Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Calling for a New Charismatic Resurgence!!

I've been having a fantastic chat with two former members of my home church in Dunstable about the "coming upon" of the Spirit over on Facebook - provoked by Alex Buchanan's wonderful ministry. Not everyone is aware that during his unique ministry, Alex was a co-pastor at our church in Dunstable and actually dedicated me as a baby. Alex was more famous for his prophetic ministry as a "pastor to pastors" with people such as Terry Virgo and R T Kendall.

I was reflecting on the current life of the charismatic empowering gifts in the local church and it seems to me that once again there has been polarising in the church (especially in the UK). Classic "charismatic" churches have happily settled down into what is "normal" seeing a few manifestations on a Sunday. Cessationist churches most certainly do not. And "open but cautious" churches accept the concept of the charismatic but I guess rarely see it. There is rarely (I think) the "heavenly divine intervention" of spiritual gifts where non-believers are profoundly affected to the point of falling down and saying; "Truly God is among you!".

John Piper wrote famously; "Mission exists because worship does not".

It seems to me that churches are pouring resources into mission - when no one seems to be examining the desperate need for a revival of life, of a charismatic resurgency in our churches - seeing God in the risen Jesus Christ walking among His churches. 2006 and 2007 were years of some excitement and anticipation for me personally among other friends - Rob Rufus's presence at the Brighton conferences here in the UK seemed to suggest that God was moving in this country.

I began to collate a post on the "Spirit of God" blog called "A List of Online Resources for the Charismatic Resurgence". I have loved re-reading it - it reminded me of so much encouraging material I wrote with friends back in those times! The actual post was inspired by my friend Jesse Phillips - an SGM pastor in Florida - who asked the question;

"... if blogs could contribute to a reformed resurgence, could not the blogosphere also contribute to a charismatic resurgence, particularly by increasing people's faith for gifts such as prophecy, faith, miracles or healing?".

In his excellent book, "The Tide is Turning!" - Terry Virgo wrote;

"On the whole we too have grown up in a generation that has not seen the mighty acts of God as our forefathers did. We have not seen revivals during which thousands flock into the churches to get right with God. Unlike our fathers we have not known whole towns change, with demonstrations of power and incredible manifestations of the glory of God. The majority of our generation knows nothing of these things so we may closely identify with the Israel of Gideon's day".

One of the reasons I love drawing people in my parent's generation out about the events in their days - the life that they saw in the 1970's and 1980's was because it is faith-building! It reminds us that God can and does intervene in life! Just because we do not see the mighty acts of God directly here in the UK at the moment - does NOT mean that He cannot and does not do it! Yet so many Christians adapt their theology to meet their experience and as a result our faith drops.

My dearest pastor friend Pete Day wrote this in a blog post;

"I would encourage anyone who God prompts to begin to contribute to the charismatic resurgence! Let's fan the flame in each other's hearts and fan the flame for revival".

I am challenged and would like to re-devote this blog to doing exactly that and "fanning the flame for revival". Of course my other concerns and interests remain - such as my friends in Sovereign Grace and the troubles they are going through - but revival surely must be our primary concern and (as Dr Lloyd-Jones said); "The greatest need of the hour".

6 comments:

SGM Pastor's Wife said...

Dan,

I so love your persistent optimism in the future of God's church despite all SGM put you through.

I didn't realise you knew Jesse!

Keep writing - but don't forget us!

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

Still think in the last 3or 4 years you've become a tail trying to wag a dog. You're not really making Kingdom noises anymore. You're a glass case museum to a part of my life that got me to where I am now, but you were never a part of, because you weren't born.

Dan Bowen said...

Chris,

You are entitled to your opinion of course as you are welcome to leave it (as I welcome virtually anyone to leave comments here).

May I suggest you'll make more progress influencing people if you write in a somewhat less patronising and rude style as this comment seems to reflect (for whatever reason).

There's much I guess I could say and write on my purpose for blogging (the clue is in the title), the last 3 or 4 years of my private life and how it may have influence my thoughts - but I don't think that would be healthy. Particularly as I have just got back from a 3 hour drive and I am cranky and tired.

Friendly said...

Dan,

Agreed - I think in this blog, you have built "a pile of stones" - a living breathing reminder of what God HAS done and in faith, you believe He WILL do again - and mightier.

Surely that is the heart of this blog - and I for one appreciate it, and do indeed find it faith stirring.

Re: the insensitive comment - anyone who has read carefully (and this Chris bloke clearly hasn't) will know that you have indeed been through personal difficulties with your depression etc.

What I find encouraging and remarkable is that you have kept your faith in God - when the trials you have been through, are enough to make some people turn atheist! After all - not many can boast of being excommunicated by a so-called "loving" church.

Yet you still believe!

To me - that is the heart of Kingdom life. So I'd ignore completely what this Chris has said. I've followed his link to his blog and I don't understand a word he has written.

3rd level? Sounds overtly mystical and weird to me.

Keep at it!

Dan Bowen said...

Thank you Friendly, I appreciate the encouragement.

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

I've done the encouragement.if you look at the screes and screes.I mean what I say in the Spirit, which is not to be taken as condemnation.

Give you my example.
1974. Two years after setting a school on fire (Holy Spirit fire) and what I thought was a keen Christian. The word comes through Mother Basilea Schlink in Darmstadt while i was there...your greatest sin is indifference.

Indifference! What? Me? I'd hardly be in Darmstadt if i was indifferent Lord. I stayed up most of the night to prove to God He was wrong...well actuall i fell asleep by about 12 or 1. I was 16 and growing!

You've got to understand I've been around Dan, and I wouldnt waste my words with most people.You are precious. I am not sure Id have any time at all for Friendly.