There’s something that’s been irking me for a while about the cutting-edge of the charismatic movement, dubbed by some as the apostolic-prophetic movement, and I know what it is. Now don’t get me wrong…I dearly love many of these folks…Bill Johnson, Lance Wallnau, Patricia King, Jill Austin, to name but a few. I would never want to criticize the tremendous work they’re doing in the body of Christ.
But there is something I’m concerned about, and it’s this: there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of cross-pollination going on between us and other segments of the Christian Church in America. Now I fully understand maintaining a respectful distance from the fundamentalist critics who can’t stand the apostolic-prophetic movement and think we’re all a bunch of holy-roller heretics. It’s better just to smile and walk away. But there are a whole bunch of tremendous Christian leaders, thinkers, writers, and ministers out there who are on the cutting-edge of the evangelical mainstream or what some might dub the “emerging church” that we really should be in dialog with. Folks like Mark Batterson, Steven Furtick, Craig Groeschel, Dan Kimball — even Rob Bell. Bell in fact wrote a book I read a while ago called Velvet Elvis, and a lot of what he said was a spooky mirror image of what Bill Johnson wrote about in his book Dreaming with God. It’d be funny if they compared notes.
I don’t necessarily mean these people have to all get up on stage at a conference together and have a group hug. All I’m saying is that there are established networks of Christian leaders out there in various segments of the church, and it’s great that those networks exist, but they’re only networking with “each other” — i.e., the people that sort of think just like them. I think we do the Church a great disservice by only hanging out with our own theological kin. We need to be reaching out to people with all kinds of different viewpoints. If we truly love the Lord Jesus Christ with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves, and follow God’s commandments, then we should be in fellowship together. Heck, let’s even get a few charismatic Catholics on board — they’re a pretty interesting bunch.
So what do you say, O apostolic-prophetic people?
On a more amusing note, here’s my crazy pipe dream: I would love to see Mark Batterson (pastor at National Community Church) and Banning Liebscher (founder of JesusCulture and youth pastor at Bethel Church in Redding, CA) do a joint session some time. Mark is this jolly easygoing pastor dude who can make any spiritual challenge sound like a load of fun, and Banning is this crazy prophetic dude who is so engaging that he can get me thinking that going out and changing the world is actually doable. They may have different theological backgrounds in some respects (although Mark is an Assemblies of God guy, so he’s not completely out of the loop), but they’re both out of the box thinkers with gobs of energy. I love ‘em both.