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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: 'New church' Restorationism - then and now
Mark Wuntoo
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Gamaliel:
quote:
And, for all my criticisms, I will always say that they did steer clear of some of the whackier routes that elements of the charismatic renewal went down ... there was no Ellel Grange style stuff about inner-healing, healing of the memories and all that kind of malarkey. We had far too much common sense for any of that ...


With respect .... barking? uncontrolled hysteria on the floor? laughing? gold teeth? gold dust? to mention stuff that was around at the start of Toronto which many of the new churches embraced, IME.

(Not to take away from anything else you said in that post.)

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
With the benefit of hindsight, I now see the UK restorationist scene as an attempt to adopt a form of episcopacy (under a sexier name) and an understandable (and commendable) effort to grapple with ecclesiology amongst people and groupings that would otherwise be prone to fads and faddism. Unfortunately, there was insufficient theological ballast and the whole thing became stultefied by authoritarian structures before being swamped by waves of revivalism and enthusiasm - Toronto, Lakeland, Bethel ...

Perhaps I'm prone to taking a particularly uncharitable view of things; But it seems to me that it wasn't so much driven out of a concern for ecclesiology, as an attempt to line up the theory of pneumatology with the practice of it by fixing other things (including ecclesiology). To that extent it's an extension of a particular type of charismatic thinking.
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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Chris Stiles added that with regard to
quote:
Restorationists [and] their power structures [...] I see evidence of both in a number of third wave charismatic movements

I think my point was that - like everywhere else - the structures persist, even once the thinking behind them has changed significantly.

Regarding some of the other points here; I think a lot of the rest of what we see is inevitable given the church growth movements infatuation with the techniques of modern business. Take magazine TV show as the format that is being aimed at, and much else starts to make sense ..

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Saul the Apostle
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
I thought you might say something like that [Big Grin]

I wonder if Saul the Apotle hasn't got it exactly wrong above when he says
quote:
Trans national apostolic oversight within protestant non conformist sects is not going anywhere and was genuinely unpopular.
I wonder in fact whether this aspect of restorationism is (deliberately?) played down in places where there are relatively lots of evos (like the UK) but actually alive and well, as evidenced where there is less competition.
You may be right, but in a liberal democracy absolute power is generally frowned upon.

I think the power aspect is worth considering. That is why a very good friend of mine broke from the Kerri Jones set up many years ago. It tended to gather power (by design?) to the top.

Modern leaders of the charismatic movement in the UK are more ''sensitive'' to cultural norms I guess.

Power, sex and money are no less apparent in the church than in the secular world IMHO.

Saul

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Gamaliel
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I'm trying to be even-handed, Chris. In the circles I moved in the leadership resisted the allurements of Toronto for a while. They didn't jump on every passing fad. Far from it.

Ok - you could turn it around and argue that they resisted such things out of a desire to protect their own position - they took a similarly dim view of the Wimber visits in the mid-1980s until the pressure of events overtook them.

I'd give them the benefit of the doubt, though.

In my neck of the woods we didn't go in for the gold dust and the barking and what have you ... if anything these things gathered pace whenever the restorationist element was loosened. I'm speaking as someone who was on the inside of these things for 18 years. I still maintain that - on the whole - the stricter R1 restorationists were not as whackily charismatic as others I could mention.

Indeed, Andrew Walker in 'Restoring the Kingdom' points out that there was nothing any whackier going on in the restorationist set-ups than was happening in the charismatic renewal more generally - whether in Anglican charismaticism or anywhere else. I really believe this to have been the case. That's not to say that whacky things didn't happen but they were no more whacky than anything you could have encountered in Anglican or Baptist charismatic circles or in Pentecostalism more generally.

The 'new churches' didn't immediately plunge into the Toronto thing back in 1994 - they hung back for a wee while ... not for long ... but they did give into it, partly, I suspect, out of fear that they might otherwise get left behind in what they believed to be a 'move of God.'

By then, arguably, the whole restorationist thing was a bit of a dead duck and restorationism in its R1 form was one the wane and rapidly becoming just another flavour on the already crowded market of charismatic evangelicalism.

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Gamaliel
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@Chris ... sorry to double-post but I'm talking comparatively here ... the restorationists had COMPARATIVELY more interest in ecclesiology than was generally the case within independent evangelicalism. I can't remember any of the other groups being that bothered by ecclesiology at all - save, perhaps, for the Brethren. The Baptists would stress their particular ecclesiology every now and then but generally speaking ecclesiology wasn't discussed in polite company. It was just 'pray the sinner's prayer' and find a fellowship where there was 'sound teaching' and that was as far as it went.

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chris stiles
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Sure Gamaliel, I'm with you to an extent; they had more of a concern for ecclesiology than the average low-church evangelical.

OTOH; To simplify a little; a lot of what was going on was a search for the difference between the pneumatology most of these groups were reading into Acts, and the reality that they saw.

In fact much of charismatic/pentecostal theology can be put down to such an impulse; if we only have total santification/really want the spirit to move/really pray in the name of Jesus/really organise ourselves like the disciples then we would see what went on in Acts happen regularly.

This latest set of groups just happened to gloam onto the idea of the 4-fold ministry as the key to do this.

The structures exist - sometimes in name only - the original justifications have mostly faded into the background for most people (as Ramarius points out earlier in this thread).

BTW, I suspect you were directing your first post at someone else.

[ 03. January 2012, 19:34: Message edited by: chris stiles ]

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Ramarius:
I've started my research.

So have I [Snigger]

quote:
Originally posted by Saul the Apostle:
That is why a very good friend of mine broke from the Kerri Jones set up many years ago. It tended to gather power (by design?) to the top.

Well yes, I think restorationism did indeed do so and do so by unashamed design. The whole point being that power and authority was vested in anointed individuals and not in conregations or indeed bureaucratic structures.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
To simplify a little; a lot of what was going on was a search for the difference between the pneumatology most of these groups were reading into Acts, and the reality that they saw.

In fact much of charismatic/pentecostal theology can be put down to such an impulse; if we only have total santification/really want the spirit to move/really pray in the name of Jesus/really organise ourselves like the disciples then we would see what went on in Acts happen regularly.

This latest set of groups just happened to gloam onto the idea of the 4-fold ministry as the key to do this.

I'm glad you 'simplified': that makes a lot of sense to me. Andrew Walker emphasises that pentecostalism has always had a poor theological understanding of its own experience, and relates how the original 'magnificent seven/fabulous fourteen' restorationist apostles and prophets turned to Ephesians 4 as a grid for defining what they were doing.

That seems quite different to going and nailing 95 theses to a church door. Restorationist doctrine was born out of the experience of charismatic renewal, not the other way around. That's such an obvious insight, but it hadn't really sunk in for me before.

That said, I guess there is some biblical precedent for doing things this way round - after all, the disciples had a lot of experience before Peter, Paul & co got round to thrashing out the associated teaching. "This is that", and so on.

It's also very interesting (and to my mind more disturbing) to think of theology emerging to account for the discrepancy between experience and expectations (however erroneous) as to what church life should look like.

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Twangist
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Don't we all tend to modify our operative (as opposed to theoratical) theology on the basis of experience or lack of experience?

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JJ
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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Twangist:
Don't we all tend to modify our operative (as opposed to theoratical) theology on the basis of experience or lack of experience?

Of course, but the impact of that depends a lot on which bit of it one is modifying.

The thing I keep coming back to here is how foundational, in every sense of the term, the restorationist mantra of "a church built on the foundations of the apostles and prophets" was, and (some are arguing here) how fast it has not just been tweaked, but simply evaporated.

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Twangist
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I don't think it's disappeared (round the parts I'm familiar with), maybe a bit less aggressively emphasised?

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JJ
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Eutychus
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That's what I'm trying to ascertain!

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Twangist
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Well that's my answer - it's still there but not made such a big deal of.
Obviously, might all change! Interested to see what you and Ramarius dig up.

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JJ
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Eutychus
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Okay... let me ask you a few questions if I may in the meantime. Do you think my "bullet points" on restoration back on page 1 are accurate? And do you think they could be transposed into other settings?

Do you think the feeling within live restorationism (trying not to be movement-specific here [Big Grin] ), particularly at the level of leadership and teaching rather than the consumerist pew-filler (if such a thing exists in such churches) still sees historic denominations as so much dead wood (because of not being plugged into "translocal [ie 'Ephesians 4'] ministries"), or is there some sense of these denoms having a viable part to play in preparing the glorious bride?

[ 03. January 2012, 20:43: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Polly

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Context of the birth of the Restorationist movement may help a bit with this discussion.

During the 60/70's both relationship and ecclesiology was vital in the growth of the movement.

Mainstream church's in the main didn't take to kindly to this new movement. Accusations of Restorationist leaders starting up Cult communities and leading people astray were common.

I'm not so naive to think that the unkind accusations wereone way but the new groups took a lot of flack.

Basically relationships within the new groups were not just vital but essential for support and growth.

But it was't quite you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Relationships were important but thevdriving force was the understanding of scripture and the aim (as stated earlier in this post) to restore the church to a more Biblical model (more specifically New Testament).

An example of this camewhen the Restorationists split into 2 groups: R1and R2.

The main reason for the split was the understanding of grace. Grace was given to enable us to change not as an excuse to carry on with questionable behaviour ( eg going to the pub directly after church and getting drunk as was the case at the time).

This was painful because the division was between those who and originally stood shoulder to shoulder when the movement began.

The London Brothers as they were once known were no longer unified.

If we fast forward to today I think all parties have toned down their attitudes as each group either faded away or became more established and then became accepted in wider circles.

I still have quite a lote of respect and fondness for Restorationist church families (I'd run a mile from independent ones).

The virtues of church's built upon relationships and scripture is very strong within Restoration churches.

A wise man once said to me that our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness. We need to be aware of what ours are.

I think this is very true especially appropriate for this topic.

My critic of Restorationist churches would be that they are sometimes blind to their strengths also being their weaknesses.

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Twangist
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quote:

1)belief in restoration of the Church to become a glorious bride fit for the return of Christ

2)belief in the recovery of the fivefold (or fourfold) 'Ephesians 4' ministries of apostle, prophet, pastor/teacher and evangelist as foundational to this restored church

3)belief in 'delegated authority' and (upward) accountability (what Gamaliel describes as a 'new form of episcopacy') with apostolic figures in particular having authority over local churches and more particularly their leaders (with a corresponding rejection of all forms of congregational government)

4)belief in charismatic gifts as part and parcel of what needs to be restored to the Church, often with the help (or 'anointing') of 'Ephesians 4' ministries

5)belief in a committed membership of local churches (as opposed to what South Coast Kevin referred to on the "discernment" thread as a "centred set" concept)


(numbering added to help)

I think that they are a fair summary.
I think that 4 is what drives Restorationism - the desire to have a "Sprit-filled" church.
1 is rather abstract in expression sometimes - which is why restorationism is prone to revivalism
2 has focused on the Apostolic more than the others in my experiance and tends to be indeed "what Gamaliel describes as a 'new form of episcopacy'" - hopefuly charismatic and relational (horror stories not withstanding).

As for transposition into other contexts - that depends on degree, context and interpretation. Most charismatics would sign up to some extent to 4, most Pastors would like a more comitted membership (point 5), 3 can be recast as a form of non-conformist Episcopacy and there are plenty of churches out there who are Episcopalial in structure ( mind you not many Bishops would get the heave-ho for "not representing Rowan" which may be the rub [Biased] )
1 and 2 are the more unique ideas but no 1 is certainly latent in any "positive" eschatology.

I can only comment on my little corner of "live restorationism" - I'm not sure that the feeling is "all other churches are bad and we can't learn from them or do stuff with them" - Alpha is Anglican and we (let the reader understand) make plenty of use of that! Good relationships with other churches is one of the "however many" values. Prior to Christmas our church raised c.£1K for 3 local Christian Charities that we haven't started, don't run etc etc so we've put some money where our mouth is on that one.

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JJ
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Gamaliel
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@Polly - these days I'd run away from both ... but probably not as far from 'relational' restorationists as non-aligned, independent groupings.

That said, I still have a lot of time and affection for many people in what were the old R1 and R2 settings ...

@Twangist - yes, indeed ... I've noticed a greater willingness among NFI and similar groups to collaborate with other churches and that's a good sign.

As for the 'apostolic' thing - nah - not convinced. It's just episcopacy with a fancy name and no funny hats. That's fine by me, but just don't go round using a fancy name for it and acting as if it's in any way different from other models that are available.

I suspect you're right about restorationism still being on the agenda within NFI - but await Ramarius's reflections and Eutychus's response.

To an extent I'd argue that the 'apostolic' thing could and did act as a buffer against some of the wierder and wilder aspects of charismatic practice - but the decks were swept and swamped by revivalism at times. You won't like this, but I suspect it's because there's insufficient theological ballast. In my restorationist days I always had the impression that NFI was somehow more theologically heavyweight than it actually was ... I'm not saying it's entirely lightweight and frothy ... just that it ain't anywhere near as heavyweight as it likes to think.

But again, it's all relative. Compared to the independent and non-aligned outfits that Polly mentions groups like Covenant Ministries and New Frontiers were paragons of virtue.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

That said, I guess there is some biblical precedent for doing things this way round - after all, the disciples had a lot of experience before Peter, Paul & co got round to thrashing out the associated teaching. "This is that", and so on.

quote:
Originally posted by Twangist:

Don't we all tend to modify our operative (as opposed to theoratical) theology on the basis of experience or lack of experience?

Well, obviously the Apostles themselves were in a very unique position. I would still argue though that there is a difference between attempting to fit something genuinely new into an existing and maybe incomplete theology and changing ones practical theology in order to make something happen.

Those bullet points weren't being driven by new data - experiential or otherwise - they were being driven by an attempt to make spiritual things happen. I think someone in the last thread noted the similarities between this and sympathetic magic.

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Gamaliel
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Yes - I detected towards the end a sense of disappointment and disillusionment that could only be suppressed for so long. It went like this, 'What's happened? We've got apostles and prophets? Why aren't we seeing the breakthrough that was promised?'

As a Calvinist, Chris, you'd see something very Arminian about that. I once met Tom Smail and he observed as much. He felt that the new church people thought that they could bring about revival by their own efforts and by gritting their teeth and concentrating hard enough ... Gnnnnnnnnnn ....

I'd say it was a form of spiritual constipation.

Was it Jeremiah who talked about giving birth to wind?

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Polly:
The virtues of church's built upon relationships and scripture is very strong within Restoration churches.

A wise man once said to me that our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness. We need to be aware of what ours are.

I think this is very true especially appropriate for this topic.

My critic of Restorationist churches would be that they are sometimes blind to their strengths also being their weaknesses.

It's funny you should say that, I wrote something very similar about restorationism and relationships in my last draft before I decided it was long enough without it!

I think they are indeed the great strength and weakness of the way restorationism is structured.

John Le Carré has a line somewhere (I think in The Honourable Schoolboy) where one of the characters enjoins Smiley not to concentrate on Karla but to "stay with the institutions if you don't mind, after all that's what they're there for", the idea being that they prevent things from becoming personal.

This is cast as a bad thing in that context, and certainly restorationism was all about getting away from institutionalism. But the problem of removing the institutions is that you remove all the checks and balances and create the right climate for toxic relationships - especially when the concept of spiritual authority is involved.

This is one of the reasons I'm sceptical as to whether restorationism, morphed or not, can cohabit for very long within a historic denomination.

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Gamaliel
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Hmmmm ... well, other forms of charismatic renewal seem to manage within a denominational context, Eutychus. Although I think you're right that full-on restorationism as per your bullet-points wouldn't and presupposes creating its own structures ... yes, its own denominational structures ...

The NFI and Covenant Ministries people I knew would spit blood if anyone dared suggest that they had set up new denominations ... even though it was obvious to everyone else that this is exactly what they had done.

How could it be otherwise?

If anything, New Frontiers at one time (less so nowadays I suspect) was more denominational than the denominations ...

I've certainly come across a lot less denominationalism among Baptists, URCs, Methodists and Anglicans than I ever did among the restorationists ...

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Eutychus
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I'm not sure you've got my point.

To my mind, restorationism (as opposed to renewal) depends very much on the "Ephesians 4" teaching and specifically the "church built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets".

Relations and informality were at the heart of the beginnings of the movement as Polly's post recounts. Leaders were identified (being benevolent here) in terms of their function and not because some denominational office had put them in place. Their authority was seen as deriving from their anointing and not from letters before or after their name.

Denominational structures were (theoretically...) eschewed because they were seen as running contrary to a structure based on relationships and, I suppose, not flexible enough to allow for prophetic direction (new wineskins and all that).

I don't think you can infuse that view of how governmental authority is supposed to work out into a denominational structure without one or the other giving way. If restorationists join a denomination they are effectively turning their backs on the "apostles and prophets" cornerstone ( [Big Grin] ) of restorationism.

If, on the other hand, restorationists quietly abandon their "hard restorationism" founding principles, their distinctive feature has disappeared. As Irish_Lord says above

quote:
if you take away or tone down the apostles, the restoration of a defunct church, and belief in the 'recovery' of the Ephesians giftings: how is it restorationism? Isn't it then just another charismatic church?
In that scenario, in the absence of any denominational shell any over-arching movement is likely to evaporate, isn't it?

Which then leaves the question of who the leaders of a local congregation with no hint of democracy might be accountable to. Like you say, an independent restorationist church is perhaps even scarier than one in a network.

[ 04. January 2012, 09:59: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Polly

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quote:
Gamaliel posted:

As for the 'apostolic' thing - nah - not convinced. It's just episcopacy with a fancy name and no funny hats. That's fine by me, but just don't go round using a fancy name for it and acting as if it's in any way different from other models that are available.

Restorationists would point out that 'apostolic' isn't just a "fancy name and no funny hats" but a valid term rooted in NT understanding.

I have a lot of sympathy for this viewpoint.

As a Baptist we have "Regional Supervisors" which is of course found where in the Bible??

The work of NT apostles was based upon relationships with the new churches and communities being formed and not on 'tradition or checks and balances'.

I am not dismissing these either as we have a lot to learn from these but I think where a church places more weight on one area over another then difficulties arise.


quote:
In my restorationist days I always had the impression that NFI was somehow more theologically heavyweight than it actually was ... I'm not saying it's entirely lightweight and frothy ... just that it ain't anywhere near as heavyweight as it likes to think.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but yes I'd agree with your statement. A number of times for my studies I have looked at the NFI Theological Think Tank pages on their website.

When my wife can pick holes in specific papers certain individuals have written then there are questions to be answered. [Big Grin]

quote:
Eutychus posted:

But the problem of removing the institutions is that you remove all the checks and balances and create the right climate for toxic relationships - especially when the concept of spiritual authority is involved.

This is one of the reasons I'm sceptical as to whether restorationism, morphed or not, can cohabit for very long within a historic denomination.


I think I have partly answered your first point already. Absolutely agree that checks and balances are required and we need to remind ourselves of us these regularly.

I can't answer for the likes of Vineyard and others but my experiences of NFI would state they do this.

The problems have been that they have always put more weight on the building upon relationships.

When this goes as it ought things go very well. But when it doesn't, we all know what happens and it is extremely painful.

For your last point I see no reason why Restorationist churches can not only survive but continue to grow. Boundaries between themselves and the wider church are a lot softer these days. There seems to be more than just a mutual respect amongst all the denominations.

Perhaps we should wait and see and even pray for their growth. Surely this would be a good thing for the church in this country and the nation itself?

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Polly:
For your last point I see no reason why Restorationist churches can not only survive but continue to grow. Boundaries between themselves and the wider church are a lot softer these days. There seems to be more than just a mutual respect amongst all the denominations.

This is another bit I'm sceptical about. If they are hard-line restorationist then they think their mode of church government is IT™

I can't emphasise this enough. Of course we all think we have the best form of church. But restorationists (by my definition) don't merely think they have "a form of church government that can be justified on the grounds of the NT"; they think they have the form of church government straight from the pages of the NT which will ultimately be adopted by the whole of the Church to constitute a glorious bride.

Of course on a local level everyone is more ecumenical as time goes by. But I well remember the remit in my neck of the restorationism woods when it came to in inter-church relations: taking a leading role in them to bring others round to our way of thinking. I also remember the disgrace into which one leader fell when he was seen as engaging in inter-church relations for their own sake rather than with the above aim in mind.

Again, not only restorationists have this agenda (I could say a lot about inter-church relations with catholics in France...!), but with restorationism there is an eschatological imperative at work here.

[ 04. January 2012, 10:28: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Polly

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quote:
I can't emphasise this enough. Of course we all think we have the best form of church. But restorationists (by my definition) don't merely think they have "a form of church government that can be justified on the grounds of the NT"; they think they have the form of church government straight from the pages of the NT which will ultimately be adopted by the whole of the Church to constitute a glorious bride.

From my observations I think this attitude although still exist in pockets does not exist so much now either within ground level pastoral leadership or within the congregations.

I guess it does depend on whom you talk to but by and large all my friends still within NFI would say this attitude although hasn't completely disappeared isn't really a factor anymore.

What I would agree with is your observation on how they perceive their own ecclesiology as 'the' way of being church.

They seem to be quick to point out weaknesses in other models but find it difficult to see their own.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
But restorationists (by my definition) don't merely think they have "a form of church government that can be justified on the grounds of the NT"; they think they have the form of church government straight from the pages of the NT which will ultimately be adopted by the whole of the Church to constitute a glorious bride.

That's not restricted to Restorationists as I'm sure you know. The meme of the 'One True Church' is something that has been present in the Pentecostal movement from Azusa Street onwards.
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Eutychus
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Yes, but the twist restorationism gives it is that their form of church government - not just charimsatic renwal - would ultimately extend to everyone (certainly Harvestime used to think that way. The closest parallel that springs to my mind is actually the Catholic church!

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South Coast Kevin
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Of course we all think we have the best form of church. But restorationists (by my definition) don't merely think they have "a form of church government that can be justified on the grounds of the NT"; they think they have the form of church government straight from the pages of the NT which will ultimately be adopted by the whole of the Church to constitute a glorious bride.

Of course on a local level everyone is more ecumenical as time goes by. But I well remember the remit in my neck of the restorationism woods when it came to in inter-church relations: taking a leading role in them to bring others round to our way of thinking. I also remember the disgrace into which one leader fell when he was seen as engaging in inter-church relations for their own sake rather than with the above aim in mind.

Eutychus, I think this is a really helpful and important point; I guess with many church-related things we each think our church does things in a good way (or even the best way) but it's taking things a good deal further to say that others must do things in our way in order to bring revival / hasten Jesus' return etc.

One or two people have mentioned the Vineyard Movement so I'll add that I'm not aware of any element of this view within the Vineyard, either in my own Vineyard church or at the wider level. Not that I'd particularly know - I'm not a leader in any way - but I've never come across any hint of the view that other churches must do things our way in order to bring revival etc.

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My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

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Gamaliel
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@Polly - I have some sympathy with that view too and have even heard it mooted by some prominent Baptists.

I've known a Baptist minister say that it all depends on the 'anointing' and this applies equally to anyone - be it an Orthodox bishop or a 'new church' apostle.

An Orthodox priest once observed to me that all churches have bishops, even if they don't use the title. So, to all intents and purposes, I'd suggest that your 'regional superintendents' are a form of episcopacy and that 'new church' apostles are the same. They might differ in their modus operandi but essentially they're an attempt to do a similar thing. The only real difference, as Eutychus has identified, is that there is some imagined eschatological imperative behind the 'new church' apostolates. They have an over inflated, over-realised and (dare I say it?) over-egged opinion of themselves in the overall scheme of things.

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Gamaliel
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The RC parallel has certainly been used by critics of restorationism, Eutychus ... I've read some very frothing-at-the-mouth reformed/conservative evangelical critiques of New Frontiers, for instance, where they see it as yet another thinly disguised attempt by the Evil One to lure us all back to ... (cue creepy horror-film music) DANG-DAN-DARRRRNNN!!! ... ROME!!!

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Eutychus
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<scribbles furiously in Little Black Book...>

[ETA (as a result of the post before last...)]

[ 04. January 2012, 12:25: 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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Gamaliel
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I know ... I know ... another strike and I'm out ...

[Big Grin]

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Polly:
As a Baptist we have "Regional Supervisors" which is of course found where in the Bible??

Titus 1.5-9
[Big Grin]

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Polly

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quote:
They have an over inflated, over-realised and (dare I say it?) over-egged opinion of themselves in the overall scheme of things.
That's a bit harsh!
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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I know ... I know ... another strike and I'm out ...


quote:

Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg?

Holy Scripture was there before you!

quote:

If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days.

quote:

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

(Job 6.6, Deuteronomy 22.6-7, Luke 11.11-12)

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Eutychus
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<glares at ken>

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Polly

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Polly:
As a Baptist we have "Regional Supervisors" which is of course found where in the Bible??

Titus 1.5-9
[Big Grin]

Ken - I'm not questioning the role just the title.

The debate here has brought into question the role of 'Apostle' used within Restorationist churches.

I find it slightly strange that some Baptists do this as well not thinking that our own 'Apostles/Regional Supervisors' are are basically doing the same role but have a title not specifically found in scripture

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Gamaliel
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A bit harsh, Polly?

[Killing me]

You're either incredibly naive or haven't spend 18 years in a restorationist setting like I did.

I think I've been pretty moderate on this thread, all things being equal and all things considered.

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Polly

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
A bit harsh, Polly?

[Killing me]

You're either incredibly naive or haven't spend 18 years in a restorationist setting like I did.

I think I've been pretty moderate on this thread, all things being equal and all things considered.

It was said a bit with tongue in cheek but only a bit.

20 years within NFI
5 of those within a leadership role, going to regional and national meetings.

Yes I agree there were some individuals whom I felt needed to touch base with that thing called humility but overall I left NFI with an admiration for most of the leaders I met including many of the 'Apostolic Leaders'.

So 20 years is only slightly more than 18 and I'd like to think I am not naive.
[Cool]

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Polly

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
A bit harsh, Polly?

[Killing me]

You're either incredibly naive or haven't spend 18 years in a restorationist setting like I did.

I think I've been pretty moderate on this thread, all things being equal and all things considered.

Sorry to double post but yes you have been moderate and I have enjoyed this discussion very much.
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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Polly:

I find it slightly strange that some Baptists do this as well not thinking that our own 'Apostles/Regional Supervisors' are are basically doing the same role but have a title not specifically found in scripture

Except that "Regional Supervisor" is nothing but a latinate direct translation of the Greek words that we pronounce as "Diocesan Bishop".

(I mean literally so - "dioikesis" originally meant something like "household management" but by Roman times it was the Greek word for a district or region governed from a single city - "episkopos" is the exact Greek equivalent of English "overseer" or modern Latin "supervisor")

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Yes, but the twist restorationism gives it is that their form of church government - not just charimsatic renwal - would ultimately extend to everyone (certainly Harvestime used to think that way. The closest parallel that springs to my mind is actually the Catholic church!

Well if we restrict this to just church government (and ignore the extending bit), even this isn't all that new, though they seem to have come up with the idea all by themselves.

Perhaps it's more common amongst certain ethnicities, but the habit of setting up 'apostolic' leadership is not that unique.

The church my dad used to attend back in the 50s/60s had that - and in fact still does. The RC parallel is instructive, as as well as a 'Chief Apostle' in India, they have a range of regional apostles, homes that approximate to monasteries for all their church workers, and a rule of celibacy. They believe they take all of this from Paul's teachings. I've seen similar things elsewhere, so I don't believe this to be an outlier.

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Gamaliel
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I've enjoyed (and am enjoying) the discussion too, Polly. Sorry if I sounded patronising. But my 18 years were in Covenant Ministries not New Frontiers ... so that must be about the equivalent of 25 or 30 years in New Frontiers terms ... [Biased] [Razz]

Seriously, and without minimising Eutychus's experiences, I've generally been of the opinion that New Frontiers was more benign. Things could go horribly wrong there, though ...

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Gamaliel
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I reckon you're right, Chris.

Incidentally, I once described the apostolic pattern as it was found in the 'new churches' to an Orthodox priest and he said that there was nothing there that wasn't compatible with Orthodoxy - in theory at least.

And yes, the RC model does remind me of the restorationist ambit to an extent too - they talk about an 'apostolate' and so on.

In fairness, those restorationists with some grasp of history and a wider ecclesiology were very aware of all of this ... they would cite the Baptist 'Messengers' of the 17th and 18th centuries as earlier examples, for instance. Some would go so far as to see there are some kind of 'apostolic succession' in 'anointing' terms with the Lord always ensuring that there was someone there to bear the mantle - be it Wesley or whoever else. The head-honchoes would always insist that they didn't believe in 'apostolic succession' though and that when they went their 'mandate' would go with them.

Pastors and other leaders were only seen to have any mandate whatsoever in relation to the apostles - they weren't seen as carrying any authority in their own right but only that which was delegated to them by the apostles.

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Twangist
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quote:
Pastors and other leaders were only seen to have any mandate whatsoever in relation to the apostles - they weren't seen as carrying any authority in their own right but only that which was delegated to them by the apostles.
That is, I think, a real point of tension because in appointing leaders they are looking for those whom others follow - so that sense of a personal "annointing" is important.

Just struck by the Anglican parrallel (if memory serves) in that the vicar/priest in charge/lead pastor (for those of a New Wine bent) has the cure of soul on behalf of the Bishop - effectivley delegated authority. Is that correct?

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JJ
SDG
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Ramarius
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
But restorationists (by my definition) don't merely think they have "a form of church government that can be justified on the grounds of the NT"; they think they have the form of church government straight from the pages of the NT which will ultimately be adopted by the whole of the Church to constitute a glorious bride.

That's not restricted to Restorationists as I'm sure you know. The meme of the 'One True Church' is something that has been present in the Pentecostal movement from Azusa Street onwards.
...and you'll find it in Orthodoxy, among some Anglicans (personal experience) the odd baptist. And what about the Brethren? The more I think about it, the more I think it's an issue that runs through Christendom. It just has different drivers and historical roots depending where you dig.
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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Twangist:

Just struck by the Anglican parrallel (if memory serves) in that the vicar/priest in charge/lead pastor (for those of a New Wine bent) has the cure of soul on behalf of the Bishop - effectivley delegated authority. Is that correct?

That's the RC version of the story, and its one you often get from Anglo-Catholics these days. But on the whole CofE vicars have been pretty independent of their bishops since the Reformation.

The licencing ceremonies talk about sharing the "cure of souls". And once a parish is handed over to a new incumbent it has traditionally been in a sense their property - the Bishop can't take it away from them. In fact Bishops probably have less actual control over what is done in parishes that have an incumbent than those Baptist supervisors do in the churches they supervise. Its complicated because as an established church the whole thing is bound up with some traditional property rights - legally the incumbent is a perpetual corporation who owns the freehold of the church in some kind of trust for the parish - and where there is no incumbent the property rights don't automatically revert to the diocese or the bishop. Also the churchwardens (who are elected representatives of the people) have some legal rights the bishops can't easily get rid of. As do patrons. Its all very complicated. But not at all like delegation.

The ordination liturgies have no notion of the Bishop passing on any personal power or authority to a new priest. He prays that the Holy Spirit may empower them. And once ordained a priest remains a poriest even if not licensed to any parish. That continuing status does not depend on the Bishop, or all the Bishops.

So I'd say that its not really a delegation.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Mark Wuntoo
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quote:
Originally posted by Ramarius:
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
But restorationists (by my definition) don't merely think they have "a form of church government that can be justified on the grounds of the NT"; they think they have the form of church government straight from the pages of the NT which will ultimately be adopted by the whole of the Church to constitute a glorious bride.

That's not restricted to Restorationists as I'm sure you know. The meme of the 'One True Church' is something that has been present in the Pentecostal movement from Azusa Street onwards.
...and you'll find it in Orthodoxy, among some Anglicans (personal experience) the odd baptist. And what about the Brethren? The more I think about it, the more I think it's an issue that runs through Christendom. It just has different drivers and historical roots depending where you dig.
Just a note to agree about Brethrenism. Perhaps it is ironic that many of the New Church leaders came out of the Brethren - just at the time when Brethrenism was exploring the appointment of pastors which idea, in my earlier days, they hated with a vengeance.
I am trying to drag-up my days in the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (ducks) but I was too young to have got involved with theology, methinks. I seem to remember that we DID think we were the one true church - at least both the Brethren and the pentecostals were heretics and the RC's ....

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Gamaliel
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Yes, I think there are shades of this everywhere. What was different in the restorationist thing was that - for a time at least - some of these guys genuinely believed that what they were doing would trigger the Lord's return and that they wouldn't die until that was accomplished.

That didn't last long ...

Funny that.

As for the Bishop/Apostle thing, Twangist ... at the risk of using a phrase Eutychus would throttle me for using ... the restorationist version was rather over ... over... over-blown in comparison with the Anglican practice. I don't know as much about the inner workings of Anglicanism as Ken does but most clergy in my experience tend to sit lightly by whatever bishops do and say or don't do and say. There are vague parallels but the way it works out on the ground isn't anywhere near what you're describing ...

As for the Orthodox, I'm reliably informed that, in theory at least, the lay people have the power to reject any bishop thrust upon them against their will. They can ask for another one instead.

Can you imagine THAT happening in a restorationist setting?

I remember a pastor being imposed on us who clearly wasn't up to the task - and it did go all pear-shaped in the end. I protested (I was brave by that time) and was told that this was God's man of anointing and power and who was I to challenge or question?

It turned out to be one of the most disastrous appointments you could imagine.

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

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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