The Tension Between Revival And Control

 Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXXII

When revivals break outside conventional church boundaries, the church asks, “What covering do you have?” Basically they are asking, “Who is in control?” They feel their pyramidal leadership structure can control to prevent weirdness, cults, and heresies. Ironically, it is the pyramidal control that kills the organism, the life of the movement; it certainly does not protect it. During times of revival, the church needs to learn how to come along side the revival movement, embrace it, not control it, but accept it for what it is, a movement of God, or just leave it alone.

Acts 5:34-40  records, “A Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. He said to them, ‘Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.’ They took his advice.” (Acts 4:333-40)

Revival exposes the church’s tension for control. The religious institution always has asked who is in charge, who is responsible for the actions of this radical movement? The revivalist claim the Holy Spirit is in control.  Being outside established religious norms, the Holy Spirit moves anyway he chooses, often looking like chaos to the institutional church, so they take control to establish order, but usually at the price of the life of the organism.

Only if one is willing to give up total control to the Holy Spirit can they become part of the revival spirit. If not, tension and a battle may ensue. One could find themselves in the same position as Gamaliel and the Sanhedrin. Is is smart to take Gamaliel’s advice, or you too could be taking the risk of “fighting against God”? 

I realize that what I am proposing with the five fold is a challenge to current church leadership structures, accountability structures, the clergy/laity belief system, while advocating for a Priesthood of Believers and the restoration of the five fold for everyday believers. The question is am I, or are we, willing to embrace this movement of God or will we oppose it?