by Dan Martin
Jim Cymbala recommends the Holy Spirit over legislation
Christianity does not need better church growth methods or more political clout in Washington, but a true Holy Ghost revival, according to Jim Cymbala.
"Christianity is hopeless without the Holy Ghost," the author of "Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire" told more than 9,000 participants at the Texas Baptist Evangelism Conference in the Fort Worth Convention Center January 31.
"You can give the people the words, but unless they are anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit, they are powerless," said Cymbala, pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle, a nationally known multi-racial, multi-cultural congregation in Brooklyn, N. Y.
"If doctrinal sermons were all that was needed, we would have won the entire world by now, but we need the Holy Spirit. Revival will not happen by doing methods or programs. We need an invasion from heaven; we need the power and blessing and anointing of the Holy Spirit on our churches and our work," he said.
Cymbala said the church was born in times of prayer. The first Christians had no buildings, no speaker systems, no orchestras, no choirs, no legal religion, no New Testaments to hand out, he said.
"Yet they turned Jerusalem upside down. And here we are complaining about who is in the White House. Shame on us. I don't care who is in the White House; if the Holy Spirit is moving on the church, we are going to win souls for the Lord Jesus Christ.
"I don't trust the Democrats. I don't trust the Republicans. The Bible says we are not to put our trust in princes.' I have seen Republicans in the White House. I have seen Democrats in the White House. I don't know what newspaper you are reading, or where you live, but have you seen any great change in our country in the last twenty or twenty-five years?
"We have had Reagan and Bush. We have had Carter and Clinton. Do you see any change in the country? It is going down the sewer.
"Why? Because political parties are not supposed to change America," Cymbala said. "The church is supposed to change America. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world."
He called on participants to surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit and to stop trusting in methods and human visions. In the New Testament, "the church was operated, evangelism was conducted and workers were raised up by the power of the Holy Spirit," he said.
Today, when it comes to calling workers, Cymbala charged that people "who have no validation [or] affirmation from the Holy Spirit are being chosen. Committees and deacon boards are not meeting together to pray and to seek God's face, but are making decisions based on job summaries and resumes and educational attainments."
Too many churches and pastors say they believe the Bible, but "when it comes to running the church or doing evangelism or calling leaders, they throw out the Bible and go by tradition or somebody's vision, or what somebody thinks the church should be like.
"When somebody tells me their vision' of the church I wonder why I should care what their vision of the church is? It is not their church. The church belongs to Jesus," he said.
"Guys stand up and talk about their vision for the church or what works' in church. I am interested in God's vision for the church. It is His church. He gave His Son; He gave us His book to show us what He wants His church to be and how He wants it run."
"Church growth has proved to be a mirage," he said. "Over ninety percent of what we call church growth is just moving Christians from one building to another. We are not having water baptismal services for eighty or ninety or one hundred people every other week. We are just moving people from one building to another; from First Nazarene to First Assembly, from First Presbyterian to First Methodist to First Baptist.
"What a way to waste your life, moving Christians from one building to another. Aren't there enough sinners around for us to do God's work?"
He also criticized the church growth movement's teaching that "homogenous units" grow faster.
"Churches that don't want black people or brown people or even poor white people, are not Spirit-filled churches. Nobody is dumb. That appeals to the prejudices of the people and makes a social club of the church."
On the issue of the Holy Spirit, Cymbala said Christendom is divided today, and "the devil is playing both sides."
"On one side, people are doing so many weird things that are not in the Bible and blaming it on the Holy Spirit. They are jerking, twitching, roaring like lions, tweeting like birds, acting like animals. Very few people in those circles have the guts to say, Stop! Wait a minute! That is not in the Bible. Can you imagine Jesus doing that, or Paul doing that?'
"These people are adding to the Word of God. They say He is doing a new thing, so new that it is not even in the Bible. If it is a new thing, I want to see the people in church, souls being won, people seeking the Lord.
"On the other side are those who have tossed the Spirit out the window. They have watched that foolishness on television those showoffs, those shysters, those con men, and don't want any of it.
"But how are you going to run a church without the Holy Spirit? Trying to do so results in little one-hour packaged protestant masses,' where there is no spontaneity, no Spirit, no anointing."
The many social problems that plague America today are a result of churches and Christians not living and acting in the power of the Spirit, Cymbala asserted.
"Don't tell me it's the culture, the environment," he said. "It is the lack of the presence of the Holy Spirit and His power in our lives. We are not going to change it by computers and committees or by fanaticism or foolishness or emotionalism or by throwing the Holy Spirit out of our churches.
"We need a revival. We need a Holy Ghost revival. We need the power of God in our lives."
Texas Baptist Communications via Baptist Standard