One of the dirty little secrets which seem to prevail and continue to divide Christian ministers, ministries, and churches is jealousy (or call it whatever else you want). This is actually similar to the reaction of Cain to the favor of God showered upon his brother Abel. Cain probably taught his younger brother everything he knew and yet Abel ends up with the greater blessing from God? We all know how that episode turned out. Christians are usually far more subtle and most would not even consider their reactions as jealousy.
It usually starts out with one minister asking God to bless his ministry as much as another that he has observed. Maybe there is another church in town that is growing fast and you wonder why. This is not necessarily bad, unless one begins to covet the anointing and position of another. There can be a fine line between seeking the best gifts and anointings that our Father has for us, possibly being mentored by one who moves in those giftings, and actually being jealous (or sad) when someone else receives a greater impartation than we have or gets ‘promoted’ before we do.
I started thinking about this issue after reading a post about ‘impartation’ by Carl of Revival Blog. Then there was an earlier article by Rick Ianniello entitled ‘warren haters’ which references a group and a blog which spends an incredible amount of time and energy opposing a successful minister and mega church in my own neighborhood (I can see the church from my house). A ministry which has brought hundreds and maybe even thousands to Christ and has a good reputation in the community. It is definitely not a Revival but the ‘opposition’ modus operandi is similar.
It all reminded me of a time 18-20 years ago while I was attending VCF Anaheim, John Wimber was the Pastor, the place was rocking and the Spirit was moving in a dramatic way. Maybe it wasn’t Revival but it was close, and it was definitely a move of God. Then along came the self-appointed ‘heresy hunters’, next the opposition pamphlets and books. I attended every service and conference and could never figure out where they picked up those ‘heretical’ quotes. It certainly didn’t represent anything that I had ever heard or experienced.
Now, If Revival falls on a place and every one in town begins to show up, the other churches begin to wonder why it happened at ‘that’ place. Then many conclude that if ‘true’ revival was going to show up in this city it would naturally start here in ‘our’ church, after all we are the one with the: (add whatever) 24 hour prayer room, anointed Bible study, larger church facility, preacher w/ a doctors degree-that guy didn’t even go to Bible college, sound doctrine, healing ministry, after all, that church is part of that..(add+denomination, group, movement, or whatever) and etc. Finally, all too many church leaders end up saying something like this: “There must be something wrong with what’s going on over there–it’s way too popular–must be false. We will have to check it out and ‘protect’ our people.”
Mean while, it was the Lord’s intention to bring Revival to the whole city and to every church, and then spread it to the next town, but it gets short-circuited by our attitudes and responses. We all should be rejoicing when Revival falls anywhere and get on board. Instead we let the enemy divide us and actually use ‘the Revival’ as the excuse. Remember, Revival is always messy, never perfect, usually different than the last move, and then the enemy always adds his own stuff to the mix.
One wonders what Toronto would be like today if every church in the city had gotten on board and road it out. Would Florida be the same if everyone cooperated in Pensacola? I experienced some of the Toronto move. I could tell you all about what the enemy sowed there but won’t. Praise God, you can still see the effects of that little move world wide, I can still see it effecting the lives and ministries of hundreds of folk that I know.
This article is already way too long for a blog post. We’ll hold over the rest of our thoughts for the next. Part 2 -will feature some further observations and conclusions that were inspired by a message given by Steve Thompson (Director of MorningStar Ministries) who ministered last weekend at VCC-Laguna Niguel.