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Order of St. Luke International 2019: From an Anti-Cessationism past to a Fully Charismatic Future

At the Eight International Conference of the OSL (1963) held at St. Stephen’s, Morton Kelsey, Richard Winkler and others made a passionate presentation on the need for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and of tongues. Some of the delegates and participants had in fact received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit through various avenues, at Pentecostal camp meetings, or in the CFO camps which were already heavily charismatic. But many had not, and were offended by the implication that they were in some way “incomplete” Christians. One advocate even said that water baptism was incomplete without the subsequent Baptism of the Holy Spirit and tongues speaking – a serious exaggeration.

All of this created a great uproar and serious division. At the following business meeting to the convention an anti-charismatic policy was formulated and issued. Members were enjoined to:

proclaim, teach and practice only such things as are related to Spiritual Healing, sacramental acts, prayer, and Christian living, as set forth in the OSL Manual. They shall not by word or action use the OSL to exploit or promote their own particular philosophies, doctrines, and practices, including glossolalia (commonly called speaking in tongues and prophecy).[7]

This was followed later with a very critical attack on tongues by a practicing psychiatrist, Dr. Klaus Thomas, an OSL leader. He more of less said that everyone he saw speaking in tongues was mentally disturbed – an idea circulated often in the early Pentecostal era. The critical report was widely circulated among the OSL leadership.

All of this was a serious setback to the OSL, Spirit-filled members no longer felt at home in the OSL and left in droves. Subscriptions to Sharing went down substantially.

The charismatic advocates were tactless and their theology “first draft” and exaggerated, but the OSL leadership was also suffering from the “elder son” syndrome (Lk 15:28-30). They had been doing healing prayer and ministering countless miracles for decades without speaking in tongues or the conscious use of the other gifts of the Spirit. None of this wild Pentecostal stuff was requested or needed, thank you. It seemed as if the gifts of the Spirit would have no place in the OSL.

An active and healthy healing ministry is the strongest witness against cessationism.

But like the tide when King Canute of Denmark commanded it not to come in, the Holy Spirit had a different agenda and His gifts rolled into the OSL members and eventually its leadership. It was a decades long process in which new members, some of which were already baptized in the Spirit, came into local chapters and demonstrated the usefulness of the spiritual gifts in healing, such as using a word of knowledge in a difficult healing case. Another factor was that the 1970s was the “decade of cassette teachings.” That is, charismatic teachers such as Tommy Tyson, Derek Prince, Tom Forest, Agnes Sanford and many others had their ministry teachings recorded on cassettes, and thee were circulated freely on a mass scale.[8]

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Category: Church History, Summer 2019

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: Discover the Real Spirit Behind the Charismatic Controversy (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015), and The Public Prayer Station: Taking Healing Prayer to the Streets and Evangelizing the Nones (Emeth Press, 2018). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He continues in his healing, teaching and writing ministry and is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook

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