In this post I am going to take him up on that offer. In light of that statement he made at Stoneleigh, I feel obliged to take him up on that offer. I think he would be disappointed if I didn't take him up on that offer and that challenge!
I am intrigued with Terry Virgo at the moment. I am fascinated as to what is going on in his head and where he is going and where he is taking Newfrontiers. I hope that doesn't sound too cheeky. But he is one of the very few church leaders who has had a tremendous impact upon my life. His teaching on the baptism of the Holy Spirit at Stoneleigh Bible Week really cemented my experience in what was a confusing time when my senior pastor was changing his mind on this most important of encounters with God. His teaching on the grace of God absolutely saved my personal walk with God and my faith in church after one of the most difficult experiences of my life. He has consistently displayed the qualities of an apostle and a prophet in what church life should be like today - when very few other self-appointed "apostles" seem so far from the biblical model.
So when I ask these questions, I do so out of the utmost respect and love and admiration for this man of God. I ask these questions because I am bothered. If the example that Terry Virgo set didn't really matter to me, then what he did and who he invites to Newfrontiers conferences would pass without comment from me. But it does matter to me and it does interest me and I do want to grow in experience by looking at this man and understanding why he is who he is. It does matter to me that "Together on a Mission" remains one of the most powerfully visited by God conferences in the United Kingdom. In my lifetime I have attended the Dales Bible Week and that got stopped. I attended the Anglia Bible Week and that got stopped. I went to Stoneleigh Bible Week and that got stopped. I am not content to see Brighton become merely a "feast of the Word". I want to encounter God there!
Now when I say "open questions" to him, I essentially mean I want to open up these questions for comment very like Jesse Phillip's "Questions of the Month". I do not know Terry Virgo and I certainly don't expect answers from him! But I hope you will all feel free to leave comments to help me if you have any thoughts. As you will expect, a lot of the questions are about the forthcoming "Together on a Mission 2008" and Mark Driscoll's visit. But there are some other questions about the broader and more glorious work of the Holy Spirit as well. Questions that "Together on a Mission 2007" began! I do - I really do - want to learn ...
So Terry ...
1. "Together on a Mission".
If the Lord is with us - and in light of the glory of the past two years of TOAM - why have you invited Mark Driscoll to Brighton?
If the Lord is with us - and bearing in mind you live in a city with a thriving gay population - why have you invited a speaker who has publicly made homophobic comments and jokes?
If the Lord is with us - why is there no seminars about what Rob Rufus ministered in the last two years? Why are there no seminars about the manifest Presence and glory of God? Why are there no seminars about the Holy Spirit and His Presence and dynamic power in spreading the the Gospel to the ends of the earth? Why are there no seminars about signs and wonders and miracles that we should expect to accompany our message?
If the Lord is with us - why do we need to balance what was already a balanced Word and Spirit message at the conference? Why do we need a "Word man" when you yourself bemoaned;
"Why is it so rarely that we are privilidged to experience at the same time the manifestation of the Holy Spirit's power and true respect for the Word of God? How sad that we so often have to put up with a lack of one or the other".
It seemed to me that last year's Brighton was the closest we have ever got to a true marriage of Word and Spirit. Why do we have to change that?2. "With Signs Following".
If the Lord is with us - would you agree that the command to Ezekiel to "Prophesy to the winds" - somehow carries an instruction for us? Would you agree that in the Spirit, the prophetic is somehow capable of unlocking and beginning dramatic moves of the Spirit of God?
With that in mind ...
If the Lord is with us - why didn't you prophesy once at last July's conference? Your prophecies have proved so influential in guiding the family of churches and provoking yet more prophecies from others. We needed to hear from God through you!
If the Lord is with us - why aren't we seeing speakers coming to Brighton who will provoke and impart greater and greater faith for miracles and signs and wonders rather than strategies for building bigger churches?
If the Lord is with us - won't the bigger churches come as a result of a greater manifestation of the glory and Presence of God rather than hearing "How-To" speakers?
And finally ...
If the Lord is with us - and the nations are our inheritance as the heirs of Abraham then why are the majority of leaders of restorationist church movements living in the West where only 5% of the world's population live? Why aren't we going into China? What is our strategy for seeing the glory of God cover China as the waters cover the sea as God promised?