For a few years I have been meditating on the principles of "catching and surviving every wave of the Holy Spirit" while yet staying grounded in the main and the plain of the doctrines of the historical church.
There have been numerous movements of the Holy Spirit through out our wonderful church history: The Great Reformation, the First and the Second Great Awakenings, the Pietism and Holiness Movement, the Student Volunteer Movement, the Pentecostal Outpouring, followed by the Sign and Wonders Movement, the Latter Rain and Healing and Deliverance Movements and even in more recent times, fresh grace of God upon the Evangelical and charismatic movements and many others.
Every wave of the Holy Spirit has restored truths to the larger body of Christ and often even birthed entire new denominations and ministries. The first mention of the Holy Spirit is that "He moved upon the face of the deep" (Genesis 1:2). So going by the Law of First Mention in Biblical Interpretation, we can say it is the "nature of the Holy Spirit to move and keep on moving."
I have seen or experienced the following expressions of the Christian faith in my own span of 60 years: Evangelical, charismatic, Jesus People, Discipleship, Word of Faith, Third Wave, Global Worship and Prayer emphasis, then shifting into the Prophetic Movement and the New Apostolic Reformation. Within each of these tidal waves there have been the contributing revival peaks such as the Korean Church Growth, Argentine Outpouring, the Chinese Underground Church movement, the Cell Church explosion with its many expressions, the Toronto Blessing, the fire of the Brownsville Revival and numerous other contributing tributaries of God's purposes.
In recent years we have seen some amazing shifts and trends. In the heart of Africa in Nigeria there are all night prayer watches with over one million believers present. In the United States alone we have seen a shift from a handful of 24/7 Houses of Prayer to now over 10,000. Today we have the church getting out of the box into the box office making a relevant impact in the arts, entertainment and media for Jesus sake!
Three Recognized Waves in the 21st Century
The Third Wave is a term was coined in the early 1980s to describe the recent historical working of the Holy Spirit in the global body of Christ. It is part of a larger movement called the "neocharismatic" movement. The Third Wave involved those Christians who have received Pentecostal-like experiences; however, those who identified with this movement often claimed no association with either the Pentecostal or the previous charismatic movements.
The "First Wave" occurred at the beginning of the twentieth century with the rise of the Pentecostal movement, arising in Topeka, Kansas in 1901 with Charles Parham and shifting to the Azusa Street Revival in 1906 with William Seymour, Frank Bartleman and others. This gave birth to many classical Pentecostal denominations such as the Assemblies of God, Church of God, Four Square, Church of God in Christ, Pentecostal Holiness, Open Bible and various other Pentecostal streams.
Other revival movements came on the shores in various parts of the earth as in Wales under young Evan Roberts, Shantung, China with Bertha Smith, and the Hebrides Islands with Duncan Campbell and many other lands.
The "Second Wave" occurred during the 1960s as the charismatic movement spread throughout mainline protestant denominations, as well as the Roman Catholic Church. The Full Gospel Business Men's, Women's Aglow International, the Discipleship and Word of Faith movements were also expressions of this massive global wave.
A parallel movement, based on the West Coast of the United States, was the birthing ground of the Jesus People Movement with the signs and wonders of Lonnie Frisbee and teacher Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel. Contemporary music had its debut with Maranatha Music leading the way with a host of other expressions following in its amazing trail.
The "Third Wave" occurred during the mid-1980s and into 1990s and was associated with leaders such as John Wimber of the Vineyard Movement along with others such as Peter Wagner of the Church Growth Institute and Fuller Seminary, James Robison among the Baptist Fullness Movement, many significant voices of integrity with sound theology such as Jack Deere, Jack Taylor and many, many others.
Movements In Our Life Time
In 1960 in Van Nuys, California, the modern charismatic movement began in an Episcopalian Church (St. Mark's, with Dennis Bennett as rector). There was an outburst of tongues speaking in this church. This event was so significant that both Time and Newsweek covered the story. After that, the movement spread like wildfire in the Episcopalian and Anglican Church and then among Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists and other main line denominations as well.
At the time of spring vacation in 1967, there were in the Notre Dame area about 30 zealous Catholics who had received the "baptism of the Holy Spirit." In 1970, the increase was more spectacular. Almost 1,300 attended the conference, including Catholics from Canada. In 1973, 22,000 Catholic Charismatics met together at Notre Dame, including Catholic participants from at least 10 foreign countries. By 1974, the Notre Dame conference was attended by 30,000 people. It simply grew and grew.
The Charismatic Conference on Renewal in the Christian Churches was held in Kansas City in the summer of 1977. I was a young leader in the Jesus People Movement in attendance at this grand event. I will never forget the spontaneous praise that broke out for over 20 minutes as Bob Mumford declared, "I looked at the back of the Book, and guess what? We win!" It was an electrifying moment!
All three wings of the Pentecostal movement were present: (1) Classical Pentecostals; (2) Protestant Charismatics; and (3) Catholic Charismatics. This was the biggest and most inclusive gathering of "baptized in the Spirit believers" in modern history. There were nearly 50,000 participants in this 5-day historic conference.
The Signs and Wonders Movement
The Fuller Seminarian C. Peter Wagner first coined the term "Third Wave" in 1983: "I see historically that we're now in the third wave. The first wave of the moving of the Holy Spirit began at the beginning of the century with the Pentecostal movement. The second wave was the charismatic movement, which began in the fifties in the major denominations. Both of those waves continue today. I see the third wave of the eighties as an opening of the straight-line evangelicals and other Christians to the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that the Pentecostals and charismatics have experienced, but without becoming either charismatic or Pentecostal. I think we are in a new wave of something that now has lasted almost through our whole century" (Peter Wagner, "The Third Wave?" Pastoral Renewal, July-August 1983, pp. 1-5).
I also had the honor of crossing over into this Third Wave emphasis after being a participant in both the charismatic and Jesus People ripples, as I had the honor of being a part of the leadership of Metro Christian (later Vineyard) Fellowship led by Mike Bickle in the Heartland of the U. S. It was a time of the mingling of the anointing of "compassion and worship" of the Vineyard with the "prophetic and intercession" of the Kansas City Prophets. Multiple streams of the prophetic movement emerged quickly in many locations and continue to flourish to this day. Bishop Bill Hamon with Christian International has possibly activated more people into a prophetic gift than any person in church history. Rick Joyner with Morningstar, Cindy Jacobs with Generals, the late John Paul Jackson with Streams and on and on it goes! Praise the Lord!
This in turn has been and is being succeeded by another step of restoration that some refer to as the New Apostolic Reformation with many diverse global networks, applications and expressions. In addition, we now have the prayer and mission's streams converging to see every people group reached with the gospel message of Jesus Christ. I thank God for the days in which we live! I thank the Lord for diversity in the body of Christ! Let's celebrate it – not tolerate it!
The Beginning of the Fourth Wave
In the spring of 2011, I was given a vivid dream in which John Wimber was the central figure. This great Third Wave leader had though already graduated to his heavenly reward in 1997. This musical minister was one of the greatest statesmen who moved in authentic power in recent church history. In this prophetic dream, the Holy Spirit used John Wimber as a representational voice of the Third Wave. I was told that the purpose for that movement was now subsiding and that it was time for another wave to roll in upon the scene of global church history.
A conversation with the Holy Spirit unfolded and it was explained to me that the previous waves included renewal, revival and empowering of the Holy Spirit and aspects of restoration. It was shared with me though that there was a "fresh movement" once again emerging on the world scene that would include all of the previous ingredients of the earlier movements. It is a time of the "convergence of the ages." I heard the following word spoken to me in the dream, "It is time for the Fourth Wave to crash upon the course of history."
This Fourth Wave would be one marked by understandings and expressions of transformation. In the past, by writing and public speaking, I have shared how in July 2012, I was given a vision showing California as a womb for the body of Christ in my encounter called "Come Again Holy Spirit."
Please note, that the previous three waves of the Holy Spirit came from or had great influence in southern California. So would it also be with this new Fourth Wave. It is and will have great impact the West Coast but will be global in nature. Some of our older leaders in the body of Christ would now be free to graduate to their heavenly reward while others with youthful and teachable hearts would be invited to be the fathers and grandfathers and mothers and grandmothers as "reformational architects".
This Fourth Wave emphasizes societal change by channeling these empowered believers to impact the seven Cultural Mountains of Religion, Government, Education, Business, Family, Media, and the Arts and Entertainment. Fresh intercessory strategies will now arise for effective ministry in the marketplace. The supernatural power of the Holy Spirit will not be able to be contained within the "four walls of the church" but rather explode into every sphere of life.
Today we have new Apostolic hubs as centers of equipping the saints budding in numerous cities of the earth, such of Bethel Church in Redding, California, Hillsong in Sydney, Australia, Gateway and Glory of Zion in Dallas, Texas, and on and on it goes once again. Do they look and act the same? Thank God, NO! Each are emerging with distinct spheres of influence but each one releasing rippling effects of God's glorious presence.
For now, I will push a pause button and then later I will bring what is burning in heart from an unfolding vision of the future called "The Door to the Harvest" in another installment. But let it be known, from the desk that I sit from, the "Fourth Great Wave" is already here!
Dr. James Goll is the founder of Encounters Network, Prayer Storm and helps carry on the work of Compassion Acts. For information on his online school visit:geteschool.com. James continues to live in Tennessee and is a joyful father and grandfather today.
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