In this installment of the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, I take a fresh look at the topic of evangelism and discipleship apart from traditional theology, mindsets, and methods.
The following is a brief true story from a friend of mine of the conversion of a Papua New Guinea tribesman named “Pully.” The author of this guest blog, Nate Ham, knew Pully personally. I would earnestly pray that any conversion would have as much Holy Spirit ethical substance as Pully’s. I pray that we could live in as much gospel authenticity as this simple, elderly man, from Papua New Guinea. I would ask you, in the midst of much of the theological clamor today regarding God and retributive violence, to humbly and prayerfully consider the many and deep implications of Pully’s story.
2 Chr 7:14 is used by many as the pillar verse for virtually every revival ministry. The problem is, our definition and expectations of revival are often strongly influenced by our non-New Covenant thinking and theology, our religious culture, our political and social culture, and unresolved ego issues. This second installment in this series examines the difference between old and new covenant promises as it relates to our understanding and application of 2 Chr. 7:14 and our expectations of revival.
“Revival” is a charged term. It can mean different things to different people. When egos, identities, money, and insecurity get into the “revival business,” things go unhealthy quickly. In this series we will look at 2 Chr. 7:14 in CONTEXT and from a NT perspective. It has nothing to do with “revival.”
Have you ever wondered why hundreds and thousands joined the early communities when it would cost them everything? Great grace, power, and fear were upon the ekklesia (church). We’re not too crazy about #3 these days-it’s not church growth seeker friendly. “None dared to join them,” doesn’t fit our “church growth strategies.” Yet even with great fear, people joined themselves. Why?
As I engage in different conversations with brothers and sisters around the world, and as I experience wonderful things I have never experienced before, things I thought I never would live long enough to see, there is a recognizable “theme” emerging in little pockets here and there . . . kingdom testimonies of a different order and quality than anything I have ever known.
One of my continual disappointments as I meet so many professing “believers,” is their complete oblivion to New Covenant life, living, and reality. Christians by the score persistently seek various external rituals, experiences, and stimuli to take their faith to some supposed “higher level” or deeper spirituality. Apparently, the Indwelling Holy Spirit, being united with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, sharing His glory (John 17:21-23) and being seated with Him in the heavenlies, and giving our lives for our neighbors and the world, etc. are not enough for Western Christians. No wonder popular culture western evangelicalism is insipid, spiritually impotent, and irrelevant.
I think my good friend, Michael Rose, hit a homer on this one. Guest blogging it here!
A famous comedian from the southern USA jokes that by simply adding the phrase “Bless her heart” to the end of a statement makes it somehow okay, no matter how harsh. For example: “That baby sure is ugly! Bless his little heart” or “Betsy sure looks fat in that dress. Bless her heart!”
We laugh, but Christian folks can say some pretty harsh things and attempt to justify it by claiming they are “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Too often, we Christians can cross the line and speak into something that is quite frankly, none of our business.
If prevalent teachings about revival are to be believed, our God is more like a reluctant genie in Arabian Nights than a gracious heavenly Father.