the Crucible

Normalacy, What is the norm?

The experiences of Moses, Jesus, Paul and many other biblical heroes and heroines were not only exceptional within their own context,

“The saga continues up to  our own day in the lives of those recognized as leaders in the spiritual life.  When, coming through the ages, we consider St. Augustine, Theresa of Avila, St. Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther, George Fox, John Wesley, C.H. Spurgeon, Phoebe Palmer, D.L. Moody, Frank Laubach, A.W. Tozer or Henri Nouwen, we see in each case a person who regards personal communion and communication with God both as life changing episodes and as daily bread.  Untold thousands of humble Christians whose names will never appear in print-who will never preach a sermon or lead a crusade-can testify equal well to exactly the same kinds of encounters with God as are manifested by the great ones in the Way.[9]                          -Dallas Willard, Hearing God Pg.23”

but were also historically significant.  It is perhaps more important to incorporate the notion that the experiences which they had were normative .

If this premise is true, than by inference the pneumatological things that these individuals experienced (ie. speaking with God on a regular basis,  having experienced paranormal expressions, having participated in miraculous signs and wonders, having participated in the healing of the sick, and the raising of  the dead, and experiencing personal transformation. . . to name just a few)  than we should be having and experiencing the things that these individuals were[10] .  If these are Christian practices, Christian expressions,[11] and Christian experiences that are normal,  then to not experience them or make efforts towards their influence, may infer that we are being disobedient.

It is not unreasonable to recognize that it is our duty and job to participate to devoting ourselves to the study of story, and biblical accounts.  When preparing for study we encourage others to seek out a means of education and support structures which enable them to understand the story better.  Perhaps they take necessary steps to accomplish this ie.  downloading an application, applying to a learning program, attending class, participating in lectures, doing assignments and getting graded on them. Or perhaps attending a conference or seminar, participating in a class, attending a weekly study.[12]… We have no rational problems accepting the notion that this is normative in our proactiveness towards education.  However it seems that when we apply this same level of expectancy and exuberance to pursuing the Spirit, or even attempting to encourage pneumatological events, there is a gentle hushing by mainstream Christianity.  Why is being proactive in terms of the Spirit skewed as unnecessary or reserved for extreme Pentecostalism?[13]

Does our mundane worldview inhibit learning from being evidence of miraculous expression?  Are we so empiricalized and rational that we cannot accept learning and pneumatolgocial expression as being normative?[14]  How is it that so much has been lost in terms of applying the same pragmatics of Aristotelian analysis[15] to things of the Spirit?  Just as Descartes set out to understand new ways of discovering the existence of God in unfamiliar places by THINKING, so too must we seek out ways EXPERIENCING God in the ordinary by DOING.  We must be proactively engaging with the spiritual and kingdom worldview, which we know,[16] and juxtaposing it within the matrix of worldview that we are continually barraged by and culturally enfolded into.[17]

In the famous words of my hero John Wimber when asked, “When do we get to do the stuff?”[19]  ,  John always loosely this “articulated and’  answered-“Whenever we get out there and do it”. 

By no means is this to an attempt to limit the Spirit to moving in new ways, or accomplishing things the same way twice.  Clearly the Spirit is not bound to steadfast rules of orderliness that we are often confined to.  However it seems that many people are able to hear from God in consistent ways that they recognize as being participatory.[20]  Perhaps these come in terms of: a voice of conscience or reason;  an audible voice ; or a sense of understanding /assuredness of direction that is physically felt perhaps within  the voice of a friend, stranger, or child, and /or  the emotions of a pet, a dream or hyper awareness that God is leading .  It could be the assurance  that God is guiding, directing ,and conspiring to speak to you, and teach you something new.  The goal of this material is to discuss this, grapple with and apply the notion that God can and does speak in relevant ways today.



[1]  Eric Keck. The Crucible of My Heart Spring 2004 Comments 2004 <>.

[2] Dallas Willard, Hearing God: Developing  a Conversational Relationship with God (Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varstiy Press, 1999).

[3]  Eric Keck. The Crucible of My Heart Spring 2004 Comments 2004 <>.

[4]  Theology-online, Spring 2004, Theology-Online <>.

[5]  Google, Search Engine, spring 2004, Googlle <>.

[6] John Wimber, The Dynamics of Spiritual Growth (London, England: Hodder and Stoughton, 1990).

[7] Willard, Hearing God: Developing  a Conversational Relationship with God.

[8] James Randi, An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural (N.Y., NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1995).

[9]  Dallas Willard, Hearing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1984, 1993,1999).

[10] Carol Wimber, The Way It Was (NY, NY: Hodder & Stouhgton Ltd., 1990).

[11] Gordon Fee, God’s Empowering Presence (Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1994).

[12] Anthony III Campolo and Brian Mclaren, Adventures in Missing the Point (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondrvan, 2003).

[13]  Robert Todd Carroll, Online Resource, Spring 2004 <>.

[14] Gordon Fee, God’s Empowering Presence (Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1994).

[15] Robin Waterfield Aristotle, David Bostock, Physics (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 350 BC, 1999).

[16] Rupert A. Hall, Henry More : Magic, Religion and Experiment (Oxford,England: Oxford University Press).

[17] Anthony III Campolo and Brian Mclaren, Adventures in Missing the Point (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondrvan, 2003).

[18] Theology-online,

[19]  Christy Wimber, Doing the Stuff. Daily Theology, Spring 2004, Doing the Stuff <>.

[20] Gordon Fee, God’s Empowering Presence (Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1994).

[21]  Houghton Mifflin Company, The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (NY, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000).

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