Summary: The collision of the charismatic and evangelical, and a call to deep love.
Two Streams Converge: Series: How Broad Is The Kingdom Of God
Luke 4:1-14 January 29, 2006
Gasoline and a spark. Car keys and a 16yr old. Vinegar and baking soda. Stephen Harper and Paul Martin. Sometimes, when you put two things together, the end result can either be messy and destructive, or can be harnessed for great good. I think the same is true of what Richard Foster calls the “charismatic, or spirit-empowered stream” and the “evangelical, or word-centered stream”. Over the past three weeks we have intentionally planned our worship services to explore those two streams. Two weeks ago we brought the two together in an enthusiastic way; last week we led a very word-centered service, today we led a charismatic service. What end result will we see from bringing these two together?
Lessons From Church History:
In the very early years of the 20th century, God started something new. God did it in the US, in a place called Azusa Street LA, through a black preacher named William Seymour. For three years, 3 times a day, 7 days a week there were worship services that united people of all races, that were full of exuberant worship and accompanied very noticeably by demonstrations of the power of God such as speaking in tongues. Most church historians point to that revival as the beginnings of the Pentecostal movement – a movement which now numbers more than 523 million people world-wide, compared to 210 million evangelicals, and which sees anywhere from 10%-20% annual growth. (from David A. Barrett, World Christian Encyclopedia, 2001, p 4, accessed at http://www.bible.ca/global-religion-statistics-world-christian-encyclopedia.htm).
Although the “Charismatic Stream” has existed throughout church history, the story of Christianity in the 20th century is largely the story of the Pentecostal movement. And not just in Pentecostal churches – the movement has had a very significant impact on the rest of the church as well. The shift in musical style in the Christian church finds roots in the charismatic movement, as does the emphasis on the Holy Spirit, on spiritual gifts, and on the power of God to be experienced in our daily living. Much of this shift has happened in our lifetimes.
About 8 months ago, I had coffee with our Area Minister, Sam Breakey, and was sharing some of the things going on here at Laurier. As I talked about the various changes, and our struggle with these, Sam made an insightful comment that has stuck with me: “It isn’t that Laurier is changing; the entire church is changing.”
So What Do We Do With It?
We turn first to Scripture. More specifically, to the person of Jesus. Luke 4:1-14. Jesus has just been baptized by John, and here is what happens next:
“1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread."