New Wine Articles
God's Manifest Presence

VII. Exposing Dangers Regarding the Manifestations

  1. Possibility of divisions and judgements within the body -- we must seek to avoid the "have's" and "have not's" mentality at all costs. this will truly grieve the Spirit of God (see Rom. 14 and 1 Cor. 12-14). Love for God and one another must remain the preeminent value of our community.

  2. Fanaticism -- in their enthusiasm, people can get carried away into excesses of behavior and be deluded into embracing strange and unbiblical ideas. This problem must be addressed as it arises. We should seek to do this with compassion both privately and publicly. This is a very delicate procedure, for the true fire of the Spirit will always be attended by a measure of "wild fire" introduced by the fleshly elements still resident within imperfect believers.

  3. Neglect of the less intoxicating and less noticeable aspects of our faith -- things such as: daily devotions, secret prayer, humble service, helping the poor, showing mercy, loving enemies, suffering patiently, honoring parents and other authorities, restraining appetites, training children, working 8 to 5, doing chores and errands, paying tithes, bills, and taxes, resolving relational conflicts, and being faithful friends.

  4. Casting off all restraints and disciplines in the name of "the liberty of the Spirit". This tension between liberty and restraint must be embraced by the whole church. We will not always agree with how this tension is stewarded by the members of the body. Be prepared to "swallow some gnats" to avoid "swallowing camels".

  5. Becoming distracted from focusing on God and other present purposes (i.e. passion for Jesus, small groups, community, intercession, evangelism) by undue time, fascination and attention given to the manifestations themselves.

  6. Falling into the pride of grace -- there is no uglier form of pride than the arrogant boastings or subtle self-righteousness of people who have been blessed by the Spirit. These graces are dispensed to magnify the grace and mercy of God and lead us into gratitude and humility. If we do not humble ourselves, God, in His love, will at some point allow us to be humiliated.

  7. Spreading of rumors and misinformation -- although some of this is unavoidable, with good communication and proper qualifiers they can be reduced. Take no delight in and work at doubting bad reports!

  8. Exalting outward manifestations above the inward and hidden work of the Spirit within people's hearts. Progressive internal transformation into the image of Jesus is the ultimate goal of the Spirit's work.

  9. Exalting the weak human instruments that God is especially using as catalysts in the work of the Spirit -- we must avoid any kind of "hero worship" within our hearts. However, the "facelessness" of Gods army does not mean that there will not be any visible leaders or prominent members with public ministries within the body. It refers to the attitude of humility, submission and deference that all the members and leaders embrace within their hearts.

Revised: October 19, 1995