Wednesday, July 11, 2012

'First World Conference on the Holy Spirit' (1974)

Well, would you believe it, when I got to the conference later that morning I was invited to speak in that last evening session?
And they were going to give me seven minutes?
And I would talk about our own conference being planned in New York for Jewish believers.
And I came that night, and I was told that three speakers would precede me and then I would come on and I would be allowed fifteen minutes.
That night as the last session began, it turned out there were no three speakers preceding me. Instead, I hear myself being introduced immediately. And the man who was introducing me, the co-author of my book said, ‘And now, Art is going to give us the burden of his heart?!’ And, I said to myself, ‘Well, what is this?’ I’ll tell you what happened.
I spoke for about an hour and a half. A message on Elijah. And God took his sword out of his sheath and stabbed it into the body of his people, dividing the audience in half. Some people stood at the invitation when I finished, and I’m still receiving letters today that their lives were changed in this standing. And others bristled and remained in their seats, angry that I was taking the time that should have been given to Kathryn Kuhlman.
I disappointed a lot of people that night, including my own publisher, my co-author, my pastor, and many high-ranking charismatic figures. But I was in the peace of God. It was a misunderstanding that could not be explained.
They kept passing notes to me that said ‘twenty minutes,’ ‘thirty minutes,’ ‘forty-five minutes,’ ‘an hour.’ And, I thought, ‘How remarkable of the Lord to increase my time.’ But actually the notes were intended to tell me how much time I had taken beyond my allotted fifteen minutes. Because after I had spoken fifteen minutes, a note came up, and it said ‘forty-five minutes.’ And I thought they were giving me an additional forty-five minutes.
And I went and I took my full liberty.
And I found out later that they intended by that note that I should sit down. And I completely misread their intention.
Well, there’s only one or two ways to explain this mishap.
Either I’m some kind of spiritual egotist who is completely indifferent to eldership and runs roughshod over everybody’s intentions to do my thing. Or, somehow the Lord in some way peculiar to himself, allowed me to understand I was to go on and fully express that message.
Of course, when I sat down, I was beginning to sense already that something was wrong. I could sense the tension behind me on the platform and the anger and restlessness. I didn’t know that Kathryn Kuhlman was being kept like a tiger caged up in the wings, and I was eating up her time. People on the platform were scowling at me like I was something loathsome. And I thought, ‘What’d I do?’ I was, like, innocent. I didn’t realize what was happening.
...There are four-thousand lives in this building, and all kinds of machines whirring, and tapes being recorded.
Picture it. Here are 4,500 people from all over the world!
An historic occasion.
And out came an utterance in tongues from somewhere in the front of the congregation. And I leaned forward in my seat to hear the further unfolding of what God was speaking.
And in that moment, the man who was at the lectern conducting the meeting, irritated that I had taken so much time and kept the great personality from coming on, snapped his fingers toward the piano player, and he began to play.
And the people began to sing. And, we never did get that interpretation.
Imagine it! Here was a conference entitled ‘Conference on the Holy Spirit’! And, in one crucial moment in time – men deferred to men rather than to the Holy Spirit!
‘Well,’ you say, ‘Why did that happen?’
Well, they had a budget. They were going to take an offering to complete their budget, and they introduced the key men who had been working on that conference all those days. And they wanted to do this, and they wanted to do that. But, God sneaked in a curve which they had not planned.
And men called ‘charismatic’ in a conference, entitled ‘Conference on the Holy Spirit,’ missed, in a crucial moment the leading of God because they were preoccupied and restless and driven to complete their own program.
-  Denver, 1974

1 comment:

  1. Alas, little has changed in charismatic circles since then!


    Joel Scott
    Hampton, Middlesex, England