Volume 22 Issue 5
So? On what does a surfer surf? asked Jammer, the well-known champion surfer, to the group of his annoying young admirers. The wave, of course, they all replied. The world-class surfer smiled but gave no reply. He continued waxing his surfboard as the gawkers drifted on down the beach. They thought he was rude.
Jammer hated his nickname but he knew it was fitting. He had always pushed out ahead of his buddies, jamming into the big waves: the more dangerous the better. But time had changed things, and he was much less deserving of his descriptive moniker.
With age, John (his real name) had become more thoughtful. After a decade of reckless adventuring, he had begun to think about the waves. What are waves? Where do they come from? His thoughts about waves distracted his surfing. At the very crest of a giant wave, he considered its character, its source, and the physics of it. He would try to calculate the wavelength, the trough, and the distance to the wave base. In these moments he often fell. He would miss the break. Yet through this process John experienced a revelation about waves that changed his life.
Johns life question became, On what does a surfer surf? He knew the answer. He had discovered it while in the heart of a mammoth break: that wonderful moment when the wave moves toward the shore and friction increases, slowing the water near the base, while the crest, or highest point, of the wave continues at the original speed; thus causing the water at the crest to pile up until it no longer finds support and gravity forces the break, or the fall of the crest. Inside the break is the surfers paradise. It was in this paradise that Jammer saw for the first time that the wave was birthed from an intriguing interaction of powerful and connected forces. In this moment, he grew up and gave up on merely viewing waves as waves. His tumbling rides in tumultuous oceans had revealed a truth. A wave is not a wave within and by itself. A wave belongs to the ocean. It is created from the oceans history, the winds, and the depths of the oceans floor. One cannot isolate a wave from the energy and force of nature and expect to still have a wave. One does not ride the crest of a wave, but more specifically he rides the crest of the ocean. Waves are formed on bodies of water by natural forces. Waves do not create waves. There are no waves outside of the process.
What modern Pentecostals must realize is that we cannot place our eternal destiny on an imagined, hoped for, have-it-your-own-way disconnected wave: a trend, a fad, or some emotional high. We cannot see ourselves as so up to date, that we isolate ourselves in arrogance, refusing to be judged by any standards or historical precedents. In our conceit we cannot presume to act as if the future is ours to design. There is no such wave. There is great danger in thinking that this so-called modern world is the ultimate end-all.
We must tread lightly before we rewrite and destroy our own history in an effort to push us forward. The wave without its foundation does not exist. We cannot simply choose to operate the church like an amusement park ride that creates virtual, mechanical waves where we like children splash about in full pretend mode, with virtual emotion and no Spirit. Do we really believe we can sustain our wobbly surfboards on a free-flowing, independent crest of ego, humanism, wickedness, carnality, worldliness, and false doctrine? We know better.
Arguably, we do ourselves no favor when we exempt ourselves from examination in the light of the vast accomplishments of our forefathers, and even the great preachers and pastors of more recent generations. We should ask, dont you think, How did we get here? What were the tools that worked? What methods? What kind of preaching? Can we say, as the old songwriter puts it, Weve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord, trusting in his Holy Word?
Should we trash, or allow to be trashed, the Apostles doctrine and start over? Why bury ourselves in old theological battles? How many of our young people are we willing to lose on that bumpy road?
An independent, self-conceived, and forever moving wave is a myth. There are no unattached waves. Remember They are products of connected forces. Real anointing is a product of the hearts connection to Truth, obedience, faith and prayer. How vital are the interconnected parts that produce monumental and real waves of renewal and power that are well beyond the control of our flesh.
We are indebted to the word of God, and to all those who have gone before us. The wave we so desire is the product of Gods sea, Gods purposes, the history, the foundations, and the Holy winds. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone (Ephesians 2:20). We also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1). These are the fixed points that must guide us. We need the Apostles doctrine as a foundation for our efforts; and we need one another. No human power can produce a wave that will prevail against the darkness of this world.