More than half of American self-identified Christians deny key Biblical doctrines and tenets, including the reality and presence of the Holy Spirit, as per a recent study by the Arizona Christian University.
According to the Christian Post, the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University revealed the findings in its newly released American Worldview Inventory, a yearly study that assesses the global perspective of the U.S. adult population.
The poll, which was conducted in February, questioned 2,000 people nationwide.
The research revealed that approximately 62% of professing Christians claim that the Holy Spirit is not an actual living Person but rather a manifestation of God's "power, presence, or purity."
Various factors contribute to this confusion or misunderstanding of the Holy Spirit, but perhaps the biggest factor is a believer's religious upbringing.
What transpired in the past years is what California preacher and revivalist Mario Murillo referred to as "pitting the Bible and the Holy Spirit against each other."
Two extremes have emerged as a result of this. One elevates the Scriptures while downplaying the function of the Spirit. The other emphasizes the Holy Spirit at the cost of any Scriptural test or basis. Neither was correct since they both led to dogmatism and fanaticism.
As per Murillo's explanation, "the Holy Spirit and the Bible exist in unbreakable agreement. The Spirit will take you to the Bible, and the Bible will take you to the Holy Spirit."
"One of the prime purposes of the Holy Spirit is to help us understand and remember the Bible," Murillo said, quoting John 14:26.
In contrast, if a person does not consistently read his Bible, Murillo believes that God will refrain from communicating to that person through prophecy. This is because without a scriptural basis, one will be unable to evaluate prophetic utterances.
But on the topic of the Holy Spirit's function, Murillo has written about a key doctrine that is often overlooked in most conservative Christian circles: the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
He argued that ignoring this doctrine in evangelical churches resulted in "lukewarm Christians" and effectively eliminated a large portion of "soul winning" efforts, as well as "opened the door to untold heresy."
"Today we are swimming in more false teaching, false prophecy, and false Christianity than ever before. All across the internet, ministries dabble in New Age hybrids of the Christian faith, exotic extremes, drunkenness, and even perversion. Sadly, as it turns out, the church is the other swamp that needs draining," he noted.
Murillo stated one major reason why it is rarely taught today is because it's considered the adversary of "church marketing."
"When the power of God falls on church culture, it is instantly transformed," he explained. "Human promotion becomes obsolete. An audience morphs into an army. An insatiable hunger for the Word of God replaces sales pitches."
In other words, through this baptism, every Christian will be equipped and will be able to discern spiritually in any situation. He wouldn't have to depend on a self-proclaimed anointed prophet or preacher to do the judging for him.
"No matter how noble, persuasive, or convincing the argument, the decision to exclude the Baptism of the Holy Spirit from the life of the church, is a decision conceived in hell," Murillo maintained.