Monday, September 20, 2021

Revival Prophecies (5) What Went Wrong

In the 1970s, New Zealand was ripe for revival. The Holy Spirit was moving and touching people lives in dramatic ways. People were approaching friends and asking them to pray for them. They were asking them about the Holy Spirit. People were asking friends to tell them about Jesus.

It seemed that revival had started. Yet it didn’t kick on. It seemed like the revival was choked before it could get started. Recently, I have been thinking about why. The following are a few of the reasons.

  • The move of the Spirit started in people homes with people praying for each other for the presence of the Holy Spirit. Many leaders tried to shift the life of the Spirit away from people’s homes into church meetings, but the gifts of the Spirit had to be managed to avoid disruption, but this control tended to suffocate spiritual freedom. Gradually, as the decade progressed, the life of the Spirit was sucked up by the church and the move suffocated.

  • When church leaders tried to take the gifts of the Holy Spirit into their church meetings, things sometimes got unruly and important people got upset, so they were forced to establish control over the release of spiritual gifts in the church service. This eventually quenched the moving of the Holy Spirit, so the gifts of healing and deliverance became the prerogative of travelling ministries praying for needy people at the front of the church meeting, because they could be trusted to behave safely.

  • People with potential leadership spread themselves too thin to be effective. Things that had happened when they were together, stopped happening when they went out on their own.

  • Many of the leaders of the movement trained to be pastors and moved in the leadership of existing churches. They often had to compromise to keep everyone happy, which limited their freedom to follow the Holy Spirit and release his presence.

  • The move was too quickly captured by the church growth movement. The church started to rely on technique and good organisation rather than on the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit. This brought order out of the disorder but probably dulled the move of the Spirit.

  • The influence of the megachurch movement in the United States created a sense that big meetings were of more value than house meetings.

  • The energy of people of the Spirit was put into worship in seeker-friendly services.

  • Many people who had been active in the renewal moved into Pentecostal churches. Their emphasis on leadership by a pastor reduced the ability of these lay people to continue what they had been doing to share the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and many ended up being frustrated.

  • Some laypeople tried to invigorate their established church, but this proved to be a hard slog, and the life of the Spirit was sucked out of them. There was no prophetic guidance about what was happening and what they should do; just the prophecies that revival was coming. Those who struggled in their dead churches assumed that these prophecies applied to their churches, so they kept trying, but with very little success.

  • Some existing church leaders saw the success and jumped on the charismatic bandwagon, without diving in and learning to walk in the fulness of the Spirit. They found it hard to keep churches that had experienced the life of the Spirit moving forward.

  • The spiritual powers of evil got up to all their usual tricks to weaken leaders with exhaustion in to disable them by pushing them into immorality. Some leaders were distracted into inappropriate roles. Others fell into adultery, and a few got caught up in sexual abuse. Some followers of Jesus were sucked into false teachings about end-times and political powers. The evil powers worked hard to bring division between people who should have been working together. The spiritual powers of evil do all they can do to snuff out a revival.

  • The leaders of the movement were over-confident and did not take spiritual warfare seriously enough. Too many key leaders were taken out in various ways. A controlling and manipulative spirit wiggled its way in some places, mostly where leaders were insecure. This spirit choked the life and the gifts of the Spirit.

  • Hunger for deeper community life was slowly stifled by the trials of life and gradually died. Failure to nurture this hunger and bring it through to fulfilment is one reason why we have not received the revival that was prophesied (more on this in my next post).

No comments: