I call it "being slimed" ... I knew it was real, but Peter Wagner does a great job of giving an illustration. I also believe it is affecting our worlds on all kinds of levels. I just want us to be aware.
Peter Wagner writes:
It was in the spring of 1986 that I first witnessed the influence of the spirit of religion seeking to resist the new God- directed times and seasons of the national Lutheran renewal movement. At a meeting of the national board, an article that raised the possibilities of new strategies was discussed at length. The prophetic were brought to the table for consideration. A proposal was made to host a strategic summit for all Lutheran charismatic leaders in North America to consider new strategies and seek God’s guidance concerning the coming ELCA merger.
At that point, the national board’s chairman, whom I shall call Karl (not his real name), stunned me by recommending that no response at all be made to either the merger plans or the prophetic words. His rationale for this non- response was twofold. First, he felt it would confuse the Lutheran charismatic laypeople, who for 15 years had been told to remain in their Lutheran congregations and to bloom where they were planted, as the saying goes. He asserted that it would be better to remain consistent, despite the lack of fruit seen over the previous 15 years. Second, he argued that new strategies that might encourage some Lutherans to leave their congregations could offend traditional institutional church leaders.
After a heated discussion, I was amazed to watch as all but two of the board members backed Karl’s recommendation that no response be made to the prophetic words. A vote on hosting a leaders’ summit to consider the implications of the ELCA merger was rejected almost unanimously.
I walked away from that meeting feeling confused and disillusioned. I could not understand how a group of seasoned national leaders, who knew how to move with the Holy Spirit, would fail to gather and give leadership to their renewal- oriented constituents at such a historic moment.
An AMAZING REVERSAL
A few days after that meeting, the Lord told me to host a national leaders’ summit for Lutheran charismatics in my hometown in upstate New York. After some serious prayer, I accepted this challenge and began praying about whom to invite as main speakers. To my great consternation I felt strongly led by the Spirit to invite most of the leaders from the national renewal committee, who only weeks before had voted against meeting to consider the ELCA merger.
I made the calls, and I was amazed as each leader whom I invited to speak accepted immediately. Most of them added comments to the effect that they believed this leaders’ summit was desperately needed at this time. Of course, I asked them why they had changed their minds. It seemed that each one, upon leaving the spiritual atmosphere of the national board meeting, had found his outlook completely changed.
Why, without talking among themselves, would a dozen decisive leaders change their minds so completely? I believe the corporate spirit of religion had been able to create a fear of departing from the strategies of the past.
Somehow Karl had submitted to the influence of this spirit, and his leadership of the national board had spread the spirit’s influence. This corporate spirit of religion had controlled these strong leaders by stirring in them an irrational loyalty to their denomination, which in turn had successfully blocked their ability to act on real data or on tested prophetic direction.
Once I acted upon these prophetic words and decided to convene the new summit, it seemed that the power of the spirit of religion had been broken. The national summit was held in September 1987 with most of the national board leaders fully involved. That event turned out to be a milestone. It changed the strategy of the Lutheran charismatic movement in the United States, setting thousands of Spirit- filled Lutherans free to follow their Lord’s guidance into more fruitful involvement in the great harvest. It also helped birth three new submovements and it strengthened
several preexisting conservative Lutheran groups.
The Religious Spirit by