Christianity as we know it is permanently changing before our eyes.
I heard this story relayed by a leader of the Toronto Airport Church- that in the early days of Toronto prayers like “Holy Spirit we give you permission to move” were prayed at the start of the meeting. The Glory would fall and the meeting would blow up. These prayers were prayed until God said one day – “I don’t need your permission to move!”
It got me thinking that God often moves despite us and not because of us! He blessed the meetings in Toronto but this was not an endorsement that everything they did and said was good and right. A ‘move of the Spirit,’ ‘revival’, ‘wave’ whatever you want to call it, will never be a badge of accomplishments or an endorsement that we have got it right, or that our mindsets are correct. It will never be a brownie badge for how much we have fasted and prayed to get Him to do something. The Spirit is not our badge of achievement, He is our friend! He wants you to enjoy Him in the perfect union that cost Christ everything.
God wants to do something new and different than he did in the 90s. He wants us to think beyond another Toronto Blessing or Outpouring. We have got to think differently because God is going to do and is doing something New and Amazing. It looks totally different. The New will blow the old box up! The old mindsets and ministry models are being redefined. It’s not that they were wrong; they were good for a season but they can become stumbling blocks for the ‘now’.
Jesus spoke about this:
‘To what can I compare this generation. They are like children sitting in the marketplace calling out “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.” 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon!” 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.’
God will not dance to the rhythm we set! He taught us to pray “Your Will be Done”! When John came he brought a message and a manifestation for a certain season. When Christ came he looked and acted differently but was anointed by the same Spirit for a new season. He ushered in the New Era. We need the Spirit of Wisdom to recognise the NEW because it won’t look anything like the old. If we don’t have wisdom we will judge the new by the old and discard it. We have done the same programs and events year after year and expected different results. Not only is this the definition of insanity, God has moved on and it’s time for change!
God is redefining Christianity before our eyes. The Kingdom of God is always advancing and so if we try to recreate or revisit something He did 20 years ago we will miss what He wants to do today! Hebrews 3.15 says “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts”. There is a call going out to people to recognise what God is doing TODAY. God is asking us to not harden our hearts towards the New Thing He is doing. We cannot afford to be offended by what he is doing or what it looks like. There is a blessing waiting beyond offense. Matthew 11 says: “Blessed are those who are not offended because of me.” We have lived in a season of John the Baptist; believing we are in the wilderness, as prophets called to the desert and to the hard place, to suffer and mourn but Christ is calling us to recognise we are in the New Covenant – the New Era. This is marked by Eden, paradise and Bliss: Union with Christ!
Mike Bickel said a few years ago that God was about to do something so amazing He would redefine Christianity in a generation. The prophets have been talking about it for a while: Jason Westerfield has prophesied that we are in a time of reformation and Martin Scott has prophesied that the birthing of a whole new era is coming. Dave Vaughan of the New Ecstatics (the ministry we are associated with) had an encounter where God showed him Martin Luther pacing back and forth. In this encounter Luther was thinking these same thoughts for reformation and transformation exactly 500 years ago. Luther spent 10 years meditating on Romans and Hebrews and from this he wrote his ‘Ninety Five Theses’. He nailed this to the door of the church in Wittenberg in 1517 (according to one source). This marked the start of the reformation.
God is causing the current reformers to meditate and feast on the same scriptures as 500 years ago! Romans has opened up to so many in such a new way.
I can see that the coming reformation will reveal a greater understanding of New Covenant Christianity. It will affect many areas but I’ve highlighted these 3:
- How we view God:
We are understanding that God is not some angry, vengeful Father but a God who is and always was Good! Jesus is the most complete representation of the Father- “when you’ve seen me…” We are moving beyond the scary, angry God found in penal substitution as God reveals more of who he is, to rediscover an older and more orthodox view of God found in the works of the early church fathers and displayed in the Christus Victor atonement theory.
We are also seeing coming to a fresh revelation of the power of the cross – and it’s implications – that God fully accomplished all things through the cross.
This is the Finished Works- that He truly defeated every foe and is seated above every principality and power (Ephesians 1.21). Christ has effortless supremacy (Colossians 1.15) and we too have been seated in Him in the Heavenly realms (Ephesians 2.6, Colossians 3). Because of this we can rest in His Finished Work rather than striving to complete something for God or battle in spiritual warfare against something we feel we need to defeat. He defeated them all, He made captivity captive! (Romans 8.37, Ephesians 1.22 and 4.8, 1 Corinthians 15.27 and 46, Colossians 2.15)
This affects everything. He is victorious and by resting in faith in Him, we will see His victory rise and manifest all around us. We don’t need to do spiritual mapping or wrestle against principalities and powers. We are called to believe the truth and strangely by resting in His victory we begin to walk in it! First as individuals, then as a company, and then to change a nation.
2. How we view ourselves:
You no longer have a sinful nature (Romans 6) and because God has accomplished all things He has made us New Creations (2 Corinthians 5.17). God has rewired our humanity with His divinity. We are not sinners running scared of a judgemental God but are Sons adopted into His family with the same divine DNA running through our veins.
We are seated in Christ (Ephesians 2.6) and have the image of God restored on the inside of us. We have been united with Christ the King forever (Romans 6) and through this union we have access to a royal inheritance fit for gods.
The problem has been that we haven’t realised this and so have not operated from this revelation. We’ve been homeless, eating from a pig’s trough, when we could have been eating the fatted calf with our Father the King. The truth is we have the fullness of the Godhead, the Glory residing within us. We can access every spiritual blessing and gifting and have been given the fullness (Colossians 2.10).
We access all this by faith which is a gift. We did nothing to get it and our efforts to strive to attain all this are not needed (Ephesians 2.8). But all this is available as a free gift as Sons for our inheritance. We will do and see the most incredible things ever seen on earth because of what He has done (Philipians 4.13, Mark 9.23). The Gospel is built around the supernatural because He is supernatural.
3. How we view community:
Christ destroyed the Temple and rebuilt it in 3 days (Matthew 26.61) – that is you! The New Creation is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6). Because of this we no longer have to strive to go to a church building or temple. We are the Body of Christ and this transcends manmade denominations, boundaries, walls and structure.
We are seated IN CHRIST above these divisions (Ephesians 2.6). We can enjoy community and friendship wrapped up in Christ every day and all around us. This is the true Body of Christ – focused on friendship and family, rather than meetings and buildings. We are the living stones of the Church – in the world but not of it, wrapped up in love for one another, worshipping in Spirit and Truth (John 4).
In the Old Covenant people had to travel to a particular place to worship God. In the New Covenant god revealed that ‘He is with us’. He is here all the time because He resides within us! The focus on going to the Sunday morning meeting is being overtaken by a lifestyle of the Glory manifesting in our homes. Signs, wonders and the Spirit will not be contained by a building, conference or meeting but will be demonstrated by Sons and Daughters where ever they are, all the time. They know who they are because of what He has done.
People will realise they don’t have to go to church to get ‘filled up’ but will manifest a Glory that resides in their home all the time! This will cause gatherings to happen around the Presence, around the Cloud of His Glory, rather than individuals and organisations.
There will still be corporate gatherings, wider celebrations, and this may or may not be in a local congregation on a Sunday. But the focus will shift dramatically away from the maintenance of these meetings to life and family. We will also see bigger sized gatherings of the tens of thousands in stadiums .
After the visible manifestations of the Glory in Bethel, Bill Johnson commented that there would be a shift in the focus of gatherings and people would gather around the Presence. I believe that the manifest Presence will gather people together- in homes and in stadiums.
The charismatic personalities of leaders that have drawn people together in the past will be irrelevant as people focus on the Glory rather than man. The revelation that Church is something we are, rather than something we are trying to maintain will be caught.
Fear and control
In short the fear and control that has ruled so much within the Church – fear that God is not on our side; fear that He will not be with us; fear He will not show up and the control that this has caused in the running of our churches and ministries will be crushed by the Spirit and Revelation of Sonship (2 Timothy 1.7, Romans 8).
Fear and control causes ‘bewitchment’ and Paul rebuked the Galatians (Galatians 3) for becoming ‘bewitched’. What we will see is the deliverance of the church from the fear and control that causes bewitchment (witchcraft) with the Spirit of Sonship.
Luther lives today!
In the next 10 years there will be books, webcasts or documents of some sort which will be written by modern day Luthers, which will be the nail in the coffin for contemporary Christianity. This is the significance of the hour we live in. God will use these articles to be so influential they will redefine Christianity and will be studied for the next few hundred years.
They won’t just be academic pieces of writing; they will carry the manifest Glory of God, they will manifest supernatural signs and wonders. And their heart cry will be the message of the Finished Works of the Gospel. I have already read some of the books that will become ‘classics’.
Honestly I can’t go back to ‘normal Christianity’. I have tried! But we have seen something New! And it is Glorious!
The underground move of God which is happening right now will overtake the norm and it is out of our control. The word ‘revival’ will be made redundant as people realise it is the normal Gospel life of a Son. One of the most exciting moments in the last few weeks for me was overhearing some ‘non Christian’ people at work talking about healing. One person was describing to his friend a healing he had experienced when I had prayed for him and how amazing it was. A few minutes later he realised I was there and turned to me and said how convinced of God’s healing power he was.
There are signs and wonders happening by the nameless and faceless all over the country. In work, on the street, in the home, over dinner, in cafes, at church meetings; God is moving out of the box. It is not by our efforts; we can’t claim this one as ours I’m afraid! But it’s by His Spirit because of the victory He won on the cross. Not by our efforts! He will not dance for us or mourn for our dirges! The Lord is doing His own thing and it is out of our control.