Saturday, February 18, 2006
1978 - "A Great Shout of Hallelujah in our Hearts".
While the internet remains an invaluable resource for learning and reading, I still cannot get over the thrill of reading through older magazines and searching for nuggets of gold. I have been reading the Jan/Feb 1978 edition of "Restoration". The theme - "Spiritual Warfare" - is perhaps not surprising after Ern Baxter's series at the Dales Bible Week on "Binding the Strongman".
Bryn Jones opens with a strong piece in his editorial noting; "It is tragic to hear Christians self-congratulatingly referring to their church as numbering over 200 or 300 people without mentioning the fact that this is still one thousandth of the population of their city!". I think this is still very true today. All churches may be guilty - evangelical or not of joining in the "numbers game". I have to say that I think it is a temptation especially for those who believe in church planting. Let this truth reside with us! We were not comissioned by the Risen Lord to go and make "numbers" but "disciples". Our efforts to save the lost must be focussed and clear - we are not out to simply fill pews and collect tithes, but indeed disciple the nations!
Bryn Jones also wrote the first piece in the magazine entitled again "Spiritual Warfare" and he wrote the paragraph that caught my eye and made me determined to reproduce it here again, to be read and contemplated again;
"The gifts of the Spirit were not given by the Holy Spirit for a church to enjoy charismatic 'tingle' or glory goosebumps, but through the use of these gifts, it could be built up in faith and move out in war into Satan's territory; with the word of wisdom bringing resolution to many a complex problem; the word of knowledge causing understanding of the situation more perfectly; supernatural faith enabling them to move in dimensions that their own normal understanding militated against (it can't be done), healings undoing Satan's works; workings of miracles displaying the almighty power of God - whilst prophecy brought forth God's mind and purpose to the immediate situation.
An ability to discern the spirits immediately unmasked and uncovered satanic schemes and intentions, speaking with tongues and interpretation communicated with God and man in a higher spiritual dimension than natural mind could conceive".
I have not heard this perspective brought on the spiritual gifts ever I think. Once again I argue that Bryn Jones' words are prophetic for our generation - that we MUST realise that these giftings and anointings are meant for a great purpose than simply to bicker over, or even just simply enjoy. They are sent to bring forth the people of God and answer the prayer "Thy Kingdom Come".
A telling quote is to be found in the magazine. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones is quoted as saying; "In the Bible I find a barracks - not a hospital".
Terry Virgo closed the magazine with an intensely practical and helpful article on "Temptation". He began by arguing that "Knowing the Truth sets us free" but closed by saying;
"We are not simply skittles that must fall down every time our enemy bowls a temptation at us. Understand the provision that has been made! Believe the promises by which we escape the corruption that is in the world (2 Peter 1:4). Temptations are bound to come but we have a sympathetic and victorious Lord. Call on Him and prove His faithfulness. He will make us more than conquerors".