Feast of Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, c.326 The first principle of differentiation was laid down by Paul, when dealing with the problems of the spiritual phenomena that had arisen at Corinth... In the confusion of spiritual phenomena, ... it was possible that evil spirits, as well as the Holy Spirit, inspired some of the manifestations. One in particular Paul singles out as being in obvious contradiction to the work of the Spirit of God: "No man speaking in the Spirit of God saith, Jesus is anathema (cursed)". On the other hand, "No man can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit" (I Cor. 12:3). It is difficult to conceive the state of mind of a member of a Christian congregation who would curse the name of Jesus. Yet it is evident that at Corinth, people gave way to such uncontrollable frenzy that, either in folly or in momentary reversion to Judaism or heathenism, they cursed the name in whose honour they had met... But the spirit that inspired disloyalty to Jesus Christ could not be the Holy Spirit, for in Paul's experience and theology, the two beings were, if not identical, at least in perfect harmony of principle and action. This, then, was Paul's first criterion for deciding which spiritual phenomena could be approved by Christians as the work of the Holy Spirit. They must be loyal to Jesus Christ as Lord of life, and as the object of faith and love for every believer. [Continued tomorrow].
Quotes, by Thomas Rees