There is a reason for it… There is a reason for it that news about revival in Florida travels so fast all over the world. The tremendously intense TV covering by the God Channel watched by millions of people directly in their homes through TV channels and computers fills a void in the lives of Christians (and hopefully non-Christians) throughout the world. The fact that we can watch it “first-hand”, “live” brings reality closer to us. However, even that live connection is not close enough and droves of people from all nations of the world travel there to “get it” to hopefully “bring it home”.
The fact that we live in a global world and that those of us in the West live in tremendous affluence makes it possible to experience matters in person. We can travel about anywhere we want and distance is only in your mind. This is one of the reasons why news about it spreads like fire across our planet.
The tremendous voids
There is another reason too for the quick spread of this phenomenon; the sheer absence of the super-natural, the power and the ever present need for EXPERIENCE (a main factor to be reckoned with in our Post-modern, Post-Christian Western world) in our churches has created a tremendous void. So when something supernatural happens we are overly focused on it because we are destitute for it.
As soon as things like this pop up (don’t forget that we have had the faith teaching, inner healing, the prophetic movement, Toronto, Pensacola etc.), the advocates/ambassadors get all excited trying to tell us why “this is it what God wants to do” and as a response to the (often) enthusiastic approach of them we set off the alarms so many other who approach these matters from totally different (often non-emotional) perspectives. They are seen as they pleasure killers of the Body of Christ and any question they might ask is considered criticism.
Fighting against God?
In the time of Jesus and the first church we all know that the Sadducees and Pharisees because of their religious and political power were threatened by the expressions and works of the Kingdom of God. (Acts 5:17 states that the Sadducees were filled with jealousy!) When the disciples were taken captive and brought before the Sanhedrin where they were asked to defend their case the Sanhedrin was so upset that some of their members wanted to kill the disciples (5:33). It was at that moment that a wise Pharisee took the word, NIV 5:34-39
But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
Our history – let’s get our homework done!
I know we hate homework! But there is an important lesson to be learned from the history of the Early Church and even of our recent history in Sweden. The last 25 years have been characterized by people and churches taking standpoints for and against different phenomenon in the Body of Christ. (By the way, if the matters involve whether we are to preach God’s Word as absolute Truth, you will find me on the barricades too!)
But in most cases it had nothing to do with truth; it had to do with style, emphasis, and sometimes over-emphasis. People who had been touched by renewal, revival or the (re)discovery of old truths and ways of God have not always been wise and mature in passing on a blessing; instead the blessing became a curse as it divided the Body of Christ and brought hurts and rejection.
Do the experiences become the norm of church life?
If experiences of special touches and (re)discovered principles become the norm for church life in our time and Christian walk we will automatically build in the inability to be a church, or to be a trustworthy and relevant body of believers. If what we read in the Acts of the Apostles is to be the norm of church life for us today why is it that so few people die in the church in spite of their greed, or so few sell everything they have and give it to the church and the poor? Or why is there so little accountability and little openness and confession? Why are so few new people reached… the list can go on…
If we believe that God is doing something new, let us in humility and in accountability live out what God is teaching and giving us in such ways that we seek for opportunities to wisely implement what He is giving us. After all, if it is from God it will prevail and grow!
Let us with humility towards God, each other and the tradition to which we belong approach the works of God realizing that we here at this time and age “…see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known”. (1 Cor 13:12)
That’s the Way I see it!
PS Accountability and openess is what it is all about!” Read> DS