On Moving to the Spirit – Part 3

Throughout this conference, I tasted a form of charismatic Christianity quite different from the kind in New Creation Church. In fact, Vineyard and many charismatics would differ from New Creation on things like physical healing, inner healing, prophecy and deliverance. Not a huge difference because New Creation is still a charismatic church, but a big enough difference for people to note that New Creation does do things quite differently.

I think it’s what Pastor Prince and others (maybe pastor Henry?) have experienced early on in their charismatic Christian lives that have shaped their thinking and practice today. And I’ve heard enough through Pastor Prince’s sermons to know that they are wary of what they feel are extreme charismatic practices – he often makes fun of and disagrees with some common charismatic beliefs and practices related to prophecy, demonization and healing. I appreciate the discernment they’ve tried to show as there needs to be a lot of discernment in the charismatic movement! I do agree with some of the criticisms Pastor Prince has put forward and am challenged to think more about others which I may not agree with. Sometimes, however, I do feel that he’s tended to over-react in the opposite direction, but I’ll not be dogmatic about my disagreements because I’ve still much to learn and am open to learn from him and others.

So while I’m certainly no expert in all of this, in this post and the next one I’ll write down some thoughts (and questions) that have been on my mind:

I think one of the major differences I see between New Creation Church on the one hand and say Vineyard churches and churches like Bethel Church in Redding (pastored by Bill Johnson) on the other is in terms of equipping. John Wimber, a founder of the Vineyard, believed that “everyone gets to play” – i.e. lay people get to do the stuff like healing and deliverance and not just pastors or leaders. John Wimber and Vineyard thus believe in equipping and teaching the whole body of Christ to move in the gifts of the Spirit. They don’t believe we need to go to some anointed leader for ministry because God can use everyone and each of us (not just leaders or pastors) should seek to be equipped so that we can bless others. In the same way, Bethel Church is famous for equipping people to move in the Spirit – not just within the church walls, but especially so outside the church walls as in these testimonies of healing happening in a grocery store and at Disneyland. This equipping emphasis is the same for Curry Blake’s ministry.

New Creation Church is probably the best in the world for the preaching of the message of grace, but it’s very much focused on one person and the teaching/preaching gift of one person. To me, this has resulted in the neglect of equipping the lay people to move in the various spiritual gifts. To be sure, New Creation doesn’t believe that only Pastor Prince or the pastors are anointed to heal, but that every member can heal. But they definitely don’t equip them in this area or provide opportunities for members to practice the various miraculous spiritual gifts.

Through speaking to many New Creation members (past and present) and through my own experience in different cell groups, leaders and the members aren’t encouraged to move in the spiritual gifts, nor is time made available for it – the main focus of the cells is the teaching. Pastor Prince and other top leaders seem to be able to move in the various gifts, but it seems to stop there and not go down to the cell leaders or even more importantly the cell members.

Pastor Prince has mentioned before (something like) that there’s no need to teach or learn about hearing God’s voice because we all do hear God’s voice if we’re Christians. In a sense, that’s totally true. I believe we all do hear God’s voice. But that’s not really the issue. When Christians say they don’t hear God’s voice, the problem is that they find it difficult to distinguish between their thoughts, the devil’s voice and God’s voice and many Christians (like myself) desire to grow in this area and move in the prophetic gift (following 1 Cor. 14:1). There is a need and a place for teaching on this subject and encouraging Christians to practice hearing (discerning) God’s voice for it’s not something that happens automatically. So I disagree when the need to be taught about hearing (discerning) God’s voice (and the need for practice) is dismissed so easily and Christians are not equipped to move in this area.

The same for prophecy. I think it can definitely be unhealthy if everyone goes to seek out another person who is gifted in prophecy for a word for their lives, but the solution isn’t to neglect prophesying (1 Cor. 14:1). The potential abuse of a gift should not result in the neglect of it, but rather the proper and biblical use of it.

My idea of a local church isn’t that of a group of people centering around the gifts of one person, or even the gifts of the leaders. Every member should be equipped – they should be taught to pursue them and they should be given opportunities to develop and practice them and move in their various gifts in ministry to the rest of the members. I mentioned before what happened in a service at Church of Our Saviour (COOS). I think it’s wonderful when the youth were used by God through Words of Knowledge and Gifts of Healings to heal the sick. That’s the body of Christ functioning – each playing a part. No one is a spectator when everyone is equipped to move in the gifts God has given them. But first they have to be intentionally equipped.

The many practical things I’ve learned since the conference have all been due to the leaders I’ve encountered understanding the importance of equipping the body of Christ. The leaders I’ve met have all acknowledged that we can all do the same things that they do. They’ve acknowledged that we all have different gifts which we can use to serve each other.

To be sure, understanding the Word is important for a Christian’s growth, but there’s more to doing church and blessing others than understanding the Word of God.

In the next post, I’ll share a bit of my thoughts on common charismatic practices like generational curses, conditions for healing, inner healing, intercessory prayer and the desperate attitude (for God’s presence and just more of Him) common in many charismatic churches – as it relates to New Creation view of things.

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7 Comments

  1. I can see you are eager to move in the Lord.

    You see human efforts to push the lay man to do the calling of God and you claimed NCC did not do that.

    Well, what you do not know is there is a God, Jesus, who is doing this part. That is why you can’t see him. He is invisible and is present in all child of God.

    Just like the equipping of Pastor Prince, it’s Lord himself that was and is still leading him. Why he emphasize so much on we have to know how righteous we are made in God thru Christ Jesus?

    It’s when you know how righteous in God thru Christ Jesus, Lord who is within you will lead you to be a useful vessel for Him.

    Let not glorify what man has done. I know when situation arise, Lord do come thru any child of God to heal.

    But what Lord wants is for His children to be so full of Jesus that He could operates freely in them.

    So what New Creation Church has been doing is what Lord has led. To be use by Lord, follow Psalm 23 leading and be patient learning about Jesus.

    Glory Glory! Amen Amen!

  2. “” Through speaking to many New Creation members (past and present) and through my own experience in different cell groups, leaders and the members aren’t encouraged to move in the spiritual gifts, nor is time made available for it – the main focus of the cells is the teaching. Pastor Prince and other top leaders seem to be able to move in the various gifts, but it seems to stop there and not go down to the cell leaders or even more importantly the cell members.””

    Dude, perhaps you just need to ask around MORE.. lol.. because there IS time made available, and MANY people around NCC who have manifested the gifts of the spirit..

    I serve in the youth ministry and we just recently have people come back from thailand, and they have seen miracles. Even during your ordinary CG, we laid hands on a brother with wrist injury and it was fixed 10 minutes later! We believe in “His Power, Your Hands” and we boldly pray for our own classmates in school and they are blessed!!

    One day amen, we will raise someone from the dead!

  3. I think, given the rapid growth of NCC in recent years, Pastor Prince may have placed priority on strengthening the foundation of newly joined members in the gospel of grace.

    I believe that the gifts of the Spirit need to be rooted in a clear understanding of the gospel for them to be effective, otherwise the gifts may possibly be abused, rather than properly used to bless others.

    While I sense that there is now a renewed emphasis on drumming the gospel into relatively new members’ minds and hearts, I believe NCC has not neglected the equipping of members who have been with the church for quite some time eg. Pastor Henry has already conducted a few Healing & Financial Breakthrough seminars and a CD of his teachings are available for purchase.

  4. yea.. I think this is a very effective safeguard to prevent us from taking something and making it a ritual or a badge of spirituality, one person unable to produce much healing miracles should not feel less than one who can..

    Focus on grace, and His love, and what belongs to you as a blood-bought right(not our blood but HIS) and people will dare to ask, dare to draw near and dare to lay hands and pray and prophesy..

    ^^

  5. I’m not in NCC but something to add to the above.

    My understanding concurs with what Stanley has shared in his first two paragraphs. I have inquired about this aspect of NCC as SHF has, and I ‘feel’ that God is ‘drumming’ the message of grace into the hearts of the congregation, until such a time when He will release NCC into greater ministry focus.

  6. Hey Josh,

    I’ve been to a few non-youth NCC cells. Things may be slightly different in the youth side (cells, services, camps), I hear, but I’m only speaking from the experiences of those who have been to adult cells.

    Stanley and Tim, yes, it’s great that NCC has a focus on grace and perhaps that’s what it is doing – establishing the members in the foundation of grace. I’ve learned from Pastor Prince that even faith has as its foundation the grace of God – seeing how good God is inspires faith in a person. However, I’m thinking here of Andrew Wommack’s call to balance grace and faith.

    Stanley, I would think that Pastor Henry so-called healing seminars are not really equipping seminars at all – I’ve been to two of them. The focus is on one person on stage. That’s not really equipping the lay people to do the work. However, the recent one or two seminars saw them taking a step forward in terms of getting the lay leaders to pray for the sick in the front also. I think a lot more can be done in equipping and training even lay members to move in faith for healing.

    Anyway, I do hope to see New Creation become a healing/miracle centre in Singapore. Cheers!

  7. Hi,

    Here to share, Lord have plan on how to prosper New Creation. The time is near, it’s all about the Glory of Jesus. When He manifest, what you see in the bible you will see in real life. Such healing is coming to New Creation Church. This manifestation of Jesus is coming in a few stage.

    If you see the Middle East situation, Ezekiel 38 – 39 prophecy is happening soon. After that, you will see NCC becoming a healing centre. It’s all about showing the Glory of Jesus. It’s about He and He, the only ONE GOD! All these are scheduled to happen soon. Just wait and see and you will see it coming to past.

    At present, the enemy is building the situation to point of no return. When many nations plan an attack on Israel, you will see everything coming into place.

    Lord leads and teach. It’s those that willing to hear Him and sit on His Foot to learn will benefit. The more you learn about Jesus, you will be like Him. Lord then could come out of you to do mighty work. It is not you working, you are the vessel for Him to go through to show His miracle.

    Don’t look at how leader in care group leads. I could see different level of faith in the 2 I went to. Sis also could see from the 2 she had been to.

    It’s not how others have been doing. It’s about if you are willing to sit on the feet of Jesus and hear Him, let your heart be a fertile ground that over time, you could bear fruit. Not that you move in the gift of the spirit, but the spirit comes through you to manifest the gifts…to others, it’s you move, but actually, it’s the Lord in you who is doing the job. Your part is to rest in Him and let Him comes through. This is what Lord is teaching thru the pastors in NCC, you rest and He do the work!!!

    Glory Glory! Amen Amen!

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