The storms of life have been punishing over the past decade. Nature has been speaking like never before and it makes you wonder if Paul was on to something when he stated “ the creation is groaning and waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God” ( Romans 8:19). According to the weather services, this year has proven to be the worse in the history of recorded weather reporting and the year is not over yet.
The storms of creation are just a tip of the spiritual storms getting ready to shake the church. The cry in the world today is “Change the Government”. All over the world we are viewing a shifting in the political arenas and one war or revolt after the other is upsetting the core of government and demanding change. One wonders with all the natural changes occurring, is the Holy Spirit mandating reform or restoration within the body of Christ? Are we headed for new spiritual government or a revival of past glory?
In the body of Christ, we are going through some of the same issues as society at large. We have “cultural issues” and want to elevate one cultural style over another to bring Glory to God. We have “Worship Wars” every weekend over which day is more holy, Saturday or Sunday; and musical expressions are out of touch as we elevate the “artists” and not the “Master Composer”; I dare not forget the leadership debates over the reestablishment of “Bishops” in Apostolic Succession and the “New Apostles” and “Prophets”, with the restoration of “Five Fold” ministry offices.
American church statistics have reported:
- In America, 3500 – 4000 churches close their doors each year
- Half of all churches last year did not add one new member through conversion growth
- Churches lose an estimated 2,765,000 people each year to nominalism and secularism
Just what are the lessons we have learned from the development and growth of the church? Not only must our investigation be biblical, but also historical. Church history has a lot to teach us about what we have or have not accomplished through Christianity. We spend a lot of time determining what doctrinal viewpoint is accurate; what church is real; and how long will it be before Christ returns. HOLY SPIRIT, PLEASE STAND UP!
I have been identifying and redefining the visible and invisible structure of the body of Christ for some time now. Let me review, the visible structure (Church) has evolved as the institutional, governmental rule of the Episcopal office clothed in the structural development of church edifices and large church memberships. The invisible element (body of Christ) has taken on the role of the supernatural, dynamic manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s power in gifts and fruit through men and women of God walking in the anointing and fellowship of the truth of God’s Word.
What about the “Kingdom” in all of this mess? One has to wonder, is the growth of the Church due to any one single factor or a sort of stirring of the Holy Spirit in various directions? Are we headed toward another restoration or another reformation? Let’s take a glimpse. We have a little over a hundred years of Holy Spirit restoration through a fresh surge of spiritual gifts. We also have more than six hundred years of reformation, causing a doctrinal shift, ending with both clashing with tradition. HOLY SPIRIT, PLEASE STAND UP!
The concept “The High Church” refers to those reformations or organizations that embrace excellence and perfection in their ministry through ritual worship and creeds. The High Church is defined as “a section of the Episcopal Church that stresses the essential unity of Episcopal Christianity with Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy;” It holds traditional views about the sacraments, and favors ritual and ceremony.
Pentecostalism, on the other hand, by way of “The Awakenings” and “Latter Rain Movements” emerged with a direction of spiritual power and gifts; allowing the Holy Spirit to be God through miraculous signs and wonders empowering the church supernaturally and upsetting traditional thinking about the order of the Church.
So then we are back at the original premise. Is the Holy Spirit mandating reform or restoration? Are we headed for a new spiritual government or a revival of past glory? I hear the cry going out, why is there silence in leadership? Where are the “prophets?” Is there some “word” from the Lord that will break the yoke and free us from drowning in intellectual frustration and emotional overdoses? HOLY SPIRIT, PLEASE STAND UP!