The Bible, Old Testament and New, is filled with examples of the Lord speaking to His people through dreams, visions, prophecies, angelic visitations, and audible voices of the Lord. Why when these things happen, Evangelical Western Christians are quick to dismiss them as non-normative, unnatural, and worse still, un-Biblical in a spirit of disbelief is a mystery to me.
Granted, a minority in the history of the charismatic movement stumbled in emotionalism, longing for the supernatural as an ends, divisiveness in regards to spiritual gifts, and just being immature in biblical knowledge when the move of the Lord came.
But to stand on the opposite end of the spectrum and to say that these events are untrustworthy, 100% of what they are doing is not of the Lord, and that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased, is to seriously hinder the fullness of the Holy Spirit working and stands against a clear testimony of Scripture.
We have evidence enough from the book of Acts to show that normal New Testament Christianity operated in these ways. And these workings were not limited to the 12 apostles as mere demonstrations of authority, but the entire body of Christ, Gentiles and Jews alike, operated in these expressions of the Holy Spirit.
- They spoke in tongues and prophecied (Acts 19:6)
- They made future predictions by the Spirit (Acts 11:28)
- They saw open visions and dreams from the Lord (Acts 10:3, 10:10)
- They heard the audible voice of the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:2)
- They had power to heal (Acts 28:8)
- They performed signs and wonders (Acts 5:12)
- They cast out demons in Jesus’ name (Acts 8:7)
- They even had supernatural unexplainable transportations (Acts 8:39)
All the passages I referenced were mostly done by people other than the twelve apostles by normal Christians who received the Holy Spirit. And just to show some balance to evangelicals, look at what else the believers in the book of Acts did:
- They devoted themselves to the truths of Scripture (Acts 17:2, Acts 18:28, Acts 17:11, Acts 18:24)
- They devoted themselves to consistent prayer (too many to reference)
- They preached the gospel boldly (Acts 4:31 Acts 8:40)
- They loved each other deeply (Acts 2:44-47)
- They loved Jesus desperately (Acts 20:24)
We cannot preach the latter while neglecting the former. Both are biblical and both are God’s will for us right now.
The truth is, these very things are occurring across the globe powerfully amongst the Asians and Africans, but sadly not the Americas. It is because we have a theology already developed which limits the power and expression of the Holy Spirit. In addition, we lack the maturity and Spirit-given wisdom to operate these biblically in a way that exalts Jesus Christ and empowers God’s people to accomplish His will.
I believe the Holy Spirit is raising the awareness of His negligence amongst churches in America. I pray that the churches will hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches concerning himself.
“And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters will prophecy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophecy”