Seven Lamps of Fire
In the beginning of the movement there was a certain emphasis on coming out of the old systems — coming out of Babylon. But it soon became evident that many would come out of the visible Babylon, while bringing some of the system along with them. I recall a few years later what one of the leaders said about his own experience. He said the Lord spoke to him one day, “You are trying to get the people to come out of Babylon, but I want to get Babylon out of you”. I am afraid this continues to go on in the church, and because one has left the mainstream of the denominations, and has set up his own organization — is no proof that he has come out of Babylon. The Babylonian desire for greatness and enlargement, and wanting to make a name of renown, and keeping the whole system well under control — is strong in the hearts of men. And God must deal with all those inward desires that continue to plague the church.
Another of the early leaders who had prophetic insight, mentioned that this movement would go into all the denominations of the church, but that it would not change the nature of any of them. This began to happen within a few years. By this time the cisterns of the denominations were almost dry, and many of them welcomed the opportunity to receive the rain of God’s Spirit. But they were not prepared to forsake their credentials, nor was their much incentive to become part of a movement that had no big-name leaders at the forefront. Besides they discovered there was really no need for that. Many prominent leaders in the different denominations were receiving the gifts of the Spirit, and found they could comfortably stay right where they were. All they had to do now, was to add Charismatic to their old titles…a name that took away their reproach as a dead church. With this new anointing there was an infusion of new life which they realized they badly needed. And so their churches grew and prospered.
God was indeed meeting the needs of those who hungered and thirsted for more of God, and I am not denying that. But there was no change in the denominational systems. Some, of course, would come out — often because of the opposition they received from within. Others remained, who had sufficient support to stay there. I am often reminded of what happened in the Kingdom of Saul. The system was wrong to begin with…but the people demanded a king, and God went along with the desires of their hearts. Many true men of God stayed with Saul to the bitter end. Others resorted unto David, and had fellowship together apart from the Kingdom. And when the whole thing came tumbling down, there were many true hearts in Saul’s kingdom that realized it was not God’s way — and allied themselves with David.
Consequently in the mainstream of the Charismatic movement, you can get all this blessing, without changing the nature of things too much. You can still be Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Pentecostal, Episcopalian, Catholic — you name it. And I am in no way saying that all these people in the denominations are false. Many of them sincerely love the Lord Jesus. But the main thrust in the Charismatic realm seems to be renewal, not revolution. They may recognize there is need for adjustment here and there, but no need for radical change.
They still want those showers of blessing, but not the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire. That would be altogether too devastating. I believe what happened is what Isaiah spoke about: “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach” (Isa. 4:1). In other words, we don’t like the reproach of our emptiness and barrenness; nor do we want to surrender our heritage in our traditional denomination. We want to retain all this — but we want to be called by your name, Charismatic. But notice something else that happens —
“In that day shall the Branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel” (vs. 2). Side by side with all this ecumenicism, and yet entirely apart from it — God is bringing forth a true Branch of the Lord, which we want to talk about later in this writing.
There was a lot of the Fire of God in the earlier movement of Pentecost, at the beginning of the last century. But the prophetic movement in the middle of the century was primarily the blessing of rain that God poured out on the dry ground. It was not God’s intention to renew the denominations, but to bless and enrich those who were hungry for more of God…regardless of their denomination. For it has been evident all through church history, that when God moves His people forward into new things, they either come out… or eventually they are thrown out, if indeed they are seeking to move on with God. The new wine simply will not survive for long in the old wine-skins.
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