Saturday, January 21, 2006
An Unapologetic Restorationist!
Bryn Jones' son questioned quite understandably the distinctives we hold to and whether we are true restorationists or more simply just charismatic evangelicals indistinguishable from the Vineyard or Baptists. If the great man's son is asking the question, then I think we can feel no shame in examining what we believe! So I have begun reading Bryn Jones' excellent 'magnum opus' again, after some encouragement from my new found friends (Gavin and Hugh also Roger Aubrey) in 'Ministry Without Borders' (formerly CMI).
I forgot how much I enjoy reading a passionate visionary who isn't ashamed to be confrontational in his beliefs. John Owen and C H Spurgeon got away with it, with the Roman Catholics hence Bryn Jones is in excellent company. This was my favourite quote to consider. Disagree if you will, but wonder why you do?
"Communicating the life of God effectively to our world requires that we look at ourselves and ask these specific questions: Are we the Church Jesus gave Himself for or some poor twentieth century replica of it? Are we doing things His way or our own? Sadly the suggestion that we ask these questions is often met with such sharp retorts as; 'Lets not argue about Church government or methods, we are all seeking the same goal - the gospel to the whole earth. Let's concentrate on that rather than on any 'form' or 'structure; that is of minor importance. It's the power of God that matters.
On the surface this statement might appear reasonable, perhaps even magnanimously all-inclusive but is it biblically accurate? Is God unconcerned with how His Church is built?
When God told Moses to build a tabernacle, He printed its blueprint deep into His servant's mind and soul; Moses was told to build it 'according to the pattern shown' (Ex 25:40). God's requirements concerning divine materials, measurements and ministry reveal a divine concern for detail. The fact is NOTHING about the tabernacle's construction was left to personal opinion; it was not to be done just any old way.
Thankfully we can confidently say that God is infusing His people in this generation with a renewed sense of the divine mind and capturing their hearts with His purpose. As Moses' heart burned with a desire to build what he saw on the mountain, so many of God's people today are aflame with a passion to build according to His plan in their generation. They are the repairers and restorers of our time".
I love that. It is commendable and proper that there is a degree of unity around the gospel, but ever at the back of our minds should be - what gospel? How do we decide what aspects of the gospel are 'disputable' and can be left aside so that we can stand together? Could it be that God is actually bothered about some parts we are leaving out? Such as how to build and spread His Church? So Ger, I want you to know that I'm still a restorationist! And I've got your father to thank for it. Not only for his only significant ministry but also for being responsible for bringing Ern Baxter across to this country to head his heavyweight views to my restorationist theology!