But I digress. Pnuematos is not just limited as a term for an aspect of the Trinity, it is also used as a term for the unseen aspect of human personality akin to the soul. It also is used as the term for a disembodied entity or force that can harass or possess individuals.
In the Christian Church the Holy Spirit is the loving and empowering persona of God made real to the individual. Depending on the individual church’s doctrinal beliefs the Holy Spirit helps you to live a Christ like life or can empower you with supernatural gifts or the power of miraculous signs and wonders.
Funny thing is though, sometimes there is a spirit that embodies the congregation of a local church, but it is not the Holy One. I’ve been in a lot of different churches of various denominations. I’ve traveled all over the eastern
Sometimes you run into the oddest things…
I gave a Sunday Morning message to a church in upstate
“There is just something about that church.” He said, “Within the last five years they have lost two pastors to affairs with women in the congregation. And there have been three other church lay leaders who have been caught cheating with fellow congregants in the past few years as well.” I remember he grabbed my arm and leaned closer, “Watch yourself there, there is some sort of spirit at work in the congregation that seeks out church leaders and destroys them.”
I smiled at him and assured him that there had to be just some sort of coincidence, he shook his head as if I were a lamb going blindly to the slaughter and walked away. Later as I prepared for the next morning in my hotel room I laughed it off. You meet all kinds of people in the ministry and a lot of them can see a demon behind every bush.
The next morning the service went on fine with no eerie feeling or anything happening out of the ordinary or unusual. No one in the congregation fell asleep during my message, which is always a good sign. I stood at the back of the narthex afterward to shake hands with everyone and they all were glad that I was there and enjoyed the message. In the line there was one young lady in her twenties who was absolutely stunning. She was a beautiful curvy blond who’s looks movies stars would have envied. Her husband was definitely her equal in looks and style. As they approached they introduced themselves and shook my hand and that of the resident minister who stood next to me. As the young lady shook my hand she softly squeezed it repeatedly in a way that was provocative, with her middle finger swirling circles on my palm. As she did so she said with an overtly sultry voice, “I really enjoyed your message, I hope you can visit us again really soon.”
I sort of froze there, really creeped out. Then I gave the honorary smile and said thank you. She kept looking over her shoulder at me the whole time she was in the hall. It would have been unnerving had the elderly minister had not have warned me the night before. But because he did so, it was definitely a bizarre “Twilight Zone” moment. You could feel a presence there, an unholy spirit that made the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
It did not stop there though. I went to meet with one of the church’s governing board members at his home later that afternoon. As I drove up his 20 something daughter was sunbathing nude in the lawn beside the driveway. At first I thought I was mistaken and that it was a flesh colored bathing suit. But there was no mistake. Now they knew I was coming, so I doubt if it was accidental and that feeling was cemented when the board member had us seated by the window facing the lawn as we began to talk. I made it short and as I pulled out of the driveway I could not help but laugh at the pure insanity of the situation. It was like a bad B movie.
Some churches have unholy spirits abiding in their congregation. A lot of them are sexual it seems. I think it is because there is a lot of sexual suppression in the church, and it gives a gateway for manipulative entities to take control of normal urges and make them abnormal or obsessive. Is it mass possession? Generational? Those two families and the ones involved in the affairs with the church leaders were not related. A territorial entity then? I haven’t the foggiest. But sexual spirits abiding in Christian church congregations as a whole are not rare in my personal experience.
I served for a short while as an Assistant Pastor in a church that was infested with sexual predators and sexual problems. When I first started the person who had the position before me had this odd young man give children’s lessons in the morning worship. Within a few weeks I found out that he was a child molester. He had abused countless children in his extended family, many of whom attended this church. To make matters worse almost everyone at the church knew about this as, did my predecessor, yet they still allowed him to give children’s sermons! I was astounded. I went to the Executive Pastor because at the time the State law mandated that any such incident be reported. So I reported it to him as the law stated. His reply was, “Wow, I am not going to let him be around my daughter anymore.” And that was it! His family was prominent in the church and good tithers. So he pushed it under the rug.
The youth group at this church had many sexually active young teenagers and 13 to 15 year olds having babies. I used a seminary curriculum that I was trained on that step by step formed the foundation for a healthy self image then positive relationships between others and eventually responsible and healthy human sexuality. Everything was fine until I got to the human sexuality part and then suddenly there was a rumor going around the church that I was teaching the teens Sex Ed! We didn’t even get to reproduction yet! Their children were becoming parents right before their eyes and a sexual predator was teaching children’s church, but we could not even hint about morally responsible sexuality to the youth group without it being a major issue.
Finally I had enough and in less than a year I moved on to another church. Guess who they hired to replace me as Youth Group Leader? A young man who’s family was one of the pillars of the church. He had been a girls swim coach and gym teacher at a local High School until he was caught having an affair with a 16 year old student. The girl’s parents kept it quiet and did not press charges. But the whole church knew about it and welcomed him as the new leader of their young people. I never looked back and I have lost touch with the church, so I don’t know what eventually happened with this new Youth Pastor. I would wager the outcome would not be encouraging to rationally minded souls.
But not all unholy spirits that abide communally in a church are sexual ones.
I came to the church in
Within a year the congregation grew to about 40 with attendances at Christmas and Easter over 100. That is where I met my friend who was a self proclaimed Satanist that I mentioned previously on this blog. He was the son in law of one of the church members and a former glam rock band member. He rocked pretty hard and taught me a few cords, when he showed up one Sunday I was glad- not because I had a Satanist at church- because I had a friend in the congregation. Gradually we had more people show up, but there seemed to be a problem. Not many came back. Even my glam rock friend. I came to find out that many of the initial 12 would point of the “sins” of these new guests and urge them to get their lives right with the Lord. Be it smoking, drinking, dancing or dating anyone who did…all of it was evil. And it was their duty as God’s anointed to make sure the sinners knew it. The pinnacle of this spirit of judgmentalism raised its ugly head in a board meeting. I’ve told this tale in the comments section before. We had a country and western family band attend the church for a few months. They offered to play in the morning worship. Now, to be honest I really really do not like country music. Well, except for Johnny Cash, he was the Man. But of course I was thrilled that they would offer and so I told the board this exciting news at the next board meeting. But the problem was, the board members attested, that they had played at a Country Bar a few years ago. That would send the wrong message. The church had to stand for something after all. When I told them that it didn’t matter if they had played in a bar the Saturday night before church we should still have them play, the Head Elder who was an old steel worker, jumped across the table with his hands sprayed out as if to try to strangle me. A verbal battle ensued which focused on who was holy enough to sing in church. I asked them how we were supposed to measure that. They gave a litany of things that would bar someone. Only those filled with the Holy Spirit could sing at church they said, someone who has consciously given themselves to God and is living a ‘Holy’ life. So I asked them, what about children? They are too young to make a decision about such deeply religious things, you can not verify that they are filled with the Holy Spirit. They thought about that for a moment. Then they made an official church ruling that children were no longer allowed to sing in the worship service. I held a vote, out of the seven of us only myself and an elderly Sunday School teacher voted against this ridiculous decree. That was the day I made up my mind to leave. The church had died because they had judged others and forced their views on guests instead of lovingly opening their arms and accepting those seeking spiritual growth. Even their own family members no longer attended.
Funny how my friend the self proclaimed Satanist was more Christlike than the Christians.
The most dominant unholy spirit in the church is the spirit of judgmentalism.
I could go on to other spiritual deficits that are obviously apparent to any, but you get the drift.
Are these just collective attitudes? I think they are far too destroying and powerfully pervasive to be just a collective blindness to moral equity.
There are spirits that hang over a church like a dark cloud. Sometimes you can feel them just when you enter the door. There is a lurking evil that thrives on destruction that manifests itself in so many negative ways. These communal spirits are just as dark, powerful and malicious as any demonic force that can harass or possess an individual.
And their deeds are more obvious.
I know a lot of you readers who dislike Christianity have been burned by the fire of these evil forces from the Pit of Hell.
I have too.
In these churches people might wear pins or have bumper stickers that say WWJD? What Would Jesus Do?, but in reality it should be WWSD? What Would Satan Do?.
At least then people would be actually doing what the phrase implies.
Until next time,Pastor Swope