In 1999, an Episcopal Priest, Fr.. Bud Williams, published a book entitled Fire
In The Wax Museum in which he compared the Holy Spirit’s "Renewal" in the
Anglican/Episcopal Church to being like "fire in a wax museum." His truth
was hard-hitting. Hopefully, you see his point. He was kind but challenged his
church and thousands of other congregations around the world. The book
attacked "Professional Religion"and "Synthetic Spirituality" to the core.
Thank God! What he did needed to be done–he demanded an honest response
from all of us.
I can illustrate his point with something that happened to me: Years go I was
in London and visited Madam Tussaud’s wax museum--one of the most
famous in the world. Inside, I walked straight to the Receptionist Desk to get
directions–but to my annoyance the nicely dressed young man totally ignored
me–even with my second question. Then, I realized what was happening! The
person in front of me was a wax imitation. He was not real. The authentic
receptionist who was standing a short distance away did not look more real
than the artificial one to whom I spoke. I had fallen for the Museum’s joke.
Had there been a fire this real-looking "man" would have melted like wax.
Deception is real and the Bible warns us about it in the church: "The fire shall
try every man’s work of what sort it is" (1 Corinthians 3:13).
Thankfully, as Fr. Williams pointed out, the flame of God has fallen inside
churches around the world and the wax is melting. Is such a challenge needed?
Very close to the time of Fr. Williams book, the office of Bishop in England
was filled by a man who openly denied Jesus' divinity and Virgin Birth. Other
basic Christian doctrines were also rejected by him. Theologically, he was
another "Wax Museum" and serious opposition rose to his becoming Bishop.
People throughout Britain complained loudly. Even so, the Dean of London's
King's College, Richard Harries, defended him and boasted on the British
Radio Broadcasting Network that "Nothing short of a thunderbolt striking
York Minster (the Cathedral) can stop the consecration of the Bishop of
Durham from taking place."
The Ordination took place as scheduled but three days later a lightening bolt
struck the 750 year old building and sent flames spiraling into the sky. Smoke
covered the area and Englishmen for miles around stood aghast. They had
heard the Bishop’s vile boasting about such a lightning bolt. They were now
seeing their beloved Cathedral go up in flames.. God spoke His opinion about
the new Bishop! Fire Departments from across England responded and the fire
was extinguished but only after great damage to the building. For a while the
new Bishop could not move into his office because of the damage. The point
remains: It isn’t wise to dare Heaven with human defiance. God heard Dean
Harries’ evil bragging–and burned the Cathedral as he described.
My late friend, Derek Prince, with whom I traveled across Europe and Asia,
grew up in the Church of England but as a young man said it offered him no
benefit. As an Oxford Scholar and member of an aristocratic English military
family, his opinion was influential. Afterward, Derek had an authentic God-
encounter in a back-street Pentecostal Church and was genuinely saved. Two
weeks later in an empty army barrack he was "filled with the Holy Spirit."
That was in the late 1930's.
Years later he and I met in Florida, bonded, he preached in my church, and we
became life-long, loving friends. Once when I was preaching near Atlanta he
sent a fax asking that I fly to Istanbul and join him in two Conferences he was
holding in Turkey. Thankfully I went. He had me speak and lay-hands on the
pastors--most of them dropped to the floor overcome by the power of God.
That was what he wanted.
Derek was born in Bangalore, India, in 1915, to a British military family, and
at age five was sent to Boarding School in England. When he was fourteen he
won a Scholarship to Eton College where he studied Greek and Latin. At age
sixteen he was named England’s "Scholar Of The Year" and continued his
education at Cambridge University where he received a King’s College
Fellowship in Ancient and Modern Philosophy. He later taught Platonian
Philosophy at Cambridge using Plato’s ancient Greek text, going from there he
studied Hebrew and Aramaic at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
At one of his gospel meetings in Zambia, Africa, a young polio victim, unable
to walk, leaped from his wheel chair and was miraculously healed. Hundreds
of others were also healed. More than 7,000 witnessed the miraculous
healing. Such miracles happened repeatedly in Derek's ministry. Why? The
fire of God had fallen! I mention Derek for this reason: At the time of his
death in 2003, living in Jerusalem, he worshiped regularly at the Anglican
Church. This was the same denomination that in his youth he declared
provided him nothing significant. I cannot prove this but I personally believe
his change of attitude came about because he saw encouraging change taking
place in the "Wax Museum."
Apparently, all denominations develop their own variety of wax. The Catholic
Church became smothered in it and tradition tells that in the thirteenth century,
Thomas Aquinas, Catholic theologian, visited the Vatican in Rome. While
being escorted through the vast Papal treasury, the Pope gestured toward the
display of gold and precious jewels. Referring to himself as Peter's successor
and the healing of the lame man at the Temple gate, He said, "Peter can no
longer say, `Silver and gold have I none'." Aquinas jerked toward him and
sharply replied, "Nor can he say, `Rise up and walk'!" Acts 3:6. Aquinas was
correct. The original Peter had no money--but he had power–lots of it.
In rebuking the Pope, Aquinas pointed out a fact that is true in most Christian
quarters today: Many congregations rely on pomp and persuasion but remain
as powerless as relics in a museum. That must change. God is willing to give
power if we are willing to submit. Mark 16:17,18. In the late 1940's and early
days of my preaching I traveled with Primitive Baptist pastors who preached
in the 1800's. I loved hearing them and vividly remember one saying, "In my
youth we had wooden Meeting Houses and golden preachers--today we have
golden Meeting Houses and wooden preachers." God save the church from
that horrific fate! As we enter the end-times, every church will be given the
opportunity to choose between its' religious deadness or the Holy Spirit's
empowering. Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone
hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him,
and he with Me–He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the
churches." Revelation 3:20-22.
Ministers and churches who reject God's offer of the Holy Spirit's power are in
for a sudden and disastrous awakening. Their wax figures will vanish in the
fire! The issue before the church is for us to believe the New Testament,
submit unquestioningly to it and receive its promised endowment of power.
Acts 1:8. It is God's will that we be able to say with Peter "Rise up and walk!"
--And it be so. The church's "Wax Museum" days will be over!
Pray for the fire of the Holy Spirit to fall!
Pray that churches everywhere will go up in Holy Flame!