blog by Dr. Tim Tennent, President of Asbury Theological Seminary

Reflections On How The “Love of God” Changes Us

Star Trek and spiritual warfare

  • There is a Star Trek Voyager episode where there is an alien race conducting medical tests on the crew, but the people cannot see them. No one knows that they are there, but they do have headaches and medical issues. But then the doctor (He is a special doctor that really is not real but a hologram. He is a “Holadoc”) thinks of changing one of the character’s vision (For non Star Trek people, 7 of 9 is a special character who had been abducted and altered by a race called the Borg. Anyways, what you need to know is she can have her vision altered). Then 7 of 9 can see these aliens doing this. Here is the connection to our Christian life: we also have spiritual warfare going on but we cannot see it. (Eph 6:12) They could not see these aliens doing this and we also cannot see the Spiritual Warfare going on, but it is going on. 
  • see Eph. 6:12

Holy Spirit question

Today I received the following question via email:
I just had a question about some reading this morning from Luke Chapter one verse 15 is below:15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.
How can John be filled with the holy spirit before he is born? I thought the only way to be filled with the spirit is through recognition of our sin and need for God- our repentance and invitation for Christ to be Lord of our lives.
I am confused about the lack of decision on John’s part. Or is this more of the conversation about how much freewill do we have- the elect, predestined and those He foreknew and
such we see in other parts of the new testament? Was this a special circumstance?
Below is my answer:
That is a very good question and I plan to handle this passage this Sunday. Depending on the translation it can also say that “he will be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth.” Whether John was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth or before birth doesn’t matter as much with with respect to your question. How did he get filled with the Holy Spirit? In our times it is certain that we do not receive the baptism of the Spirit until we receive Christ. But John was a prophet similar to an Old Testament prophet and in the Old Testament time period people received the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill a role that God has them to do. Later on in Luke 1 John leaps in his mother’s womb when Mary comes around (verse 41). I think that could be the Holy Spirit’s effect on him. In the Old Testament, specifically Psalm 51 we have people who would say, “Do not take the Holy Spirit from me.’ It was definitely God’s sovereign plan. Though today we receive the Holy Spirit as we receive Christ. To sum it up, John received the Holy Spirit because he was a prophet similar to the prophets of the Old Testament.
Thanks for your questions. I love questions like that. Please never hesitate to ask. God bless.