“Can the Holy Spirit direct a movie?” That is the question asked by Darren Wilson (Furious Love and Father of Lights) in his latest film, Holy Ghost. In a nutshell, the plot begins with Wilson and his crew, setting out to “make a movie that is completely led by the Holy Spirit. No plan, no script, no safety net—just go wherever he feels the Spirit leading him to try and discover the adventure God has for him.”
It sounds wonderful. Epic even.
I think we all would enjoy a good adventure. In fact we, as mankind, are an experiential people. We want to see it, to feel it, to taste it. To feel the wind beneath our wings as we set out to boldly go where no man has ever gone before.
Now, I must admit, despite my skepticism and obvious satire, I do believe in the continued work of the Holy Spirit and that He is often neglected in His work, and our worship.
I also believe that people try to reverse that neglect by over-emphasizing what they call “the gifts of the Spirit,” while clearly lacking the necessary fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26).
But experience teaches me that there is a lot of abuse and misuse of these so-called “gifts.” Much of what is seen today, in regards to the gifts of the Spirit, does not mimic the practice or intensity of the gifts as manifested through Jesus and His band of disciples.
So then, while I believe that the gifts are for today, I am cautious about what I would deem a “work of the Spirit,” in light of its portrayals in Scripture, and throughout church history.
Now that we’ve established our context, lets take a look at some of the film itself.
The opening of the film boasts in proving that the Spirit of God exists.
That’s right—prove. They’ve got my attention now.
They then move on with attempts to shed light upon the person and work of the Holy Spirit. They declare how the Spirit’s work is indicative in everything from his participation with God (Genesis 1:2), at the beginning of creation, to the regenerative process of the believer’s being “born again” (John 3:1-21).
At one point, Lenny Kravitz (yes, that Lenny, who is apparently a devout believer) appears and states that, in his opinion, the Holy Spirit is “the presence of God here on earth.”
It is also mentioned by R.T. Kendall, and rightly so, that the purpose of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify and reveal Jesus Christ. True that.
Sounds biblical enough. So what’s the problem?
The problem lies in what happens in between these moments of biblical truth (doesn’t most false teaching begin this way?).
While praying for a couple of individuals with minor physical ailments, there was this eerie sense that these “ministers” were beckoning a force, rather than a person.
In praying over one guy’s wrist, the minister kept asking,
“Do you feel that? Do you feel the heat, the energy?”
While the poor victim of this charade had seemed rather unconvinced, the minister would respond with an emphatic “double it!”
Double what? At one point, another guy exclaims that it “felt weird.”
You’re weird Mr. “Christian,” and I don’t feel anything, so stop touching on me so I can go on about my business.
Sounds more like an attempt to summon some elemental spirits, rather than a confident display of the power of God. When compared to Scriptural accounts of signs and miracles, these “ministers” seem more like the comparison between Simon’s magic and the Apostles preaching through the power of God—minus the impressive aspect of their “magic” of course (Acts 8).
When miracles and signs and wonders were performed in the early days of the church, they were great, instantaneous, and clear displays of God’s power to affirm the revelation of His Word (Acts 14:3; Hebrews 2:2-4).
When was the last time you saw a man command a guy who had been a paraplegic to get up and walk, in which case he did so, then and there? What about someone who had been completely blind, restored to clear, and full vision within the split second of being prayed over? This sort of thing was normative in the historical accounts of Jesus and His Apostles.
Not so today.
The guys in Holy Ghost had to keep praying, and keep asking whether or not those that they were praying over had felt anything. They lacked confidence, and they lacked power. They lacked the power of God.
Another disheartening display of confusion concerning the Holy Spirit came about from the way in which one of the ministers prayed for another minister, while in front of the Mormon temple:
“…Holy Spirit, I give you permission to be God over this man’s ministry…”
Really? You give God permission to be God? Clearly, such boasting knows not the Holy Spirit that we know, who resides within us, as recorded through Scripture. If the Spirit does dwell within them, He is most assuredly grieved now, by the lack of reverence displayed for His sovereign deity.
Please know that my intentions are not to be harsh or arrogant, but to lovingly and honestly correct some of the misconceptions taking place within the church. While I do applaud the evangelistic effort of these brothers (Its encouraging to see people who will actually go rather than remain in their Christian bubbles), I cannot condone teachings or spectacles, which distort the truth about God, and have the potential to lead others astray.
I would love to see their evangelistic zeal accompanied by proper theological training. After all, a right understanding of God, breeds a right understanding of self. When this happens, we begin to see that it’s not about us, but about Him.
I am afraid that the once, forgotten member of the Trinity has now become the exalted member of the Trinity. And what’s even worse, all we want is a display of His power. All we want is signs and wonders. I guess what was true in the days that Jesus walked the earth, still rings true today:
So many people desire Jesus, not for Jesus Himself, but for the signs and wonders He can do for them. (John 6:2, Luke 23:8)
Indeed, we are a selfish generation.