Friday, May 22, 2009
Children and the Holy Spirit
I have been feeling a strong urge for some time to teach into the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
Can children be filled with the Holy Spirit? What are your views on the Holy Spirit? Are you very cautious, as Francis Bridger is in his book "Children Finding Faith", or are you the exact opposite, like Rich Hubbard in his book "Taking Children Seriously"?
if this question is to be answered in an unbiased manner, one must first ask if children can have a personal faith and love for God. For if children can love God, then they receive the Spirit of sonship and can be filled to overflowing with his Holy Spirit.
John Westerhoff’s Theory of Faith Development is relevant to this question. He uses the analogy of a tree to describe the growth of faith in developing human persons. He says “a tree with one ring is as much a tree as a tree with four rings” , in other words experienced faith, the first stage of faith development, is as valuable for a person to possess as owned faith, the final stage. So a very young child can profess love for God the Father and Jesus the Son AND the Holy Spirit their helper – but adults need to teach even very young children about the Holy Spirit.
How can you love someone whose name you do not know?
There is much more I could say here, but it is the subject of a research paper that has to be externally marked so I will have to leave it here! ** Update - I have now been able to reveal more of my views now that my degree is finished! See entry on 27 Augus 2009.
I have to recommend Clark Pinnock's book "Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit". An awesome book in every meaning of the word!
I feel a call to make sure in our kids ministry programme that the Holy Spirit is taught about at cerebral level, welcomed at a personal level and free at a corporate level to minister to children.