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Anglican Pentecostal Perspective on Charismatic Leaders Fellowship 2016

The Orthodox clergy and laypersons, here and abroad, are dismayed, horrified and aghast at the moral and doctrinal apostasy of the churches in the West. Others of us at the CLF conference agreed with that assessment of the Western churches. For the Orthodox churchmen, “dialogue” and “reconciliation” means the Western churches must repent, and return to the Eastern Orthodox group of churches – you may chose Greek or American or Russian Orthodox, but make sure to bring some incense.

Fr. Timothy is charismatic himself.  He recognizes the unfortunate failure of the Orthodox churches to dialogue with and engage the Charismatic Revival.  In his view, this lack of communication is a failure by both sides. The Western charismatics are too often enamored with their own interpretations and belief that they have a sure and clear communications channel with the Holy Spirit. That arrogance has led, in Fr. Cremeens’ view, to many errors in theology and practice. The Eastern Churches, on the other hand, have had continuous experience with the gifts of the Spirit operating in both laypersons and clergy (these churches never fell into the heresy of cessationism). Eastern Orthodoxy values close spiritual direction for Spirit- gifted persons in order to avoid doctrinal and prophetic errors.  But Fr. Cremeens is also disappointed and distressed that the Eastern Churches have not been diligent in flaming the sparks of revival into a broad based movement, like the Charismatic Renewal of the West, but molded and disciplined by its own traditions of discernment and doctrinal orthodoxy.

I was included in the lineup of speakers and gave a presentation which dove-tailed with the troubling assessment of Fr. Cremeens. My point was that the Western churches had fallen into doctrinal disarray because they had defined heresy as doctrinal error solely, and not understood that the Bible used the term “heresy” as pertaining to a religious group or sect. Further, that the biblical heresies of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Gnostics had continuously reoccurred in Church history and stalled or check-mated revival – a pattern that has gone largely unrecognized. My description of this process dated back to my work Quenching the Spirit (1992) and Forgotten Power (2003). I promised the CLF participants that I would have a new work focusing on these “discernment heresies” by next year (please pray that it be so).

For many of us at the CLF the most memorable time was our participation in the ORU mid-week chapel service led by The Rev. Dr. William Wilson, president of ORU. In most people’s mind a chapel is supposed to be a small church where a hundred person wedding party can barely fit. Not the ORU chapel. It is a beautiful modern building that can seat 4,000. There must have been upwards of 3,700 at the service we attended – the downstairs was packed. This was not only a glorious worship event led by ORU students, but Dr. Wilson’s sermon, and invitation for inner healing was one of the best I have heard in years. It was on a rarely cited “hero of faith” (Hebrews 11) Jephthah, one of the Judges of Israel, whose story is found in Judges 11 and 12. The point of the sermon was that neither poor lineage nor rejection by others should limit a Christian’s faith in God and achievements in life.

Father Bill presenting his book, Agnes Sanford and her Companions, to Dr. Billy Wilson.

Later, Dr. Wilson came to address our evening session. He expressed his esteem and admiration for the now graying leaders of the Charismatic Renewal. He then looked straight at me and said, “You have no idea how much good Quenching the Spirit, has done at ORU. It is one of my favorite books, and has been used here in many courses.” He had no idea how much he blessed me and improved my morale at that moment. Carolyn and I had come out of a year’s struggle and frustration in getting my latest book, Agnes Sanford and her Companions, out and were feeling tired and forgotten by the churches. He accepted a copy of my new book (see picture) and promised me to read it. (Please pray that he find the time soon, and that it be recommended, spread and utilized at ORU as Quenching the Spirit had been.)

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Category: Ministry, Winter 2016

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include, Quenching the Spirit (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), and Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He and his wife Carolyn continue in their healing, teaching and writing ministries. He is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook

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