RENEWAL JOURNAL 7: BLESSING
Comment on books by Partick Dixon, Rob Warner, Guy Chevreau, Mike Feardon, Dave Roberts, Wallace Boulton, John Arnott, Andy & Jane Fitz-Gibbon, and Ken & Lois Gott
‘BLESSINGS ABOUND WHERE E’RE HE REIGNS’
This Renewal Journal continues to discuss controversial issues, such as the current ‘blessing’ transforming thousands of churches and multiplied thousands of people in the last few years.
People often have strong and opposite opinions about whether it is indeed a ‘blessing’ or not.
What can we make of it all?
Important cautions need to be made. To endorse and swallow everything that is happening as good would overlook the usual excesses, theological imbalances, and human sin. We are never free of that. It is present in all we do.
So we need to recognize our own bias to sin and to blindness. We all need the light of God’s grace and mercy.
Often those who most strongly assert their own theological purity may tragically disobey the most important commandments of all – to love God and love others. Theological purists, of all traditions, tend to judge others in direct contraction to Jesus command (Matthew 7:1 – judge not).
Having said that, we do need to exercise wisdom and discernment.
Some groups are excessively emotional and gullible. Other groups are excessively intellectual and proud. Others toss around like the waves of the ocean, riding the latest fad. None of us are free of a blind spot or two. So we need to walk humbly with our God, open to correction and willing to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
God gives grace to the humble and wisdom to the meek, but he resists the proud. The discernment we need is available but hidden from the worldly wise and haughty. That is a key to understanding this current ‘blessing’.
Thousands of God’s people testify to the humbling grace of God transforming their lives, even with and often through strange manifestations. Hard hearts are softened, and people weep – then joy comes in the morning. Burdened souls find release in joy unspeakable, full of glory and wonder, including laughter. Broken lives find a peace that passes understanding even in the midst of uncertainty; worry dissolves into exultant faith.
A common thread in the blessing of the mid-nineties is the empowering grace of God multiplied to those who hunger and thirst after what is right.
More than most of us have ever seen, we now see, hear about and read of significant changes in people and in churches where the current blessing has burst into bloom.
Pastors confess their sins of control, pride, theological rigidity, jealousy and fear of people’s opinions. Many are reconciled and work publicly together for God’s glory, not for the glory of their own denomination or theological stance. Churches which once competed, blamed others for ‘sheep stealing’ and criticised each other, have confessed their sins of division and hatred, found reconciliation and an astonishing love for one another. Many of them now co-operate to minister this blessing together.
Blessing in the nineties catapulted so many of us into new dimensions of renewal and revival in the 21st century. This century opened with renewal and revival transforming individuals, churches and whole communities. The Renewal Journals document some of those recent changes.
The current ‘blessing’ has been around long enough for us to assess its fruit in thousands of churches and lives. Ask around. You may be amazed at the people who will tell you of God’s grace bursting into their lives in these days, of new zeal for the Lord, of worn out leaders refreshed and renewed, of timid Christians finding surprising boldness and joy.
The high and mighty are being brought low, and the lowly made strong. Such is the Kingdom of God. Surely it is logical that if the glory and power of God touches us even a little, we will be undone, shake, tremble, weep or laugh for sheer joy.
The Renewal Journal, Number 5, on ‘Signs and Wonders’ included comment on the current blessing from overseas by Derek Prince, John Wimber, Jerry Steingard and others. It included some early Australian observations on this blessing. This issue, Number 7, gives Australian testimony and comment from leaders involved in it.
Owen Salter describes developments in Australia and overseas. Greg Beech, and Ron French add historical reflection to their testimonies. Dennis Plant, Alan Small, Andrew Evans and David Cartledge give their perspectives on the impact they have seen in the church. Charles Taylor and John Court offer wise counsel, and I comment on our discoveries in current renewal ministry.
The Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (formerly Toronto Airport Vineyard Christian Fellowship), which during the first two years of the current blessing impacted about 100,000 people a year continues to minister in its significant expression of this current blessing. The Vineyard Churches also continue to minister that blessing in their unique way which has brought blessing to thousands around the world. Others minister this blessing in their own ways also, such as the Anglicans at Holy Trinity Brompton in London, the combined churches in Sunderland in England, Melbourne in Florida, Pasadena in California, and various Pentecostal expressions of this impact such as ministries of people like Rodney Howard-Browne, Benny Hinn, Argentine healing evangelists, and many others.
And you? And me?
If, as multiplied thousands testify, God is blessing his people in profound ways right now, may we not miss the day of our visitation. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. They shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).
© Renewal Journal 7: Blessing, 1996, 2nd edition 2011.
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