Monday, January 09, 2006

"Where Are We Going?" - The Land According to Dr Ern Baxter.

From the Dales Bible Week 1976

I wrote a reflection last month about the dizzy heights of the Charismatic Movement in 1975-77 and wondered why it died out, suggesting that the blame lay in part with the pastor/teachers who attended the Bible Weeks and did not carry the vision presented by Ern Baxter and the other apostles back to their local churches. Someone commented and asked what exactly IS the land? Traditionally hymns and some sermons have argued that the land of Canaan symbolises heaven and the passage through the Jordon River signifies death. C H Spurgeon would have backed Ern Baxter up in arguing not so - after all there were giants in Canaan! The land therefore represented something else that is extremely significant for Christians today. So here is an outline of his keynote address at the Dales.

The Land, Located and Described.

Ern based his sermon and indeed the series on a principle of interpretation put forward by the great Saint Augustine: "The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed" (1 Corinthians 11:13, Romans 1:20) or "that which is natural is first, that which is spiritual is second".

He said; "In the building of the Tabernacle, God projected and materialised what He was lik in His native element - He put it into a physical thing so that people could recognise what they saw was what God was like".

If we accept that the Red Sea may symbolise baptism in water and that Manna may symbolise Christ, the bread of life and that the Tabernacle has a fulfillment in the church and the the High Priest has a fulfilment in Jesus then we may ask - what is the land?

The Land is - according to Romans 4:13 - the world or the earth.

Ern said; "This race can only come about by a huge reproduction that means there is going to be a Gentilic reproduction of such dimensions that there are going to be more Gentiles saved in this period than in the whole of history. The curse on ethnic Israel will be lifted and they will see the Deliverer coming out of Zion - what is Zion? The people of God".

"There is coming a time when the bulk of Christian believers will far outnumber the non. The Bible doesn't say men are going to get worse - it says the wicked are going to get worse. But as the wicked get wickeder, the rightous get 'rightouser'. As the wicked get fewer, the rightous get more. As the light shines into the darkness, the darkeness cannot arrest it".

The Land is divinely prepared for us.

(Exodus 23:20) "The place I which I have prepared". Our evangelical theology has for far too long been redemptive - we are saved and going to heaven. We have forgotten the doctrine of PROVIDENCE. God isn't the God of just Christians (Psalm 24:1). So can it not be within the scope of His authority to claim what is rightfully His? "Ask and I will give you the nations".

Who's world is it? The meek shall inherit the earth! Who's world is it? Ours!

The Land is the Place of God's Personal Presence.

Initially God said to Moses that He would allow the people of Israel to go into the land but He would not be going with them because they were "an obstinate people". Moses pleaded with God in a famous intercession and in the end God appeared to relent. The basis of Moses argument was that the people are NOTHING without the Personal Presence of God.

Ern paid particular reference to the Kansas City Shepherds Conference where 5, 000 pastor/teachers came to hear God's Word preached. He said that the atmosphere was outstandingly powerful and many testified that the whole conference was full of angels. "Something brushed by me". The high praises of God rose unrestrained and it was a never to be forgotten experience of the Presence of God.

He said; "It is not our clever theologies or our human abilities but the Presence of God that will make us different and enable us to go into the land and destroy the giants. We are going to win this warfare by coming against the already defeated principalities and powers, and paralysing them in such a manner that we will release mankind to the gloriously redemptive power of Jesus Christ".

In conclusion - God is putting the world into confusion while at the same time getting His people in order. Then there will come a sound from heaven - the blast of a silver trumpet and we will rise up and go over the Jordan and into the land!

Next: I will put this sermon in the context of Ern Baxter's series at the Bible Week.


Anonymous said...

Awesome blog entry - what power, what truth!! Oh that we could still hear such preaching and passionate vision today!!

Baxter's Boy said...

See my latest post! You still can hear such preaching and vision in Terry Virgo and the guys at Brighton!! Come along!! :)

Ollie said...

Wow really amazing to read this, I haven't heard of Ern Baxter before but he sounds QUITE a man!! Have you got many tapes or stuff on him? It would be amazing to hear some new prophetic preaching!!

Carah said...

Great blog entry!! It's fantastic that you are not allowing history to die so quickly but keeping it alive and fresh!!

Baxter's Boy said...

Well thats the main aim of this blog although I do digress into other subjects when I get distracted. If you fancy reading a bit more of Ern Baxter in depth, why not visit my good friend Mark's website - he's got a whole book published available online! The link is:

Mark Lawrence said...

Hi I've been reading your blog for a while now so far without comment! AS you've noticed the Holy Spirit has been stirring a number of us to read and listen to Ern's material. Recently I've been listening to the Adam Christ analogy and the Kingdom and the Holy Spirit series from 1991. It struck me that Ern was ahead of us then and he still is! Making his material available in this way is fantastic. Thanks.

Baxter's Boy said...

Hey Mark great to hear from you! I think you commented on Gavin White's blog?! Its so exciting to know that God stirs so many to a common passion - that we arent the only prophets in the cave!! Yes indeed, Ern is so ahead of us and was so prophetic for his time.

So glad that the material is helpful and thanks so much for reading!

Don said...

I really appreciate this post by Dan, as it encourages me in my personal walk. Several years ago the Lord took me through Exodus in an extremely personal way, showing me how my maturing in Christ closely parallels the experiences of the Israelites as they departed their bondage in Egypt (satan's kingdom), were baptised into Christ (passing through the Red Sea), feasted on the Living Word (manna in the desert), and spent time in the desert where God revealed everything in their hearts, as well as revealing Himself in awesome splendor -- to keep them from sinning (Ex 20:20, I believe).

Based on my own experience, I believe we can all learn much by meditating on Exodus and Deuteronomy during the dry, desert times of our relationship with the Lord.

For Christian believers today, the Promised Land is both here now, and in the future as well. We are continually in the process of entering the Land (the place of God's favor and rest, accompanied by His presence). Yet there is, as Baxter says, the larger issue of entering the Land of Promise as a corporate Body. I believe there is one generation that will experience the fulness of this entry into the Land, before the bodily return of Jesus.

I agree with Baxter's bold statement, which was even more daring when he stated it in the 1970s:

"There is coming a time when the bulk of Christian believers will far outnumber the non. The Bible doesn't say men are going to get worse - it says the wicked are going to get worse. But as the wicked get wickeder, the rightous get 'rightouser'. As the wicked get fewer, the rightous get more. As the light shines into the darkness, the darkeness cannot arrest it".

Statements like this were a standard part of the Restoration teaching I received as an early believer, and I haven't budged from this part of the Good News. What has happened, unfortunately, is that many have looked around at the continuing sad condition of the Bride of Christ, and stopped looking at the Bridegroom who is doing everything He can to woo, love, equip and prepare the Bride! (Remember that Peter didn't begin to sink under the waves until he took his eyes off Jesus!)

Looking too long at ourselves is discouraging, whereas continually looking at Him is inspiring and imparts His glory to us. We will receive continuing revelations of His glory -- transforming us -- only as we gaze upon Him in the Spirit through worship, contemplative prayer, meditation on the Word, and *Spirit-led* service to others.