Friday, January 18, 2008

Rob Rufus on Leadership that is Word AND Power

I do believe that even though great leaps have been taken in seeing Reformed doctrine and Charismatic Experience come together, recent events have demonstrated that the link is tenous and may easily drift apart. For example Terry Virgo bemoaned having to choose between "Word" and "Spirit" at various conferences when writing in the Newfrontiers magazine. But then he wrote in his blog when announcing Mark Driscoll was coming that we have had two years of "Spirit" ministry and hinted it's time for a re-balance with a "Word" speaker. That dissatisfies me!

I don't want and don't think the ideal is to seek out "Word" speakers and "Spirit" speakers. The ideal surely is for leaders to seek to be men of both Word and Spirit - of both doctrine and power - of fire and light.

I was hugely encouraged to find Rob Rufus clearly believes the same. I have been listening to the wonderful series he preached when he was visiting Los Angeles last year and he said this;

"We really do need in these days to substaniate the supernatural with theology and with Scripture. I dont know what I am ministry-wise and maybe there is an element of the evangelist in me. But I get so discouraged when I hear people say of evangelists that they are so shallow in theology but move in the power. We cannot afford that. Evangelists cannot use lack of theology as an excuse anymore because to just move in power without theology is a dangerous thing to do. But neither can the teachers and the theologians hide behind theology anymore as an excuse to not move in the power. Jesus was the Theologian of theologians and yet He raised the dead and He said we can do likewise.

Paul the apostle was the theologian of theologians after Jesus and he raised the dead and moved in dramatic miracle power. Teachers need to in the same ministry of power that Jesus moved in. We cannot say that those who had the greatest miracles in the New Testament were evangelists. No - no - no. Those in the Bible in the Book of Acts some of the greatest spear-head ministries were the apostles and they moved in signs and wonders and miracles.

The whole five-fold ministry cannot hide behind theology of lack of theology. Everyone needs to have theology and the demonstration of God's power so that the priesthood can come to the full measure of the stature of Christ.

We can't have teachers teach great things and close their Bibles and say "Let's go home". We have to demonstrate what we are teaching in manifestations. We cannot wait for evangelists or prophets or apostles to come to our churches before we have a demonstration of power. Otherwise what we are doing is side-lining those ministries as fringe fanatics and saying "That's what they do - that's their anointing". I dont have any special anointing for that. I could not move in the power of God for the first few years even though I was baptised in the Holy Spirit because my theology was wrong. It was good Pauline theology that activated the dormant power of God in me.

It's not some people who have special gifting. If it is activated without good theology, then it will go wrong. We do not worship the manifestations - we worship the Manifestor - but we are not ashamed of the manifestations!".

Let us take Rob's wise counsel and seek - whether we are leaders or not - to marry the "Word" and the "Spirit" in our church life and in our personal life. The two do not have to be seperated! They were designed to stand together as one!


thebluefish said...

Always has been an unnecessary divide.

Don said...

Amen! I love how Paul said his apostolic gift was validated not by his incredible teaching gift, but by the fact that the Spirit of Christ worked signs and wonders through him. Thanks for pointing out Paul's balance via Rufus.

Dan Bowen said...

An unnecessary divide - amen. But why have we spent most of church history dividing them? Why are there the two polarized camps of thought?

1. Ashamed of the supernatural. That's been my church background. Two key church leaders in my life history have effectively married the two together, and then become tired, fed up or ashamed of what they perceived to be excesses in the charismatic movement (ironically both seemed to stumble over the Toronto Blessing!).

2. Suspicious of doctrine. Those who prefer charismatic life and enjoy and love and cherish the encounters and experiences with the power of God and His Presence upon them, seem to baulk at sitting down with a glorious hard-back tome of John Owen or Jonathan Edwards or more recently John Piper or Wayne Grudem - and think that it will "quench" the Spirit.

Why?! Like Terry Virgo bemoaned (I don't know if that is still true of him) but why?! I want both! Why can't I roll on the floor laughing in pure joy and ecstasy as God reveals Himself as "Abba!" to me - and yet at the same time get a secret thrill as I run my finger along my library shelves and look at my Puritan works and choose which one to open and see what insights they had into the Person of God!??!

I think it was Adrian Warnock wasn't it who said; "I want it ALL!?!". Greedy? Impossible? I don't know, but once again I am tired of seeing man "divide that which God has joined together"!!

James B said...

An excellent cry. Yes why do we have to choose!? And for my £0.02 for what it is worth - I think that I haven't really encountered anyone who came closer to being truly Word AND Spirit than Rob Rufus himself. Preaching the Word of God yet ministering in signs and wonders!


diane (sgm leaders wife) said...

Who were the two church leaders? I am guessing C J Mahaney was one of them?

Ellie said...

I do believe you are right, diane... ;)

diane (Sgm pastors wife) said...

hey ellie good to see you again! hope life is well! :) Sorry mustn't engage in lady chit-chat I guess or we will get in trouble!

But the stories i could tell of C J when he used to be a "charismatic firebrand" - his own words I am sure I remember ...