This message was preached by Ray Lowe who is a part of Regions Beyond an apostolic sphere within Newfrontiers Intl.
Ray shares on what the the major influences that have shaped us as Newfrontiers. What is our history and where are we going from here.
You can hear the audio by clicking here.
Ray Lowe - Where we've come from .
Five years ago I helped plant a church on the Isle of White. But prior to that, 5 years before I had preached at a conference of 5 churches there. The next day we had a Q&A and they asked why the charismatic churches of the 1960s have diminished but Newfrontiers has continued to grow.
There are 3 reasons I have put down. 1. The Bible is still the ultimate authority.2 We have never given up on church as the vehicle for change and 3. Terry has always looked out for the increase and multiplication of leaders.
Every movement has its DNA and so do we.
There are 8 influences in our DNA
1 Scripture –
we have never departed from this and this is the only way (Acts 11:19) to establish NT churches. Barnabas discovered that Jews and gentiles could worship together without having to be circumcised. Paul has had a decade of frustration because he longed for “one new man” but it’s only with Barnabas he saw that it was possible.
Having a year of teaching, what did he teach? On, One New Man in Christ. The grace that is evident in Anticoh and that what he models after.
The Dynamic and power of God. When Paul goes to Ephesus and prays for the Holy Spirit. This was another model. It does not take much for heresy to creep in depart from scripture. In the early church the Gnostic heretics were very charismatic and dynamic. Ignatius’ letter towards the close of the first century syas there is no apostle, no prophets and gifts.
Then we have the century’s of persecution till the 4th century. Constantine adopts Christianity and owe it become s the official religion of the Empire and Christianity gets watered down and the leading Church fathers become leading politicians and heresy gets into the church.
So for us Scripture is our first protocol.
In 1516 Erasmus translated the bible into Greek and he wrote a commentary on how scripture has been corrupted to give in and how doctrine has been corrupted. He was not a Reformer but he put tools into the hands of the reformers to study for them. So Luther, Zwingli etc were the Reformers. The issue was can you sell indulgences. Zwingli was challenging the doctrine of the church in Switzerland and then in 1521 in Germany the taught of the Word of God was coming through and Jesus ( and not all the saints etc ) became the object of worship once again.
INFLUENCE THREE - The Anabaptists’ understanding of a gathered community
Ulrich Zwingli became the leading minister of the church in Zurich and was commissioned by the state authorities to turn the church to evangelicalism. . A disputation took place, the outcome was inevitable and those disagreeing with Zwingli were ordered to present their children for baptism by sprinkling. Those believing in a “Gathered Church” split and formed independent churches and began to baptise one another by immersion (hence name “again baptisers”). For this, they were imprisoned and many executed by drowning. This was a blight on Zwingli and the Zurich authorities. Anabaptist’s notion of church as a community of believers was a great influence on later denominations, especially the Baptists in 17th century.
Despite constant persecution by both the Zwinglians, Lutherans and Roman Catholics, they appointed travelling ministries to evangelise and start new congregations. It is reckoned some 5000 were martyred for their faith.
INFLUENCE FIVE - 18th century missionary movement
Surprising as it is, English speaking Evangelicals did not take seriously the “Great Commission to go into the world and preach the gospel” until the end of the 18th century. William Carey, a young Baptist pastor much influenced by the Moravian leader Count Zinzendorf, raised the issue among the Northamptonshire Baptist Association. At first he was almost ridiculed, the famous response “Young man, if God wants to save the Pagans, He will do it without your help and mine.” Carey left for India and landed in Calcutta November 1793. Hostile authorities sought to forbid his labours but amidst personal hardship and off time depression, he pressed on until by the end of his life in 1834 he paved the way for the establishment of many missionary societies.
Carey’s influence has often gone unrecognised as he was more than a preacher.
Areas of influence
Education in both spiritual and secular fields - appointed by Governor of India to train civil servants and future leaders of India.
Reformer – Many Indian superstitions practiced were abolished by Act of Parliament ie Sati (burning of widow), slavery (great supporter of Wilberforce).
Translator – Translated Bible into many languages and parts thereof into 26 languages.
Team builder – Serampore Trio, famous for work in the community, set up with openness, honesty and mutual submission and admonition.
By his death, he had set up 19 mission stations, appointed some 50 missionaries of whom only 6 were European and seen 1000s saved and baptised. Against all odds, he became rightly called “The Father of Modern Missions”.
Married 3 times, lost several children, including his son and co-worker Felix at 37 years of age.
INFLUENCE SIX - The Pentecostals
1898 Charles Parham living in Topeka, near Kansas City, leaves his 40 students to study the early chapters of the Acts of the Apostles. 3 days later each state it seemed the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues was central to the missionary success of the Early Church (first 30 years). Agnes Osman has hands laid on her and can only speak in Chinese for 3 days. Each of the other 39 students speaks in known languages and later go as missionaries to those countries. (Such a corporate manifestation of the Holy Spirit not evidenced since Pentecost.) Parham was generally given a hostile response by the church and became an itinerant evangelist in the Kansas City area. It is reported some 2 million came to faith before his death in 1927.
W.J. Seymour, a black pastor much influenced by Parham, moved to Los Angeles where he was mightily used by God in what is known as the Azusa Street Revival. For several years, many evangelicals worldwide visited and received an anointing of the Holy Spirit. From Azusa Street, Pentecostalism spread around the world and such men as Smith Wigglesworth, William Branham and the Jeffrey Brothers were raised up. Again the orthodox evangelical church did not embrace the Pentecostal Movement, some even calling it a “cult”.
INFLUENCE SEVEN - The Restoration Movement
Post war Europe, especially the UK, was spiritually dry. Only bright spots were Billy Graham’s visits in the mid 60’s but church not ready for those responding to Graham’s brand of evangelicalism. However there were many in the mainstream denominations dissatisfied with their personal spirituality and church life in general. A young Church of England clergyman Michael Harper, gathered a few like minded friends and re-discovered the baptism of the Holy Spirit from studying the early chapters of Acts. Less emphasis on tongues but an emphasis on a deeper personal walk with Jesus and sensitivity to Holy Spirit promptings. However, again not welcomed by majority of evangelical Anglicans and “splits” began to take place. Slowly Evangelicals left the mainstream denominations and met informally for worship, fellowship and ministry in houses but as they grew began to hire school halls etc and then later purchased buildings to house their church family.
Beginning in the 1960s this movement had various names, such as “House Church Movement”, “New Churches”, “Restorationists”. Their theological differences were not immediately highlighted as main aim was to restore church to its former glory and to reach the masses. Among those who influenced this were Arthur Wallace, Bryn Jones, Ern Baxter, Terry Virgo, Gerald Coates, John Noble etc.
In recent years, much of restoration influences has been adopted by the denominational churches but begs the old question “Can you put new wine into an old wine skin?”.
INFLUENCE EIGHT - Terry Virgo, father of Newfrontiers
He can tell us his own story but Terry Virgo, converted as a happy pagan with little religious background, found his relationship with Jesus a lot better than the church he attended. Dissatisfied, he went to a renewal meeting in London and there encountered the Holy Spirit. After a year as a door to door evangelist living by faith, he spent 3 years studying at London Bible College and took on the pastorate at Seaford Free Evangelical Church but on the condition that he had freedom to build on New Testament principals as well as New Testament practice. After some opposition, he began to enjoy fellowship with the people named “Restorationists” – Arthur Wallace, Bryn Jones and prophetically gifted David Mansell. Soon it became clear to them that Terry had a growing apostolic ministry and they encouraged him to pursue that, first on the South Coast and South London. This led to the Downs Bible Weeks followed by Stoneleigh which over 2 weeks gathered some 30,000. Guided much by prophetic words as well as the Scriptures, Terry took Coastlands (with a vision of restoration in South East England) to Newfrontiers International with a global vision. Terry raised up 100s of leaders in his time, many of whom served on mission worldwide in Terry’s apostolic sphere.
In 2011, Terry released those apostolic leaders who served alongside him worldwide to develop and multiply apostolic spheres whilst still remaining part of the Newfrontiers family of worldwide churches. Terry remains the father of Newfrontiers but increasingly takes the message of grace and the dynamic of the Holy Spirit to church leaders in many nations.
Is our history important, should we not be more concerned about the present and the future? Some would say we can dwell too much on the past but I personally do not agree with that. We must always remember that this is not mere history but God’s ongoing record of His dealings with His people until He wraps it all up.
Knowing what our forbears have achieved, even failed and struggled with, should cause us to worship intelligently the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has purposed to have a people of His own and for us to rejoice that He has mercifully caught us up in this great calling of taking Christ to the nations. In surveying our ancestry, there are many lessons to learn, heroes of the faith to honour and emulate and mistakes not to repeat. It is for us now to make our own history and leave a mark on our generation.
Ray Lowe’s recommended reading list.
Reading material I have found helpful and enlightening
Rodney Stark - The Rise of Christianity
Jerome Murphy-O’Connor - Paul his Story
Heiko A. Oberman - Luther, a man between the devil and God
Prof. Stephen Neil - A History of Christian Mission
Roberts Liardon - God’s Generals I
Julian Wilson - Wigglesworth
John Pollock - Whitefield, the Evangelist
John Pollock - Wesley, the Preacher
Terry Virgo - No well worn paths
Ray Lowe - www.tabletalks.co.uk
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log ontowww.wordofgracechurch.org.
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