Thanks to a recent post by Dan, I stumbled across some MP3s on the Bridge Community Church Bristol website. Their sermons page features two talks by John Hosier (the unofficial newfrontiers theologian), from Church of Christ the King (the unofficial newfrontiers HQ). They are entitled “12 biblical values held by newfrontiers”.
I was eager to listen to these, as I have not yet had the chance to read John Hosier’s latest book, “Christ’s Radiant Church”. I don’t think the 12 points exactly follows the book, as the book has about 20 chapters, but it was clear that there was a fair amount of overlap. It seems as though these were training seminars rather than Sunday morning sermons.
As I downloaded them, I thought to myself that he dare not miss out “Grace” as one of the points. But actually, he starts by saying that it wasn’t one of his points, because it was so fundamental and ran right through the others.
There are no real surprises here for those who know the newfrontiers group of churches, but I’ll list the points he made and perhaps make a few comments of my own. He offered one Bible reference for each point, though making it clear that more could be offered for each one. I’ve broken this post into two parts, as it was getting a bit long.
1. The place of the word of God
There is a strong commitment to preaching the word in gatherings, and teaching it in small group and discipleship settings. The Bible is God’s revealed truth and preachers especially must remember the importance of soaking themselves in the word of God.
2. Baptism in water is for all believers
He didn’t really use this point to talk about credo baptism versus paedo baptism, but spoke of the symbolism of death and resurrection. He also cautioned about overemphasising the evangelistic opportunity at the expense of realising it is a special occasion for the candidate themselves.
3. Baptism in the Spirit
Which “brings a definite sense of assurance and a real experience of the power of God in the life of a believer”. This is the subject of the longest chapter in his book, and he believes it needs to be defended theologically. He laments the fact tat charismatic theologians such as Grudem do not appear to have understood their position. I can agree that most arguments I have read seem to be arguing against something quite different from the position laid out so well by David Pawson in his book Jesus baptises in one Holy Spirit. He reiterated the basic position that “it may take place at conversion, but it is a distinct experience of the power of God”
4. Church membership involves taking an active serving role in the church
“We’re not trying to gather a crowd, we’re trying to build a church”. He underlined also that nobody should feel they don’t belong because everyone has something to contribute.
5. Participation of believers in meetings is encouraged and expected
There is of course a problem if you have a moderately large church, that not all can contribute in a single meeting, but all should have a desire to contribute. He also briefly mentioned that the interpretation of a tongue should be Godward, and noted that the charismatic contributions included a “teaching” as well as prophecy and tongues, and that these could be brought by men or women. This form of “teaching” is understood as a short spontaneous biblical exhortation rather than being in the form of a fully prepared sermon, and is therefore not seen as contradictory to restricting the preaching ministry to men only.
6. All the spiritual gifts listed in the New Testament are available today
… and these gifts should be eagerly expected and eagerly sought. Interestingly he made the same excellent point here that Don Carson raises in Showing the Spirit – the command to eagerly desire that you prophesy is in the plural, indicating that churches should seek to manifest all the gifts rather than individuals trying to collect the full set. The “what’s my gift?” mentality can be unhelpful as it is individualistic in outlook.
Part 2 to follow soon…