As I sit down to write this post, the US Secretary of State John Kerry has just concluded an agreement with Iran that makes Neville Chamberlin look like a hardliner. Seeing the Iranian foreign minister, puppet of the Jew hating Khamenei, waving to reporters from the same balcony in Vienna that Adolf Hitler waved from in 1938, should send chills up the spine of any lover of Israel. Nevertheless, as the war in the Middle-East rages, and Israel is surrounded both by terrorists and cowardly politicians, the coming months promise to be very significant indeed. All eyes are on September, as the Shemitah year ends and the Jubilee or year of redemption begins. Something catastrophic seems imminent, but regardless of what it is, the outcome will advance Israel to the next phase of restoration and bring a fresh wave of revival to the church.
Conclusion from Last Time
In the last article we examined the history of revival and saw that it was not driven by need but a divine plan of restoration which appears to be closely following the foundational doctrines of Hebrews Chapter 6. They are as follows: Repentance from Dead Works, Faith Toward God, Instructions about Washings, Laying on of Hands, the Resurrection of the Dead and Eternal Judgment. As we examined the history of revivals since the reformation we concluded that the lasting restoration from each was the following:
The Reformation – Repentance from Dead Works (1500’s)
Anabaptists – Instruction about Washings 1 – Water Baptism (1600’s)
Holiness Movement – Faith Toward God (1700 & 1800’s)
The Pentecostal Revival – Instruction about Washings 2 – Baptism in the Spirit (1906)
Latter Rain/Healing & Evangelism Revival – Laying on of Hands (1940’& 50’s)
It is true of course, that other Biblical truths were also restored, yet the overarching emphasis seems to fit this pattern. In other words these teachings and practices were not common before the revival but were quite normal afterwards. Thus these revivals restored them. Now we will turn our attention to the two remaining doctrines of Hebrew 6 and the last two revivals of the 20th Century and see what we can learn.
The Charismatic Movement
The Charismatic Renewal began in the early sixties in various places and churches where folks began to receive what was called the “Pentecostal experience.” Since many different denominational groups were involved, and not wanting to be considered Pentecostals, they were hesitant to use the term. Instead they called themselves Charismatics from the Greek word “Charis” meaning gift. They were Christians who believed in the gifts of the Spirit. In 1967 the movement exploded with the Jesus People Movement, the Catholic Charismatic Movement (through which I became a Christian) and the Messianic Jewish Movement. Many other ministries and organizations were formed around the same time. By the early 1970’s the Movement was beginning to grow and take shape throughout the world with many teachers and ministries springing up. Though the early Charismatic leaders were focused primarily on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and remaining within one’s denomination, this was not the outcome. Christians came out of the mainline denominations by the droves to form new independent churches after what they perceived to be the Biblical model. As one of my mentors at the time used to say; “Israel is coming out of all the nations and the church is coming out of all the denominations.” The focus was not only on the gifts of the Spirit but on the restoration of the New Testament church and its ministries – the Bride being prepared for the Bridegroom. Having lived through it I can testify to this. There was a tangible excitement to what was being taught and practiced; nevertheless, much of it was really a continuation and outworking of the Latter Rain Movement. The Local Church with apostles and prophets and gifts of the Spirit was the Latter Rain emphasis and it began to take shape during this time despite the extremes and failed experiments.
Another emphasis of the Charismatic Movement that was perhaps overarching was the understanding that we were living in the Last Days and the return of Christ was very close. Indeed, much of the teaching on the New Testament Church reflected that view. Having, been the generation to witness Israel become a nation again and the movement that was birth simultaneously with the 6 Day War, there was no small amount of enthusiasm. The Late Great Planet Earth was published in 1970 and with it came a flood of Bible Prophecy teachers and writings. Many pastors and leaders were beginning to reject Replacement Theology and accept the incredible miracle of Israel. The Messianic Jewish Movement played an important role in this restoration. Nevertheless, there were tensions. But those tensions were not about the soon coming of Christ, but rather the timing of the Rapture. Virtually all Charismatic churches believed we were close to the end of the age and it would have been considered strange to find one that didn’t. The book of Daniel and Revelation began to be unveiled and unlocked in a way they never had before. Of course there was controversy and debate and criticism and confusion, as there always is, yet expectancy prevailed.
The Resurrection of the Dead
When we consider the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Dead we must understand that it is a doctrine and not an actual resurrection. In other words, it is the belief and anticipation of the coming resurrection that is being spoken of and not the actual experience. It is a future hope and anticipation that is foundationally restored to the worldview of believers. When we think of the resurrection it is not divorced from the appearing of Christ. Indeed it is the coming of Christ that makes both the rapture and the resurrection meaningful to us. These events are linked together and we cannot consider one without the other. Thus the revelation and acceptance of the soon coming of Christ brings the resurrection into view and makes it more than a doctrine buried in the pages of theology. To those who see the coming of Christ as near, the resurrection is also near since it takes place then. Therefore, the revelation that we are living at the end of the age and the generation to likely see the return of Christ, causes the Resurrection of the Dead to be restored to us. The resurrection may always have been on the books, so to speak, but it was obscured by false teachings (i.e. purgatory, works, etc), and was more of a someday promise than a great comfort and living hope. The early church lived with an expectancy of the soon return of Christ and that made the resurrection much more real to them. Consider Paul’s words to the Thessalonians:
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1Thess 4:16-18
When we reflect on the Charismatic Movement we are not inclined to think of the Resurrection of the Dead. Yet when we consider its legacy in light of the foundational doctrines of Hebrews Chapter 6, it is hard to escape the fact that the return of Christ, together with the resurrection, came into focus during that movement. And if that is the case it would mean that there is one more foundational doctrine yet to be restored.
The Third Wave
Some have referred to the “Signs and Wonders” movement among evangelicals, particularly the Vineyard Movement of the 1980’s, as the Third Wave. However, this is misleading for two reasons. Firstly, it supposes that the second wave after Azusa St was the Charismatic Movement. This completely discredits the Latter Rain Movement and the Healing Revivals of the 1950’s. Secondly, the “Signs and Wonders Movement” as they call it, arose out of the Charismatic Movement and was not something separate. The evangelicals who belonged to this so called “Signs and Wonders Movement” were evangelicals who were affected by the Charismatic Movement and came into the things of the Spirit. Though there was some slight difference in Theology, there was little difference in practice. Thus the Third Wave was not a separate movement among evangelicals but really the Charismatic Movement among evangelicals. The Vineyard Movement which began with John Wimber, was considered at the time as much a part of the Charismatic Movement as any other group. Furthermore, it was from this network of churches that the next wave would come.
The Toronto Revival
The Toronto Revival has been ridiculed perhaps more than any other. We usually hear things like, “Oh no, those barking dog people.” And of course the people who make these statements have never been to one of the meetings. Instead, they got a negative report from some skeptic or they read it on the internet. The Azuza Street revival was also mocked for its manifestations. They were called “Holy Rollers” and “Chandelier Swingers” and many other things less pleasant. Nevertheless, the Toronto Revival was an incredible wave of the Holy Spirit that washed over millions of believers and brought marvelous refreshing to the church. More than twenty years later there is no doubt of its lasting impact and even on those who did not embrace it. For example, prior to Toronto there was little talk about intimacy with God yet now it is everywhere and the songs of the movement have been sung in places that have never had revival – ever. I personally went to Toronto in 1994 as a sceptic and came away with my life transformed. And since I have lived in that revival for many years, and brought many others into it, I believe I am qualified to analyze its legacy.
The Presence of God
The Toronto Revival was to the Charismatic Movement what the Holiness Revival was to the Reformation. It did not restore truth so much as it made what we already knew more real to us. We knew about intimacy with God and the Father’s love before as these truths were certainly taught in the Charismatic Movement. But it was more head knowledge than heart knowledge. His nearness opened our eyes to reality. We longed for the presence and power of God to manifest among us but we thought it had to do with our efforts (i.e. more prayer, fasting, etc.). Then suddenly we are feeling Him in tangible ways and were undone by His love that we don’t deserve. This is not to say that we don’t need to live holy lives, but we discovered that it’s His presence that makes us holy and that which motivates us to walk in holiness by His grace. And His presence continues with us in tangible ways to this day. We have truly gotten to know the Holy Spirit as God with us and not merely a gift or manifestation. We fell in love with Christ all over again and became preoccupied with his person instead of His works. We became convinced that we needed to be those wise virgins awaiting His return with our lamps and containers full of oil. This was the message in the beginning of the revival and it will certainly be its legacy even though since that time other influences and messages have come in. As one who has lived through it, I would say the overarching theme was living with the presence of God and being prepared as a Bride for the Bridegroom.
When we consider the Toronto Revival that began twenty years ago, we can now say it was not about the Biblical doctrine of Eternal Judgment. That does not seem to have been the emphasis of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, as we examined the pattern of restoration throughout history we can see the foundational doctrines of Hebrews 6 being restored in order. This brings us to the conclusion that the next wave of the revival tsunami will likely be about this theme. And what could be more appropriate since we are the generation that sees all the signs of the end and continues to ignore them. Also, since the year 2000-2001 (a Shemitah year as was 1993-1994) a mighty wind of delusion has been blowing in every corner of the church. Believers are being told that there is no judgment coming from God. This deception takes many forms and emphases from those who believe the church will bring in the Millennium without Christ to those who say God no longer cares about sin and repentance is only for unbelievers. If you think I’m exaggerating talk to the people in your circles about the coming judgment and see what reaction you get.
In the next post I would like to discuss this coming wave as to when it will manifest and what it will look like? As the war heats up in the Middle-East and another phase of parallel restoration begins, could it be that it has already started? In any event, these next few months should be thrilling for those of us who are longing for His appearing!