Sadly, this is such an under-explored talking point.
It’s the notion that the Holy Spirit works continuous sanctification in the believer, causing him or her to grow in holiness and become, as the young preacher just said, more Christ like.
This video is also uploaded here, here and here
Many Christian preachers, like this young man (Godwin of Speakers Corner), make the claim of the Hoy Spirit indwelling them and working within them a sort of regeneration over time.
I want to explore the logical outworking here which I believe many preachers, really have not thought about in great depth.
The implication here, is essentially a falsification test. This belief can be demonstrated to be false. Practically demonstrated to be false by Christians themselves
Let me explain, what is essentially being said here is that a Christian who has been a Christian for a pretty lengthy amount of time should be able to be more morally upright than anybody else,
Let’s take somebody who has been a Christian for at least a decade,this person, in theory would have had the Holy Spirit working within them and making them more Christ-like for decade, 10 years.
But this is at loggerheads with what we observe within Christian communities. If this preacher truly believes the Holy Spirit works within Christians then how can he explain why Christians are often surpassed by other faith groups in self-discipline (avoiding sins) or the fact 75% of Christians are mired with struggle with pornography? Martin Saunders uses a straw poll he conducted in 2014 to show That’s 75% of Christian men engaging with pornography on, let’s say, a monthly basis.
Within those stats there are some interesting details, 42% said they would describe their behaviour as ‘compulsive or an addiction’
Are you trying to tell me 4/10 Christians have the Holy spirit in them yet can’t beat a serious addiction/compulsion to porn?
If, as the preacher believes, the Holy Spirit is working on these people and leading them to become holier then why can’t they break free from their struggles with pornography?
Are you not indirectly insulting the Holy spirit here in vocally declaring you have the Spiri indwelling within you whilst you, yourself, struggle with this issue of lust.
Just so we are clear, I’m not railing against men for having issues with lust, we all struggle with this, My concern here, is this religious claim of the Holy Spirit indwelling people
Now, other men of other faiths, non Christians, can manage to resist the temptation of pornography, the preacher, presumably believes this is done without the Holy Spirit. So is this not proof enough to suggest preacher’s argument for the Holy Spirit being within Christians is spurious at the very least. Surely, the preacher as a Christian, would not want to suggest non-Christians are capable of greater moral feats than those led by the Holy Spirit?
To throw another problem at preacher’s reasoning, what of those Christians who have been in the church for decades promoting and defending church doctrines and then leave the church because they apostatize? Does that not throw a spanner in the works for preacher’s claims of the Holy Spirit working within Christians and causing them to grow in [Christian] holiness. If this is the case why are we seeing older Christians leaving Christianity, surely if this was the case no decades-old Christian would leave the faith
Paul of Tarsus in Galatians 5 lists what he believes is the fruit of the Spirit:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Notice, this is all stuff (aside from Paul’s version of faith) you can observe in a Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh, Jew or even dare I say an Atheist. But also notice the words peace, gentleness and meekness — our Christian friends may be a little surprised to see a couple of rabbis suggesting Christians are arguably the most violent people in history. How is this if Christians have the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit leads to peace and gentleness? How can other groups (Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims etc.) be seen as more peaceful and gentle than Christians?
So what exactly do Christians believe the Holy Spirit gives them that others cannot achieve in character and moral standing? Should Christians not rethink their beliefs about the Holy Spirit?
Is this belief not ultimately a practical insult to the Holy Spirit? That’s a rhetorical question for Christians to wrestle with.