The Transforming Church (Part Six)
by Tricia Tillin
- What Are House Churches
- The City Church Concept
- The UK House Church Movement
- The "Open Church" of Jim Rutz
In the last section we looked at house groups, and organisations that met in their homes in order to pursue their particular belief-system or walk in the Lord. In this section we consider "house churches" which are slightly different, although they also meet in homes or rented buildings. House churches are larger groups of allied or networked people all belonging to one religious system and leadership, but who chose for various reasons not to use conventional church buildings and traditional leadership structures for their organisation.
In the House Church world, variety abounds:
"It goes without saying that there are many types of house churches, and many reasons Christians seek out the way of the house church. For many Christians (like Jeff Barth, 'What About Church?'), the house church is simply an extension of the home schooling principle. Their driving motivation is withdrawal from the world. For others (like Del Birkey, 'The House Church'), the house church is a key to renewal and mission in the existing church. For yet others (like Steve Atkerson, editor, 'Toward a House Church Theology'), the house church is part of apostolic tradition and should be considered normative on that basis. And for yet others (like those criticized by James Rutz, 'The Open Church') it is merely a rap session, an outlet to express frustration over the institutional church. A cursory reading of house church booklists and home pages reveals that the house church movement is anything but uniform." ["What Is House Church?" by Mark M. Mattison]
One central belief of house church organisations is about the inadequacy and redundancy of the traditional denominational churches, which they completely reject, and the desire to replace such denominations with a New Testament structure more like the book of Acts.
Frank Viola in "Rethinking The Wineskin":
"We live in an hour in which the Spirit of God is beckoning His people to see and fulfill His ultimate intention regarding the church of Jesus Christ. This intention rests upon forming a people who are filled with the new wine of the Spirit for the single purpose of fitting them into a suited Bride for the pleasure of God's blessed Son.
"In closing, I trust that what I have attempted to set forth in this book will provoke my readers to no longer dilute the wine of spiritual life and confine it into old wineskins. May the Lord radically transform our hearts by a fresh unveiling of the Holy Spirit in showing us a fuller Christ, ... so mightily that the wineskins of our making -- which have obscured the Headship of Jesus and disarmed the believing priesthood -- would burst beyond recovery."
This is of course identical to the decades-old sonship dream of birthing the purified Church for the endtimes, a Church that would be empowered in the fulness of the Spirit and capable of "fulfilling its task" of bringing the nations into submission to God.
Spelling this out is Brian Mills in an article on the DAWN International site, which - see below - is directed by Wolfgang Simson who laid out the 15 theses for a the Church of the 21st century. Alongside Simson's own article (which is considered below), the one titled "A Time For Change" by Brian Mills has this to say:
"He [God] is getting His Church into the place and understanding where it can truly fulfil His purpose for it on the earth. He is not interested in a church's self-centred existence. He is not looking for it to survive or even merely to grow. He is looking for The Church to fill the earth with His glory, to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. He is looking for her to fulfil His purposes in the cosmos. He is looking for her to triumph over the principalities and powers. He is looking for His Church to be ready as the Bride of Christ. God is getting His Church worldwide ready for a final push towards the final mighty harvest."
Dr. Lynn Reddick, titled an "apostle" in his ministry literature, is the Director of Open Church Ministries, based in Portal, Georgia USA. He and his wife Linda oversee a large and growing network of home based fellowships. The Reddicks were among the first in America to initiate church cell groups. In 1998, the Reddicks moved into "a more Hebraic pattern of how the church should function" and began incorporating this perspective in Restored Christianity Seminars in 43 locations in the US and Canada. Lynn Reddick is now President of Network of Open Church Ministries.
Reddick describes the house church movement as:
A quiet but active movement worldwide that is committed to the original, apostolically patterned, church-in-the-home structure. The total abandonment of church buildings, professional pastors, big budgets, and set rituals has attracted the attention of many born-again, stay-at-home believers as the solution to their frustration with many post-Biblical traditions. Intimacy and accountability are their strength. Key Leaders: Wolfgang Simson, [Houses That Change the World], Nate & Joanne Krupp, [Preparing the Way Publishing]; Hal Miller, [Salem Christian Community]; Gene Edwards, [The SeedSowers]; Steve Atkerson, [New Testament Restoration]; Robert Banks, [Fuller Seminary]; Howard Snyder, [United Theological Services] Jon Zens, [Searching Together]; Warren and Helen Peterson, [House-to-House Newsletter].
Differences and Distinctions
House churches are unattached to any traditional church. They draw their membership from many denominations and churches, and have no distinct leadership structure. However, unlike the house groups, sects and cults of the previous section they often do support the "Second Reformation" which is the move to the new wineskin of the a New Apostolic Church.
However, this does not make the house churches part of the New Apostolic cell-church system, which is tightly networked and often headed by the pastors and elders of mega-churches. Therefore, house groups and house churches tend to give the architects of the Second Reformation such as Peter Wagner and Ralph Neighbour the willies, because they are impossible to control and independent of the apostolic network.
Ralph Neighbours distinction is:
"There is a distinct difference between the house church and the cell group movements. House Churches tend to collect a community of 15-25 people who meet together on a weekly basis. Usually, each House Church stands alone. While they may be in touch with nearby House Churches, they usually do not recognize any further structure beyond themselves.... Usually, each House Church stands alone... they do not become a true movement of church expansion... in contrast, the cell group recognises a larger structure for church life. It is composed of many cells, but no one cell would ever consider existing apart from the rest."
The issue here is one of tracking, control, and leadership as well as expansion.
If the aim (as we believe) is to extend the "kingdom" of the Church throughout all the world, and to govern Christians within an exclusive network under a new apostleship, some house churches are not playing the game!! For one thing, they do not like mentoring or in fact leadership of any kind. Neighbour again:
"House churches are much less traditional than cell churches. Participants meet in homes with or without leaders. In fact, leaderless groups are often promoted, especially by men like Gene Edwards who states, "Paul left every church he ever raised up . . . and left them without any leaders. No leaders of any sort." Where leaders are present, they are often a plurality of elders rather than a single pastor."
However, a number of house church networks, while appearing to be independent, do subscribe to the apostolic network concept and are open to interaction with cell churches. These latter are often the neo-pentecostal groups that have participated in "the revival" and its doctrines.
For example, on the "Radical Christianity" site of the Krupps, "apostles" are hailed as the new leadership of the Church, and we read:
"The Church In Transition: The Church of Jesus Christ is in the process of major change in this hour, restoring it to the radical Christianity of the First Century. This is in preparation for: a great end-time revival; a final, great ingathering of the harvest; coming persecution."
Another example of interaction with the New Apostolic agenda is:
Wolfgang Simson is Director of The Swiss church-planting and mission network 'Kingdom Ministries' and head of DAWN International Network.
DAWN is a highly-structured umbrella organisation that pulls together many or most of the global church-planting and mission organisations. DAWN is an acronym for "Discipling a Whole Nation". It defines itself as "a virtual network, based on visions, values, synergy and friendship.... It consists of likeminded individuals, ministries, churches, networks and movements which do not need to be part of the same organization, but who know they are part of the same contemporary move of God to fill the earth with His glory through seeing one church established...."
On this website for DAWN international for whom Wolfgang Simson works, and whose purpose is stated as "to see saturation church planting become the generally accepted and fervently practiced strategy for completing the task of making disciples of all peoples in our generation" there are listed as some participating organisations:
- Lighhouse Movement
- Global Opportunities
- Lausanne Movement
- Hope for Europe
- Alliance for Saturation Church Planting
- Kingdom Ministries (Wolfgang Simson)
- Global Round Table
- World Evangelical Alliance
- Strategic Network
- OC International
- SCPI - Saturation Church Planting International
- Global Harvest Ministries
Many of these names will be familiar to those who have studied the movements working towards a Global Church and who are concerned about their activities.
Simson himself speaks of radical changes taking place, taking the Church away from its traditional roots and methods. in an article on the DAWN website, he says that:
"Christianity is logical and linear, but very few people of today are thinking that way, especially not the young generation", commented a member of the ECGA. "That is why western Christianity is facing a crisis", he concluded. However, I think this crisis is selfmade, and it is not really a crisis, it´s a chance. The core elements of Christianity – faith, love, hope, vision, passion – cannot be grasped by logic and rationalistic thinking... This generation of youngsters born after 1984... are open for experiencing new things like no other generation before."
It does seem odd that for hundreds if not thousands of years, people have indeed grasped the core beliefs of the bible in a rational and logical way, and have been saved as a result, despite having "experienced" nothing more than heartfelt joy and the lightness that comes from forgiveness of sin! Are these millions to be pitied because they did not achieve liberation from the kind of mental effort that Simson so despises?
Simson then lists under two headings the old style and the new style preaching of the gospel, and I find this very telling, and very worrying.
He lists under "Linear-logic Christianity" such things as "preaches the naked truth" whereas the new experiential faith "hints at the mysteries of the of the Kingdom and makes people curious". Right away then, we encounter a new type of preaching that is aimed at people's love of magic and mysticism rather than telling them straight out that they are fallen and need Jesus Christ as Saviour!
He also contrasts "organised religion" with "a shared life" and most crucially contrasts "explanation before experience" with the new-style of preaching which is EXPERIENCE BEFORE EXPLANATION"
How much plainer could this be? Not only the Church but the gospel itself is to "transition" into something new. The altered paradigm will not only remake the Church but the very gospel of salvation itself!
Furthermore, membership of the Church is also changing. Biblically, each individual is added to the family of God and therefore the Body of Christ at the time of their personal born-again experience. Simson lists this as "behave, belong, believe" which in fact is a parody of conventional Church, since nobody can "behave" until after their "believe".
Be that as it may, he then lists the NEW sequence of events as "BELONG, believe, behave" so that the first element in any person's Christian walk is joining the Church!! Only afterwards are they taught (indoctrinated?) into a belief-system.
This sequence is something we encounter over and over in the cell-church and house church networks, for "numerical growth" and "church membership" and "discipling the nations" has become more important than making sure that individuals are truly born again
- “15 Theses” For A New Reformation " by Wolfgang Simson
- Review of Wolfgang Simson's book about house churches, by Greg Des Voignes.
Here I would mention groups influenced by Gene Edwards. He seems to belong to a group of Deeper Life or Fulness groups of which there are various types around the world.
Although Edwards calls himself a Baptist, he has been operating outside those circles for decades. His books show tendencies towards the mystical; he promotes the works of the mystic/quietist writers such as Madame J. Guyon (1648 - 1717) and Francois Fenelon (1651-1715). Edwards is also is given a very favourable mention by some in the MSOG camps such as Preston Eby. His Publishers, "Seedsowers" produce books, as they say: "that present the story of the first century church and the lineage of Christians outside the institutional church." and these tend to be of the mystical and deeper-life variety.
Gene Edwards, a self-styled "apostle", is a passionate advocate of house churches and writes in very strident terms against the evils of the institutionalised church. He is a radical, and his followers tend to be more keen on promoting the non-conventional "ekklesia" than others.
He is listed amongst the mystics on this page (horrible colour and background graphic!!) There's a comment in the sidebar about why many advocates of the house church and mystics beloved by the deeper life groups are Catholics!
OFFSITE LINK: A thorough examination of Gene Edwards and his books
*** There is now an extensive and growing "watchdog site" about Gene Edwards and also Frank Viola and others expressing concerns on a number of issues. It is to be found at: www.geneedwards.org/
Closely associated with Gene Edwards is Frank Viola of Present Testimony Ministry.
Like Edwards he advocates a completely non-institutionalised church with no leadership apart from the "headship of Christ". He was greatly influenced by Watchman Nee and his disciple Stephen Kaung with whom he had a close relationship. (Kaung came to the States in the 1950s and is now in his 80s.) Frank Viola could also be loosely classed as "deeper life" although he is not as keen on the mystics as Gene Edwards.
Frank Viola mentioned Howard Snyder as being one of the influences in his book "Rethinking The Wineskin: The Practice of the New Testament Church" [1998 Present Testimony Ministry]. Some other influences were T. Austin-Sparks and G.H. Lang.
Even amongst the House Church fraternity, the defects of Frank Viola's writings are being pointed out. For instance, at the New England House Church website (http://www.ntrf.org/index.html) see this page - a review of Frank Viola's "The House Church Movement: Which Direction?" (1) There it is commented that:
"... the existential is pushed to the exclusion of the Scriptural. This is dangerous ground upon which to tread. Paul warned of false Christs. We are to worship the Christ of the Scriptures. The written Word tells us about the Living Word. A naive person or neophyte would conclude from this book that systematic bible study is to be avoided."
- Read extensive extracts from Viola here
- See his books here, including "Who Is Your Covering?" and "The House Church Movement".
- Read extensive extracts from "Rethinking The Wineskin" here
Some of the more fanatical independent groups, in rejecting the current "revival", do so mainly because they hold all denominations to be "Babylon" and teach that the Church is the Great Harlot of the last days. The only way forward, according to the more radical groups, is to reject "babylon" altogether, come out of her, and to remake the Church entirely anew in a new wineskin.
Thus, the restoration of the Church means setting up a completely new "temple" in which God's own appointed apostles and prophets (instead of the ordained clergy) will lead the people to purity and power and glory. Such a Church will not therefore be, strictly speaking, one where every-member-ministry prevails. It will be governed by men and women who have received the impartation that leads them beyond a simple Christian conversion into a new realm of revelation, fit for a new wineskin.
This organisation will be a network, rather than a structure or organisation. Each church will be joined to and submit to its neighbouring cells, and all of them would be knit together into city-churches, area churches, national churches and finally world churches. The church "net" would cover the earth, bringing to fruition the scripture that speaks of the earth being covered by the glory of God.
There are "sonship" groups and other apostolic groups who still hold to these ideals, in varying formats. They still despise denominations and clergy, so they often appear very attractive to dispossessed believers today. They consider the current charismatic revival to be part of a counterfeit "Ishmael" movement and themselves - standing outside of this system - as the pure "Isaac" who is to come to prominence in the latter day. This means that they are very elitist and in-bred.
Their message of humility, holiness, independence, spiritual growth - all of this - and (in many cases) their rejection of the false revival make them sound ideal for anyone who has escaped the revival church or the globalist tendencies of today's denominations and Church Growth ventures.
Sadly, the message of these groups comes with a sting in the tail. Spiritual abuses abound in such groups, where false prophecies and unscriptural revelations and speculations often fuel their spirituality; mystical experiences are encouraged; submission to apostolic leadership is required; higher spiritual "levels" are sought through suspect practices, and their eschatology is one of kingdom-dominion and replacementism. In other words, they tend to see themselves as the only group who will take over the earth in the latter days, and they replace national Israel with their own membership.
Coming out of the apostolic/prophetic vision for a global network of churches headed by new apostles and prophets is the City Church idea. Indeed, as those who support it say "The concept of "city-church" itself implies the rise of the apostolic."
This scheme proposes that each city should have only one church (in the sense of "group of Christians"). Though this church can and does meet in multiple congregations ("multi-congregational"), a central leadership team gives direction to the entire network. This concept began to be promoted by, among others, Kansas City Fellowship, (now Metro Christian Fellowship, Kansas) which has shared its vision of having Apostolic Teams oversee these churches in one or more cities.
"The New Testament pattern is for there to be one church in a city with many congregations yet one unified eldership governing it. We believe that God will move to substantially accomplish this in many cities in the world in the decades ahead". [Michael Sullivan, "What Is Grace Ministries?" Grace City Report, Kansas City Fellowship, 1990. p. 9]
Before that, it was yet another product of the sonship "fulness" teaching - another step on the way to perfection and glory! I might add, ominously, that the concept of "One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" with centralised leadership and a network of eldership covering all aspects of church life and activity is a dream that must have some Roman Catholics drooling into their albs.
Dangers of The City Church
Looking to the bible for support of one unified Church with centralised leadership is all very well if the biblical ideal of sound doctrine and spiritual harmony between all local congregations is maintained.
The "Church of the City" is an ideal that can only work if elders reflect the humble servant attitude of Jesus towards their flock. It can only work when those who attend the churches are truly born again, and when holiness and biblical orthodoxy are required of all. It can only work if the biblical commands to root out error and banish those who continue to sin are followed. And it can only work if the aim is a godly one and not world domination!
But this ideal was never fully attained, even in the days of the Early Church; before the end of the first century AD separation, heresies and disputes had already fragmented the Church into different factions. This is a product of human nature and happens whenever Christians meet and worship together.
Worse than fragmentation, however, is the prospect of a unified Church in which all believers are submitted to and ruled by a dictatorial eldership that is beyond the reach of correction, considers itself to be the very "government of God on earth" and has already proven itself to be as far from scriptural orthodoxy as it is possible to be.
While many differing denominations and separate churches all run independently of one another there is perhaps an impression given to the world that Christians are not united. Yet the beauty of the system is that one or two heretical ideas cannot take root in the Church as a whole. This is not the case with one centralised governing body ruling the entire Church!
The City Church is being promoted by many, many house church and cell-church organisations. It is now an integral part of the Apostolic/Prophetic move in the churches and could be seen as the ultimate goal of the cell-church system!
OFFSITE LINIK: "The City Church" report at Apologetics index
"The original apostles asked, "Is Christ divided?" The answer was, "No." In their day, the church had unity and power. Could the modern church’s decline of power be due in part to its fragmentation? In many cities today, pastors from different backgrounds are gathering together to pray. Without undoing denominational affiliations, new networks of local leaders are rapidly emerging to facilitate prayer and mutual accountability. This is unity in the Holy Spirit.The New Testament used the Greek word "ekklesia" for church. It meant "an assembly called out." It is composed of all the Christians in the city. It includes all the pastors and their congregations or cells. The church’s unity is real and relational, not theoretical or theological." ["Church in the City" by Ron Wood] (2)
"The process of reaching, saturating and transforming a city starts when the Christians realise that God sees only one Body of Christ in the city, and start to act as that one Body, taking spiritual responsibility for that city....A vision for the city requires a paradigm shift - a transformation of our thinking processes for the future. A new age demands a new way of looking at our churches, our cities and our task... Particularly in a time in which new house cells, house churches and neighbourhood groups are developing, this city view is important for creating a Body of Christ identity and prevent atomisation of the local church. This common identity gives the smaller groups a public identity: "We belong to the regional church of ..." ["City Vision" by Reinhold Scharnowski, DAWN European Network, June 2001]
"In the early days of the Church, Christians had a dual identity: they were truly His church and vertically converted to God, and then organized themselves according to geography, that is, converting also horizontally to each other on earth. This means not only Christian neighbors organizing themselves into neighborhood- or house-churches, where they share their lives locally, but Christians coming together as a collective identity as much as they can for citywide or regional celebrations expressing the corporateness of the Church of the city or region. Authenticity in the neighborhoods connected with a regional or citywide corporate identity will make the Church not only politically significant and spiritually convincing, but will allow a return to the biblical model of the City-Church." ["15 Theses", Wolfgang Simson]
OFFSITE LINK: See this "Kingdom Advice Centre" which is a movement planning to "play a strategic role in the development of the one church in the city, and [to see] how Apostles and Prophets representing every element of a functioning city will be gathered to take decisions affecting their city and region."
There has been a "house-church movement" in the UK but this is today subsumed into the revival. In the early days of the UK restoration movement, (late '60s and early '70s) when there was a move out of the dead denominations, house churches thrived for a time and eventually joined together in larger groups and movements with a desire to escape the suffocation of the old ways.
However, these churches were mostly taken over and organised into what we now call the Restoration Movement, and a strong leadership came along to govern them, taking them into the Shepherding movement and various other diversions. Many of the Restoration-led house groups moved out of houses into schools, warehouses and purpose-built buildings, becoming very like a new denomination with its own eldership, beliefs, doctrines and sub-culture. Cooperation with the traditional denominations rapidly came about from the 80's onwards and now, despite some pockets of resistance, there is little to distinguish between the methodology of "house churches" and any other churches.
Examples of such networks in the UK are the Ichthus churches headed by Roger Forster, Terry Virgo's New Frontiers International and the Jesus Army of Noel Stanton.
Jim Rutz, Founder and President of The Open Church, describes it as follows:
"A widespread movement with no central coordination. Open churches are full-fledged institutional congregations that allow body life in three ways: 1) open worship, in which laymen are allowed to speak in praise; 2) open sharing, in which laymen are allowed a wide range of interaction, prayer, confession, song, testimony, teaching, etc.; 3) and open ministry, in which gifts are used both inside and outside the church-in accordance with the Spirit's innovation, not just in conformity to existing programs. Strong leadership is developed while clergy are freed from the CEO straitjacket, An open church is the next logical step beyond the cell or meta-church. Key Leaders: Jim Rutz, Open Church Ministries; Johnny and Juanita Berguson, Kingdom Co.; Donald Dunn, Partnership in the Gospel; Rich Gazowsky, Voice of Pentecost."
Berit Kjos comments:
"The founder and chairman of the Open Church Ministry (OCM), Jim Rutz, lives in the mountains above Colorado Springs. His goal is to "bring new life to churches and believers by enabling them to reclaim three of the freedoms they had in the First Century: pure worship, true sharing, and free ministry." During his years as a freelance writer, Rutz wrote for World Vision, Youth for Christ, Prison Fellowship, the Lausanne Committee and Intervarsity.
For almost a decade, Jim Rutz and OCM has been distributing a promotional audio cassette titled "Christianity in a New Key: an Introduction to The Future Church". It includes statements by well known Christian leaders such as pollster George Barna, author Gene Edwards, reconstructionists Jay Grimstad (COR) and Dennis Peacock, Fuller Professor Peter Wagner, Kansas City Fellowship prophet Mike Bickle, author Rick Joyner and Tom Houston, the professional director for the Lausanne Committee for world evangelization." [Kjos, the Global Church]
The statement of belief on the Open Church website contains this:
"The Church is the core of the kingdom, and will expand to fill it, even as the kingdom expands to fill the earth... if your heart follows closely after the Holy Spirit, you will be as concerned as the Father to see evil overthrown everywhere in the world. You will work hard and pray hard for specific ways that God's Kingdom will come 'on earth, as it is in Heaven'".
Many years ago I bought the book "The Open Church" written in 1992 by Jim Rutz, when I was investigating house churches. It struck me as sarcastic, irreverent and lightweight; completely damning of the traditional churches and obsessed with the idea that the "open church" could revolutionise the world. A sampling of the books style is:
"God writes history. At least the parts that are interesting. Humans, however, have a dickens of a time making out his handwriting."
and "The children of Israel got out of the slave business (with a little help from You-Know-Who)...then they went into farming and ranching in Palestine."
Notwithstanding, the book made some good points about the need to experience body ministry and get out of the rut of traditional services.
Later on, having received some Open Church literature, I began to be more seriously worried by its goals. The "Second Reformation" was high on their agenda and their methods were networked city churches, a complete reorganisation of the Church into house churches, and apostolic leadership.
At the time I was alarmed (and amused) to see that anyone could apply for an Apostolic Starter Kit (on sale from Open Church Ministries for 50 dollars) and after three day's training and an interview you could receive "a formal certificate of qualification for apostolic ministry". Paul, eat your heart out!!
On this web page Rutz lays out the "big picture" of the revolution he sees taking place, leading up to a new church for the 21st Century.
You need to see this page for two reasons: it lays out the map of change taking place in today's church and lists for us the key leaders in each movement; also it exposes the Open Church agenda in alliance with these movements.
Rutz lists thirty movements contributing to the Second Reformation, including Spiritual Warfare and Spiritual Mapping, Prayer-Walking (March for Jesus etc), Citywide Prayer, the Toronto Revival, The Men's Movement (PK), the Reconciliation Movement, AD2000, The Church Growth Movement and of course Church Reform including the Open Church.
He lists leaders that he sees as seminal for the work of the Second Reformation on this page:
John Avanzini (Hyper-charismatic Word of Faith)
Ern Baxter (Shepherding/Latter-Rain)
Mike Bickle (IHOP, ex-KCP)
Alan Greenspan (Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors)
Dr. Jay Grimstead (COR, Reconstruction)
Rick Joyner (Apostolic/Prophetic)
Jim Montgomery (founder of DAWN)
Ralph Neighbour (Cell Churches)
Dennis Peacocke (Reconstruction)
Carlos Ramirez (G12 cell movement)
R.J. Rushdooney (Reconstruction)
Ed Silvoso (Prayer-Evangelism)
Cal Thomas (Religious Right activist)
Kelly Varner (MSOG)
Mark Virkler (inner healing/guided imagery)
Zig Ziglar (self-esteem motivational training guru)
Jim Rutz seems now to be linked to the Hebrew Roots Movement. He is favourably quoted on 'Sacred Name' websites and one of his partners in Open Church Ministries, Dean Cozzens, distributed a prophecy in 1997 saying that the Hebrew Roots Movement was the fourth leg of the process towards reconstructing the Church. The other three were the Pentecostal Movement, the Faith-Healing Movement and the Charismatic Movement. Cozzens writes:
On Sunday morning, April 13, 1986, I heard the following prophecy. At the beginning of the twentieth century, when God looked down from heaven at the church, what he saw looked like a giant 747 airliner, but with no engines. He then set out to attach giant engines of faith and power to the body of the plane, so that the church would have the power to come to Him where He is, up in realms of glory. Each of these four engines represents one of the four major moves of Gods Spirit ordained for this century:
1) The PENTECOSTAL MOVEMENT [starting at Azuza Street 1900's]
2)The FAITH-HEALING MOVEMENT [1940/50; many were also involved in the LR revival]
3) The CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT, [1960-80, including the Shepherding Movement]
4) The HEBREW MOVEMENT.
All four are sovereignly ordained of God and coordinate and interrelated in His mind. Each successive move builds upon the last, and each has its own distinctives. None are perfect, but they all have something from God to contribute to His Plan, The prophecy said that God was now beginning to attach the fourth and final engine - the HEBREW MOVEMENT.
Though many of the right doctrines have been in place in the Body of Christ, from all of the past moves of Gods restoration through history, much is still missing, which God wants to restore. This fourth movement is to be called The Hebrew Movement. This movement will to some degree ENCOMPASS AND INFLUENCE the ENTIRE BODY OF CHRIST, adding depth, and leading us into greater UNITY at last, not just with one another, but with God and his Word.
The Hebrew Roots Movement in its worst aspects reinterprets the bible according to a liberal, post-millennial and anti-Christian bias and seeks to reunite Christians and Jews regardless of belief. It is, in effect, part of the racial reconciliation movement. But what does Dean Cozzens predict for this movement?
This fourth major move (the Hebrew) of the Holy Spirit in this century will be every bit as powerful as the previous three, and will bring this final work of God to completion in a final, unified, four-fold thrust of power and glory; it will take us all into the heavenlies to be with Him where He is....Then Gods awesome power will fill us with the same awesome glory which is His eternally wonderful presence. On that great day, every gift of the Spirit will be operating in great release, and the Lord will be revealed in all His fullness. We will then be like Him, full of His power and glory, for we shall see Him as He truly is, unveiled for all to see.
Lynn and Linda Reddick are also on the board of The Open Church. Lynn Reddick says:
"The open church seeks to restore roots of Hebraic thought and worship revealed in the Old Testament. The early church is commonly thought to have originated with Pentecost; however, many are now tracing the roots back to Abraham. Our Lord admonishes us: "Look to the rock from which you were cut . . . look to Abraham your father" (Isaiah 51:1-2). Paul further states, "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abrahams seed" (Galatians 3:29). One distinguishing feature of the open church movement is the emphasis on the home as the center of spiritual growth. Here the family is the mini-church with the father (or single parent) as priest. The restoration of this Hebraic heritage is central in the open church venue." [The Church Is Coming Home]
- Published by SeedSowers. Co-authored by Tom Begier, Tim Richey, Nick Vasiliades and Frank Viola.
- © 2000 by Ron Wood. Ron and his wife, Lana, are members of Reconciliation Ministries International led by Bishop Joseph Garlington. He has served as a State Coordinator for the U. S. Strategic Prayer Network. Ron is best known for his prophetic writing ministry.
© 1995-2013 Tricia Tillin of Banner Ministries. All rights reserved. Cross+Word Website: http://www.banner.org.uk/ This document is the property of its author and is not to be displayed on other websites, redistributed, sold, reprinted, or reproduced in printed in any other format without permission. Websites may link to this article, if they provide proper title and author information. One copy may be downloaded, stored and/or printed for personal research. All spelling and phraseology is UK English.