Sunday 11 January 2009

A Third Level Approach to Ministry III

Continuing the series that looks at how we do the whole thing of "Ministry" as the present Body of Christ.
To quote Gerald Coates from nigh on 40 years ago, "radical" means concerned with the root.
If the root of how we do ministry is a bit off, then like the Tower of Pisa, it doesn't get better the further up we go.

Me and the present setups
After all my postings you are probably aware of the slightly schizophrenic nature of this blog. On the one hand I want to encourage any good, God-raised up vehicle that gets people from a to b in Christ. If there are colleges that are being used to ground people in the Word of God. If there are networks or families of churches that are continually planting out here and abroad. If there are evangelists,especially signs and wonders evangelists bringing in a harvest of new people to Christ, and from there into existing churches.
My problem is this word "vehicle".

Since being with Graham Pulkingham and the Fisherfolk I saw a kind of prototype Kingdom.
A prototype self-replicating Body of Christ. A Body that was birthed in the intercessory pain of Joel. The priests before the altar. Of Graham on a crypt floor for 3 months (read his book in my book list)surrounded by a broken neighbourhood...that neither wanted his church - nor could see anything else in life than the struggle to just survive. Nobody in my hearing has ever used the word "vehicle" about Graham Pulkingham and the Fisherfolk Community.It wasn't a vehicle. It was Christ in their forms.

Here was faith. Evangelistic faith....even willing to come into Dr Challoner's Grammar School Amersham, fresh over from Houston Texas. But here was something else too. Here was a covenantal love between everybody. That was more than duty. There had been some dying and in Jamie's last post . In Song of Solomon the younger sister is berated for being like a Tower....not having the well developed breasts of Faith and Love.

If we do not have well developed faith and well developed love...
our evangelism contains a lot of hoopla, a lot of brow-beating, a lot of pressure...

The thing is... the gospel is real, folks. We can do some dying and resurrecting. What resurrects is not us, but all His unique fragrances and oils. People know on their insides that we have been with Him. The truth is actually far deeper. The truth is He has eaten us for lunch!!!
He never was really that interested in our lives before knowing Him. As clever as we may have thought we were. Whatever we were we really do count as loss. Cos when you've had tasters of Him radiating His Life out through you....such that every one in the room becomes a little irradiated themselves....well why would you ever go back?
So this is my problem
with large networks like Salt and Light, like New Frontiers,and all the many others out there
are they what I have described...the self-replicating Body of Christ
or are they just machines...just vehicles? It was never in Gerald Coates' heart to create a vehicle. But is this in fact what we are left with? New carts for the glory of God. Instead of the poles in my parable.
This is what prompted this post
Obviously I was struck over the weekend by the frankness of Dan's post on Life on Wings. But this is what hit me forcibly yesterday afternoon. And this is nothing to do with Dan.
There is a breed of person who remains in the academic world all his life. Like CS Lewis. Or let's take a Mr Smith. He does all his schooling. He goes to University. He does a Phd, then becomes a teacher in a school. Then out of 30 or more pupils, maybe one or two do likewise. So there already you have 2 generations of pupils that have perpetuated an academic life to perpetuate an academic life.
My point is more subtle than to say we perpetuate academic life, academic study of the forever be replicating just knowledge of the scriptures. Perhaps that is the preserve of the evangelical churches. No my point is a continuation of the last ministry posts.
What our networks perpetuate is a 2 level gospel of forgiveness and moving in the Spirit. The vision of faith (the God of Abraham and his faith walk) and the vision of the Baptism in the Spirit (the God of Isaac and his wells) but nearly nobody reproduces the Life Change or Name change which is hidden in the phrase "seek the Face of the God of Jacob" And it is this last revelation that changes a believer into an oozing Christ stick like Graham Pulkingham. It is this final element that meant the Israel history could start rolling. Via the 12 sons....and we know the rest.
And it is this final level that makes Ed Miller, and Mother Basilea Schlink stand out like Lighthouses in the sea of other ministries. Because, through doggedly seeking God themselves, they both found it,taught it and radiated it. And something similar was coming through Mother Theresa, who for 40 years did nothing but seek God....then when she was called to India she went as "Christ as her". She knew her identification, to use Jorge Pradas' phrase.

The model of Salt and Light under Barney Coombs, and Terry Virgo's New frontiers, and Morris Cerullo's God's Victorious Army , and Rheinhardt Bonnke's ministry schools, and YWAM's Discipleship Training Schools are wrong. They are 2 level affairs, with built-in add ons to try and make up for the deficiences. And to go back to the academic example. This insufficiency is perpetuated throughout the generations. At what point do people learn to live in the real world as "Christ as them". Then perpetuate that. At what point do people see right into the problem of Genesis 3:5, so they can correct it. They don't. So a shallow 2 level Christianity is forever perpetuated.

As I've described before about the Word being like a suspended orb(see comments section of this post) the end, when I listen to folk I'm not listening just to their words or their message, I am looking to see if the orb of God's Presence is suspended within what they are saying. This will make more sense if you read the passage again. Because English ministries have little or no knowledge of the 3 part Way of God
You get a limp and flaccid 2 part version
You get sound-ish docrine, but no Presence
You get add-on ministries like "Celebrate Recovery" in Derby church because of the insufficiencies in the original gospel....which leaves people still bound in their particular brand of sins, as I was.Worse than this by the least 3 or 4 of the young people I was in Bible House with are dead. Many more are divorced. Already. I think it's important you read to the end of this post. I am not speaking out of lightweight experience.Perhaps now you can understand where I am coming from with 1st and 2nd level churches
The struggles that Dan describe this weekend are treated by the 1st and 2nd level churches as a brief abberation, as a slightly embarrassing interlude in the running of network churches. This is the tone of one of the Salt and Light church people when describing Todd's difficulties of 2005...let alone his more recent difficulties. It hasn't yet hit the Network churches that THIS IS THE GOSPEL. Everyone plays down these seeming abberrations...but this is Romans 7...this is the Psalms experience David is going on about. This IS how we decide in a safe universe to make a change on the inside of us. This is no human decision. This is a miracle. This isGod doing something at last...when all else failed.(Read Corrie Ten Boom) While we lean on the ultimate victory of the Cross 2000 years ago....this is us making it ours. It is Maurice Smith's 20th Century Pilgrim. It is embarrassing...especially to the pull yourselves up by your bootstraps brigade. But you see, those ones are not fully born again yet. Grace is not active in them yet. Their eternal destiny may be sealed....but God is not just about people's eternal destinies...He wants to get Christ up and running in me and you too...just like all those "top shelf" Christian bookshop people.
Like Watchman Nee. Like Corrie ten Boom. Like George Verwer. Like Madame Guyon. Like John Bunyan who describes all this in incredible detail in Pilgrim's Progress. And no, the order in his story is not wrong. It's you and your churches that are wrong.

Network churches build warehouses of Christians they don't know what to do with. They celebrate two out of the three feasts. Passover and Pentecost. And then they make Tabernacles into a reiteration of Passover because it has a Day of Atonement in it. see Joseph Prince.

No. No. No. Atonement is where it is in the sequence for a reason. If you are established in Passover and Pentecost...and you know His love and His forgiveness and His Presence....on the basis of that grounding He can begin walloping you like a conform you into His make you into an adult...a Co-worker with Him. Rather than looking at David in an embarrassed way...poor thing...he went through such stuff in the wilderness with Saul and that.... you've got to see that THIS IS THE WAY OF GOD. It's not something God is embarrassed about either.

To conclude I prophesy this with reference to our previous chats recently about Israel.
When the Church gets the revelation about Jacob...and the Name change
When the Church gets the revelation about The Day of Atonement
In that day we are going to provoke the nation of Israel to jealousy
And in that day we will see with our own eyes
A True Day of Atonement
The two houses being made as One (At one-ment) with their God and with each other.
Both flawed and floored by the grace of God in equal measure...that NO MAN MAY BOAST.



lydia said...

Chris ~ I really enjoyed this post! I think I am learning to understand you more and more, after all I really think you speak a foreign language, other words I think I get your main point! I think!!
A few months back, something really began to shift for me as I began to focus on the "Christ in me - the hope of glory", this truth was really starting to seal in my heart -my first encounter with this truth was through, "The rest of the Gospel when the partial Gospel has worn you out." He really focuses on the Christ in you! Then I heard Paul Andersen Walsh do a teaching that I have linked on my blog, that was so simply stunning to me, as he shared like he were in some other world, or some alternate state of being about it's Christ in you, as you, through you, for you - I think he really got it and I was impressed, in the sense that it impacted me big time!! Then this fall, I read a great book Jamie sent me "Lifetime Guarantee", that I honestly had trouble with at first, but as I read and got to the end I realized he was hammering the truth of our identity again and again. Then over time, and having Jamie remind me again and again, and through her blog, of the Jesus that lives in me -wow, what a concept, what a huge huge huge deal, I began to rest in it, and now I can look back over the course of the year and see so much that I didn't see before. I am a youngling in this whole revelation, unlike you, but I spent last year after getting out of a supposed Charismatic yet reformed group of churches looking for people who were truly open to grace and the move of the spirit and all the precious gifts, much like Dan searching for those who are strong in Word and Spirt, in Spirit and Truth, anyway, I went to hear Bill Johnson, which was amazing, and other conferences and looked into other ministries and went to other churches, I initially really was reveling in all the places I went that were so open to the Spirit side of everything, or as some might say the Charismatic side - I hadn't ever experienced that freedom, my old church were functionally cessationist, even though they claimed they were charismatic, whatever!! - so for me I had to experience all of that for myself, but as the year came to an end I began to realize even though all those places I went and all those ministries I found, including the whole revival - something was still missing, and often the message was mixed. I was grateful for their openness to the move of the spirit and to healing and miracles and to Jesus himself, they actually seemed to know him, my old church could only say, "the Saviour" - they didn't know him - so anyhow, my point is I came to the end of the year, realizing that there is so much more, something much deeper that is missing in all of these places and groups - they are all seeking after something they already have within them, they just don't know how to appropriate that truth of the Christ within them - I believe Rob knows this, as He has been teaching that it is key we understand our identity, and he is nailing and sealing a part of that so well,but I haven't heard him preach fully on "Christ in you" yet, and I say yet because I know Ryan his son is yet to bring this teaching to the forefront, due to a dream he had last Christmas 07,(regeneration) anyway I share all of this to I guess say, I am tracking with ya, I see that many ministries have a lot of great teaching and are seeing a lot of great miracles, (such as Bill Johnson's church in Reading, Ca) but there is this one key thing that the church needs to really know in order for it to progress in greater measures and I have heard some ministries touch on it, but not press into it - and I think that is what you have been saying on here all these months in your way - I say your way, because I am clueless to many of those you speak of and sometimes I wrestle to follow you 'cause I think you are just like a mad scientist genius and my simple mind doesn't always follow you, haha - however, I really do think this year is a year of great revelation for those who are already on their way to living out of who they are and really if we get the message of our new birth, that we are new creations because it is Christ in us, we won't mix the message and I can't wait to see the church rise up and take hold of this - I think this year it's gonna shift big time, I just sense it!! Like Rob's sense for this year, is that the church needs to seal it in the cement of their heart, who they are!! No more academic knowledge, we need serious revelation on this!! As a whole body - !!

I just felt compelled to share that with you - I hope I am not off my rocker and missing your point, and I do hope this encourages you and's going to be a great year for the church at large!!!

lydia said...

One more thought, and probably a million more that I will never get the time to articulate, but that I so appreciate Rob Rufus for saying that we need to go on a diet of grace, or a diet of understanding through grace who we are and stay on this truth for 5 years until it is like solid cement in our hearts and before we fully move on in signs, wonders, miracles, evangelism the whole bit, bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to earth starts with you and me and everyone else operating out of the revelation of who we really are!!!

Jamie said...

And THAT (Lydia's revelation) is the whole deal: Christ in you, the Wonderful Mystery. Babies to sons to fathers...what a beautiful thing to behold!!

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

Cooooooooool.We're cooking, babes!!
Well not literally.
At the moment, there are very few who are handling both sides. Handling this Jacob message. But also moving in full-fledged signs and wonders. In 1988 I met this real cool guy...and I mean that in full Californian terms...from LA. He was one of these actor guys who has to do other things in between breaks.One thing he did was to teach tennis to Starsky - Paul Michael Glaser. I met him at a Zerubbabel event in England. But he was baptised in the Spirit. And he behaved like it!!! I have tried to email him. It would be cool if you both tried to divebomb him as well to see if we can get a reaction.

I've just googled him and this is his website, cos the email tallies

Unless he's totally blown out....he's someone who understands the supernatural but also this message....and what's cool is his work, he acts from his he does some of the most authentic stage work. See how you get on.

jul said...

Hey all, I always get the sense that Rob is holding back, that the Spirit it holding him back. I used to rides horses all the time and do trail rides for camp etc...there was always a time and place to let the horse just take off at full speed, but until we reached that point I would have to hold the reins tight and we'd be prancing in anticipation. We are nearing that place of full out running in glorious freedom, in a magnificent release of power and speed, of beautiful unity as horse and rider, or us and Jesus, become one in the mutual exhilaration of being who we were meant to be and doing what we were made to do.

I'm feeling the frustration of being held back lately, of knowing grace but not seeing the full manifestation of Him in my life yet.

Incidently, just started reading Paul Anderson Walsh's 'Until Christ Be Formed' and so far it sounds very similar to some of what you're getting at Chris. I'm enjoying it (especially since I have a little trouble listening to him on account of him sounding so similar to Jude Law haha).

One of these days Rob will be let loose and we'll get to see a much bigger picture, but he's always saying that people must be grounded in acceptance grace before coming into empowering grace.

lydia said...

Julie ~ Beautifully said in your first paragraph.....I would agree that Rob is building up and he is also getting further revelation as he goes along, you can tell in his excitement, and he is wisely building a solid foundation of grace - I so appreciate his willingness to stay focused on getting people grounded and established and rooted, so that they can grow up into mighty oaks of righteousness......

I think I will have to check out that book - is that the one you recently read Jamie?

He is fully within us, whether we see it or not - tell yourself that, just like Rob says to say "I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus" over and over to yourself, especially when we are most vulnerable to not believe it!!!!

Jamie said...

I have Paul's "The Bonsai Conspiracy" which is his first book. The book Julie is refering to is part of a trilogy he's working on, I think. PAW definitely "gets" it. But I do think he got burned in the Charismatic arena.

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

What truly amazing posts.A lady called Jeannette, I think thro Ursula's site also recommended many cutting edge books. I'm still getting through the Bill Johnson ones.
Julie I really witness with that about Rob. Thankyou.
He's after an Acts Church. Acts was the head of the Christ Baby. We're coming into the time of the feet being born. They are the ones who will walk this thing its conclusion... Blesed are the feet shod with the gospel of peace...etc.
Now the challenge is do I carry on here or do I make a fresh post...I think it's important enough for a post.