Some today are offended at the demonstration of the Spirit and at the reaction of people who come under the power of God. They say these things should not be so, as the Spirit ceased suchlike activity with the early church. They have no biblical foundation for this, but they hold tight to it as anything else offends their sensibilities. They come from a long line of skeptics and will countenance no rebuttal. they write books, hold conferences, craft articles and unleash venom on charismatic believers as though these things were not seen before.
It is no use seeking to persuade people who have dug in their heels. We must simply seek to be gracious and love regardless, while holding on firmly to that which we do not always understand but which is the outcome of the Spirit of grace moving in the lives of people. We can easily draw back and second guess every move of God in a bid to avoid excesses, and excesses certainly have been rampant. Yet, we must hold tightly to the baby, sure it will have some bathwater still on it, but we will damp it dry. Rather that than no baby at all, the ultimate tragedy.
We take inspiration from men like John Wesley, who served God imperfectly, as we all do, but faithfully. And God was gracious, as he writes in his journals to often confound those who would oppose the manifestations in his meetings. His focus did not waver from Jesus, never strayed to appearances, always stayed on bringing men to Christ. Never was self indulgence on the agenda, self aggrandizement on display, own ‘anointing’ touted. It was all about Christ. I feast on his journals and shall be posting here from time to time excerpts that inspire, amuse, instruct.
- Mon. 29.—We understood that many were offended at the cries of those on whom the power of God came: among whom was a physician, who was much afraid, there might be fraud or imposture in the case. To-day one whom he had known many years, was the first (while I was preaching in Newgate) who broke out ” into strong cries and tears.” He could hardly believe his own eyes and ears. He went and stood close to her, and observed every symptom, till great drops of sweat ran down her face, and all her bones shook. He then knew not what to think, being clearly convinced, it was not fraud, nor yet any natural disorder. But when both her soul and body were healed in a moment, he acknowledged the finger of God.
- Tues. May 1.—Many were offended again, and, indeed, much more than before. For at Baldwin-street my voice could scarce be heard amidst the groanings of some, and the cries of others calling aloud to Him that is “mighty to save.” I desired all that were sincere of heart, to beseech with me the Prince exalted for us, that he would ” proclaim deliverance to the captives.” And he soon showed that he heard our voice. Many of those who had been long in darkness, saw the dawn of a great light; and ten persons, I afterward found, then began to say in faith, ” My Lord and my God.” A Quaker who stood by, was not a little displeased at the dissimulation of those creatures, and was biting his lips and knitting his brows, when he dropped down as thunderstruck. The agony he was in was even terrible to behold. We besought God not to lay folly to his charge. And he soon lifted up his head and cried aloud, ” INow I know thou art a prophet of the Lord.”Wesley, John, 1703-1791. The Works of the Rev. John Wesley