Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Discussions regarding the Holy Spirit

I mentioned earlier this week that a handful of our elder team would be meeting to discuss Kingdom Triangle by J.P. Moreland. We met yesterday. The discussion centered around the supernatural workings of the Spirit and how that looks in our church.

Let me just say, if you're a person who has to have closure- you'd be frustrated by our meetings.

We floundered around for awhile, then never really landed the plane. There were passionate discussions followed by a resolve to keep seeking God for all he wants to do in our church.

So if you're looking for a "as a result of this meeting, we are going to..." I think the closest thing I can say is "...pray with more faith."

We have a beautiful diversity of elders that work as a team to shape our church. Sometimes for young guys like me, it's beautifully frustrating. But I think God is more concerned about me learning to submit than he is about me being right (which I am).

So today, in typical Cornerstone fashion, Paul Sabino comes strolling into my office with an idea for a practical joke. I've already told you he's one of the funniest human beings I know. The context is that I wanted us to read Moreland's book because he is so respected as a great Christian thinker. I knew some of our elders were more likely to give him a listen than, say, John Wimber (he has a flaming charismatic stigma to many conservative Christians).

Anyway, Paul found a fellow pastor's Kingdom Triangle book cover in the trash. So we used it as the cover for Wimber's book Power Healing, then attached this note and put it on this person's desk:

"I hope you enjoy my new book that will surely shake the foundations of your 'open but cautious' stance regarding supernatural signs and wonders. Stop straightjacketing your college pastor, and enjoy my new book (a follow-up to KT)- The Kingdom Rhombus: Releasing Your Theological Death Grip. Best Wishes- J.P. Moreland (in my best impression of his autograph).

Nothing communicates like some good 'ol mockery and practical jokes... I love this church!


Anonymous said...

I have not read the book but I have been thinking about this question for many years. I have come to a couple of conclusions.

1. The sign gifts are for today.
2. You cannot have a church that is effective in using these gifts until it is a fasting and praying church.
3. The intercessors will burn out unless you have a prophetic ministry that helps feed the prayer furnace.

When these all come together you get a dynamics church that is much different than anything we have ever experienced.

Since we don't have/exercise these gifts we substitute it with other things like cultural reverence, church growth, and making ourselves as attractive as we can to the lost.

I would really like to see us start trying to fuel the prayer furnace. If we do that I think that The Lord will send the prophets our way to build it up.

Metropuritan Mark said...

I'm interested in your comment, "Since we don't have/exercise these gifts we substitute it with other things like cultural reverence, church growth, and making ourselves as attractive as we can to the lost."

I'm not sure who "we" is? If you mean Cornerstone, we have a number of people who speak in tongues, get prophetic words, have seen miraculous healing, have seen people come to Christ. I would also take a little offense about us using "cultural relevance (i assume is what you meant), church growth and making ourselves attractive" as a substitute for using the spiritual gifts we've been given. We are seeing the greatest of all miracles happen before our eyes. We just baptized our 1,000th person last spring (in just over 13 years). That doesn't even reflect all of those who have come to faith. Last spring we saw over 70 give their lives to Christ through our college ministry alone. This is Acts 29 kind of stuff.

I hope my original post did not have a disparaging tone toward our church in any way. Of course we've got a ways to go, but we're on a great path. I think we're quite a ways from being watered down by culture in the way that I read in your comments. I may have misunderstood.

Anonymous said...

I meant the church in the USA but some of it, I think, does apply to Cornerstone. Sorry, I should have delineated my comments a little more. And I realize that you were not trying to disparage Cornerstone.

I know that there are people who speak in tongues, prophecy, see healing, etc. but it certainly not who the church is. Are the elders guided by prophetic words? Have we ever taught on how to hear prophetic word from God? Any teachings on how to discern a prophetic word or speak in tounges? Who in our church has the gift of prophecy, miracles, healings? I don't think that most people would know.

Salvation is a great miracle and I think that the church is doing good things but Cornerstone is not a church that exercises all of the gifts.

Laura Lynn Boettger said...

Mark, have you read any books by Bill Johnson? I just read Face to Face with God.