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Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Sticking Point of the Charismatic and Pentecostal Movement

Something like David's new cart, as he confidently brought the Ark of the Covenant back from its exile towards Jerusalem, the charismatic and pentecostal movements also  hit a bump in the road.

You can tell a bump in the road, an obstacle. It's the point beyond which churches do not move. Pastors repeat the same sermon over and over again in different forms, with ever greater frustration and pressure on the sheep.
And if they don't get John 15, it doesn't get easier going through John 16 and 17.

Perhaps it is true to say this is precisely where everyone lost hope with Maurice Smith's John 17 prophecy.

Around 1974 having just read Brother Lawrence's book , Marcus Roberts and I were on a bus, thinking we'd like to try practicing "Praying Constantly"...or "Abiding".

Hmm....didn't even make it to the end of the bus journey!

And it doesn't matter how much pastors lean on this concept of the importance of Abiding in the Vine, it still gets no nearer becoming reality in charismatic and pentecostal frameworks.

And there is a very simple reason.
It's the same reason that repentance actually comes from the Greek words meta and nous....metanoia.
Or  meta...moving out beyond the confines of....and nous....(nowce) the conscious thinking mind....or leftbrain sliver at the frontal cortex of our brain.

The conscious mind doesn't do abiding!. It's not meant to. It's meant to be given different tasks to solve.To think about. To plan.Once it's completed it's task, it doesn't just hover in the air feeling content to do nothing. It wants the next thing to get its teeth stuck into.

So everywhere in the world, these poor charismatic and pentecostal pastors are piling on more and more pressure to get a piece of us doing something it was never geared to do, and getting more and more frustrated at the failure.

YOU CAN'T MAKE JOHN 15 WORK IN THE LEFTBRAIN.

Proverbs 3 puts it this way.
Trust in the Lord with ALL of the BIT that can handle the Lord, and Abiding....namely the Heart.
And don't rely on that slender bit of restrictive apparatus that can only work with the limited parameters of sense information that you give it to work with.

It cannot work with a Kingdom that is appearing out of nowhere, out of the heavenlies.
Now the leftbrain will say, like any confident atheist,....there....the fact that I cannot see the Kingdom tells me I can confidently relay that you Christians are speaking a load of tosh.

Nope. All it's saying is that bit of the Kingdom that HAS ARRIVED...that the leftbrain now exploits and calls evolutionary appearance under man's own steam....is not the bit of the Kingdom that our heart already perceives from afar off.

So back to abiding?
Proverbs 3 continues to give the lowdown on how abiding works.
Acknowledge God IN ALL YOUR WAYS...driving,building, washing,measuring,laughing, shooting at goals,whatever..... And He will make straight your paths.

Acknowledge does not mean try your hardest to think continually about...
Acknowledge means tip your hat to...
Expect and trust in God's Life within you to settle itself within the context of that particular task.
As the disciples asked Jesus....
John6:28 -29Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
In our context we trust in that Life that is Christ within us 

to get us to that place of Abiding
in whatever sphere of life we are acknowledging.

This is a very similar principle to the principle of balance when we are learning to ride a bike.

We have to believe that eventually "flow"...or grace....or however you call the Life of Christ will rise to undergird us.  First comes trust. Taking God's Word over us by faith.

But the Pentecostal charismatic technique of revving ourselves up enough in the Presence of God in a meeting, or "our quiet" time, and then, quickly as possible getting into a task before the Presence of God dissipates...is NOT TRUST.
And It's NO WAY TO LIVE.
And it actually blocks the people of God from ever moving into chapters 15-17 of St John's gospel as a reality.  In short. Galations calls that state being bewitched, because we are relying on things other than God to do that which only He does within us.

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