May 11, 2011
Church History for the renewal minded: a view from the stratosphere.
Finding inspiration for revival and evangelism with our spiritual forefathers.
How I look at history. This is the perspective I want to cultivate into your soul.
•God is sovereign over all history. It is playing out according to His purposes and will, even though we do not understand it.
•The Devil is limited in his control. He is on a leash. Since the resurrection he has been corralled. The Great Commission of discipling nations is going forward.
•History exists to bring glory to Jesus Christ.
•God values the integrity of His Name and Word above all things, including the security of people who are unfaithful to His Name and Word, even if they externally claim to be His Church. Reverses for “christian” regions and churches may have less to do with the Devil and more to do with God’s judgement or resistance. He will remove the “lampstand” as He wills.
•The purposes of God is to work out the standard of His Word and the Image of Christ within His people. He will not be thwarted.
•God has no “favored nation” status since Israel. All peoples are subject to the absolute standard of God’s Word. His church is transnational.
•History is best understood by the advance of the gospel. A people’s response to the gospel, the totality of the Word of God and natural law (common grace) determines their relative blessing. Countries that reject God see the resistance of nature and the forces of history.
•History is best understood by the long term of centuries and less by decades.
•Your life will find heightened meaning as you see yourself as part of God’s great plan in history.
Find out where God is moving and hop in the middle of it.
a.The spread of the early Church to Constantine, Britain to India
1)The apostolic church, exponential growth and church planting
2) The first schisms, Novatianism & Donatism These were the purist stream that rejected Christians and elders that recanted during the early persecutions. The Church ruled that Christians who fell could be restored as full members including presbyters.
3) Montanism: AD156 Montanus of Phrygia preaches religious extremism and “the new prophecy”. Tries to revive declining prophecy in the church meetings. The church leaders reject this movement, Montanus says the New Jerusalem was to land in Phrygia.
•Early persecutions including Nero’s were regional. AD 64
•Asia Minor 111 Pliny the Governor
•Emperor Severus 202 forbade conversion
•Maximin targeted Church leaders 235-238
•Decius 249-251 ordered sacrifices to “the gods.”
•Diocletian 284 Oracle of Apollo prophesied he should destroy the Christians.
•Pagan priests, too, were interested in suppressing any threat to traditional The Christian Arnobius, writing during Diocletian’s reign, attributes financial concerns to provisioners of pagan services:
The augurs, the dream interpreters, the soothsayers, the prophets, and the priestlings, ever vain…fearing that their own arts be brought to nought, and that they may extort but scanty contributions from the devotees, now few and infrequent, cry aloud, ‘The gods are neglected, and in the temples there is now a very thin attendance. Former ceremonies are exposed to derision, and the time-honored rites of institutions once sacred have sunk before the superstitions of new religions.’
They believed their ceremonies were hindered by the presence of Christians, who were thought to cloud the sight of oracles and stall the gods’ recognition of their sacrifices.
•Edit of Milan, Toleration, Constantine in AD 313 legalizes Christianity Persecution ends, internal battles over orthodoxy emerge.
•Gnosticism AD 90-300s
•Arianism, 256-336 Arius a bishop declared Jesus was not God but was the created son of God. Nicea 325 settled the issue for the whole church
•Pelagianism, 354-420/440 Pelagius, British monk denied original sin
7) 200s to 500s emerging monasticism and the Desert Fathers…in response to decline in spirituality and passion seekers retreat to the desert, monasteries and a life of contemplation and prayer. Monastics became a major source of recruitment for pastors throughout the Empire. Opens the door to concepts of poverty and celibacy for all elders. Does not become standard till 1,200s in the West, Orthodox in the East always allow married elders.
Ex: 390-459 Simeon Stylites spent 37 years atop a pillar.
8) emergence of institutional Christianity and the fight against heresy
b.The judgement on the church as a prelude to restoration. This aspect of God’s activity was demonstrated toward Israel and we are reminded “their example was written for our instruction” 1 Cor 10:11 and that “judgement begins at the house of God.” 1 Peter 4:17
1)The decline of personal faith and the rise of cultural Christianity fourth and fifth
2) The Gothic invasions and the decline of Rome, fifth and sixth centuries
3)The Islamic juggernaut and the destruction of much of Christendom from France to
India, Sudan to Constantinople 700s-1,300
c. Gospel movements, Middle ages to the Reformation
1)Celtic evangelism, Patrick, Columba and Iona
2)Conversion of the Germans, Russians and the Vikings
3)Franciscans, Lollards and proto-evangelicals
4)The Crusades, resisting the Islamic onslaught
d. The Magisterial Reformation
1)Luther 1508 The German Reformation
2)Calvin, France and Geneva, Switzerland
4)Zwingli, Switzerland & the Marburg Conference
5)The Puritans, England and the Westminster Standards
e.The Radical Reformation
1)The Anabaptists, a second water baptism, some were anarchists, others embraced pacifism, quietism and a simple life of evangelical trust and holiness. Menno Simons. In Germany, Moravia and Switzerland
2)The Prophets of Cevennes, French radicalized revivalists and charismatics
3)Baptists, London Baptist Confession, believers baptism
4)The Quakers, George Fox mid 1600s England, fastest growing religious movement in English history
5)Pietism, Zinzendorf, the Moravians and Hernhut
6)The American First Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards
7)Wesley, Whitfield and Methodism
•Wesley has his Aldersgate Street experience, Methodism forged to
•”How to reunite the two so long divided, knowledge and vital piety? John Wesley
•created simple churches called class meetings and societies for accountability and discipleship.
f. The Birth of Modern Missions
•Moravians at Hernhutt and the first waves of sending in 1732. “May the Lamb receive the reward of His suffering” This one small German town of 300 sent hundreds of missionaries. Established 30 missional towns. Maintained a 100 year long prayer meeting.
•William Carey began reading about James Cook’s Polynesian journeys. His interest grew to a furious sort of “backwards homesickness”, inspiring him to obtain Baptist orders, and eventually write his famous 1792 pamphlet, “An Enquiry into the Obligation of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of Heathen.” Far from a dry book of theology, Carey’s work used the best available geographic and ethnographic data to map and count the number of people who had never heard the Gospel. It formed a movement that has grown with increasing speed from his day to the present.
•Adoniram Judson to Burma in 1813, 1st white American Missionary.
•Hudson Taylor 1850’s China Inland Missions
•later: the student volunteer movement
g.The First Great Awakening
• Jonathan Edwards…”religious affections”, re-evangelized the Colonies
•Native American Evangelism
•Ivy League schools started to train ministers for the “revived religion”.
•Presbyterian and Puritan Congregational churches were the center of this awakening as were Baptists in Rhode Island and the South.
h. The Second Great Awakening, Cane Ridge, Disciples and circuit riders
•Cane Ridge, Kentucky, 1803, 30,000 in the wilderness, American camp meetings, signs and wonders. Rival in the American west (Western Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio moving westward…
•Birth of the Disciples of Christ, Alexander Campbell, Barton Stone
•Francis Ashbury circuit rider carries Methodism to western communities. Release young leaders to mission with only modest preparation.
•Baptists and Restorationists carry this message south and westward.
•Charles Finney, Upstate NY, new measures…Swept through Presbyterian and Congregational Churches
i. The Plymouth Brethren, George Muller, John Nelson Darby, every member ministry,
plurality of elders
j. The Catholic Apostolic Movement 1830s Edward Irving teach the restoration of the gifts
and the ministry of the apostle and prophet…they believe their movement is a prophetic
foretaste of the final awakening that sweep the earth in the last days.
k. The Holiness Movement, Keswick and the Deeper Life
•Wesleyanism cools, discipline fades…renewal movements spring up focusing on the filling of the Holy Spirit and sanctification
•D.L. Moody and mass evangelism, Northfield, MA
•Emerging renewal/revival groups: Christian & Missionary Alliance, Church of God, Restoration Movement, the Winebrennarians, The Nazarenes, The YMCA and the Salvation Army.
l. The Pentecostals, Topeka, KS & Azusa Street
•Alexander Dowie and Zion, IL…..Zionism in South Africa
•Seward’s Folly, Faith Bible School….Charles Fox Parham and Agnes Ozman New Year’s Day 1901, speaks in tongues after seeking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Pentecostal Movement is born.
•1904 Welsh Revival 100,000 swept into the Kingdom
•“Pentecost spreads around the world. Spontaneous unrelated outpourings. China, India, Chile, Scandinavia, Korea and West Africa.
•Azusa Street Revival 1906-1915, Los Angeles, William Seymour
•Birthed the Assemblies of God, Four Square, Church of God in Christ, Church of God-Cleveland, TN and the Pentecostal Holiness Church.
m. Latter Rain Movement & healing evangelists, 1940-1950’s
•Healing evangelists: T.L. Osborne. Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman, William Branham and Gordon Lindsay
•Outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Pentecostal Churches experience healing miracles, singing in the Spirit, laying on of hands, prophecy, dancing. Five fold ministry reintroduced as a doctrine.
n. The Jesus Movement and the Charismatic Renewal
•Around the world Christians of all denominations start to experience the Holy Spirit describing this as the baptism of the Holy Spirit with accompanying manifestations especially tongues. Roman Catholic, Anglican, Mainline Protestant and Baptist churches all experience the Holy Spirit.
•God pours out His Spirit on young people, especially the counter-culture.
•YWAM and Campus Crusade for Christ start 1960
o. The explosion of the church in South America, Africa and Asia
•600 million Pentecostals worldwide, most in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
•Church in China explodes in underground house churches to 103-130 million
•India experiences church planting movements. One region alone sees 40,000 churches over a fifteen year period
•Christians in Latin America begin to supplant catholicism
•African Christians in subSaharan grow to 300 million, African Anglican leaders take evangelical leadership for the World Wide Anglican Communion.
•one out of every seven persons worldwide claims to be a committed Bible believing Christian.
p.The present outpouring
• A theologically rich orthodoxy is seizing young Christians. Reductionism and anti-theological bias is decreasing.
•Models of how to do church are in active transition: mega-churches with multi-site, contemporary worship styles, aggressive church planting vision is gripping many leaders, cell groups as a basis for connection and care is becoming standard.
•A growing awareness of apostles and prophets emerging.
•line is blurring between evangelical and charismatic
•liberal churches are fading fast and no longer define theology and church life. They are fast becoming mere footnotes in the history books.
•Third era of missions: Everyone going everywhere. Missionaries emerging from the ⅔rds world.
•House churches sweeping Asia & Latin America.
•Europe and North America awaiting re-evangelization.
•24/7 Prayer Movement spreads
•Unprecedented Mission cooperation.
•Denominational affiliation of minor importance to most evangelicals.
•Supernatural ministry is growing in practice
•Emphasis on mercy ministries and justice