May 24, 2015 was Pentecost Sunday.Acts 2: 2 And when the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place,
2 When suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting.
3 And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each one of them.
4 And they were all filled (diffused throughout their souls) with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other (different, foreign) languages (tongues), as the Spirit [a]kept giving them clear and loud expression [in each tongue in appropriate words].

It always amuses me to move among the Pentecostals or neo-Pentecostals.
You must be born again, be baptised by full immersion in water, be baptised in the Holy Spirit and give proof of this by speaking in tongues, they say. And they think that those who do not fall into this Pentecostal ‘pattern’ have something wrong with them.
By insisting on this ‘pattern’, which was instituted and institutionalised in the mid-19th century by some excitable and enthusiastic groups, very late in the history of Christianity, Pentecostals have contributed to bringing about increasing divisions and strife among those who have put their trust in Yeshua Mashiach.
It is also interesting that none of the many random Pentecostal ‘churches’, or their leaders, while they might succeed in stealing sheep from other churches and converting Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists or other ‘heathen’ to their ‘pattern’, have much understanding of the Nicene Creed, the Apostles’ Creed, the Athanasian Creed, or the Chalcedonian Creed, none of which make it mandatory to be ‘baptised’ in the Holy Spirit (the way the Pentecostals explain it), or to speak in tongues as proof of the pudding.
These Pentecostals put their ‘pattern’ way above and as superior to the simple ‘faith’ confessed in the creeds – I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, the Giver of Life. They refer to complex feelings and experiences over faith or as issuing from ‘faith’. Then they reverse the order and state that because they have such feelings and experiences, they have definitive proof of their ‘faith’.
Further, they make the tall claim on behalf of others – who stand before the face of G-d and not the face of Pentecostals – that unless they have similar experiences and feelings, they do not have ‘full salvation’. And if they belong to one of the extreme Pentecostals sects, they might even condemn you as not being a child of G-d.
Can such claims be attributed to the work of the humble Holy Spirit?
What the Pentecostals have ‘faith’ in is not so much as understanding the Person and Being of Yeshua Mashaich or the Triune G-d, but ‘faith’ in their subjective experiences and feelings that they desired and sought and happened upon through sheer perseverance for such ‘gain’. They again reverse the order and claim that their feelings and experiences contemporaneously tally perfectly with certain scriptures they lay emphasis on as ‘special’ or super-important!
All right. Let’s have no doubt that such Pentecostals too belong within the spectrum of ‘believers’ and that they may be allowed their idiosyncracies (just as some Brethren believe that the use of musical instruments to praise G-d with is an abomination!).
But notice, how they generate a ‘pattern’ of convenience to prove that they are ‘special’ and how they make a fragmented pattern culled from scripture into a mandatory feeling or experience!
At Pentecost, two important things (other than speaking in tongues) happened which the Pentecostals do not dare include in their ‘pattern’ of convenience.
Agreed and accepted, that they were all locked up in one place and PRAYING. That’s the baseline.
1. There came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house.
Why do the Pentecostals avoid this aspect? Why do they not state that this experience too ought to be mandatory to the baptism in the Holy Spirit? Is it because they no longer have access to the Ruach Ha-Kodesh, as mentioned in Acts 2? Or is it because they know that while the sign of tongues can be cooked up or manipulated or forced out of the self, it is impossible to control the movement of the Ruach Ha-Kodesh?
John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
2. There appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each one of them.
This aspect too, very visible, direct and impactful, is conveniently sidelined by the Pentecostals who just want to hear some strange sounds being uttered which they immediately take to be a sign of ‘baptism’ in the Spirit. They dare not make the ‘fiery’ aspect mandatory to the experience of being ‘baptised’ in the Spirit because it would make it tougher for them to sell their ‘pattern’. Easier to have tongues, than have tongues of fire settling on each one!
Ask them why the Ruach Ha-Kodesh no longer comes as a tempest blowing through the entire house, affecting everyone therein? Or ask them why none can see tongues of fire alighting on each and every one? As them why today, they have only the ‘sign’ of tongues and are bereft of the other two experiences? They will be stumped, by and large.
Do you understand how easily individual(s) or collective(s) can generate a ‘pattern’ that is called ‘scriptural’? In most cases, the phrase ‘scriptural’ pertains to a particular redaction, arrangement of and interpretation of certain portions or verses from Scripture to buttress one’s ‘argument’ (another word for ‘theology’).
The ‘scriptural’, in other words, is more often than not a sleight of hand, a twist in the tale, a veil, actually a pattern of convenience or experience forged into ‘doctrine’ or ‘dogma’ to keep a particular type of sheep within a particular type of sectarian or denominational pen.
On Pentecost Sunday, nay, EVERY DAY, every true talmid (disciple) who believes in Yeshua Mashiach will surely and certainly be filled, immersed, baptised in the Holy Spirit, whether or not there is a feeling, an experience or the ‘sign’ of tongues to accompany that which is truly the consequence of faith in the Mashiach.
John 20: 21 “Shalom aleikhem!” Yeshua repeated. “Just as the Father sent me, I myself am also sending you.” 22 Having said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Ruach HaKodesh!”
Have you received the Ruach Ha-Kodesh by faith in Yeshua Mashiach, the Son of G-d?

Some thoughts on Tolkien and C S Lewis


C S Lewis, in my understanding, is the lesser writer in comparison to J R R Tolkien. Lewis creates a static universe and a closed/closeted cosmology. Reading him is to touch a particular type of rationalisation and explanation about a Cosmic Mystery. This is why he has been appropriated and deified by the Evangelical Apologists (who err in their basic premise that somebody needs to defend or apologise for Yeshua and His life and teachings!). Lewis, in a sense, trivialises the Mystery by trying to explain it in a didactic manner and, as a result, the reader gets trapped in a rather simplistic pattern-story. Tolkien, on the other hand, launches the reader into an infinite, dynamic, ever-expanding and undulating polyrhythmic narrative that cannot be easily contained by any cannister of reasoning. Tolkien introduces us to continual twists and turns, plot layering, placing stories within stories within the story, transmuting characters,generating the interplay of the nava rasas of Indian aesthetics and throughout accentuating the Mystery allowing the reader to enter the realm of wonder and awe. Lewis, however, resorts to plot as a veil or covering for a doctrine.
Lewis is too obvious with his tales clearly Aristotelian with their clear-cut beginning, middle and end rather intelligently combined with the explicit tools of persuasion – ethos, pathos and logos. Tolkien’s panorama evolves continually and unfolds across multiple threads. The Mystery can never be as pat a story as Lewis makes it out to be. Tolkien understands this trap. Hence, his work is simultaneously emergent, recursive, self-organising, fractal, incomplete, always being and becoming, defies the binary, magical and unending/infinite in nature and process.
This is why I consider Tolkien as Catholic and Lewis as Evangelical.
Tolkien can never be an ‘apologist’ in the limited sense of that word, but Lewis can carry it off with aplomb.
Tolkien knows Mother Mythos within which Son-Logos operates to reveal the stories of Father-Cosmos. Lewis limits and closes by Law and reason the Mystery-womb of Mythos-Logos.
Enter Tolkien and the journey is an eternal adventure of Spirit and spirits. Enter Lewis and you have already reached the End, put up a dwelling place there and you have only a singular story to tell passers-by in a permanent loop, disallowing the generation of newer, different stories. The Mystery-Story is cast in stone by Lewis but liberated by Tolkien who replaces the sterile Linearity of Lewis with the spiral and the spiral and the cyclic and the nodal within the Eternal Web that is without beginning or end and holds endless possibilities.
(c) 2014-2015 Ampat Varghese


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