Saturday, March 29, 2008

Is the Use of Holy Spirit Gifts in Decline?

Several weeks ago Nettes forwarded me an email from a friend of hers Alison Hull who was writing an article for Christianity magazine and asking people for comments. The article was about the charismatic churches discussing the decline in the use of gifts of the spirit that she has noticed. I emailed Ali my observations and thoughts and amazingly a quote from my email wound up in the article along with a number of quotes from Christian leaders and ex-leaders. My response was as follows:

“Though it may not be exactly what you were after these are my honest thoughts on the subject in our situation. In a small church like ours I would say that how people use gifts in public meetings changes as people with different gifts, styles and temperaments come and go. It is also the case that we all hopefully grow in our own faith and experience of God over time so it is difficult to be objective about such trends. That said, I have noticed some possible changes over the past ten years or so…”

It was this next part of my answer that was quoted. ”…The way people speak nowadays is much more down to earth and less hyped than it used to be. I don't hear people whipping up the crowd with meaningless jargon anymore. I think we are less dogmatic that everyone's experience, for instance with baptism with the Spirit, should be the same, and I also feel that we are now on a verge of beginning to use people's gifts in more creative planned activities. I wonder if these changes simply reflect changes in society as a whole that is more sceptical of hype and more tolerant of differences and desire more creativity.”

The full article is called 'Hands Down' and is the lead article in the March issue of Christianity. You can read it here if you have a subscription. Otherwise you will need to see if you can find any copies of this issue that have not sold out yet.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Citizens of Two Kingdoms

The final part of the Awareness Course was a rather short section that encouraged us to be secure in our own faith as we discuss it with others and to bring in God’s kingdom in all that we do. I have really enjoyed this course and it is good to hear people in our church discussing issues to do with culture. I found it provided an essential backdrop to where we are as a church in Birmingham and a context to where the church in Britain and worldwide is currently at. Our church has more modules of this course but we have not quite decided how to work through them with, what will probably be, a smaller number of us who wish to continue.