Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Terry Virgo on the Lakeland Revival!!

And finally - here's the positive thoughts! It was indeed worth waiting for.

Terry Virgo began by drawing parallels to the 1994/95 refreshing from Toronto and this aspect of the "transferrability" of the anointing. He said;

"It was something that could be ‘caught’ or ‘transferred’. People who attended certain meetings became ‘carriers’ of a kind of ‘spiritual contagion’ which subsequently broke out elsewhere".

I must admit this is something I am learning about and owe much to Rob Rufus and Terry for this. Rob spoke in Eastbourne again about the anointing and how transferrable it is. But this isn't a "new" thing. Terry said;

"It would be true to say that this has been a mark of historic revivals. People visited the 1905 Welsh Revival for instance and, on returning home, found that God’s presence had accompanied them in an extraordinary way".

I like Terry's teaching on the "manifestations of the Spirit". It would be safe to say that it is the manifestations that cause the biggest excesses on both sides in any revival. The cynics and skeptics get turned off by them - and I would venture - scared by them. Those who embrace the revival sometimes judge the work of God on WHETHER they manifest the Spirit. Both excesses are wrong. Terry writes;

"What were often referred to as ‘manifestations of the Spirit’ (and sometimes very strange they were) were in reality not literally ‘manifestations of the Spirit’ but the different ways in which people’s bodies responded to the Spirit’s activity. Various phenomenal responses were noted when the Holy Spirit’s presence seemed to be strong. Some fell, some shook and some laughed. Some seemed to happen in an involuntary kind of way; others perhaps were imitation. The pressure to conform on these occasions can become very great".

But as Terry says - what matters not is how great or small the manifestations are or of what variety they are but;

"What influenced me most significantly was not the extraordinary physical manifestations but the extraordinary lasting change that I observed in the lives of people I knew".

It staggers me that so-called people committed to the Word of God - the Bible - seem to forget this clear and blatent fact;

"I was drawn to Acts 10 where the Apostle Peter was in a trance (!) and saw a vision (!) and heard an audible voice (!), as a result of which he followed Cornelius’s representatives who had themselves been instructed by an angel (!). Upon arrival at Cornelius’s house, Peter began to preach but was interrupted by such an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that he had to give way to his hearers who were suddenly overcome and speaking in tongues and prophesying (!)".

And HERE is the fact. HERE is what we must face;

"Virtually every feature in this extraordinary story was outside of my experience – but all were clearly Biblical".

If we are to see an increased mark of signs and wonders and miracles then there's something we must - absolutely must remember. Todd Bentley must remember it. William Branham forgot it to his peril as did many of the other healers in the 1940's and 50's;

"We often imagine that God’s gifts are proofs of holiness or marks of maturity given only to the most advanced Christians to demonstrate God’s approval of their spiritual progress. But this isn’t the case. God’s gifts aren’t rewards!".

This is why Rob Rufus's teaching on the gift of righteousness is SO absolutely vital and such an important foundation to ensure this outpouring of the Spirit doesn't wane and end like it's predecessors before it. It's a gift! It doesn't make you more holy because the holiness that we have is not our own anyway - it was imputed to us as a gift! We are accepted before God BECAUSE we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. If we start from that position, then we will be under no illusions that whatever gifts God may use in us come as GRACE not because we have earned that blessing.

Terry ends on a very similar - and indeed vital note to Janelle's thoughts when she visited Lakeland. It's ALL about the local church!

"What shall we do? We should go on preaching the gospel, praying for the sick and committing our lives to the local church where things find their right setting and safety. Some who testify to a powerful surge of blessing now in their church through contact with Lakeland, say that this is not happening to them in a vacuum, but in the context of healthy local church life where eldership oversight is clearly in place, Biblical foundations are already established and a longing to reach the lost with the gospel is already in focus. Praise God! This is how it should be".

Terry's conclusion shows the importance of experience and how older godly men can teach us so much in the wider body of Christ. I have been puzzled and intrigued as to why every time something different happens in the church such as this outpouring - there is a rush to declare oneself. Some say they are for it (I guess that's been my temptation. I've been so hungry to see God move in power for so many years - could I be in danger of accepting anything just because it's new and it's breaking the status quo that the Church is stuck in? Maybe). Some say they are against it. Some say they aren't interested in it. But Terry said;

"It seems to me that we do not have to take a stance simply dismissing what is happening as a circus or to only demonstrate alarm at the dangers that seem inherent. Nor should we naively embrace and unquestioningly accept the complete package".

I can do nothing but utter "Amen!" to his final prayer;

"For myself, I long for the power of God to be released so that Jesus might be wonderfully glorified in our generation. I often pray the prayer based on the Apostle’s plea that God would grant us boldness while He Himself stretches forth His hand and that signs and wonders are done in the name of His holy child Jesus. I shall continue to pray such prayers and long for the coming of His power and the glorifying of His name with huge respect for the local church and I believe a God-given desire to be mutually dependent and not independent. I believe God will lead us on to all that He has for us and safeguard us from danger for His great glory".

4 comments:

Jon Sidnell said...

I was really pleased with Terry's latest blog too! Along with the historical review, I was particularly struck by his summary if the Cornelius story in Acts 10.

The things Terry draws out are precisely the things that are being attacked when seen in Todd Bentley and Lakeland - right down to preaching being interrupted by an outpouring of the Spirit!!

I'm getting to the point where I don't care what it looks like - either like Lakeland or something different. I just want a fresh outpouring of the Spirit! Here's to a Hexham outpouring!!

Dan Bowen said...

Hey Jon!

Yes - I too was really please (and relieved) to see Terry's thoughts. `Church history seems to indicate that the biggest opponents of new and fresh moves of God are those who were in yesterdays past move of God. I just wasn't quite sure Terry was going to go!

"I'm getting to the point where I don't care what it looks like - either like Lakeland or something different. I just want a fresh outpouring of the Spirit! Here's to a Hexham outpouring!!"

Amen - amen - amen!! I think we have just got to keep a hugely open mind among the Biblical framework and expectation for moves of God! As Terry mentioned - there are great gasps of horror at the word; "Trance". Well why?! "Trances are New Age". Well ... Peter went into a trance on the rooftop before the New Age movement came along so I think we can agree that the New Age movement is the counterfeit, the sad copy! We can show the New Agers the REAL thing!

There's a lot of talk about being a "charismatic with a seat-belt". That's a Mark Driscoll-ism I understand. On another blog, I commented that it paints a rather conservative picture because one tends to think of a seat belt on a tame Fiat Punto going along at 50 miles per hour on the M1. Who needs a seatbelt!?

But the passages from Acts and the New Testament rather suggest that we DO need a seat belt BUT because the picture should be more of a fierce fighter jet screaming along the horizon at the speed of sound! THAT'S the power portrayed here! And I am seeing scenes from Florida that ARE attracting the attention of non-Christians (despite what the cynics say).

A collegue of mine who works at the hospice I work at is a medium (and I have spoken before with her about Rob Rufus and the Glory and Grace Conference). I showed her some video clips of Florida and she said she had never seen such spiritual power in her life. The cynics I know would gasp in horror again - a MEDIUM thinks there is power there! Yere - but she pointed out the Name of Jesus Christ is being worshipped so it is RADICALLY different from New Age meetings - they just don't do that! That's in her words from an atheist mystic.

So hungry and desperate here!

I'm intrigued by those who say they don't care about the Florida Outpouring (Pyromaniac for one among others). How can you not care about it? This is EITHER the greatest deception seen for years - maybe the prelude to Anti-Christ, or it is the most dramatic display of the flesh that I have ever seen. Can the flesh really get someone out of a wheelchair? OR ... it is God Himself and to say "I don't care" about God on the move strikes me as scarily like quenching the Holy Spirit.

Which-ever option it is of the three, I don't see again how apathy is an option.

David said...

I've just seen this post. Doesn't time fly - we're now in 2011. So what does the benefit of three years tell us?

Lakeland fizzled out, I believe for two main reasons. Firstly, it emerged that Todd's behavior outside the revival meetings wasn't consistent with Biblical standards - in particular he was having an extra-marital affair with a member of his staff, who he later married after divorcing his wife. So he wasn't the great man of God he set himself up to be.

Secondly, it became clear that the claimed miracles - healings and resurrections - were simply not happening. Todd was shown to be a liar.

Dan listed three options above, and Lakeland was primarily a display of flesh - a lot of people were getting excited about nothing, whipped up into a frenzy by rock music and a preacher who is a master at manipulation and even hypnotism. But obviously the root of all deception is the deceiver himself, so I also have to add that the devil was behind it.

Dan asked "Can the flesh really get someone out of a wheelchair?" and the answer is yes. Someone who is pumped full of adrenalin and endorphins can do things that would normally be impossible. The question is not whether they get out of the wheelchair, but whether they stay out of it, and the answer to that is invariably no.

As far as the apathy option is concerned, well, when Lakeland ended in disaster it left thousands of people disillusioned and even hurt. The only ones who escaped were those who ignored it.

And pretty much all the leaders in the charismatic world showed themselves to have no discernment (a much-ignored spiritual gift) as they failed to spot that Lakeland was bad from the start.

David said...

I wanted to add something else about the apathy option. The history of the pentecostal and charismatic movements is full of revivals that failed, and prohecies that were never fulfilled. The track record is very grim reading, and it makes me ashamed. So, when things like Lakeland happen, just ignore them, and tell other people to do the same. They'll go away in time, and you'll all be better off, as you won't have wasted time running after nothing.