Prayer Meetings Credited for Start of Charismatic Movement, Charles Simpson
It is exciting to know that God is about to pour out His Spirit mightily upon the Earth. Looking back at past moves of God in history is just an appetizer to the great and mighty things that God is about to do. It is important to recognize how God has moved in generations past because it provides precious wisdom for the days ahead. One of those mighty moves of God’s Spirit was the Charismatic Renewal Movement that took place in the 1960’s & 1970’s. Charles Simpson was one of these leaders in that explosion of God’s Spirit. Simpson recently sat down with VFNtv and shared about his experiences in the epicenter of God moving in his generation.
Reminiscing about his early days, Simpson recalls of his fond memories when the Church would gather in each other’s homes. “It takes some clarity, and preparation, and understanding, and it’s gotta be more than a program…It’s gotta be real. You gotta have real relationships. This is not just a program or a system.” Simpson’s continuing words echo what Jesus called us to walk out as family. “It’s where two or three are gathered in His name, and love one another, and deal with issues…” As he explains, during the late 1960’s, home groups were becoming more and more prevalent. “In fact, the Charismatic Movement was really started out of home prayer meetings.”
As the conversation continues, Simpson emphasizes how the Church thrives on these authentic relationships that are found in families. “This is a natural thing that is happening all over the world, and the more persecution, the more it’s happening, because we need support. We need spiritual family.” It is in this revelation that Simpson expresses how spiritual family does not necessarily mean natural family. “Sometimes, in some of these areas, natural family is not supportive, and so, you need spiritual family.” It is the ingredient of close personal spiritual relationships within the Body of Christ that is an integral step after one receives the Gospel.
In parts of the world where persecution is present, and increasing, the Body of Christ is growing more and more as they relate to one another in home groups. “Well the networking of small groups was a big factor, and the revival created more of it, and it’s somewhat subsided, I think, I may be wrong, but I think it’s coming back.” Simpson points to what is taking place in Iran as an example. “In certain countries, where there’s persecution, it’s massive. The biggest, largest, fastest growing Church in the world is in Iran. And, there are other areas where Christianity is burgeoning under persecution.” The reality of persecution brings clarity to our choices. Either we are for Christ or not. When people are being arrested for following Jesus Christ it brings instant awareness of the reality of consequences that can soon become your reality. As Simpson describes, “your discernment level moves up a few notches, and you start knowing people in a different way; and you begin to tell whether they’re believers or not, or whether they’re hungry or not”.
It is so important that we heed these words and understand them because this is how Jesus told us to relate to one another, as family. Be sure to see the whole conversation with Charles Simpson, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: The Church as family, spiritual family, natural families, prayer groups, prayer meetings, persecution, Iran, and love. Greg Lancaster and Charles Simpson shared in this segment.
Division and Contention in the Church Over Charismatic Movement – Charles Simpson
When the Holy Spirit comes powerfully into our lives, it can cause such a dramatic shift and change in our lives, that people will divide themselves from us. As one of the leaders in the Charismatic Renewal Movement, Charles Simpson saw this firsthand when he witnessed Holy Spirit move upon the landscape of America in the 1960’s and 70’s. In a recent conversation with VFNtv, Charles Simpson openly shared as to what lengths he was willing to go when Holy Spirit came into his life to meet with like-hearted people. Simpson explains, “I remember when I first got baptized in the Spirit, I’d drive 1,000 miles just to be with people that understood what was happening to me”. When God comes into your life, you desperately want people who know and can relate to what God is doing in your life.
In these moments, it was such a profound moment when the Holy Spirit was moving as so many people were being touched by His presence. Describing how significant the move of God was in the 60’s and 70’s, Greg Lancaster uses these words; “it caused the denominations themselves to say ‘hold off. We don’t need to keep going this direction…’almost put like a bookmark that says ‘stop going the direction you’re going in’…like Holy Spirit just interrupted…” The landscape in America experienced a slippery slope of sliding morals in the 60’s and 70’s. It was as if the Holy Spirit kept the Church from following the same path. Simpson explains, “I hate to be so general, because there’s a lot of variety within denomination, but denominations generally seemed to be sliding. You had the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches that were dominated by liberal people. It was a lot of people from those groups got baptized by Holy Spirit because they were hungry for God.” It was in these moments that denominations looked up Charismatics with apprehensiveness. “All denominations became afraid of Charismatics.” Regardless of denomination or label, Simpson expresses what we need right now. “To reach this culture, it’s gonna take the power of God.”
In the present culture of incessant information and stimulation overload, Simpson recognizes that it’s going to take something special and significant to get the attention of this generation. “Getting people’s attention in this culture is no easy thing. They’re very occupied with a lot of different things, so they’ve got to see something that they say, ‘that’s not normal’, that’s what it’s gonna take.” Simpson continues to express his beliefs that this is going to affect all realms of society. He also shares what he witnessed when God moves like this in a society. “You saw a lot of breaking out. A lot of coffee houses were started. A lot of home groups were started. There were a lot of things going on outside the church, and inside the church as well, but I think that what you’re talking about, if God moves again, it will be more stark than it was in the 60’s and 70’s.” When looking at present day, and the culture that we’re in, Simpson describes why he believes it will be this way. “I really think we’re in a more secular culture than we’ve ever been in, and I think it’s gonna happen in places where it will be forbidden to happen; but it will happen: schools, business places, because God’s intent is the whole world, not just the Church.”
It is so exciting and encouraging reminiscing about the wonders of the Lord. If God has done His mighty works in past generations, He can do the same in our generation. We can have faith for greater and mightier things in present day. Be sure to see the whole conversation with Charles Simpson, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: baptism of Holy Spirit, 7 Mountains of Culture, denominations, division, and evangelism. Greg Lancaster and Charles Simpson shared in this segment.