One of the classes I am taking as I finish up my Masters at United Theological Seminary, is a class on Charismatic ministry, taught by Dr. Randy Clark of Global Awakening Ministries. Some may be aware that Randy Clark is the one God used to usher in the revival at the Toronto Airport Vineyard in January 1994 and lasted until 2010.
During this class, we are taking an in-depth look at “signs, wonders and miracles” from theological, philosophical, and historical perspectives. It may be the most challenging course I have taken in pursuit of my degree, yet one of the most rewarding. I have been involved with Pentecostal/Charismatic churches for the past twenty something years, but I am being challenged more than ever to really understand the movements of God within the past 300 years.
As I was reading “The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements” , I was intrigued as I traced the work of the Holy Spirit in America. George Fox, traveling in America around 1672, reported accounts of many who were healed as he laid his hands upon them. As the years passed, it seemed that both the expectations of the people and the manifestations of God's power increased.
This was before the Azusa Street revival which would later become equated with the Pentecostal outpouring in 1906. What really caught my attention was that men and women from within what we call “mainline denominations” were proclaiming the healing power of God as part of the gospel. Spurgeon, Mueller, Wesley, and others were all within established mainline churches (there were no Pentecostals at that time).
It was the proclamation of Christ the Savior that aroused this nation and woke up the sleeping giant. By the sleeping giant, I refer to church. Part of Jesus’s saving work, it was preached, was healing of the physical body. As the message was proclaimed, God confirmed it, as God said He would in the scriptures. Every century since has experienced a visitation of the Holy Spirit as the truth of the fullness of the gospel has faithfully been declared.
The Azusa Street revival which I spoke of earlier, retired an understanding of Jesus as not only Savior from sin and healer of the physical body, but Jesus as Baptizer with the Holy Spirit as well. Aling with that undersatnding came the awareness and experience of the manifestations of the all the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 12). That message spread worldwide and again, mainline denominations embraced a fuller understand of the redemptive work of Christ resulting in the Charismatic renewal movement.
The Charismatic movement went into full swing and and the gifts of Christ (Eph 4) began to be embraced. With this, the very foundations of contemporary Christianity negan to be examined and the ministries of apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers are beig recogmized. Many of you are tired of status-quo “church-ianity” and are hungry for more. Your cry along with so many others s more Lord, more. And God has heard our cry.
We are standing on the threshold of perhaps the greatest visitation of God in the past 1500 years. The culmination of all previous movements combined in one will again awaken the sleeping giant and enable us to reap the harvest of the earth.