Monday, August 15, 2005

A Demonstration of His Glory - Ern Baxter in the UK - 1977

There can be no denying that the 1970's were a remarkable decade when God moved in the United Kingdom in a unique way bringing the Charismatic Movement to churches across the nation. Ern Baxter was a unique man at that time for a unique purpose. He first came in 1975 and addressed the Lakes Bible Week on "The King and His Army". He then came again to the Dales Bible Week in 1976 and spoke on "Where Are We Going?" - one of the most significant series of addresses I have ever heard. But in 1977 he came and his subject was Spiritual Warfare or "Binding the Strongman". These next 3 postings are a transcript taken from the New Wine Magazine (printed in the USA) of Ern's own report to the leaders in the USA with whom he was related.

It makes for a stirring read.

A Demonstration of His Glory
By Ern Baxter – A personal report on Ern’s recent time of Ministry in the UK.

England is a country that is embattled and besieged – on the verge of economic collapse. But there is an ever-growing army of people in England who are proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is being built in the earth and that it’s going to come to pass by the miraculous power of God through them. These people are Kingdom-minded. They’re talking about the government of God coming to Great Britain. They’re not confined to little “bless-me” groups. They’re thinking big; their vision is expanded and they’re ready to help Queen Elizabeth get the country out of trouble.

Coming Together in Commitment.
Ruth and I went to Great Britain knowing we were going to do a lot of work. We didn’t go over there thinking we were going to have a lot of “hallelujah” meetings. We really had a sense of destiny in going. I think we have had it ever since we returned from there last year. During the first six weeks – from the first of June up until we came back to the Kansas City Conference for a few days – we went to the major committed bodies all over England, meeting with local leaders on a committed and interdenominational basis. In addition we had some general public meetings as well as some committed meetings. It was a kind of potpourri, but basically it was for the purpose of finding out how each of the main leaders in Great Britain was getting along in his committed area and to survey the national bodies. And I’m happy to report that we found healthy pockets of spiritual power all over England.

I knew the large conference at Harrogate, which is called the Dales Bible Week, was going to be the climax to which we were moving. I kept saying to people every place we’d go; “I’m not going to tell you what we’re going to do; I just want you to be ready”.

An interesting thing was that I found myself constantly going back to foundation truths; Was everybody’s life in order? Was the community in order? Were the leaders relating properly? These things are tremendously important. The day of the individual is over. We’re not marching as lonely adventurers anymore; we’re moving as an army. And until we get it together in all the various dimensions of our relationships – well, God’s going to do His job with those who are together, and those who aren’t are going to be left out.

One tragedy in Great Britain is that religious life is at a low ebb. The national church attendance is alarming and they’re having real financial troubles. In contrast, among those who are experiencing the mighty moving of God, the economic pressures are not an issue. I asked them last year, “What do you do about the inflation?”. They said, “Ignore it”. And they’re still ignoring it. All expenses are covered. They’re getting money. They don’t know where it’s coming from but they don’t have sticky fingers, and they’re investing it well and building the Kingdom of God.

Knowing where we were going and what we planned to do, we felt it was right that we should call all of the national leaders together near London and tell them what we felt God wanted to do – for their judgement and evaluation – because we felt that what we were going to do would affect the nation. So we called together about 120 committed men in leadership under Arthur Wallis and Bryn Jones from all over England, and we told them briefly what we planned to do. Now the English people are not like the Americans. They are pretty staid and pretty conservative. They don’t get too emotional because they’ve got the British “stiff upper lip” and the “see it through” attitude. So when they get excited, you know it’s genuine. Also you can’t “con” them. You can’t sell them a bill of goods. They’ve been around longer thank we have, and they are pretty wary of anybody coming over to try to sell them something. When I told them what I was planning to do, they didn’t just accept it as a fait accompli. They said, “We’d like to talk about it”. So I answered their questions and received what adjustment we felt was necessary.

These 120 men represent a deposit of God. In these men who came from all over England, I saw probably the finest, purely, most gifted, well-informed body of leadership that I’ve seen in corporeity anywhere in the world. Now let me qualify that by making a proper equation. I don’t think it’s fair to equate America with Great Britain in terms of size; you’d have to equate Great Britain with California or Florida or New York – one of our larger states. And if we were to get all the committed men together in America, I suppose it would be pretty much the same.

These brothers in England are men who are being stretched in an aspect of their faith. It’s my personal conviction – going back to the days in Finland after World War II – that it almost seems necessary for a people to feel an economic pinch before they can feel spiritual power and revival. I’m not saying that poverty is spirituality, but I am saying that when the judgements of God are in the earth, men learn righteousness.

There’s something about these people. They’ll tell you in their quiet way that they know their nation is “down the drain” apart from God. And then having said that, they’ll tell you they’re going to save their nation. They’re saving souls but they’re really out to save a nation. They’re taking the Great Commission seriously. They believe in discipling nations and they intend to do it for theirs. And I believe they will succeed.

We came to the Kansas City conference and then hurried back to Great Britain where we walked right into a conference in Exeter with Arthur Wallis and Bryn Jones. It was held in a large tent or “marquee” as they call it over there, with about 2, 000 people in attendance. I would say it was a highly profitable, blessing meeting. On the last night our host had to return to the conference grounds to take care of some things, and when he came back home, he reported that at 12:30 am people were still lined up about half a block waiting to get the tapes from that night’s meeting.

I was very aware during this time of the special anointing God gave me. I don’t usually get too thrilled with my own preaching. I don’t know if any of the other brothers sit around listening to themselves. I don’t. But as I heard my message being duplicated, I couldn’t help but stop and listen. I was moved as I heard myself reading the Word. I was moved as once again I lived in the special anointing that I believe God gave me for that job. I don’t have that same anointing now. We don’t live in those special anointings. I can tell you about it and as I do, I’ll probably get as thrilled about it as you, yet I can’t recapture it. I don’t need it now. I needed it then and there.

I’ve come back from Great Britain celebrating the grace of God. I guess all of us think that we have something to offer. I don’t think we’ve gotten rid of self-congratulation. We probably think we’re fairly good preachers or fairly good students or something. But when I got through that week, I came away knowing that this man was a pretty earthy vessel to handle that kind of gift. And I came away with a higher evaluation of the grace and goodness of God than I’ve ever had in my life.

I believe that there’s a key in that. If we can be to the praise and the glory of His grace, I believe He’ll release an awful lot more among us than we’ve yet experienced. I’m afraid it wouldn’t do for any of us to be too much of a miracle worker. It’s difficult for us to see miracles and signs and wonders among us as something that is fairly common place because if we did – if we saw an angel – we’d immediately go out, buy a briefcase, have some cards made and go out giving out our testimony about how we saw the angel. I don’t mean that unkindly but that kind of attitude is in opposition to the way Jesus handled His miracle ministry. The Scripture tells us, “You’re attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus; Who being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant …”. (Phil 2:5-7, NIV), taking the place of absolute submission to the Father. There was nothing in Him that wanted to take any of the glory. Everything He did, He did because the Father told Him to, and thus He could say, “Learn of Me for I am meek and lowly in heart”. (Mt 11:29).

Laying the Groundwork.
From Exeter, we went up to Harrogate. That was the place we were heading for. Ruth and I knew it. We’d known it for a year and we’d been preparing for it. In coming to Harrogate we’d asked all of the leaders to camp with their people as companies and as committed bodies. One man brought his entire church of 200 members! In many instances, whole committed bodies came so that all over the ground there were committed bodies under their shepherds and their leaders. In each group there was a certain amount of autonomy; there was a certain amount of freedom. You’d find one group fasting for a day. They didn’t ask any other group if they wanted to fast; they just felt God wanted them to fast. Another group would be doing something else. But there was a kind of flow through the entire campground.

There were others of course. There were people who were just starting to get interested. There were others coming in from the charismatic dimension, but in the main, the people camping there were in some kind of relationship.

Again I found that as we moved from Monday, the first night, to Friday night, which I anticipated to be a call to commitment and action, it became very clear to me that we couldn’t go into battle if we weren’t rightly related to God. I found myself going back again to foundations. I found myself taking one entire service and saying; “Now look, if you’re going to be in condition to do what we’re going to do Friday night, your foundations have got to be strong. How’s your repentance? Your faith? Your baptism? The Holy Spirit? Are you walking in resurrection life and under the moral government of God?”. That really started to clean house!

Incidentally the praise was so intense that during the last night it reached an absolute roar. It started to do this about the third night and it picked up. The exciting thing about it, personally, I believe there are dimensions of worship we haven’t gotten into yet. And there’s something about that roar. It is like a waterfall. It’s the voice of God and it’s also the voice of God’s people according to the book of Revelation. I wasn’t surprised to learn that many people were receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit during that time of praise. They were just coming through. It was commonplace.

Also they had a swimming pool on the grounds and for two and a half days it was the most beautiful sight. It was almost like the tribe of Dan coming to get all its people straightened around. And then up came the tribe of Benjamin. They would come from the campground by their groups and they would baptize any of their people that hadn’t been baptized along with anyone that had been converted from their geographical area. We would not baptize anyone who wasn’t coming to be submitted to an authority. That is, we wouldn’t baptize an Anglican who was there just by chance. But anybody who would come under an authority, we baptized. For two and a half days the waters were being stirred. In fact the last morning after the camp was over, they were still baptizing a few latecomers.

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