FIRE! FIRE! Receive? or Run?

There is a good conversation beginning under the post Slain in Whose Spirit?  It is thought-provoking and worth it’s own place on the blog and so I have given it one.

When others call for Fire! Fire! in sermons and in prayer time what exactly are they calling for? These false revivalists love the word fire. Should we run for cover?  What about Fire Tunnels made of two rows of people joined overhead hand in hand creating a tunnel. Others walk through and “receive” fire, impartation and prophetic words from those lined up creating the tunnel…

Below is the conversation. Feel free to join in!

From Ray:

We had an episode in church about six months ago when a visiting Ugandan preacher took the iniative to address the congregation [ impromtu ] and the next thing i heard was ” fire fire” , i knew immediately what this was , and it wasn’t good, but what astounded me the most was the reckless manner in which so many people fell over themselves [ and others ] just to get to the front to grab a piece of this annointing.I singled out one particular person in order to engage their opinion of the mornings events, and the response was well , less than overwhelming. Apparently it was real because it happened!!.Wow , what discernment, never mind that satan is capable of convincing false signs and wonders and that he appears as an angel of light.All things must be discerned by the word, and not by the experience.

From ruthsongs:

This “fire, fire” thing hit a church I used to attend a few years back. The visiting evangelist yelled “fire, fire” most of the “prayer time” night after night. I wasn’t impressed…more like perplexed.

What do you make of John the Baptist saying Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire?

In the context of people “praying” for fire, I understood them to mean something like passion for the Lord/the lost. But it has become a buzz word now. I can only see other scripture referring to fire as something destructive- as in hell’s fire, or actual, physical fire.

From Diane:

I just left a church that is very into the “fire, fire” prayers. I knew the intention of the prayer was for a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and it sometimes bothered me. One, because it felt like begging God for a “feel good” super-spiritual experience, and also because I’d never read in the bible that we should pray for fire. Now that I’m out of that church, the topic of fire in the bible is one of the many things I’m taking a closer look into. I have to say, I agree with your conclusion “I can only see other scripture referring to fire as something destructive- as in hell’s fire, or actual, physical fire”

Just last week I was reading the words of John the Baptist that you’ve quoted, which don’t seem to fit into the “destructive fire” category. When I kept reading, a subsequent verse caught my eye and led me to do a little research. I will try to explain what I’m thinking.

Matthew 3:11-12 (11) I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (12) His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Now, I always understood the “and with fire” in verse 11 to be more of the Spirit….like pizza with extra cheese. But what if it’s something different? Maybe Jesus baptizes with two different things, and each person will have one (the Holy Spirit) or eventually the other (fire). That’s what verse 12 seems to suggest. These two verses so close together made me wonder if the ideas go together. So I went to blueletterbible.com and did my first word study! I learned that the Greek word for fire in both of these verses is the same, pyr, which is a consuming fire of judgment. So, I’m thinking I’m onto something here. I’m still working on how to articulate it, but this fire doesn’t sound like an attribute of the Holy Spirit to me.

What do you think? Does anyone else have any insight?