Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Urban Renewal - a re - quest for the radical middle

I am fascinated by a growing trend. On the one hand there seems to be a growing interest amongst more conservative churches in the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Francis Chan's book 'The Forgotten God - our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit' is just one of many attempts to address an embarrassment over the third Person of the trinity and a humble admission that good theology is not sufficient by itself to produce good Christians. They are slowly but surely wading into the waters of the Holy Spirit's presence and leading.

On the other hand there are many pentecostal/charismatic churches who seem to have something of a hangover from their heady days of holy rolling. They are not sure that the ever-pending revival that was prophesied ever really came, or whether the heights of Holy Spirit intoxication ever really produced tangible gospel fruit. They look longingly at the many mega-churches that line the ecclesiological landscape and wonder how they managed to grow to their size and influence without so much as a single tongue and interpretation! They are discovering the delight of preaching from the biblical text and the sanity of sound theology.

So what is God up to?
Is He scizophrenic?
Or could He be working in us a holy discontentment with the limits of our own church strengths and leanings?
Could He be forming in us a humble openness to glean from the richness of what He has taught others?
I suspect that in His wisdom and patience He is drawing us back to what John Wimber called 'the quest for the radical middle;' a church devoted to both the authority of the Scriptures and the leading of the Spirit, for the sake of the Gospel and His glory. We absolutely need both.

That's what Urban Renewal is all about. A re-quest for the radical middle. June 10th -12th. Early bird registration at www.southlands.net


  1. Sounds great - wish I lived closer!

    Paul told the Galatians that they (hence we) received the Spirit and God worked miracles because they "believed what they heard"! The quest is not so much for the middle-ground - although I get the point - but for the believing of what we hear: the rest follows by Godly intent.


  2. Hi Colin
    I agree but I think there may be more. The Bereans were called noble because they received the Word with great eagerness but also examined the scriptures daily to see if what Paul was saying was true. Sometimes we believe things too easily - we need to help people to weight up what they hear against the scriptures.

  3. Thanks Alan - great that you re-read your blogs in order to re-comment!

    I agree - there's always a lot more to it. The serious need for revision against the scriptures, but also, as Paul said to the Thessalonians, the Word has to be received "as it is, the Word of God, not the word of men" - and that said to idol-worshipping heathens without a copy of the scriptures.

    I get a bit creeped-out by comments I read recently from leading, and very influential, churchmen: that we don't enjoy enough encounters with God because we are too easily satisfied with good theology! They have to go together - it is God's intent.

    Keep up the urging and the appeal - it is never wasted!


  4. Great thoughts Colin. Thanks so much. Loving finding other friends with a similar thirst for the Spirit and hunger for the Word. May God produce much Gospel fruit through it!Bless you bro.love