Renewal Journal 17: Unity
Lessons from Revivals, by Richard Riss
Divine Healing and Church Growth, by Donald McGavran
Unity not Uniformity, by Geoff Waugh
Reviews – Transformations DVDs; Informed Intercession, by George Otis Jr.
All one in Christ Jesus
The Spirit of the Lord is speaking loudly and clearly to the church now about unity – not uniformity.
Unity is biblical – Jesus demands it. We have no option on that. We are one, and are to demonstrate that oneness by our love for one another. Jesus commanded that on his last night with his disciples before he died (John 14-17).
Uniformity is unbiblical. We are meant to be different – different gifts but the same Spirit, different services but the same Lord, different ministries but the same God (1 Cor. 12:4-6).
We make an awful mistake if we want others to think as we do – because our thinking is too small at the best of times, and always distorted or limited. Another awful mistake is to want others to worship or work in the same way we do. The Spirit gives a great variety of gifts and ministries.
All over the world the Lord is raising up movements of unity across churches. This demands humility, repentance and forgiveness. Ministers are often the last to come on board because they are trained in their own tradition, and may be critical of other traditions. Often, the people in the congregation are more excited about unity than ministers!
This issue of the Renewal Journal celebrates unity, not uniformity. George Otis gives astounding accounts of visible unity among very different churches – different in theology and practice, but one in the Spirit. They demonstrate that to whole cities and regions.
Richard Riss reminds us of key lessons from revivals, where again there has been great unity amid wide diversity.
Donald McGavran, a pioneer in church growth writing, broke new ground in the seventies by insisting that churches need to take the power of the Spirit seriously, and expect God to heal – to do what he says he does. It’s worth careful consideration. We will never understand life’s mysteries, but that’s no excuse to run from Scripture. God is God, and wants to do ‘exceeding abundantly’ above everything we can ask or even think about (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Cecelia Estillore, a medical doctor, tackles head on the mystery of the spiritual dimensions of warfare with practical application in ministry, especially healing and deliverance. I give examples of this from Africa and from South America, adapted from Chapter 4 in my book Body Ministry.
Global reports continue to be astounding. No one can keep up with the outpouring of the Spirit in the world today. Evil abounds, but grace abounds so much more – and usually that abounding grace does not make it into the newspapers!
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