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May 26, 2018

The perception of the invocation of the Holy Spirit for the destruction of enemies is an extremity that is not in consonance with the teaching and position of the Church; the deputy Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Rev. Fr. Zacharia Samjumi has declared.
Fr. Samjumi made this remark in his homily at the celebration of the Mass to mark this year’s Pentecost Sunday, at St Gabriel Chaplaincy Chapel, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Durumi, Abuja, last Sunday. He therefore called for the understanding of the Holy Spirit as the spiritual gift of God for renewed energy for witnessing to Christ instead of the present-day concept of invoking the fire of the Holy Spirit for destruction of enemies, real or imagined; as used by some modern-day pastors.
 He declared: “The descending of the Holy Spirit on the apostles is reported by Luke as setting on them in the form of tongues of fire. The visible fire did not burn them. It rather renewed them, energized them and filled them with some brazen courage.” He continued: “Today, Holy Ghost Fire is perceived and imagined differently. It is mostly thought of as a fire of destruction, one that is sent against enemies and bad people.”
The homilist pointed out that this perception is a “serious distortion of the understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit. However, God must have sent some destructive fire on people in times past, such as in the case of Sodom and Gomorah as recorded in the Book of Genesis. But the descending of the Holy Spirit which appeared as tongues of fire was not a Spirit of destruction; and was not in his mission either”.
He urged that Christians must not now change the Holy Spirit or know Him as spirit of vengeance waged against enemies; adding: “The Holy Spirit is not sent to us as aweapon of destruction. It is not a wicked spirit meant to be marshaled against perceived pursuers or those who seem to work against us”.
Another extreme notion of the Pentecost among Christians identified by Fr. Samjuni in his homily; which is common to among many new Christian movements is the possession of the gift of the Holy Spirit to speak in tongues. He stated that this notion is not only found among Pentecostals, but also many Catholic Charismatic groups seem to favour this understanding of the presence of the Holy Spirit in a person.
The CSN Director continued: “Today, the notion of speaking in tongues or babbling is giving way to a new understanding to the phenomenon of ‘seeing vision’. He added: These new visionaries are very much in the habit of causing confusion by setting gullible people against seemingly innocent persons. The tendency therefore, in the notions mentioned above is to see others as carnally minded, namely that they are not of the Spirit and in the Spirit.”
Fr Samjumi explained that the possession of the Holy Spirit is not by manipulation. He spoke further on the position of the Holy Spirit in the Blessed Trinity as well as being the connecting “rod” between God the Father, God the Son and the believers. Noting that the Holy Spirit helps to create anew and transforms hardened hearts and make them docile by keeping the teaching of Jesus Christ, the homilist added: “The Holy Spirit also plays his role by giving believers diverse gifts for the proper functioning of the community.”

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