God’s Provision For Mission Today. The Holy Spirit Looking beyond the nuts and bolts.
The Holy Spirit is the Executor of the Godhead………. When Jesus ascended after His death He left his last will and testament with His disciples...Matt 28 : 18-20. The Holy Spirit became the executor of this testament. Jesus was not foolish leaving His mission in the hands of 12 disciples. He trusted the Holy Spirit. Jesus knew that the Holy Spirit would come and guide, coach, teach, comfort, lead and empower the disciples to accomplish His mission. This was the Father’s plan…..Jesus obeyed in every detail…..the Holy Spirit obeyed in every detail too!
The Holy Spirit directed the Church to be planted in Cities. The Urban Church Planting Mission started in Jerusalem, spread to Antioch in Syria, then to the Cities of Asia and then onto Rome. The Church quickly became multi- cultural and had to respond to the many cultures of the Mediterranean region, as well as African and European.
The Holy Spirit in urban mission - A quick review Guiding principles: *Mission shapes the Church * Context shapes the Mission Mode.
God’s Mission for His Church. For us to join with Jesus in His Mission. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew. 28:18-20
Our mission context. Post Christendom. Christendom Rejected Post Modern. Modernity Rejected Diverse, pluralist with few commonalities. Relocated / transient. ‘Exilic’ Spiritually curious, hungry & searching. Dogmatically suspicious and often hostile. Officially disinterested / hostile to Christianity.
The Mission Objectives being pursued + Conditions and demands of context = Shape and Mode of Church It looks so simple ! Couldn’t this apply to any human enterprise?
Does God do it differently? Is it all good strategy and human kindness? What role does God play? How does God enable His Mission? How does God work through His people? Are we Christians or Deists?
Where is God in history Looking on from a distance? Closed system Deism - believes in God but has no relationship with God Dissolved and incorporated Indistinguishable from system Eastern- Hinduism – ultimately inclusive of all concepts of God Separate and sustaining Creator standing outside creation, able to intervene. Judeo-Christian – able to be involved with God
For the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power. 1 Corinthians 4:20 Is there something else? Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” Mark 9:1
Where is God’s power today? What has God been doing? Where has the Power been at work? How is the Holy Spirit working? Let’s take a closer look at the Twentieth Century Some reflections
1901, A fresh outpouring. Charles Parham and others, seeking holiness Opens Bethel Bible School with 40 students, a faith community seeking God’s provision through prayer and service. Prayer was central with a 24 hour prayer tower vigil. 3 days before 1-1-1901 Parham asked students to study baptism in Holy Spirit, especially in Acts and search for objective, biblical evidence where by a person could know for certain they had in fact received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. On New Year’s Eve he returned. Bethel Bible College, Topeka, Kansas, USA
What did he find? “To my astonishment they all had the same story, that while there were different things that occurred when the Pentecostal Blessing fell, the indisputable proof on each occasion was that they spoke with other tongues.” Parham Wrote:
And then? In the watch night service (1900-1901) later that evening, the Holy Spirit manifested Himself with unusual intensity. At about 11:00 p.m., Agnes Ozman (1870-1937), asked Parham to pray for her that she might receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit as observed in their study.
What happened? “Humbly in the name of Jesus, I laid my hand upon her head and prayed. I had scarcely repeated three dozen sentences when a glory fell upon her, a halo seemed to surround her head and face, and she began speaking in the Chinese language and was unable to speak in English for three days” Parham wrote:
Significance ? This was a spiritual breakthrough. The Bible would never be read the same way again. The Holy Spirit was coming in from the cold. It established for these first ‘Classical Pentecostals’ speaking in tongues as the Biblical evidence for baptism in the Holy Spirit. This experience provided the desired ‘objective’ proof. New idea? In 4th Century Augustine and Chrysostom had reached same conclusion. Others sought to receive from Parham and revivals spread.
Seeking a personal Pentecost Normal activities at Bethel were suspended all went to an upper room and waited on the Lord for their personal Pentecost. By January 3 rd, 1901 all students and Parham had received a powerful Pentecostal Blessing. Parham’s own description: “There came a slight twist in my throat, a glory fell over me, and I began to worship God in the Swedish tongue, which was later changed to other languages and continued so until the morning.” In the following days sincere and curious seekers came, some also received a Pentecostal blessing and took the witness out. By Summer the buildings were sold and school closed. A spark had been lit.
Another ripple, William Seymour William Seymour spent much of his time behind the pulpit with his head inside the top shoe box of which the pulpit had been made, praying. One participants description: “Someone might be speaking. Suddenly the Spirit would fall upon the congregation. God himself would give the altar call. Men would fall all over the house, like the slain in battle, or rush for the altar enmasse to seek God. … We simply prayed the Holy Ghost did the rest.” A fire was being kindled. 312 Asuza Street Mission, Los Angeles, USA, 1906
Asuza Street, & the urban poor! At last there was a church where black and white could worship together. Blacks were mostly poor, although some poor whites where present as well. Pentecostal experience was marginalized in society. To gain respectability Pentecostals gradually lost their appeal to the poor as the dominant wealthier racist white class took control.
How to frame these events? It featured: Racial Diversity. Black and white praised God together. Colour was washed in the blood Gender Diversity. Women preachers. Gal. 3 v 28 Tongues as evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit Through the first decades of the 20 th century Similar outpourings were documented around the world: Europe, India, China, Africa, South America etc. A new out pouring seemingly orchestrated by the Holy Spirit. A First Wave of Pentecost for the 20th Century
An example from India, 1906 Pandita Ramabai (1858-1920) a well educated woman born of an upper caste, had become a Christian in the latter part of the 19th c. An astute scholar, she was recognised by the Sanskrit scholars of Calcutta University who had conferred on her the distinguished titles of Sarawatti and Pandita. She mastered 7 languages and translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Marathi, her mother tongue. She authored The high Caste Hindu Woman and A Life of Christ, as well as numerous tracts distributed throughout India. During a severe famine in her region of India she opened a home for girls and in this endeavour was totally dependent on God for provision, and prayer was her lifeline.
An example from India, 1906 In January 1905 Ramabai began to speak about the need to seek God for revival. Before long, 550 people, mostly women and girls, were meeting twice daily, praying for revival and for the endowment of power. On June 30, Ramabai was teaching the girls from John 8 when suddenly the Holy Spirit fell as in the Book of Acts. Everyone in the room began to weep and pray aloud. The revival had begun. Ramabai suspended regular school activities, giving the Holy Spirit free reign in their midst. At the outset, confession of sin and repentance dominated, but then came glad singing, wonderful praise and joy-filled dancing. Some experienced visions and supernatural dreams. Many experienced baptism in the Holy Spirit accompanied by speaking in tongues.
Another example from Kunming James A Baker ran an orphanage in Kunming South West China in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. The story is in his book “Visions Beyond the Veil”. James Baker tells the story of a Holy Spirit visitation where children from 3-10 years old saw visions of heaven, and Angels, spoke in tongues, and told adults in the streets there sins, whereupon the adults repented.
A First Wave: 1901 - 1960. By the third generation after Bethel and Asuza Street, and many other places the place of Pentecost had become confused. Spiritual Treasure in Clay Pots?
The Evidence of Pentecost? To Pentecostals the evidence was the gifts and signs of the Holy Spirit, and in particular speaking in tongues. To outsiders the evidence was that finally there was a church with the power that could break down the divisions between rich and poor, black and white, upper class and lower class. Sadly, this new found reconciliation among society’s long standing divisions did not last long in the Pentecostal Church.
Conclusion about the first wave? When the Holy Spirit was moving unusually and powerfully among the people, traditional social divisions were healed. As the Holy Spirit’s power receded the social effect receded. Pentecostal outpourings moved many poor into the middle class and they largely forgot their roots. The poor were attracted to the power of Pentecost. A few movements were started by poor Pentecostals to the poor during the early stages of the First Wave.
Personal comment from research into outpourings of the Holy Spirit Most outpourings are accompanied by unusual signs that result in abnormal behaviour according to the status quo of the middle and upper classes. To participate in these outpourings is humbling for the middle and upper classes. The power of God manifested in the outpourings meets the needs (especially healing) of the poor. Pentecostal outpourings are more appealing to the poor than the other classes. Humility of heart leading to obedience is the goal of the Spirit’s work.
A Second Wave: 1960-1983. The Holy Spirit moved through the existing Churches. ALL OF THEM.
Pentecost in the Mainline Churches. Established denominations visited. In November 1959, while praying in his home, Dennis Bennett, (1917-1992) Rector of St. Mark’s Episcopalian Church, Van Nuys California had received a Pentecostal Baptism in the Holy Spirit. TIME magazine told the story in April 1960. The Episcopal Church was not welcoming. Bennett sent to St. Lukes ‘in the desert’ and made it bloom. - Institutional disapproval. By 1963 there were 2000 charismatic Episcopalians in Ca. (Source: Christianity Today) Episcopalians - Anglicans
Some welcomed a new Pentecost On October 11, 1962 80-old Pope John XXIII solemnly opened Vatican II, the 21st Ecumenical Council and prayed: "Divine Spirit renew your wonders in this our age as in a new Pentecost, and grant that your Church praying perseveringly and insistently with one heart and mind together with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and guided by Blessed Peter, may increase the reign of the Divine Savior, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen." Roman Catholics
Roman Catholic experience: Vatican II allowed for dialog with others. Roman Catholics open to joint prayer with other Christians. Cardinal Seunens championed role of charismatic gifts in life of Church. This led to open and positive attitude by Council.
Roman Catholic experience: Event happened at Duquesne University Pittsburgh, Feb. 17-19, 1967 at a Professor’s Retreat As these Catholic seekers prayed through to Pentecost many things familiar to classical Pentecostals began to take place. Some laughed uncontrollably “in the Spirit,” while one young man rolled around the floor in ecstasy. Shouting praises to the Lord, weeping and speaking in tongues characterised this beginning of the movement in the Catholic Church. From here it spread, by 1970 A Catholic Conference at Notre Dame attracted 30,000.
Second Wave, Both blessings and problems: Pouring New Wine into Old Skins? USA high water mark 1977, 152,000 Pentecostal / Charismatics met at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City. R.C.s, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, denominational Pentecostals, Baptists, Methodists and Messianic Jews. A tremendous celebration. Problems upon returning to local parish. Issue of authority between Institutional and Charismatic ministry. Whom should yield to whom? Personal point of entry - Parish Prayer Groups 1978.
Second Wave, A summary: According to Peter Wagner, then professor of Church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary. The ‘second wave’ had been particularly influential in the more liberal denominations. The fire of the Holy Spirit swept through Roman Catholic South America and evangelical movements flourished when opposition confronted Roman Catholics touched by the fire. In South America urban poor movements were birthed by Pentecostal Churches in countries such as Brazil and Chile.
What happened here in your country? Were there examples of first wave outpourings of the Holy Spirit here? Did these movements impact the poor? How was the second wave received by your denomination? What is your view of tongues as a sign of the Holy Spirit?
Second Wave, An abiding question: Why did God do this? "There will be a new springtime for the Church If people will welcome the promptings of the Holy Spirit, The 21st Century will usher in a new evangelization; and, a tidal wave of conversions will sweep the earth." Pope John Paul II speaking about the Charismatic Renewal Movement.
A continuation of the pattern of the end of the last two centuries? In the late 1700’s William Carey and a new European Evangelical Missionary movement was birthed in prayer – mobilization took place in the early 1800’s In the late 1800,s a prayer movement preceded the Pentecostal outpourings of the early 1900’s. Another wave of evangelical missions followed. Will the unprecedented prayer movement of the late 1900’s yield fresh movements as Pope John Paul II predicts?
A Third Wave 1983- ??? John Wimber; (1934-1997) “A fat man trying to get to heaven” Wimber emerged as spokesperson for Third Wave and founded Association of Vineyard Churches. His meetings were characterised by unusual manifestations of the Holy Spirit similar to early Pentecostals. Prophecy, tongues, being ‘slain’, shaking, swooning as if seemingly drunk. Third Wavers tended to stay within their denominations. Had a different theological explanation seeing Baptism in Holy Spirit as part of conversion-initiation process not a second blessing.
Third Wave / Wimber’s legacy: He taught us how to see God at work. Interpret and discern what God is doing in the room. How are people being touched by God? Prayer Ministry changed from Second Wave Less Touch Less Talk More time Wimber made a prophetic visit to England in 1983. Ministered in five key churches. Each was to become a significant Church in following decade and to the present. An American the English could learn from without pain. He moved everyone on from the initial brashness yet kept moving forward into God and into mission.
Third Wave A summary, so far... According to Peter Wagner, former Professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary. The ‘Third Wave’ has been particularly influential on the more conservative evangelical denominations. Alpha may be recognised as a fruitful and significant outcome. New Churches being planted in pagan England and elsewhere, (some Anglican) may be seen as fruit. This is ongoing. Meshing in with First and Second Wave the Third Wave sought and ministered a basic spiritual experience of God. In consequence of this by 2000 over 25% of the World’s Christians are Charismatic-Pentecostals. What will the 21st Century bring?
Fourth Wave ? Is it too early to say? Will the Urban poor be impacted this time? There will be more !
Some personal reflections: Power Evangelism in today’s context The model of Elijah on Mount Carmel [see I Kings 18.] Being modelled in Africa by South African and West African Evangelists Conclusions Whose God is real in the post-modern, post- Christian, cynical West ? Amongst Muslims? Perhaps only an undeniable experience of God’s powerful presence will convict of truth.
The Mission Objectives Being Pursued + Conditions and Demands of Context = Shape and Mode of Church +Holy Spirit’s Empowerment ___________________________________________________________________ =Fruitfulness as Jesus intended. Re-check the mission maths
What does this mean for You? What does this mean for the urban mission among the poor ? What does it mean for the members of the Encarnacao Alliance?
The Fruitful Church Needs 1. The power of God’s Holy Spirit 2. Vessels (People) capable and available of being continually filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. 3. Humility and compassion in carrying out its mission 4. Structural-Organisational flexibility allowing people to engage and pursue mission as Holy Spirit empowered agents.
Acknowledgements: The producer of this power point presentation is deeply indebted to; James A Baker, Visions Beyond the Veil. Taiwan. Dennis J Balcombe, Revival Church, HK. David Garrison, Church Planting Movements. WIGTake. India. Viv Grigg, Urban Leadership Foundation. NZ. Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom. Oxford University Press. Eric H F Law, The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb. Chalice Press. Manuel Ortiz, One New People. IVP. Lamin Sanneh, Whose Religion is Christianity? Eerdmans. UK. P.G Vargis, Indian Evangelical Team. India. The Vatican Council, Pope John Paul II, Rome. George Verwer, Operation Mobilization. UK. C. Peter Wagner, Monarch Publications. UK. John Wimber, Vineyard Fellowships. USA George Yancey, One Body, One Spirit. IVP.USA. K.P.Yohannan, Revolution in World Misions.GFA Books. India.