Peter Kirk recently posted a report of his visit to Dudley to experience The Dudley Outpouring. I surprised myself by the strength of my reaction. It seems that I'm not just cynical about things like this nowadays, I am antagonistically opposed to them. Due to my church background, I've experienced my fair share of 'outpourings'. In fact, if we widen the net a little, I should probably mention Wimber's visit to the Docklands, Minus to Plus, Toronto, Benny Hinn, Morris Cerullo's Mission To London, Alpha, Sunderland, Brownsville...
And two things stand out in my mind as fairly incontrovertible:
- After the hype dies down, the only thing that's changed is that the Church has become more gullible about such things and - consequently - more open to charlatans, gimmicks and money-grabbers rich Christian leaders.
- Regardless of what anyone says, the "success" of 'outpourings' like those in Dudley relies solely on bizarre manifestations and novel teachings.
Now, I'm willing to admit that I may be in a minority here. I neither pray for, nor desire, Revival. But the thing that most irritates me about nonsense like this is that we don't need it. If we just got on with being who we're told we are and doing what we're called to do, we wouldn't need 'outpourings'. You know the stuff: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, loving our enemies, visiting those in prison and so on. But, hey, that's never gonna make the front pages, is it?