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".