Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Response to a Response to a Response

Pastor Daniel Cox    responding to blog post on

Great article! In reading Garcia's article I was struck by the fact that he is only dealing mainly in secondary issues (His point on doctrine not withstanding). They are legtitimate secondary issues that must be faced but not the pressing need of the hour.Yours' however, cuts more to the heart of what I think the deeper issue are. If I may, allow me to add on to several point you made.

Point 1) I feel that we are trying to duplicate the wrong things. We are trying to duplicate the methods of the great men of God and not their walk. On the whole, they walked with God in a powerful way with far more dedication than many of us are willing to commit to. It was their walk with God and the tangible experience with God that empowered all that they did. Their ministries were founded on the supernatural; ours are not. I have to say that the 2nd generation Independent Baptists have, to some degree done us a dis-service. They have implied and out right stated often, that if we just "did" what they and the first generation did, then we could have the same results. Wrong. Results are God's. Our business is to pursue God with the equal and passionate hunger that they did.....and only in that duplication do we have a chance of seeing revival.

Point2) I believe we have accepted an incorrect paradigm and the following may state more correctly what is true. Mega Churches,
  • A) are not the norm for the history of the Church
  • B) They are not always the healthiest environment for believers to grow
  • C) more sheer number rarely produce true and lasting joy in ministry
  • D) numbers are never a true mark of a spiritual healthy Church
Point 3) I believe that our Churches should be "Distinctively Other." By that I mean, I believe it is a false assumption that because our people live in a world of media overload we must counter that with more media. The time has well come for us to be - dare I say it, "Simple." I believe that Christians need a place where the announcements and programs are few and concise. A place where there is a family atmosphere intentionally spiritual and profoundly supernatural. I am not saying that we cant make certain contextual changes - or that we must jettison technology on the whole. But what I am saying is that there is nothing that much "other" or "different" about us if we continually try to match the atmosphere of the world. Church should be holy,distinct and much more supernatual oriented thatn most are. It may be that people are hungrier than we realize for depth and simplicity. The average family is overwhelmed with work, shopping, appointments, balls games, trips, family get togethers, doctor and dentist appointments, holidays and a myriad of other "stuff" - and all this is without the Church schedule. We don't need to be afraid of being, Biblically Simple -  First Century, i.e. Acts 2.42-47

Point 4) Life is what is missing.......we are, on the whole absent of the power of the Holy Spirit. I may, at another time suggest ways to seek His power, but I think any diagnosis that does not start with the obvious absence of the power of the Holy Spirit is a misdiagnosis. Let me share a quote that I think is on point:
  • "We had done quite a lot of thinking and self-examining the previous few years. It seemed to us that so much of Christianity was being spread by advertising designed to “put across”something, that there as very little genuine recognition of the supernatural. Suppose we had awakened today to find everything concerning the Holy Spirit and prayer removed from the Bible – what difference would is make practically between the way we work yesterday and the way we would work today and tomorrow? What difference would it make in the majority of Christians’ practical work and plants. Where does the supernatural power of God have a real place? Challenged by this we begin the think and look over our own lives and work….”
I believe we must admit that two things are at work. A) we have not paid the price of first generation Independent Baptists in seeking God and desiring deeper devotional nearness to Him B) we are in the Apostasy Scripture said would come.  Both of these have combined, I believe, to strip us of our most valuable and precious birth right - the power of the Living and Almighty Holy Spirit.

"Fruit growers use baskets, and in the Church we have to organize methods and programs.  They’re important and necessary.  But if the crops fails and there’s no life in the trees, you’re not going to improve matters by buying better baskets.”  Vance Havner