If anyone's been watching the rounds on the web recently then I'm sure you've seen people posting a well-known prophecy by the famous 20th-century evangelist Smith Wigglesworth.
His famous prophecy of 1947 said, "When the Word and the Spirit come together, there will be the biggest move of the Holy Spirit that the nation, and indeed, the world has ever seen. It will mark the beginning of a revival that will eclipse anything that has been witnessed within these shores, even the Wesleyan and Welsh revivals of former years. The outpouring of God's Spirit will flow over from the United Kingdom to mainland Europe, and from there, will begin a missionary move to the ends of the earth."
He also said when the new churches (the current charismatic churches) were "on the wane" he would stir up another move. A move not just of the Spirit, or of the Word. But a movement of the Word AND Spirit.
And this is the move of God beginning to take shape in my nation. The move of the combining of the Word and Spirit.
The church in the UK, although somewhat divided, has started to wake up and return to the very inspired and God breathed Word of God.
The Charismatic renewal of the 1960s and 1970s is moving on. And here are 6 ways it is moving:
1. New churches are springing up with an emphasis on the Word. The members of these new churches have for a long time felt that something was wrong but were not able to put their finger on it. Church life was OK, community was good. But little by little some leaders have started to walk away from the inerrancy of Scripture. The pastors were no longer preaching but were having a "conversation". Repentance was deemed too harsh and holiness was a no-go as it might offend the broken within the church.
But some who had served for many years decided they could no longer take the gradual slide into apostasy and left the established charismatic churches before it was too late. These people have started small meetings which are growing quite rapidly, being filled with the newly saved and those who are hungry for more of the Word.
2. There's a new freedom to show Jesus off to the world. As the Word is again our focus the power of the Holy Spirit has returned. The average churchgoer is telling people about Jesus and praying for them whether at work, in the streets, well, everywhere they go. Since the Word has come back they are being equipped to live the full Christian life. And since the Word is preached the signs follow the preaching of this Word (Mark 16:20).
3. There's a focus on the five-fold ministry gifts. These new leaders started to ask the question, "What would a church look like if everyone was doing what they were called to, where not one person would go uncared for; where the evangelists were sent with the backing of the leadership (In recent years the evangelist has been missing as the church has become pastor led and focused. But evangelists are making a come back)?"
Where the prophets were working with the other gifts and showing the way forward and where the teachers were bringing people back to the line-upon-line style of teaching that created hunger for the Lord, a correct revelation of holy living and a deep desire to know the Lord intimately?
And the new leaders have started to implement churches that look like this.
4. Unity. Unity has become exciting again. And not unity for the sake of it. But unity of spirit. People joining together across cities and regions for the sake of the gospel. For example in Bristol (the home of John Wesley) there is a great move of the Spirit. Churches from different denominations have come together, bought joint buildings, paid for workers from other denominations, reached out to the down and outs, while communal homes and churches are rising up, and all done in the name of Jesus, not one ministry over another. People sharing their possessions and being quite selfless.
Even apostolic networks are working together without jealousy.
5. The denominations which have held fast to the Word continue to grow as they move with the new move of the Holy Spirit. One such group is the Elim Pentecostal Church. They seem to have been able to gain momentum with each new move of the Spirit. This has caused partnerships to spring up that is relationship based, not hierarchy based. They have become a "father" to the new apostolic churches.
6. Bible studies are springing up. Houses of Prayer are growing, people are leaving our churches on a Sunday knowing they met with the Lord, were transformed and left so full if they don't give away what they received they will burst.
Where the charismatic movement pulled people out of the established churches in the 1960s, this new move is pulling people out of the stalling charismatic churches.
The focus is not on a new Christianity, but on Biblical Christianity, where words like faith, repent, hell, holiness, the law, the blood, evangelism, etc. are used in daily life. This is a move where the lost are told, in grace, the truth of the state of their souls and how to find peace with God.
This is a church move where the power of the gospel is evidenced with miracles.
And for those of us who don't fit the mold, we decided to stop trying to fit in and start new works. Where previously we had no place in the modern charismatic church because we didn't look the part, speak the right language and we didn't compromise, we have decided, instead of going it alone, we are standing on the shoulders of the giants who went before us. The charismatic movement in the UK isn't dead. It was merely resting. Or as Smith Wigglesworth said "Waning."
And we intend to carry that move on, to restart it with an emphasis on the Word AND Spirit.
We are the neo-Charismatics of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, eagerly looking for and hastening the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Steven Halford is a preacher of righteousness in South Coast England.
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