E. W. Kenyon and the Holy Spirit
Pastor Joe McIntyre
Those of you who have read my book will be familiar with the fact that some were in disagreement regarding Kenyon’s view of receiving the Holy Spirit. Since he received the Holy Spirit in 1897, many years before the Pentecostal movement began, speaking in tongues was not the issue of controversy it later became. But for Kenyon, there were three issues (at least) surrounding the receiving of the Holy Spirit that were more important than whether one spoke in tongues or not.
Kenyon wanted people to receive the Person of the Godhead known as the Holy Spirit rather than focus on an experience or a gift. When Kenyon invited the Holy Spirit to fill him in 1897, he was at a crisis in his life and in his health. He was struggling with submitting to the complete lordship of Christ. When he yielded, the Holy Spirit came in and for Kenyon this meant lordship. (He was also instantly healed.) Jesus’ lordship was to be worked out and walked out practically by learning to submit to the indwelling Holy Spirit. His congregation immediately noted the difference in their pastor.
Kenyon thoroughly investigated the Pentecostal movement when it emerged and was delighted with what he recognized as a fresh outpouring of the Spirit. Eventually, however, he observed that many of the Pentecostal movement’s participants glowingly testified of receiving the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues, but had no testimony of consistent victory in their lives.
He observed that they majored on His coming n but forgot that He was still there! He saw this as dishonoring the Holy Spirit, Who had graciously come to indwell them.
When the Pentecostal movement first broke forth, Kenyon noted, the meetings and the movement were dominated by a glorious sense of the love of God. Love prevailed in a fresh way in the initial days of the movement…the Jesus kind of love. But when love waned, all that was left was tongues to distinguish what had previously been an awe-inspiring outpouring of God’s presence and love. Kenyon was convinced that it was the love that caused the miracles of healing and other profound manifestations that were evidenced in the early days of the Pentecostal revival.
He eventually became somewhat disillusioned with the emphasis on experience and the lack of sound Bible teaching, and he therefore majored on recognizing the continuing ministry of the Indwelling One, relying on the Word more than experience and walking in love. The constant flow of healings and miracles that accompanied Kenyon’s ministry would seem to validate the importance of this emphasis on recognizing Who is in us, majoring on faith in God’s Word and walking in love.
In these glorious days of fresh outpourings of the Spirit, I think we can readily see the application. Let us seek to honor the Indwelling One and yield our lives totally to Him.