Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Monday, December 25, 2006
New Wine Interviews Ern Baxter – New Wine Magazine – December 1978
During the years immediately after World War II, the United States and the world in general witnessed a widespread move of God that came to be known as the ‘healing’ revival,” in which the ministries of such men as William Branham, Oral Roberts. Gordon Lindsay, and T. L. Osborn became prominent.
In my opinion, the whole supernatural element in pentecostalism generally was very low. There were pockets of blessing, but there was no widespread revival. One of the reasons for the impact which the healings accompanying the healing movement made, was that there had not been a wave of healings for a long time. In 1933 at a big pentecostal conference, much of the delegates’ time was spent discussing reasons why people weren’t getting the baptism in the Holy Spirit anymore and the lack, of healings and conversions. Consequently, I would have to say that the spiritual climate was very low. This provided a backdrop, then, for the advent of the healing revival.
Then when Branham broke in on the scene with the quality of supernaturalism that he demonstrated, it was newsworthy because of its relative novelty.
I was with Branham from 1947 until I had to leave him, in about 1953 or 1954. F. F. Bosworth joined up later than I did and shared in some of the meetings.
Branham also probably introduced deliverance in its form at that time. He cast out spirits. This made the large congregations very sensitive to the presence of demonic powers. There was a lot of primitiveness about it. For instance, he would insist the audience bow their heads during exorcism lest the spirits get in another person! The whole ministry was so new and so powerful that, when I met him in 1947, his mail was enormous.
I was with him in South Africa at a time when a large number of religious people rejected the ministry of healing, creating real pressures. There was a man in the meeting who was interested. He was of a denomination that was coming down on us very heavily. On the way home from the meeting, this man felt a hand on the back of his shirt. He turned around and there was no one there. But when he got home, he took off his shirt and found a handprint there - just as if a hot iron had left its imprint on his shirt. The shirt was shown in the next day’s newspaper.
But these men were really significant. They were a type of bridge.
I think it also points up the need of having responsible community to receive the fruits of this kind of evangelistic ministry. If the converts are not brought into a New Testament biblical community or church, they become followers of a man who cannot develop them into maturity.
I believe these principles are very basic. In addition, man does not live by miracles alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Miracles and signs arid wonders are not food. They are signs to tell you where the food is. If you try to live on the signs, you get unbalanced nutrition.
In the healing revivals quite a few received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but healing was the feature. In the charismatic renewal, the baptism in the Spirit is a feature. Healings were to attract attention. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was to empower and initiate into a dimension of supernaturalism. Now we have to find the intention of God for the corporate. God intends to equip a people corporately. So I think our next step is for maturity and the corporate expression of Christ to the world.
If we, as a people, don’t hold that position, we’ll have to go through the same judgmental processes that have been experienced by rebellious people for centuries. Israel came up to times of awareness of their prophetic place in the earth, and they missed it. The Church has done it from time to time. Now, I think the charismatic movement is in serious danger of ebbing again, and God is going to have to do something else. But the something else will always be moving toward the Lord’s intention as expressed in John 17:21 - that we may be one, so that the world might believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
Friday, December 22, 2006
I have missed an abundance of good, truly Reformed/Charismatic websites that hold the tension between Word and Spirit in balance so I am thrilled to report that after much persuading, bullying and prayer - my best friend Pete Day has joined the blogsphere!
His site; "The Best is Yet to Come" - was launched yesterday.
Ever since I began my blog, I have been accountable to him for much of what I wrote and published and has been very much a behind-the-scenes partner in what I have been trying to do. He has never been keen to begin to write his own blog due to true humility but I have been convinced that his ministry is so anointed that it deserves a wider audience that the church he pastors in West Norwood, South London.
I had a prophecy for him from Numbers 10 where Moses speaks to his father-in-law and says the famous plea, "Come with us and we will do you good". Terry Virgo mentioned at CCK, Brighton that the father-in-law wasn't just a bystander. He was to be "their eyes" as they went through the wilderness. I felt that God wants Pete to take much of a leading role in helping to keep Ern Baxter's unique ministry alive while I carry on my simple scribing work.
I urge everyone to keep an eye on his blog. There will be some excellent material coming out that cannot be found elsewhere!
By the way ... In my previous post, "Ern Baxter Correcting the Balance", I spoke of three heroes - men of God who had impact on my life. One of these was Peter Cockrell, the pastor of Grace Community Church in Worthing. Peter is also on the "Life in the Spirit" Committee. Yesterday I discovered that he has a blog that he began in May called "Already but Not Yet". He has only posted twice so it may be that it is a dead link and he doesn't have time to carry on but what he has written is worthy of a read. He says; "This blog site is dedicated to the convergence of Reformed theology and charismatic experience". Like Peter Day, he is another gifted anointed preacher who I hoped would preserve his ministry in the written word for future generations to benefit from.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
The Westminster Conference was started by Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones and addressed something of the revival of interest in the Puritans alongside the awesome work of the Banner of Truth. I have been once in 2001 when my former pastor Dr Stanley Jebb was speaking on the subject, "Richard Greenham and the Counselling of Troubled Souls". I was unable to get to the Westminster Conference this year although I desperately wanted to, because Dr Jebb was speaking again.
I have been unable to get this whole manhood/womanhood issue off my mind for the last couple of days. For those who have just joined the discussion, the whole thing has been sparked off by the publishing of Dr Wayne Grudem's latest book. In it he seems to be drawing the line in the sand - no longer can we remain safely in the "radical middle ground". He claims that if you hold an egalitarian position then you are starting on a road that will end in accepting homosexuality as a lifestyle. My good friend Jul has written an excellent response to my thoughts called, "Feminism - the greatest threat to the church?". I am grateful for this. It seems to me that the loudest voices in this are on the one hand the egalitarian feminists and on the other the complementarian men (i.e Grudem). We need to hear from complementarian women!
For my part I said that I don't really have much to contribute to the debate. After all I am no Grudem. But what I do think we can do is to begin to fill the internet and the discussion forums with positive teaching on how men should really be men. Maybe if Christian men started behaving how God intended, then Christian egalitarian women might follow suit. Has anyone stopped to consider the fact that it seems women often rise up to do men's jobs when weak ineffectual men seem to fill the earth? That's how Deborah became a Judge in Israel. That's how Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in London.
So here's my contribution to beginning the positive drive for real Christian men. This is an extract from Dr Ern Baxter's book, "The Chief Shepherd and His Sheep".
"A Shepherd's Characteristics.
In 1 Timothy 3:2-7 God tells us specifically what a shepherd should be. (These characteristics also appear in the paralell passage of Titus 1:5-9).
A shepherd must be above reproach - irreprehensible, unassailable. He is a man whose life cannot be spoken against. Enemies may bring all manner of accusationss, but these charges are proved to be empty whenever fair methods of investigation are applied.
The Husband of One Wife.
This requirement is restrictive not imperative. It is not necessary that a shepherd be married but if he is, he should be married to only one woman. This requirement may have some special significance in Paul's day because the pagans to whom he preached were coming out of polygamy.
The lexical definition of this word is "temperate" or "circumspect" and it connotes that a shepherd be filled with spiritual and moral earnestness. He is not given to excess but is moderate, well-balanced, calm, careful and steady. This pertains to his physical, mental and moral habits.
This means "sound-minded". The self-controlled or sensible man is a man of sound mind. He is discreet and sane. As a result he is not swayed by sudden impulses over which he exercises no mastery. A shepherd must be an example to the flock. He must represent, as it were, Jesus Christ the Chief Shepherd. He must reflect the character of Jesus Christ in such a way that the sheep will see His character and in turn want to have the same kind of character. This is a high calling.
Of Good Behaviour.
A shepherd must have a disciplined life that consists of inner moral excellence and outwardly orderly behaviour.
Given to Hospitality.
At the time when Paul wrote this, Christians on a journey could not stay at public inns because these places were often ribald drinking houses and houses of ill fame. Nor could they resort to the houses of the heathen if they wanted to walk in holiness. Staying in the home of a pagan meant exposing himself to all the crudities of ungodliness. Therefore the home and help of any Christian was welcome. An overseer was thus to be an example of hospitality always keeping his place open in his home for visitors. The principle still holds. A shepherd, in his desire to care for people, must know the pleasurable inconvinience of showing much hospitality.
Apt to Teach.
A shepherd must be a capable and qualified teacher. He must have a gift for teaching. In the Amplified Bible, the paralell passage Titus 1:9 says that "he must hold fast to the sure and trustworthy Word of God as he was taught it, so that he may be able to give stimulating instruction and encouragement in sound (wholesome) doctrine and to refute and convict those who contradict and oppose it - showing the wayward their error". The implications of a shepherds office extend beyond giving practical advice and spending recreational time with those in his care to the serious business of maturing the people of God and withstanding the inroads of wickedness into the body of Christ, the ultimate goal being to disciple the nations. This can only be accomplished as the shepherds in the church are careful that they themselves are champions of the faith and that they are able to teach.
In the list of gifts in Ephesians 4:11, shepherds and teachers are placed together in a way that the other three are not, leading many scholars to believe that a shepherd-teacher is one ministry. It certainly seems that way considering that shepherds must be apt to teach. They must each feed the portion of the flock under their care.
As an aside the only difference between an elder and a deacon is that the elder is able to teach. Deaconing like shepherding is a high calling. While deacons do handle much of the material side of church activities, they are involved in more than sweeping floors or handing out the bulletins. They work with people too and are probably the ones who have the most involvement with the indigent and others who need such practical assistance. Deacons also attend to such essential and demanding services as finance, administration and other practical matters requiring specialised skills. Because of this they must be "full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit".
Not Given to Wine.
Shepherds must set an example for a sober community. The church of God does not need the false stimulus of alcoholic beverages, for the Bible instructs us to "be not drunk with wine wherein is excess but be filled with the Holy Spirit". Admittedly wine was and is a common beverage in Bible lands and it cannot be proven from the Bible that a man has no right to drink wine. Yet it can be proven that a man is not permitted to abuse wine so that the normalcy of his abilities and judgement is affected. How many people can drink much before this happens? There is certainly no place for the misuse of alcohol in the Kingdom of God - especially by elders. Furthermore in this day when alcohol and drugs are ravaging our nation, it is a tragedy for Christians to indulge at all; and for a person who may prove unable to handle alcohol to get his first drink at an elder's house is a double tragedy.
A shepherd must not be a violent man, one who is ever ready with his fists. "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal". We must understand that there is more than one way to strike someone; a vicious tongue can strike blow after blow. A shepherd cannot be a man who lashes out with his tongue as though it were a fist, nor with his fist itself.
Not Greedy of Filthy Lucre.
A shepherd cannot be a lover of money, one with an insatiable appetite for wealth, one who is even ready to obtain it by questionable means.
This quality is the opposite of a striker. It causes a person to be yielding, lenient and courteous. Though never compromising with respect to the truth of the gospel, a shepherd must yield when it comes to his own rights.
Not a Brawler.
A shepherd cannot be an obstreperous man who is quick to anger, contentious and quarrelsome. He must not always be wanting to fight, but on the contrary must be adverse to doing so. Even if he were not physically violent by being disputatious he would still be lacking one of the characteristics needed to be an overseer.
One that Ruleth Well His Own House.
A shepherd must rule his own household well, keeping his children under control with true dignity, commanding their respect in every way and making sure that they stay respectful. The father's firmness makes it advisable for a child to obey, his wisdom makes it natural for a child to obey and his love makes it a pleasure for a child to obey.
Not a Novice.
A shepherd is not one who is newly planted. He must not be, says one translation, "a beginner in the faith for fear of his becoming conceited and sharing the devil's downfall". Never put a new convert in a place of authority for he cannot handle it and was not meant to.
Must Have a Good Report with Them Which Are Without.
A shepherd must be known even to wordly people as a man of character, a man against whom it is not possible to level any just charges of moral turpitude. It must be said that he conducts himself properly with respect to outsiders.
We need a revival that will restore us to the essence of Christianity where God says, "Be ye holy for I am holy", a holiness that is not just external but that springs up from within. Godliness will not come about by preaching "Be godly" but people are going to want to be godly because they want to imitate the godliness that they see in their elders. What they see, not just what they hear will stimulate them to holiness. The greatest incentives are those that are seen in the examples of respected elders and those elders must take care to set a good example.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Scripture is quite clear on the importance of vision. "Without vision the people perish" or to put it another way, "Without vision the people grow stagnant". So I've been giving some thought over the last few days to looking foward and asking what exactly is my vision. Any regular reader will know that I speak much of a longing for revival or for a turning of the tide but what can our expectations be if God truly does move in power. Where is He taking His Bride - the Church?
I have always been profoundly stirred being in stadiums whenever that has happened and have always felt that they were destined for something more than football matches or pop concerts. Hence when I read Paul Cain's famous "Stadium Vision" - something within me said, "That's it!". Here is an extract;
"It is a vision of the last days when sports stadiums all over the United States are filled with thousands of people. In this vision, people are being healed and miracles are happening to thousands in the name of Jesus Christ. People are turning to the Lord in droves and the whole nation is in revival. It seemed the whole earth was turning to Christ.
Television news reporters are broadcasting stories of resurrections and miracle healings. None of the secular reporters could get near the men on the platform. They did not know who the men were. Paul described them as "almost faceless men." He hears a TV anchorman saying, "There are no sporting events to report tonight because all the stadiums, ball parks and arenas are being used for large revival meetings and are filled with people crying, ''Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord."
Surely the awesome work that Hillsongs are doing in filling stadiums in Australia is a precursor to this! But what about the worship that will be taking place in these stadiums? Do we really know what we are doing yet? Are we really worshipping God as fully as He deserves? Or to put it another way; "If the tide is turning what should our response be?".
A week or so ago I asked the unanswered question; "Is worship truly worship if your heart isn't stirred" - this came fresh from a stimulating coffee and chat time with a friend. My suspicion is that it isn't. But what I am utterly persuaded is that worship plays a huge role in what God has in store for the glorious end time Bride. It must do!
Revelation 5:11-12 (NASB) - "Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." And take special note of verse 13: "And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever".
I worry that if worship isn't married closely to our vision of revival then we may be unpleasantly surprised when God does indeed come. But when I say "worship", I mean "worship" that flows like a living river out of a heart stirred with wonder and amazement for all that God has done through His Son.
"So when Jesus says that true worshippers worship the Father "in spirit" He means that true worship comes only from spirits made alive and sensative by the quickening of the Spirit of God. This "spirit" is essential in worship. Otherwise worship is dead. Or to use Jesus' phrase, it is "in vain" ... A heart (and spirit) alive and engaged with God is essential" ... What makes it authentic is not only that the worshipping mind grasps the truth of Jesus but also that the worshipping spirit experiences awakening and is moved by the truth that the mind knows" - Dr John Piper - "What Jesus Demands from the World".
Or to put it another way in one of his smaller books, Piper wrote; "Throughout Scripture we are commanded to feel not just to think or decide. We are commanded to experience dozens of emotions not just perform acts of willpower".
How on earth does that compare with something like this; "Should dance be permitted during the worship service? - This is an element. There is no place in Scripture where dance is permitted as an element of worship. Thus dance should not be permitted during the worship service" or "When church music directors lead congregations in singing contemporary Christian music, I often listen stoically with teeth clenched".
Lines are being drawn in the realm of biblical manhood and womanhood to be sure, but lines have been drawn in the sand about worship far before this. And I do believe that worship is an area where we simply cannot remain neutral, for in eternity the issue of whether or not we allow women to preach will be mute. Worship will go on in greater and wider and broader waves than we can ever dream of. Let's devote our attention to getting ready for eternity and something that will last forever. Let's learn how to truly worship in spirit and in truth. Hopefully this quote will make you realise how serious I am about this - because I rarely quote him agreeing with me. Yet I couldn't agree more with this tension. Bob Kauflin writes;
"May we all proclaim the beauty, authority, and truth of Jesus Christ with our lives, remembering that neither passion nor propositional truth is out of place when we worship God. They were meant to go together".
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
"We Protestants place a lot of importance on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Sometimes we neglect the other aspects of the finished work of Christ in order to keep the cross central, and we minimize the incarnation. Taken to the extreme, our theology might suggest it is always Easter and never Christmas ... If the work of Christ was only the cross, He could have done his job in 3 days. Without the incarnation, we would not understand what Jesus meant when he said "As the Father has sent Me, so I send you".
Does that explain why Christmas is such an unbearably nauseating time in relation to church? David Holden asked the excellent question why as so-called charismatics, the Presence of the Holy Spirit seems to go on standby over Christmas. To great laughter he described the unusual experience of finishing singing "Once in Royal David's City" at his home church in Sidcup and then hearing a tongue break out! Oh for more of the manifesting of the Spirit this Christmas!
I'm a fan of Wayne Grudem.
Let me get that out of the way first. I hugely admire his intellect, his fierce devotion to truth and his openness to the Holy Spirit in an theologically academic world that remains suspicious of anything subjective. Let me state also for the record that if put on a lie detector I would agree with his position on biblical manhood and womanhood - simply put that the role of a teaching elder is for men. So I will be buying his latest tome; "Evangelical Feminism - a New Path to Liberalism?" and look forward to reading what he has to argue.
But the whole issue is not one that I am particularly passionate about and it certainly isn't a "hill that I would die upon" (as I heard C J Mahaney once declare at an SGM Leadership Conference). I've read the response to Piper and Grudem's magisterial book that Gordon Fee helped co-edit - "Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without Hierarchy" - and was impressed by some of the arguments. By the way keep an eye open for Fee's new large book coming out called; "Pauline Christology - An Exegetical-Theological Study". Very exciting! I guess I would call myself a moderate complementarian.
However having read a recent interview that Wayne Grudem gave on the subject, I'm not sure that we will have the luxury of having feet on both sides of the fence. He seems to me to be arguing that to hold an egalitarian position will result in the denial of anything uniquely masculine then progressing to a call to address God as our Mother resulting in the gradual approval of homosexuality. In his own words; "The arguments of evangelical feminism are leading people to deny the authority of Scripture and to move to theological liberalism including the approval of homosexuality". He names and shames Dr Roy Clements as proof of his deductions.
What can we say and what can we do in such a concerning position as this? I guess we can most certainly buy Dr Grudem's books on this topic and reassure ourselves that we are doctrinally correct. Maybe we could pay out and go to conferences like Together for the Gospel 2008 where this doctrinal position is part of their statement of faith. We can argue about it - One bold lady called Suzanne from Vancouver has taken Grudem on and is debating with him and being persecuted for it by the complementarians. But is this achieving anything? Is it advancing the Kingdom of God? What does the world make of this - if they even care?
Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones identified two problems with the evangelical church. Orthodox we are - but the two errors can be "Defective" and "Dead". Much concern is given, it seems to me, to the "Defective" aspect of our orthodoxy. A concern for the truth! Adherence to various statements of faith! And this is true and right and good. Dr Lloyd-Jones wrote of this concern:
"It is the condition of people who believe the truth and know that they believe the truth. There is no question about that. You question them, you catechise them and you will find that they are correct and orthodox. There is no fault to be found with their creed or their belief".
It's interesting to me that in the various sweeps of church history there is a glaring problem that we don't like to talk about very much. God, for some reason known only to Him, doesn't seem to always respect the fact that we have got our creeds and beliefs spot on. Annoyingly He has often brought revivals upon those who quite frankly might be liberals, Arminians or just those who we don't agree with. Is this an excuse for liberalism in our orthodoxy? Of course not. But I am just wondering whether in our passionate pursuit of truth - we are forgetting that we need life too. Dr Lloyd-Jones said;
"And therefore I come finally to this point. There is nothing vital in the religion and worship of such people. They expect nothing and they get nothing and nothing happens to them. They go to God's house, not with the idea of meeting with God, not with the idea of waiting on Him, it never crosses their minds or enters into their hearts that something might happen in a service".
"But the idea never even enters their imaginations that God may suddenly visit His people and descend upon them, the whole thrill of being in the Presence of God and sensing His nearness and His power . The whole thing is formal, it is this smug contentment".
"We must examine ourselves. Do we go to God's house expecting something to happen? Or do we go to just listen to another sermon and to sing our hymns and to meet with each other? How often does this vital idea enter our minds that we are in the Presence of the living God, that the Holy Spirit is in the Church, that we may feel the touch of His power?".
"The question is, are we giving the Holy Spirit an opportunity? Are we so tied down by our programmes that He is excluded? Why this formality? Why this tying down of everything? What if the Spirit should suddenly come? I do commend this matter to you very seriously".
"But in the name of God, quench not the Spirit, despise not prophesyings, and let us come to God's house in freedom, ever expecting the power to descend upon us and to have an experience of God and of Christ that will melt us and move us and break us and make us forget ourselves".
So I think for now I will leave evangelical feminism to Wayne Grudem. God has gifted scholars who have the liberty to devote themselves dogmatically to their key concern and I'm grateful for them. For myself I would rather restrain myself from irritating and offending evangelical feminists by writing and instead seek to demonstrate the joy, power and life in truth by living as a truly Christ-obsessed man doing what Christ told me to do and loving as Christ told me to love. Maybe if we stopped talking and starting living then people might start taking notice.
After all I can't change people's minds - neither can Wayne Grudem for that matter. But what I can take notice of is my expectation of God and the Spirit when I come to church. And I can pray and plead for a "coming down" of the Spirit where I live. That will make people sit up and take notice! Life! Isn't it the Holy Spirit who can change people's minds?
So back to where I started: oh for a drenching of the Spirit! Let the tidal wave arrive soon! Dr Lloyd-Jones said once that revival was the only hope for the Christian church. I think it is still the only hope.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
I am so blessed to have met another new friend - a guy called Jeff from Canada. We have begun emailing and share the same passion to not allow the ministry of Dr Ern Baxter to die. He has managed to obtain and has sent me a sermon of Ern Baxter's from October 1952! Ern was preaching on the William Branham crusade in Canada. I haven't yet heard it - but I intend to transcribe it and make it available in audio format as this to me is an exciting rare find! Watch this space ...
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Just a short one ...
1. As ever my friend Mark leads the way in technology and Ern Baxter! He has made available his collection of sermons online and available for download here! He has taught me how to do this and now that I can get my audio cassettes onto my laptop, I too will be progressively doing this with my collection. While I will still gladly offer CD's to anyone interested, this may be a useful and more immediate resource for those who can't wait for the post or who are limited by space.
2. Dave B has written an excellent piece on "Choosing Leaders". He begins by presuming that they are Christians (although we may not be always able to take this for granted). He then argues that five aspects are essential. 1. Character (Titus 1). 2. Convictions - committed to sound doctrine. 3. C U Vision (We could read Vision). 4. Church - need to be rooted in one church. 5. Common Sense - People are different and that's okay!
I realise that this was written with CU Committees in mind but I think it's an excellent piece especially in light of recent tragic events like Ted Haggard. I was reading the discussion that followed Tim Challies posting of the event and in sifting out most of the legalistic babble that inevitably follows such a public fall, there were some good points concerning the responsibility of leadership. One person wondered whether church leaders are too young and should there be a case for ensuring that especially senior elders are older men. Ern Baxter would have agreed with that and I am inclined to agree. Younger men may be able to offer According to Dave's list, I know I wouldn't qualify for leadership! I think I'll be staying safely in the back row!
3. Luke Wood has some interesting background on a "Church Planting Day" in my sister's city - Southampton. Although I haven't (yet) been called by God to join the plant here it is so exciting to keep up to date with news from around our awesome family of churches. 30 people are coming from Winchester Family Church (the sending base). But most exciting of all! Luke will be at the Planting Day with his new initiative - Newgen Books. Awesome books at bargain prices. It's worth going for the books alone!
4. And finally ... I've been incredibly challenged by prophet Matthew Ling from a sister family of churches. He wrote an article called "See What You Have". I've been feeling really worthless and useless for God and His Kingdom recently. Newfrontiers has so many gifted people and I feel like I'm more of a burden than an asset. This article was a rough challenge from a prophet and just what I needed! The conclusion?
"Here's the secret - never say that the little you have is nothing - you will lock up the power of God to impact your situation. Learn to see the little as the seed for a miracle. Be like the widow who had "just a little oil" or the boy with "just 5 loaves and 2 fish" or the woman who said "if I can only touch the hem of his robe".
Don't ever deny what you do have, but confess that our God is a God of increase, a God of multiplication: if we say we have nothing it doesn't matter how many times you multiply it you still have nothing! But God wants to work a miracle through your little thing - so see it for what it is - the seed to a miracle!"
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I am constantly on the look out for prophetic voices that help define the state of the age in which we live. Such defining and insight from God helps focus our prayers and our corporate activity in the Church. Many will remember Don Baker who brought some very helpful insights and history to this website as he was a member of Covenant Life Church in Washington from 1976 to 2000. He has become a hugely respected friend and although I don't get to speak to him as often as I'd like (due to his huge pressures of home teaching!), I value his emails greatly. In a recent discussion, he said the following and it stuck with me.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
You may remember that Terry Virgo posed this question in the latest Newfrontiers magazine here. I wrote on Saturday that my deep feeling was that our concern should be our readiness for revival, and I quoted Ern Baxter who spoke about travelling with William Branham. Ern felt that the beginning of Branham's trouble began when he moved out of his gifting as a healer and into teaching. In other words - know our calling and stay in it! This must be vital if the tide is on the turn.
I hadn't noticed this before writing my last blog on this, but Rob Rufus also spoke of prepared wineskins in his One-to-One with Nigel Ring here. Rob said;
"It would require people to look at wineskins to avoid another charismatic movement that will run for a while then burst. Those who have been faithfully establishing wineskins for years need to start looking with expectation that they have not laboured in vain. Others will need to be looking at Scripture and to people who have built according to a Biblical pattern. This is the time to prepare for this visitation by building proper Biblical government and pattern into the church. A Biblical wineskin embraces three elements:-
• Biblical authority structures which is proper government, based on what the Bible teaches, not on democracy.
• Biblical vision which involves going to the nations and involves reaching the lost, seeing an impact into the marketplace.
• Biblical values - how we do it, with integrity, humility, with team, accountability etc".
And the result if we can do this? Rob concluded; "This is to see the glory of God come into the nations that multitudes can be saved". I'm so encouraged that some of the preparation Rob is calling for rests heavily on my heart and I've written about it. For example;
• Biblical authority structures - Here we have the importance of church leadership and authority. Churches will never be able to hold and sustain the longed for flood of revival without Spirit anointed, Word orientated men of God! I think that current events involving Ted Haggard's fall make the need for an Ephesians 4 Team Ministry model even more important. Did God ever intend men like Haggard and Roy Clements to be isolated at the head of large churches with noone to be accountable to, and to have noone who would care for them?
The need is desperate for apostles who "love to build the church through church planting and overseeing the early stages of growth". We need prophets who "love to build the church through hearing God's word of encouragement and guidance in season and passing it on". How can we survive without evangelists "to build the church through proclaiming the gospel and seeing people saved and added to the church"? And of course the pastor/teacher who need to shepherd and care for the flock while grounding them in biblical truth.
• Biblical vision - My hero Greg Haslam, pastor of Westminster Chapel in London defined vision in the following ways; "People won't even cross the road for a little vision - but they will go to the ends of the earth for a big one ... Vision is sanctified dreaming ... Until you find something to die for - you are not really living ... Visionary people need to seek out other people - preferably with a bigger vision who will fire what they believe". I am amazed how many church leaders, churches and groups of churches are visionless and I do think that their "eschatology shapes their ecclesiology" as David Holden said at Brighton 2000.
One of Ern Baxter's greatest strengths was that he was a man of vision. I think the greatest expression of that vision can be found in the quote at the side of this webpage. It is from "Thy Kingdom Come" - the closing address to the Kansas City Shepherds Conference, and quite possibly his greatest sermon ever. His vision? "the entire universe acknowledging that Jesus Christ is Lord - to the glory of God the Father!".
• Biblical values - well I mentioned last Thursday that Terry Virgo was preaching at Church of Christ the King last Sunday. We made the long trip down to Brighton to hear him and as usual he was sooo worth it. The worship was led by a young guy called Jos and was awesomely gospel-centred. Terry's message was, amazingly enough, one that he preached when he came to an All Saints Night at my home church, New Covenant Church, Dunstable (now West Street Christian Centre and Baptist Church ... or something) in the 1970's.It was entitled "Come With Us and We Will Do You Good". You can get the CD from CCK here and I can't recommend it highly enough. Why? Because in that sermon is contained many of the values that are essential for a wineskin that could hold a mighty move of God. The statement comes of course from Numbers 10 and Terry asked of it a few questions. Who are you? Where are you going? Why are you so confident? These are all issues that we must be content with as the People of God if God is going to add to us in revival!
That all being said, there is a tension to be held. The wonderful Hillsongs church had a great song that carried the line, "I'm not satisfied to have the form without the power!". David Holden addressed this at "Together on a Mission" in Brighton in his outstanding session. He spoke of the evangelical tendancy to "dial down" on the Holy Spirit when things aren't quite as they should be. Ern Baxter was absolutely clear on the vital need for the baptism of the Holy Spirit (and of course revival). He said;
"I think I have found that in my best experiences (and I am more a teacher than a methodologist) but I think what I have found is the simple rule of sowing and reaping. That I reap what I sow. What I preach is what I get. And if I address my congregations constantly out of a Trinitarian base and show the significant importance of the Holy Spirit, I have to first generate a hunger in men and women that makes them know that the Holy Spirit is not an optional Pentecostal bonus.
That the Holy Spirit is mainline standard equipment for a New Testament Christian. Then the question of them coming into the Holy Spirit becomes very existential because as you are dealing with each person, you are dealing with them as a person and God will direct you differently on how you bring them in and I’ve could tell you a whole load of stories about that. I’ve had them receive Him in my kitchen and in my living room and sitting in cafes and everything else. But the thing that gave them the hunger to press in was the fact that I made the Holy Spirit so absolutely essential to them that they knew that they couldn’t live another day without Him. We have made the Holy Spirit a Pentecostal luxury. And it’s not – it’s the heart of Christianity."
So let our prayer be that the tide continue to turn! But let's be poised to catch it and go!
Friday, November 10, 2006
I hope I can be forgiven for some excessive enthusiasm at what is definately a first for me! Today I managed to get Ern's message; "Thy Kingdom Come!" onto CD and it works!! This is all thanks to my dad and my brother-in-law for their advice and help.
My excitement is due to a number of issues. Just as when I managed to convert all my ministry videotapes of Ern Baxter across to DVD, I am all too aware that much of the audiotapes and videotapes are now at least 30 years old and are in danger of wearing out. Getting the masters copied will, I hope, preserve them from being continually played! Secondly of course most stereo systems in cars and homes are mainly equipped with CD draws and audio players are becoming rarer. And also the whole process of copying is much easier as I can copy all the audio messages onto my laptop and then copy a CD off when someone wants it.
So here below is the list of many of the messages that I have. If any appeal to you, then please do email me and I would be happy to send you ... a CD!!
1. “The King and His Army” Series from the Lakes Bible Week 1975.
Note: This was the series of sermons referred to by Terry Virgo at Brighton 2004.
- The Head and Shoulders Man.
- The Decline and Death of the Head and Shoulders Man.
- Transition from One King to Another.
- The Army.
- From Hebron to Zion!
2. “Where Are We Going?” Series from the Dales Bible Week 1976.
- Session 1 – “A Crisis Beginning”.
- Session 2.
- Session 3 – “Miraculous Living”.
- Session 4.
- Session 5.
- Session 6.
- Session 7 – “The Land, Located and Described”.
- Session 8.- Session 9 – “The Kadesh Crisis”.
3. “The Priestly Clothing” Series from the Anglia Bible Week 1983 (also available on DVD).
- Session 1 – “A Kingdom of Priests”.
- Session 2 – “The Linen Breeches”.
- Session 3 – “The Coat of Fine Linen”.
- Session 4 – “The Robe of the Ephod”.
- Session 5 – “The Ephod”.
- Session 6 – “Strange Fire”.
4. Ern Baxter Classic Sermon Collection.
a. “Thy Kingdom Come” – Kansas City Shepherds Conference 1975.
b. “The Government of God” – Kansas City Shepherds Conference 1976.
c. “The Spirit and the Word” – New Covenant Church, Dunstable 1991. (also available on DVD).
d. “Life on Wings” – Fort Lauderdale, Florida 1979.
e. “The Gospel of the Garden” - 1987.
f. “The Gospel of the Kingdom” - 1987.
g. “The Gospel of the Land” - 1987.
h. “The Hour of the 4th Watch”.
i. “Sitting at Jesus’ Feet”.
j. “The Meaning of Covenant” – Bob Mumford Recommended Tape.
k. “The Restoration of Divine Structure and Authority”.
l. Baking Cakes Without a Word.
m. “The Earth Is the Lords!”.
5. The Adam/Christ Analogy Series.
- Session 1 – “Pauline Epistles”.
- Session 2 – “Sin”.
- Session 3 – “The New Man”.
- Session 4 – “Old Man/New Man”.
- Session 5 – “Romans 6:6”.
6. The Cross Series.
- Session 1.
- Session 2.
7. “Things Most Surely Believed” Series.
- Consequences of Violating God.
- Chief Shepherd and His Sheep.
- Discipleship and God’s Kingdom.
- Satan’s First Attack on God.
- Creation Began With Authority.
- Qualifications of a Shepherd.
- Responsibilities of a Shepherd.
- When Shepherds Fail.
- Authority and Trinity.
- Christ’s Mission Is to Restore.
- Disorganisation Is Progressive.
- How the Church Must Function.
- Autobiography and Introduction.
- How Satan Attacks All Men.
- Shepherding Through the Bible.
8. Laying Church Foundation Series.
- The Prayer Life of Jesus.
- Love Not the World.
- How to Avoid a Nervous Breakdown.
- Biblical Role for Young Men.
- God’s Word is Supreme.
- Christ’s Body and the Church.
- But As For Me.
- Purity and Peculiar People.
- Approaching God.
- Restoration through Resurrection.
- The Business of Living.
- Can God Use You?
- The Glory of God’s Plan.
- Fight the Good Fight.
- The Power of the Father’s Love.
- Saved by the Law.
- Jesus’ Church – Getting In.
- Jesus’ Church – Staying In.
- The 7 Loves of John 14.
- Growing Up in Christ the Head.
- Sitting at Jesus’ Feet.
- It’s God’s Church Not Ours.
- On Communion.
- Clean Out License and Legalism.
- Saints in the Wrong Places.
- Leaders and Loyalty.
- Shrivelled Saints.
- The 7 Characteristics of Jesus.
- Cleanse Ourselves!
- Baptism is a Foundation Stone.
- A Peculiar People
– The Church.
9. “The Serving Community” – Anglia Bible Week 1982 (single message only).
10. Series at New Covenant Church, Dunstable 1991.
- History Making Prayer. (also available on DVD).
- The Cross.
11. Series at the Life in the Spirit Conference, High Leigh 1991.
- “The Kingdom”.
- Pastoral and Prophetic Insights Part 1.
- Pastoral and Prophetic Insights Part 2.
12. "The King, the Kingdom and the Holy Spirit Conference".
- Calamitous Compromise.
- A Serious Imbalance - the Neglect of Resurrection.
- The Kingdom of God.
- A Serious Neglect.
- The World, the Kingdom and the Church.
- The Kingdom and the Trinity.
- Doer of the Word - Part 1.- "Ye do Err because ye know now the Scriptures of the Power of God".
- Doer of the Word - Part 2.-Revelation and the Holy Spirit.
- Three Discourses.
13. The Risen Christ's Gifts.
- Tape 1.
- Tape 2.
- Tape 3.
- Tape 4.
14. Prophecy Seminar.
- The Prophets and the Promise Past.
- The Prophets and the Promise Present.
- The Prophets and the Promise Future.
15. The Kingdom of Truth.
- Kingdom Confusion.
- Kingdom Controversy.
- Kingdom Aspects.
- Kingdom Purpose.
- Truth Defined.
- Demonstration of Truth.
16. The Power and Purpose of Praise.
- The Power and Purpose of Praise.
- Prayer in the New Order.
- Reasons for Praising the Lord.
- Saints and Celebration.
- The Church and It's Mission.
- Nature and Goal of Preaching.
- Preparation for Preaching.
- Manner of Preaching.
18. Keys of the Kingdom.
- How to Get In.
- How to Stay In.
- How to Grow In.
19. Ultimate Triumph.
- Prophesied in the Old Testament.
- Inaugurated in the Gospels and Acts.
- Consummated in the Epistles and Revelation.
20. Apostolic Church Planting - Acts 19 and 20.
- Tape 1.
- Tape 2.
- Tape 3.
- Tape 4.
21. Timothy Sessions.
- The Holy Spirit is Christ.
- The Holy Spirit is Christ - Part 2.
22. Revelation 4 and 5.
- Part 1.
- Part 2.
23. Foundations of the Faith.
- Foundations - Their Place.
- Repentance - Their Place.
- Sin and Repentance Foundations.
- Faith Foundations.
- Baptism Foundations.
- Baptism Foundations Part 2.
- Baptism Foundations Part 3.
- Laying on of Hands Foundations.
- Resurrection of the Dead.
- Resurrection of the Dead Part 2.
- Eternal Judgement.- Eternal Judgement Part 2.
24. Individual Tapes.
- The Law of the Spirit.
- Peter's Prophetic Miracle Walk.
- What On Earth Is God Saying About Discipling the Nations?
- The Glorious Church Will Be Holy.
- "Ditch Diggers Revival".
- A Serious Imbalance.
- Restoring the Glory.
- Sitting at Jesus Feet.
- Where is God Taking Us?- Kingdom Pressures.
- Baptized Intelligence.
- Word and Spirit.
25. The Image of God Series.
- Man and Creation - Statement of Fact.
- Man and Creation - Elaboration of Fact.
- The Corrupted Image.
- The Composition of the Image.
- The Physical Image.
- The Express Image.