About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Barking in the Spirit

In recent years people have been receiving a fresh outpouring of God's Spirit.  This is similar to what happened to me in the early 1970's when we had many spiritual experiences, including speaking in tongues.  We had our critics in those days as those people have today.  I don't  want to be a critic of what is happening in more recent times, but I would like to make some comments.  I want to be careful and not suggest that the present movement is not from God.  Yet at the same time I still want to say a few things on what I see happening. 

Some of the manifestations of the Spirit (as some call them) that are happening today include such things as laughing, screaming, barking, and even clucking like a chicken.  From what I hear and see, some call barking for example, "barking in the Spirit".  This means that the Holy Spirit has come on a person and has caused them to bark.

These manifestations are not new.  Things like this have happened in prior centuries.  For example in Jonathan Edward's meetings such things happened, although he himself called some of these things "excesses".  

What does the Bible say about "barking or clucking in the Spirit".  I thought about this issue years ago.  It is not knew in my thinking.  I thought about it when people were using the term "dancing in the Spirit".  By this they meant that the Holy Spirit came on them causing them to dance.  But is that really what happened?

First of all, you cannot see the term "dancing in the Spirit" in the Bible.  You do see Paul talking about "praying in the Spirit", which I interpret as speaking in tongues.  

The Bible also says nothing about "barking in the Spirit" as well.  Let me suggest that all of these manifestations may be more of our expression of praise or worship to God.  It may not really be God making us do these things.  If this is true, then we have control over what we do, since God is not making us do these things. 

Let me say it this way.  We find ourselves in a gathering where we sense God's presence come on us.  As a result our hearts are touched.  Then depending on the personality God has given us at birth, we respond.  Some may laugh, some may cry, some may even bark, although I do have to wonder about the barking.  God has not made us dogs.  He has made us as human being, so I am not sure why we would bark like a dog, or cluck like a chicken, when He hasn't given us the personality of a dog or a chicken.

I am suggesting that not all I see in a Sunday morning charismatic meeting is a "manifestation of the Spirit".  Much of what I see, so I believe, is an expression of someone's heart and life to the Lord.  Therefore that expression will differ from person to person. As a result, we should not think someone is not worshiping when you see little outward expression.  We should not think that a person is not being touched by God if they don't fall down, laugh, or bark.

Although it may look like it, I am not criticizing the barkers.  I would also hope that the barkers would not criticize me as well, one who does not bark.

Let us differentiate between something that is done  "in the Spirit", and something that is "an expression of our hearts".  Yes, David danced before the Lord.  His dancing was an expression of the joy he had.  God did not make him dance.  He did not "dance in the Spirit".


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