Thursday, September 4, 2014
Seeking the revival of justice and mercy
Lonnie Frisbee in the 1960s. He coined the phrase “signs and wonders”, was a pioneer of mercy ministry in the church and, still dressing as a hippie, was the first leader of the original Vineyard church in Yorba Linda, California.
MERCY as a strategy of obedience in seeking revival is a charismatic theology, not a liberal one, Simon Ponsonby asserted in his New Wine seminar. Controversially he said: “If the liberals in the church are doing it, it is because they have heard this from God and we haven’t. It’s fine for us to roll around on the floor, as long as we are different when we get up!”
Where the spirit of the Lord is, He will create in us the same commitment, love and passion for works of justice that He has – Matthew 12:18
I will put my Spirit on him, and He will proclaim justice to the nations.
You will experience his love. The Spirit effects change in us – as He effected change when He brooded over the water in Creation, and brought life (Genesis 1:2)
Of course we will keep praying for the sick, that is what Jesus did, preaching the gospel, that is what Jesus did, and also keep committing ourselves to justice and mercy, because that is what Jesus did.
Some years ago Simon said he had published a booklet entitled More. Everyone wanted more – and it sold well. He followed that with Holiness. That didn’t sell so well. His most recent title is Justice, and that has hardly sold any. People want more, but not more of that. But, he said, more is that.
He shared a story about the spiritual father of New Wine, John Wimber. In the very early days of the Vineyard movement, a character called Lonnie Frisbee was leading, and he instilled an ethos of doing works of mercy. You joined Lonnie Frisbee’s church, that’s what you did.
Lonnie stepped back and Wimber took over and the Vineyard church grew and became well known.
Someone came up to Wimber one day, saying, “God has told me to offer you three months – of my work. What work? How? Wimber treated this rather too lightly. God rebuked him, and he reconsidered. Just at that time Lonnee Frisbee, who had really lost it and moved out of the area with a deteriorating lifestyle, got in touch again. “I am dying of cancer, ” he said. “I have nowhere else to go.” Wimber rented an apartment for three months and the nurse tended him to death and into new life. A bruised reed He will not break. It’s a mark of the Spirit. It is what He does, when we are saturated in Him.
The mid 4th century pagan emperor Julian, who tried without success to bring the Roman empire back to its pre-Christian values, bemoaned the fact that his religion was failing and Christianity was advancing.
He said: “Observe how the kindness of Christians to strangers, their care for burying the dead, their sobriety of lifestyle has done the most to advance their cause. Not only do they care for their own poor, they care for us as well.”
The first hospitals were built by the church for Christian pilgrims to Holy Land. Fontevraud Abbey in the French Loire, built in early 1100s, was a sanctuary for battered wives, penitent prostitutes and lepers. The Spirit of justice led the church to pioneer the early socialist movement, the peace movement, education movement, temperance movement, Samaritans, Barnados, Tear Fund, Oxfam, Red Cross, Christian Aid, World Vision, Leprosy Society, Betel, Christians Against Poverty – all begun by Christians.
If you want to have revival you might have to welcome homeless people, with their dogs, to church (an actual challenge at St Aldates), widen your eyes, extend your embrace, and invite people you might not want in your house. This is a charismatic theology.