Thursday, May 8, 2014

Beyond the Renewal Movement

The progressive brand of Christianity to which I tend to identify with believes we are living in the time of the end when God is restoring all things.  Perhaps a too loose assertion by me would be to associate this brand to but a few camps of Christian expression, whereas I think much of its flavor has leaked into many camps of thought.  But in an attempt to clarify some things, not only in my own head, but maybe in yours too, I lay out a few thoughts that might help us understand some things which I perceive is still baffling many to distraction.

Many of the believers I know went through the movement known as “The Renewal,” wherein they got drunk in the Holy Spirit, laughed a lot, and fell all over the place like drunkards.  I did not experience that movement, but I believe it was authentic, and for various reasons that I will not get into now.  One of several statements that came from that movement (at least I heard it from those who experienced it) was “God must offend the mind to reveal the heart.”  Now I believe this originated out of the IHOP group associated with Mike Bickle, and whether it arose in the fires of the Renewal Movement or predated it, I do not know.  Either way, and even if I am incorrect as to its origin, I do not disagree with the statement, per se, but what was true yesterday, might not apply today (to those who have already been corrected by it, or for those who never needed to be corrected by it in the first place).

Surely when being reared up in Christ we go through stages of development.  The instructions and disciplines God used with me ten years ago were specific to me, and specific to that time in my development.  But they are no longer applicable today because now the lessons are learned and internalized as habits directing my mature behavior.  If I was wrong-headed (or hearted, or even headed/hearted for that matter), and God tried to get me right—and knowing the interdependent relationship between mind and heart—it would have been good for me to get rebuked (and inevitably offended) for whatever aspect of mind or heart that was wrong and needed correcting.  It seemed to me that some needed the inverse rebuke, that they needed God to offend their heart to reveal their mind.

It is undeniable that to gain our souls (inclusive of our minds), we have to lose them—but not to insanity.  God doesn’t have us lose our minds except to gain them back corrected.  The losing of our souls to gain them back is not a lost-and-found department thing, but God’s method of bringing us out of ourselves in order to reorient us back into reality and a proper relationship to God and others.  The Renewal Movement focus was on being drunk in the Holy Ghost, a good thing no doubt, but also a corrective thing with kid gloves on.  We are commanded to be filled with the Holy Ghost, not for our enjoyment only, and not for laying out on the ground always (although as much as is needed, well, it’s needed, fine), but there comes a day when we must learn that to speak five words with our understanding is better than a thousand in an unknown tongue.  

I agree with these words by Arthur Custance: “Reason without Faith is materialism—and therefore incomplete.  Faith without reason is superstition—and therefore wrong.”  I believe the days are fast approaching when the great delusion will come when many will be deceived and will project lies from their own persons instead of truth born of God and reflected by His glory in the mirror of His word.  A great revival is coming, and concurrently with it, a great falling away.  “BUT THE PEOPLE WHO KNOW THEIR GOD (and according to Scripture, not their imaginations) shall prove themselves strong and shall stand firm and do exploits [for God].  And they who are wise and understanding among the people shall instruct many and make them understand, though some [of them and their followers] shall fall by the sword and flame, by captivity and plunder, for many days.  Now when they fall, they shall receive a little help. Many shall join themselves to them with flatteries and hypocrisies.  And some of those who are wise, prudent, and understanding shall be weakened and fall, [thus, then, the insincere among the people will lose courage and become deserters. It will be a test] to refine, to purify, and to make those among [God’s people] white, even to the time of the end” (Daniel 11:32-35 Amp.).

The wheat and tares are coming to a head in this hour, and those who serve God and those who do not are manifesting in obvious terms, either in open glory or open shame.  Excesses have always accompanied REAL moves of God, so do not judge things with feeble sense; judge righteous judgment!  Distinguish between the immature and the apostate, between the clean and the unclean, between right and wrong (not solely on external behavior).  Too many immature mature ones in pseudo-power throughout the churches.  But God is bypassing them and doing a runaround.  A grassroots movement is arising!  God is reshuffling the deck.  The day of the saints; the day of the “layman” is coming.  Are you ready?