New Wine for New Wineskins November 2006

By , October 31, 2006 3:14 pm

Defeating the Giants of Pentecostal / Charismatic Tradition


In the last newsletter we looked at defeating the giant of tradition but this time we are going to look at taking the heads off giants of tradition that are often found in the pentecostal / charismatic church.  It is too easy to take pot-shots at others and their traditions while wrongly thinking that we are immune from such things…



"You shall not be terrified of them; for the LORD your God,

the great and awesome God, is among you"

Deuteronomy 7: 21

1 Samuel 17: 20 – 26

20 Early in the morning David left the flock with a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry.
21 Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other.
22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and greeted his brothers.
23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. 24 When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear.
25 Now the Israelites had been saying, "Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his father's family from taxes in Israel."
26 David asked the men standing near him, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" 

It is time to face the Goliath of charismatic tradition, which has defied the armies of the living God! This Goliath has stood in the way long enough – holding the church in a stalemate! It is time to move forward into the fullness of the commission given us by Jesus – to go into all the world – not all the church and preach the gospel!

We know that tradition is the biggest hindrance of movement in the church and consequently movement of the church outside of the cosy safety, comfort, and familiarity of its four walls!

Matthew 15: 6

"So for the sake of your tradition (the rules handed down by your forefathers), you have set aside the Word of God [depriving it of force and authority and making it of no effect"

TRADITIONunwritten body of beliefs, customs, etc. handed down from generation to generation; custom or practice of long standing.

When the Word of God seems to be ineffective look out for where tradition has kicked in!

I shared in the last newsletter how a couple of years ago the Lord spoke to me as I was meditating on John 10: 10. He said, "You will have to break out of the cultural mores if you are going to move into the MORE of God!

morescustoms and conventions embodying the fundamental values of a community

It is too easy to criticise the traditions that so obviously affect the establishment, but what about pentecostal / charismatic traditions that place just as many limits on our movement as a church? Is it possible that we might have some ‘Goliaths’ in our path that have reduced us to a place of virtual stalemate? How do you know you are in a stalemate? When things get stale, mate!

The only way to keep things exciting and motivated is to keep looking beyond your own little sphere of existence – where the temptation is to spend time focussing on our needs and engaging in narcissistic navel-gazing – and to catch the vision of a world dying and going to hell without God and without hope!

It is time to tackle some of the pentecostal / charismatic ‘Goliaths’ that have stood in the way of the church’s progress – defying anyone to challenge them!

When you stand up and begin to address these issues you need to be ready for the resulting flak! The enemy is always seeking to 'belittle' us! His desire is to place LIMITS on us – to hold us captive!

When you recognise that the people of God are in a stalemate and you step out to do something about it you discover that not everyone is on the same wavelength.

Remember – you will generally find four types of people in every congregation or assembly of people.

1. The ex – anointed (represented by Saul) – 'I did it for the people – I kept the animals to sacrifice to God' – Saul lost his anointing to ‘peer pressure’ which always leads to ‘fear pressure’ – submitting to a man-pleasing spirit – conforming to the will of the majority – feeds off insecurity which always leads to sin-security!

2. The un – anointed (represented by the Army – they just go with the flow – they look more to leaders [appointed or unappointed – some folks are just leaders] than to God, relating to God through men instead of maintaining a personal relationship with Him).

3. The anti – anointed (represented by Goliath)

4. The new / freshly anointed – those who have maintained a fresh anointing upon their lives, who have consistently recognised their dependence on the anointing (represented by David)

Let’s examine some of the traditional strongholds or ‘strangleholds’ that can exist in the charismatic church and ask ourselves if we are affected by them? If so, are we willing to take their heads off so that we can advance!?!

(i) The Goliath of ‘Revival’ Many people in the church have been hindered from enjoying the fullness of God and experiencing God’s power to be witnesses for Him in reaching out to the lost on a daily basis in every arena by an unscriptural ‘waiting’ for something that God hasn’t promised, while all the time this ‘Goliath’ declares that the church cannot move forward without it. I can kind of understand the people who deny the baptism in the Holy Spirit getting stuck on this, but when pentecostals / charismatics go down the same route it is alarming – it has to be a tradition that has been carried through from the past.  God sent 'revival' on the Day of Pentecost and He has never withdrawn it!

John 4: 35 – 38

35 Do you not say, It is still four months until harvest time comes? Look! I tell you, raise your eyes and observe the fields and see how they are already white for harvesting.36 Already the reaper is getting his wages [he who does the cutting now has his reward], for he is gathering fruit (crop) unto life eternal, so that he who does the planting and he who does the reaping may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying holds true, One sows and another reaps. 38 I sent you to reap a crop for which you have not toiled. Other men have labored and you have stepped in to reap the results of their work.

Who will continue in the face of the belittling comments of the 'ex'anointed who promote the doctrine of revival as an excuse for doing nothing or maintaining the status quo and denying people the fullness of the Spirit; the 'anti'anointed who resist anything that exposes their own insufficiency and inadequacy, and the 'un'anointed who ignorantly flow with the opinions of their leaders?

Who will boldly proclaim, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me and He has anointed me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty the oppressed. I’m committed to reaching the lost"

(ii) The Goliath of ‘Rebellion’ Who is better than us at bringing the "sacrifice of praise"? Many people say they love our praise and worship – they just don’t have much time for our message! But then why should they – if they see that we don’t have much time for it either! The ‘ex’anointed King Saul was told by the prophet Samuel, "To obey is better than sacrifice"! It is relatively easy to praise Him before the word comes, but the true sacrifice of praise is when we are still praising after we have obeyed!

Psalm 116: 12 – 19

12 What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? [How can I repay Him for all His bountiful dealings?] 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and deliverance and call on the name of the Lord. 14 I will pay my vows to the Lord, yes, in the presence of all His people. 15 Precious (important and no light matter) in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. 16 O Lord, truly I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid; You have loosed my bonds. 17 I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call on the name of the Lord. 18 I will pay my vows to the Lord, yes, in the presence of all His people, 19 In the courts of the Lord’s house—in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)

Who will stand up before the ‘ex’anointed who are swayed by the fear of man and popular opinion; before the ‘anti’anointed who say you can do what you want as long as it matches their agenda; before the ‘un’anointed who are carried along with the current.

Who will boldly proclaim, "I submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ! Whatever I hear Him say is what I will do! I’m committed to never moving without His direction"

(iii) The Goliath of ‘Reputation’ We have allowed the cult of personality to invade the church so that many believers are held in a place of mesmerisma strong or spellbinding appeal; fascination; hypnotic induction believed to involve animal magnetism – before certain personalities within the church, so that everything is focussed on these individuals and what they can do!

1 Corinthians 3: 1 – 8

1 HOWEVER, BRETHREN, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to non-spiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [ unable to talk yet!] 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]; but even yet you are not strong enough [to be ready for it], 3 For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men? 4 For when one says, I belong to Paul, and another, I belong to Apollos, are you not [proving yourselves] ordinary (unchanged) men? 5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Ministering servants [not heads of parties] through whom you believed, even as the Lord appointed to each his task: 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was making it grow and [He] gave the increase. 7 So neither he who plants is anything nor he who waters, but [only] God Who makes it grow and gives the increase.8 He who plants and he who waters are equal (one in aim, of the same importance and esteem), yet each shall receive his own reward (wages), according to his own labour.

These believers were stuck on the milk – not equipped to do the meat, because they were attaching too much importance to a particular preacher!

Who will stand against the ‘ex’anointed who seek credibility from association with superstars; the ‘anti’anointed who carnally promote their favourite hero to the virtual exclusion of all others; and the ‘un’anointed who’ll pick up olive branches and cheer anyone if it makes them feel good for a while! God isn’t interested in ‘reputation’ – He rarely advises us to "bring in the big guns" because He sends, not brings! I want to hear from people who say they are coming because God sent them. Israel brought out their best but they were no match for Goliath – but God sent from nowhere the one who would take that pretender’s head off!

Who will boldly proclaim, "I become of no reputation and humble myself before the Lord – I am not interested in building my profile – I am committed to being sent, not brought!"

(iv) The Goliath of ‘Religion’ We have allowed a shift in focus which has resulted in the promotion and perpetuation of pentecostal / charismatic religion that can be just as ritualistic as the religion of any other group. Praying around the issues, hopping aboard the conference circuit believing you must go here or there for something that God can bless an open, willing, and obedient heart with wherever they are! And so, resources, time and energy are wasted in pursuit of something that will forever prove elusive as long as we seek it through the mechanics of religion.

Matthew 9: 35 – 38

35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news (the Gospel) of the kingdom and curing all kinds of disease and every weakness and infirmity. 36 When He saw the throngs, He was moved with pity and sympathy for them, because they were bewildered (harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless), like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord of the harvest to send [force out and thrust] laborers into His harvest

The harvest is what is important to God – and so that is where we must invest! Who will stand against the ‘ex’anointed who love the show but lack the punch; the ‘anti’anointed who are more into control and containment than releasing; and the ‘un’anointed who are followers of the crowd more than followers of the cloud!

Who will boldly proclaim, "I am committed to relationship with the Father, submitted to His authority. I refuse to align myself with anything that bows down before a Goliath that detracts from the fullness of the provision of my God"

Remember – when the revelation of who we are in Christ – the righteousness of God – is established in our lives, there is no Goliath who can successfully stand against us. Not the Goliath of Revival (waiting for something to happen that isn’t going to happen – the seed is coming up – who will harvest it?), Rebellion (doing our own thing while singing happy songs), Reputation (looking to someone else to come and do it), or Religion (more prayer to get us sorted out, and more conferences to tickle our ears and empty our purse).

After all, "If God be for us – and He is – who can be against us?"

It is time to slay all the Goliaths of pentecostal / charismatic tradition – to decide whether we want to be grasshoppers or giant-killers! God is looking for labourers for the harvest that is already waiting to be reaped – we simply need to pray that He will SEND us to where we will be effective! All we need is His direction and everything else will follow!

Are you ready to move into and move out in the MORE of God?


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