This coming Sunday, across Christendom, we celebrate the Day of Pentecost. The coming of the Holy Spirit was promised by Jesus Christ and He arrived fifty days after the Lord’s resurrection from the dead. The coming of the Holy Spirit and what He will do is detailed in the Gospel of John. His arrival is detailed in the first two chapters of the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. Some scholars argue that the book should be entitled The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles.
The Christian calendar has four major holidays – Christmas, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost. It is fair to say that the first two get more press and more involvement from Christians than the last two. In some Protestant churches, the Ascension is almost forgotten yet the Ascension is directly connected with Pentecost.
Those of us who call ourselves Trinitarian Christians - believing in God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, One God in three Persons - have to confess that we have often been unjust to the Holy Spirit. The Ecumenical Councils have been very clear that each Person of the Holy Trinity is worthy to be praised because each person is fully God. While we as humans will never understand the Holy Trinity, we should practice the things we do understand as they are revealed on the pages of the Holy Scriptures.
There have also been some debates about the Holy Spirit which have deterred us from fully appreciating who the Holy Spirit is. One of the debates is over who sent the Holy Spirit. The Eastern Orthodox Church argued that the Holy Spirit was sent by the father, while the Catholic Church argued it was the Father and the Son who have sent the Holy Spirit. The other debate is over the fact that one of the positions of the Pope is called in loco Christi or in the place of Christ. The Protestants argue that Jesus Christ never promised that a pope will come in His place – it was the Holy Spirit who will come in His place to guide and teach the church.
Historically, one can say that the Church always worshipped and revered the Holy Spirit, but one can also say that the 20th century has produced more literature about the Holy Spirit and groups within Christendom who identify with the Holy Spirit than any previous century. The Pentecostal movement is a 20th century movement. At the end of the 20th century, the Pentecostal churches were positioned to face the 21st century better than any other segment of Christianity. Those who analyze the various trends of Christianity see that the strength of the 21st century Christianity will be in Africa, Asia and Latin America and it will be a Pentecostal type of Christianity.
What is a Pentecostal type of Christianity? Christians who practice a Pentecostal type of Christianity have a high regard for the Holy Scripture. They believe that the Holy Scripture is inspired by God and therefore is the word of God. This word was given to the Church. They also believe that the Holy Spirit has been given to guide the Church. They want to return to the a Christianity like that in the book of Acts, expecting God to perform the same miraculous deeds in the 21st century as he did in the first century of Christianity.
Sometimes in our churches we hear wishful thinking. “I wish I could have walked with God as Enoch did or I wish to have walked with Jesus as Peter did,” some say. Yet, we have the same privilege to walk with God the Holy Spirit, but we neglect His presence and as result, we have a struggling Christian life. Acknowledge that it is Pentecost, acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is among us and learn to walk in the presence of the Holy Spirit and experience all of His blessings to you.