Sunday, September 24, 2006before anyone claims I don't know what I'm talking about...
When the Lord had saved my mother and I, we started attending a small Baptist church in our home town. The teachings there were pretty good and before long, both my mother and I were prospering spiritually.
A year or two later, the Lord saved my father. For a short period of time he too attended the local Baptist church, but we eventually moved to a Pentecostal church in a neighboring town. This move wasn't caused by any disagreement with the positions of the Baptist church, but rather, my father had trouble understanding the sermons. You see, we're French Canadians, and while I have been well immersed in English culture since I was a young boy, my dad wasn't. So in an attempt to get more out of church services, we moved on to a French church, the Pentecostal church.
From the very beginning, I must admit, I had serious doubts about these "spiritual gifts" that were being exercised at church meetings. People were babbling in what seemed to be foreign tongues, there were "prophecies" where people would claim to have a message directly from God, and finally, there was the "Spirit falls" (in French "Tomber dans l'Esprit) where people got so overwhelmed by the "filling of the Holy Spirit", they fall flat on the ground.
For a year or two, my parents were as skeptical as I about these occurrences, but after that period of time, they too practiced these "gifts". At that time, I got kind of worried. I thought to myself: "why is the Holy Spirit not working these gifts in me?" I read my Bible every morning, sought the Lord in prayer everyday, my affection and love for the Lord was unwavering, and yet, no "speaking in tongues, prophecies or Spirit falls" for Rand. I asked my Sunday School teacher about the matter and I was told that I had to "earnestly desire" these gifts; I had to put meditate on these gifts until I received "the blessing".
So I did. I clearly remember on particular meeting where, with all my effort, I begged God that he would bless me with these "great gifts", that I too may worship Him "in the Spirit". During this time of feverish meditation and supplication, I put together some babble sounds and started uttering them repeatedly. I totally made the sounds up, but I thought I'd try to get things started to see if the Holy Spirit would then get involved.
In a matter of weeks, I had not only forgotten the babblings I had made up, but I had pretty much given up on the whole thing. I figured I probably wasn't "spiritual" enough, or perhaps I had some sin in my life that grieved the Holy Spirit so much, He wouldn't bless me. This was a common way of dealing with a lack of these "spiritual gifts" in the Pentecostal church. I bought these explanations for a couple of months.
Then my mother got grievously ill.
This changed everything. You see, when my mom got ill, the "spiritual gifts" that were professed at the Pentecostal church were put to the test. Prophecies were uttered showing my mother the way to healing. Prayers of healing were uttered. Healers actually laid hands on my mom and claimed she had been made whole. All she had to do now, was believe.
And let me tell you, she believed.
She stopped taking the medication that the doctors had prescribed for her condition and put her faith in the claims uttered by the "faith healers" and the "prophets".
to be continued...
Labels: Charismatic Movement