putting it mildly if we are spiritual as opposed to religious, I think you would agree. The scriptures warn us about the persecution and Jesus said to count the cost. I see traditions as a cost we should not put up with however, now I am being straight forward but I've seen to much of what traditions have done to people. It's traditions also that as is written "put the Word of God to no affect" in other words traditions will guarantee a dead church. Well I feel like an interloper at this point so I should exit, sorry.