By Ramone Romero
I can summarize what killed the charismatic movement today in two words:
“Contain” and “It”
The words need to be considered separately, and the it needs to be considered first because it is far and away the most important problem, and the contain often springs from the it.
What is clear and most heart-rending is that we have looked at God as an it. We’ve called Him “the anointing” or “the glory”, and we’ve said it is on certain leaders, and we’ve clamored all around the world to get more of it from them. God wants intimacy with us, but we’re still going the indirect route, looking for “more of Him” (notice that makes Him an it again) instead of being intimate with Him and growing together from there.
it also proves that we have been looking for results. We’ve been enraptured by miracles, by signs and by anything apparently supernatural. It doesn’t take a psychologist to realize that we seriously feel that our faith is invalid without miraculous signs and wonders. God really does do signs and wonders, but our faith isn’t to be anchored on them. Signs and wonders didn’t keep ancient Israel grounded in faith at all – they went up and down like the waves.
It’s natural and human for us to feel something’s wrong when we look at events in the book of Acts and compare them to our current situation. But I think what we need to do is surrender that feeling, that need, to God. More often than not we still look for an external proof to validate our internal faith. But by chasing signs and wonders, we’ve avoided facing that brokenness that God meant us to face – that part of us that feels like something is wrong, and then surrendering it to Him and accepting His answer in brokenness.
We’re subconsciously afraid that if we surrender that need to Him, He still may not produce signs and wonders. He might say “no” or have us wait. So we generally leave Him out of the picture. We construct teaching principles (that is, theology) which say that it is always His will to heal, to do signs and wonders, etc. We cut Him out and reduce things to an equation.
Your Faith + This Principle = Miraculous Results
The bottom line is that we don’t want God sometimes. We often want what God can do, and if the results don’t show up, we calculate that it means we didn’t have enough faith in the principles.
The other word, contain is easier recognized and more obvious. But that containing action springs out of the it. As many have noted, we try to contain and keep whatever God is doing. But the last 20 years or so should tell us a lot about this. Since Toronto and Brownsville, a pattern has emerged and we’ve come to expect it (expect God to do the same stuff)… manifestations, large meetings, revival, outpourings, and conferences we fly across the country or world to see (again, in the hopes of catching it and taking it back with us!).
In haunting parallel, we’re seeing a re-enactment of the medieval rush for relics. Wherever God seems to have been, we rush there. And whatever He did or seems to do there is contained and preserved – a holy relic for others to visit and come receive an impartation from.
Just like Catholic statues or Orthodox icons, we’ve made “images” in the charismatic church. We’ve longed for them, chased them, gazed at them, praised them, prized them, advertised them, evangelized them and merchandized them. We’ve mistaken the shadows of God for God.
There is always a danger, of course, when we try to contain anything God does, we don’t allow God to be Himself. He may want to withdraw. He may want to do something different. We’ve got to ask Him. And when we shut off part of Him, we open the door to other things. If you pray to a Mary statue long enough, her eyes may start to bleed for you. If you look to an it too long, it may answer back. If you seek to keep it (i.e., “revival”) prolonged and maintain it, whatever the signs of it you wanted may stick around. So you’ll get your it, but it may not be God.
The only way for the movement to continue is to admit to itself that it has died, and to repent for not allowing God to kill it a lot sooner!
Time to come back into the Light.
Ramone is an artist, teacher, pilgrim and worshiper living in Osaka, Japan with his wife and children. He has been painting prophetic art for Jesus since 2005, which can be seen on his blog Art For Jesus – in Japan and on Facebook. He is currently starting a healing-art ministry in Japan and has felt God call him to pray for people in darker, neglected areas of his city.