Francis Drake, Privateer

A privateer was a private warship authorized by his country to attack foreign shipping

Can men shut up heaven? —–7 feb 09

I have an old friend who once related this story of his preparatory school days.

This was a church school, and consequently at the appropriate age all the children had to take confirmation classes.
These classes where taught by the chaplain of the school, a Church of England minister. Until the children had been Confirmed in the church, they were not permitted to take the bread and wine of communion during church services.

The young boys,  as you imagine were a little disinterested in all the religious ballyhoo. However these where processes to be done, and being a fee paying school it was important that the school continued to churn out the sort of child the parents expected.

Finally the main event arrives, the youngsters all troop off to the school chapel for the special Service of Confirmation. This is presided over by the local Bishop. It being his job during the appropriate  part of the service to lay hands on each boy.

Now despite the general disinterest from all the boys in the academics of  communion, somethings had actually gone home.
They had been taught that when the Bishop (the man with the funny hat) laid hands on them they would all be filled with the Holy Spirit just like Pentecost.
If nothing else, my friend and his young buddy had digested this little bit of information. They, in their childish hearts, actually had an expectation of something from God.

At the appropriate point of the service the boys went down in pairs to kneel before the Bishop, for him to lay his two hands upon them. My two friends followed in at their turn and knelt with some anticipation. As he laid hands on them, suddenly they were filled with the Spirit of God and speaking with other tongues.

The reaction to this was an outraged horror from the Bishop and the Chaplain, who rounded on the two, yelling at them to stop this “devilish babble”. The two boys, not knowing what had hit them suddenly had their joy quenched by the full weight of ecclesiastical authority, who of course knew that the actual gifts of the Holy Spirit had ceased with the death of the apostles. This terrible babble could only therefore come from Satan himself.

The children’s foolishness in believing what had been taught was their undoing.

For my friend, it was well over twenty years, and plumbing the depths of alcoholism, and a destroyed marriage before he had anyone bring to him the reality of God in his life again. He once again found the One he had met before, and was healed, restored, filled with the Spirit again, and speaking in tongues!

It is abundantly clear that the ministers of the church had less faith in the truths they taught than their hearers. Yet it is God who convicts, even a child, of the validity of what is said.

Sadly it also shows how the messenger can also intrude into the message and pervert it.   

Mat 23:13 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of Heaven against men. For you neither go in, nor do you allow those entering to go in.

Sadly, religion so often shuts up heaven in favour of man’s wisdom. However the regalia of denomination has its reward on earth only. How often do we shut up heaven because of our unbelief?

February 7, 2009 - Posted by | Bible, CHURCH, Eternity, Gospel, Kingdom life, Knowing God, Leadership, Uncategorized


  1. It is awful when men caught up in their traditions totally miss God at work. I am glad to hear that your friend was able to be touched by God again and come to the full realization of Him. What a shame that it had to come after such hardships, as is often the case.

    I have no doubt, that many Church leaders will stand with blood on their hands, before the great white throne of judgement.

    May we always examine ourselves and be open to God at work in our lives and in the lives of those around us. May we aid the work of the Holy Spirit and not shut up heaven before those who are perishing.

    Comment by fivepeasinapod | February 8, 2009

  2. I knew a farm boy in Iowa who had an experience like this when he went through confirmation at a Catholic Church. But he did not speak out loud until he was alone. Then, for years, he spoke in tongues while he did farm work and when he was alone.

    Eventually, a Catholic Charismatic group started up in his area and he joined it.

    Comment by Larry Who | February 10, 2009

  3. Its quite clear to me that many people come to KNOW the Lord despite church, rather than through church.

    Comment by francisdrakeprivateer | February 10, 2009

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