The Best Demonstration of the Spirit

Peter Kirk has a post on Gentle Wisdom entitled, Let’s support Todd and Shonnah Bentley at this difficult time. It says that Todd Bentley of the Lakeland Revival has separated from his wife, Shonnah. Peter doesn’t want negative comments under that post because he wants it to be a place for compassion to Todd and Shonnah. I wrote a comment there that could be construed as negative, so it may get deleted. While I believe we should show compassion to Todd and Shonnah, I think my point has merit, so I’m putting it here.

Here it is:

“I know I’ll probably be criticized as judgmental, and I’m not sure how I’d do in a marriage, since I have my own difficulties with people. But isn’t marriage where the Holy Spirit really counts? That’s where spiritual power is truly needed, where both parties need to produce the fruit of the Spirit (e.g., love, joy, peace). The most important manifestations of the Spirit are not barking like a dog or someone professing to be ‘anointed’ just because he gave an enthusiastic sermon. I’m not going to say that the Holy Spirit can’t work in these ways, since he’s done unusual stuff before. But sticking with marriage through good and bad is where you really see the Holy Spirit at its best.

“I agree that we should pray for the Bentleys, but I just wanted to get that out. There are various parts of the charismatic movement that major in minors and minor in majors.”

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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6 Responses to The Best Demonstration of the Spirit

  1. Anonymous says:

    There’s been a lot of research on the sociology of charismatic people. Certain personality traits tend to exhibit predictable life patterns.

    Good credit and education are greater predictors of marriage success than religiousity, even when accounting for income, demographics, and upbringing.

    Baptizing the issue in religiousity still doesn’t address the fundamental issue: one’s disposition towards delayed gratification goes much further than how loudly people pray.



  2. James Pate says:

    Hi Jake,

    I agree with the delayed gratification part, but how’s education make one a better spouse?


  3. Anonymous says:

    The Economist had an article on this topic about 18 (give or take) months ago. I can’t seem to locate it, however.

    College education says a lot about delayed gratification. Controlled for demographics, the people who choose it are more apt to make hard decisions that result in long term success. The same is true of marriage: giving into a angry emotions vs. showing love results in a greater marriage and a greater chance of avoiding divorce. One could call it the Holy Spirit, but the same is true across all strands of belief.

    Of course, Herrnstein and Murray will attribute everything to IQ, and perhaps it would be best to tie the above with their observations.

    Now, you’re thinking: Jake I thought that you were a liberal when this is classic conservative speakeasy. I don’t tow any party line. 🙂


  4. James Pate says:

    Hi Jake,

    It may be conservative speak-easy, I don’t know. I have problems with that view because I have a strong populist streak–the type that cringes when people say education can solve all our problems, or that the educated do things better than other people. This streak goes back to high school, and it’s accompanied me up to this point–even when I’ve gone through academia.

    But I have wondered about the whole delayed gratification issue. It would take a lot of character to go through medical school or law school, for example, but there are doctors and lawyers who divorce, abuse drugs and alcohol, and do all sorts of selfish things. But I don’t know what the statistics are on that.


  5. Anonymous says:

    “that the educated do things better than other people”–cringing is okay.

    “but there are doctors and lawyers who divorce, abuse drugs and alcohol, and do all sorts of selfish things.” I tried to hedge for exceptions.

    I appreciate your intuition, but at the end of the day, the data needs to be answered. Read through the entirety of the Bell Curve and try to hunt down that Economist article.

    Most of the criticisms that are leveled against these notions are futile because the data has been controlled and allows for exceptions. I’ve heard the Bell Curve critiqued by more than a few, yet none has read the book in its entirety. I’ve heard “I’ve read parts of it” which is no more than an equivication that I read 1 page and heard a criticism from someone else who didn’t read it.

    I have a petpeeve when original sources are consulted. That’s the problem with fundamentalist biblical apologists–but that’s another story and another rant. 🙂

    Great post BTW. 🙂


  6. James Pate says:

    Thanks, Jake. 🙂

    Yeah, I’ve often said “I have the book” when people mention something. Maybe I should read one page to say “I’ve read part of it.”


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