Someone recently challenged me about my belief in what he called a “two-tier” Christianity. He seemed to strongly disagree with the idea that we might need at times to be prayed for by a Christian who clearly had a special anointing from the Holy Spirit. I thought I would share here an edited version of my response.
I do believe that the Spirit blesses us in different measures and in different ways. I believe that every Christian is being worked in by the Holy Spirit or they could not be a Christian in the first place. I believe, however, that there is a greater awareness of the Spirit’s blessing that we should all be striving for. We are commanded to “be being filled” with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:!8, its a present continuous). For me, even today, I want more of the Holy Spirit, don’t you?
Biblically one of the ways that the Spirit is imparted is through others who have the Spirit (often including laying on of hands). There is something godly about humbling ourselves and being willing to receive from God via the instrument of someone else. It’s not so very different from receiving good teaching from a teacher far wiser than us.
God gives different measures of gifting and different kinds of gifting deliberately to the body to make us dependent on each other. It certainly is not true that all Pentecostals have something that all non-pentecostals do not. Probably the preacher I have listened to who seemed to bring with him (at least for me) the strongest sense of God’s presence was actually John Piper (see for example this post) who is not a Pentecostal and does not speak in tongues.
I don’t believe in two-tier Christianity, I believe in multi-tier Christianity. I am always looking for people that might be able to contribute something to me to help me get to the next level. I am far from satisfied, and long to benefit from all kinds of different people and in all kinds of different ways. I have often spoken about people needing to be prepared to go to a Pentecostal because some people look down on our Pentecostal brothers (believe it or not including many charismatics!). If you watch the video of Terry from which the quote came, it spoke of him being eager to receive the Spirit, and eventually asking a Pentecostal to pray for him. To me, if we are really hungry for God we will ask whoever is around and available to pray for us, and go and hear them.
I think sometimes though, the problem with a post like this one is that it uses all kinds of language and all kinds of assumptions that might well not be common to some of my readers. Some of my posts appeal more to my charismatic and pentecostal readers, and some more to my reformed readers. I sometimes feel that it is very possible I may be loved and hated in equal measure by charismatics and reformed alike! You may also want to read an old post of mine called “How do I know I am Spirit Baptised?“