Friday, December 09, 2011

Re-Writing History - or Säuberung!!

Wikipedia writes;

"On 6 April 1933, the Main Office for Press and Propaganda of the German Student Association (de:Deutsche Studentenschaft) proclaimed a nationwide "Action against the Un-German Spirit", which was to climax in a literary purge or "cleansing" ("Säuberung") by fire".

The scenes are now well known in history volumes. Scenes of Nazis marching around heaps of books on fire. Around 25, 000 volumes were apparently burned.

There are very few things that enrage me to the point of fury - but injustice is one of them. In my meagre 34 years of life (just turned 34 yesterday!) I have seen two attempts made in the church to erase or alter history to the liking of it's leaders. And I cannot fathom why or how this is acceptable or in line with the Word of God.

1. The first incidence was at my home church in Dunstable. The elders under the leadership of Stanley Jebb (a man - incidentally I hold still in the highest esteem) made the decision to ERASE the ministry teaching audio tapes of the last 10 years of the church. These ministry tapes including visiting preachers such as Dr Ern Baxter, Charles Simpson, Terry Virgo and of course Jebb himself. The limited explanation I was given from the elders when I questioned this decision was that it was a "sincere" decision in line with the church's move from a reformed/Charismatic position to a functionally cessationist position. Fortunately I was able to rescue most of Ern Baxter's ministry tapes or a massive portion of my hero's ministry would have been lost.

2. The second incidence was more recent yet has been widely documented. It is well known that Covenant Life Church was founded and established along with People of Destiny International by Larry Tomczak AND C J Mahaney. However until this month - the history of Covenant Life Church and now-SGM firmly made NO mention of Larry's involvement or part to play in the history of this group of churches.

The history of CLC USED to read;

"In the 1970s, a weekly meeting known as “Take and Give” (TAG) drew thousands to the D.C. area for passionate Bible teaching. C.J. Mahaney, a young preacher converted in the wake of the Jesus Movement, was one of the leaders of TAG’s successful ministry. He longed for something more than an assembly of loosely connected Christians. C.J. and other leaders wanted to build a local church like those they saw modeled in the New Testament".

But thanks to the integrity and honesty of Joshua Harris and the other pastors, it is has now been corrected to read;

"Over a four-year period in the 1970s, a meeting known as “Take and Give” (TAG) began drawing as many as 2000 per week to Washington, D.C., for passionate Bible teaching and worship. C.J. Mahaney and Larry Tomczak, both young preachers converted in the wake of the Jesus Movement, were the leaders of TAG’s successful ministry. But they longed for something more than an assembly of loosely connected Christians and wanted to build a local church like those they saw modeled in the New Testament".

What I see in the Bible is the honouring and the preservation of history. For example in the Old Testament - the children of Israel were told to build a pile of stones to remember the Lord's working and involvement with His people in the past. The best church leaders are those who sincerely realise they have made mistakes and are happy to learn from them - such as Josh Harris seems to be doing. I hope the Bride of Christ will stop this really worrying practice - because what the internet is doing is preventing more and more the altering and erasing of history. And even if history can be altered and re-written - people do not forget their experiences of God.

I have written some blog posts on this blog that I blush to read - usually my angry vitrioles against SGM! But I have deliberately left them - because it is important to remember the effect that anger, mistrust and bitterness can have. I am so blessed that I can now sit happily in the same room as the SGM UK pastors and even hear them preach with no problems. The wonder of forgiveness and reconciliation!

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