My Photo

My Online Status

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 08/2003

Technorati

« The Cry for Virtue | Main | DesertPastor or Paradoxology? »

January 23, 2006

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

For all the debate, when ever I think about signs and wonders I think of moments I have experienced such as these:

-An angry/hurting/abandoned Jr. High boy yelling at his leader that "If there really was a God that he should prove it with thunder and lighting!" and not more than an hour later, during the hottest week that summer, came the most amazing storm I have ever witnessed.

-Or the time a poor little girl came over asking for peaches (who knows the last time she had eaten fruit) and we found a can of peaches in the very back of the cabinet even though no-one ever remembers buying any.

-Or think of the awe and wonder felt every time a scientist discovers yet another mystery of this creation.

-And perhaps the miraculous change God does in someone’s nature (such as a drunk turning sober or someone with an uncontrollable rage being tempered) could count as ‘signs and wonders’ too!

I love the quote (although I do not remember who said it… go figure): “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” I do not like separating out supernatural from natural because I don’t think there has ever been a strict line between the two. Really, what could be more natural than for us to experience God at work in his creation.

Out of curiosity… what the heck is “gold dust”?

This is a great discussion. Faith, to answer your question. A few years ago, there was a "manifestation" of the spirit that involved the falling of gold dust in services. I honestly can't tell you if it was somethng God was doing, but I was definitely grieved when I heard people wanting to go here or there because they had heard about the Gold dust. When people start chasing a manifestation or a sign instead of Jesus. That's what all of this is about - Jesus. I love healings, the prophetic, all the "stuff." The Lord has allowed me to experience a lot of it, but I want to get closer to Jesus. Sorry, that was really a long long answer to your question. Forgive me please.

"We really do need the fulness of the Holy Spirit but I think it will happen in new places rather than the "altar" at the end of public services."

My goodness, can you imagine? Manifestations of the Holy Spirit, taking place right out in public, with people everywhere? ;)

Great examples, Faith. Thank you for sharing those with us.

Regarding natural vs. supernatural -- I would only say that what has often been termed "supernatural" should be considered "natural" to us, I suppose. Perhaps the fact that we have even needed to coin such a term, stands as somewhat of an indictment against us.

The number of Pentecostals/Charismatics in the world is now pegged at around 27% and still growing. In fact, in Africa, Asia, and South America it is primarily the only sect that is rapidly growing. When we talk about revival in the world today, that revival is coming through Pentecostals/Charismatics.

Part of this reason is that they are able to show people used to demonic shows of power that the power of the Lord trumps demonic activity. That still carries weight in parts of the world where the demonic is so readily apparent. The underground Church in China has greatly benefitted from "power evangelism" using the gifts of the Spirit.

As to Jesus warning that the only sign given would be the "sign of Jonah," what was the sign of Jonah? It is a sign intended for repentance, but more than this, it was the sign of Jesus' authority as the only prophet who would die and be raised up to life. Jesus knew that no other sign would suffice. Other prophets had raised the dead, but none of them had died and come back to life. To a Jewish generation who was familiar with the miracles of the prophets, this was the absolute sign.

But even Jesus Himself did miracles after saying that He would give no sign other than this. This is true in that miracles mean nothing without salvation after repentance. Jesus knew the hearts of those He spoke to about the sign of Jonah. He knew that they would not believe even if he did great signs. Only His own resurrection could break their stony hearts.

Are all people that far gone? Given how easily some people believe even the silliest belief systems, it would appear that some are more discerning than others. But the truth of Christ's resurrection paired with signs confirming this truth only enhance the veracity of Christ's claims. People in Third World countries who are ministering the Gospel understand this. We, however, are so anti-supernatural that we hardly believe anything at all. In some ways, we are like the very people that Jesus said would not believe anything, even signs.

By the way Chris. What's a free methodist? I've heard the term. Are you similar to the UMC - just interested? Again, lots of good points in this discussion. Thanks for bringing it up.

The point that the supernatural will occur differently, maybe out in public is valid. I believe it can be kind of God's calling card. Much of the church has tried to make God distant, an intellectual idea. The supernatural makes it up close and personal. I believe as God brings us closer to the unity of the faith, we will see more of the supernatural. It's his nature and I believe it will be expressed more through the church. Sadly, some will resist. But I think the manifestation of the supernatural will lead many to their first encounter with Jesus. What cannot happen however, is for us to let it be a pony show. New disciples have to be grounded in God's word and his presence at the same time. Otherwise we could end up with a spiritual circus that is not Glorifying to Jesus.

My thing is this. The kid that needed the storm to know God is real. Does every kid that needs that get that?

To immediately strip it all away for me.. if God doesn't answer EVERYBODY the same.. If He doesn't Heal everyone... If Signs and Wonders don't manifest for EVERYONE that asks, that believes, that cries out and weeps for a manifestation of his presense..

Is that really fair? Is that really GOD? Is that Him loving everyone the same?

Or do we need to (Ray and I agree wow) be more discerning? In Lite of I John 4 & 2 Thess 2:9?

God has moved, worked in my life. But wow.

& Chris, there is a big difference between Bad Teaching and Bad Experience. Bad teaching is easier to correct than an 'experience' that tells someone that Ken Copeland is a 'prophet of God' (insert gagging sound).

Love you guys and gals

Seraphim

I believe that the emerging generations have been wired for the phenomenological, for mystery and magic. This is a natural outgrowth of the scepticism of postmodernity. Postmodern people are also looking for authenticity - that is if it cannot be expereincedand practiced it is in doubt. As a church in a postmodern context we have to present an authentic gosepl, one that begins first with the expereince of Love, and then with the embrace of the sacred mysteries, and finally with signs and wonders. What is not grounded in love is not authenticly Christian, what is not grounded in sacred mystery (Eucharist/baptism) is not authenticly the worshipping Church, and what is not "Charismatic/pentecostal" (ie Spirit filled/empowered witness) is not the genuine Gospel.

what is not grounded in sacred mystery (Eucharist/baptism) is not authenticly the worshipping Church, and what is not "Charismatic/pentecostal" (ie Spirit filled/empowered witness) is not the genuine Gospel

Fr. Matt, there you go crossing lines. While I know your made up denomination aspires to be little o orthodox, even the big O Orthodox will not say where the church, she is not.

Jesus is the Gospel. He came to make the unacceptable acceptable. The unloved loved. Those that could not attain perfection he gave his own perfection for.

I'd be careful saying what/who is not and where/who is not the church.

"Not all who belong to God belong to the church and not all who belong to the church belong to God." St. Augustine

"Is that really fair? Is that really GOD? Is that Him loving everyone the same?"

Seraphim, a response like that makes me smile and think of my little boy having a fit and yelling "It's not fair". I know you mean it good naturedly, but how can I defend such a God moment! Its a mystery to myself! Why take something so beautiful and life changing for every person who was caught up in that wonder and say it can't possibly be from God because its not fair by our own limited judgments.

And remember, this is coming from an emerging Fundy who knows little to nothing about charismatics, healings, or gold dust... well now I know a little about gold dust thanx to John. *smile*

Seraphim, a response like that makes me smile and think of my little boy having a fit and yelling "It's not fair". I know you mean it good naturedly, but how can I defend such a God moment! Its a mystery to myself! Why take something so beautiful and life changing for every person who was caught up in that wonder and say it can't possibly be from God because its not fair by our own limited judgments.

Here it is. It's akin to the 'problem of pain' with me. My daughter the Jade was a miracle child. Prayed over constantly from conception to birth. Watched faithfully by myself and my bride always.

My son. Bobby. Firstborn male child to open the womb. Holy to God.

In a moment of non-vigilence Bobby @ age 15 molests the Jade @ age 5. Where was God? Where were my prayers? Her 'guardian angels?'... So I don't want to hear that 'Signs and Wonders' are the norm for the 'Christian'. Cause then I have to ask (and I've asked Him) where was He? Why?

(afterthought: The Jade is almost 10 now and far better than I. Bobby was incarcerated and may get out this year.... continue to pray for them and me and the family.)

Seraphim

"I believe that the emerging generations have been wired for the phenomenological, for mystery and magic. This is a natural outgrowth of the scepticism of postmodernity."

So true... and so refreshing, I must say.

"that is if it cannot be expereinced and practiced it is in doubt."

True as well. But this also represents a challenge when it comes to faith (i.e. assurance of what cannot be seen or necessarily experienced in physical/tangible ways).

"What is not grounded in love is not authenticly Christian, what is not grounded in sacred mystery (Eucharist/baptism) is not authenticly the worshipping Church, and what is not "Charismatic/pentecostal" (ie Spirit filled/empowered witness) is not the genuine Gospel."

By "authenticly", do you mean "in accord with God's intention & design", or are you suggesting an "ipso facto" reality?

The comments to this entry are closed.