What Was Learned in the Discipleship Movement? Charles Simpson Part 2

 

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In the 1960’s and 1970’s God mightily poured out His Spirit in America in what is now known as the Charismatic Renewal Movement. Charles Simpson was one of the leaders in the epicenter of this move of God. When Charles Simpson recently sat down with VFNtv, they continued the discussion about the many different lessons and experiences that took place in Simpson’s life. Specifically, Simpson talks about Jesus’ command to make disciples and how we are to walk that out in our lives.

No relationship can be forced. For a relationship to be authentic, there must be a freedom to both leave and be present, for both individuals. This also applies to spiritual relationships. Simpson explains, “A lot of people, I think, try to make disciples in the sense that they’re aggressively try to grab people and I don’t think that works. First of all, the person that allows you to do that is not a very strong person.” We may want to disciple others. The question is: do others want to be discipled? “I think that if you are willing to make disciples, you can lead people to Christ and see if God gives them to you to train.” If we ever try to do something in our own strength, including discipling others and being discipled ourselves, the results never end well. In all things, we need the Holy Spirit.

Simpson continues to talk about the necessity to allow Holy Spirit to guide in the desire to disciple others in Christ. “You can’t change people. Discipling is not changing people. Changes will come but the Holy Spirit has to change hearts.” As Simpson recalls his first attempts of discipling, he reminds us that everyone is not the same. “Your job is not to bring conformity. Your job is to relate to them and bring out of them what God put in them.” This is not done in our own abilities. It is only through Holy Spirit that these miraculous transformations are realized. Simpson continues, “If [God] gave them to you, and they’re willing, and you’re functioning in the Holy Spirit, there will be a change, there will be a transformation.” Greg Lancaster responds by pointing out how “giftings can take us places that our character can’t keep us”. We cannot become gift focused, becoming blinded by someone’s talents, or even our own talents, at the cost of neglecting our own character, or the need to help someone grow their own character. It is this often dichotomy of gifts versus character that reveal the need for personal relationships and personal accountability in our lives.

Greg continues to elaborate on the reality that gifts do not define us when he points to the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23, ““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Just because something good may be happening, does not necessarily mean that everything is right in ones’ life with the Lord.

Simpson points out, in light of these Biblical truths, there was a need to bring corrected Biblical teachings because teachings that were quickly spreading weren’t aligning Biblically. “There were all kinds of strange things running around because the person out there in the audience, or in the home group, heard ‘a gift’, or somebody who was articulate…it was a move of the Holy Spirit so everything ‘had to be of God’”.   Just because something is ‘taught’ in the middle of a move of God, does not necessarily mean it is of the Lord.

Simpson recalls the spiritual landscape in the 1960’s and 1970’s. When people were moving away from denominations, trying to keep people focused on Biblical teaching and authority brought its own difficulties. Simpson explains, “But we knew there had to be some spiritual authority, or discernment. And so, when you begin to teach discipline in a movement that’s growing out of disciplines, that are moving away from denominations, and whatever discipline they have, it’s not a welcome message to a lot of people.” Simpson continues to explain how the sheer number and masses of people who were coming to the Lord was simply overwhelming. While describing how Holy Spirit was bringing all sorts of people from every imaginable fabric of society to Himself, Simpson shared how most responded to the continual plumb line teaching of Biblical truth. “Amazingly, they wanted it. At least a lot of them did. They knew, because they were in a bad place, they knew they needed instruction.” Simpson continues to describe how problems began to occur when people attempted to make disciples without first becoming disciples themselves, “they got the word, but they didn’t have a guide, in the sense that they didn’t have somebody that would walk them through it.” As Simpson continues, he shares how this lack of being discipled, while attempting to discipling others can cause negative results, “and so maybe they’d be heavy handed, maybe there was some kind of spiritual abuse that happened, and then that brings disillusionment to some people when that goes on”.

We can learn so much wisdom from Simpson’s experiences and the lessons he learned. It is so important that we know what Jesus Christ commands from His Church and to hold tightly to His teachings, and to teach others to walk the same. Be encouraged and inspired as you hear the whole conversation with Charles Simpson and so much more. Also shared in this segment: denominations, Holy Spirit, spiritual fathering, discipling, The Great Commission, transformation, gifts and talents, spiritual family, Biblical doctrine, revival, wisdom, the harvest, and encouragement. Greg Lancaster and Charles Simpson shared in this segment.

Image courtesy of Storyblocks.com

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