Psalm 90:16 amp –“Let your works [signs of your power] be REVEALED to your servants; and your GLORY and majesty to their children”
G.N.T. Translation says..“Let [us,] your servants, see what you can do. Let our children SEE your glorious POWER.
OUR THEOLOGY: FOR EXPERIENCE OR MERE EXPOSITION?
Today, we are faced with some serious challenges in today’s version of evangelicalism. On the one hand, we are seeing an explosion of young pastors and leaders pioneering and planting churches at a younger age and faster than ever before. Yet we see also a shift of paradigms with this new generation that is pursuing passionately theology, which is great and very essential, However, as a whole we are also seeing a generation neglecting to re dig the stopped up wells of the Holy Spirit from the past, and release a plumb line of power to a new generation who have never known it. Today more people read scores of books “about” Christ and theology, but most young people today have never seen Christ heal, or witnessed a miracle personally, or tasted the supernatural tangible presence of God. Instead of experiencing the power of the resurrected Christ, they see him as dead figurine in history trapped on the dusty pages of exposition.
THE EVOLUTION OF CHURCH: “From Stained Glass to Stadium Seating”
Today, regardless to the illusive grandeur of a church evolving from “stained glass” to now “stadium seating”, and cosmetically speaking the outward presentation of the church seems excellent and successful. Yet statistically speaking, the reputableness of the american church is in rapid decline among this generation. The truth is this, more than the next conference or concert becoming a catalyst for change, a return to sound bible teaching and literacy is of greater importance. we are desperately in need more today for REFORMATION of than REVIVAL. The Lord spoke to me seven years ago, that the American church actually NEEDED a “Reformation”. This was a new concept to me. He told me then, that if it did not it will follow the same spiritual road and cultural demise of Europe. Once a continent emblazoned with christianity, it’s Castile ornate cathedrals once emblems of a living faith, now it’s houses of worship now have either been reduced to tourism or purchased and converted to islamic mosques.
AMERICAN CHURCH: MUSEUM, MAUSOLEUM, OR MOVEMENT?
We are at a crossroads. The church in America can either go one of three directions: it can become a MUSEUM where we are passive spectators admiring the relics of power in the past. Secondly, it can become a MAUSOLEUM, a religious white washed tomb with it’s cultural epitaph reading what it was, and what it could have been. Or it can REFORM and still regain it’s momentum and again become a MOVEMENT with the rapidity and organic aceleration of the first church God dreamed of and PLANTED HIMSELF in the book of Acts. This book shows God’s model in history and the apex example of a holistic church experiencing growth and power. We see a balance in discipleship, solid systematic doctrine, conversions, AND the supernatural manifestations of Holy Spirit’s power and miracles flowing through ALL the believers equally in unity.
INTELLECTUAL IDOLS: “THE WORSHIP OF KNOWLEDGE”
Frankly speaking, for all our seminary graduate degree’s and all our new supposed converts we are failing to transmit sound doctrines of scripture AND a supernatural inheritance of power to our children. INSTEAD OF THE WORD INSPIRING OUR WORSHIP OF CHRIST, WE HAVE WORSHIPED MORE THE WORD. WE WERE DESIGNED TO “STUDY” THE WORD, AND “WORSHIP” GOD, NOT “STUDY” ABOUT GOD, AND “WORSHIP” THE WORD. THE EMPHASIS AND GOAL OF SCRIPTURE IS NOT TO BE LIFELESS LITERATURE AND A “BOOK ABOUT GOD”, BUT STUDY IS TO LEAD ONE TO BECOME HUNGRY TO ENCOUNTER THE “GOD OF THE BOOK”. STUDY FOR THE SAKE OF STUDY, CAN BECOME AN EVER ENCROACHING INTELLECTUAL IDOL APART FROM A PRACTICAL GOAL OF INTIMACY WITH JESUS. God created His Word’s PURPOSE WAS TO OPEN A DESIRE AND HUNGER TO KNOW THE GOD OF THE BIBLE AND IT’S AUTHOR…THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Listen to how one author describes some excellent points on returning to the word, yet insinuates pursuit of God’s spirit as fanatical in this portion of his article:
Today, this same process of “dumbing down” has meant that we are, in George Gallup’s words, “a nation of biblical illiterates.“Perhaps we have a high view of the Bible’s inspiration: 80% of adult Americans believe that the Bible is the literal or inspired Word of God. But 30% of the teenagers who attend church regularly do not even know why Easter is celebrated. “The decline in Bible reading,” says Gallup, “is due in part to the widely held conviction that the Bible is inaccessible, and to less emphasis on religious training in the churches.” Just as Rome’s infallibility rested on the belief that the Bible itself was difficult, obscure, and confusing, so today people want the “net breakdown” from the professionals: what does it mean for me and how will it help me and make me happy? those who read the Bible for more than devotional meditations know how clear it is–at least on the main points it addresses–and how it ends up making religion less confusing and obscure. Again today, the Bible–especially in mainline Protestant churches–is a mysterious book that can only be understood by a small cadre of biblical scholars who are “in the know.”But we have the other side, too. There is a popular trend in many “evangelical” churches to emphasize direct communication with the Holy Spirit apart from the Word. In these circles, tradition and the teaching ministry of the church through the ages are not only treated as fallible (as the reformers believed), but as objects of mockery. The sentiments of Thomas Muntzer, who complained that Luther was “one of our scribes who wants to send the Holy Ghost off to college,” would find a prime-time spot on the nation’s leading evangelical radio and television broadcasts. Calvin said of these folks, “When the fanatics boast extravagantly of the Spirit, the tendency is always to bury the Word of God so they may make room for their own falsehoods.”
BALANCE: OUR NEED FOR THEOLOGY AND THE MIRACULOUS
Although I agree with many of these observations their is still an subtle air of negativity imbuing the reader with a sense that chasing God, by His Holy Spirit’s power is fanaticism and often devalue’s teaching ministry. I disagree. Lastly to that statement made by Calvin, howbeit partially true, I would balance and complete this quote by saying “When the fanatics of intellecualism and philosophy boast extravagantly of having all knowledge doctrinally of the mind of God, the tendency is to QUENCH the manifestation of the Holy Spirit so they may make room for their own unbelief and theology”.
This dichotomy of emphasis on theology at the expense, or the exclusion of the manifestations and the supernatural move of the Holy Spirit, is becoming of increasing concern in our generation. The New Testament church did not follow such a pattern for evangelization. FOCUS ON RECTIFYING THESE TWO DEFICIENCIES OF BIBLICAL ILLITERACY, AND A DEVOID OF HOLY SPIRIT POWER, FOR A REBORN SPIRIT AND TRUTH GENERATION WILL ONCE AGAIN BRING A REFORMATION AND RELEASE REVIVAL IN AMERICA.
(Please click here to read Pt. 2 of Biblical Illiteracy & The devoid of the Holy Spirit)