There is a growing move in the church, and interestingly in the charismatic wing of the church, to question current structures and methods for doing the work of ministry. The reason it’s interesting from a charismatic point of view is that in the past we’ve been viewed as the people that are the most willing to throw out old structures and wineskins to embrace the “new thing” that God is doing. So what gives? I don’t know, but it’s undeniable that some of the critics of the latest goings on in the charismatic arena are not anti-supernatural, religious fuddy-duddies trying to quench a move of the Spirit but are people who have been there, done that, and left that world — not in a theological sense when it comes to the Holy Spirit, but in a very significant sense when it comes to church practice, authority, “revival” culture, and what not.
I’m not saying I agree wholeheartedly with this view…I’m simply reporting it and trying to understand my own feelings on these issues. For a really good read by a voice in the blogosphere that I respect, Extreme Charismatic Makeover by Kingdom Grace is worth your while.
I’m torn. I’m torn because I see much good happening on both sides of the equation. Perhaps I’m not skeptical enough, or cynical enough, but my life has been radically transformed by the ministry of many of the “top dogs” in the charismatic world such as Bill Johnson/Bethel Church and Patricia King/Extreme Prophetic in particular. The reason I know I’m on a better path is because there is fruit in my life now and sin habits that have been conquered that was not the case in years past. So it’s very hard for me to throw out the baby with the bath water.
Perhaps God will lead me into a new (or old?) understanding of how to do church that takes me into alternate places, but I absolutely believe that humility and grace are needed in this moment in time so that we don’t enter into a spirit of bitterness or mockery. The Bride of Christ is too valuable, even in the messed up state it’s in. Jesus loves all of it, the good and the bad. I can do no less.