Friday, July 3, 2009

The Charismatic Movement: Death and Resurrection

J. Lee Grady at Charisma Magazine has concluded that The Charismatic Movement is Dead. I agree with him.
"I am not a coroner. But I do believe the historic period we call the American charismatic movement ended a while ago. By making that pronouncement I was NOT saying that (1) the Holy Spirit isn't moving today; (2) the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit aren't available to us any more; or (3) people who are associated with this movement are all washed up.

On the contrary, we could be on the cusp of one of the most dynamic spiritual awakenings in history, and it will most certainly be accompanied by the supernatural work of the Spirit. Yet if we want to shift with Him into the next season we must lay aside old mindsets and worn-out religious paradigms that we picked up during the past 40 years. When God comes to do "a new thing," as Isaiah promised He would (Isa. 43:19, NASB), we must embrace new priorities, recalibrate our spiritual values and set aside the baggage of the past.

New wine requires new wineskins. New growth only comes after pruning. Change is often painful."

The Holy Spirit is always active. The gifts of the Spirit continue; God's Kingdom is breaking through all over the place. However, the ministry models and styles of the movement of the 60's and 70's are passe and DEAD. No more "one man ministry," big hair, white suits. No theme parks, limousines and private jets. No more worship of mammon. No more exaltation of ministers above the people. No more "don't touch God's anointed" immunization from criticism or correction. No more misuse of prophetic ministry or chasing after more exciting prophecies. And no more exalting gifting over character.

What we need today are true openness to the Spirit balanced by sound scholarship - both/and not either/or. What we need is decentralized supernatural ministry models where leaders equip all believers to pray for the sick and hurting. We need ministers who serve rather than seek to be served. We need leaders who follow Jesus with towels and wash basins rather than acting like dukes or kings. We need ministries that serve the poor and renounce materialism rather than fleece the flock for big offerings.

The Charismatic Movement must die- had to die - in order that the Spirit movement can be resurrected. Death and resurrection is God's way, not triumphalism and splendor.

That is what I believe God is doing. That is what I believe God is creating. And I am grateful and hopeful.

Update: Comments at Charismatica comparing the Charismatic Movement to the Reformation - worth reading.