Charismatic friends and relatives have been sending me links to God TV which is nightly broadcasting the revival in Lakeland, Florida.
So what do I think?
It has been interesting processing my thoughts about charismatic culture, particularly the dynamics of revival meetings.
My first time in a charismatic church was almost 30 years ago at a “revival meeting.” The special speaker was literally a former circus performer and later discovered to be a charlatan. In spite of that, when I was in the healing line, Jesus met me there.
Since then, I have had a full range of charismatic experiences. There were several years that our church was involved in the renewal movement influenced by the Toronto blessing. We had, what seems like hundreds of meetings, both large and small, that were quite similar to the Lakeland meetings.
What do I miss? I miss corporate expectancy and openness to whatever the Spirit of God might do.
In that kind of a setting, there is almost always a mixture of emotionalism and supernatural ministry. It is not always possible to distinguish between what is real and what is hype.
This kind of manifestation is familiar to me, and I am not offended by its strangeness. Somewhere in the mixture, people encounter God, often in ways that are contrary to their sensibilities and preconceived ideas of experiencing Him.
As the hype of revival grows, so does the number of people hesitantly hopeful that God might touch their life, that He might hear their plea and have a cure for their need.
While the atmosphere of revival often builds faith, it also creates the notion that one must go to a special location to receive from God. Once there, people will do almost anything to be touched by the guest minister.
It is in this fertile soil of desperation that sincere people are ripe for being taken advantage of, for being abused, and for being led into false teaching. I am not going to address the motives of those who minister at these revivals. I would hope that most of them are sincere.
The charismatic, prophetic, and renewal movements are heavily influenced with false teaching from various other movements – Latter Rain, Dominionism, Kingdom Now, Restorationism, and the New Apostolic Reformation. While you might not be exposed to these teachings at special meetings, one should be aware that this is the background of the ministers who are involved.
Hopefully Rob McAlpine’s book, Post-Charismatic, will be a helpful corrective to the long history of aberrant teaching among charismatics.
My advice, stay wide open to the supernatural work of the Spirit and to the possibility of experiencing the power of God. He can move in ways completely outside our realm of understanding and control. However, be cautiously aware that the ministers themselves may not purely express the ministry of the Spirit.
In the meantime, I wonder what revival would look like apart from the package of church revival culture – special speakers, special meetings, special offerings. What does an outpouring look like in the streets without an audience? I wonder if the people of Myanmar and China will receive a special outpouring.
I am interested in your thoughts about this.