God speaks with His Church
God speaks with His Church
God always spoke to His people – both to Israel in the Old Testament, and to the First Church in the New. Throughout the History of the Church, likewise, we read regarding the manifestations of the spiritual gifts through which the Lord spoke to His people. Still today the Lord speaks with His faithful Church, with the congregations that believe in the Lord’s Word and submit to the Lordship of the Lord Jesus.
The manifestations of the Holy Spirit through the spiritual gifts, however, were always limited to the Faithful Church, that is, to the Church that lived in sanctification and obedience, evangelizing and serving the brethren, not conforming to this world, to sin, but constantly renewing itself. On the other hand, the Church that is complacent to the world, to sin and to the flesh did not experiment the manifestations of the spiritual gifs, but always persecuted the faithful Church, even criticizing these manifestations.
When the Lord began the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the beginning of the Pentecostal movement, manifestations of the spiritual gifts followed, in the same way that the First Church had experimented. The Lord started not only to heal and operate signs that confirmed the preaching of the Word (Mark 16), but to speak to His people through the spiritual gifts predicted by prophet Joel when he prophesied regarding the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit that would occur in the last days (Joel 3): prophesies, visions, and dreams.
The Lord started, then, to direct His people and orient His Churches around the world. There are amazing testimonies regarding the use of the spiritual gifts in order to manifest the Rule of the Lord Jesus over His Church in different parts of the world, including the Americas, Europe and Asia.
During the period in which the communist regime controlled the countries that made up the former Soviet Union, the persecuted church always counted on extraordinary manifestations of the Lord through the spiritual gifts. The Lord advised His people, revealed what the local congregations should do in difficult moments, with frequent manifestations of the spiritual gifts expressing the will of the Lord in a clear and understandable manner: prophecy and interpretation of tongues and words of knowledge (dreams, visions and revelations).
This is how the Pentecostal movement started in Brazil. The Lord spoke through the spiritual gifts to the Swedish missionaries Daniel Berg and Gunnar Vingren, revealing that they should leave the United States, where they lived, and go to the state of Pará, in Brazil, where they would live and announce the Gospel and the baptism with the Holy Spirit, which they had recently experimented. During the first decades of the Pentecostal movement in Brazil, the manifestations of spiritual gifts were frequent. During the second half of the 20th Century, however, these gifts became less frequent and the emphasis was shifted to the gifts of tongues and healings.
Later, when the Lord started to baptize the believers in traditional evangelical churches with the Holy Spirit in the 60s, He started to again grant the spiritual gifts by which He communicates with His people. It was at that time, more precisely in 1967, that the Maranatha Christian Church came about. The Lord was willing to direct a small group of brethren promising that if they were obedient to His orientations, they would prosper and become a great people. The Lord fulfilled His Word. The Church reached every state in Brazil and established congregations in several other countries, inspiring and stimulating the Churches to seek similar experiences with the Lord.
Since the beginning of the Maranatha Christian Church, the Lord has directed His people through the spiritual gifts. We do not lack the council of the Lord for every important decision that the Church makes, including the lifting or deacons and pastors, for the beginning of new churches and for the solution of problems. This has been possible due to the system of judging the spiritual gifts – a biblical principle that is generally neglected by other Christian communities – established in each local congregation and in pastors’ meetings in the local, regional and national levels.