Is the Holy Spirit Kicked Out of California?

Special Note: Listen to more on the topic on my podcast Idleman Unplugged

A conference is coming to my area of California in October 2024 to discuss how and why the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased. Read 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 and the book of Acts and see for yourself what the Scriptures teach.

In 1965, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said this in his book, The Sovereign Spirit, pp. 31-32:

“It is perfectly clear that in New Testament times, the gospel was authenticated in this way by signs, wonders, and miracles of various characters and descriptions . . . Was it only meant to be true of the early church? . . . The Scriptures never anywhere say that these things were only temporary – never! There is no such statement anywhere.

Walking on Dangerous Ground

Obviously, the Holy Spirit is not kicked out of California, but our view of His role can be diminished, and thus cause His influence to withdraw. That’s my concern. Continuationists (those believing that the supernatural gifts have not ceased) are often gullible, but cessationists (those believing that the supernatural gifts have ceased) can be doubtful and cynical.

I respect the speakers at the conference; their zeal for truth is unparalleled, but are they walking on dangerous ground? Although the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in Matthew 12:22 has to do with salvation as the end result, the context has to do with attributing the genuine work of the Spirit to Satan.

Granted, the religious leaders Jesus was addressing were not believers, but their actions should be a warning to us all: Be very hesitant to speak against the work of the Spirit. I’m not talking about rejecting weird things and odd teachers; I’m talking about rejecting a genuine move of God’s Spirit. 

What is a Genuine Move of God’s Spirit?

In the 1700s, Pastor Jonathan Edwards observed that such a move would be evident because it would: 1) elevate the truth, 2) exalt Christ, 3) oppose Satan, 4) point people to the Scriptures, and 5) result in love for God and others. The focus of Spirit-filled preaching is on the totality of God’s Word, calling out sin, and correcting error. Holiness, not hysteria, must be sought.

I’ve also written strongly against charismatics and their gullibility in my book: Oh God, Would You Rend the Heavens? which can be read for free here. Many in this camp intentionally mislead people by influencing them to act in ways contrary to God’s Word. They are often flamboyant, lack godly character, and focus on making money.

Experience Doesn’t Validate Truth

Many wrongly assume that we are seeking experiences and feelings, but not Christ! What a mischaracterization of those who desire to experience God. We seek Christ wholeheartedly and the gifts follow that pursuit. But because many lack a genuine outflow of the Spirit they tend to be very critical of others. As the old saints used to say: “Straight as a gun barrel theologically, but just as empty.” 

We should never interpret Scripture based on our experiences, but we can definitely validate our experiences based on Scripture. Many have experienced the Holy Spirit as described in the book of Acts and the spiritual gifts that Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 12-14. And these encounters line up with Scripture. The power of the Holy Spirit is like dynamite that ignites a hunger for God so intense that every aspect of life is changed. God gave us feelings, so wouldn’t it be ideal to experience His presence?

The Fire Has Been Quenched

Most have never genuinely experienced the supernatural gifts of the Spirit, and/or they see people acting weird and don’t want anything to do with it. I get it, but I’m not going to let my relationship with God rise and fall on the actions of others. In the same way, I’m not going to reject the Bible just because cults use it.

This discussion isn’t just about the supernatural gifts; it’s also about the deeper work of the Spirit. This is why many cessationists are against emotional worship, all-night prayer meetings, and periods of prolonged fasting and intercession. They know very little about the Spirit’s baptism which Lloyd-Jones also wrote about in his book, Preaching and Preachers.

Putting God in a Box

The need to address revival and the vital role of the Holy Spirit is as relevant today as it has been throughout church history. When we put God in a box, a spiritual awakening will never break out.We all must humble ourselves, repent of childlike behavior, begin to fear God again, and be open to deeper works of the Spirit. Our only hope is a mighty move of God’s Spirit. In short, a revival of the spiritual condition of His people. There is still great hope for California and America. Read it here.

Shane Idleman

Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Leona Valley, Ca. His sermons, books, articles, and radio program have sparked change in the lives of many.

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