Do we really believe the gospel, the gospel of the already here and still coming Kingdom of Heaven? I am a Charismatic and because of what I see in the bible, always will be I believe, but I fear for the Charismatic Movement in its popular manifestation in the Western World. Current popular charismatic teaching in its almost exclusive focus on “Kingdom now” causes very real distress of mind and soul to many of God’s faithful saints, but marches on in seeming unconcern about the damage inflicted upon vulnerable and fragile people living with the mystery of suffering of one sort or another. It shares only success stories giving only the very briefest of nods towards those for whom their ministry process has not “worked” but quickly passing on. Already convinced listeners seem to happily allow this sleight of hand, but it brings the charismatic dimension into discredit with those looking on and may contribute to the demise of genuine interest and pursuit.
Exaggeration of results does not help either, whereby we speak out our best two or three stories as though they are a continual pattern. All of us can be guilty of that, charismatic or non charismatic! I have seen one of the most well known healing ministries active today in many nations say on their web site that at a meeting they were involved in in the UK, healing was happening all over the gathering. I was there. No healing happened that night. I have been at other meetings in which that same ministry was involved in which healings did most certainly happen, even to me. The fact of the erroneous report was drawn to the attention of the Ministry involved. They were asked to alter their web page. They refused to do so. It takes a steady hand to hold a full cup. Success can be difficult to handle. All our idols have feet of clay. Thankfully, God is merciful.
If we do believe in “Now” and “Still to come,” then we will help one another to understand that non healing now as much as healing, tears now as much as joy, suffering now as much as release are all affirming signs as much as obvious miracle, that our hope is true and our faith in the Gospel is the real deal. “How long?” will often be the cry of hearts that truly believe, as will be awe and wonder at the action of God in more obvious intervening power. Sickness, tears and suffering are all sure and certain signs that Christ will come again to bring us along with all things into the fullness of His victory. We believe that, believing also that miracle may break in at any moment as we wait.
An appeal to some who read this from myself, your brother who is one with you in your desire to see more of “Kingdom Now.” If you are going to command a miracle in the Name of Jesus, make sure God is going to back you up and check you are not being presumptive. The proof of whether you were right or wrong in your declaration, moving in presumption or faith is if the thing you declare happens or does not. If it does not happen, don’t be quick to blame the person you made the declaration over, in fact be very reluctant to ever go down that avenue at all. Do some heart searching and some re-examining of the teaching you have imbibed…. and humble yourself before the God who loves you and does indeed want you to learn from Him, how to become a faithful channel of the mystery of the already here and still coming Kingdom of heaven. Let’s learn to carry that mystery together, in both our tears and our joy. Both are part of our triumphal march in Christ. Let’s celebrate and let’s mourn as those who know God is with us and the brightness of The Day has dawned upon us.