Word & Spirit
Filling of the Spirit is a repeatable regular event
Can a person become a Christian without receiving the Holy Spirit? After someone receives the Spirit, can they be filled again? Word & Spirit churches believe that all Christians have the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:13) and every Christian can have repeatable experiences where they are filled with the Spirit for empowerment to proclaim the name of Jesus as in Acts 4.
Tongues is a gift that some receive
Did the gift of tongues cease at some point in church history? Is the gift of tongues the sign of the baptism of the Spirit that all Christians should expect to receive? Word & Spirit churches believe that the gift of tongues is for personal upbuilding and that some Christians receive it, but not all based on 1 Cor 12:30. Additionally, tongues should only be the focus of a church meeting if it is accompanied by the gift of interpretation.
Historical church doctrine and the full counsel of scripture are the way forward
Isaiah 43:19 says that God is doing a new thing. Should the Church be on the lookout for the next new thing God is doing in the world? Word & Spirit churches believe that the biggest and most earth-changing thing the Church needs to do is not something new, but something Jesus laid out in his time on earth: to follow his commands, teach his commands, and minister the Kingdom of God on the earth by the power of his Holy Spirit.
Preaching exegetically teaches the full counsel of the Scripture
Should sermons be driven by what the pastor feels God is saying in the moment? Should they be driven by topics that help people better themselves and their lives? A Word & Spirit church believes 1) that sermons will likely help us live better and 2) that sermons should be written with attention to what God may be saying in the moment, but 3) that preaching the full counsel of scripture is best done by teaching through books of the bible in their context, letting each topic in the text drive the topic of the sermon. Even in topical sermons, an exegesis of the text in its historical context builds the argument for the topic.
God punishes sin and empowers his followers to overcome temptation
Does God really punish people for sin? Can a person actually overcome temptation and live righteously? Word & Spirit churches teach two things about sin: that all people must repent of sins or face punishment from God and that overcoming temptation is possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Working hard at spiritual disciplines and obedience is foundational
Because God’s love cannot be earned through striving and no striving could ever earn salvation, should there be any striving in the Christian life? Word & Spirit churches agree that salvation and the love of God cannot be achieved by striving. However, Christians should strive to be spiritually disciplined and to be obedient to the commands of Christ as Paul implies he is in Phil 3:12 when he says he strives to attain what Christ has purchased for him.
Rules, Guide-rails, and the scrutiny of experiences are necessary
Do rules, guide-rails and scrutiny of experiences quench the Holy Spirit and stir up unbelief? Word & Spirit churches believe that genuine manifestations of God can and should be scrutinized for accountability’s sake and to drive up faith when the manifestation is seen to be legitimate.
The mark of a revival is increased personal holiness
Is revival defined by exuberant worship and unusual manifestations like laughter, falling, shaking, and reports of miracles? Should we reject revivals that have those features? A Word & Spirit church believes that a revival might include exuberant worship and unusual manifestations like laughter, falling, shaking, and miracles, but the true mark of revival is widespread repentance, holiness, and salvations.
Practices of Word & Spirit churches
- Does the church believe in and teach the continuation of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit including prophecy, tongues, and healing?
- Is there an expectation for all believers to pursue & practice the gifts in their own life & ministry?
- Does anyone in leadership practice the gifts and talk about their personal experiences with the congregation?
- Does leadership create contextualized and pastored spaces on Sundays, in small groups, and in other gatherings for practice of the gifts?
- Does the church pray in faith for inner healing, physical healing, and deliverance without shunning medicine or counseling?