Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Week's Retreat in Kington St Michael!

I haven't forgotten the blog or the "Together on a Mission" seminar notes and summaries - but I am currently spending a delightful week with one of my dearest friends in the charming village of Kington St Michael - and combining it with my community nursing job in Bristol! I was walking back into the village this morning and contemplating the wonders of creation. I do agree fervently with Dave Stroud's message to Mobilise - that cities are high on God's agenda. But there's nothing like a real country village to make one appreciate what God has made! I've never lived in a village before - always being a city boy - and the pace of life is quite wonderful!

Being here has meant that I can read lots and also by default gather some quotes for the "Pentecostal/Charismatic Post-it Notes" blog as my fellow writers seem to have deserted me ;)

Here's one I liked;

"We honour the Spirit by releasing Him" - Dr R T Kendall.

Here's one I didn't;

"Here then is my own definition of worship - it is the response to and/or preparation for the preached Word" - Dr R T Kendall.

And here's one that I'm seriously thinking through and not quite sure about;

"Submission to authority is not based on the personal character of the man in authority nor is it based on how justly or unjustly the authority is applied. Our submission is to God who gives the authority" - Don Basham.

Normal blogging to resume on Wednesday! I'm off to walk my friend's dog in the wonderful countryside and enjoy the rare sun!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mobilise Seminar - Julian Adams!

Because I am too old to get into the Mobile sessions (*sigh*) I am so grateful to be able to listen to the sessions. I love the passion and the zeal you can feel literally coming out the speakers of my laptop! This was the first Mobilise seminar I listened to but it was quite fitting that there was so much reference by Julian to the Presence of God especially in the light of certain evangelical comments that have been made recently (see comments here). God is ominpresent and we worship Him for that! But the Bible shows clearly time and time again that God can and does come powerfully in specific ways and at specific times. (Hebrews 10:19) makes it clear that the Cross has made the way open. But (Hebrews 10:22) says "Let us draw near!". This suggests that the way may be open but we still may stay out of the Holy of Holies - God's Presence.

But I am not going to get into that - that is for another time and another post and another blog!

Here are the notes from Julian Adam's wonderful session at Mobilise.

Frequency – Going Deeper into the Prophetic!”
Julian Adams at Mobilise 07

I am loving how God has been breaking into our meetings! Jesus has made a way for us into the Father’s throne so let’s give Him first place.

I want us to encounter God!

You are all Christians therefore you have free access into the throne room of heaven and you don’t need Matt Redman or Kate Simmonds or Simon Brading to let you in!

Let’s get in the face of God! Give yourself to His wonder, His glory and His majesty! Be filled with His Presence right now! Let Your glory come over this place! Let Your glory rest in this place right now! God is here – some of you need to encounter Him!

[Time of Words of Knowledge and Prophecy to specific people]

God is eager to pour out His Spirit on us – we have had just days of the glory of God being manifested over the meetings we have been having. People have been experiencing oil dripping off their hands supernaturally in past meetings there.

God doesn’t consult us about our theology when He works – He is sovereign and He reserves the right to mess with our cerebral thinking when He intervenes.

Going to push some boundaries – I called it “Going deeper” on purpose because God wants us to push boundaries in the prophetic. I am tired of “sunflower prophecies”. They are great for novices – such words. However when I see people who are baptised in the Holy Spirit, raised into leadership I expect more from them!

We need to raise the bar to such an extent that when we prophecy people fall down and say “Surely God is in that place!”. Those unbelievers become believers in our meetings because of the prophetic!

God wants to bring us into an ever-increasing encounter of revelation and very often we live in the shallow end of the Kingdom of God because we do not know that there is free access into the throne room of God – the very courts of heaven boldly to find what we need for life!

The prophetic isn’t just for Sundays! It is or should be an every day thing! The prophetic is about receiving personal revelation as well as public revelation! The prophetic is about finding out destiny for your life – what job you are going to take, where you are going to live, how you spend your money, what you do with the person you are going to marry! Too often people look for “5 rules for the prophetic” – but actually the prophetic is about an encounter with God!

“The voice of the Lord is over the waters … the voice of the Lord is powerful, the voice of the Lord is full of majesty … the voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth … all in His temple cry “glory!”.

We need to understand first and foremost that the prophetic is first and foremost is an experience with a Living Person!

“Jesus is not a theology … a doctrine … Jesus is a Person!” – Jack Deere.

When we come into an encounter with the voice of God – it is an experience. Many of us don’t encounter the voice of God because we don’t understand our sonship.

Too many people in the Church today are living with an orphan spirit. An orphan spirit produces legalistic, law-filled religion because if your performance is not good – you are kicked out of the house. But the Spirit is poured out upon us so that we cry “Abba! Father!”. There is something about encountering the voice of God that is just so wonderful because you understand that you are a son.

Too many of you have felt obliged to perform to your earthly parents and have transferred that in your relationship to your heavenly Father. We need to understand our sonship if we are to come into an experience with God.

You can’t be evangelical truly without being charismatic because you understand the Word of God truly!

Prophecy is experiential. Prophecy is alive – it isn’t mere liturgy – it is active and moving. When we need to live to God’s standards we do it because of His grace through His Word. There is a sense of every day encounter with God that causes us to hear Him daily. We need to stop seeking out prophets for a word of direction! Go be with Jesus! He knows us better than anyone! The living Person of Jesus still speaks to us today!

(Proverbs 25:2) “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter … it is the glory of kings to search out a matter”.

(Psalm 25:14). “The secret counsels of the Lord is for those who fear Him and He makes known to them His covenant”. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10) “The Spirit searches all things – even the depths of God”.

This is a holy invitation to search out the unsearchable depths of God – to seek out the never ending depth and love of God!

(John 14:1-3) This Scripture is read at funerals! But this Scripture is in the context of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! This Scripture is about a radical encounter of the Holy Spirit! (v21)

If your encounter with God is merely cerebral – if your encounter with God does not include an experience then Jesus wants to bring a refreshing encounter to you.

We didn’t sign up for just a nice moral lifestyle! So we don’t just do what the world does!

We should be living a supernatural life in a supernatural kingdom that gives glory to the God of glory! God is looking for a people who will come into an encounter of sonship with Him!

Ways God Speaks to Us

1. Impressions.

God will often primarily bring senses that He is speaking to us. This isn’t going to be the way we normally expect it. Left hand gets hot – sometimes a sign that God wants to heal someone.

Our bodies are created to experience God. Every part of our being is engaged with God! “Taste and see that the Lord is good”.

May get a sympathetic pain where that person is experiencing the pain. We are spirit men – created spirit, soul and body – and it is aware of the unseen realm. This world is tangible but temporary and it is going to burn! Everything we see is created out of that which is unseen. It is transient and it is passing away. We are representatives of this unseen world. Sexual abuse often presents itself as a nauseous smell. As we begin to learn and encounter God in these ways patterns will begin to emerge that you can learn. May smell a sweet, beautiful smell – a sign of God’s Presence.

2. Voices of God.

May be audible!

Revelation from God shapes the way you live!

The still small voice of God! Elijah’s experience of God – “Son what are you doing here?”.

3. Thoughts During Worship.

Just a thought that pops into head while loving Jesus! This may be a sense that we should go and visit someone or speak to someone or write to someone.

4. Trances, Visions, Dreams, Angelic Visitations.

Angelic visitations are sovereignly initiated by God. You can’t fake them! It often precludes a specific big revelation from God to step out in faith.

How do we come into some of these encounters? There are some unhelpful examples in the world today. The wrong reaction is to ban all prophetic because of that error and say we won’t have any prophecy and “be safe”. The prophetic isn’t safe! God isn’t safe! The other extreme is to have angelic visitations at breakfast, Third Heaven encounters every day! Paul says to the church at Colossians – “Set your minds on things above even where Christ is seated”.

The antidote to incorrect thinking about the prophetic is the Person of Jesus. When you set your mind on Him you will begin to encounter the prophetic in a very real way.

“Let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.

A. Revelation comes by Sovereign Initiation.

It is about encountering a heart – all revelation must lead to Jesus. He is all prophecy fulfilled! All decision making must lead to Jesus! Wrong; “Jesus has given me permission to go out with an unsaved girl”.

B. Revelation must always be connected to the Grace of God.

The minute there is legalism – you know it is not from God. The prophetic can seek out the spirit of religion like an exocet missile. The nature of grace means you know you are a son! You can have a whole book of prophecy written in pictures – but without faith it will mean nothing.

C. Cultivate our hearts to receive from God.

Love Jesus! Love the Holy Spirit! Love the Father! Spend time with Him!

Too many want the kiss in the garden without the cost of covenant.

You cant have the kiss without the cost. You need to spend time with Him. If you want what many prophetic people have got you must pay the price – it isn’t legalism! It is encounter. The key to self-indulgence is to step out in faith. Go pray for someone. Give away what you’ve got. “Freely you have received – freely give”. Study and mediate on biblical encounters with God.

D. Be a people of faith.

You have got to have faith – not passive faith. God is restoring a great theology to the church is His sovereignty. It is wonderful to know that we are not in control but He is. What a release of pressure!

Your expectation of God is the invitation that you need to encounter Him. Become a people that expect God to move.

Awesome God!!

During "Together on a Mission" the worship leader Simon Brading got us singing this very simple song of acclaim to God. The line is very simple!

"Our God is an awesome God - from heaven above, with wisdom, power and love - our God is an awesome God!".

I think for me it seemed to sum up beautifully the whole conference. The Presence of God was so heavy and strong in the place and session after session I felt absolutely lost - without words and all I could say was, "Our God is an awesome God!". I am so grateful to the wonderful Hillsongs yet again - I found the song from their youth conference - and the power and passion was identical to that of the worship at Brighton! May it stir you into flame!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Would We Die For Our Faith?

This short video clip from the Passion conference in the USA really sums up what the whole of Together on a Mission was getting at. Simply put - is our Christian life something that we would die for? Are we believing in a vision that is worth walking with our heads held high to the martyrs stake? John Piper urges we must.

"I plead with you with all my heart - don't buy the American dream!" - John Piper

Seminar 5 - John Hosier on Spiritual Warfare - Part 1 at TOAM 07!

There were a number of key seminars that were set apart from the Training Track sessions at Together on a Mission - Rob Rufus's seminar being one of them of course. John Hosier - the wonderful pastor/teacher at Church of Christ the King in Brighton spoke at two seminars on the subject of spiritual warfare. I have just listened to Part 1 of that and found it very insightful, practical and deeply theological. It will of course be more helpful for church leaders which is why I present the notes below in the hope that it proves of some encouragement maybe.

I am aware that Newfrontiers view of spiritual warfare differed slightly from that of Dr Ern Baxter's - having read Dave Devenish's "Demolishing Spiritual Strongholds". Clearly John Hosier takes the same line as Dave Devenish but didn't engage that view enough to totally persuade me yet. That is a comment by the way - the bulk of the seminar is still excellent.

John Hosier – “Spiritual Warfare and the Local Church” – Part 1 -Seminar TOAM 07

"I believe the most intense form of spiritual warfare is engaged when we are building the local church".

Two popular views regarding spiritual warfare. “To cleanse a town or a city” - “ … those that seek to engage in spiritual warfare in order to precede evangelism” – Peter Wagner (Territorial Spirits). That view tends to take people to high places in order to cleanse the city or the town. Also to hidden places to do the warfare to bind the devil. The first of those two is difficult to judge. The second can be judged by the success of the evangelism but may say more about the effectiveness in prayer rather than spiritual warfare itself.

(Matthew 12:16-18). “Gates of Hades will not overcome it”. Two truths emerge – one is that Jesus will build His church and the other is that there will be conflict as the church is built. Confusion can come in – even at the point of understanding this verse. Popular view is based on first part of the verse; “You are Peter and on this rock I will build”. Roman Catholic view looks at this. Protestant view reacts to that and says that the church is built on the kind of faith expressed by Peter – expressing Jesus as Christ. It may be simply an issue of chronology that may be the correct interpretation. Peter was the first one in to confess Jesus as Christ and the church was built from that point. But that debate overshadows what Jesus was saying about building the local church. Jesus speaks about the “Gates of Hell” or more accurately in the NIV – “The Gates of Hades”. The use of the word “Hades” is a metaphor for the forces of evil and destruction. It could appear as though the church will be attacked but not overcome.

The more accurate interpretation of that verse is that the church will advance and the powers of evil will give way!

“The Gates of Hades will not be strong against it”. If Jesus promised here to build the church then that is His passion and that should be our passion also. We also need to take this promise for our own local church. There is a promise of conflict and of victory so we must understand something of the nature of the conflict we are involved in. There is preliminary question – why are we involved in conflict at all? (Colossians 2:15) “Triumphing over them by the Cross” – but in practice it doesn’t always seem as though the powers and authorities are disarmed. We must understand that although Satan is defeated at the Cross he will not be destroyed till the end of the ages when Jesus returns. At that point; “The devil was thrown into the lake of sulphur”. Between the defeat and destruction of Satan – he is fighting very hard against us.

Sometimes it is suggested that the reason he still fights, is that perversely he still thinks he can win and have the victory. That isn’t a biblical position. (Revelation 12:12). “He is filled with fury because he knows his time is short”. That is why we have conflict because Satan knows he can’t win and with mad spitting fury he is against the church.

1. The conflict that arises with church planting.
2. The conflict that arises with established churches.

Satan uses different tactics for church plants and established churches so we need to examine both and see how we can win.

“Christian life is not like a battle – it is a battle” – Terry Virgo.

1. The conflict that arises with church planting.

In church planting we are in spiritual warfare – there will be conflict and battle and it is a real battle. We know the devil has schemes for a new church plant. These things won’t definitely happen in every case but these have been commonly observed. If we are convinced that Jesus will build His church and the church is God’s plan A then it is inevitable that Satan will want to kill off the local church if possible at source. Satan’s schemes with regards to church plants – largely seen within Newfrontiers church plants. Not everything true for every church plant but seen regularly enough to establish devil’s schemes.

A. Moving Difficulties.
In planting churches people will move. When people seek to move there are whole numbers of people that meet difficult and even irrational problems in moving. Some have even had to concede defeat and give up on the move. There are demonic schemes at work and very often the lead guy has a difficult time moving.

B. Illnesses.
Most people involved in church planting don’t get ill! But some do. Part of it is that you see it more easily in a church planting. In a larger church sickness gets absorbed into normal life. It is another thing to cope with in planting the church and it can sap moral and people get weary.

C. Sexual Immorality.
In Newfrontiers we haven’t lost too many leaders because of sexual immorality but when we have lost them, it is always in connection with a new church plant. The devil is very subtle and rarely exposes that sin immediately. There comes a crucial time when the immorality of that leader comes out. This has happened with enough frequency to realise that this is a demonic and devilish scheme. It amazes me how this kind of sin can get uncovered or discovered. This is a battle and if we are seeking to bring the mission of God to a new area then do not be surprised that Satan is prowling around like a roaring lion to see who he can devour and he wants to bring down leaders. The new plant will feel frail and vulnerable if a leader falls to sexual immorality.

D. Ungodly Ambition.
This comes in two forms – the first is direct and unpleasant but easy to deal with. Sometimes you will get someone joining it who sees it as an opportunity to use and flaunt their ministry. The kind of thing that happens is that they give indications that they are the prophetic voice for this church or they become critical of the initial leadership – also with the suggestion that they should be the leader. Very often it has to be publicly confronted and can be quite bloody but usually soon over. There is another approach – more subtle and harder to see. Someone joins intent on a position and it comes out as a rumble and a grumble. “Why aren’t I on that eldership team?”. “This is why I left my last church because I was not recognised?”. There is biblical encouragement to seek oversight. That is a good thing! It becomes ungodly when we seek to manipulate that position. “This is why I sold up and moved”. This can be a longer term difficulty and usually rumbles along under the surface and will make a number of people uncomfortable. Many may move on quite quickly.

In church plants you must watch out for personal agendas because it can be ungodly ambition and can become a source of conflict in a new plant.

E. Leadership Appointments.
Desire quickly to form a leadership team and move on to eldership as soon as possible. We believe in plurality of elders and we are looking for leadership. The devil is a subtle enemy and wants to bring down – he can disguise himself as an angel of light. In a new church plant you can have the best motivation for an eldership team but the pressure can be to move on too quickly and make disastrous appointments and decisions. The devil loves that because he has led you through a godly desire into mistake and error. Bible says “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands”. (Ephesians 6:4) “Stand firm therefore”. There are times when you have to stand against the pressure to rush appointments too quickly.

F. Transition.
This is less common but has arisen enough to indicate that we can be dealing here with a demonic scheme. There is a period of transition where you can speak about the church plant becoming an established church. The reality is that some leaders are brilliant pioneers with vision, huge amounts of energy and internal resources to get a church started. Those people may not have the gift to oversee a church long term. What is needed in situations of church planting is discernment about that issue. Sometimes you will have someone who is a brilliantly gifted pioneer but they actually need to move on and do that again. Warfare can be very intense if that discernment is lacking because what was initial success and gain can begin to run into the ground. Certainly there are leaders who have the grace to give their lives to one church and the world’s biggest churches have been planted and pastored their entire lives – Yongi Cho. But we need to be discerning as to whether the person who planted the church is a pioneer or whether they have the gifting to take the church on in the long haul.

G. Battle for the First Fruits.
The plant has to battle to get itself established and initial breakthroughs are very important and we can call this a battle for the first fruits. Here is a real example;

When Joel Virgo took on the leadership of our church 18 months ago – he felt convicted that there should be an appeal for salvation so every meeting we do make an appeal for people to come to Christ. We have hardly had a single Sunday when there hasn’t been a single response. Every single service someone has responded to that call for salvation. So because of this Joel was invited to speak at our Evangelical Leaders Fraternal in Brighton and he went, spoke and imparted faith. Another leader in Brighton went home and began making appeals and week after week there was no response. Would he give way or keep going? He decided he would battle on and four weeks ago on a Sunday morning he made an appeal for salvation and six people responded! There is a battle for the first fruits. You must battle things through to get that first breakthrough. The first convert or the first baptism or the first youth group. It’s not like a battle – it is a battle.

2. The Conflict that arises with Established Churches.

Our enemy has different plans for established churches. Obviously established churches cannot be snuffed out initially but Satan still wants to bring the established church down and he has schemes against us.

a. Irreconcilable Divisions.
The major scheme that Satan has against the church is to create irreconcible division. That is his major attack. Many church leaders have agreed that this is the case. Here is a real example from CCK that occurred 20 years ago – it is not a secret in any sense;

I went to CCK (then called Clarendon) 21 years ago and at that point the church had divided into congregations and I was given the leadership of one. There was a mixture of full time and non-full time elders. We were in 5 congregations and I hadn’t been here very long when Terry asked me to take on chairmanship of the elders. I felt we should look at the multiple congregation idea. I introduced this at a day retreat of the full time elders. We discussed this whole issue through and we became convinced that we bring the 5 congregations together and assemble as one large church. We then gathered together the non-full time elders and shared what God was saying.
The non-full time guys felt that we had jumped them and felt we weren’t making this decision in the right way. We apologised for this and said that hadn’t been our intention. It wasn’t easy and we had further meetings between ourselves and somehow every time we met the situation got worse rather than better. We spoke to the guys individually and it still didn’t get better. These guys who were non-full time elders were very godly men and were really seeking God’s will for the church. That was true of the full time elders also and a real desire to see God’s will done. It just kept getting worse. 3 of the non-full time elders felt it was right to put down their eldership and leave the church. This was a real crisis for us and there was an irreconcilable difference that had taken place. This feeling went on for some time and I began to reflect on this and wonder why this had happened. Surely the issue was simple to resolve?

Suddenly I thought that we were not ignorant of the devil’s schemes but we had forgotten. The devil had got on the back of this and had driven it. I decided that because this was so much in the public domain so decided to speak about it on spiritual warfare. We were victims of spiritual warfare and didn’t realise it. I didn’t think about the fact that this was being taped and some of our members put the tapes through the doors of those who had left us and that broke the issue! Two of the guys came back into CCK and serve in leadership to this day. But we were victims of the devils scheme in irreconcible division.

The issue causing the division is usually not much of an issue. Divide and rule is his plan and we must resist it!

b. An Evil Day.
(Ephesians 6:13). “When the day of evil comes”. This is a season when Satan lines up his big guns – points them at your church and fires at once. After Jesus baptism and Father’s approval Jesus was driven into the wilderness. “Full of the Holy Spirit”. For 40 days He was tempted by the devil! He had known awesome blessing and then suddenly He was in an evil day. Please note that at the end of the 40 days the Gospels say that Satan left Him for another time. The good news is that there is not always an evil day. But it does happen.

Dr Kriengsak was visiting us during Prayer and Fasting – from a multi-thousand number church. A brother who was not part of our number asked a question about whether there had been problems in his church. His answer; “Problems? No I don’t think we have had any at all”. A year later there was an evil day upon them. The police threatened them with imprisonment because of brainwashing the people.

You may be thinking our church has never had an evil day – cheer up! It is virtually guaranteed that you will get one. The book of Revelation is key (Rev 12:15-16) “The serpent spewed water like a torrent to overtake the woman”. You must trust me here. The serpent is Satan – no question. The woman here is a metaphor of the Church. We are reading here that the devil spewed water to sweep away the Church but the earth swallowed the river. That is speaking of an evil day. Satan spits against the Church! He spews out venom against the Church. But the good news is that in an evil day – you get help. You must understand that when you have an evil day you will get help.

c. Stagnation.
Stagnation can also be spiritual warfare even though there is no conflict. You can render a church ineffective through division or by putting it to sleep. We may be in as much spiritual warfare if nothing is happening as if there was major division. What to do when that happens – a lot of the answer is based on the ministries in Ephesians 4.

In a time of stagnation, the Ephesians 4 Ministries will be a major weapon of attack against stagnation. You may need to call in apostolic ministry to lay some foundation of grace. You may need prophetic ministry in the church to awaken vision again. In (Haggai 1:13); “The work stagnated” – enter the prophet Haggai. “I am with you declares the Lord … they came and began work on the house of the Lord their God”. The prophet came in and stirred a stagnant people and the work on the temple began.

You may need an evangelist to come in and model something with regard to the Alpha programme. You may need to call in an experienced teacher to thrill people with truth.

When nothing is happening – don’t let nothing happen. Fight! You need Ephesians 4 Ministry that will stir and rally the people.

Be Alert.
We need to be convinced that we are engaged in spiritual warfare. Please do not think that spiritual warfare is some weird thing casting out demons from high places. The warfare is most intense planting churches. The battle rages! (1 Peter 5:8). “Be alert … your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion”.

Be Discerning
There can be a tendency among some to see demons under every bed. Every difficulty is a demonic attack. It may simply be life! However we can face enormous pressures and get cast down about them. (Ephesians 6:12) in a passage on spiritual warfare, Paul says; “Our struggle is against the powers of the dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm”. We forget that because the battle we are involved in does look like flesh and blood.

(Revelation 13:1) – Unfortunately the NIV splits the verse. The Scripture is infallible – NIV headings are not! They have inserted a heading and distorted the text by doing so. Take v1 as a whole. “I saw a dragon coming out of the sea … I saw a Beast coming out of the sea”. The Beast is the Antichrist and he is a man. The point is that behind the Antichrist (and the spirit of Antichrist always has been with us – I believe there will be an Antichrist at the end of history) is the Devil. Behind every Antichrist is the Dragon! Satan pulls the strings. You may see the face but the devil is behind that.

Are we under attack here? Is this an evil day? Discerning that is helpful in the battle because you know what you are up against.

Be Strong.
(Ephesians 6:10) “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”. That means declaring the promises of God. God has said He will build His church! The Gates of Hades will not be strong against it! (v14) “Stand firm then”. You have to stand firm. Attacks pass! Even evil days come to an end! The earth swallows up some of the venom of Satan – so stand firm. You will come through!

The opposite of faith is fear.

“Who can be against us?”. The reality is that every demonic force of hell is against us but God is for us. You sometimes simply have to stand firm. Don’t be weird and go up to high places and cast out demons. Stand firm. The evil day will be over.

Be Prayerful.
We would understand as Newfrontiers leaders – the importance of prayer. (Romans 10:1) – There is only one verse dealing with praying for salvation. Paul pleas that people pray for the advance of the Word of God.

Be Flexible.
However difficult life may be and whatever crisis you may face and whatever pressures are coming against you – there is always something to laugh about. Tomorrow: a theology of humour against spiritual warfare!

“Life to the full – when Jesus promised us life in all its fullness I think He really meant it. I want to introduce life in awesome technicolour … awesome highs and devastating lows. This is the real deal. This is the only crack at life I am only going to get … If you love deeply then you are going to get hurt badly … celebrate raucously because celebration is a gift from God. I love local church work – I love the people I do it with – the stakes of it – it’s heaven and hell – it is the highest stake gain in town – I love that” – Bill Hybels.

It isn’t like a battle – it is a battle but Jesus said that He would build His church and the Gates of Hades are not strong enough to resist it.

Rob Rufus Reflecting on Together on a Mission

Just by chance I happened to visit Rob Rufus's home church website and saw that he spoke last Sunday. I wondered whether he would bring any report on the conference in Brighton - so I listened to the whole sermon. He did indeed make some lengthy comments on the time in Brighton and it was incredibly stirring and beneficial to hear his opinion and his view on what happened at "Together on a Mission". Here's what he said;

"What characterised this trip was the number of notable miracles instantly testified and fully formed ... Human beings are desperate for the real thing ... I have never operated before at that power - that is the truth. 80% of the people had an immediate release of power at CCK in the evening on 8th July.

Glenda had a prophetic word that Terry Virgo completely confirmed something they had been praying into ... People are tired of teaching that isn't backed up with substance - but people were seeing things! ...

110 people were healed in a ten second prayer on the last session ... one of the leading prophets got up and said at the last session that "God says you have changed address - the whole movement has gone to another realm in the supernatural".

Terry Virgo said to me after the session; "Rob - this visit has changed our whole movement". And that came from Hong Kong! This little church is being used to change things across the world!".

Session 5 - Rob Rufus at TOAM 07!

Here are the notes from Rob Rufus's second main session. It is somewhat shorter than the first session as Rob was eager to get onto practical ministry and praying for the impartation of faith to those eager to receive it (and there were many!). However there is some invaluable teaching on faith there that I have never heard before.

Rob Rufus – Session 2 – TOAM 07

To continue with being full of the Spirit of faith and power this afternoon. Faith is a fun thing. Philippians 1 speaks of the “Joy in believing”. We encounter a living God and then we have faith. Abraham didn’t have a clue who God was but the God of Creation came to him and revealed Himself to him and then he had faith. This is the difference between sophisticated intellectual faith and the primitive faith that burned so brightly at Pentecost. They had such an encounter with God that the light of God’s glory appeared on each of them and supersonic sounds were heard. Peter’s first sermon was an explanation; “This is what Joel prophesied”.

As they walked in divine encounters with the living God their faith kept growing and growing.

Faith is infectious and contagious – when you are near people who are full of the spirit of faith you will always feel bold and courageous.

Faith will produce 3 things in you –

1. Humility

2. Boldness

3. Obedience.

Unbelief also produces three things –

1. Fear

2. Pride

3. Rebellion.

Faith is more precious than gold according to the Bible! Paul writes to the Thessalonians saying “I want to come and impart that which is lacking in your faith”. Impartation can release a faith that is more precious than gold. He says that they were “ever increasing” in faith. So you can keep on increasing in faith!

Want to speak about two things; 1. How the dynamic sovereign initiatives of God operate when He does miracles apart from our faith. God can sometimes do miracles to those atheists who have no faith whatsoever. “God does nothing apart from in response to our prayers” – not sure about that statement. Who prayed that He would create the universe? We want to see at the same time; 2. God responding to our faith initiatives. This thing has perplexed and overwhelmed people – it should be simple and should really encourage us. Jesus was totally at times bound to His Father’s will. He goes by the sovereign impulse of the initiative of His Father but other times (Mark 5) He simply seems to be responding to the needs of mortal men. As soon as Jesus felt faith in Jairus He said, “Yes I’m coming!”. He went wherever faith is pulling on Him – yet at other times He was prepared to leave the crowds because His Father said.

We must get an understanding of how to cooperate with the sovereignity of God yet not abdicate everything to the sovereignity of God and get into fatalism and sit around in fatalism waiting for the sovereign initiatives of God before we even step out in faith.

Paul the apostle was a mighty man of faith yet was abused, beaten and high jacked – yet in faith he could say these were momentary afflictions. He was living in the sovereign purpose of God yet taking faith adventures for God.

How to Increase in Faith.
On these steps of increasing in faith – want to discuss the distinction between the sovereign initiatives of faith and our excursions in faith. Faith is fun! Religious people love to debate! Beware of that. Spirit of God sometimes says “It’s better felt than telt” – plug them into My power. You have to pick up the nuances of the Spirit.

a. Be honest with God.
Say “God I don’t have the faith to get people out of wheelchairs”. God will give grace as well as faith to the humble. When we live in the delusions that we are full of faith when we are not, God will allow us to go through trials to prove that we are not full of faith and are dependent on Him.

b. By exercising the spirit of faith.
Sometimes may pray for people to be healed and it doesn’t work. Father says “I’m so proud of you – you are like Peter! At least you got out of the boat!”. Someone once said;

“It’s better to get out of the boat and try to walk on water and drown than die of boredom sitting in the religious safety of the boat”.

God says; “You have just conceived in your spirit a totally blind eye opening”! “Enigmata dunamis” – creative working of miracles. Faith increases when we exercise it.

c. Hearing the Word of God.
Kathryn Kuhlman would lead people in worship until they were healed and the place was full of the Presence of God. She didn’t even have to pray for people – they just got healed. Even today people watching the videos can just get healed by the faith presence in the room. The Presence of God on this woman was so heavy and strong! Most people healed in her meetings had no faith at all – but the glory was so thick and dense on her meetings! How do you explain an atheist professor come to disapprove and expose her finding an eardrum created in his ear and hearing returned?! How do you explain sovereign initiatives of God? That’s God being God because He enjoys it!

“If you get an unbroken sequence of miracles the danger is you get stupid. God will give us longer unbroken stretches of miracles if we stay humble!”

Let us ensure that we do not become educated beyond our intelligence! Paul’s thorn in the flesh was not an illness – he told us what it was – insults, hardships and trials. Faith comes by the hearing of the Word of God – people must see that the Word of God wills that people get healed.

d. The Word of Knowledge.
You just know it is the will of God that someone gets healed. That is a sovereign thing!

e. Miracle Faith is Imparted through Impartation.
(Acts 6) The first deacons being appointed in the church. These men had to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. Today we just see them as putting out the church – yet the Bible suggests that the deacons are to help the elders govern. One of their main roles is to help the church move forward in unity. Deacons should keep the church moving forward in unity under the government of the elders. (v3). Opposition always arises against the supernatural. (Acts 8) Philip was also one of the seven. (v4). “With shrieks evil spirits came out of many … many paralytics were healed”. I think they had a difficulty choosing the seven because so many were full of the Spirit and wisdom in that early church. There is no indication that Philip and Stephen who did signs and wonders. It seems it was only the apostles doing signs and wonders. These were men full of the Spirit and wisdom and faith but no indication they were moving in signs and wonders – that describes many in the Church today. They haven’t been activated in the supernatural. What transitioned these from faith to action? These people believed in impartation. “They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid their hands on them”. We underestimate the laying on of hands to our peril – we need activation and impartation that suddenly people not moving in any signs and wonders suddenly begin to move in the supernatural.

Pastors and teachers can help keep a church in a revival atmosphere without everyone get exhausted, but also keep the level of faith in the miraculous high. The early church lived in the miraculous while shepherding and caring for one another! The local church should be a place where the glory of God comes – the supernatural Presence of God is going to be in the place.

Don’t fight against either the sovereignity of God or having faith – they partner and compliment each other. Always make the worship time really important – that is when the glory comes.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Charismatic Resurgence Post Updated!

After almost a month's shameful break I have updated the "Charismatic Resurgence" post with some of the exciting things on the internet that I have seen. I was stirred to update it after my US friend Jesse changed the name of his blog from "Prophetically Speaking" to "Resurgence". He wrote;

"The spiritual gifts can be described as 'surges' of spiritual strength from God that are otherwise foreign to the natural man. It is not enough to rely on past experiences of God's grace; we must be continually asking him for more. The Christian life should see ongoing resurgences of God's enabling grace so that the church can continually be edified and the gospel steadily advance with signs following".

I think this Brighton conference more than any other (and maybe including the Stoneleigh Bible Weeks) has marked a definite new era upon us. The tide has not only turned, something big is coming. All the prophecies seemed to bear witness to that. Rob Rufus's incredible ministry most impacted me in raising the level of our faith and daring us to believe that God is indeed God and capable of anything in order to make His Son famous in the nations. It's more exciting than ever to be able to try and track what God is saying to different people all over the earth.

Q and A with Ern Baxter, Bryn Jones and Arthur Wallis!

I mentioned on July 3rd that I was beginning a transcript of a fascinating session of Questions and Answers held at a Leaders Conference just prior to the massive Dales Bible Week in 1977. Bryn Jones was chairing the session and Ern Baxter and Arthur Wallis were with him, although other men who were present also contributed such as David Mansell (a prophet at that time referred to in Terry Virgo's "No Well Worn Paths") and Peter Parris - a leader related to Ern Baxter. What impressed me about the session was that they were considering the big picture in apostolic ministry that we are still only just beginning to see come about.

I do find that Question and Answer sessions often are often uniquely different to sermons or lectures because the speakers are reacting with little or no preparation. I hope that this transcript proves a useful resource to anyone who reads it.

The Pre-Dales Bible Week 1977 Conference at High Leigh
With Dr Ern Baxter, Arthur Wallis and Bryn Jones.

Bryn Jones:

So the first question is of the plurality of apostles. Does not 1 Corinthians 1 indicate that Paul, Apollos and Cephas all had input into the Corinthian church? If we claim to be under one apostle, are we not in danger of; “I am of Cephas, I am of Apollos …” etc? Now … do any of you brethren immediately want to answer or do I hand it …? (*laughter*).

Ern Baxter:

It is interesting that I made some comment to Arthur after his remarks this morning on this very matter. I think if you take that passage in context, take the entire epistle and put the matter of Apollos, Cephas and Paul into the contextual setting of that epistle you will find that what Paul affirms is that there are many instructors, they have many who are making input – but he was the father, he was the authority. In 2nd Corinthians 10 he said; “My sphere of authority reaches even to you – you are a body under my authority”. Now also it indicates that he was not concerned that Peter should come and make input or that Apollos should make input or that other legitimate recognised ministries should make input but was chiding the people because they were following these other ministries and making problems for them by putting them in the wrong slot.

So I think there’s a two-way adjustment here; a clear affirmation of his apostolic authority over Corinth and an adjustment to be made in them (among many adjustments) in that they did not appreciate the singularity of his authority and were elevating Cephas and Apollos to the same peer group level. And thirdly Paul was not afraid of Apollos and Cephas – he was more concerned about how the people were handling the structure of apostolic authority. But I think the other apostles made … and I might say on a practical level that in America where some of us have authority into an area we have a clear understanding among ourselves who has the leadership authority into that area. Then there is no problem of the other brothers coming in. If I go into an area where Bob Mumford has authority for example, then I go in subject to Bob Mumford to serve him in the sphere of his authority and vice versa.

Bryn Jones:

Amen … so it is generally agreed I think that they all had input – many apostles. But Paul had – and each church needs to know who had the authority (governmentally) towards them. And although that shouldn’t close the door to others, it should be clearly understood and all the other inputs coming in shouldn’t be in conflict with that governmental authority to them and neither should the church begin to divide in factions among those men.

So the next question. It says, “In 1 Corinthians 16:12, was this a disagreement between equals or was a submitted man in disagreement with someone over him?”. This of course was what Paul wanted Apollos to do in coming down. 1 Corinthians 16:12. Was this a disagreement between equals or was a submitted man in disagreement with a man over him?

Arthur Wallis:

I think it’s difficult to be dogmatic about this – but may I just point out to you the wording here is significant, where he says; “I strongly urged”. Now Paul sometimes suggested, sometimes gave his judgement as one that obtained mercy to be faithful. Sometimes he commanded; “I send Timothy to you”. There was that note of command. Now here to me, I have always interpreted this as being conviction that Paul had of Apollos’ ministry at that particular time and how it would be beneficial to the Corinthians hence he expresses this conviction. So he urges him and then is happy to leave him and the issue with the Lord – this suggests that Apollos was not subject to Paul’s authority.

Bryn Jones:

Does anyone else want to add to that?

Ern Baxter:

I would just like to say one thing. I think Arthur Wallis touched on something this morning that was important also and that is that there is a fear across the world of authoritarianism replacing spiritual and moral authority. I think this is one of the Scriptures that indicates that on a peer group level, there is ample room for dialogue and interaction and that there is no super-imposition of a will over the will of a peer – that there is peer group. I think the Quakers have something to give us in this. The two can’t be right. If we are animated by the one Spirit – the result of our interaction should be some kind of unanimity as to what we should do.

Bryn Jones:

Yes … the brethren feel we should give opportunity for any of you that want to come back on a question should have the chance to do so. Particularly let’s return to that first question. “Does not 1 Corinthians 1 indicate that Paul, Apollos and Cephas all had input – if we claim to be under one apostle, are we not in danger of “I am of Cephas”, “I am of Apollos”. Now you have heard the replies of those here. Is there anything that you want to come back on about that question?


I was just thinking that is not the secret of the whole thing in the relationship between the apostles? Paul, evidently was not the apostle who fathered the church in Rome and yet he had such a relationship with whoever the apostle was that he felt free to say to them; “I want to come to you to impart some spiritual gift”. He also felt free to write an epistle with the strength of Romans behind it. Yet he himself evidently was not the founding father of that church. So there must have been such a relationship between him and whoever the apostle – the founder of the church at Rome was – that he felt free to do that.

Bryn Jones:

Yes. I think that’s what one was saying – that Paul, Apollos and Cephas all respected each other. I mean Paul was glad of Apollos’ input at Corinth and he was urging him to go there. As Bill pointed out, I don’t think the apostles had the problems. Paul’s trying to get to grips with the problems that others had with the apostles on this thing. Anyone else want to come back directly on that first question? Fine. And likewise the question; “Was this a disagreement between equals – concerning Paul and Apollos now – or was this a disagreement of a submitted man with the man over him?”. As pointed out, it was really Paul’s sense of the need at Corinth and his urging of Apollos to come into it. Yet we have no evidence that it was Apollos under Paul. Now are you happy with these things?

Now obviously it can be idealistic just to look at the New Testament and see it clear there as principles. But we are all aware of the grotty situation the church is in today with Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Anglicans, Assemblies of God, Elim and all the rest which they didn’t have around at that time. In accepting the principles of Arthur Wallis’s talk this morning, how can leaders who are already under an alternative covering (for example Anglican or R.C bishop) move under God towards interpreting them? Assuming someone who is in an Anglican or a Catholic church accepts the principles that Arthur shared this morning how can they apply the principles or walk in the light of them in the situation they exist where they are with these principles? Now that I think is much more down to earth with our situation over here! Now Ern, out of your relationship with the Roman Catholics especially are you able to speak into that?

Ern Baxter:

A group of Catholic priests met last year who were concerned with this very thing because with their new charismatic dimension they were finding problems in authority structures. But they wanted to be obedient to the ecclesiastical authority structures and yet they did not want to cool off in their charismatic dimension. So they got together and they came up with (what I thought) was rather an insight. They differentiated between ecclesiastical appointing and spiritual anointing. They said that they were not mutually exclusive. They said an ecclesiastically appointed man could be anointed. An anointed man did not necessarily need to be anointed. Now that did not resolve the question – but it gave them some guidelines and they said that coming out of the whole thing – I don’t know the meaning of the word Bryn has used “grotty” (*laughter*). He’s given me a synonym that I was going to use; “Messy”.

Coming up of these, I think we’ve got constantly keep in our minds that we’re coming up out of sub-normality. As we come out of sub-normality it is much easier to build a new house than it is to model a new one. In tearing down the “slums” to build a mansion, it’s a bit of a problem clearing the ground and I don’t think there are any “pat” answers. But I do believe that God is using a principle here that is obvious in the tree – the new sap comes up and forces out the old leaves and the new crop of leaves comes on. And going back to the David/Saul analogy – David never attacked Saul – but neither did he send back the defectors. (*laughter and applause*). So there was a movement of God going on and I think there’s a movement of God going on worldwide where spiritual authority is on the ascension and structural authority is on the decline. And we’ve got to be patient – move in wisdom, love and care – realising that we are coming out of sub normality.

I think a case in point is that in America I was concerned with particular denominational brethren that I felt I had a scope of ministry with them that was beyond their denomination. I felt that to serve the Kingdom of God, I felt that they would have done much better had they stepped out of their ecclesiastical structure to serve the larger body. Now that was purely on a charismatic basis at that point. They didn’t feel so and I was in no position to press them but what interested me and what gave me some answers was that along came the question of ordaining women. Now some who did not feel to come out on the charismatic issue - (*laughter*) – felt their conscience more exercised in that area. Then came the matter of ordaining homosexuals. I saw almost all of these men who didn’t come out on the charismatic issue, almost all came out on these two issues and so I said to the Lord; “Whatever cards have you got up Your sleeve next?!”. (*laughter*).

You see I believe brothers that we’ve got to be careful of one thing that we don’t let this thing get down into the methodological area and stay there – there has got to be a faith element that God’s got all kinds of surprises coming up.

Bryn Jones:

I think there’s a great element of truth in that – I’ve had some dealings with some brethren who are in denominations (some that are here) and the issues are a little more clear than that. I don’t believe in any of the systems there is an interim covering that can give those men a covering that true apostolic covering is meant to give. Therefore even with whatever interim covering they have, they are lacking and are aware of the lack of what we are speaking about. I believe Ern has given has given a very good and clear answer to what we are seeking. Yes we do feel very strongly for all our brethren in denominational settings. I say that particularly for the denominational men here. We do strongly feel for you the love of Christ. We want to retain and deepen fellowship with you. But working relationship and fellowship are two different things.

Fellowship we can but we cannot have a deep working relationship without at some point creating a conflict of interest to yourselves. Therefore you will find yourselves in conflict with the structure already existing and the way that you would be called to go in deeper relationships with ourselves. So fellowship – yes – we want it to be maintained and deepened. Working relationship is a different story at this point. So I heed what brother Vic is saying. Yes we do want to fellowship with all those brothers and let them know our love, our friendship and our fellowship.. But as you know yourselves those of us who are moving strongly in these dimensions – the pressures of time demand that our priority is given to the men with whom we are deeply involved in working relationship. Men who have come onto clear ground and are therefore asking for clear input and so the time becomes limited to develop strong fellowships and deep fellowship there.

I would also say that there are large numbers –I am aware that our answers are on tape so we measure our words and do not speak them in advisedly – if men in our denominations who are long overdue as far as leaving them is concerned. They are not in there on the only ground that could cause them to stay because God has given them faith in their hearts for their future within that. Many are there out of loyalty and loyalty will not be enough. Men can die by staying in loyalty. So you – if you are in a denomination – need to ask yourself this; Are you still in it in faith that God has told you to stay, that your future is in it, that there is something God has in purpose for you there and He requires you to stay there and you are in faith for that to be fulfilled? If not then I think you need to ask yourself – where is your faith put? Now I know that is a very clear ground but I feel we have to speak it out of knowledge of the needs of the country at this time. I believe there are very many good men who are there in those denominations who are there by faith, their time is not yet fulfilled and that there is a lot they are going to move onto and there are men who are going to touch situations that will change them. But if they go beyond their faith and stay beyond their faith in the denominations then they are in real trouble.

Isn’t that the very real tragedy of Jonathan’s relationship to David – when he knows his kingdom is coming in and yet he is still staying with Saul? I feel that there are men in this place that are really in a Jonathan situation.

Ern Baxter:

This makes me take another good hard conscience look at my basic working assumptions. I totally agree with Arthur’s message this morning. I believe that God is doing something in the earth and I am not speaking euphorically or theoretically. I have been recently in Australia seeing some things there. Papua New Guinea and Hawaii – I believe God is bring into focus a spiritual authority and a rapidly growing dimension of spiritual authority. I am assuming that this is God’s alternative to the decaying system around us – not only ecclesiastical but economic, sociological and political.

This makes it difficult for me to handle a sort of twilight zone or an interim thing. I say that for this reason – for someone to come out of one structure of authority into an area where there may be fellowship and friendship and warmth and so on, but not come into a structure of authority that God is bringing into being – is maybe like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. He may find more frustration in that intermediate area than he found back in the area where he was frustrated by carnal authoritarianism. I doubt very much if I can speak the kind of authoritative word into the heart of a man who is disenchanted with his ecclesiastical structure and is looking for an alternative. If I myself cannot speak with enthusiasm of having found the kind of authority and relationship over – under – beside – in front of – behind that will appeal to that man for him to make the kind of move that he needs to make then I am afraid that if gets in here then there are an awful lot that will kind of fizzle out.
I think God’s purpose in bringing out is to bring into. I think that I can’t speak very well to him if I haven’t got something to bring him into that I am deeply convinced of. That is just an expression of my own concern.

Bryn Jones:



Are you saying then that if a man has faith to stay in a situation that he cannot find apostolic covering without coming out?

Bryn Jones:

Yes, I think that is what we are saying. Philip is that because of the nature of apostolic ministry, it implies authority to give direction and that if he is already in a denomination and has faith in his heart for some specific reason and purpose and God still had His immediate purpose and future in it, he cannot relate through an apostolic ministry in that sense without coming into conflict at some point without finding a conflict of interest at some point. Now I sense at this point for ourselves – because obviously we can only judge at this point by what is existing not by an ideal that we see in the New Testament where the apostles primarily related to churches that they had raised up and there was no conflict of interest or where they did function towards an existing church, they were already in relationship with the apostles that had fathered it. But we feel that our working relationships cannot function to those men – our fellowship wants to be with them, our friendship wants to be with them, but our working relationship cannot be with them – our actual ministry function cannot be given to them because of that conflict of interest. I think they are aware of it too – at some point they know this division of loyalty and interest will happen.

Arthur Wallis:

I think a lot depends on the type of denominational structure that you are in. What Bryn is saying I would wholly back up in the nature of certain, rigid, tight structures where say the immediate problem of water baptism might become a major problem. I think you wouldn’t go very far before you are immediately in conflict. But you are to participate in a Baptist church where there is a great deal of independence therefore I would allow that you could have apostolic covering that could exist for quite a while. But what it would do is bit by bit change you as a church. This change would be a process by which less and less you would resemble a Baptist church and more and more a New Testament church in the full sense of the word until it would be a question of snipping the last ties and you should become a fully fledged expression of the Body of Christ which is what the whole thing is about.

So that might last over perhaps a year or two years. But I feel that if you can move on in what God is showing you – if you can have a measure of that liberty and you won’t come to a point where after a few weeks you are going to say “I am very sorry because I am a Baptist minister I can’t do that” – then you are in a situation where you’ve got to either make a decisive step and say this is where I must make my departure or you have to say I am very sorry but I can’t accept your covering any longer. I do see and one sees them in different parts of the country where I believe the Spirit of God has been re-moulding the wineskins – renewing the wineskins and I don’t think we ought to rule out the possibility that God may do that. I think it is a very difficult path.

I think it is much easier – as Ern says – to pull down and build up a new thing but God is the God of the impossible. Think what He is doing among the Catholics! We must not limit God. So I think one has to think in one’s own heart if the situation permits that kind of progressive change until something within emerges in the old situation.


Well aren’t we in that kind of interim phase? Aren’t we all moving towards that kind of situation?

(Baxter to Jones):

Can I speak into that?

Ern Baxter:

I want to make it very clear that I was speaking to the case of the man who is coming out. I think there are two kinds of interim – there is the interim of the man who is dealing with a definite break. He can’t stay any longer – he has got to come out. Now I was talking about the issue of what is he coming out to? If he is coming out to some kind of foggy, indefinable twilight zone then it’d be almost better to stay where he is. Then the interim that you are referring to is the one that we are all in. I think a better word for it would be “transition”. I don’t feel that I am in an interim between a denominational situation and a relational situation. My relational situation is as healthy and firm as I believe it can be and could be at this point. I’m in transition – we’re on our way to something better. But I don’t feel that we are in interim. So I would like to make that differentiation.

Bryn Jones:

I think that Arthur also brought an adjustment to what I said. Because in my mind I was answering from existing relationship with some men who are in structures that I know would inevitably produce conflict. But there are of course denominations in this country that have much greater autonomy given to their churches such as the Baptist and the Brethren and the Assemblies of God and people of this nature. But there are others that are much different to that, which have certain characteristics – especially the Anglican Church because the Rector has a great deal of personal freedom and things of that nature, then the question of baptism or some of the other questions become very real issues for those men.


Yes I think it is obvious that quite a number of situations have been completely transformed. For example I used to be in a Plymouth Brethren Assembly, which sort of gradually moved by various stages into what we now have as a related church. But I think what is important – again coming back to this question of faith – is that we are beginning with the faith that, not only are we going to be a blessing in the situation but a faith for the whole thing. We can’t have faith for part of what God is doing and to leave out of our whole thinking the question of relationship and structure and authority so that the whole thing is left on the shelf. Now we might start where we are but in declaring the whole counsel of God to our situation, either the structure will change to become more biblically based or it won’t. Now at that point we have to decide whether we are obeying God or whether we are committed to the previous ecclesiastical structure. I think in our hearts if we are committed to what God is saying then we can begin to form relationships which will either transform or bring out of that situation.


One of the things we found when we came out of the Baptist Union was that we had to ask for ourselves – what were we? That was not only a question of leadership but it was also an unconscious question for all of the members of the flock that didn’t quite know what they were. They had entered this realm of independent free churches now apart from belonging to a denomination. But there was no covering there and it is very difficult to find out what you are.

What we have found in coming under apostolic covering is we have found security not only as leaders but also as a church and we have found identity and that is very important because when you have got that then you can go somewhere. I think we sense now that we have moved from a state of emergency to a state of emergence. (*laughter*).

Bryn Jones:

Now there are a number of questions – quite a number so we’re going to have to move more rapidly here. So … I think we probably have to curtail the panel. If we feel it’s adequately covered then move on. Only if you think it hasn’t been adequately covered then call for more.

This one I think is important though. “It seems that the “army” and “chain of command” are used very rarely in the New Testament. Is it therefore justifiable to see apostolic ministry in terms of generals or commanders?”. I think we can sandwich two in together here – Matthew 20:20-28, John 13:12-17, Philippians 2:1-12. (*laughter*). These all have to do with serving. These passages and many others emphasise the fact that the higher one is in structure, then the greater need is to be submissive to the church. I hope it meant to serve … “Should not then the Spirit of Christ therefore be the sign of an apostle? Would you not then agree that an apostle is recognised by this basic attitude and not by some divine right to govern?”. Are they to be viewed as generals and commanders – shouldn’t it be more their servant heart? And not some divine right to govern? Well – what do we think?

Peter Parris:

Obviously the Lord Jesus Christ is the supreme example who came as a servant and gave His life who came not to be ministered to but to minister and this is quite clearly what the apostle takes up – ourselves as servants. But surely none of us deny that Jesus was Lord.

Bryn Jones:

And is.

Peter Parris:

Yes I know. But … (*laughter*). Thank you brother. He was undoubtedly the servant but He was also undoubtedly the Lord. The apostles – we must remember – Paul referred to himself as the “off-scouring”. He was the one that took all the bags and was finally rejected. Yes he was a servant as was his Master and he came in with a whole idea to serve but it was with an authority that service was channelled through and he served the churches by taking his spiritual authority and governing but he did it with a servants heart and so he besought with tears and he would ask them to consider what he was thinking … “I suppose” (1 Corinthians 7) or this “this is what I think not the Lord”. But there were other times when he was much more definite – “this is not I speaking but the Lord and I command”. So yes I believe that there are times when we need to have the attitude of a servant but it must also have with it the authority that Christ has given to that servant so that the two things to me aren’t opposites – they are necessary.


Are there two different types of authority – the authority of God and the authority that God gives so that we don’t have to be frightened of the general command that God gives?

Bryn Jones:

I think it’s important to say of course that we believe that serving is the sign – the servant heart and spirit is one of the hallmarks of apostleship. In fact the only place I find Jesus referring to Himself as Lord and Master (others call Him that but the only place He referred to Himself) was when He had the towel and basin washing their feet. So He claimed the title there in serving. The reason we’ve majored in on this – I have never found people who have a problem in accepting an apostle serving them. I find the problem lies when the apostolic government comes. That’s why we have majored on government because I have heard of no conflict in the issues – that anywhere in the country – over serving. But up and down the country there is large resistance to apostolic authority. What we need to see (as Peter Parris says) is that they are both valid but the apostle is not an apostle if he isn’t serving and not using authority. The same is true of the shepherd in the local church. As many of you know the people would love all the pastors to serve. Full stop.

Ern Baxter:

I just want to say that I believe that you cannot separate these two issues of apostolic ministry and I think this is where the anti-authoritarianism comes in the name of not being a servant. Jesus constantly differentiated between the way that the Gentiles do it and the way He wanted His people to do it. So I think we’re talking here about a difference in attitude and motivation. He wasn’t questioning the matter of the need for government but He was pressing the need for a proper motivational source.
Any man whether he be apostle, prophet, evangelist or shepherd who is not motivated by agape love is violating his office and his authority
I believe that the motivation … that our Lord was constantly at motivation. “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. Now we would be less than honest if we didn’t say that in the whole emergence of this authority matter there have not been men who have seen it as an opportunity to exercise Gentilic authoritarianism. They’ve had to be dealt with – because where is that sort of thing, it is as much a danger to the proper function of proper authority as anti-authoritarianism. So that I believe that we are looking at a matter of “Knowledge puffeth up but love buildeth up”. If a man has a methodological knowledge – he understands the methodology and the structure but he doesn’t have a love motivation then he is going to blow it. So we are talking about motivation – that a genuine ministry motivated by love will exercise the firmest kind of authority but he will do it like Paul did. Paul said, “I warned every man night and day – not with a loud voice but with tears”. Those were love tears.

Mike Stevens:

This matter of talking commanders and generals and so forth – the world certainly in the armed forces recognises what is a good officer and this is an officer who serves his men and looks after them and not just one who wields his authority with a big stick.

Bryn Jones:

And that is authority – because the brother who just spoke is a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy. (*laughter*).


Just the way one sees it – The nature of authority. It would seem to me that we are speaking of two different kinds of authority. The Gentile type of authority that asserts itself from above and the other, which is spiritual authority that asserts itself by submitting from beneath. It is a submission to authority rather than an imposition.


A comment was made about the “Chain of Command”. That is rather a narrow expression and I think maybe it is – that we may get locked in if we just think of this whole business as just being a chain of command but rather it is an operation. A chain of function that has a breath to it. It includes authority but it has all these other things that we have heard about this morning. As it happens the example is the analogy of the army. The New Testament teaches about the Body – that my head doesn’t command my shoulder, which commands my arm, which commands my hand – they are in a relationship of function. So I think it would serve us to keep that broader perspective. One other point that I think Arthur Wallis can justify himself on using the analogy of the army – I think it is a shame that we get locked into a narrow-minded approach of the Scriptures – a textualism approach whereby if a word doesn’t appear more than 10 times in Young’s Concordance then it is not very valid. What Arthur was giving was a whole under girding in other aspects of creation too so I think it would be good if we don’t get ourselves locked into words but keep our minds on concepts that God has written in.

Bryn Jones:

I think that’s very important – I think most of the men that in heart do not want to receive apostolic ministry towards them would love to fasten onto some particular phrase to justify their withdrawal or refusal to move into these things. This makes it very awkward to deal with any of these things. Whether we talk of the chain of command, of function – we think ‘Well it’s better used as function’. But that’s not very specific and chain of command is there. Serving is there. Love is there. Also the rod is there. The rod is there in love and the chain of command is there in serving. So what we’re saying is that where hearts want to respond they’re not trying to nail men on the terms and phrases they’re using. But where the heart doesn’t want to respond, they will never find a phrase that they will escape some problem with.

Ern Baxter:

I think that if we are faithful to all the metaphors we can avoid this kind of problem. Army is a valid metaphor – Body is a valid metaphor – Building is a valid metaphor – family is a valid metaphor – a well-ordered farm is a valid metaphor – a vine is a valid metaphor. When we take all the metaphors I think we get what I call “Simile Sickness”. (*laughter*). And I can recall years ago when there was a great move in evangelicalism that the church was the “Bride” – the church is a mature Man and the church is a Building. So if you take all of the metaphors I think you won’t get locked into any particular concept. While the army may have an element of authoritarianism, if you put it alongside the Family and the Body and the Vine – it’s softened but not changed.

Bryn Jones:

Amen. We will stay with “chain of command” for a moment. “Does the chain of command imply that there is ultimately one man who is the final authority except of course for the Lord? This seemed to be what was said and from Matthew 10:2”. Of course obviously at the back of the statement is the thought of the Pope. Well shall we go to the man who “said”? (*laughter*).

Arthur Wallis:

I think someone was reading into my words more than what I intended. No – there is no question of an sort of Pope – if we should use in some circles a sort of forbidden word, “Pyramid” – you must recognise that the tip of the pyramid is in heaven. But there is an apostolic level and I believe that there is a graduation of the apostolic order. I think we find chiefest apostles and there were those apostles who were not chief ones or emergent ones like Timothy. But one only has to stop and think of the kind of authority we’re talking about and the implication of it. In a whole globe that has been touched and a kingdom of God brought in, how could there be one global authority? Even with modern technology it is utterly impractical! So that we’re not saying that – we don’t believe and that wouldn’t be possible anyway. So that when we talk of apostleship we believe that in the main touching peer level where apostles relate to apostles – but there’s no question of this being under that one.

Ern Baxter:

Forgive me if I am saying too much Bryn – but it keeps coming. (*laughter*). I want to speak into this for a moment quite emotionally and subjectively. I’ve just come from Rome where I was with my Roman Catholic brethren and because of the frailty of the Pope, he couldn’t receive us personally but he placed us on the front row of his general audience, which numbered 10, 000 and he addressed us from his place on the platform very warmly. But what I wanted to say was this, when the Pope came into that great auditorium, the emotion and response! There must have been 3 thousand flash bulbs going off simultaneously! The whistling, the shouting among the charismatics – you could tell that there was just a tremendous something going on! Some of us were talking about it after and I could not avoid the sense that in the Pope these people saw an authority that somehow held the whole structure together. I know more about the Pope now that I ever did before. I am not an apologist for Rome – I want to assure you that! But neither am I a Catholic baiter. We are in some very deep serious dialogue with the Catholic brethren and I believe the times are upon us brothers where we have to be very sensitive to a lot of these things. But when I discovered that the Pope never really functions unilaterally – that he functions out of the curacy – that he is really is the ultimate voice of the authority structure – it made me stop and think. While he is that voice and while he is that figure, he never functions out of that. I point blank asked about many of these things – even to the changing of architecture in the Vatican.

If a Pope wanted to do something in St Peters – now I trust my informant was valid, I believe he was, he was very knowledgeable – but even if the Pope wanted to make some of the structural changes, he couldn’t do that unilaterally and on his own. So that even in the matter of the Pope – if it’s the Pope you are worried about – the danger is that the Pope could and has historically attempted to take unilateral authority. Even when he’s attempted it he has been pulled down. All wise modern Popes are aware that they are operating out of counsel.

So that even when you think of God as a unit – I think you have to rethink that God in Himself is a sweet society and functions of a Trinity of counsel. He does all things out of the counsel of His own will. Well He’s certainly not talking to Himself. (*laughter*). So that even though it’s paradoxical God is counselling with God. “The Lord said unto my Lord”. In the plurality of the Trinity even you still have counsel! I don’t think there should be any fear of unilaterality. I am not worried about the pyramid because I think the pyramid is actually a very valid illustration. When you come to the top of the pyramid you still have plurality and when you get into heaven you still have plurality! So I don’t see any danger whatsoever in someone becoming a dictator because as I have functioned in dialogue in this relational thing with peer group men – eyeball to eyeball – gut to gut (*laughter*) – I have seen that no one is going to Lord it over anybody!

Yes I was sharing this morning that I think rather than be afraid of Roman Catholicism that I think it would be a good idea to take a good hard look at why it is what it is and where it has come from. It is true that it did attempt to Christianise paganism but I believe you have there a Post-Constantine attempt to maintain liturgically and constructionally what in Pre-Constantine times was spiritual. The Gregorian Chant – the chant of things.
We are doing the same thing only it has broken out again into the realm of the Spirit.
The structure of authority in the Roman Catholic Church – when it’s broken down and the entire sub heads are broken off it is in a very real sense an apostolic structure right down to the parish priest. In fact the parish itself is a geographical area over which one of the hierarchical leaders has oversight.

Now the thing that is wrong with it is that it is assumed that everyone in the parish belongs and that everybody (if they are baptised as infants) relate and so on. But I think that rather than turning the Roman Catholic thing off we need to look at it as an attempt to carry on in the natural and in the psychological. For instance one of the antagonists of Roman Catholicism says that there isn’t a group in the world more capable of putting on a religious celebration than the Roman Catholic Church. Now before you turn against that there was nobody capable of putting on a religious celebration than Israel and their tutor was God! IT was God who brought them up three times a year with their banners flowing – all structured – all meeting around the Tabernacle. So I think before we turn Roman Catholicism off we need to look at where it has come from – it has crystallised and creedalised and formalised and put into liturgical form a whole lot of things which were the spiritual flow in the early church and come through Constantine’s unfortunate sin they were carnalised.

But you see Paul never said there was anything wrong with the form! He said they have a “form” of godliness. But they denied the power thereof! If the power doesn’t have a form then it is dissipated. If the form doesn’t have a power, it’s dead. Now he said – they have a form without the power. I think that we have got to be careful that we are not so anti-form that we dissipate the wine. The thing Jesus wasn’t concerned about was the breaking of the wine skin. The wine skins were a dime a dozen! It was the waste of the wine He was thinking of! He couldn’t get another crop of wine until next year! He didn’t want the wine wasted.

So I believe that as we look at the Roman Catholic Church we should do so studiously not with a view to copying it but to understanding it. Because today (if I may put this in discretely and carefully) the Roman Catholic Church charismatically represents the most formidable body of charismatics in the world and certainly presents because of its size the most unique laboratory of spiritual authority as opposed to structural authority to resolving it’s problems.

Bryn Jones:

And because this is being taped I think I really would like to put some addition to what Ern is saying. The fact that he is saying he has no problem with form I trust and I know (because of my relationship with him) he would have just as many problems with some of the practices that go on in Roman Catholicism. Secondly we are not saying that I believe the present Pope or all hopes down are apostles of Jesus Christ. I don’t know. Certainly history shows that some of them could never have been that. Then the third thing we are not saying is that because the Pope is receiving the large acclaim of the many who were there when he came in, neither are we saying that necessarily means that he should be receiving the universal claim of the church of Jesus Christ of which we are a part. It is to those people that are related to him there. So I am putting that on record just in case some say, “Didn’t I tell you?! We’re on the march to Rome!”. (*laughter*).

Ern Baxter:

The interesting thing about this is that while we’re being charged with being on our way to Rome, our Roman Catholic friends are being charged with being on their way to Protestantism. (*laughter*).


Bryn could I just ask Ern one more thing. He said he didn’t have a problem with the pyramid. Now Arthur’s point that the tip of the pyramid was in heaven is an important one. I think you said that there are a few apostles at the top so the idea that they are somewhere just before the tip. Just under the cloud there are about three. Could you amplify that? Because I think that’s a fair point.

Ern Baxter:

Well I wouldn’t confine it to three. (*laughter*). I think that if we take 1 Corinthians 12:28 then we definitely have an order. Now the number of apostles I think will be determined out of the economic trinity. Within the Trinity are the functions of the Persons. Ideally we see God in three Persons sitting in celestial majesty. Economically we see the Father sending the Son into the Incarnation – sending the Spirit back who has lived for two thousand years in this muck and mess! So that economically I am saying that at the top of the government of God there has got to be a body of men – I wouldn’t confine it to three – but there has got to be a body of men. For instance the apostles did a very audacious thing. They divided the world in half and gave half to Peter and half to Paul. At least generically they said Peter – you take care of the Jews and Paul you take care of the Gentiles. I think that tells u something of the authority we are talking about.


So it’s actually two? (*laughter*).

Bryn Jones:

They’re saying are you saying it is now two instead of three?

Ern Baxter:

Yes I would say that in the beginning it was two. (*laughter*).

Bryn Jones:

Okay. Yes there is another question back here.


On this theme of plurality Arthur was ministering this morning on the plurality of elders but when there get to the top there must be …

Bryn Jones:

Ah yes – Arthur was saying that there is plurality but in that plurality there is not equality of function and authority.

Arthur Wallis:

Yes I don’t think I can say a lot more because I don’t think I know much more except we must distinguish between a difference in equality and the fact of submission and authority. I think because two men are not at the same level of authority does not mean that one submits to the other or in the sense that sheep will submit to a shepherd. I mean that’s a very clear relationship where there is a command coming through. I would see much more in the realm of apostleship. I mean – I do see equality – I see different levels of authority and maturity so that I think it’s out of the relationship of authority and love that there is a mutual submission to one another.

Here is a man who in his realm of apostleship has really got something from God and the other men will bow to him in that realm of his competence and ability. Another realm say that they might turn to another man. I see it working that way really – I don’t see a Scriptural authority for saying that apostles are all submitted and I think that one would really have to find some Scriptures to establish that although I know that some do teach that.

Ern Baxter:

The term we use is leadership among equals. Again I think that if this thing deteriorates into methodology we’ve got problems. We have got to be constantly flowing in the Spirit to find out charismatically whom God puts a leadership among equals on. When the Spirit says “Separate unto Me Barnabus and Saul” then that was a sovereign act of the Lord Jesus. I believe that in a body of shepherds you will have a James figure and so on. But this will be charismatically designated and I think if you look at this subjectively – you put a group of men together who are equal in function – they’re all elders but it will become obvious charismatically where each one is and that you will see the emergent leadership of that group.

It’s not a matter of equality. I think it’s like the man/woman thing – heirs together of eternal life! Redemptively equal but functionally different. I think where you have these bodies of leaders in their particular spheres there is an equality in terms of office but there is a difference in terms of charism and there is leadership in equality. This I think comes out in Trinity – in Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That you have the Father as a sort of Chairman of the Board – it’s just there. We even use it theologically – first Person, second Person, Third Person and so on. Obviously there is a procession in the economic Trinity and that indicates that within the equality of Trinity there is functional leadership and the Father is the source. So I think in all of these areas there is indeed leadership among equals.

Bryn Jones:

I think we have to move on – we’ve got about ten minutes. So there is one here. “Does the fact that a person outwardly says ‘Yes’ to the authority over him necessarily mean that he is being submissive?”. Well I think our answer is “No”. (*laughter*). If I am saying “No” to apostolic covering then I can’t mean yes in my heart. The next one – “Some say there are similarities between what we are in today and the early exclusive Brethren – what prevents or preserves us from the same abuses that they fell into?”. Well there are several on that question actually and I think at some point Arthur would have to give the third part of the message is kind of a preserving nature. Another – “Is any other Scriptural relationship except that of brothers?”. Should the word “relationship” be used of joining other Christians of similar vision?. I am not sure of the meaning of that question really. Does anyone want to …?

Arthur Wallis:

Again obviously within the Body of Christ in the church we are all brethren. As the Lord Jesus reminded us, “Call no man Father”. We are all brethren! But when it comes to the working Kingdom – in other words when we are in working relationships you will find it comes through very clearly in Paul’s writings. He speaks of “fellow soldiers” and “fellow labourers” and “fellow workmen” and “yoke fellow men in the Gospel” – which was not true of all his brethren – believers in Christ. He had this specific relationship with men, brothers in Christ who were joined to him and had the same vision and were in a working relationship and were together – planting the Kingdom. To me it is utterly impossible to be involved in that sort of operation except the one to whom you are joined clearly accepts your vision and is involved on the same basic principle. Now I would feel if someone rejects this concept of authority and submission that we’ve been talking about – it would be utterly impossible to labour with him. I could have fellowship. I could even perhaps move into a situation and share and minister with him but I could not labour with him and build with him – it would be utterly impossible.

Bryn Jones:

The final question – “In a situation where a church is emerging what should be the attitude of the leaders towards those who are resisting what God is showing? For example people clearly ‘in fellowship’ before we felt led into being a committed fellowship with others and covering with others?”. Was that question clear? I think that’s a very real question for a lot of men here. Some churches in the country have been existing for a considerable period of time in their minds a church. And yet they’ve been totally independent in relationship with other bodies of believers they have not really been committed to each other properly. Many of them have met on a congregational basis rather than a community of saint’s basis. The question is what happens now that the leaders feel to get involved in the strains of the fellowship?

Dave Mansell:

Obviously the situation of their non-receiving of the word that is coming now implies that they were never really submitted to the leadership before that happened. I think one of the ways that could be released is for the leadership to admit their own fault in the matter that the thing wasn’t built right in the first place. To be sharing clearly with the people how God had brought them to see what He was doing and spelling out the thing clearly so they understand this thing on a Scriptural basis. To me it is exactly the same thing as parents whose children have been ill disciplined. Suddenly they wake up to their responsibilities and they should come back even to their own children and admit their fault and say that this is God’s principle – this is now how it’s going to work and that is it. The foundation of life in Christ! This isn’t some optional extra – this is a foundational extra of receiving from the Lord. I think that could help the situation rather than just imposing it from the platform which could have disastrous effects.

Bryn Jones



There seems a great number of us who have come through in the experience and seen some value in that. It might be helpful if there is some opportunity to share the testimony of that to show that it does work.

Bryn Jones:

Well I think that would be better done on a person-to-person basis because this room is filled with testimonies of it working. I would think that the people having problems would be a small minority here. You will probably find the answers you seek at lunch! The reason we wanted these things made absolutely clear was because several of us – and Terry Virgo out there – along with others of this nature are having to work with you as churches and we are finding increasing call on us from new situations. New places. It becomes clearly and clearly that we must narrow down our priority of input on time. It must be put in where there are clearly understood grounds of relationship and acceptance of authority that releases us to work in a working relationship with these people. That would mean for some of you here this presents almost a new sense of urgency as to where you personally are as a fellowship and as a group of elders in terms of your relationship to ministries that are present here.

Okay? God bless you all.

~ End of Transcript ~