1 Corinthians 2:1-5 – “Brothers and sisters, when I came to you, I didn’t speak about God’s mystery with eloquence and excellence of speech or wisdom. 2 While I was with you, I decided to deal with only one subject—Jesus Christ, who was crucified. 3 When I came to you, I was weak. I was afraid and very nervous. 4 I didn’t speak my message with persuasive intellectual arguments. BUT IN THE DEMONSTRATION OF THE SPIRIT AND OF POWER 5 so that your faith would not be based on HUMAN WISDOM but on God’s power.
As we continue to along the lines of what it means to cultivate a value shift regarding biblical literacy and of Holy Spirit power, we contrasted how there is a current trend of groups delineating between the importance of theology and Holy Spirit demonstration. For example, we have a resurgence of hyper calvinism among christian urban music and among christian youth more than ever before. I believe this resurgence is a direct result of the hunger of this generation for uncut truth, not for trivial, trite teaching but sound doctrine and strong biblical teaching. They are tired of Christ less christianity, sexual perversion among the clergy, and dictatorial prideful leadership, especially within the minority community to which, it is at epidemic proportions.
I believe this “reform” is good and necessary, however some beliefs, such as “cessationlism” and a few other teachings held by “hyper calvinism” do less than re-present an uncut Christ to the masses of youth starved of it’s reality, but are also in danger of presenting only one side of God. Just a linear one dimensional angle of reality in the written theology. It can subtly, and unintentionally cause our kids to fall from one ditch of extremism into another ditch. A ditch of an aesthetic form of “gnostic intellectualism” Where many worship christian knowledge, and drink until inebriated at the chalice of ” “theoretic philosophies” that flows from the chalice of the loquacious lips of liberal leaders. As they amass libraries of arbitrary information and theological knowledge, they fall in a ditch of believing ALL THEY NEED is knowledge, and the only pathway to intimacy and relating with God experiencing the full spectrum of who he is comes only through study.
GOD’S POWER: ARE WE TO BE A SENSATIONALIST OR CESSATIONALIST?
TODAY WE HAVE TWO GROUPS IN CHRISTENDOM. THOSE WHO BELIEVE THEOLOGY IS OUR ONLY EVANGELISTIC STRATEGY, AND ANOTHER THAT SIGNS AND WONDERS ARE THE ONLY EVANGELISTIC STRATEGY.
Both areas come with potential abuses, however, in the state of the church today I believe the pendulum of extremism presently has swung drastically to the side of philosophy and dry theology that produces no power. Let’s see what Holy Spirit says…
I Corinthians 1:20-Where is the wise person? Where is the scholar? Where is the persuasive speaker of our time? Hasn’t God turned the wisdom of the world into nonsense? 21 The world with its wisdom was unable to recognize God in terms of his own wisdom. So God decided to use the nonsense preaching the gospel to save those who believe. 22 Jews ask for miraculous signs, and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but our message is that Christ was crucified. This offends Jewish people and makes no sense to people who are not Jewish. 24 But to those Jews and Greeks who are called, he is Christ, God’s power and God’s wisdom. 25 God’s nonsense is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
NOTICE TWO GROUPS OF PEOPLE EXISTED IN JESUS DAY. ONE DESIRED SIGNS AND WONDERS AND ANOTHER KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM. WE ALSO SEE PAUL DESCRIBES THAT JESUS CHRIST IN HIMSELF POSSESSES THE CAPACITY IN HIS FULL DIETY TO CO EQUALLY MANIFEST NOT ONLY WISDOM BUT SUPERNATURAL POWER.
Scripture seemingly denounces the emphasis of one over the other. However among these two paradigms, I believe presently the extreme is leaning heavily towards “knowledge consumption” without a true passion for bible doctrine and truth or to reproduce the demonstration of the Holy Spirit. We are manufacturing a new modern christian that is studious, yet is still actually doctrinally “shallow” and “scripturally illiterate”. How can this be? because the GOAL of theology is not to merely to capture the mind of God, but to learn for the purpose of reproduction. Thus if your “theology” or GOD LOGIC demoralizes actions of faith, and God’s power, it is “Pseudo-Science”. You can be mentally full with study, yet your heart can be devoid of a ‘living” intimacy crippling proper application. We MUST evidence the resurrection power of Jesus, not just talk theology. We are walking around like a caricature with big heads, little hearts, and tiny, powerless hands dry and comfortable in the boat of conventionalism.
Today, we seem to be going the direction of producing more of a “laid back/book worm” believer, a stale, spiritless saint, that never even is taught to also HUNGER to step out supernaturally to experience the other side of our Jesus. A Jesus that says “walk on the water” and manifest the miraculous. A Jesus that even would “invite us” to learn and explore His Spirit and perform in His name the impossible. Many of us today for all our “scholastic achievements” (desirous to receive validation) and our diligence for schooling, we still can become sluggards and even indolent as it pertains to miracles and contending for the legacy of power seen historically in the book of Acts, where we see the lives of “Holy Spirit possessed” leaders in the New Testament walking in not only doctrine, but POWER.
Many today criticize and demean those desiring to manifest the works of Christ. They deem it “dangerous” sensationalist hype, and unnecessary. Just keep studying and studying all forms of theology they say. Then your heart will find satisfaction. They say don’t be bewitched in the “supernatural” side, opening yourself to where pagans, devils and demons linger. Things like a “supernatural prayer language”, so called gifts of the Spirit, healings, and anything supernatural is demonic. Even certain supposed “scholars” teach God’s miracles have “ceased”. Even though a surface reading of the entire canon of the new testament testifies firmly and doctrinally God’s kingdom is not in word only or deed, but in power!
1 Cor. 4:20 – “For the kingdom of God is not in mere talk, or word only, but in POWER…
1 Thess. 1:5 – “For the gospel came not unto you in word only, but in POWER…
Rom. 15:19 – “They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum.
2 Cor. 12:12 – “ When I was with you, I certainly gave you proof that I am an apostle. For I patiently did many signs and wonders and miracles among you
notice that Rom. 15:19 implied without demonstrating supernatural Holy Spirit power, you did not preach the gospel to a people group “FULLY”. That verse is saying their truly is a “full Gospel” Message by the Holy Spirit’s ministry, not only in word teaching. Yet somehow we have allowed inaccurate teachings to convince us everything we see God supernaturally do through ordinary people in the bible “do not apply to our day and time”. However, again, this is exactly the imbalance Paul addresses in I corinthians 2:5 which is this:
“PERSUASIVE WORDS”, WITHOUT HOLY SPIRIT POWER DEMONSTRATIONS TENDS TO MISLEAD “PURE FAITH” TO RELY ON HUMAN WISDOM, AND REMOVES GOD’S POWER AS OUR FOCUS IN FAITH AS MATURE DISCIPLES.