Baptist World Alliance
Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
July 29, 2010
For Immediate Release
to the Spirit, receive the Spirit's anointing, Coffey urges
By Ken Camp
|Honolulu (BWA) --
Human effort and creative strategies lead to futility apart from
an anointing by God's Holy Spirit, British Baptist leader David Coffey told the
opening session of the Baptist World Congress, July 28 in Honolulu. |
Coffey, who completes his five-year term as president of the Baptist World Alliance at the
international gathering in Hawaii, challenged Baptists from around the world to
hear and heed the Holy Spirit.
"We can be a purpose-driven church. We can be seeker-sensitive
church. We can be emergent and creative church. We can be justice-and-peace
church. We can be a conservative Calvinist church. But if we fail to hear the
Holy Spirit of the living God, then all our serving will be futile and
fruitless," he said.
Baptists run the
risk of having "the appointing without the anointing," he warned.
From his virgin
birth to his empowered ministry of teaching, preaching, healing and perfect
obedience to God's plan, the Holy Spirit rested upon Jesus Christ, Coffey
"The Holy Spirit
is integral to the birth, the identity and the mission ministry of Jesus," he
said. "So, why is it we so often to choose to go it alone?"
choose to follow their own methods and timing rather than God's, they fail to
follow in the footsteps of their forebears, Coffey noted. He cited the example
of early English Baptists John Smyth and Thomas Helwys, missionary Lottie Moon
and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
God wants the
Spirit-filled ministry of Jesus Christ to continue through his people, Coffey
"The essence of
the Holy Spirit's ministry is to bring the presence of Christ to his people.
His purpose is that Jesus is known, loved, honored and praised," he said.
The Spirit of God
brings attention to the Son of God, exalting Christ and making him known, he
To be the people
God has called them to be, Baptists should be able to testify the Holy Spirit
lives within them and rests upon them, Coffey said.
"If you can't say
the Holy Spirit is in me, then you cannot be truly part of God's family. If you
can't say the Holy Spirit is on me, you cannot be truly effective in ministry,"
When the Holy
Spirit rests upon God's people, obedience and service mark their lives, he
"When the Holy
Spirit is truly upon people, Jesus is leading his people and it shows," Coffey
said. "It produces healthy churches and fruitful mission.
"The Holy Spirit
inspires praise and worship. He creates fellowship between diverse people. ...
The greatest sign of the Holy Spirit on us is that God makes us part of his
action plan for winning a lost world. ... He has called and equipped us to be the
actors in his great drama."
When God's people
are anointed by God's Spirit, they have no call to them of themselves as
"nobodies," Coffey insisted.
people of God are never a little people. The world may despise and hate us. The
world may persecute us and seek to destroy us. The world may exercise might
without morality and power without compassion," he said.
"But the truth is
when the world has left the battlefield, the last people standing will be those
who can exclaim, 'The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed
At a news
conference prior to the opening session of the Baptist World Congress, Coffey
characterized the global Baptist fellowship as a people of "praying hands and
dirty hands" -- people who seek the Holy Spirit for vision but who face the
world as it is and seek to make it better.
briefly on his five years as BWA president and a few words of counsel for
President-elect John Upton.
"We don't have to
make the gospel relevant, but we do have to demonstrate its relevance," he
need to respond to the challenge to "demonstrate the ongoing vitality of being
a Baptist," Coffey concluded. "The next generation may not want to inherit our
institutional structures, but they want our vision."
Coffey, a former
Baptist pastor, was general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain for 15 years before
Ken Camp is managing editor of the Texas Baptist Standard.