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Showing posts from September, 2015

Some Fascinating Research from which the Apostolic Church can learn

Yesterday I posted a quotation from Luke Worsfold’s PhD dissertation on the Apostolic Church in New Zealand. It’s a fascinating piece of research, partly because, as far as I’m aware, it’s the only piece of scholarly research on the Apostolic Church in any country, apart from what's been done by Bryn Thomas or me. (But if any of you do know of any other academic work on the Apostolic Church, let me know about it!) If anyone happens to have read Worsfold’s dissertation and has also read anything I’ve written on ecclesiology or prophecy, you’ll be able to guess that I’d disagree very strongly with his conclusions, but disagreement over what conclusions to draw doesn’t undermine the value of the research. His work needs to be read by ministers within the Apostolic Church, for there are lots of things we should learn from the data he presents (although, of course, the things I think we need to learn from it are not necessarily the things he thinks we need to learn!).

Now, I’m used to …

A Message from New Zealand: Forgetting Our Theology

"It seems that Pentecostalism as portrayed in the New Zealand Apostolic Church is now less concerned with theology than it is with praxis. Over the last decade, the focus in the national publication, Apostolic News, has been on church growth and mission.* Little, if any, theological writing currently emanates from the Apostolic Church yet there is much theology within her own archives and in published academic journals which invites interaction. The sermons of yesteryear contained much theologising with a heavy reliance on Scripture, but this has given way to the inspirational and motivational talk."
*These emphases are not new to the Apostolic Church, being present in the core establishment of the movement.
W. Luke Worsfold, Subsequence, Prophecy and Church Order in the Apostolic Church New Zealand (PhD diss., Victoria University of Wellington, 2004), p.135

Prophecy, the Church, and the Presence of God: Some Thoughts from Terry Virgo’s 2015 Donald Gee Lecture

Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but I defected to the AoG last night (for one night only mind you)! Mattersey Hall, the AoG Bible college, held its annual Donald Gee Lecture last night, with Terry Virgo, the founder of NewFrontiers as the speaker, so I went down to Nottinghamshire for the evening to be there. And I’m really glad I did. It was a fantastic night which left me encouraged by what God has done, and excited about what He's going to do.

Terry Virgo spoke on his life and ministry and the history of NewFrontiers. Now, here in England, NewFrontiers is well-known as dynamic, growing movement of Spirit-filled, Bible-based, gospel-preaching churches. And, until more recently transitioning to a new generation of leadership, Terry Virgo’s own ministry has been almost synonymous with the movement. So many of those churches were either planted by him or greatly impacted by him. So, in that context, it was really encouraging to hear that Terry got saved through the witness of his sister …

Leading True Worship: Nothing But the Blood

A while ago I was in a big service somewhere one weekend. The established worship leader took to the stage with his big, loud band. And as we sang (or attempted to sing), frequently between lines, the worship leader would shout at us all to "sing it like you mean it", "sing it like you know it", "sing it like you're worshipping", etc., etc. And he'd dispirit us with questions like "Are there any worshippers in the house?" (after we'd been "worshipping" for half an hour). And as he harangued us with such disheartening commands and comments, he led us in singing lots of songs about how we were the ones welcoming God into the place and about the power of God and the miracles He would perform for us today. We skipped straight from God as mighty Creator to God as present-day worker of miracles and blessing without a single mention of the Incarnation or Blood of Christ. Apparently this was Christian worship without the Cross. 

Tim Keller on Being Filled with the Spirit and Experiencing the Father’s Love

When the Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus at his baptism, he hears a voice say, ‘This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased. You are my Son and I delight in you.’ In the same way, Romans 8:16 tells us that the Spirit bears witness to our hearts that we are children of God. Part of the mission of the Spirit is to tell you about God’s love for you, his delight in you, and fact that you are his child. These things you may know in your head, but the Holy Spirit makes them a fiery reality in your life.  Thomas Goodwin, a seventeenth-century Puritan pastor, wrote that one he saw a father and son walking along the street. Suddenly the father swept the son up into his arms and hugged him and kissed him and told the boy he loved him – and then after a minute he put the boy back down. Was the little boy more a son in the father’s arms than he was down on the street? Objectively and legally there was no difference, but subjectively and experientially, there was all the difference in the world. In hi…