For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been rereading the Gospels to be followed by the book of Acts. I wanted to see once again what the first believers did with their faith in the marketplace of life. I have noticed something. The majority of the Western Church has either moved away from or in some cases, nervously shied away from raw expressions of the miraculous. We have become a groomed and sanitary witness in a world that needs a beautifully sloppy and unsophisticated move of God.
Back in the early 1980s, John Wimber of the Vineyard movement was invited by Dr. Peter Wagner to teach a class on the supernatural ministry of Jesus to seminary students at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. Such an expression of faith made some of the professors uncomfortable. These were faithful leaders who had very developed intellects surrounded by a fear of what could not be dissected, evaluated, and presented by class notes. After a short run, the class was canceled.
Wimber’s experience at Fuller is a teaching tool. I am in a process of a personal evaluation I would invite anyone reading these words to consider. I am asking myself, “What am I investing in of Kingdom significance that can be accomplished by my strength and intellect without a supernatural intervention from God?” While many of our self-accomplished spiritual goals are good and right, they do not possess the kind of power and potential offered by a supernatural intervention from God. Those interventions bring to the table things we cannot accomplish in our limited strength and ability – interventions that require a miracle or sign from Heaven.
In the United States, we are living in a place of stalemate and entrenchment in what each side of an argument consider to be right and true. These stalemates and entrenchments can only be broken by the power of God that offers evidence of the intangible not included in our position papers or our well-groomed Sunday morning church services.
Today, if we begin to pray differently, we will see different results. If there is a political figure or party that we oppose, have we prayed for a revival in their midst to be ignited by a miracle of healing? Have we prayed for church leaders with immense ministry platforms who are living isolated in their fame to experience a miracle of personal healing and restoration in their sexuality long before they self-destruct due to exposure? Have we prayed for those we define as our enemies to encounter Jesus, and like what happened to Paul after his Damascus Road experience, to invite these previous enemies of the Cross into our midst to become some of our greatest teachers?
Only a supernatural manifestation of God’s power carries the hope of redemption and resurrection for individual lives and for the wider culture. All the rest of our spiritual disciplines have some value, but they do not produce the kind of evidence that will cause people to see the God of Heaven is real and active in the affairs of our lives.
Another approach to this was modeled about 10 years ago by Bill Johnson. On social media, he was asked how to respond to a serious theological objection to divine healing. His response was “love them, accept them, and ignore their objection. Find someone who needs and will accept healing, and focus on them.”
When John (through his disciples) asked for an explanation from Jesus that would prove that He was the messiah, said “Tell John: the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk. The poor are hearing the good news. Blessed is anyone who is not offended in me.” Evidence – not explanation!
May we demonstrate the Kingdom and Power of God, and leave others to argue about the results instead of debating explanations.
Not a whinge but i was saved under an evangelist ministry over 30 yeats ago. There was still an emphasis on supernatural healing etc. What drew me into the Kingdom in those days was the power and supernatural
of God. Now lately im thinking we use a lot of words but not much power. Not sure how to get it all back. Your post is food for thought and pondering. Sometimes I reminisce on the power ministry days and then dissapointingly move on. Your post gives hope and stirs things up again.