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November 08, 2005


Jason Clark

Thank Kester. Have you come across 'The Giving Gift' by Tom Smail, that talks about the spirit as the gift who gives? Jason.


hey dude, was just wondering whether you would still go along with the spirit empowering the church for witness by empowering us to 'do' the sorts of signs and wonders that chris simmons talks of? I agree entirely with you with regard to the gift economy but wonder what you do with the littering of New Testament that deal with healings etc...??

Dana Ames

I was involved with the Vineyard in SoCal for six years in the 80s - not Anaheim; my church was the first plant from the founding group that predated Wimber by 4-5 years. I believe if John were alive, he'd be in the thick of the "emerging conversation"; he was interested in and acting on many of the same issues.

One of the reasons "power evangelism" struck such a deep chord 20 years ago (!) was as a bible-study-and-prayer-fuelled reaction against 1) dry reductionist, intellectualist dualism; 2) avoiding the call of Jesus to discipleship- not a program, but as Willard describes, actual apprenticeship to Jesus (There's a well-known story about Wimber as a new believer asking a church elder, "When do we get to do the stuff Jesus did?"); 3) ignorance of Jesus' message of the Kingdom of God and reluctance to grapple with the Gospels- and probably more I can't think of on the fly. I am quite sure John would be appalled by any insinuation that the Spirit manifested ONLY in "signs and wonders". As far as I remember and understand it, his view regarding charismatic manifestations -John called them "gracelets"- was much more in line with yours, Kester, as a gift economy.

Thanks for posting about this Holy Spirit stuff- a major area of life in God that needs some serious engagement by emerging folks.



I think that some people trip over an idea that the only fruit that counts are these spiritual manifestations. Some people's gift is hospitality. And what a shame it would be to tell them "thank you for making me feel wellcome, but why don't you have the Holy Spirit?"


Quite right Robbie. One of the most important gifts, which, going with my thoughts above, really holds the body together more than 100 healings.

Dana, I'm not from a vineyard background, but have links with people who are. And speaking to them makes me think you are right, Wimber probably would have been right into the Emerging conversation

So on that Gareth, I would not want to support a theology that denied God the ability to do those things. At the same time, it's interesting to note Jesus' response to some of them: 'Don't tell anyone'. My hunch for why he did that goes back to the temptation in the desert to turn stones into bread and jump from the Temple: to be a magician, and stun people into the Kingdom. Jesus resisted that, as I've set out in the book.

Question: are church numbers falling because of a lack of 'power manifestations', or because people see the church lacking simple love and understanding? I'd go for the latter. Sceptics will always disbelieve power stuff. But no one can resist genuinely warm relationships. And I wonder if people expect too much from healings etc... which can take them beyond the proper realm of gift, *demanding* that people believe.

And no, Jason, sounds like a great book... Like to hear more.


I think Dana's comment that "signs and wonders" struck a deep chord 20 years ago is an important one. Signs and wonders were important in order to combat the prevailing ideologies of the day.

But today you'd be hard-pressed to find a lot of people who will flatly deny God's ability or willingness to do "miracles."

I think Kester is right, in that the great need of our day is Christians expressing simple love and acceptance, because there is a need to combat the prevailing ideology that equates Christianity with (at least in America) conservative Rebublican evangelical snobbishness. You're right: the great need is not for more power manifestations, but for genuine love to be expressed. And really being filled with love for others is just as "hard" as performing miraculous healings. The Holy Spirit is equally involved in both acts.


Great stuff!

You lot kinda got me thinking... the same sense of Holy Spirit I felt in meetings a decade ago with the whole *Toronto Blessings* malarchy is definately the same sense I feel when at the pub with mates, or whatever *normal* thing I'm doing. Obviously I don't observe this all the time,but there are occasions where the profound *rightness* or *God-ness* of a simple gift-relationship-act resound as much deep in me as any rolling around laughing, getting physically healed or having a great long prophetic vision!

You hit the nail on the head, peeps, thank you.

As an aside, K. What was the most improtant gift Jesus gave? Was it his life or his death? Which would you attribute more meaningfulness to? (probably bad grammar there!)


I totally agree with you K that some can see the miracles and not believe, but it's much harder to reject honest love.

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