Is the Holy Spirit only for Christians? While Jesus’ followers disagree with each other on when the Holy Spirit comes into the life of a believer, most agree that the Holy Spirit is a special blessing only for Christians. But is this true? Do Christians have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?
As I deconstructed my religious beliefs, I came to realize that non-Christians experience all the same things we say the Holy Spirit does for Christians.
- All people have knowledge and wisdom.
- All people have the ability to determine good from evil.
- All people have gifts, talents, and abilities.
- All people have that still small voice, or conscience, inside them.
- All people can be drawn to God.
- All people bear the image of God.
- Even glossolalia, or speaking in unknown tongues, is not unique to Christianity. Mystics around the world and from other religions report this as a shared mystical experience.
- The same is true with supernatural healings, guidance, visions, and other paranormal experiences attributed to the Holy Spirit.
Christian Elitism and Counterfeit Blessings
I can imagine my old Sunday school teacher responding, “Sure, all people have a conscience, but Christians just have a bigger one. All people have knowledge and wisdom, but the Holy Spirit gives Christians even more. All people have gifts and talents, but the Holy Spirit gives believers added abilities. Yes, we are all made in God’s image, and the Holy Spirit draws all people to God—but you don’t get the Holy Spirit living inside you until after you receive Jesus as your savior. And anybody else who’s speaking in tongues or performing miracles—if they’re not a Christian— well that’s just the devil mimicking the Holy Spirit’s gift. There are counterfeit blessings for everything that the Holy Spirit does.”
To me, this does not sound like an explanation. This just sounds like arrogance. What it says is that Christians are better than everybody else. And if non-Christians excel in any area, then their blessing is demonic, for the only reason that they are different from us.
The Spirit in Everybody: A Trinitarian Necessity
Trinitarians believe that there is only one God. They believe that God possesses three persons who are distinct yet indivisible. For example, Jesus was the second person of the trinity walking around on Earth. Yet he was indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He was also called Emmanuel, or God-With-Us. (The EL part represents the first person of the Trinity.) So even though the three are unique, they are indivisible in Christ. Likewise, they are inseparable in the Divine Parent and the Holy Spirit.
You are made in the image of God, so you are also a trinity: body, soul, and spirit. Since God is omnipresent, God is not only in you but in everyone and everything. Therefore, there is no such thing as a person who does not have all of the Divine Parent, Child, and Holy Spirit living inside them. You don’t have to invite Jesus to come and live inside you. All of God is already inside you and could never be separate from you. You don’t have to wait for a Second Blessing of the Holy Spirit to fall upon you. Every human was born with all of God intertwined with their DNA.
Non-Christians and the Holy Spirit
Since every human being is born with all of God inside them, and since non-Christians have all the same blessings that Christians associate with the Holy Spirit, it follows that Christians do not have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit. For example, how can we say it’s the Holy Spirit who attracts people to God, but unbelievers don’t have the Holy Spirit in them? If that were so, then nobody would be drawn to God.
How can we say that only Christians have the Holy Spirit, when the fruit of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) can be seen in many people, inside and outside the Church? Or, how can we say that only Christians have the Holy Spirit when gifts of the Spirit (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12) can be found in unbelievers as well? If all of God is in all people (in fact, God is present in all of Creation), then it’s only Christian arrogance that claims that followers of Jesus are the only ones to possess the Holy Spirit.
Instead, we must hope in the promise of Ephesians, that there is “one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” We must trust the words of God through the prophet Joel, who said, “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh [emphasis mine].” Let us not look upon those outside our faith with a spirit of Christian elitism, presuming we have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit. And let us embrace our brothers and sisters who are made in God’s image, and remember God’s word in Isaiah, “I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask, to be found by those who did not seek me.”