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A 21st Century Reformation of Supernatural Power: a response to Hwa Yung

Autor: Lex Loizides
Data: 08.10.2010
Category: Integridade & Humildade, Oralidade, Testemunho Pessoal

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Publicado originalmente em Inglês

Evangelistic progress in the West, and its downside

There’s little doubt that recent gains have been made in the Western church in terms of evangelism. While evangelistic growth has been roaring ahead in the Global South, those of us who work with churches in the West have been carefully seeking to engage with local communities.

We are, I hope, doing so respectfully and with increasing fruit. We are creating a context in which objections can be raised and hopefully answered.

The appetite for apologetics in the church has increased. And enquirers are given time rather than exhorted to respond without much information. So far so good.

But, in the midst of our modest gains, there’s a downside. A case might be made that the trend towards apologetics has slowed the evangelistic process so comprehensively that some would be sceptical if a guest were to ask to become a Christian after a single sermon.

Alongside the tremendous success of multi-week evangelistic courses and seeker friendly sermon series in the Western church, we may doubt the possibility of God bringing saving power ‘right now’, as it were! We may also have become unnecessarily nervous of any ‘demonstrations of power’ in the evangelistic arena (cf. 1 Cor 2:4).

Do we still believe that someone’s heart can be ‘strangely warmed’ as they hear the gospel? Can we believe that during a single sermon ‘the Lord opens the heart to believe’? Would we, like Paul, baptise someone after such a short exposure to the Christian message? (see Acts 16:11-15)

We acknowledge that everyone goes through a process of discovery. Jesus Himself spoke about sowing and reaping. This is how the influence of the Kingdom of God expands (Matt 13:1-9, Mark 4:26-29).

But we must never forget that what’s being described is not a natural but a supernatural process.

When things were speeding up for John Wesley in the 18th century; when hundreds were hearing the gospel, experiencing the power of the Spirit and being converted, he was criticised for promoting it. Although he is responding primarily to concern about the power aspects of the meetings, his faith in the suddenness of genuine conversion is refreshing.

His defence, copied into his journal in May 1739, is helpful for us so that, while continuing to carefully instruct inquirers, we might avoid the danger of lowering our expectation of God’s power in the gospel. (Rom 1:16)

John Wesley defends the work

Wesley writes, ‘The question between us turns chiefly, if not wholly, on matter of fact. You deny that God does now work these effects, at least that he works with them in this manner.

‘I affirm both, because I have heard these things with my own ears, and have seen them with my eyes.

‘I have seen (as far as a thing of this kind can be seen) very many persons changed in a moment from the spirit of fear, horror, despair, to the spirit of love, joy, and peace; and from sinful desire, till then reigning over them, to a pure desire of doing the will of God.

Palavras-chave: Hwa Yung, supernatural, charismatic, Holy Spirit, evangelism, revival, preaching, healing, church growth

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PhContributeBy
Responder Bandeira 0 Gostou Não Gostou MzBoom (5)
Estados Unidos

It seems to me that when people are so desparate to have a miracle happen in their lives: they create one. I stand with Hebrews11:1-3 that faith is truthing the unseen. Looking for a miracle is not so complicated; just look at babies, creation itself, a loving spouse. For the unexplains miracles, just watch and wait but do not perform for God...He can handle it all by Himself.


11.07.2011
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Responder Bandeira 0 Gostou Não Gostou Rapture7 (2)
Estados Unidos
@ MzBoom:

God can do anything, but fail. So, one does not have to create their own miracle.


16.07.2011
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Responder Bandeira 1 Gostou Não Gostou als828 (1)
Estados Unidos

Great article! Thanks for bringing to light what so many of us in the West are guilty of -- wanting to see God work, but being skeptical of anything that we cannot fully explain. It’s a good idea to remember that God has historically acted in massive, unexplained ways!


14.04.2011
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Responder Bandeira 0 Gostou Não Gostou JediMasterReed (0)
Estados Unidos
@ als828:

Many believers (especially those of us in the west and in the United States) are certainly skeptical of things that we cannot explain rationally or control.  I am certainly open to the possibility that God is able to reveal God’s self to any group in a way which they can comprehend and which God knows will benefit them.


25.04.2011
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Responder Bandeira 0 Gostou Não Gostou outolumo (0)
Finlândia

Thank you for this article. It inspired some ideas.

I think the true question is our relationship to the power of God.

Of course we should consider it to be normal that people come trembling to Christ after having heard just half a sermon. (It is normal; it might just not be everyday for our life.) But we should equally much think it is normal that people start singing Hallelujah to the Lord praises after having had an "apologetical" discussion with us.

So why would we not think of these as normal, though perhaps uncommon for us? Could that be because we are not ourselves in tune with the power of God? And if we are not, then in whose power are we doing these things, preaching, answering questions etc? If we think that these things should not happen in the context we are in, does that not mean that we are trying to do ourselves the work that only Holy Spirit can do? And if so, should we be surprised if we don’t see that happening?

This does not mean that we should be looking for miracles. Looking at miracles is again missing the point - we should be looking at Christ. But we should think that they are real and normal. To expect that Jesus - Holy Spirit - can surprise us at any time.

Ultimately this means that we need to give Him room to work. If we prepare to have all the answers, we run in the danger of having all the answers - from ourselves. And while our answers might be correct and true, they might not permit room for an encounter with One, who knows even better - and more relevant answers.

Just some thoughts...


23.10.2010
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Responder Bandeira 1 Gostou Não Gostou MarkMeynell (1)
Reino Unido

thank you for a very helpful corrective

mark


15.10.2010
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Responder Bandeira 0 Gostou Não Gostou Klara_Kisgeci_Dudas (0)  
Sérvia

Seeking for the power and to see a visible miracules, "Right Now" it sound to me "Today Cultural Consumism". It is so good, not be afreid, it will be not change you!


12.10.2010
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Responder Bandeira 1 Gostou Não Gostou Lindsay_Olesberg (2)  
Estados Unidos

Amen, Amen!


09.10.2010

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