|Section 1 of 14
(A 'PRO'-RENEWALIST SPEAKS OUT)
|This featured on our "Renewal" page|
Before I begin on the subject of renewal, it may be helpful for the reader to know just a little about myself. This will give an idea of what perspective I am writing from, especially since I will be saying some rather strong things about issues I am intimately familiar with.
To put it very briefly, I was saved as a teenager over 23 years ago while living with an occult mother and stepfather. Not surprisingly, I am no stranger to the occult, to the power of the Holy Spirit's presence, and to God's grace. Indeed, it is only because of God's 'supernatural' power and grace to lead and strengthen me in the Christian Faith that I am here today.
To me, God is to be exalted and given glory, and not any place, person, or church. So, when I begin by making a brief statement about something of personal value regarding renewal, it is not because these things only happened in connection with renewal. I have experienced God's grace and power outside of it, before and after.
Furthermore, I do not expect a favorable personal testimony or observation regarding 'renewal' to be the same as yours, just as I do not expect an unfavorable testimony or observation to be the same as yours. I do have unfavorable personal observations and testimonies as well as favorable ones, some of which I will mention in this document, as appropriate to the text and purpose. In all cases, my goal is neither to justify the renewal as a whole nor to slander it as a whole, but instead to serve as a first-hand witness for the benefit and instruction of the reader.
I can briefly testify that a change in my life, including a permanent freedom from things that had previously afflicted me, as well as a work of repentance and renewing of the mind, can be attributed to events that are definitely connected to renewal, as well as some outside renewal. These occurred in about 1994, and I credit them to God's deliverance or healing and not to the work of demons or hypnotic suggestion. These things I can say according to the education and background of both my secular life and Christian walk, of which you know a little of now.
No matter what the reader presumes from this very brief indication of a favorable testimony, I make it in order to make this work an honest one—one which is absent of the natural favoritism that would occur when one type of testimony is suppressed while another is highlighted. I will not nor have I ever denied either favorable or unfavorable personal spiritual discernment—nor any scripture that supports either, in order to satisfy any who would be 'pro' or 'anti' renewal. So, while I cannot deny 'positive' personal discernment or testimony in order to agree with militant 'anti'-renewalists, I have also been unable to deny 'negative' discernment in 'renewal' as I have known it in order to agree with militant 'pro-' renewalists.
In fact, the errors that I have witnessed and discerned in certain renewal forums were so disturbing to me that at one point I was ethically unable to lend unqualified support to everything done, just because it was in the name of 'renewal'. As long ago as 1995, it was clear to me that some errors were very entrenched and that the dynamics involved made them virtually impossible to uproot. In addition, I became very concerned that these errors would be likely to affect most, if not all, of the 'renewal', --at least in some way.
At this point, I reconsidered what the Lord wanted of me and then I wrote my first article on the subject, The Role Of Deception in Renewal. This article contained my direct observations and passionate concern over the early treatment of 'manifestations' and certain discernment gifts in various renewal meetings run by a certain denomination that at the time, did not consider itself a denomination. This included multi-church efforts that were run by them as well as their e-mail lists.
Any denomination will incorporate, interpret or direct something as it sees fit. Churches or leaders in a denomination may seem somewhat free in their interpretation or practices. However, the strength and type of denominational dictates will influence the ultimate reality of the situation. Since denominational agendas are extremely influential, self-supporting, and self-perpetuating, they decide the final outcome within their jurisdiction. Whether the agendas are known or unknown by the majority of their average members, it is unrealistic to expect a different outcome. If unknown, they are automatically protected from easy open scrutiny, as well as having the capacity to unpleasantly surprise members who were previously unaware of these hidden agendas or 'rules'.
I do not regret my earlier position regarding renewal. Since that time, I have been privileged to know many precious brothers and sisters in Christ. As a result, I can say that I have probably known the best and the worst of both militant 'pro's' and 'anti's' and their determinations. In addition, sometimes the Lord would direct me to go visit a place or conference. As a result, I have had personal contact and experience in quite a few prominent 'renewal' settings. This has given me opportunity to discern first-hand, as well as given me grounding to either appreciate or disagree with discernment from afar.
As we go beyond this brief introduction, I hope you can find benefit in this article, regardless of your personal position. If you are certain that what you experienced in renewal meetings was the Lord's work, I sincerely hope you will consider it wise to examine the tactics that would serve to make null any sincere move of the Spirit. Even if you don't perceive the 'renewal' as a lost cause in your particular locale or situation, this examination and research will assist you so as to learn from it. There is nothing new under the sun and these things could be repeated in any situation or any place. Likewise, if you are just as certain that what you have known of or experienced is indeed a false revival, then it is my hope and prayer that, as a result of this work, you will be more prepared for the future regarding any true revival. Indeed, I hope all will pray for and accept true revival as a gift and Grace from God!
As a warning to what you will encounter in this text, if you are "anti"-renewal please do not jump to conclusions from this introduction or in the text under the first few subtitles. If you do, you will miss where I am going and the balance I seek to apply. Also, 'pro'- renewalists must keep in mind that this work will take a look at some serious matters. There will be specific concerns brought up and if you recognize them in your particular neck of the woods, they may make you very uncomfortable. Although I will be as fair and kind as possible in this text, I cannot compromise for the sake of not hurting any entrenched prejudices on either side. Doing so would only mean I would coddle deception and thus prevent considerations that I hope the reader will take with him or her before the Lord.
© Copyright 2000 by Teri Lee Earl All Rights Reserved
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