Once-off or repeated?

posted in: Blog, My Blog | 1

Theme: Anointing – Necessary or nice to have?

Ephesians 5:18 ‘Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.’ 

Many years ago, Rick Godwin came to South Africa to speak at a convention. His key address was titled ‘Fresh Oil’. The basic idea was that we should not rely on yesterday’s anointing but should instead regularly seek ‘fresh oil’ form the Holy Spirit. It was a good message and I bought a cassette (tells you how long ago it was) to listen to again in my car. Shortly after this I drove down to Durban to minister over a weekend and on Sunday attended a local church there. The pastor started to preach and I was immediately intrigued by the similarity of the message with ‘Fresh oil’. The longer he preached the more my de je voux experience intensified. After the service I jumped into my car for the trip home and immediately inserted the Rick Godwin cassette. To my amazement I realised that the local pastor had preached the exact same message, right down to the jokes and ‘personal’ anecdotes. He clearly did not have any fresh oil!

Now had that Durban pastor asked the Holy Spirit for a fresh empowering, I am sure he would have had a fresh sermon. Perhaps his theology got in the way. What I mean by this is that classical Pentecostal theology asserts that we only have one empowering experience called the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This occurs shortly after our conversion experience and never again. More traditional theology asserts that the Holy Spirit resides within each believer and that the concept of ‘anointing’ is redundant. I believe that Holy Spirit anointing can and should occur regularly. I base this on the witness of the early church and the powerful experiences of the Holy Spirit that occurred subsequent to Pentecost. I also base it on the particular use of words in the Greek of Ephesians 5:18. The verb translated as ‘be filled’ is in the present tense which can indicate that the command is to keep on doing an action as one’s general habit or life-style. So, the verse could legitimately be translated as ‘be being filled with the Spirit.’

Before I preach, I ask the Holy Spirit to anoint me for the task. Sometimes folk will lay hands upon me and sometimes I will simply ask God in private prayer. The important thing for me is to realize my dependence on the Holy Spirit and to acknowledge this often by asking for his anointing power.


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