A recent review of An Army Arising warned the reader,that although I had many valid points, be aware that my theology was “charismatic.” I felt this was unfortunate. That label was meant to filter out some of the people who probably need my book the most.
A more accurate way to describe what I do and the point of view of Belonging House is “supernatural.” We have a supernatural worldview. In other words, we believe that the same power of God that was available to the Apostles, the Prophets, and to Jesus is available to us today. There is an unbroken witness in Scripture, and throughout history of God intervening in the affairs of man. In this three part series on the Foundations of Belonging House, I should have written about the Supernatural first, since the Scripture gives us a record of God’s activity even before creation.
“In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth . . . and the Spirit was hovering over the face of the Deep.”
A very close friend of mine did a series of meetings in a Roman Catholic Church last summer. This was his first ministry in that context, and he came back to me amazed. “They were so hungry and immediately responded to prayer and we saw many miracles.”
I wasn’t surprised, and he questioned me.
“They didn’t go through the Reformation. They have a baseline of belief in the supernatural. Protestants often begin from a place of disbelief (‘I don’t believe that, it’s catholic’) whereas many Catholics begin with ‘I believe Jesus is really present in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood’.” I discovered this difference when I was a graduate assistant in seminary. In a Protestant context a discussion often begins with trying to make a case from scripture to overcome disbelief.
The Supernatural is a foundation for our ministry. We raise support through prayer and do not do fundraising. Right there you have to believe that God is actively involved in the process. We believe God still speaks to individuals and churches. We believe that the Holy Spirit heals the sick, raises the dead, and multiplies food. We have seen dramatic answers to prayer. We’ve seen people healed watching someone paint. We have seen two artists on different continents paint nearly identical paintings. We have see so many “coincidences” that we have really lost count.
There is a danger in an over emphasis on the supernatural. I especially have seen this in churches that are strongly prophetic. People who overemphasize the supernatural can get a little wacky. You meet people who base a lot on their personal experience, on their own feelings above others, and on the next “buzz.” I have also seen a lot of narcissism in supernatural circles. It becomes all about “me” and my next prophetic word or conference. And, sadly, on the far fringe are people who cannot discern between the New Age movement, the occult, and their own psychological issues.
Clay McLean once said:
Too much word, not enough spirit and you dry up.
Too much spirit and not enough word, you blow up.
A balance of the Word and Holy Spirit, you grow up.
A Biblical world view is a supernatural one. If you remove the supernatural from your walk with God, then you erase the grace that is really needed to be a Christian. There are many today who have done this in order to avoid the abuses I have already described. The best place is that dangerous place in the middle.
Imagine you are riding the blade of a chef’s knife. The safest place on that knife is the back of the blade, the blunt edge. You won’t get hurt there, but you won’t get anything done either. Then there is the sharp edge. If you get head of the blade, you will get cut. In fact, there are some in the church who are so cutting edge they bleed. The place where you want to ride is close to that cutting blade, where it is sharp, slightly dangerous, but still safely on the blade. Continually being open to the Supernatural opens you up to risk, to mistakes, but also to an ongoing continuous relationship with God.
We are blessed in this day to have ministries that are desiring to balance the Word and the Supernatural. I would say the best example of this is Bethel Church in Redding, California.
In my last post related to the three legs of Belonging House, I will write about the Sacramental life. This third stream is the bridge between the Supernatural and the Scripture.