IT WAS a little over a year ago that a group of scholars met in Georgia to study the charismatic movement and its relationship to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. A number of very helpful papers were presented and certain conclusions were reached that have since been passed out to the workers in various parts of the world field. This material has been much appreciated and has helped many of our workers and members to know how to deal with this issue of current importance.
Since that time a number of others among us have written and spoken on this topic. Doubtless much more could be said and writ ten. It is our hope, however, that the articles in this issue will add much to our store of knowledge on glossolalia and some of the other manifestations of the charismatic movement.
We need to study prayerfully and earnestly, and understand more and more about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We must be able to give a satisfactory explanation to the apostle's arguments in 1 Corinthians 14. But more important, we must be able to clearly distinguish between the genuine and the counterfeit and to so guide our dear people that they will be safeguarded against deception in any form and fanaticism in all of its forms.
This is the time when all of God's people, led by His ministers, should be diligently preparing for the latter rain and the mighty manifestation of the power of God that will accompany it. We are not only to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, but we are to be activated and motivated by Him to the point where He is able to accomplish miracles of grace through us. There is no doubt that God wants a church in which all the gifts of the Spirit, including tongues and miracles, will be operating in perfect working condition. Through His church will eventually be made manifest, even to principalities and powers in heavenly places, the final and full display of the love of God. Great things will take place under the power of the second Pentecost. Miracles will be wrought. Devils will be rebuked and cast out. The sick will be healed and souls by the thousands will be converted and won to this blessed message. This is the promise of God and in spite of all the counterfeits He will keep His word.
There is an ultimate and very present danger, however. It is that while we seek to fortify ourselves and our people against the counterfeit, we shall close our hearts and minds to the genuine. This we must not do. We do not know in every detail just how God will work in the closing scenes, but we do know that He will work. He will work in His own way, manifesting His presence and power. It may be a duplication of the first Pentecost, or it may be an entirely different manifestation. Whatever the method, it will be one that will meet the needs of His church and His work in the world today. The important thing is for us to so submit ourselves to the control of the Holy Spirit that we can become His instruments to bring the lost into a saving knowledge of the truth in Christ Jesus and to manifest His glory and power in such a convincing way that He will be up lifted in His saving ministry in be half of lost souls.
The presence and power of the Spirit is available to the church, its members and leaders, now. Let us fully, intelligently, open our hearts to Him and allow Him to accomplish His work in and for us and then through us for the world.