These Study Guides are adapted from former Distance Education materials produced by Citipointe Ministry College, the School of Ministries of Christian Heritage College in Brisbane, Australia. Now they are adapted into these books for your benefit. The current courses use different and updated materials as part of internet resources for students.
For information about current courses, contact the Principal,
Welcome to this Study Guide on Renewal Theology 1.
This study examines the characteristics and methods of theology from a renewal perspective including its integrative and comprehensive approach to the whole of Scripture, the relationship of the Old and New Testaments, the study of the doctrine of God, the centrality of the themes of covenant and the kingdom of God, and their application to contemporary ministry and mission.
Theology provides a systematic study of biblical teaching in historical and contemporary forms. It is the intellectual process whereby all other theological and ministry studies are related to biblical studies. This introductory study of Theology is a systematic approach to themes and teaching of the Bible placed in historical and contemporary terms with a view to practical application in ministry.
This introductory study has the dual aim to teach methods and presuppositions of the study of theology including its hermeneutic, and to apply these methods to fundamental theological issues such as the study of God and revelation, including the seminal themes of the Kingdom of God, covenant and mission.
This study relates directly to all biblical studies, drawing on them for the formulation of theological concepts. It also undergirds all ministry and mission, providing a reference point for the development of applied theology in the practice of ministry.
Module 1: Theology and Biblical Hermeneutics
What is Theology? Why Theology?
How to Begin – Prolegomena (I)
How to Begin – Prolegomena (II)
Methods in Theology.
Module 2: Revelation and the Knowledge of God
God’s Existence and Being
The Trinity and Nature of God
Creation and Providence
Module 3: The Centrality of Christ
The Person of Christ
The Problem of Evil
The Kingdom of God
The Concept of Covenant
Module 4: Theology of Mission and Ministry
Mission : “The Mother of Theology”
Contemporary Theologies : Western and Non-Western
Doing Theology : Its Application
We all can learn more together about effective ministry. That learning is enhanced and expanded rapidly when we share our experiences and learning together. The ‘teacher’ usually shares from his or her experiences, but others can do also. So the more that our ministry education fosters mutuality, the more we can learn from one another.
We call this open education, or open ministry education. It is open to everyone and everyone can be involved. It is not just for leaders. Our leaders can help us, but their main job is to equip the saints for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). We can do these things in classes, small groups, seminars, training courses and home or church groups.
These Study Guides are adapted from former Distance Education materials produced by Citipointe Ministry College, the School of Ministries of Christian Heritage College in Brisbane, Australia. Now they are adapted into these books for your benefit. The current courses use different and updated materials as part of internet resources for students.
We all can learn more together about effective ministry. That learning is enhanced and expanded rapidly when we share our experiences and learning together. The ‘teacher’ usually shares his or her experiences, but others can do also. So the more that our ministry education fosters mutuality, the more we can learn from one another.
We call this open education or open ministry education. It is open to everyone and everyone can be involved. It is not just for leaders. Our leaders can help us, but their main job is to equip the saints for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). We can do these things in classes, small groups, seminars, training courses, and home or church groups.
Learning Together in Ministrydescribes how we all can learn together to minister more effectively. Expanded from chapter 15 of ‘Body Ministry: The Body of Christ Alive in His Spirit’ this book gives further comment and examples of Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered ministry by ordinary people alive in the Spirit of God.
Body Ministry is a popular version of Geoff Waugh’s Doctor of Missiology dissertation with Fuller Theological Seminary.
Geoff Waugh taught Ministry and Mission subjects in Bible Schools in Papua New Guinea and at Trinity Theological College and Christian Heritage College in Brisbane, Australia. He has a Doctor of Missiology degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and is an author of books on mission and revival including Flashpoints of Revival and South Pacific Revivals.
This Renewal Journal continues to discuss controversial issues, such as the current ‘blessing’ transforming thousands of churches and multiplied thousands of people in the last few years.
People often have strong and opposite opinions about whether it is indeed a ‘blessing’ or not.
What can we make of it all?
Important cautions need to be made. To endorse and swallow everything that is happening as good would overlook the usual excesses, theological imbalances, and human sin. We are never free of that. It is present in all we do.
So we need to recognize our own bias to sin and to blindness. We all need the light of God’s grace and mercy.
Often those who most strongly assert their own theological purity may tragically disobey the most important commandments of all – to love God and love others. Theological purists, of all traditions, tend to judge others in direct contraction to Jesus command (Matthew 7:1 – judge not).
Having said that, we do need to exercise wisdom and discernment.
Some groups are excessively emotional and gullible. Other groups are excessively intellectual and proud. Others toss around like the waves of the ocean, riding the latest fad. None of us are free of a blind spot or two. So we need to walk humbly with our God, open to correction and willing to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
God gives grace to the humble and wisdom to the meek, but he resists the proud. The discernment we need is available but hidden from the worldly wise and haughty. That is a key to understanding this current ‘blessing’.
Thousands of God’s people testify to the humbling grace of God transforming their lives, even with and often through strange manifestations. Hard hearts are softened, and people weep – then joy comes in the morning. Burdened souls find release in joy unspeakable, full of glory and wonder, including laughter. Broken lives find a peace that passes understanding even in the midst of uncertainty; worry dissolves into exultant faith.
A common thread in the blessing of the mid-nineties is the empowering grace of God multiplied to those who hunger and thirst after what is right.
More than most of us have ever seen, we now see, hear about and read of significant changes in people and in churches where the current blessing has burst into bloom.
Pastors confess their sins of control, pride, theological rigidity, jealousy and fear of people’s opinions. Many are reconciled and work publicly together for God’s glory, not for the glory of their own denomination or theological stance. Churches which once competed, blamed others for ‘sheep stealing’ and criticised each other, have confessed their sins of division and hatred, found reconciliation and an astonishing love for one another. Many of them now co-operate to minister this blessing together.
Blessing in the nineties catapulted so many of us into new dimensions of renewal and revival in the 21st century. This century opened with renewal and revival transforming individuals, churches and whole communities. The Renewal Journals document some of those recent changes.
The current ‘blessing’ has been around long enough for us to assess its fruit in thousands of churches and lives. Ask around. You may be amazed at the people who will tell you of God’s grace bursting into their lives in these days, of new zeal for the Lord, of worn out leaders refreshed and renewed, of timid Christians finding surprising boldness and joy.
The high and mighty are being brought low, and the lowly made strong. Such is the Kingdom of God. Surely it is logical that if the glory and power of God touches us even a little, we will be undone, shake, tremble, weep or laugh for sheer joy.
The Renewal Journal, Number 5, on ‘Signs and Wonders’ included comment on the current blessing from overseas by Derek Prince, John Wimber, Jerry Steingard and others. It included some early Australian observations on this blessing. This issue, Number 7, gives Australian testimony and comment from leaders involved in it.
Owen Salter describes developments in Australia and overseas. Greg Beech, and Ron French add historical reflection to their testimonies. Dennis Plant, Alan Small, Andrew Evans and David Cartledge give their perspectives on the impact they have seen in the church. Charles Taylor and John Court offer wise counsel, and I comment on our discoveries in current renewal ministry.
The Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (formerly Toronto Airport Vineyard Christian Fellowship), which during the first two years of the current blessing impacted about 100,000 people a year continues to minister in its significant expression of this current blessing. The Vineyard Churches also continue to minister that blessing in their unique way which has brought blessing to thousands around the world. Others minister this blessing in their own ways also, such as the Anglicans at Holy Trinity Brompton in London, the combined churches in Sunderland in England, Melbourne in Florida, Pasadena in California, and various Pentecostal expressions of this impact such as ministries of people like Rodney Howard-Browne, Benny Hinn, Argentine healing evangelists, and many others.
And you? And me?
If, as multiplied thousands testify, God is blessing his people in profound ways right now, may we not miss the day of our visitation. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. They shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).
Every revival is born in prayer, in seeking the Lord earnestly together. Every revival is sustained in prayer, as people continue to seek God and bring others into praying, believing, obeying communities of God’s people.
Young George Whitefield, converted at 21 in 1735 wrote in his journal in 1737:
We began to set apart an hour every evening, to intercede with the Great Head of the Church to carry on the work begun… Once we spent a whole night in prayer and praise: and many a time, at midnight and at one in the morning, after I have been wearied almost to death in preaching, writing and conversation, and going from place to place, God imparted new life to my soul, and enabled me to intercede with Him for an hour-and-a-half and two hours together… I cannot think it presumption to suppose that partly, at least, in answer to prayers then put up by His dear children, the Word for some years past, has run and been glorified, not only in England, but in many other parts of the world. [George Whitefield’s Journals (1960:91)]
The Spirit of the Lord was poured out on one of those praying groups in January 1739. Within two months the crowds which gathered to hear George Whitefiled preach at Kingswood near Bristol had grown from 200 to 20,000 as God’s Spirit moved upon them. John Wesley began his famous open air preaching with those crowds and continued that for fifty years.
I recently visited Elcho Island, east of Darwin, with a team of 15 for their annual Thanksgiving Weekend on the anniversary of the revival there in 1979. God’s Spirit moved most strongly that weekend, I believe, when we waited on the Lord together, with Aboriginal leaders responding sensitively to the Spirit’s leading. We worshipped and prayed. Small clusters of people prayed for those who sought prayer, and God touched them gently and strongly.
The small communities there impressed me. Many people pray constantly, for hours a day, still. In some of those remote places the presence of the Lord is strong. The fires of the Spirit burn.
We can all do that – in our home groups, house churches, and meetings. We can wait on the Lord in worship and prayer and respond to his Spirit among us.
May revival fires be blown by the wind of the Spirit across this great south land of the Holy Spirit, igniting thousands of communities of the King.
God’s Spirit now moves like gusts of wind blowing and like waves breaking over us. It can be turbulent.
Many people report that their lives have been profoundly disturbed lately. Props and false securities are being shaken. False foundations crumble revealing what is built on the Rock.
This issue of the Renewal Journal explores some of the emerging developments as human structures are shaken and eternal issues emerge. In radical small communities people are learning to be the church, to pray in faith, to use spiritual gifts, to serve one another, to reach out in love. Increasingly, small groups are becoming the church in the home and the work place for many people. Some are linked with congregations. Some are house churches.
Communities of the King multiply. God is raising up a new breed of people committed to him and to one another, loving and serving in the power of the Spirit.
The articles in this issue of the Journal describe that. Charles Ringma, Dorothy Harris and Tim McCowan call us to discipleship in community life. Shayne Bennett and Adrian Commadeur report on charismatic communities among Catholics. Ian Freestone, Spencer Colliver and Col Warren outline emerging patterns of house churches and Barbara Nield examines the amazing growth in China’s house churches. Brian Edgar tells of renewal in a Bible College community and Darren Trinder reports on Spirit waves in Christian Outreach Centres across Australia.
God moves in many ways, including the multiplying of these emerging small communities of committed people. Thousands are praying as never before. Reports continue to come of God’s Spirit stirring.
All across this land the Spirit of God is leading people to wait on the Lord in worship, prayer and faith, then minister in the Spirit’s power. This journal strongly encourages that.
A lady in Belmont, Victoria wrote, ‘We thoroughly enjoy reading the Renewal Journal and have started a prayer group for revival.’
A husband and wife in Newtown in Victoria were blessed by the Journal and as a result they started a prayer group for renewal in their Reformed Church.
A young man in Brisbane bought extra copies of the Renewal Journal to distribute to his leaders’ group at his church and has urged them to spend more time seeking the Lord together.
This Renewal Journal strongly encourages prayer – personally, in groups and families, and in networks of praying people.
The phone rang as I sat to type this page. A man from Norfolk Island who had attended a ‘Catch the Fire’ renewal service held at Tingalpa Uniting Church in Brisbane phoned me to say how he was delighted with the meeting. He said “The worship at that meeting rode the wind like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31).
I had the privilege of speaking there, and found (as seems common now) that stories today of God’s current acts continually illustrate comments from Acts 3:19-21 where Peter called for repentance so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. They still do.
The church was full at that meeting, so after extended times of worship and teaching we stacked the chairs at the sides, leaving room for our prayer team from the Renewal Fellowship to pray for all who desired it. Many did. I prayed for minsters and their wives. The Lord seemed to touch many deeply, as he is doing all over the world. The host minister said later that he could not rise from the floor. While there the Lord spoke clearly into his heart, telling him he was loved just as he was, not for what he did, for he is a child of God.
We continued to worship late into the night with songs of love and compassion, including some spontaneous love songs. The pianist played harmonies as I read from Daniel 7 and Revelation 7 about the majesty and glory of the Lord. That prophetic music not only magnified the reading and exalted the Lord, but ministered powerfully into people’s lives.
The man from Norfolk Island attends the Uniting Church there, where this kind of worship and ministry has been happening recently this year. They had not seen that since the days the island was founded by the Pitcairn people. The church on Norfolk Island began in such revival. People were regularly overwhelmed by the Spirit then as they cried out to God in their need.
Increasing numbers of people now report on these fresh touches of God and the deep refreshing from the Spirit of the Lord.
Is it revival? Most say, not yet. But it may be the beginnings of revival. Church leaders in Argentina now see revival with thousands upon thousands being saved and filled with the Spirit. They say that many churches had these times of renewal and refreshing for five years with increasing intensity until revival broke upon them.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the Baptist prince of preachers who lived through revival in London in the late 1850s, called it a time of ‘glorious disorder’. Revival is unpredictable. Often disturbing. Like Isaiah in the temple (Isaiah 6) we find ourselves overwhelmed, convicted, aware we are unclean, undone, and needing to be made right with God. Just a small touch of the glory of God is unnerving, and obviously beyond anything we can comprehend or control.
However, we can respond. With repentance. With humility. With unity. With prayer. With love for God and one another. With worship.
New dimensions of worship
Many of us are living through further dimensions of worship now. Some of us began experiencing corporate worship in a structured one hour church service. Sometimes the Spirit seemed to move upon us and the singing would take off, the preaching was inspired, and people responded at the altar call for prayer and counselling. That still happens.
Then we began experiencing more of the Lord’s grace (charisma) and power. We longed for fuller, freer worship. People began composing new songs of worship, praise and response, including Scripture in song. Those songs quickly spread worldwide. As with hymns of earlier revivals, the best remain in widespread use. Others fade away. Only a few of Charles Wesley’s 6,000 hymns still remain, but they are great!
Now in further touches of the Spirit we find some of the new songs and old hymns helpful, but limiting. Increasingly we worship with spontaneity. Harmonies and melodies and spontaneous songs blend with the best of the new songs and old hymns in creative expressions of worship.
This year I was able to worship in many places including the Philippines, Ghana, Toronto, Anaheim, and in meetings in Australia from Perth to Brisbane. Often powerful spontaneity found expression in extended worship. Many times we worship in harmonies and Spirit songs for extended periods.
All the revivals I’ve read about experienced this. We will see much more yet.
This issue of the Renewal Journal explores many dimensions of worship. John & Carol Wimber describe intimacy with God. Geoff Bullock reminds us of our mission. Dorothy Mathieson gives prophetic challenge. Robert Tann and Robert Colman explore healing in worship. Lucinda Coleman surveys the history of dance in worship. Stephen Bryar and Stan Everitt comment on the significance of renewal. I reflect on worship in revival.
Worship God (Revelation 22:9). That command in the last chapter of the Bible points the way ahead for us now, and forever.
Geoff Waugh (D.Miss.) is the founding editor of the Renewal Journal and author of books on renewal and revival.
Whole communities transformed by God now give witness to his power to heal the land and the people when we repent and unite in obedience to his requirements.
Fiji now has significant examples of effective community transformation, based on honouring God.
The 2005 documentary report titled Let the Seas Resound, produced by the Sentinel Group (www.sentinel.com), identifies examples of transformed communities in Fiji, featuring reconciliation and renewed ecosystems. The President of Fiji, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, and the Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, include their personal comments in this video and DVD report, now distributed worldwide.
Essential components of this community transformation include these elements.
1. Honouring God. Community leaders acknowledge that God creates and sustains life. They rededicate their land and their people to Him. This approach transcends doctrinal divisions, emphasizing the universal laws of God that apply to all people of all nations.
2. Honouring people. Community leaders acknowledge the importance of respecting all people. This results in personal and public reconciliation. It is both compassionate and inclusive, transcending division through mutual respect and unity.
3. Honouring justice. Community leaders consult widely with diverse groups to identify and address injustice. Issues are complex, and solutions not simple, but a common commitment to God’s justice with mutual respect can open the way for community transformation. God’s inclusive justice transcends sectarian divisions and conflict with reconciliation and unity.
Many examples illustrate these global principles. The following brief examples provide powerful case studies of community transformation. Often a crisis, such as escalating crime, ethic conflict or a political coup, becomes the motivating catalyst for change. For example, community and church leaders may be motivated by the crisis to act. However, communities can be transformed without waiting for a crisis to motivate change.
Fiji, South Pacific
In September 2004, 10, 000 people gathered to worship together in Suva, Fiji, drawn by reconciliation initiatives of both government and church leaders. Only four years previously such unity among government and church leaders was unimaginable. Ethnic tensions flared in the attempted coup of May 2000, when the government was held hostage for 56 days, and violence erupted in the streets of Suva.
The President of Fiji, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, called the churches to unite in repentance and prayer for the nation. At a united rally in 2001, Laisenia Qarase, later elected as Prime Minister, confessed: “Our efforts in building the country will come to nothing if they are not rooted firmly in the love and fear of God. I ask Him to forgive me for the times I have been neglectful and cold in my relationship with Him. With Your guidance Lord, this sinner will renew himself; will find new purpose in the pursuit of Your will. Lord, I entreat You, again, to forgive me, to save me, to capture my heart and hold my hand. I honour You as the King of Kings.”
The Association of Christian Churches in Fiji (ACCF) emerged as one structural response to this desire for reconciliation and unity among Christians and in the community.
As people of Fiji unite in commitment to reconciliation and repentance in various locations, many testify to miraculous changes in their community and in the land.
Three days after the people of Nuku made a united covenant with God, the water in the local stream, which for the previous 42 years had been known as the cause of barrenness and illness, mysteriously became clean and life giving. Then food grew plentifully in the area.
Fish are now caught in abundance around the village of Nataleria, where previously they could catch only a few fish. This change followed united repentance and reconciliation.
Many people of Fiji acknowledge that these changes in reconciliation, unity, and in the eco-systems confirm God’s promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.”
The town of Almolonga in Guatemala in South America, typical of many Mayan highland communities, suffered from economic depression, inebriation, and crime. The four gaols were full this town of 19,000. Many criminals had to be transported to gaols in the capital city.
Guatemala City pastor Harold Caballeros reported that, “the town suffered from poverty, violence and ignorance. In the mornings you would encounter many men just lying on the streets, totally drunk from the night before. And of course this drinking brought along other serious problems like domestic violence and poverty. It was a vicious cycle.”
Donato Santiago, the town’s chief of police, said, “People were always fighting. We never had any rest.” Now with crime dramatically diminished and the gaols no longer needed, police chief Santiago, says with a grin, “It’s pretty uneventful around here.”
A few Christian leaders began regularly praying together from 7 pm to midnight in the 1970s. As they continued to pray in unity, increasing numbers of people were being healed and set free from strong demonic powers or witchcraft. Churches began to grow, and the community began to change. Crime and alcoholism decreased.
Within twenty years the four gaols emptied and are now used for community functions. The last of Almolonga’s gaols closed in 1994, and is now a remodeled building called the ‘Hall of Honour’ used for municipal ceremonies and weddings.
The town’s agricultural base was transformed. Their fields have become so fertile they yield three large harvests a year. Previously, the area exported four truckloads of produce a month. Now they are exporting as many as 40 truckloads a day. Farmers buy big Mercedes trucks with cash, and then attach their testimony to the shiny vehicles with huge metallic stickers and mud flaps declaring, ‘The Gift of God,’ ‘God is my Stronghold’ and ‘Go Forward in Faith.’
Some farmers provide work for others by renting out land and developing fields in other towns. They help people get out of debt by providing employment for them.
On Halloween day in 1998, an estimated 12, 000 to 15, 000 people gathered in the market square to worship and honour God in a fiesta of praise. Led by the mayor and many pastors, the people prayed for God to take authority over their lives and their economy.
University researchers from the United States and other countries regularly visit Almolonga to investigate the astounding 1, 000 percent increase in agricultural productivity. Local inhabitants explain that the land is fertilized by prayer and rained upon with God’s blessings.
Columbia in South America has been the world’s biggest exporter of cocaine, sending between 700 to 1, 000 tons a year to the United States and Europe alone. The Cali cartel controlled up to 70 percent of this trade. It has been called the largest, richest, and most well organized criminal organization in history.
The drug lords in cartels ruled the city through fear. At times 15 people a day were killed, shot from the black Mercedes cars owned by the cartels. Car bombs exploded regularly. Journalists who denounced the Mafia were killed. Drug money controlled the politicians.
By the early 1990s the cartels controlled every major institution in Cali including banks, business, politicians and police.
The churches were in disarray and ineffective. “In those days,” a pastor recalls, “the pastors’ association consisted of an old box of files that nobody wanted. Every pastor was working on his own; no one wanted to join together.”
A few discouraged but determined pastors began praying together regularly, asking God to intervene. Gradually others joined them.
A small group of pastors planned a combined service in the civic auditorium in May 1995 for a night of prayer and repentance. They expected a few thousand people, but were amazed when 25, 000 attended, nearly half of the city’s evangelical population. The crowd remained until 6 o’clock the next morning at this the first of the city’s now famous united all-night prayer vigils held four times a year.
Two days after that event in May 1995, the daily newspaper, El Pais, headlined, “No Homicides!” For the first time in anyone’s memory, 24 hours had passed without a single person being killed. Then, during the next four months 900 cartel-linked officers were fired from the metropolitan police force.
By August 1995, the authorities had captured all seven of the targeted cartel leaders. Previously the combined efforts of the Columbian authorities, and the American FBI and CIA had been unable to do that.
In December 1995, a hit man killed Pastor Julio Ruibal, one of the key leaders of the combined pastors’ meetings and the united prayer gatherings. 1, 500 people gathered at his funeral, including many pastors who had not spoken to each other in months. At the end of the memorial service, the pastors said, “Brothers, let us covenant to walk together in unity from this day forward. Let Julio’s blood be the glue that binds us together in the Holy Spirit.”
Now over 200 pastors have signed the covenant that is the backbone of the city’s united prayer vigils. What made the partnership of these leaders so effective are the same things that always bring God’s blessings: clean hearts, right relationships, and united prayer.
As the kingdom of God became more real in Cali, it affected all levels of society including the wealthy and educated. A wealthy businessman and former mayor said, “It is easy to speak to upper-class people about Jesus. They are respectful and interested.” Another successful businessman adds that the gospel is now seen as practical rather than religious.
Churches grow fast. One church that meets in a huge former warehouse holds seven services on a Sunday to accommodate its 35, 000 people. Asked, “What is your secret?” they point to the 24-hour prayer room behind the platform.
A former drug dealer says, “There is a hunger for God everywhere. You can see it on the buses, on the streets and in the cafes. Anywhere you go people are ready to talk.”
Cali police deactivated a large 174-kilo car bomb in November 1996. The newspaper El Pais carried the headline: “Thanks to God, It Didn’t Explode.” Many people noted that this happened just 24 hours after 55, 000 Christians held their third vigilia – the all night prayer vigil that includes praise, worship, dances and celebration mixed with the prayers and statements from civic and church leaders.
City authorities have given the churches free use of large stadium venues for their united gatherings because of their impact on the whole community, saving the city millions of dollars through reduced crime and terrorism.
Teen Challenge, America
Illicit drug abuse and addiction create social and personal devastation internationally. Federal dollars in USA allocated for drug treatment climbed from $120 million in 1969, to $1.1 billion in 1974, to $3 billion in 1996, even though the number of illicit drug users by 1998 was half the number of the same group in 1979. However in spite of massive government spending on drug rehabilitation, concern remains about the low cure rate of programs funded by public dollars.
Research published in 1999 included comprehensive statistical analysis comparing drug rehabilitation success rates for Teen Challenge (130 centres and 2885 beds) with public funded and insurers’ funded programs, particularly the popular Short-Term Inpatient (STI) drug treatment programs of one to two months. The study surveyed key areas of rehabilitation including freedom from addictive substances, employment rates, productive social relationships and better quality of life.
Evaluation of the Teen Challenge program conducted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 1975 found that 87% of former abusers were abstaining from Marijuana seven years after completing the program, and 95% of former heroin abusers were abstaining from abuse seven years later. Similarly, the 1999 research found that 86% of former abusers were abstaining from drugs after their Teen Challenge rehabilitation. No public funded program showed such success rates. Most research showed that less than 10% still abstained from drug abuse five years after treatment.
Research identified the following factors as the most positive, helpful and effective dimensions of the Teen Challenge rehabilitation program, in this order of importance:
Jesus Christ or God (the NIDA report called this the “Jesus factor”).
Schooling, teaching or the Bible
Advisor, staff, love, encouragement.
Fellowship, unity, friends, living with others.
Discipline, structure, work.
Graduates of the program identified other helpful factors as seeing lives changes, self-motivation, prayer, outings, helping others, forgiving self, changed thinking, hope and good food.
A powerful dimension of the Teen Challenge program, particularly relevant to this article on community transformation, is the significance of the inter-cultural, inter-faith and inter-racial communities in Teen Challenge. These communities transcend racial barriers, such as noted in these comments: “I loved to be around these people from different places, I wished I could have got their numbers; it was a beautiful thing, living with them with no prejudice or racism. We loved one another. It was a beautiful thing. We all learn something from each other; I still learn from them today.”
These brief sample case studies of community transformation provide hope for change and a way ahead. It is possible. It is happening.
The conclusion may be stated in words from the timeless biblical record, spanning many millennia and diverse national and cultural communities:
Then that honour me, I will honour (I Samuel 2:30).
If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked way, then I will hear from heaven my dwelling place, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God (Hosea 6:8).
Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you (Mathew 6:33).
 Information from the Sentinel Group 2005 video/DVD, Let the Seas Resound (www.sentinel.com).
 George Otis, 2000, “Snapshots of Glory” in Renewal Journal, Issue 17 (renewaljournal.com) and the Sentinel Group 2000 video/DVD report Transformation.
 Information from George Otis, 2000, “Snapshots of Glory” in Renewal Journal, Issue 17, reproduced in renewaljournal.com.
 Information for this section on Teen Challenge is from the article “Teen Challenge’s Proven Answer to the Drug Problem” in a review of a study by Dr A T Bicknese titled “The Teen Challenge Drug Treatment Program in Comparative Perspective” on www.teenchallenge.com/tcreview.html.
The Spirit of the Lord is speaking loudly and clearly to the church now about unity – not uniformity.
Unity is biblical – Jesus demands it. We have no option on that. We are one, and are to demonstrate that oneness by our love for one another. Jesus commanded that on his last night with his disciples before he died (John 14-17).
Uniformity is unbiblical. We are meant to be different – different gifts but the same Spirit, different services but the same Lord, different ministries but the same God (1 Cor. 12:4-6).
We make an awful mistake if we want others to think as we do – because our thinking is too small at the best of times, and always distorted or limited. Another awful mistake is to want others to worship or work in the same way we do. The Spirit gives a great variety of gifts and ministries.
All over the world the Lord is raising up movements of unity across churches. This demands humility, repentance and forgiveness. Ministers are often the last to come on board because they are trained in their own tradition, and may be critical of other traditions. Often, the people in the congregation are more excited about unity than ministers!
This issue of the Renewal Journal celebrates unity, not uniformity. George Otis gives astounding accounts of visible unity among very different churches – different in theology and practice, but one in the Spirit. They demonstrate that to whole cities and regions.
Richard Riss reminds us of key lessons from revivals, where again there has been great unity amid wide diversity.
Donald McGavran, a pioneer in church growth writing, broke new ground in the seventies by insisting that churches need to take the power of the Spirit seriously, and expect God to heal – to do what he says he does. It’s worth careful consideration. We will never understand life’s mysteries, but that’s no excuse to run from Scripture. God is God, and wants to do ‘exceeding abundantly’ above everything we can ask or even think about (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Cecelia Estillore, a medical doctor, tackles head on the mystery of the spiritual dimensions of warfare with practical application in ministry, especially healing and deliverance. I give examples of this from Africa and from South America, adapted from Chapter 4 in my book Body Ministry.
Global reports continue to be astounding. No one can keep up with the outpouring of the Spirit in the world today. Evil abounds, but grace abounds so much more – and usually that abounding grace does not make it into the newspapers!
Renewal is no longer a matter of speculation. It will be recorded as one of the most significant faith history phenomena of all time. The Global Village factor makes this revival the most comprehensive international social and religious phenomena ever known.
To those who remain untouched or unexposed to renewal theology and events may I suggest that Geoff Waugh’s editorship of the Renewal Journal is a good step towards being more informed and possibly persuaded to the point of being involved, even to being a corrector of its course.
Future students of both social and church history will be surprised, both at the facts and at those who slept through them. Professor Walter Hollenweger (Missiology, Birmingham) has stated, ‘a movement which represents more or at least as many members as all other Protestant denominations taken together can no longer be considered a fringe topic in church history, missiology and systematic theology.’
Among those who still sleep are members, clergy and leaders of orthodoxy who see themselves as defenders of the faith against this threat of enthusiasm and ‘unnecessary extremes’ to traditional faith, practice and theology. Tradition and orthodoxy need to be re-defined. If New Testament Christianity is the orthodox, then what claims to be twentieth century orthodoxy may be labelled by future theological historians as in fact deviant.
No doubt some of the renewal theological emphasis runs into error, if not enthusiastic heresy. Some of its worship forms and practice are too subjective and unbalanced for my limited taste. There are many charlatans. But who would claim that contemporary ‘orthodox’ faith and practice were free of phonies and heresy?
Contemporary renewal is one of the most significant events in the history of Christianity. Don’t do a ‘Rip Van Winkle’.
Rev Prof Dr James Haire wrote:
Dr Geoff Waugh, an expert in Renewal Studies over many years, has begun editing an important Australian Journal which is unique in that it gathers together renewal material from the many church groups throughout Australia and overseas.
The first issue was published in the summer of 1993 and has articles ranging from an historical view of revival movements throughout history by Geoff Waugh himself to more specific accounts or revival experiences in Arnhem Land among the Aboriginal people of Australia by Dr Djiniyini Gondarra.
There are also significant articles by Stuart Robinson, J Edwin Orr, and material from John Greenfield. In this issue all of them are centred on the theme of revival. In addition, there is material on Renewal Studies in Australia and reviews of recent books on Pentecostal and Charismatic movements.
The Journal is breaking important new ground by linking renewal with ecumenical fellowship primarily throughout Australia. For that reason it is quite a new contribution in this area.
I warmly commend this fresh and ground-breaking enterprise. It looks as if it will play an important part in the Christian Church throughout this country.