To preface what I am about to say, let me stare that God never fails
at anything He does, yet our response to what God does often fails. Jesus
did not fail in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the 1960 and 70ís,
but our part in that outpouring fell way too short of our Lordís
Let me say that the Charismatic Movement did have some lasting
effects on the church and on individuals. I am an example of how the Holy
Spirit in those days touched my life for ever.
The biggest effect that I see the Charismatic Movement had on church
life was in the area of worship and the use of some of the gifts of the
Spirit. These good effects are still with us today.
The biggest failure of the movement, (our failure, not the Lordís)
was to make a dramatic change in the structure of the church, at least in
North America. I can remember many prophetic messages saying such things
as, "the day of the big named Christian super-star is over. We are
all to be stars in Godís Kingdom. No longer would there be a few well
known men drawing people unto themselves, but we would all draw people to
Has this prophecy come true? I donít think so. I think the
opposite has come true. There has become more big named super-star
Christians, whether in pastoring, teaching, TV or music. Tuns of books are
sold making many famous. Many CDís and tapes have been distributed,
making Christian musicians big as secular rock stars. Is this what these
prophecies were telling us? I donít think so.
The Holy Spirit was to penetrate each of our lives, bringing
humility and unity to the church. The unity lasted for only a few years
then individual Christian super-stars rose up drawing people unto
themselves resulting in Charismatic denominations. Remember that word,
"denomination"" Do you remember how we felt back in the 70ís
when we heard that word? We werenít impressed with denominations, were
The unity of the Spirit dissipated into distinct sub groups within
the movement at large. Our Charismatic churches now look very similar to
the churches we came out of 30 or 40 years ago.
Back in the 70ís we stressed that the church should be an
organism, not an organization. Those who were around in those days will
surely remember this. A organism is something that is natural, alive and
growing. An organization, although it can grow, is something very
structured, man made and institutionalized. Yet to bring some structure to
the Charismatic Movement we structuralized it to death.
Is this what Jesus wanted when He poured His Spirit on us back in
those days? Again, I donít think so. We just have a hard time continuing
in the way our Lord sets out for us in whatever He does. It was like this
in the days of the Children of Israel in the Old Testament, and it is
still that way today. We often put the Children of Israel down for their
constant wandering astray, but we are not all that different from them?
The failure of the Charismatic movement to keep the unity of the
Spirit is a sad commentary on our ability to follow Jesus. I guess our
deprived nature still has its influence in our lives.