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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: NewFrontiers after Terry Virgo
chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Twangist:
The last couple of posts suggest that you can't really be interested in theology and part of NF.

No, more that in general the movement isn't - regardless of reputation and that overall there is a lack of depth - compared to non-charo circles.
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Eutychus
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[ETA: to Twangist:] Oh, I think you can be. I was both.

Where it gets tricky is that I think the theological party line is forever shifting, without any real recognition that it's shifted. I'd say the current changes are an example of the (possible) redefinition of the whole restorationist apostolic theme, which, if it's in fact the case, represents quite a major shift.

Besides, as I've posted here before, I think that NF is in danger of trying to reconcile the irreconcilable between the 'extreme charismatic' end (of which the 'Jezabellic spirit' I'm sadly familiar with would be an example) and the 'sound Reformed' end of its theology.

[ 21. July 2011, 20:53: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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daisymay

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
New Wine, NFI, SGM ... they're all pretty shallow when push comes to shove and it doesn't take long to swim to the other side of any of them.

Well, at New Wine, we've been many years and we do find it very different from the others - more relaxing, no compulsiveness, no telling us females to wear our heads covered, lots of fun playing, lots of performances, lots of charities, lots of all kinds of good food, no prejudice against us, etc etc

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Mark Wuntoo
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Not sure this is relevant to the discussion about theology ..... but it shows the lack of thirst for Bible knowledge amongst people who supposedly had come from a Bible tradition.

During my research, covert spread over several years, I was very careful to note numbers / changes of faces etc. I attended, in one New Church 'denomination' (not at that time NF) weekly Bible Studies put on for the membership across several congregations (i.e. potentially several hundred people). At the end of the two year period of studies (which, for me, were good and quite 'deep') an elder commented that I deserved commendation for my attendance. I was, I know, the most regular of the 50 or so attendees.

Goodness knows what would have happened if they had annouinced theology studies. Which of course they did in their 'commitment classes' where my rather limited experience, for obvious reasons, suggested a simple rehearsing of church doctrine with no discussion allowed.

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Gamaliel
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No they don't. Of course it's possible to be part of NFI and be interested in theology.

All I was suggesting that the level of theology practised within NFI and similar groups isn't as deep or as clever as it likes to think it is.

You take SGM as an example. When former Covenant Ministries people I know shifted over to a PDI/SGM position there were trumpeting their new found 'Reformed' credentials as if they'd found something a lot cleverer and theologically deeper than what they'd been involved with previously. To some extent they were probably right ... but what they hadn't appreciated was that they'd simply exchanged one form of fundamentalism for another and that the SGM brand of Reformed evangelicalism was just one flavour ... that the Reformed tradition per se was a lot broader and deeper than that.

Can you see what I'm trying to say?

I'm finding it hard to articulate without causing offence. But there's no other way round it. There might well be some good theology going on in NFI ... particularly when compared with some of the other independent charismatic evangelical outfits.

But it sure as eggs ain't anywhere near as insightful or scholarly as you'd get within one of the older denominations or the traditional historic Churches (when taken in their entirety).

If you feel otherwise, then that's fine. But I can only speak as I find and what I have found is that there's a greater theological literacy in some of the so-called 'dead' or traditional churches that groups like NFI complain about than anything they can muster.

Sadly, much of this light is hidden under a bushel or squirreled away and needs sifting out. But it is there.

I ain't saying that NFI people are theologically-illiterate or challenged ... all I am saying is that there's a sheen of theological nous and complexity on top of NFI and other groups that will soon rub off. And when you look below the surface there ain't a great deal there.

I knew I'd get this kind of reaction but hey ... I can only speak as I find. And I mean no disrespect to Eutychus as a former NF member nor to people like yourself who're happily involved with it.

I'm sort of post-evangelical these days and so am ambivalent about much that goes on in the evangelical sphere per se ... but at the risk of making an ad hominem judgement I would hazard a guess that Johnny S the Baptist, Leprechaun the independent evangelical minister and Ken the evangelical Anglican on these Boards could give most restorationist/or house-church ministers and leaders a run for their money when it came to theological debate.

And the same applies to many of the Methodist, URC, Lutheran, Presbyterian, RC and Orthodox posters we have on these boards.

I'm not saying that NFI doesn't pass muster theologically compared to all the others. Just that the theology ain't as clever as it looks at first sight.

Here I stand, I can do no other.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Gamaliel
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Daisy May ... I'm sure that New Wine is a lot lighter and less controlling than the house-church thing was.

I've not been, nor do I feel in anyway attracted or inclined to go to be quite frank.

All I can say is that if their magazine is an indication of the depth of their theology then it ain't a great deal deeper than anything I've seen in the restorationist settings.

Many of the articles are complete bollocks.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Eutychus
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This might be a tangent or belong on one of Gamaliel's other threads, but what I've taken from my experience with NF is the strong impression that theology and practice can be mutually exclusive.

There's a well-worn path ( [Biased] ) from "shallow" evangelicalism into "deep" Orthodoxy, but for my part I'm not convinced.

I've learned that what I thought was well worked-out theology can be undone either by being confronted with a previously-unheard perspective (thank you the Ship!) or by contrary practice (thank you NFI). These days I tend to focus a lot more on how - and whether - things are actually worked out in my or others' lives on a day-to-day basis, rather than on all the thinking that gets people there. Call it incarnational, call it Orthodox if you will...

[ 22. July 2011, 10:18: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Twangist
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thanks for the fairer tone [Biased]
quote:
theology and practice can be mutually exclusive.
That's where the rubber hits the road for all of us.

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JJ
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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

I've learned that what I thought was well worked-out theology can be undone either by being confronted with a previously-unheard perspective (thank you the Ship!) or by contrary practice (thank you NFI).

I think that most 'systems of theology' of any longevity have been around sufficiently that they have had time to interact with other perspectives - so they tend not to be bowled over a so-called claim of novelty.

quote:

These days I tend to focus a lot more on how - and whether - things are actually worked out in my or others' lives on a day-to-day basis, rather than on all the thinking that gets people there. Call it incarnational, call it Orthodox if you will...

Yes, that's definitely a factor, but then niceness isn't a gift of the Spirit [Smile] And I suspect that those sorts of movements don't survive on their own for very long unless something more solid underpins them.

[ 22. July 2011, 11:48: Message edited by: chris stiles ]

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
niceness isn't a gift of the Spirit [Smile]

Perhaps not, but hypocrisy is spoken out against pretty clearly...
quote:
those sorts of movements don't survive on their own for very long unless something more solid underpins them.
Movements, schmovements.

I think part of the problem within NF is or was a tendency towards over-realised eschatology. This wasn't just church but The Church™. Or to put it another way, the transcendent aspect of the Church received far more emphasis than the human aspect.

One of the more obvious but painful lessons I learned from my time in NF is that local churches aren't eternal - something more established denominations would do well to bear in mind, too.

I'm not against 'movements' or denominations per se, but if we must have them, these days I like to see them firmly aware of their frailty as human institutions, with all the safeguards that implies.

[ 22. July 2011, 11:59: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Twangist
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Possible tangent (sorry)

Eutychus: What safeguards do you now think should be in place in churches and how do you see them functioning?

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JJ
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Gamaliel
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Hmmm ... I've never picked up any impression that New Frontiers or Covenant Ministries or any of the other restorationist outfits and 'apostolic networks' saw themselves as 'The Church™.' At least, not in the way that the Orthodox or the RCs do.

I would agree, though, that there are echoes of that tendency on a micro rather than a macro level. You'd get individuals 'binding and loosing' things in a way that was inappropriate on a micro level and would, arguably, be only something that was practicable or appropriate at a 'macro' level.

Does that make sense?

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
niceness isn't a gift of the Spirit [Smile]

Perhaps not, but hypocrisy is spoken out against pretty clearly...
Oh I agree with you - I was just pointing out that getting ones theological ducks in a row can be orthogonal to being a nice group of people to hang around with.

I think the dynamics that make a particular group nice, can be much more down to sociology than theology - which isn't going to win me any friends with the house church lot.

quote:
I'm not against 'movements' or denominations per se, but if we must have them, these days I like to see them firmly aware of their frailty as human institutions, with all the safeguards that implies.
Sure. I suppose I just come down on the side that sees denominations as generally the least worst way of having those sorts of safeguards. And of course the local church isn't complete conterminous with the Church, but then again I don't think there is any harm - and plenty of good - in having doctrinal basis which has stood the test of time.
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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Hmmm ... I've never picked up any impression that New Frontiers or Covenant Ministries or any of the other restorationist outfits and 'apostolic networks' saw themselves as 'The Church™.'

I've seen that in charo circles, in terms of an incredible myopia on the part of many as to what goes on in the rest of Christianity. It wasn't thinking of oneself as 'The Church' - that would require a functioning ecclesiology - more a sense that 'this is where God is working' and 'we are different from the dead churches down the road'.

Of course, part of this was probably related to being in churches with a high complement of former students, and inevitably if they had come to faith in university and through that particular church, they couldn't really conceive of any other way.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Twangist:
Possible tangent (sorry)

Eutychus: What safeguards do you now think should be in place in churches and how do you see them functioning?

That's not a tangent at all!

With regard to NF and more or less off the top of my head:

Arbitration

i) have it written down somewhere that in the event of a serious dispute between a regional leaders and a local leader, the matter may be heard by a mutually agreed third party from NF another region before public action is taken

ii) similarly, in the event of a dispute which, if it had occurred in the context of secular employment, could have resulted in litigation (eg dismissal, moral harrassment, property disputes), an agreement for the matter to be brought before a mutually agreed third party external to NF

Finance

- Give member churches of NF a clear period during which they may freely consult the full accounts of NF between the time the accounts are closed and when they are approved by the trustees of NF, the opportunity to submit any questions they may have in writing to those trustees, and the right to an answer in writing.

Leadership

i) Make the articles of incorporation of New Frontiers International Limited freely available to NF member churches, along with the details of members of the board.

ii) If property or other signifcant assets are owned by a local church, allowing it to be possible in some way for the church membership to appoint and/or remove trustees without the intervention of the eldership. (This one isn't well thought through, but I really think there needs to be a way for a local congregation to hold people with local responsibilities to account, even if only as a "break glass box" last-ditch option, and to ensure trustees aren't simply translocally appointed via the elders).

[ 22. July 2011, 12:32: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Hmmm ... I've never picked up any impression that New Frontiers or Covenant Ministries or any of the other restorationist outfits and 'apostolic networks' saw themselves as 'The Church™.'

Are you sure we're on the same planet??

The whole premise of Restorationism is that God is restoring the Church, and the best expression of this is whichever restorationist church happens to be speaking.

Back in the early 80s some friends of ours who went off to join Harvestime as it was then quite seriously asserted to us that its apostles were Apostles™ and that it was only a matter of time before the rest of the church recognised them or went under.

NF was perhaps never that explicit or extreme, but at one of the later Stoneleighs Terry annoyed all the visiting Anglicans by a rehash of Martyn Lloyd-Jones' infamous "leave your denominations" message.

Not to mention the innumerable messages I have heard (and yes, preached [Hot and Hormonal] ) on the poor trans-Jordan tribes who were part of God's people but turned their backs on their God-given heritage. And so on and so on.

A defining moment for me was at the last Brighton conference I attended (well, I actually spent a lot of time on the beach staring out into the void) when we sang Lex Loizides' It is the Church (hosts please note this is a "fair-use" exceprt!);
quote:
I HAVE SEEN A MYSTERY,
The hopes of prayer and prophecy,
And rising from all peoples see, she comes.
Rescued, ransomed, lifted up,
Crowned with mercy, clothed in hope,
The object of all heaven's love, she comes.

It is the church,
The hope of all the world,
And here I fix my heart and hand,
I cannot turn away! (...)

...and it occurred to me that we were all there, passionately singing about this restored church, of which we were the leaders...in short, we were singing the praises of ourselves. It's not a song to God at all.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Gamaliel
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No Eutychus, we were/are on the same planet.

What I meant was that the restorationist groups may certainly have seen themselves as THE way of doing things and there may have been - at an early stage of development - a sense that the rest of Christendom would eventually see sense and join in ...

But that didn't mean that they didn't regard other churches AS churches. Although sometimes the rhetoric suggested that they didn't.

In a lot of ways I feel that the restorationists were in a parallel universe to the Orthodox. Sort of mirror-images.

So, for instance, if you were Covenant Ministries (as I was) you would have regarded all churches with some kind of apostolic 'covering' or network as kosher.

So all the R1 lot - including New Frontiers and outfits like Salt and Light and various similar streams and networks abroad - such as PDI/SGM etc - were all kosher ... if less than ideal in certain respects.

If you were ever to move to a different town or city then the ideal would have been to find a Covenant Ministries church. But if one wasn't available then NFI was fine, Pioneer was ok, Ichthus was ok ... the Grapevine end of the AoG were ok ...

If there weren't any 'apostolic' churches around then a charismatic Baptist, a Vineyard or similar were acceptable and, if you really, really had to, one of the denominations (particularly if it had charismatic tendencies) was ok as last resort.

[Big Grin]

If you're Orthodox then all the canonical Orthodox are kosher, the RCs aren't but are fairly close (other than over-egging certain things and having a bully at the helm in the form of the Pope), the Anglicans are well ... good in parts, the Baptists and similar are some kind of heterodox conventicle and as for NFI and the restorationists - well, they're just cults.

[Big Grin]

As far as the restorationists I knew were concerned, the RC Church wasn't a Church at all in the NT sense - although individual Catholics, including the Pope - could certainly be 'proper' Christians. The Anglicans were simply a mixed multitude, the Methodists a sorry reflection of their former glory, the Baptists were ok but not ok enough ...

Sure, there was all the bollocks about the tribes who remained on the other side of the Jordan yadda yadda yadda but I never took any of that seriously. I can honestly say that I remained on good eirenic terms with practically everyone during my 18 years in restorationism - including Anglo-Catholics, RCs and Orthodox towards the end of my time there.

As for singing songs to the 'Church' - well, is it wrong, then, for Anglicans and others to sing 'Glorious things of thee are spoken/Zion city of our God?'

But I take your point.

These things were over-realised in restorationism as with much else. They could have saved themselves a lot of trouble and called themselves Over-realised and Over-Egged Ministries and then everyone would have seen immediately where they were coming from ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
As for singing songs to the 'Church' - well, is it wrong, then, for Anglicans and others to sing 'Glorious things of thee are spoken/Zion city of our God?'

Last verse of the latter, emphasis mine:
quote:


Blest inhabitants of Zion,
washed in our Redeemer's blood;
Jesus, whom our souls rely on
,
makes us monarchs, priests to God.
Us, by his great love, he raises,
rulers over self to reign,
and as priests his solemn praises
we for thankful offering bring.

It may be about the Church, but it's directed towards God.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Gamaliel
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Ok ... but you're beginning to remind me, I'm afraid, of a vicar who recently expressed squeamishness about 'singing to Mother Earth' because they'd sung the wholly unexceptionable 'All Creatures of Our God and King' at an ordination service - Victorian words based on a poem by St Francis of Assissi.

I'm not disagreeing with the overall thrust of what you're saying, Eutychus, but as ever, the devil is in the detail.

The restorationist leaders did have an over-inflated opinion of themselves and their place in the overall scheme of things. Granted. But they aren't alone in that. Hubris is everywhere.

That's not to minimise the raw deal you got there nor your legitimate concerns about NFI nor your recommended accountability structures and transparency. Spot on.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Twangist
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quote:
In a lot of ways I feel that the restorationists were in a parallel universe to the Orthodox. Sort of mirror-images.
Terry would look great with a beard!!!
Does this inform your Bosphorus paddeling? [Biased]

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JJ
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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Ok ... but you're beginning to remind me, I'm afraid, of a vicar who recently expressed squeamishness about 'singing to Mother Earth' because they'd sung the wholly unexceptionable 'All Creatures of Our God and King' at an ordination service - Victorian words based on a poem by St Francis of Assissi.

Sorry about that. It was a moment of revelation for me, that's all. In happier days I went evangelising with Lex on Cape Town trains.

The fact is, I believed that stuff. From what I can make out, I'm as eirenic as you and somehow thought there was room for that in NF. It turned out there wasn't. In the meantime I committed to it 110% because that's the kind of person I am (or was).

(Well before our NF days, Mrs. E. and I came to France in a rickety Commer combi-type van (which we bought just to make the journey) with all, and I mean all, our possessions in the back, including 2 bikes, because I thought that's what the missionary spirit was about. Turns out I was wrong [Frown] ).

I was among people I would have risked my life for, and I thought they would have done the same for me. I thought their word was their bond. I endured a whole other kind of wilderness here by committing to promoting NF and its vision in France. When it came apart I thought it must be because I'd come across a single rotten apple in the barrel, but the more I've dug, and despite the best efforts of some good people within NF, the more it looks as if I'd come across the, if you'll excuse the pun, core.

Rant over. Psychoanalyze all you like; it still hurts.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
What I meant was that the restorationist groups may certainly have seen themselves as THE way of doing things and there may have been - at an early stage of development - a sense that the rest of Christendom would eventually see sense and join in ...

But that didn't mean that they didn't regard other churches AS churches. Although sometimes the rhetoric suggested that they didn't.

There was some pretty specific preaching from Terry Virgo and Arthur Wallis about the other churches being dead and how we all had to "come out" of them and abandon the "denominations". They were very, very damning of other Evangelical churches. I think they vaguely hoped (sort of like the Ordinariate?) that entire congregations would up sticks and leave the CofE and join with them. Of course that never quite happend.

It was one of the main reasons I was never very tempted to join them, even though a lot of my friends did and I went to their serrvices and they seemed a lot more together than the Anglicans did (the other reasons being the "heavy shepherding" rumours, and some silly things they said about drugs and addiction)

Sometime in the 1980s (I guess, I wasn't around them at the time) they seemed to change this line and became much happier to work with Anglicans and Methodists and so on. Or rather they were happier to hae Anglicans work with them - in the 1970s Terry and others had preached at meetings where lots of other denominatins were present, and their worship bands played at such places, but I don't think they would have wanted anyone still even nominally Anglican to lead worship at [b]their[/n] services. That changed and you got people moving quite freely between NFI and Anglican churches.

Maybe it was a fallout from the "worship leader" fad. I mean they weren't going to turn Tim Hughes or Mat Redman or Martin Layzell away just because they were technically Anglicans. Not, that's not fair, I think the stance probably softned before those people got famous, though I'm not sure of the exact timing. I last had much to do with NFI people in about 84/85 just before I got married and left Brighton. I was less involved in church for a few years, and when I turned up in South East London our local Restorationists were Icthus, who were much more eirenic towards "the denominations". (and also included some old friends of mine from Brighton - I could have imagined joining them as well, but was still a bit suspicious, and also I got the impression that any serious involvement would need both me and my then wife to be on board and by then it was clear that she wasn't interested) By the time I bumped into a few NFI people again and other Restorationists the whole Toronto thing was underway and then later Soul Survivor and New Wine and the landscape had changed.

quote:

As far as the restorationists I knew were concerned, the RC Church wasn't a Church at all in the NT sense - although individual Catholics, including the Pope - could certainly be 'proper' Christians. The Anglicans were simply a mixed multitude, the Methodists a sorry reflection of their former glory, the Baptists were ok but not ok enough ...

None of those would have been churches in the NT sense to them - they were denominations, connexions of churches. A church is a congregation. The True Church on Earth is the gathered church, the individual congregation where the word of God is rightly preached and the sacraments duly administered, and where we meet with God though the Holy Spirit and each other. (To be honest I would agree with that) So we can be the True Church and so can you. Denominations and dioceses and so on are not churches, they are associations of churches supposedly for mutual support and if they cease to support a church a church has every right to leave them and maybe join another. So just as an individual Catholic or Anglican believer might be a true born-again Christian, it was possible that an Anglican parish church could be a true church. Or maybe even a Catholic one - though that might have been pushing things a bit far.

One thing they had in common with the Orthodox was that strange insistence that everybody else's connexion of churches was "a denomination" but theirs wasn't. As if the mere name condemed a church to apostasy. So they could call on Christians to "come out of the denominations". Of course we Evangelical Anglicans had just been through all that with Martyn Lloyd-Jones so we were used to it by then and having none of it. But calling NFI a "denomination" was severely off-message.

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Gamaliel
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Yeah - I think that's about the long and short of it, Ken ... and yes, you're right about the connexion thing in terms of how dioceses and so on would be regarded. The Orthodox view, of course, is that the Church, capital C, is made up of all the component Churches ...

I was drawing some parallels but it's not an exact analogy of course.

Twangist: Terry may as well have grown a beard and worn a funny hat as he was essentially a bishop. That's all that an 'apostle' meant in practice. It was just a fancy title for the same thing that the 'dead' denominations already had.

There was certainly a shift, Ken, in terms of the way these groups interacted with other denominations. I can't pin-point when it started but long before the time we got married in 1993 it was perfectly acceptable, if not de-rigeur, to use a denominational church for wedding services with the vicar/pastor or minister presiding - mainly because some of us didn't have buildings of our own by that stage or else people were hankering after something that looked the part when it came to having their relatives and friends along.

The whole landscape had changed by the Toronto thing of course.

That said, people from those days still look at me slightly askance because we now worship at an Anglican parish ... and the same is true of some Baptists (our port of call after restorationism).

Goodness knows what they'd make of it if I really did paddle across the Bosphorus ...

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
The True Church on Earth is the gathered church, the individual congregation where the word of God is rightly preached and the sacraments duly administered, and where we meet with God though the Holy Spirit and each other. (To be honest I would agree with that)

Well, I'd agree with that also - though I don't think I've heard anyone from those circles using such language. I'd be surprised if 'the sacraments' played a particularly important part in the thinking of any of the leaders (apart from an injunction to do them).
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Gamaliel
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You're right there, Chris. In fairness, some of the more thoughtful and reflective leaders (generally those with a Brethren background it seemed to me) DID try to articulate a more sacramental approach to the Lord's Supper/communion - although they wouldn't have put it in those terms.

Equally, some of them had a rather 'high' view of baptism that went beyond the purely symbolic - and certainly beyond what many Baptist ministers would find comfortable.

None of this was ever fully worked out in practice, though.

There were no fools, but neither were they they quite 'with it' when trying to articulate a systematic theology or ecclesiology. That said, in their own clumsy way, they had rather more of an ecclesiology than most independent evangelicals and indeed evangelicals in general.

The standard of ecclesiological reflection among evangelical Anglicans is generally pretty woeful in my experience. Ken's experience might be different.

Eutychus: of course, it still hurts. [Frown]

I'm not trying to psychoanalyse nor diminish that. But I suspect the issue with NFI is symptomatic of something more rotten in the state of enthusiastic evangelicalism per se.

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daisymay

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And a lot of difference there is from Harvestime and now we go to New Wine - both women and men leading all sorts of things, and not being always forced to go to sessions etc, and the food here is great! Not just fish and chips [Biased]

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Gamaliel
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I'm sure it is a lot better and broader than Harvestime was ... but it still seems pretty narrow to me. At least, judging from their magazine which doesn't seem to be the last word in theological depth as far as I can see ...

[Razz]

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Edward Green
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I read New Wine and Christianity magazine and I would suggest the latter as a teaching document.

It could be suggested that New Wine comes with a whole load of hang ups. Despite being part of an apostolic sacramental church in theory, non-Anglican Charismatics often strike me as more apostolic and more sacramental, and more sympathetic to Anglicanism.

It is a bit like my Anglo-Catholic friends who see the 1662 BCP as invalid ...

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Gamaliel
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I think you've nailed it, Edward.

I mention anything vaguely sacramental or Anglican to our New Wine-y vicar and his pals and they'll step back as if I'm a vampire and make the sign of the cross ...

Well, actually, they don't do the latter ... but they do recoil from me as if I'm breathing fire or my head is swivelling around at 360-degrees ...

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South Coast Kevin
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I'm sure it is a lot better and broader than Harvestime was ... but it still seems pretty narrow to me. At least, judging from their magazine which doesn't seem to be the last word in theological depth as far as I can see ...

[Razz]

I'd agree with this but, in defence of New Wine and the people who put the magazine together, I'm not sure it's meant to be the last word in theological depth! I just take it as a starting point for finding out more about a project, an author, a theological issue or whatever.

Declaration of interest - I've been doing some training with New Wine so I'm probably biased. [Hot and Hormonal] [Smile]

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Gamaliel
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Well, I hope the training goes well, South Coast Kevin ... I'm coming from an ex-restorationist perspective so I'm probably biased ... insofar as I baulk at anything that looks suspiciously similar to where I've been ...

[Big Grin]

But I'm sure you're right ... New Wine material can be a good place to start.

Anyway, we've gone on a tangent from Terry Virgo ...

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Edward Green
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

I mention anything vaguely sacramental or Anglican to our New Wine-y vicar and his pals and they'll step back as if I'm a vampire and make the sign of the cross ...

Well, actually, they don't do the latter ... but they do recoil from me as if I'm breathing fire or my head is swivelling around at 360-degrees ...

There are sacramental charismatics about in the CofE but they seem to keep their heads down. Charismatic Catholics are also rare, although many Anglo-Catholics have a charismatic background.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Edward Green:
Despite being part of an apostolic sacramental church in theory, non-Anglican Charismatics often strike me as more apostolic and more sacramental, and more sympathetic to Anglicanism.

Though this often strikes me as a case of forgetting what they are supposed to Protesting against - rather than a well developed sacramentology. So it becomes a case of 'we believe in signs and wonders' 'this looks like a sign and wonder' 'we believe in it'.
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irish_lord99
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
So it becomes a case of 'we believe in signs and wonders' 'this looks like a sign and wonder' 'we believe in it'.

[Overused] [Overused]

Pure gold! I'll have to remember that one.

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caty
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New Wine seems to me to be more about relationships between churches and charismatic practice ("Living the Christian life") than in-depth theology. The magazine reflects that - it's pretty woolly and at times reminds me very much of an Adrian Plass spoof...

At the conferences, there's more depth in some of the teaching, but it very much depends on the speaker(s). I get the impression that they're trying to be as inclusive as possible, so people with all sorts of different (charismatic [Biased] ) viewpoints can feel at home there.

Only went to Stoneleigh once, it felt very much more like everyone had been carefully briefed. (Or perhaps just sounded out to ensure that they "shared the vision"...)

caty

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Gamaliel
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Interesting comment, Caty ... and yes, your judgement on the magazine is on the money! [Big Grin]

You've also brought it back neatly to New Frontiers ... I never visited Stoneleigh but did attend a NFI church for about four weeks after we left our own restorationist set-up. Nice people ... but it did feel pretty 'corporate' even though it was in its messy church-plant early days.

I s'pose my beef with New Wine, though, is that this is the particular vintage that's being promoted at our parish church at the moment. It feels like a rather poor quality, bargain-basement wine rather than a vintage wine or even a decent drop at a reasonable price such as you can get at any supermarket these days.

Ok ... so I appreciate that there are new Christians around and it needs to be a bit pappy ... but there's not a lot to chew on.

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Gamaliel
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Sorry to double-post, but I'm genuinely interested ...

At the risk of another tangent, Caty, ARE they really different views/nuances within mainstream charismatic evangelicalism these days? From where I'm sitting it all pretty much looks the same ... particularly in middle-class mainstream charismatic circles such as you find within the charismatic Baptists, at the Vineyard and over at HTB etc.

It all seems a bit 'beige' - a kind of IKEA charismaticism.

Ok, so they'll sometimes expose themselves to something more edgy, such as Bill Johnson's Bethel ... but for the most part its a form of charismaticism that isn't going to frighten the horses too much.

What level of nuance are we talking about here?

They don't seem to include many of the more sacramental charismatics, for instance.

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irish_lord99
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The general impression that I get from NF is that they are intentionally light on theology (that doesn't mean there aren't some serious theologians in there... though I've yet to meet one [Two face] ), but instead place a greater emphasis on experiencing God... esp. through the gifts.

I'm sure there are some people who do experience God and lot of people who walk away thinking they've experienced God... but for me the emotional quagmire of the NF retreat was too thick to swim through and I walked away with nothing more than a headache from the noise and a pegged out introvert meter. (that's the local NF retreat mind you, not the big one... only about 300 people)

I would actually agree with the emphasis on experiencing God over theology, I just get it from a different venue these days... and looking back I'm not sure what I was really getting in my Penti/Charismatic days. [Frown]

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daisymay

St Elmo's Fire
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The man who was talking tonight in NW said that God was happy with all the denominations in UK and God was filling UK. That was good for me, so that all sorts of Christians are all "the same" for feeling God's love, or loving God etc etc. It sounded not prejudiced as I've experienced in the past a lot.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by daisymay:
The man who was talking tonight in NW said that God was happy with all the denominations in UK and God was filling UK. That was good for me, so that all sorts of Christians are all "the same" for feeling God's love, or loving God etc etc. It sounded not prejudiced as I've experienced in the past a lot.

The flip side of prejudice is a lack of definition and/or wooliness.

It's a sort of - "Give us today our daily quiche" tendancy of middle of the road/middle class christianity.

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Edward Green
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What I read on Twitter tonight regarding New Wine was John Peters ranting against the CofE.

Maybe it is time they just went?

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South Coast Kevin
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
...sacramental charismatics...

I'm not sure what folks mean by this phrase... Would Gamaliel or anyone else care to explain for me on the new thread I'm about to start? Thank you kindly!

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Twangist
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quote:
Maybe it is time they just went
The Vineyard could start an Ordinariate

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Barnabas62
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Strange thing. The Ship does this sometimes. My wife and I have been pondering what might be best described as "an extremely informal approach" to the sacraments and wondering what to do about it.

Was chatting the issue over at a small local group meeting of folks who are friends of the Northumbria Community. It was in the context of a discussion of an apparently weird idea included in the values of that community; called "the heretical imperative".

Here's the description we looked at.

quote:
Obedience to the HERETICAL IMPERATIVE
is not being afraid to listen
to ask questions
to be converted to truth
in whatever form it may be presented

One of the people present, a Methodist minister, observed that he had never really got any real handle on high church sacramental theology until he was "forced" (as part of an ecumenical Lent course) to listen to an explanation from a high church Anglican and also "forced" to defend his essentially very low church views within the same group. "I felt like a a token evangelical" he said, "found myself putting on a loyalist defensive hat both while speaking and listening. Then said to the group 'this is silly, I'm defending, not sharing'. That changed things, particularly when someone else said 'me too'."

Lord how we need to rediscover real listening to one another, and giving free permission to ask questions. Particularly awkward ones.

[ 29. July 2011, 10:25: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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MrAlpen
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
The flip side of prejudice is a lack of definition and/or wooliness.

It's a sort of - "Give us today our daily quiche" tendancy of middle of the road/middle class christianity.

This is true, but only significant if you think that the defining axis ranges from wool to rock (of various types) in theological clarity. If, on the other hand, you think that the defining axis ranges from disinterested academic observer to disciple then you might see it as turning the spotlight on the importance of spiritual, practical and theological practice within a more broadly-drawn theological and ecclesiastical landscape. I think it's the latter. I'm in the middle classes, enjoy quiche, and greatly look forward to being scared by God's renewed challenges in my own walk with Him.
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caty
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
At the risk of another tangent, Caty, ARE they really different views/nuances within mainstream charismatic evangelicalism these days? From where I'm sitting it all pretty much looks the same ... particularly in middle-class mainstream charismatic circles such as you find within the charismatic Baptists, at the Vineyard and over at HTB etc.

It all seems a bit 'beige' - a kind of IKEA charismaticism.

Ok, so they'll sometimes expose themselves to something more edgy, such as Bill Johnson's Bethel ... but for the most part its a form of charismaticism that isn't going to frighten the horses too much.

What level of nuance are we talking about here?

They don't seem to include many of the more sacramental charismatics, for instance.

You're probably right! In some ways, it's the "let's all be polite about this and not scare the horses" attitude that I like about Anglican Charismatics, or the ones I've experienced anyway. [Smile] Not sure I have wide enough experience to answer your point, but I'll give it a go.

I think the IKEA beigeness is probably because mainstream Charismatic worship IS now mainstream - my suspicion is that people have got a little weary of all the splits and are now trying to work together where possible. So any theological differences are swept to one side, if they can be.

I've experienced some nuances, but I think that these don't come from the charismatic bit, but the "other" bit of a church's DNA - what's their root, and where did they come from?

So for example, NFI churches seem to have more Reformed backgrounds, and their emphasis is more on reformed theology (PSA in particular). Anglican churches (in my experience) place less emphasis on expository preaching and theology and as a result can seem more woolly to those of us brought up on 40min sermons twice on Sundays. (PSA encouraged in the evangelical wing but generally optional [Biased] ) I've heard a couple of Pentecostal preachers at New Wine, and they seemed to have a completely different frame of reference to anything I'd heard before - the language and emphasis was completely different.

The nuances seem to be fading with time, perhaps because the link with the original root is weaker. Perhaps because theology has less of an emphasis in the wider church - I think we've generally moved towards a more Post Modern "let's all share our experiences and stories and learn about God together" model and away from more abstract theology. We've probably lost something important in that transition.

I still notice some differences in emphasis, but it's mostly about church practise and the way that the leadership works.

caty

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by MrAlpen:

This is true, but only significant if you think that the defining axis ranges from wool to rock (of various types) in theological clarity. If, on the other hand, you think that the defining axis ranges from disinterested academic observer to disciple then you might see it as turning the spotlight on the importance of spiritual, practical and theological practice within a more broadly-drawn theological and ecclesiastical landscape.

I don't see why this is all that different tbh, and I think you are loading the comparison by using the words 'disinterested', 'academic' and 'observer' and comparing them with that of a disciple. After all, fanatics (of whatever stripe) are very clear on what they believe and aren't either 'disinterested' or 'observers'.

It's not clear to me that there is a positive commitment to a 'broadly drawn theological and ecclesiastical landscape', more a lack of commitment which allows it to exist.

It's perfectly possible for churches to work together and yet preserve their own identity, or for a church to deliberately choose to be broad. However, given that most people don't seem to value that identity, I'd question how deliberate a choice it actually is.

How 'extreme' can an experience of God be, when it seems that the results of it are almost always describable in terms of a purely internal transformation. This seems to me to be less about charismata and more about a social milieu in which unique experiences are what people crave and the church is seen as the service provide which delivers on this - while not upsetting any other portion of one's life. It's like driving a Volvo but going on a roller-coaster occasionally for the kicks.

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MrAlpen
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Well chris, I stand by the description of the axis, which is not loaded in my opinion, and wasn't intended to characterise you: as a scientist I use the terms "disinterested academic observer" as entirely honourable and respect-worthy. However, I could not describe myself as "scientific" in my exploration of faith since I have made a commitment (frequently feebly-expressed) to discipleship. It seems to me to be useful as a descriptive axis, particularly as an antidote to assuming that the legitimate preoccupation of serious Christians _ought_ to be academic theology or the characterisation of ecclesiastical tradition.

I share my journey of faith most comfortably and frequently with anglicans from all points on the candle, methodists, charismatic NFIers, Roman Catholics, free evangelicals ... we disagree on many things theologically and ecclesiastically, and have vigorous debates on these things. But we share a commitment to explore and practise our faith. This doesn't seem to me be woolly w.r.t. our commitment, just w.r.t. the importance of hammering out a shared theology before we can share practise.

I wholeheartedly agree with you about the dangers of a faith that we do not allow to challenge our lives and destinies. And I am sure that there's plenty of that at New Wine. But there's plenty more of that outside New Wine, too. If New Wine genuinely _is_ focusing on the shared exploration of discipleship within a variety of traditions then I, for one, believe that it's a more honourable path than attempting to define itself by a prescriptive and debatable theology.

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chris stiles
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MrAlpen -

quote:
Originally posted by MrAlpen:

I share my journey of faith most comfortably and frequently with anglicans from all points on the candle, methodists, charismatic NFIers, Roman Catholics, free evangelicals ... we disagree on many things theologically and ecclesiastically, and have vigorous debates on these things. But we share a commitment to explore and practise our faith. This doesn't seem to me be woolly w.r.t. our commitment, just w.r.t. the importance of hammering out a shared theology before we can share practise.

In my humble opinion, that you still have vigorous debates on such things makes you somewhat of a minority in the broad sweep of what constitutes the charismatic end of evangelicalism (or even evangelicalism as a whole - I wasn't picking on New Wine in particular). To use the Lewis metaphor - while the hallway is something you are perfectly comfortable with, you also know which room you call home. I would suggest that in percentage terms, your position is somewhat of an anomaly.
Posts: 4035 | From: Berkshire | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
Gamaliel
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I'm committed to a broad and ecumenical approach in the C S Lewis 'Mere Christianity' and 'Deep Church' sense ... as expounded by Andrew Walker et al.

But that doesn't mean settling for a MOR beigeness.

I think Caty's struck onto something though ... if it is true that the charismatic thing is 'a spirituality in search of a theology' then it can only bring to the table a pre-existent theology from whatever stable it has taken root within - be it Reformed, Catholic or whatever else.

I think Walker and others would acknowledge that one of the best aspects of the charismatic renewal (at least initially) was that it crossed theological and ecclesial divides and that Reformed and reformed, Evangelical and evangelical, Anglicans and Catholics etc etc could meet on the basis of a shared experience rather than being at one another's throats over theological differences.

But there does come a time when we need to do theology ...

DaisyMay ... your comment about the speaker at NW saying that God was 'pleased' with all the denominations and that he was 'filling' the UK begs a few questions in my mind ...

1) How the bloody hell does he know what God's thinking? [Roll Eyes]

I have no idea whether God is pleased with the various denominations or not. I suspect he's pleased with some aspects and hacked off with others. But what gives any of us the right to stand up on a platform and pontificate as to what those aspects may or may not be? Sounds like illuminism gone mad.

2) If I had a fiver for every time I'd heard that God was doing this that or the other I could retire a wealthy man.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15997 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged



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