How many JesusPeople & Charismatic converts finish the race?

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morbo3000
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How many JesusPeople & Charismatic converts finish the race?

Post by morbo3000 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 9:18 pm

In your experience, what has been the lasting impact in terms of personal discipleship of people who were saved from these movements? Have people finished the race?

This week, a pillar from my childhood church committed suicide. This was one more in a series of flame-outs from my post-Jesus People/ Charismatic church of people who I believe were genuine in their conversion and filled with the spirit. And one more let-down of a pre-teen who was drawn to the passionate expression of following Jesus. And not just me, who has stayed a Christian. Many of my friends from the youth group are disillusioned because of the disparity between the passion of their parents in their youth, and the lifelong fruits.

My family switched churches from Presbyterian > Charismatic in around 1981. My mom had been filled with the holy spirit with speaking in tongues. I believe this was an inheritance of Dennis Bennet's holy spirit in-filling and subsequent ministry in the Pacific Northwest. But there were also post-JesusPeople converts in the church. These were exciting days. I saw 2nd Chapter of Acts, Phil Keaggy, and Chuck Girard, Sweet Comfort Band at a local church that was at the center of the renewal/revival, whatever you call it. I voraciously listened to the sermon tapes of my pastor. Went to exciting retreats. Things weren't weird like lots of prophecies and speaking in tongues. But there was a definite intentionality about being a Christian.

It's been a huge disappointment to see these people flame out. It's not just moral failures either. There is a definite lack of passion among those that didn't flame out.

This is especially for Steve who was in the thick of the Jesus people movement.
When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.
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Jepne
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Re: How many JesusPeople & Charismatic converts finish the r

Post by Jepne » Sat Jan 03, 2015 7:47 pm

I met the Lord at a house full of Hippies who had been evangelized by some Assembly of God folks in the early 70s. My close friend who took me to that gathering fell away within two years.

However, one of them has a huge outreach in Israel under Dan Juster, another worked at a Teen Challenge center and now has an outreach in Albuquerque - others have been to Africa and the Middle East drilling wells for the poor and working among the Kurds. Another of my friends from those days became principle of the school attached to the church that came out of that movement. I don't know that any of them thinks that speaking in tongues and prophesying is ''weird''.

If people think that they don't need the gifts of the Spirit of God that Jesus gave for the building up of the Body of Christ, should anyone be surprised their love would wax cold!

1Co 14:1 ¶ Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.
1Co 14:12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.
"Anything you think you know about God that you can't find in the person of Jesus, you have reason to question.” - anonymous

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steve
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Re: How many JesusPeople & Charismatic converts finish the r

Post by steve » Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:25 am

Hi morbo3000,

I have observed much of the same phenomena that you describe, and, frankly, I can't understand it, other than to blame it on the fickleness of human nature. I often say that, without doing a scientific poll, my estimate is that about half of the Jesus People I knew fell away. I don't know how accurate that statistic would prove to be if it were calculated more carefully, nor how characteristic a sampling of the Jesus people my circle would be in such calculations.

In trying to understand why so many have fallen away, I can only imagine certain possibilities:

1) A crowd attracts a crowd. In every revival, there are aimless inquirers and curiosity seekers who tag along and play the game. Some of them don't even know that they are playing a game, because they assume that what they are doing is what everyone is doing, and that their level of commitment is about normal—when, in fact, they may have very little commitment, and even less actual acquaintance with God. They feel that they believe what everyone around them is saying, and that they are feeling the same things others testify to, and they mistake acquaintance with the lingo, the songs, the doctrines, and the protocol for an actual acquaintance with God. But for them, God is not as real as are the stresses and trials of real life. They soon feel that Jesus "isn't working" for them, and conclude that it was little more than a youthful phase they went through. In fact, they are probably right.

2) The intense expectation, raised by the teaching in the movement, that Jesus was coming very soon caused many to "get right with God at the eleventh hour" and to exult in the prospect of being raptured while still young, healthy, single and childless. The delay in the expected parousia resulted in these people having to settle into real jobs, raise families, pay bills, and grow old in the real world of sickness, loss, and disappointment. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Some of these people were willing to forsake all and follow Christ for the short duration that they thought remained of the world's future, but when it began to look as if this might involve a lifetime of faithfulness, they wondered whether they really believed in all that stuff enough to invest the only lifetime they might have in it. I think some decided it was too big a price to pay for something that seemed less and less like a sure thing with every passing year.

3) Some were converted under some charismatic, health and wealth preaching. They were assured that faith was supposed to ward off all negative features of existence in the fallen world. It usually doesn't take long or much real-life experience to discover that faith is not a magic wand to wave over and eradicate problems. They might have been better prepared for this fact, had they not been misled to believe that the Bible promises certain things along these lines, which, upon proving to be untrue, casts doubt on the reliability of the scriptures on all other matters.

4) Some, I think, have been weeded out through the regular process of trials, valleys, dark nights of the soul, and other of the normal facts of life that are designed to turn back the fearful and unbelieving, and to mature the saints. They became weary of well-doing. They forgot that the world is a battleground, and that the enemy is relentless. The tests came to them, as to all people. They were tried and found wanting. They had never considered, while following Jesus, what this might cost them, or what the world might offer them in exchange for their defection from their faith. They had a price. The devil paid it and bought them.

5) The converts, being predominantly young people, were generally single and minimally employed (at least here in California). They had a lot of time in which to attend nightly meetings, spend hours daily reading the Bible, witnessing on the beach, living communally in ministry houses with other like-minded radicals. Its easy to keep the fire burning with so may hot coals banked against the night. Moving into higher education, full-time employment, marriage and family life reduced the time available for hanging out in Bible studies and fellowship gatherings. Those who were strong survived. Those whose spiritual fervor depended upon these supports drifted off into the haze.

Of course, having suggested that perhaps half of the Jesus People may have fallen away, one should remember that once the fruitless branched have been pruned, there are still a lot of good, fruitful branches that sprang forth during that revival. When Calvary Chapel was baptizing 1,000 converts a month, if only half remained to this day in the faith, that would still be 6,000 new converts a year from that one church, to say nothing of the other churches around the world that were also seeing a large harvest. On balance, the Jesus Movement still bore a great deal of good fruit.

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Re: How many JesusPeople & Charismatic converts finish the r

Post by Candlepower » Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:00 pm

Matthew 13:18-23

18 “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

75% fell away in this parable, though I don’t think this percentage is intended as an absolute. And I think Steve’s answer aptly illustrates that the Parable (sadly) is still true.

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morbo3000
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Re: How many JesusPeople & Charismatic converts finish the r

Post by morbo3000 » Sun Jan 04, 2015 11:42 pm

I appreciate all your answers.

Does anyone know revival history well enough to compare and contrast retention in previous movements?

The great awakenings?

Azusa Street?

Paul Yongi Cho's churches in Korea?
When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.
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Jepne
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Re: How many JesusPeople & Charismatic converts finish the r

Post by Jepne » Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:42 pm

Baptising 1,000 a month!? That would be the 'thick' of it! In Santa Fe, we numbered only around a hundred, and had elders who were older men who had been lifelong Christians - stable, quiet-spirited and wise. But too many wanted a big building and a king - when that happened, it grew, but the intimacy of it got lost. Within ten years, those I spoke of went out and then I moved to another state. A 'word church' sprang up and a Calvary Chapel as well.

Around '74, Kenneth Copeland was just beginning to talk of going on TV, Katherine Kuhlman was still going strong, and the 700 Club had just begun.

I heard there was a study done of the converts from the Billy Graham crusades and very few stayed with the Lord. Teen Challenge has grown to be worldwide and with a huge success rate.
"Anything you think you know about God that you can't find in the person of Jesus, you have reason to question.” - anonymous

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Mitzi
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Re: How many JesusPeople & Charismatic converts finish the r

Post by Mitzi » Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:55 am

I was raised in a Pentecostal environment meaning my grandparents were Pentecostal and my parents probably were something. I think they believed but didn't "practice" Christianity in a religious sense. My grandparents were the type that never missed a service however and I can remember when I would go visit them, that each night they would both get down by their bed and pray in tongues loudly. They prayed over every meal and today those memories remain with me and I'm quite sure it is through their prayers the Lord finally reached me when I was 33 years old.

I remember going to church with a friend and her mother when I was 12, it was a Baptist church. Those Baptist preachers can sure give some wonderful sermons. I remember the Lord tugging on me during the altar call and I made a conscious decision to say no because I wanted to "live". When we left the building I thought I would be struck by lightning but I wasn't so I thought all was well, but then my life fell into a black hole and stayed there 21 years.

When I was 33 my father was in the hospital having a stent put in an artery and I went to the hospital to visit him. There was a Pentecostal pastor and his side-kick, I don't know what they're called, but anyway they were there together and began talking to me in the waiting room. I was totally living in darkness and my life was a total and complete wreck. The pastor asked me about my relationship with the Lord and I remember telling him that I was like one of those people who, when the word came the seed fell on dry ground and I didn't have any root in me so I fell away. He laughed and said "sister, I think you got more root in you than you think!". I didn't understand until much later why he thought that. He asked if they could pray with me and I said yes. We held hands and prayed and I went home.

That night I was actually planning to commit suicide. I was married to a terrible alcoholic, I couldn't take care of my children and had asked my mother to take my 3 children. (she didn't know what I was thinking). I was going to have surgery and couldn't afford to keep my little trailer that I rented and was going to be homeless. I was such a failure as a mother and a human being that all I wanted was for my children to have a chance and since I was an unfit mother and human being I was going to end it. When I got back to the trailer a thought came to me. I thought why not look in a bible and see if the answers were there before I did anything too drastic. So I opened it and began reading it. I fell asleep with it open across my chest and woke up about 3am. I turned on the lamp and began reading it again. I started reading about Jesus walking on water and suddenly I realized this guy really walked on water and if that's true then this whole book is true! Impossible but true! That instant I felt light flood into my eyes and then flood my entire body. I was stunned!

The t.v. was on , I looked at it and there was this pastor on there asking people to come to his house for a bible study the next evening and gave his address. I have often wondered if that really happened or if I had been invited by an angel because I have never before or since seen a pastor get on t.v. and invite people to a bible study and give out his home address, so I've wondered. Anyway, I went to that address the next evening and it was a grand house, very affluent and the woman who met me at the door very attractive and upscale, unlike me the pathetic wasted trailer trash standing at her door. Her husband come up behind her and met me. He took my hand and shook it and I saw light around his head and this most beautiful smile but more than anything I felt this amazing love. I sat stunned through the entire bible study at the love I felt in this room. The women , of whom there were many, were all nervous around me and not so welcoming but he was so kind. I saw the love of God in this man and knew that it was the love of God that was missing from my life and I had to have it. I began going to that little Pentecostal preacher's church and was stunned to find my dad there the same first Sunday I went. He and I were baptized together a few weeks later. I was baptized on Oct 8th, 1989. The following Wednesday I went to a different church to see a friends daughter being baptized and it was there I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. All this was happening to me, I didn't even know I was supposed to be doing all this stuff. It's like I was just being carried and I discovered later I had done everything the way I was supposed to but didn't know I was supposed to.

I'm telling you all this because of the nature of this post, and it is part of my testimony, that when God really intervenes in a persons life and they are really
"saved" or "born again" there's no question about it. I know my conversion experience was radical and unusual but I also understand many women in the bible. The woman wiping Jesus feet with her tears, the woman with the alabaster box and the woman at the well. Mary Magdalene and all the other women throughout the bible of which Jesus was able to have mercy which society could only hate and shun. So for me, when I see someone who is playing at Christianity, I spot it immediately. I have a sister who never left the Lord, was always a Christian, and she's been a great example for me and always loved me no matter what. Her growth was slow and steady but sure. She didn't have a radical experience like I did but she quietly grew, was easily ignored, but was always faithful to Him. So whether a person is plucked out the fire or tenderly and gently raised the evidence is the same, and unyielding and loving devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ and to others but especially to those who are also of the family of God. If a person like us falls away, well I just don't think it's possible. I'd rather die a thousand deaths and have my eyes plucked out and burned at the stake or whatever, than to ever have to lose my most precious love, Jesus Christ. So in my experience, if they fall away, how could they have ever really known Him?

(I have left the Pentecostal denomination. After years of study and much confusion over all these doctrines I just can't seem to find a place to fit in. So I come to this forum and read what I can, visit with other Christians online and have a few Christian relatives and friends. I have fellowship with my sister and my 3 grown children, who are all Christians, Praise be to God!)

mitzi

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robbyyoung
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Re: How many JesusPeople & Charismatic converts finish the r

Post by robbyyoung » Tue Jan 13, 2015 6:11 am

That was a wonderful testimony Mitzi ;) .

God Bless.

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Jepne
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Re: How many JesusPeople & Charismatic converts finish the r

Post by Jepne » Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:35 pm

Oh Mitzi - how lovely. Thank you for telling your story.

"So in my experience, if they fall away, how could they have ever really known Him?"
I also was radically plucked out of the fire, but I'm afraid that over the years there have been times when I wonder if I know him at all, and then when I see him up close again I wonder how I could have ever been so far away.

So, there is that scripture in Hebrews which says it is impossible for a person who has known him to be restored once again, but I read a book which contained several testimonies of people who came to the Lord, ended up in prison, came to the Lord again, over and over in a cycle which ended with them finally finding stability in him when they were in middle age.

It shocked me when I was a new believer and talking about Jesus to a younger woman, she dismissed me with, "Oh, I used to be into Jesus and all that." I was too flabberghasted to ask her what happened.

Bart Ehrmann's faith hung on the inerrancy of the scriptures - when he saw some inconsistencies, he remained a biblical scholar but lost his faith.
"Anything you think you know about God that you can't find in the person of Jesus, you have reason to question.” - anonymous

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Re: How many JesusPeople & Charismatic converts finish the r

Post by Paidion » Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:37 pm

Thank you so much, Mitzi. I was deeply touched by the story of your experience. It's also great to know of people like your sister who was faithful throughout her life.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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