Featured Post

Greg Boyd on CNN: God’s Warriors

[tentblogger-youtube hUMU1rQSrmI]

Read More

New Podcast on the Gospel of the Kingdom

Posted by Radical Resurgence | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 29-01-2019

0

We’d like to announce that Frank Viola has released a new podcast on the gospel of the kingdom with a few partners.

You can subscribe to the podcast on any of these podcast platforms.

Boyd and Viola Mix It Up Over the Kingdom

Posted by Radical Resurgence | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 16-01-2019

0

Greg Boyd and Frank Viola discuss the gospel of the kingdom in this powerful (and funny) interview.

Rethink Church

Posted by Radical Resurgence | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 10-09-2018

0

Best-selling author Frank Viola (author of Pagan Christianity with George Barna, Reimagining Church, From Eternity to Here, Finding Organic Church, and Insurgence) has recently written an incisive piece about rethinking church – a decade after his landmark books came out.

Viola is part of the radical resurgence.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Fast forward to 2018 — a decade later.

Other writers are beginning to tread the path that Barna and I pioneered 10 years ago, echoing the same vision.

This is encouraging, for we no longer have to take the bullets alone.

However, a danger looms. That danger is the temptation to try and reinvent the wheel independently. In every case I’ve seen of this nature (over the last thirty years, mind you), the result has always been the same: the antidote ends up carrying the disease.

The common trend among Christian leaders today is to fly solo and isolate themselves from their peers, especially those from whom they can learn much. By contrast, cross pollination is written in the bloodstream of God’s kingdom. But it requires deep humility and cross-bearing.

My prayer and hope, therefore, is that those who have caught the vision of God’s passion for the ekklesia in recent years will resist the temptation to isolate themselves from those who have plowed the ground before them. For only as we reach out to one another will we see the Insurgence spread and watch the Spirit build it on a foundation that no man can topple.

When it comes to the restoration of the church, God is after much more than glorified Bible studies that meet in living rooms. The ekklesia in the beating heart of God transcends polishing the iron on the Titanic. Cross pollinating with those who have experience (including the scars to prove it) is the remedy. And it’s a hill worth dying on.

Click here to read the entire article and contact Viola.

New Celebrated Book on the Kingdom of God

Posted by Radical Resurgence | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 05-06-2018

0

The following is from Jon Zens.

My good friend Frank Viola has just released a powerful new book on the kingdom of God called Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Jonathan Cottrell recently interviewed Frank on the new book. If you order it now, you can get 3 exclusive bonuses. This is explained in the interview. I believe you will enjoy the interview.

JZ

There have been many books written on the kingdom of God. How is your newest book, Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, different? 

That’s a great question. Let me begin by saying that I never choose to write a book. A book chooses me. I become so burdened with a message that I have to release it. The discomfort of keeping the message inside me exceeds the discomfort (and massive toil) it takes to get it onto the printed page.

But there is something else. I write the book that I myself want to read, but that doesn’t exist. This second reason gets closer to your question.

I’m familiar with most of the landmark books written on the kingdom of God that have been published over the last 50 years. And none of them does what I was looking for.

Here’s what I was looking for, but couldn’t find:

* A book that takes a comprehensive look at the gospel of the kingdom as it is presented in the New Testament.

* A book on the kingdom that’s NOT academic or heady, but is easy to read.

* A book on the kingdom that doesn’t align with the agenda of either the progressive left or the conservative right.

* A book that covers all the dimensions of the kingdom, not just one or two.

* A book on the kingdom that contains no hint of legalism, guilt, or condemnation.

* A book on the kingdom that gives practical exercises so the reader is helped to apply the message to their lives.

Since I couldn’t find a single book that did all of those things, I chose to take on the herculean task of writing it myself. Hence Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom was born.

What is the gospel of the kingdom, exactly, in your view?

In our time, we are used to hearing pithy shallow answers to complicated questions in sound bites.

That’s what our culture has conditioned us to expect. But trying to answer your question in a sentence or even several paragraphs is like trying to put the Atlantic Ocean into a coffee mug.

It cannot be done without diluting its power and draining its glory as well as raising a truck load of questions.

That’s why I wrote the book. Insurgence is the answer to your question.

I will say that most Christians have never heard the gospel of the kingdom. They’ve only heard bits and pieces of it. And in most cases, whenever parts of that gospel have been presented, it’s been couched in guilt, religious duty, and obligation.

People hear it and come under a pile of condemnation. For this reason, its effect is short lived and it doesn’t transform.

But the gospel of the kingdom, when proclaimed clearly and properly, is radically transformative. And it’s for the long haul.

I love a stirring book title, and your latest is no different. Tell us about the title – Insurgence – what it means, and how you came up with the title?

An insurgence is an organized opposition intended to change or overthrow existing authority. Other words for it are insurgency, insurrection, revolt, revolution, sedition, uprising.

I originally wanted to title the book “Radicalized,” but I was told I couldn’t use it, since many Christians would wrongly associate the book with terrorism. (There is a chapter in the book by that name, however.) When I came across the word “Insurgence,” I realized it was a better option to describe the book’s message.

This leads into another reason why I wrote the book.

There is a growing insurgence against what the New Testament calls “the world system” and a resurgence of the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom – a gospel that caused a cataclysmic eruption in the first-century Roman world.

The best way to spread ideas today – even beyond blogs and social media updates – is through a book.

Consequently, Insurgence casts a unique vision of the gospel of the kingdom that both deconstructs and constructs at the same time. It also answers questions and offers practical solutions, all toward fomenting the divine insurgence today.

The book also contains stories of people who have joined the insurgence. And each one is powerful.

Here’s one example. It’s a moving testimony of a woman named Ruth. She wrote it out, then read it aloud to a group of believers just before she was baptized after she heard the gospel of the kingdom for the first time in her life:

Thirty-four years ago I responded to a very weak and inaccurate gospel message that I had been taught all of my life. It was a message that was mixed with half truth and half lies. It was a perverted “gospel message” based on works and fueled by fear. I was baptized into that system of control. It’s important for me to be re-baptized today to declare my renunciation with that system and my commitment to the real, true gospel and to our Lord Jesus Christ.

So today I do this before you as witnesses, God, and all the heavenly beings, both holy and the demonic beings, because they need to hear my renunciation and proclamation: By my baptism today, I publicly declare my intentions to completely break ties of loyalty to and come away from this world’s systems and all of its entanglements, distractions, and counterfeits. I choose to forsake all that gets in the way of me fully coming into the kingdom of God—into the Lord Jesus Himself. I repent of being baptized into a legalistic system that taught my acceptance by Him was based on my performance in addition to what Jesus did for me. I renounce any agreement with the fear that this belief produced in me if I didn’t measure up. Although I believed I would go to heaven, I did not know then what it meant to forsake all and to fully enter His kingdom; to “come follow Him.”

I sever my ties to a mixture of lies and half truth, which resulted in a lack of seeing the power of the pure gospel’s effect in my life. I repent of not receiving the fullness of the power of the resurrected Christ in my heart, but instead followed a lie of Him still on the cross. I choose to live by the power of the resurrected Christ and by His grace to appropriate my full inheritance that He paid for, to be a radical laid-down lover of Jesus who will bring this kingdom everywhere I go, to be the royal mature bride that my Beloved deserves and to impact the world with His love.

By His grace, I have counted the cost as best as I know, and I choose to be “all in” toward Him and all out of the world today and forever. I go under the water so that I might die to myself and everything that has tentacles around me, including compromising the gospel. I come up in newness of life, into His glorious light, putting to death all known or unknown agreements to darkness or to living by my flesh or man’s systems. I will be a new creation, a new citizen who is fully immersed in God’s kingdom! I will live by Jesus’ gospel, not any version of man’s invention. Today is a new day, a new start!

~ Ruth 

What do you believe are the most common misunderstandings about the kingdom of God among Christians today? And how do you feel those misunderstandings have misled today’s church, especially in the west?

Generally speaking, there are five major misconceptions about the kingdom among believers today.

Misconception 1: The kingdom of God is the equivalent of social justice and social activism. It’s the attempt to make the world a better place by engaging in political activism and sitting at Caesar’s table to affect laws. Many people who identify with the progressive left view the kingdom of God this way, but it’s misguided since it makes the body of Christ just another branch of the world system.

Misconception 2: The kingdom of God is associated with the Christian effort to take dominion in the world by influencing lawmakers to pass laws that represent Christian values. Many people who identify with the conservative right view the kingdom this way. One of their goals is to bring America back to the moral climate of the 1950s.

Interestingly, the exact same premise undergirds misconception 1 and 2. Each camp just cuts the moral line in a different place. But both involve God’s people sitting at Caesar’s table to change laws and to Christianize the world (whether that means laws which favor the poor or laws that outlaw personal choices regarded immoral).

Misconception 3: The kingdom of God is the equivalent of working signs, wonders, and miracles on the earth. This view is held by many in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. Interestingly, these movements are recent to church history.

I’m not a cessationist. I believe in the supernatural power of the Spirit for our time. However, signs and wonders are never mentioned in Jesus’ central teaching on the kingdom of God (Matthew 5 – 7), except at the very end, and what He says is chilling. Namely, “many” will say that they did signs and wonders in His name, but the Lord will say to them, “I never knew you.”

God is not after gifting and outward power. He’s after brokenness and inward transformation. While both are associated with kingdom citizens, the latter is always the priority.

Unfortunately, there is a tendency for these two movements (Pentecostal and Charismatic) to exaggerate (and even fabricate) the miraculous. And so there’s a great deal of mixture to sort through in both. I know this firsthand because I grew up in both the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements myself.

The point is that the kingdom of God isn’t the equivalent of signs and wonders. It’s far more than that. To reduce it to outward signs removes its cutting edge and its power to transform the mind and heart.

Misconception 4: The kingdom is “within” every believer. Therefore, it’s an individualistic, privatized religious experience. This idea is based on a misunderstanding of a statement of Jesus in Luke 17. I deal with that text in the book. While Christ lives in every genuine believer, the New Testament says we enter the kingdom.

Misconception 5: The kingdom of God is the equivalent of going to heaven. According to this view, the task of every Christian is to bring as many people to Christ as possible and wait for the kingdom to arrive at Christ’s return (or our entrance into the kingdom at death). This view is incorrect because it turns the kingdom into something completely futuristic, which it is not. It’s only partially futuristic.

All of these views are misguided in that they take a biblical truth and expand it to unbiblical proportions. In other words, there are aspects of the kingdom of God that tie into some of these themes, but the kingdom and the gospel of the kingdom (in particular) are way beyond all of these viewpoints.

I detail all of this in the book. And what I argue has the testimony of Scripture and the witness of church history behind it, I believe.

I understand that you have some supplemental articles that go along with the book, which I always enjoy along with your books. Tell us about those and how readers can find them.

Yes. The book was too long in its original form, so the publisher asked me to cut some of the chapters out. Therefore, I removed the following chapters from the book, but made them accessible online as stand-alone articles.

The Origins of Human Government and Hierarchy

The Radical Cost of the Kingdom

Rethinking Water Baptism

Aware of His Presence

How to Break an Addiction

A Word About Political Elections

The Kingdom Present and Future

Action Terms for the Kingdom in the Gospels

You Will Not Taste Death

Daniel’s Seventy Weeks

The Mission of the Insurgence

The Kingdom in the New Testament (Every Reference)

In the book itself, there are instructions on how to download each of these articles. They are all free.

Insurgence is rather unique in the way its chapters are arranged. Share a bit about how it differs from other Christian books in the formatting.

I wanted the book to be read by every serious Christian who desires to love the Lord more and learn more about the passion of His heart, specifically His kingdom.

That includes teenagers as well as theologians and scholars. It includes people who love to read and people who hardly read at all. (The book is in audio format as well.)

What’s unique about Insurgence is that I wrote it in a style where a high school teenager could pick it up and understand it and where a scholar would benefit also.

Each chapter is very short. I am a voracious reader, but I get discouraged with books that contain long chapters. They make me feel like I’m never going to finish.

By contrast, Insurgence fits right into our culture which presents material in small digestible chunks. So even though it’s not a small book, it’s a quick read.

Here are the main sections. Each one contains many chapters which are only one to three pages long.

PART I – THREE DIFFERENT GOSPELS

PART II – UNVEILING THE KING’S BEAUTY

PART III – THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

PART IV – ENTERING AND ENJOYING THE KINGDOM

PART V – OUR GLORIOUS LIBERTY

PART VI – ADVANCING THE KINGDOM 

Having been personally impacted by your work more than any other author today, I know that you are absolutely fixated upon the eternal purpose of God, which is what you frequently call “His magnificent obsession.” How does that obsession intersect with the gospel of the kingdom? 

Great question. In the beginning of the book, I talk about how the gospel of the kingdom relates to the Eternal Purpose. They are really two sides of the same coin. I explain exactly how throughout the book.

If one thing happens when people read Insurgence, what do you hope that result is in their life? In essence, what’s in it for your readers?

Radicalization to Jesus Christ as well as the emergence of kingdom communities that are living out the gospel of the kingdom together. The implications of both are brought forth in the book, including practical instructions on how to flesh both out.

This brings up another unique feature of the book. Every section is followed by a “Taking Action” section which gives practical exercises on how to walk out the message. This makes the book a practical manual in addition to a visionary work of comprehensive teaching on the kingdom.

Though this question isn’t directly tied to the book, I know you are always aligning your work to what you feel Jesus is doing right now. As a result, if you could see the church grasp one thing above all others today, what would you pray she grasps? 

That God’s people would get very clear on the gospel of the kingdom and fully respond to it. If this happens, it will shake the earth once again just as it did in Century One when that incredible gospel was first proclaimed and received.

Do you have a sampler available where people can get a taste of the book?

Yes. There is a sample on the book landing page. Just click the SAMPLE link in the menu to download it.

I understand there are some exclusive bonuses you are offering to those who purchase the book for a limited time. Can you tell us about those?

Sure, on the landing page, people can watch a 3-minute video which tells them what the bonuses are and how to get them. It’s super simple.

Just go to Insurgence.org and scroll down to see the video.

The Resurgence

Posted by Radical Resurgence | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 05-04-2018

0

The Radical Resurgence is dedicated to the radical wing of the Reformation, which is experiencing a resurgence in our time. Articles written by those who resonate with the resurgence, present and past, will be featured.

The whole concern of Reformation theology was to justify restructuring the organized church without shaking its foundations. – John Howard Yoder

The church’s future lies with the left wing of the Reformation. – Jurgen Moltmann

 Check out our recommended links.

Jonathan Edwards and His Theology of the Supernatural

Posted by Radical Resurgence | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 08-01-2017

0

From The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God by Jonathan Edwards

The content of this book was originally delivered by Edwards as the commencement speech to the faculty and student body of Yale University on September 10, 1741. Edwards expanded the work and published it later that same year with a preface by the Rev. William Cooper of Boston. The complete title of the work is:

The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, Applied to that Uncommon Operation that has lately Appeared on the Minds of Many of the People of This Land: With a Particular Consideration of the Extraordinary Circumstances with Which this Work Is Attended.

Edwards’ design in this work was “to show what are the true, certain, and distinguishing evidences of a work of the Spirit of God, by which we may safely proceed in judging of any operation we find in ourselves, or see in others” (87). Edwards believed he found a biblical standard for this in 1 John 4:1-6.

His approach is two-fold. He begins with what he calls “Negative Signs,” or signs/events/experiences/phenomena from which we may conclude nothing. One is not free to conclude from the presence of these occurrences either that the Holy Spirit produced them or that He did not. Edwards then turns to those signs which are indeed sure and certain evidence of the Spirit’s work.

Negative Signs

“Nothing can be certainly concluded from this, that a work is carried on in a way very unusual and extraordinary; provided the variety or difference be such, as may still be comprehended within the limits of Scripture rules”(89).

This initial argument is so crucial that we would do well to consider it in detail. Edwards explains:

“What the church has been used to, is not a rule by which we are to judge; because there may be new and extraordinary works of God, and he has heretofore evidently wrought in an extraordinary manner. He has brought to pass new things, strange works; and has wrought in such a manner as to surprise both men and angels. And as God has done thus in times past, so we have no reason to think but that he will do so still. The prophecies of Scripture give us reason to think that God has things to accomplish, which have never yet been seen. No deviation from what has hitherto been usual, let it be never so great, is an argument that a work is not from the Spirit of God, if it be no deviation from his prescribed rule. The Holy Spirit is sovereign in his operation; and we know that he uses a great variety; and we cannot tell how great a variety he may use, within the compass of the rules he himself has fixed. We ought not to limit God where he has not limited himself” (89).

N.B. If a criterion for determining the origin of a religious work is its conformity to past experience, i.e., if a work is to be excluded simply because it is unprecedented and strange, then we would be compelled to reject what occurred in the book of Acts. “The work of the Spirit then,” writes Edwards, “was carried on in a manner that, in very many respects, was altogether new; such as never had been seen or heard since the world stood” (90).

“A work is not to be judged of by any effects on the bodies of men; such as tears, trembling, groans, loud outcries, agonies of body, or the failing of bodily strength” (91).

“We cannot conclude that persons are under the influence of the true Spirit because we see such effects upon their bodies, because this is not given as a mark of the true Spirit; nor on the other hand, have we any reason to conclude, from any such outward appearances, that persons are not under the influence of the Spirit of God, because there is no rule of Scripture given us to judge of spirits by, that does either expressly or indirectly exclude such effects on the body, nor does reason exclude them” (91).

But the question remains: Why should we expect or even be open to the possibility of bodily, physical manifestations? Edwards’ answer is an appeal to what he calls “the laws of the union between soul and body” (91). See pp. 91-94.

“It is no argument that an operation on the minds of people is not the work of the Spirit of God that it occasions a great deal of noise about religion” (94).

“It is no argument that an operation on the minds of people is not the work of the Spirit of God that many who are the subjects of it have great impressions made on their imaginations”(95-96).

So far is this from being a reason for rejecting the presence of the Spirit that Edwards wonders how it is possible not to have one’s imagination stirred while under the influence of the Spirit’s power. He explains:

“I dare appeal to any man, of the greatest powers of mind, whether he is able to fix his thoughts on God, or Christ, or the things of another world, without imaginary ideas attending his meditations? And the more engaged the mind is, and the more intense the contemplation and affection, still the more lively and strong the imaginary idea will ordinarily be; especially when attended with surprise” (96).

“It is no argument that a work is not of the Spirit of God that some who are the subjects of it have been in a kind of ecstasy, wherein they have been carried beyond themselves, and have had their minds transported into a train of strong and pleasing imaginations, and a kind of visions, as though they were rapt up even to heaven and there saw glorious sights. I have been acquainted with some such instances, and I see no need of bringing in the help of the devil into the account that we give of these things, nor yet of supposing them to be of the same nature with the visions of the prophets, or St. Paul’s rapture into paradise. Human nature, under these exercises and affections, is all that need be brought into account. If it may be well accounted for, that persons under a true sense of a glorious and wonderful greatness and excellency of divine things, and soul-ravishing views of the beauty and love of Christ, should have the strength of nature overpowered, as I have already shown that it may; then I think it is not at all strange that amongst great numbers that are thus affected and overborne, there should be some persons of particular constitutions that should have their imaginations thus affected. The effect is no other than what bears a proportion and analogy to other effects of the strong exercise of their minds. It is no wonder, when the thoughts are so fixed, and the affections so strong — and the whole soul so engaged, ravished, and swallowed up — that all other parts of the body are so affected, as to be deprived of their strength, and the whole frame ready to dissolve” (97).

Edwards, being a cessationist, does not equate such experience with any of the revelatory gifts or such phenomena as dreams, visions, etc. But he maintains, nonetheless, that the experience is of God.

“It is no sign that a work is not from the Spirit of God that example is a great means of it” (98).

Some objected that if the Spirit were to work, he would not produce such phenomena through means, but rather do so immediately and instantaneously. Edwards disagrees. If it is biblical (and it is) that people are influenced in matters of practical virtue by the example of others, why should not the same hold true when it comes to the more visible and vocal manifestations of the Spirit? He explains:

“It is therefore no argument against the goodness of the effect, that persons are greatly affected by seeing others so; yea, though the impression be made only by seeing the tokens of great and extraordinary affection in others in their behaviour, taking for granted what they are affected with, without hearing them say one word. . . . If a person should see another under extreme bodily torment, he might receive much clearer ideas, and more convincing evidence of what he suffered by his actions in his misery, than he could do only by the words of an unaffected indifferent relater. In like manner he might receive a greater idea of any thing that is excellent and very delightful from the behavior of one that is in actual enjoyment, than by the dull narration of one which is inexperienced and insensible himself” (99).

“It is no sign that a work is not from the Spirit of God that many who seem to be the subjects of it are guilty of great imprudences and irregularities in their conduct. We are to consider that the end for which God pours out his Spirit is to make men holy, and not to make them politicians” (101).

Says Edwards: “That it should be thus may be well accounted for from the exceeding weakness of human nature, together with the remaining darkness and corruption of those that are yet the subjects of the saving influences of God’s Spirit, and have a real zeal for God” (101). Two biblical examples cited by Edwards to prove his point are the church at Corinthand the experience of Peter as described by Paul in Gal. 2:11-13.

“Nor are many errors in judgment, and some delusions of Satan intermixed with the work, any argument that the work in general is not of the Spirit of God” (103).

The fact that Jannes and Jambres, Pharoah’s court magicians, worked false miracles by the power of Satan does not mean the Spirit was not present in the miraculous deliverance of Israel from Egypt.

“If some, who were thought to be wrought upon, fall away into gross errors, or scandalous practices, it is no argument that the work in general is not the work of the Spirit of God. That there are some counterfeits is no argument that nothing is true: such things are always expected in a time of reformation. If we look into church history, we shall find no instance of any great revival of religion, but what has been attended with many such things” (104).

For example, the presence of Judas Iscariot as a counterfeit among the disciples does not mean the Spirit was not at work in the other eleven!

“It is no argument that a work is not from the Spirit of God that it seems to be promoted by ministers insisting very much on the terrors of God’s holy law, and that with a great deal of pathos and earnestness” (106).

In particular, if there is a hell to which all unbelievers will be eternally consigned, why would we not proclaim that truth with the greatest urgency and pathos possible? Says Edwards, “Some talk of it as an unreasonable thing to fright persons to heaven; but I think it is a reasonable thing to endeavour to fright persons away from hell” (108).

Edwards then proceeds “to show positively what are the sure, distinguishing Scripture evidences and marks of a work of the Spirit of God, by which we may proceed in judging of any operation we find in ourselves, or see among a people without danger of being misled” (109). Here Edwards bases his argument on principles gleaned from 1 John 4:1-6.

Positive Signs

“When the operation is such as to raise their esteem of that Jesus who was born of the Virgin, and was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem; and seems more to confirm and establish their minds in the truth of what the gospel declares to us of his being the Son of God, and the Saviour of men; it is a sure sign that it is from the Spirit of God” (109).

Edwards derives this principle from vv. 2-3 and v. 15. Therefore, if people are led to deeper conviction that Jesus is the Christ come in the flesh, if they are led to deeper devotion and esteem for Christ, if they are led to more honorable thoughts of him, “it is a sure sign that it is the true and right Spirit” (110). Satan would never do this. He “never would go about to beget in men more honourable thoughts of him, and lay greater weight on his instructions and commands. The Spirit that inclines men’s hearts to the seed of the woman is not the spirit of the serpent that has such an irreconcilable enmity against him” (111).

“When the spirit that is at work operates against the interests of Satan’s kingdom, which lies in encouraging and establishing sin, and cherishing men’s worldly lusts; this is a sure sign that it is a true, and not a false spirit” (111). See vv. 4-5.

“The spirit that operates in such a manner as to cause in men a greater regard to the Holy Scriptures, and establishes them more in their truth and divinity is certainly the Spirit of God”(113). See v. 6.

In view of the reference in v. 6 to “the spirit of truth and the spirit of error,” Edwards concludes that”if by observing the manner of the operation of a spirit that is at work among a people, we see that it operates as a spirit of truth, leading persons to truth, convincing them of those things that are true, we may safely determine that it is a right and true spirit” (115).

“If the spirit that is at work among a people operates as a spirit of love to God and man, it is a sure sign that it is the Spirit of God” (115). Edwards appeals to what John writes beginning with v. 6 and extending to the end of the chapter.

Edwards’ point is that there are certain things that Satan either cannot do or would not do: he would not awaken the conscience of the sinner or make them sensible of sin and guilt; he would not confirm their belief in or their love for the Son of God; he would not increase their love for and belief in the truth and authority of the Scriptures; he would not increase our love or humility. Thus Edwards concludes that

“when there is an extraordinary influence or operation appearing on the minds of a people, if these things are found in it we are safe in determining that it is the work of God, whatever other circumstances it may be attended with, whatever instruments are used, whatever methods are taken to promote it; whatever means a sovereign God, whose judgments are a great deep, employs to carry it on; and whatever motion there may be of the animal spirits, whatever effects may be wrought on men’s bodies. These marks that the apostle has given us are sufficient to stand alone, and support themselves. They plainly show the finger of God, and are sufficient to outweigh a thousand such little objections, as many make from oddities, irregularities, errors in conduct, and the delusions and scandals of some professors” (118-19).

Edwards now turns to several practical inferences from the preceding.

“From what has been said, I will venture to draw this inference, viz, that the extraordinary influence that has lately appeared causing an uncommon concern and engagedness of mind about the things of religion is undoubtedly, in the general, from the Spirit of God” (121). Under this general heading, Edwards makes several comments that are helpful in evaluating the move of the Spirit.

Greater precision is possible in determining the source of religious phenomena “when it is observed in a great multitude of people of all sorts and in various places [as was the case in the Great Awakening], than when it is only seen in a few, in some particular place, that have been much conversant one with another” (122).

Those people who have been the subject of intense bodily manifestations were either “in great distress from an apprehension of their sin and misery” or were “overcome with a sweet sense of the greatness, wonderfulness, and excellency of divine things” (123).

Edwards believed that “there have beenvery few in whom there has been any appearance of feigning or affecting such manifestations, and very many for whom it would have been undoubtedly utterly impossible for them to avoid” (124).

Edwards observed that “generally, in these agonies they have appeared to be in the perfect exercise of their reason; and those of them who could speak [implying that some were so overcome that they couldnot speak] have been well able to give an account of the circumstances of their mind, and the cause of their distress, at the time, and were able to remember and give an account of it afterwards. I have known a very few instances of those who, in their great extremity, have for a short space been deprived in some measure of the use of reason; and among the many hundreds, and it may be thousands, that have lately been brought to such agonies, I never yet knew one lastingly deprived of their reason” (124).

To the objection that the “revival” was not of God because he is the author of order, not confusion, Edwards responds:

“But let it be considered what is the proper notion of confusion, but the breaking that order of things whereby they are properly disposed, and duly directed to their end, so that the order and due connection of means being broken they fail of their end. Now the conviction of sinners for their conversion is the obtaining of the end of religious means. Not but that I think the persons thus extraordinarily moved should endeavour to refrain from such outward manifestations, what they well can, and should refrain to their utmost, at the time of their solemn worship. [Edwards’ point here is that during times of worship, during those moments when reverence, awe, silence, and the like, seem proper, if possible, people should try to restrain those sorts of manifestations that would prove inconsistent with the atmosphere of the service.] But if God is pleased to convince the consciences of persons, so that they cannot avoid great outward manifestations, even to interrupting and breaking off those public means they were attending, I do not think this is confusion or an unhappy interruption, any more than if a company should meet on the field to pray for rain, and should be broken off from their exercise by a plentiful shower. Would to God that all the public assemblies in the land were broken off from their public exercises with such confusion as this the next Sabbath day! We need not be sorry for breaking the order of means, by obtaining the end to which that order is directed. He who is going to fetch a treasure need not be sorry that he is stopped by meeting the treasure in the midst of his journey”(126-27).

Edwards talks further about many “who have had their bodily strength taken away” (127) because of a sense of Christ’s beauty and dying love; others “had their love and joy attended with a flood of tears” (127); and “many have been overcome with pity to the souls of others, and longing for their salvation” (127).

Edwards attributes the imprudences and irregularities, at least in part, to the fact that the Awakening came “after a long continued and almost universal deadness” (128).

He also attributes much of the excess to the fact that the principal recipients of the Spirit were young people, “who have less steadiness and experience, and being in the heat of youth are much more ready to run to extremes” (129).

Edwards also notes that when the ministers of those who have been touched by the Spirit oppose the work, the people are left without guidance. “No wonder then that when a people are as sheep without a shepherd, they wander out of the way” (129).

“Let us all be hence warned, by no means to oppose, or do any thing in the least to clog or hinder the work; but, on the contrary, do our utmost to promote it” (130).

To those waiting to see the results of the revival, Edwards says: “If they wait to see a work of God without difficulties and stumbling-blocks, it will be like the fool’s waiting at the river side to have the water all run by. A work of God without stumbling-blocks is never to be expected. . . . There never yet was any great manifestation that God made of himself to the world, without many difficulties attending it” (133).

Clearly, Edwards did not condone excess or difficulties or stumbling-blocks. As much as is humanly possible, with the help of divine grace, we should work to eliminate anything that might hinder or bring reproach upon the work of Christ (as the subsequent argument makes clear). His point is simply that when the Spirit genuinely moves in extraordinary power, there will always be a mess, and that we cannot afford to sit idly waiting for a revival that is free of them.

“Let me earnestly exhort such [friends of the revival] to give diligent heed to themselves to avoid all errors and misconduct, and whatever may darken and obscure the work; and to give no occasion to those who stand ready to reproach it” (136).

Edwards especially warns about the destructive impact ofpride. “Let us therefore maintain the strictest watch against spiritual pride, or being lifted up with extraordinary experiences and comforts, and the high favours of heaven that any of us may have received” (136). Cf. 2 Cor. 12:7.

Edwards then tries to argue (mistakenly, in my opinion), that none of the phenomena of the revival are to be equated with the extraordinary or miraculous gifts of the Spirit. For his weak defense of cessationism, see pp. 137-41.

He also warns (rightly, this time) against the tendency to despise human learning because of the depth of spiritual experience .

He issues strong warnings against any further censoring of those who are judged to be hypocrites or unsaved. Leave that judgment to God for the final day. “They, therefore, do greatly err who take it upon them positively to determine who are sincere, and who are not; to draw the dividing line between true saints and hypocrites, and to separate between sheep and goats, setting the one on the right hand and the other on the left; and to distinguish and gather out the tares amongst the wheat” (143).

Source: Sam Storms

The Hypocrisy of Evangelicals in the 2016 Presidential Election

Posted by Radical Resurgence | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 27-02-2016

0

Today’s guest post is from a woman named Rachel. She asked me to keep her identity anonymous since she fears any backlash for her views. Rachel is an evangelical Christian. She’s married, has two children, and she’s in her early 30s. She and her family attend a Baptist church and are involved in the church’s community life.

I’m an avid Facebook user. It’s partly a hobby when my children are taking naps. I pay attention to my feed. Not once, not twice, but three times, some of my fellow-evangelical friends (yes, I’m an evangelical) published updates trashing one of the Republican candidates. They pointed out that he’s had infidelities in his marriage and has talked about his promiscuous life-style in the past on old radio shows. Also that he uses profanity.

They went on to argue that such a man is not qualified to be president, and haughtily accused any evangelical of supporting the person as being clueless or unspiritual and perhaps not even saved.

What they don’t realize is that this stance and mode of arguing is hypocritical.

It is so for the following reasons:

  1. These same people supported Ronald Reagan. It’s been well documented that President Reagan had both adultery and divorce in his past. He also had premarital sex in his past (Nancy was pregnant when they married). All of this has been documented and isn’t disputed.
  2. Many of the other candidates have been caught lying and engaging in slander. The Bible condemns lying and slander with as much vigor as it does infidelity and premarital sex. Playing the “this sin is greater than that sin” is a problem evangelicals have had for a long time and that’s why so many lost people aren’t interested in the faith. Double standards are unappealing and unbiblical. They smell of hypocrisy.
  3. The candidate some of my evangelical friends so vehemently despise has put people to work, has a proven record of negotiating great deals, has proven leadership skills, speaks the truth to power, and his family life today is impeccable. His adult children are impressive, and this cannot be said about some of the other candidates.

The main point here is that if a person is going to use the personal morality of someone’s past to determine if they are qualified to be president, then ALL the candidates are not qualified.

Lying is a moral issue. Slander is a moral issue. Bumming off of other people is a moral issue. Filing inaccuracies on your taxes is a moral issue. Mishandling confidential emails is a moral issue. Playing dirty politics in the Iowa caucus is a moral issue. Mismanaging your money is a moral issue (we are to be good stewards). Some evangelicals would argue that taking out large loans is a moral issue. Some of the other candidates claim to be Christians, but they believe in what many evangelicals would say are false doctrines (Seventh Day Adventism and Catholicism).

Each of the other candidates has at least one of these morality problems in their past and even in their present.

I personally don’t condone immorality of any kind. But I’m not voting for someone based on their morality. All the candidates fail if we compare their personal morality according to biblical standards. All of them.

But if we are going to base our vote on who can lead the country the best, then that’s another story.

Remember this too. If you’re going to condemn someone about something they did or said in their past, you’re condemning yourself. No one has a perfect past. All have sinned and come short of God’s glory, that includes every person reading this article. I personally liked Ronald Reagan but his past had many of the same problems that Bill Clinton’s past did (not identical but similar).

Perhaps someday evangelicals will not be viewed as the hypocritical, self-righteous, judgmental, double-standard flame throwers that the world sees them as today. I think it begins with throwing out the double standards, don’t you?

Written by Rachel

Jon Zens Resources

Posted by Radical Resurgence | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 27-06-2015

0

Here are links about the author Jon Zens.

JonZens

Jon Zens | LinkedIn

View Jon Zens’s professional profile on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the world’s largest business network, helping professionals like Jon Zens discover inside 

What’s with Paul and Women?: Jon Zens, Wade Burleson

as a clear mandate to silence women in the church for over 1500 years. In What’s With Paul & Women? Jon Zens exposes the fallacies of this interpretation.

Istoria Ministries Blog: Searching Together, Edited by Jon Zens

Sep 21, 2010 – One of my favorite theologians is Jon Zens. Jon edits the quarterly periodical called Searching Together, formerly known as the Baptist 

Is Paul sexist? (with Dr. Jon Zens) – YouTube

Adam Zens and Bo Bennet interview Dr. Jon Zens. Jon explains why he doesn’t think that Paul is sexist and

Gatherings In The Early Church. By Jon Zens | house2housemagazine

Oct 17, 2013 – Gatherings In The Early Church. By Jon Zens. Sharing Christ with One Another, Not Listening to a Pulpit Monologue. Although I have problems 

Jon Zens Talks About His New Book: No Will of My Own

May 7, 2011 – Author Jon Zens joined in earlier today at Jocelyn Andersen’s Blog Talk In his Introduction to No Will of My Own, Jon states, “In this case, 

Four Tragic Shifts in the Visible Church | Jon Zens – Granted Ministries

Read “Four Tragic Shifts in the Visible Church” by Jon Zens. Download for free. See our review.

Jon Zens: The Pastor Has No Clothes | 5 Pt. Salt

Aug 15, 2011 – This is the kind of thing that makes you go “Hmmm….” Or…. “Are you kidding me?” Related Post: The Pastor-Teacher: One Calling, One Office

Jon Zens and Frank Viola

jonzens

Jon Zens Videos

CALVIN’S GENEVA – APPLIED CRITICAL THINKING

Posted by Radical Resurgence | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 15-03-2015

3

Written by Obie Ephyhm

Among the more difficult tasks in evaluating past opinions lies in viewing the ‘then’ through the values and ideals of the ‘now.’ This is both true in looking at John Hubbird’s essay from 1983 and at the life works of John Calvin from the mid-16th century. It is a common error, for example, to judge harshly based on what is unacceptable practice now when such may have been all too common nearly 500 years ago or to be overly critical of Hubbird’s equivocation of Calvin’s actions and motives based on the values I hold today set against his university values of 1983.

CALVIN’S GENEVA – AN EXPERIMENT IN CHRISTIAN THEOCRACY

Posted by Radical Resurgence | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 15-03-2015

3

Written by John Hubbird

By 1533, with the Reformation about sixteen years old, the European map had taken on definitive shapes from Luther’s and Zwingli’s efforts and territorial expansions. Yet, the fate of the reformation was hardly secure since, on the whole, liberal Catholic reformers were not joining the Protestant Reformation ranks (Erasmus being a notable example).