Charismatic Renewal: Myths & Realities, by Rowland Croucher

Rowland CroucherChurch on FireChurch on Fire

Chapter 22
Charismatic Renewal: Myths and Realities

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by Rowland Croucher

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The Rev. Dr Rowland Croucher wrote as a Baptist minister and was editor of the newsletter Grid. This chapter is adapted from the Summer 1986 issue.  Also reproduced in John Mark Ministries

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Charismatic renewal is not going way. According to David Barrett, editor of World Christian Encyclopedia, pentecostals and charismatics numbered an estimated 100 million worldwide in 1980. He says that number jumped to about 150 million by 1985 and 337 million by 1989.

The word charismatic (Greek ‘charisma’ – a gift of grace) is useful as an adjective but sometimes offensive as a noun. Here we will reluctanly use charismatic as a noun, and as an adjective, but with the understanding that every true Christian is charismatic.

We are now hearing about post-charismatics. They had assumed the experiences in Acts 2,8,10,19 and 1 Corinthians 12 to 14 were normative for all Christians for all times. Having sought an emotional high, they found that their version of the charismatic renewal promised more than it delivered.

Let us work through the myths or misconceptions in order.

1. Renewal is a fairly modern phenomenon

Those unfamiliar with the mistakes of the past, as Santayana said, are likely to repeat them. Movements of religious renewal are not new. That happens when something lost is found: the book of the law (Josiah), prayer and asceticism (Desert Fathers), simple lifestyle (Franciscans), justification by faith (Luther), sanctification (Wesley), spiritual gifts (Pentecostals).

Christian renewal emphasizes the church’s organic, communal nature and tends to idealise the primitive apostolic church. Static institutions are challenged to change and become dynamic.

Traditionalists are usually blind to the disparity between the institution’s claims and its ineffectiveness. Renewalists often have little, or an idealised, sense of history; God is on their side and against the institution. They don’t realize that they too will set up new institutions which will eventually settle down, preserve a status quo and be challenged again.

Howard Snyder and others have helped us formulate a mediating model of the church, which affirms history and expects renewal – both.

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2. Enthusiasm is a sign of immaturity

Not necessarily. Stolid Anglo-Saxons may not approve of too much enthusiasm, but other cultures (Latins, Africans) like it. Two Israelite leaders, Eldad and Medad, got excited when the Spirit fell on them, so Joshua the institutional spokesman told Moses to stop them. Moses retorted by wishing the Spirit might similarly fall on the lot of them (Numbers 11:26-30)!

Experiences of some of the mystics (Richard Rolle, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross), reveal an affinity to modern charismatic phenomena.

The Holy Spirit being manifested in a person, a culture or an age produces various attitudes: an ordering attitude, a praying attitude, a questioning attitude, and an attitude of receiving. Without the receptive attitude the other three dry up. Mark Hillmer says that without mystical experience, without an ongoing awareness of the presence of God, we do not live a full and rich Christian life. The charismatic renewal represents the re-entry into the world of the felt presence of God. It means that mysticism, the attitude of receiving, is being renewed for us.

In all renewal movements there is a predictable dialectic: a move far enough one way will cause the pendulum to swing back to the other extreme.

The sad history of enthusiasts illustrates both the dangers of unchecked fervency not centred on the revelation of Jesus Christ, and also the inadequacy of merely institutional or rational authority. The faith is endangered when Christians have to choose between this uncontrolled fervency and dessicated, authoritative, uninspired orthodoxies in Protestantism or Catholicism. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of love and community, the Spirit of reflection and control.

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3. Pentecostalism is an ecclesiastical abberation that can be ignored

Not without reason has Pentecostalism been called the third force within Christendom. Pentecostalism teaches a necessary second stage in a believer’s relationship to the Lord – baptism in the Spirit – whose initial evidence is speaking in tongues. Its mission has been to restore spiritual gifts that had been neglected or opposed by the churches: tongues, interpretation, prophecy, faith, miracles, healing, wisdom, knowledge, and discernment (1 Corinthians 12:8-10).

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4. Charismatic renewal in the 1960’s and 1970’s was indistinguishable from the older Pentecostalism

The Neo-pentecostal renewal began in a significant way in the historic churches in the 1950’s.

Catholic charismatic renewal (the term Neo-pentecostal soon went out of vogue) probably goes back to Pope John XXIII convoking the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), and his prayer that the Holy Spirit would renew the church as by a new Pentecost.

Charles Hummell uses a World War II analogy to explain what happened. Pentecostalists based their pneumatology on the Synoptics and Acts: wasn’t Jesus first conceived by the Holy Spirit, then later baptized in the Spirit? Didn’t the disciples receive the Holy Spirit when Jesus breathed on them, but were later filled with the Spirit at Pentecost?

Traditional theologies, on the other hand, were Pauline. They said you mustn’t build doctrines from these events in the primitive church, but rather ask ‘What do the New Testament letters to various churches teach us?’ And only once is baptizing in the Spirit explicitly referred to there (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). And so the battle-lines formed, and the troops became entrenched within their fixed positions.

It was something like the French Maginot Line facing the equally impregnable Siegfried Line. Each army was safe behind its ramparts but unable to advance. Suddenly the German panzer divisions moved swiftly around these fixed positions and rolled into Paris without a pitched battle.

So with our little theologies. We fight our wars, protect territory already won, and are often ill-prepared to take new ground. Hummell explains that for decades pentecostal and traditional theologies of the baptism in the Spirit faced each other along one major doctrinal battle line. Then suddenly the Holy Spirit moved around these fixed positions to infiltrate charismatic renewal behind the lines in mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.

Catholic charismatic renewal has less emphasis on spiritual gifts and more on nurturing a personal relationship with Christ and on developing Christian community. In 1979 the Australian Catholic Theological Association said that through the movement thousands of Australian Catholic men and women were able to experience a deeper conversion to Jesus Christ; a renewal of faith; an introduction to a serious prayer life; a new appreciation of the Scriptures; an openness to the use of their gifts from the Holy Spirit; a commitment to evangelism.

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5. Conservative churches are frightened to touch charismatic renewal because it is an all-or-nothing package

Peter Wagner, professor of church growth at Fuller Seminary has popularized the notion of a third wave of renewal experienced in many churches in the 1980’s. He says that many historians feel this century has seen the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit since the first century or two. The first wave came with the pentecostal movement. The second came around the middle of the century with the charistmatic movement. The third wave is more recent, having begun around 1980, with the same powerful, supernatural acts of the Holy Spirit which had been confined to pentecostals and charismatics now being seen in a growing number of evangelical churches.

Wagner goes on to talk about his ‘120 Fellowship’ that meets from 7.30 to 9.15 Sunday mornings. They see signs and wonders on a regular basis. They don’t teach a baptism in the Holy Spirit as a second work of grace but see the Spirit’s impact as a filling or anointing of the Spirit which may happen to a person many times. They do not permit themselves to be called Spirit-filled Christians, as if others in the church were something less than Spirit-filled.

They try to avoid the Corinthian error concerning tongues; they neither forbid nor stress it. They treat tongues as just another spiritual gift, not as a badge of spirituality. Many pray in tongues, but they do not encourage public tongues in their class.

Wagner sees the third wave of the Spirit as an opening of the evangelicals and other Christians to the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. He notes evidence of this in many mainline churches now incorporating renewal in their worship service, sponsoring healing services, or praying for healing and deliverance in their normal worship times.

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6. There’s only one way to understand the term baptism in the Spirit

Baptism in the Spirit, in the pentecostal and charistmatic traditions, is an effusion of God’s Spirit upon a Christian with power for praise, witness and service. It is an experience which initiates a decisively new sense of the powerful presence and working of God in one’s life, and usually involves one or more charismatic gifts, observes Francis Sullivan. Pentecostals normally view it as a second work of grace. Charismatics have come to understand it as a deepening of the faith grounded in the new life received in Christ.

When a person becomes a Christian (and that can happen in many different ways), he or she never realizes all that has happened. A fuller understanding of justification, for example, may come much later. But it happened earlier. So we mustn’t put dogmatic strait-jackets on this experience. Conversion can be dramatic (if the person was running hard from God beforehand, for example), or quite matter-of-fact.

So with the Holy Spirit. Luke and Paul write about the work of the Spirit from different perspectives. For Luke the Spirit gives believers power for witness in the world – and that can be repeatable. Paul talks about the Spirit incorporating us into the body of Christ – that’s once-for-all.

Words can have different meanings in different contexts. Paul has perhaps five separate meanings for flesh. The Bible has many ways to describe the meaning of the death of Christ. Baptism is used in the Scriptures as a flexible metaphor, not merely as a technical term. I heard theologian Clark Pinnock say that so long as we recognize conversion as truly a baptism in the Spirit, there is no reason why we cannot use ‘baptism’ to refer to subsequent fillings of the Spirit as well’.

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7. Regarding spiritual gifts, the best course is to be conservative (stick to the safe ones and leave the others well alone)

Every church ought to be open to the full spectrum of the gifts. Spiritual gifts are meant to create truly Christian community. Where there is love, there’ll be gift-giving. God’s gifts are love-gifts – God at work.

Gifts are given freely by the Holy Spirit. They can’t be manufactured by us nor is their presence or absence a sign of Christian maturity.

In a truly biblical fellowship the focus is not on the gifts, but the Giver. But that shouldn’t be a cop-out, ignoring the gifts we aren’t comfortable with.

Here’s a common problem: ‘I had the best hands laid on me, but nothing happened’. Well, what did you expect to happen? Faith-filled prayer believes you have received the Spirit: leave the rest to God’s timing. David du Plessis (Mr. Pentecost) says that baptism in the Spirit is always easy when Jesus Christ does it for you, but always difficult when you struggle to do it yourself or with the help of others. And Richard Lovelace comments that Christians act as though fellowship with the Holy Spirit were very hard to establish. Actually it is very difficult to avoid! He says all that is necessary is for the believer to open up to that divine Reality in the centre of consciousness which is the most fundamental fact of a Christian’s inner life’.

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8. Prophecy isn’t needed today – we’ve got the Bible

Western fundamentalism has been infected with dispensationalism which sees the activity in the Book of Acts as transitional; the canon of Scripture is now closed, and the curtain has been brought down on all this sort of thing. When Paul says tongues and prophecy will be with us until the perfect comes (1 Corinthians 13:10) they say Paul meant a perfect Bible. The rest of the church interprets Paul as referring to heaven, when we shall see face to face.

Prophecy is a direct dominical utterance (thus says the Lord) for a particular people at a particular time and place, for a particular purpose. The Divine Word also comes through Jesus, through Scripture, through circumstances, and through visions (more commonly in non-Western cultures).

Prophecy gives the church fresh insights into God’s truth (Ephesians 3) or guidance about the future (Acts 11), or encouragement (1 Corinthians 14:3, 1 Timothy 1:18), or inspiration or correction. It either edifies the church or brings it under judgement (God is in this place! – see 1 Corinthians 14:25). The biblical prophets combined judgement with hope.

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9. Tongues is an ecstatic gift (for immature Christians)

The gift of tongues (glossolalia) is a quasi-linguistic phenomenon, not language in the normal sense of the term.

Tongues-speaking is not an indication of mental imbalance. After fifty years of research the consensus still runs, as with Virginia Hine over twenty years ago, that available evidence requires that an explanation of glossolalia as pathological must be discarded.

Two decades of research into the discrete functions of left and right hemispheres of the brain appears to show that the dominant cerebral hemisphere (the left, for 95% of the population) specializes in thinking processes which are analytical, linear, logical, sequential, verbal, rational. The right hemisphere normally shows preference for thought that is visiospatial, simultaneous, analog (as opposed to digital), emotional.

While speech has been seen to rise from mapped sectors of the left hemisphere, language-formation capacities are probably spread over both hemispheres. Glossolalia may be right hemisphere speech, sharing a location beyond – but not contradictory to – the usual canons of rationality. It is appropriate to think of glossolalic prayer as neither irrational nor arational, but rather transrational; when reason fails in prayer, the Spirit helps (Romans 8:26,27). It’s spirit to Spirit communication rather than mind to mind. (1 Corinthians 14:15).

Richard Beyer claims that there is a fundamental functional similarity between speaking in tongues and two other widespread and generally accepted religious practices, namely Quaker silent worship and the liturgical worship of Catholic and Episcopal churches.

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10. What if they’re not healed?

Let’s look at the tough questions.

Does God want everyone healed? Pentecostalists usually say yes (and if you aren’t, the problem is with lack of faith – yours, or your praying friends’ or your church’s).

Most others would say no.

Francis McNutt offers a more balanced view. In general, he says, it is God’s desire that we be healthy, rather than sick. And since he has the power to do all things, he will respond to prayer for healing unless there is some obstacle, or unless the sickness is sent or permitted for some greater reason.

The church today surely needs less pride and prejudice in this area. ‘But what if we pray publicly and they’re not healed?’ is the kind of faithless question that stymies our maturing in this area. Our calling is to be faithful and obedient. It’s God’s business whether he heals or not!

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11. Deliverance from evil spirits is a medieval or animistic idea. We’ve now outgrown all that.

Naturalism is a view of the world that takes account only of natural elements and forces, excluding the supernatural or spiritual.

This world view has influenced theology in this century principally through Rudolf Bultmann. He claimed that because the forces and laws of nature have been discovered we can’t believe in spirits, whether good or evil.

Against this, the biblical worldview holds that the universe consists of both visible and invisible creatures, angels, demons, and powers. As theologians like Gustav Aulen and Helmut Thielicke point out, the inbreaking of God’s kingdom in the ministry of Jesus Christ can’t be understood apart from its being a war against the principalities of evil. Emil Brunner says we cannot rightly understand the church of the New Testament unless we break out of the strait-jacket of naturalism and take seriously the dynamic manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

Someone has calculated that 3,874 (49%) of the New Testament’s 7,957 verses are ‘contaminated’ with happenings and ideas alien to a naturalistic world-view. Morton Kelsey noted that the only large group of Christians who take seriously the idea of a direct encounter with the non-space-time or spiritual world are the Pentecostals and the charismatics, and they have come in for derision from every side.

However, as C.S. Lewis and others have warned us, there are two opposite errors we must avoid: either disbelieving in the devil’s existence, or giving Satan more attention than he deserves. Cardinal Suenens similarly exhorts us to steer a safe course between Scylla and Charibdis, between underestimation and exaggeration.

Within the church the gift of discernment of spirits is very important. The Scriptures suggest various tests to discern the spirits: Is Christ glorified (John 16:14)? Is the church edified? Are others helped? Does it accord with Scripture? Is there love? Is Jesus Lord of the person’s life? Is there submission to church leaders – allowing others to weigh what is said or done?

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12. It’s all so divisive that we ought to leave charismatic issues well alone

Divisiveness would head anyone’s list of the issues confronting us in the modern charistmatic renewal.

My observation, however, is that divisiveness is not a function of the presence or absence of certain spiritual gifts, but of insecurity, fear (charisphobia), insensitivity (charismania), or lovelessness on one or both sides.

David Watson talked about tidy churches, with piles of papers neatly in order. The windows are opened, but the fresh wind of the Spirit blows the papers about, so the elders scurry around collecting them all again, and close the windows. You’ve got tidiness, even stuffiness.

That’s the picture of many a church, he suggests. He wants to have the windows open with a fresh breath of the Holy Spirit blowing. Untidiness with life is preferable if the alternative is tidiness and death. One of the tidiest places you can find is the cemetery.

Let us beware of the error Gamaliel warned about (Acts 5:33-39). If this is of God, we must take the movement seriously.

Certainly the swift stream of renewal often throws debris on to the banks. Old wineskins can’t cope with new wine without bursting. When the Spirit is at work, the devil will be sowing weeds among the wheat.

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13. Experience-centred and Word-centred theologies won’t mix

The success of an experiential theology must be judged by the ease (or lack of ease) with which it moves from Spirit to Word. If Word and Spirit can be held in dynamic union, then experiential theology has the possibility of becoming definitive for the life and witness of the church today.

Too often Word takes the place of Spirit. Our traditional theologies run the risk of being rationalistic, contrived conceptual schemas. The Holy Spirit is the subject of a sterile pneumatology, with little openness to an experience of his power.

But, again, an experience-centred theology sometimes stays there. Sometimes there’s an unhealthy identification of truth with a prophetic leader, or a great experience; everything else derives validity through reference to these. Or else the Bible is used as a sanction for one’s independent feelings and experiences. Or perhaps we are not open to the whole of experience.

Thus an unhealthy individualism and a pervasive subjectivism often accompany pieties of personal experience. As Russell Spittler has put it, individualism is a virtue when it assures conscious religious experience, but becomes something of an occupational hazard for Pentecostal-charismatics. Add in some dominant personality traits, take away an acquaintance with the church’s collective past, delete theological sophistication, and the mix can be volatile, catastrophic.

Let us beware of inhabiting simplicity this side of complexity, or complexity the other side of simplicity, but rather move to simplicity the other side of complexity!

The security of the slogan is easier than the hard work of discovering the truth. Much of what is written in pentecostal/charismatic books is what Kilian McDonnell calls enthusiastic theological fluff – pink hot air in printed form.

There is a great need for a thorough-going charismatic theology. For example the juxtaposition of the ideas of baptism in the Spirit and the release of spiritual gifts may be seen to be a most significant contribution to twentieth-century theology, but a lot more work has to be done on it yet.

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14. In the church’s worship you can’t mix charismatic elements with traditional forms

Probably, in retrospect, it will be seen that the pentecostal movement will have made its most important contribution in corporate worship, in the sphere of liturgy and preaching, and not in the sphere of pneumatology, as is constantly and quite wrongly supposed, suggests Walter Hollenweger.

Aspects of pentecostal/charistmatic worship are invading traditional churches with a rush! It’s becoming more common for worshippers of all kinds to raise their hands in adoration, as they sing scripture-songs in their morning worship-services. However these songs are as limited as is charismatic theology. There are very few about mission and justice, for example. They’re mostly ‘God loves me and I love God’ songs. Nice, but there’s more; love issues in a life of witness and obedience in a hostile world.

The way forward ultimately is to integrate the unique insights and results of charismatic renewal into the full life of the church, with a submission to the order, tradition, doctrine and spirituality of the church as a whole. It’s not helpful to go underground. Every special movement needs the whole church body to give focus, direction, discernment and correction; it needs to be tested, evaluated, encouraged, improved and admonished. As Cardinal Suenans says, to be most useful, the charismatic movement must disappear into the life of the church.

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15. The problem of elitism should eventually go away

I’m pessimistic on this one. We enjoy sorting others out according to false hierarchies of value. There have always been ‘haves and have-nots’ in the church. Only the categories change. In one era a priestly caste takes special prerogatives to itself and we have the evil of clericalism. In others there are heresy trials with the orthodox removing the heterodox. In the charistmatic renewal, experience is the watershed: those who have ‘arrived’ have been ‘baptised in the Spirit’ in a discernible experience subsequent to conversion, and speak in tongues. But the New Testament mostly uses ethical rather than experiential categories to define stages of Christian maturity. For example, Barnabas was spirit-filled; that is, he was filled with goodness and faith (Acts 11:24).

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16. Magic isn’t a problem if we’re ministering in Christ’s name

It is possible for a miracle-centred theology to become theurgical (Greek ‘theourgia’ – magic). An openness to signs and wonders can easily degenerate into miracle-mongering.

Miracles are not just for show. Jesus resisted the temptation to work miracles to dazzle people or to seduce them into believing in him, notes Alan Richardson. He refused to give the Pharisees a ‘sign from heaven’. He did not want to be sought after as a wonder-worker.

Magic involves repeating formulas (vain repetitions). It’s wanting blessings more for my sake than God’s. It’s manipulating deity for my ends.

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17. The charismatic renewal is ecumenical

If it is charismatic, it’s ecumenical, says Mr. Pentecost, David du Plessis. But he adds that there has been a dangerous tendency by pentecostals/charismatics to criticize the church, leading to the formation of schismatic, independent groups:

The more schismata the less charismata (1 Corinthians 12:25,26), he would say. This humble Pentecostal pioneer had a passion for unity because the prayer of Jesus was for unity, that the world may believe. He saw little hope for the world unless unity comes to Christianity.

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18. Charismatic renewal and mission

Christians are commissioned to do in their world what Jesus did in his: bringing salvation (wholeness, the reign of God), where there is pain, sickness, lostness, alienation, oppression, poverty, war, injustice. So the church’s mission has three dimensions: evangelism (preaching good news), works of mercy (relieving persons’ pain), and works of justice (addressing the causes of pain). It uses three instruments: word (what we say), deed (what we do) and sign (what God does).

Pentecostalists/charismatics have brought the church back to signs and wonders and they have generally done evangelism better than others.

But pentecostal/charismatics churches are weakest of all in the justice area. There’s more in the prophets than Joel’s promise of the Spirit on all flesh. The prophets cried out for justice, the redress of wrongs done to the poor.

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19. Being baptised in the Spirit is an antidote for antinomianism

It isn’t. Antinomianism (living carelessly and lawlessly) is as much a trap for pentecostals/charismatics as for anyone.

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20. Conclusions: the way forward

Sherwood Wirt noted that the most important gift God has given to the charismatic renewal is a fresh outpouring of love. Not joy, not ecstasy, not tongues, not miracles, not even martyrdom, but love.

And there’s something else the cautious ought to be more afraid of: attributing the work of the Spirit to the devil. That’s a very serious sin, Jesus warned.

Paul sums it up: ‘Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts’ (1 Corinthians 14:1).

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Blessing

RENEWAL JOURNAL 7:  BLESSING

Article in Renewal Journal 7: Blessing
Renewal Journal 7: Blessing –
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Also in Renewal Journals bound volume 2 (Issues 6-10)
Renewal Journal Vol 2 (6-10) –
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All Renewal Journal Topics:

1 Revival,   2 Church Growth,
3 Community,   4 Healing,   
5 Signs & Wonders,   
6  Worship,   
7  Blessing,
   8  Awakening,  
9  Mission,   10  Evangelism,
11  Discipleship,
   12  Harvest,   
13  Ministry,
   14  Anointing,   
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16  Vision,   
17  Unity,
   18  Servant Leadership,  
19  Church,   20 Life

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CONTENTS: 7 Blessing

What on earth is God doing? by Owen Salter

Times of Refreshing, by Greg Beech

Renewal Blessing, by Ron French

Catch the Fire, by Dennis Plant

Reflections, by Alan Small

A Fresh Wave, by Andrew Evans

Waves of Glory, by David Cartledge

Balance, by Charles Taylor

Discernment, by John Court

Renewal Ministry, by Geoff Waugh

Book Reviews:
Comment on books by Partick Dixon, Rob Warner, Guy Chevreau, Mike Feardon, Dave Roberts, Wallace Boulton, John Arnott, Andy & Jane Fitz-Gibbon, and Ken & Lois Gott

Renewal Journal 7: Blessing – PDF

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EDITORIAL

‘BLESSINGS ABOUND WHERE E’RE HE REIGNS’

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?

Caution

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).

Wisdom

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.

Empowering

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. 

Fruit

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).

© Renewal Journal 7: Blessing, 1996, 2nd edition 2011.

 Reproduction is allowed with the copyright intact with the text.

Now available in updated book form (2nd edition 2011)

Worship

RENEWAL JOURNAL 6:  WORSHIP

Renewal Journal 6: Worship – PDF

All Renewal Journal Topics:

1 Revival,   2 Church Growth,
3 Community,   4 Healing,   
5 Signs & Wonders,   
6  Worship,   
7  Blessing,
   8  Awakening,  
9  Mission,   10  Evangelism,
11  Discipleship,
   12  Harvest,   
13  Ministry,
   14  Anointing,   
15  Wineskins,   
16  Vision,   
17  Unity,
   18  Servant Leadership,  
19  Church,   20 Life

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CONTENTS: 6 Worship

Renewal Journal 6: WorshipWorship: Intimacy with God, by John & Carol Wimber

Beyond Self-Centred Worship, by Geoff Bullock

Worship: to Soothe or Disturb? by Dorothy Mathieson

Worship: Touching Body and Soul, by Robert Tann

Healing through Worship, by Robert Colman

Charismatic Worship and Ministry, by Stephen Bryar &

Renewal in the Church, by Stan Everitt

Worship God in Dance, by Lucinda Coleman

Revival Worship, by Geoff Waugh

Book Reviews:
Winds of Change: The Experience of Church in a Changing Australia by Peter Kaldor (ed);
Views from the Pews by Peter Kaldor (ed); 
Jesus the Baptiser with the Holy Spirit
by Allan Norling

Renewal Journal 6: Worship – PDF

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EDITORIAL

WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH

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.

© Renewal Journal 6: Worship, 1995, 2nd edition 2011
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright included.

Now available in updated book form (2nd edition 2011)

Renewal Journal 6: Worship

Renewal Journal 6: Worship – PDF

Worship: Intimacy with God, by John & Carol Wimber

Beyond Self-Centred Worship, by Geoff Bullock

Worship: to Soothe or Disturb? by Dorothy Mathieson

Worship: Touching Body and Soul, by Robert Tann

Healing through Worship, by Robert Colman

Charismatic Worship and Ministry, by Stephen Bryar and

Renewal in the Church, by Stan Everitt

Worship God in Dance, by Lucinda Coleman

Revival Worship, by Geoff Waugh

Contents of all Renewal Journals

See Renewal Journal 6: Worship on Amazon and Kindle and The Book Depository
Also in Renewal Journals bound volume 2 (Issues 6-10)

Renewal Journals Vol 2, Nos 6-10

Renewal Journals Vol 2: Nos 6-10

Renewal Journal Vol 2 (6-10) – PDF

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Revival Blogs Links:

See also Revivals Index

See also Revival Blogs

See also Blogs Index 1: Revivals

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Bougainville Revival, South Pacific, by Royree Jensen

Amazing revival stories from Bougainville in the South Pacific.  New Testament events still happen. Walking on water to witchcraft island and back.  Magic discovered and destroyed.

Selections from revival stories in South Pacific Revivals. Share this page to inform and bless others – great stories for messages, youth groups and study groups. See links below to share on your Facebook, Twitter, Google, Linkedin & Emails.

 

Revival Blogs Links:

See also Revival Blogs

See also Revivals Index

See also Blogs Index 1: Revivals

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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China's Next Generation: New China, New Church, New World, by Luis Bush, Brent Fulton & a Christian Worker in China

China title

China’s Next Generation:

New China, New Church, New World

by Luis Bush, Brent Fulton & a Christian Worker in China

 

Conclusion

Someone once said that everything is true somewhere, at some time in China. This statement couldn’t be more true in today’s China. Somewhere in China there are still believers being persecuted for their faith, but for all the people that are being persecuted, many are able to worship freely. In fact, some companies prefer to hire Christians rather than unbelievers because of their integrity and ethics. In one city alone, it is believed that the Christians amount to 10% of the population and many businessmen are strong believers.

In some areas in China there is bitter animosity between the house and registered churches but for each place where there is bitterness there are thousands of house churches that are being allowed to continue. In fact, house church leaders have open discussions with local government officials and are permitted to rent and even purchase office space to hold their meetings. Also, there are cities where both the house and Three Self Churches work together, and some house churches meet in Three Self Churches!

In China there are certain versions of the Bible that are not printed and are not permitted in the country but for all the versions of the Bible that are not printed or permitted here there are several versions that people can freely purchase in bookstores and online to send to their friends. In fact, the Three Self Church has printed millions of Bibles in country and make them available at their bookstores.

It’s a new day for China, for the Church in China and for the World. We thank the Lord for the harvest that was brought in the past, the maturation of the Chinese church and for the economic strides that have made China the second largest economy in the world. However, if all this is to continue China needs to go to the next level of its maturation and reach the next generation, the 4/14ers! Now is the time for the Church of China to come together to preserve the harvest so it will last many more generations.

At the recent Asian Church Leaders Forum, over 100 Chinese church leaders signed a pledge to “commit ourselves to raising up younger leaders of the next generation” and to “pass the vision of evangelization onto the younger generation and proclaim the salvation message of the old rugged cross with creative methods.” We are excited that the church in China has embraced reaching the next generation so that a new chapter in China’s great harvest history can be written.

See Link:  China’s Next Generation

Download Book: China’s Next Generation: New Church, New China, New World (This book is not copyrighted)

 

Kenya Mission

Evangelism in Kiberra, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa's largest slum of one million.
Evangelism in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa’s largest slum of one million.

Evangelism, healings, deliverance, bread multiplied in the slum, caring for orphans, churches planted, training church planters.

I met Francis Nyameche, a youth evangelist from Kenya, when he studied for his Bachelor of Ministry degree in Brisbane, graduating in 2000.  Since then I’ve visited him in Kenya a few times.

His father, Samson Nyameche, founded the Believers Fellowship Church in Kisumu, Kenya, with 2000 attending, and established over 30 churches.  He runs an orphanage for 50 children on his family farm.

Frank had a vision of Jesus when he was five, and was powerfully filled with the Spirit as a teenager.  He became the youth pastor in his father’s church and spoke at local markets where thousands were saved and filled with the Spirit.  Frank evangelised in many places in Africa.

Supported by his wife Lindah, Frank began Nairobi Believers Mission (NBM) church in the slums of Kibera where a million people live, jammed together in small mud brick homes with rusty iron roofs.  I’ve had the privilege of teaching leaders and speaking at meetings there.  In spite of poverty and political unrest, their churches continue to grow steadily.

Before the Kibera slum church moved into their corrugated iron shed they met in a community hall.  I taught leaders there, and spoke at their Sunday service with about 30 people.  We gave them real bread for communion, not just symbolic cubes.  The Spirit led me to give them all the bread we had, just a loaf (not five barley buns as the boy had in Scripture).

“Can I take some home to my family?” asked one young man.  That’s a hard question to answer in front of 30 hungry people.

“It’s your bread.  You can take some of your bread home if you want to,” I answered.

Then everyone took a large handful of communion bread, and most put some in their pockets to take home later.  We shared real glasses of grape juice in plastic glasses, thanking the Lord for his body and blood given for us.

After my return to Australia I heard that the bread multiplied, as those who took some home had enough for their families to eat even to two weeks later.  Francis added: “Actually the miracle continued months after we began NBM and were feeding members each Saturday afternoon with tea and bread.  God continued multiplying the food and there was always enough.”

My glimpses of revival in Kenya with Francis in the slums, with his parents in the orphanage and teaching pastors and leaders from over 30 of their churches, reminded me that God uses the weak things of this world to confound the mighty.  People with limited or no resources still see the Kingdom of God come powerfully among them.

Francis is now involved in evangelism and training church planters in the villages of Kenya.  He writes:

By His leading, I am now working with some denominational leaders in Northern Kenya to plant spiritually growing churches in the most unreached places.  Some places with a percentage as high as 98% of the people there yet to hear The Good News of the Gospel.

We are raising African missionaries or trainers who are committed to live in remote villages, teaching pastors and church planters how to fellowship in the love of Christ. We are also encouraging them to reach children for Christ. These Spirit-filled church planters may not be literate, but will be sharing mainly from the “Chronological Bible stories” a publication upon which much of the training centres. The needs in this mission field are great and we constantly pray for focus as we are easily and understandably distracted by the overwhelming lack of basic needs. We expect that as we step out in faith, God will respond in signs and wonders!

My role is to strategise, coordinate and supervise 6 trainers of church planters who will in turn train multiplying church planters for a vast region. In addition to that, I am responsible to raise funds for training material together with meeting and travel costs. God is still leading us into new ways of how to use our time more efficiently for His Kingdom purposes.

Other than that I have plans to move my family into Kisumu rural, a location 40Km South-West of Kisumu town.  With the help of our friends from DIAS (KBC), we have purchased a 10 acre plot of land by the lake,  built a 2km access road, fenced it and planted over 200 trees on it including fruit trees, pine and royal palm trees. We plan to build our home there.  We have a big vision for a facility that will house many activities that the Lord has put into our heart.  We call it the Milele Center.  Milele is Swahili for Eternity. The Milele Center is a new rural development that incorporates a largely self-sustaining home/rescue center, school for children and training center for African missionaries and church planters; for an area that lacks these facilities.

You can connect with Francis on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/franknyameche or email him on fnyameche@gmail.com

Francis & Linda Nyameche
Francis & Linda Nyameche
Part of Kiberra slum, Nairobi, Kenya
Part of Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya
Praying for leaders in Kenya
Praying for leaders in Kenya

Francis trains church planters

Francis trains church planters

Adapted from Chapter 8 of
Looking to Jesus: Journey into Renewal and Revival
A Looking to Jesus All

And adapted from Journey into Mission, and
Journey into Ministry and Mission

0 0 Jurney M2

0 0 A Journey Mission All

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GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Blogs

Renewal Journal

Blogs Contents

General Blogs Index

 

See also Topics Index

Answered Prayer

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX 

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Mama Luka

 This Blogs Index 3: Devotional includes testimonies and Blogs on Prayer and Bible passages.  See also Inspiration on the Top Bar for more.

 

 

Testimonies

Johan van BruggenActs 3 acted out in faith in PNG

 
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cfan1He woke up totally healed

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Mama Luka“Before they call I will answer”
Helen Roseveare in Africa
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02 St ValentineSt Valentine
 
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  Dawkins RobbyGangsters in the Doorway
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Also:
Interrupted by God
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Prayer

 Unite PicGlobal Prayer Resource Network
Join Christians praying at 11:55am daily.

 

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IB prayer passionLet’s Pray
Ideas for studies
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 National Prayer StrategyThe 10 Domains
for prayer and mission
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General Devotional Blogs

10 CommandsGod’s Positive Will
A Christian Perspective on the 10 Commandments
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Easter Friday lambChristian Passover Service

The Last Supper

A retelling of the Lord’s Supper

 

bloodmoons_wallpaperBlood Moons 2014-2015

Passover and Sukkot

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 shopping

Your Smart Phone as a Spiritual Resource

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A You can Publish for FreeYou can Publish for Free:
Share Good News

A small book to help you

Available on Amazon & Kindle
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0 0 Bible birdsShare Good News

Resources for sharing

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E King Size BedGiving ideas

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Links to revival resources

Renewal Journal and Geoff Waugh on Facebook – regular updates

Authors of Renewal Journal articles

Revival Library – revival-library.org

Revival summaries – notes

Answered Prayer

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX 

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Church

Renewal Journal 19: Church

Renewal Journal 19: Church – PDF

All Renewal Journal Topics:

1 Revival,   2 Church Growth,
3 Community,   4 Healing,   
5 Signs & Wonders,   
6  Worship,   
7  Blessing,
   8  Awakening,  
9  Mission,   10  Evangelism,
11  Discipleship,
   12  Harvest,   
13  Ministry,
   14  Anointing,   
15  Wineskins,   
16  Vision,   
17  Unity,
   18  Servant Leadership,  
19  Church,   20 Life

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Contents

The Voice of the Church in the 21st Century, by Ray Overend

Redeeming the Arts: visionaries of the future, by Sandra Godde

Counselling Christianly, by Ann Crawford

Redeeming a Positive Biblical View of Sexuality, by John Meteyard and Irene Alexander

The Mystics and Contemporary Psychology, by Irene Alexander

Problems Associated with the Institutionalization of Ministry, by Warren Holyoak

Book Reviews:
Jesus, Author & Finisher by Brian Mulheran
South Pacific Revivals by Geoff Waugh

Renewal Journal 19: Church – PDF

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Editorial

Church Now

Church in the 21st century is changing.  Previously the rate of change has been gradual, spanning many generations.  Now change is rapid in all areas of society, including the social expressions of “church.” 

Charismatic renewal and revival continue to powerfully transform church and community life.  Home groups, cell groups, interest groups, and mission groups proliferate.  They can thrive without budgets, salaries, or church buildings. 

China and Africa lead the world in radical expressions of being the church – often without church buildings, salaries, and traditional services.  Latin America provides increasing examples of community transformation and Christians celebrate together in fiestas and all night united prayer and worship festivities.  Local governments often underwrite the cost of these celebrations because of the enormous impact for good they have on the whole community. 

This issue of the Renewal Journal explores some growing edge challenges emerging now in being “church” in the new millennium. 

Ray Overend finds fresh hope for “The Voice of the Church in the 21st Century” because secular university culture is beginning to change and throw bright light on the very foundations of Christianity, and on just why the Church has lost spiritual authority in the world. 

Sandra J. Godde, Founder and Director of Excelsia Dance Company, calls for Christians in the Arts to give the church a prophetic voice in her publication, “Redeeming the Arts: visionaries of the future.” 

Ann Crawford examines the presuppositions and processes that distinguish Christian counselling from other forms of counselling in her article, “Counselling Christianly: implications for pastors and church-based counselling professionals.” 

John Meteyard and Irene Alexander engage in “Redeeming a Positive Biblical View of Sexuality,” showing how human sexuality and spirituality are very close to another, both dealing with intimate relationship, deep desire, and being known for who we truly are.  They outline theological principles for a positive and integrationist perspective for human sexual experience and expression. 

Irene Alexander explores the relationship of “The Mystics and Contemporary Psychology” to show how the mystics experienced God’s reality in the depths of their being and have often passed on profound truths that can enable us to be close to God.  

Warren Holyoak examines “Problems Associated with the Institutionalisation of Ministry” particularly the difficulties imposed by hierarchical structures, inappropriate distinctions, and inappropriate roles in leadership and ministry. 

Most of these articles were presented and discussed at the 2002 Contemporary Issues in Ministry conference held at the School of Ministries of Christian Heritage College in Brisbane, Australia. 

The Renewal Journal Publications in the 21st century include inspirational books on renewal and revival on www.renewaljurnal.com.  The books continue to explore stories of renewal and revival.  Here is another. 

Miracles in PNG 

Matt Ransom tells of the beginnings of a new ministry for Fr Charlie Kape.

I have to tell you of the amazing story of Fr Charlie Kape, a Papua New Guinea Catholic Priest.

In Feb. 1998 he visited our church, St Thomas the Apostle Canberra, to take part in a school of evangelization. At the same time a number of revival meetings with being held with Randy Clark and his team. Fr Charlie got absolutely blasted as a result of Randy’s ministry and went back to PNG full of God’s FIRE.

The day Fr Charlie returned, he was at a meeting and he prayed with a woman with a broken arm. Her arm was instantly healed. The next day he was asked to go and visit a man with tuberculosis, he was bedridden. He too was instantly healed.

As a consequence crowds began to seek him out, and again many were healed.

At one meeting, Fr Charlie was in an area where he didn’t know the language. So he spoke in tongues. All the people understood him speaking to them eloquently about Jesus Christ.

Early in 1999, he organized the procession of a cross around his part of the country, to evangelize people. It ended at Port Moresby, the capital (and ravaged by violence and poverty). The procession travelled through an area where any cars that travel are held up, and many killed. The young men who conducted these crimes were touched by the worship, the cross and the message of Jesus. As a consequence, 50 turned to the Lord, handed over their guns and weapon, and stopped their violence. There have been no holdups in that area since. The police superintendent went to visit the young men, burned up their criminal records and invited the young men to become police cadets. 30 said yes!!!!

Fr Charlie has also suffered many attacks. In June of 1999, he was attacked by a group of young men. One attempted to pierce him with a sword and another bashed him with a sword. He ended up in hospital and showed us the scars in his head.

He has a lot of support from his Catholic church and is training up his people. But he needs our prayers.

Finally, Fr Charlie told us how at one powerful meeting of 3000 people, at one stage, he felt to extend his hand toward the people. As he did so, power came from him. People just fell over under the power of the Holy Spirit, and many were healed (he didn’t even lay hands on them). Praise God.

©  Renewal Journal #19: Church (2002, 2012)  renewaljournal.com

Reproduction is allowed with the copyright included in the text.

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GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Servant Leadership

 

Renewal Journal 18: Servant Leadership

Renewal Journal 18: Servant Leadership – PDF

All Renewal Journal Topics:

1 Revival,   2 Church Growth,
3 Community,   4 Healing,   
5 Signs & Wonders,   
6  Worship,   
7  Blessing,
   8  Awakening,  
9  Mission,   10  Evangelism,
11  Discipleship,
   12  Harvest,   
13  Ministry,
   14  Anointing,   
15  Wineskins,   
16  Vision,   
17  Unity,
   18  Servant Leadership,  
19  Church,   20 Life

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Contents:  18  Servant Leadership

The Kingdom Within, by Irene Alexander

Church Models: Integration or Assimilation? by Jeannie Mok

Women in Ministry, by Sue Fairley

Women and Religions, by Susan Hyatt

Disciple-Makers, by Mark Setch

Ministry Confronts Secularisation, by Sam Hey

Book Reviews:
In the Spirit We’re Equal by Susan Hyatt,
Firestorm of the Lord by Stuart Piggin,
Early Evangelical Revivals in Australia by Robert Evans 

Renewal Journal 18: Servant Leadership – PDF

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Editorial

Servant Leadership

The great Christian revolutions come not by the discovery of something that was not known before.  They happen when somebody takes radically something that was always there –

H. Richard Neibuhr

Challenges facing the church, its leadership and each of us, have always been there – in Scripture, in Jesus’ call and commands, and in the Spirit’s persistent regenerating and renewing of people and communities.

One of the great challenges facing Christians is how we understand and exercise leadership.  We all lead.  It may be in the home, with our children or youth, in the community, and in the church.  Leadership in the church is not just from the platform or pulpit.  We’re all involved, and can all take initiatives such as contacting people by phone, over coffee, in home groups or in a huge range of activities such as taking food to the sick or bereaved.

Jesus demonstrated and insisted on servant leadership.  To lead is to serve.  We lead by serving.  Kingdom leadership is fundamentally different from leadership in society.  Jesus emphasised this when James and John wanted recognition or prominence (Mark 10:35-45).  How do we demonstrate kingdom leadership here and now?

The timely, significant articles in this issue of the Renewal Journal explore some of these challenges in contemporary ministry facing us in the church.  The articles were presented and discussed as papers in 2001 at the first annual Contemporary Ministry Issues Conference hosted by the School of Ministries of Christian Heritage College at Citipointe International Christian Outreach Centre, Mansfield, Brisbane.

This conference demonstrated many responses to current challenges.  Keen to interact, teachers, students and visitors packed the seminar lounge at Rivers Café, an integral part of Citipointe Christian Outreach Centre at Mansfield.  All the conference speakers are involved in leadership and ministry, not stuck in libraries.  Most of them are so ministry and people-focused that their research is constantly tested in the lively interface of practice and theory.

Irene Brown examines the transforming power of the kingdom within: the kingdom of God is within you.  We can be liberated from the prevailing bondage to Christian law, and made free to really love and serve one another.  Jesus insisted on that as the true mark of his followers: “By this shall everyone know that you are my disciples, if you have love for another.”  Irene emphasizes that approach in her Christian counselling courses.

Jeannie Mok challenges churches in multi-cultural Australia to embrace our changing context with courage and sensitivity.  Our ethnocentric pride or prejudice can increase barriers between people when the churches should lead the way as radical bridge-building communities of compassion and equality.  Jeannie co-pastors the multi-ethnic International City Church in Brisbane and is principal of the Asian Pacific Institute which offers a range of multicultural courses.  These include the pioneering Pentecostal external studies from Manchester University in England to masters level.

Sue Fairley tackles some sacred cows enshrined in our church traditions.  The place of women in ministry and leadership raises temperatures all over the world.  Tradition easily suppresses fresh movements of the Spirit who calls and liberates women as well as men to be leaders, missionaries, pioneers, and equal partners in ministry.  Many traditions need to be challenged, and Sue does so in her ministry as Principal of Trinity Theological College in the Uniting Church in Queensland.  Her article may surprise you!

Susan Hyatt reports on a significant international conference on women and religions.  She emphasizes a return to a biblical pattern of equality in ministry and service in her writings and speaking, including ministry with her husband in seminars and publications.  Susan’s report provides further insights into the place of women in Pentecostal and charismatic ministry in addition to those quoted by Sue Fairley in her article.

Mark Setch, senior pastor of a progressive Uniting Church in Brisbane, applies his doctoral research on leadership to ministry.  He takes seriously Jesus’ command to make disciples – not just make church members, pew sitters, or meeting attenders.  Mark is also pro-active in united prayer and ministry among pastors and churches in the Redcliffe area of Brisbane where some leaders pray together regularly, some churches now gather for combined services, and some pastors exchange pulpits.

Sam Hey has been researching and teaching about biblical renewal and revival movements which confront the secularising pressures on all Christian institutions.  He applauds Harvey Cox’s conversion from The Secular City thinking of the sixties to the Fire from Heaven thinking of the nineties!  A longer version of Sam’s article is available in the Contemporary Ministry Issues Conference Papers, 2001 ($20 including postage).  There he gives a slice of his current Ph.D. research with 80 footnotes.  Here we reduced that paper considerably, with only 30 footnotes!

Global Reports continue to highlight current developments in revival worldwide and the Book Reviews cover three author-published books which all contain detailed discussions of their renewal and revival themes.

This issue of the Renewal Journal provides inspiring, informative articles which we pray will help you understand and embrace what the Spirit is saying to the contemporary church.

©  Renewal Journal #18: Servant Leadership (2001, 2012)  renewaljournal.com

Reproduction is allowed with the copyright included in the text.

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BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Unity

Renewal Journal 17: Unity

Renewal Journal 17: Unity – PDF

All Renewal Journal Topics:

1 Revival,   2 Church Growth,
3 Community,   4 Healing,   
5 Signs & Wonders,   
6  Worship,   
7  Blessing,
   8  Awakening,  
9  Mission,   10  Evangelism,
11  Discipleship,
   12  Harvest,   
13  Ministry,
   14  Anointing,   
15  Wineskins,   
16  Vision,   
17  Unity,
   18  Servant Leadership,  
19  Church,   20 Life

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Contents:  17  Unity

Snapshots of Glory, by George Otis Jr.

Lessons from Revivals, by Richard Riss

Spiritual Warfare, by Cecilia Estillore Oliver

Unity not Uniformity, by Geoff Waugh

Reviews: Transformations DVDs; Informed Intercession, by George Otis Jr.

Renewal Journal 17: Unity – PDF

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Editorial

All one in Christ Jesus

 

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 Journal #17: Unity (2001, 2012)  renewaljournal.com

Reproduction is allowed with the copyright included in the text.

Renewal Journals – contents of all issues
Book Depository – free postage worldwide
Book Depository – Bound Volumes (5 in each) – free postage
Amazon – Renewal Journal 17: Unity
Amazon – all journals and books – Look inside

 

Back to Renewal Journals

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

BACK TO MAIN PAGE