Practical Help For
Navigating Renewal Stumbling Blocks
By Terry Somerville
My early experience with renewal was very difficult. Not because of what God was doing, that had already come upon us in great power. Not because of manifestations; shaking, falling, laughing, visions etc. had been something I'd experienced many times over the years. Difficulty came with "the renewal movement:" Like the 'healing revival" of the forties, or the "charismatic renewal" God is doing great things, but the flesh and sin is there as well. What people do in response to this move of the Spirit is a mixture of man and God. Indeed , most of the detractors I know certainly believe in the very things God is doing, yet they have rejected renewal because of the flesh issues of people and some of the teaching that's been developed within this movement. Leaders may be hungry for God to use them, but it's very tempting to use renewal as a platform to carry out a human agenda! When this happens unclean spirits are released into this movement. In every move of God theres spiritual warfare. The devil will try to "piggy back" on the flesh to destroy the work.
Here's some good advice, don't accept anything just because it's popular, published or preached. Be a Berean - check it out! If you are hungry for God He will lead you. Hopefully this short outine will help you navigate some common stumbling blocks.
1. What is "Renewal"?
It is simply Jesus purifying His church , preparing His bride, purifying vessels so He can use us for the great last days revival. He is threshing, blowing and pouring out refining fire on His people.
Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire 12 Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
The wheat and the chaff is us. For the fruit ( grain ) to be gathered it is seperated from the husk (flesh) by threshing. Then wind is used to blow away the chaff which is then gathered and burned up. This is the baptism of the Holy Spirit with wind and fire being received in Renewal! If you god with Him, you must go to the cross!
2. Why Is the Renewal Offensive?
It is offensive to the flesh and all who experience it have the flesh being exposed and crucified. You face it or run! We all need to understand that this outpouring of the Holy Spirit will be colored by the vessels - us. What happens when a carnal leader gets in the river and starts muddying it up? For example , a controling pastor will have to let go or try to control renewal and cause all kinds of problems - but they will be amplified until He yields to the threshing floor. Those who don't know how to move in the Spirit will quench the Spirit. If they have demonic problems, the demons WILL piggyback on the carnal stuff and act up. If they have little bible knowledge and little experience in the work of the Spirit they will teach crazy things and they will do offensive things. The threshing floor is a messy place! This is whats happening. Then the devil will use this to drive seekers away. Fret not, you don't have to accept everything that' s taught, even by prominent leaders. Some people will tell you you'll miss God if you don't accept their package. Listen. Set your heart on Jesus. It's about Him not them. They're just people, they don't always know, in fact everyones sorting things out. Let Jesus deal with you, that's what it's about.
3. Why Do Some Teachings Seem Off?
Simple answer, some are off. Much of this is new to us so have some grace, relax. Don't be alarmed - check out things for yourself. One real issue is that new terms are being used to describe things rather than biblical ones. Sometimes this is done to distance renewal from the perceived offences with the biblical terms. (see my page on manifestations) Other popular ideas have developed that have no solid basis. Here's some myths you may have heard.
THE LAST MOVE OF THE SPIRIT ALWAYS PERSECUTES THE NEXT - I've heard this many times. It is NOT TRUE. It's not biblical. Anyone who loves the Lord and walks with Him will flow into every move of the Spirit as it comes. If someone becomes cold and legalistic they are resisting the Spirit anyway
THIS NEW WAVE REPLACES THE OLD - meaning whatever was gained , learned and annointed in the charismatic movement for example is over now. This has been taught by upstarts because of jealousy of established annointed leaders. It is NOT TRUE This new wave adds to all God gave us before.
MANIFESTATION ARE ALL GOD or that everything that's going on is what people say it is. There is Spirit, flesh and demon manifestation. Sometimes a mixture. Without discernment of spirits all we can do is make an educated guess, even concerning ourself. Most manifestations are human reactions to the divine presence. Some of us humans react in bizzare ways!
MANIFESTATIONS ARE ALL DEMONIC Give me a break.
SOAKING HAS REPLACED THE BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT - NO WAY! in fact it's part of the same thing - the idea of baptizo IS like putting the wool in the dye till the dye is in the wool! Whatever you call it, just get it.
GOD DOES ALL THE MINISTRY - just passively let Him do it and pray "more Lord"It's true that God comes with power and does soverign signs and wonders, but this has not negated our role in powerful and aggressive spiritual ministry. God gives gifts of the Spirit in the church. It is like Acts 4 where they prayed to be filled with the Spirit to minister AND for God to stretch out His hand with signs and wonders.
DON'T CAST OUT DEMONS - God does it Himself The presence of the Holy Spirit will sometimes cause demons to flee but we are commanded to "CAST OUT DEMONS" If you get discernment, act on it.
THERE'S NO FRUIT anyone who says this isn't paying attention.