Word and Spirit

Ever since naming my blog “Word and Spirit”, I have always been on the lookout for Biblical passages and themes that relate these two topics together. Initially, I tended to think of “Word and Spirit” in a purely ecclesiological sense – a “Word and Spirit” church is one that values both sermons and spiritual gifts. Most churches who present themselves as “Word and Spirit” are trying to indicate that they have this dual emphasis on preaching and pneumatology.

But over the last years I have noticed many ways in which the Word of God and Spirit of God work together in the life of an individual believer. I began gathering material, with the intention of writing a short book that I would make freely available to readers of this blog and friends (already two people have offered to buy it if I put their names in the foreword!).

So I was looking for opportunities to develop the material by teaching it, and last Sunday I had the chance to preach at a Sunday night student event at my church. I based the talk on the metaphors of the Word of God as our spiritual food and the Spirit of God as our spiritual drink.

I had far too much to say in the time I had available (I skipped over at least 10 points!), and was worried it would come across as more of an “information blast” than a sermon, but people seemed positive about it. I’ve put my notes online in PDF format here for those who are interested: “Being Filled with the Word and Spirit“. If the mp3 gets made available I’ll put a link to it as well.

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that a charismatic evangelical spirituality is simply a life filled with the Word and Spirit of God. This involves being a “self-feeder” (as Willow Creek have just “discovered”), by regularly coming to meet God in private in the Word and prayer, but also encountering God in his Word and by his Spirit in community, as we enjoy a “Word and Spirit banquet” with other believers when we meet together.

Anyway, my next steps are to organize my material into chapters, and I’ll post them one at a time on this blog as they are complete, so you can be my proof-readers and editor if you like!

5 thoughts on “Word and Spirit

  1. “a “Word and Spirit” church is one that values both sermons and spiritual gifts”.

    Hi Mark, good post and interesting notes. I’m wondering about your definition of a “Word and Spirit” church. I’ve noticed that this Third Wave emphasis seems to be more and more popular as we increasingly don’t like to talk about a “baptism in the Spirit”. Is the Spirit aspect of church life really just about the gifts of the Spirit? Surely it must be manifestly about the Presence – the manifest Presence – of God in our meetings! “Surely God is among you” – that is the unbelievers response to the gifts of the Spirit happening. If we focus on the manifestations of His Presence to the neglect of Who He is then surely we are off balance and will become defined by whether or not gifts happen or do not happen.

    One of the unique things about the “Grace and Glory Conference” that I am just returning from in Hong Kong was that the Presence of God was so manifestly powerful that it wouldn’t have actually mattered whether there were gifts of the Spirit or not! Now – I am not making a case for downgrading the gifts! And as it happens there were powerful prophecies each meeting and visions and dreams shared. (No tongues interestingly enough).

    But I just feel quite deeply that we should resist this Third Wave emphasis that our spiritual life is governed by the presence of the spiritual gifts and more about the welcomed manifest Presence of the Holy Spirit and His freedom to come and do whatever He will in the meetings – whether that be gifts of His Spirit, sermons, whatever!

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