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Who needs buildings when you have homes? Here’s a video I made where I describe why I’m such a passionate promoter for house churches. The seven reasons are the following;
1. They’re biblical – Acts 2:46, 1 Cor 16:19, Col 4:15 and other passages tell us that the early Christians met in homes. The earliest archeologically discovered church, the Dura Europos church, was a house church. In fact, church buildings where people didn’t eat and sleep wasn’t constructed until the late third and early fourth century.
2. They’re utilized – again, people actually eat and sleep there. Most church auditoriums – the big room with a lot of pews – stands empty for the most part of the week. Homes, in contrast, are usually used daily.
3. They’re small – and this is a good thing! 1 Cor 14:26 tells us that everyone attending a church meeting should contribute with something. When was the last time you’ve experienced that? Frankly, you need a small group to have such a wonderful spiritual interaction. (more…)
This is an excerpt from the first draft of my upcoming book on radical charismatic church history.
In the beginning of the 20th century, China was suffering from the Boxer uprising, where Mandarin nationalists revolted against European colonial influences, demanding that everything foreign, especially Christianity, should be thrown out. The Boxers were crushed by colonial forces but that didn’t put an end to the social unrest, and China continued to suffer from looting, violence and xenophobia. And yet, Pentecostalism spread rapidly throughout China, much thanks to the Holy Spirit and a guy called Mok Lai Chi (1868-1926) in Hong Kong.
Mok went to the slums of Wan Chai, preaching the Gospel and healing the sick. In 1908 he started a paper called Wuxunjie Zhenlibao, Pentecostal Truths, which was spread not just in Hong kong but across the mainland. Mok explained in the paper: “Hong Kong Pentecostal Mission is a Jesus church founded by the Chinese themselves, not a branch of any foreign churches planted in my nation.”
The Mission supported Bible classes and girl schools, as well as church planting. Mok Lai Chi both cared for people’s salvation and the social problems they experience here and now; protesting against the British colonial government in 1921 for allowing the rents in the city to be too high. (more…)
As the election to the European Parliament gets closer, I want to highlight some of the biggest European sins that unfortunately are not very present in the political debates.
The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia describes gluttony as “the excessive indulgence in food and drink. The moral deformity discernible in this vice lies in its defiance of the order postulated by reason, which prescribes necessity as the measure of indulgence in eating and drinking.” It is opposite of contentment and fasting. Gluttony is exetremely common in Europe and the rest of the so called Western world, not only in its original food sense but also when it comes to consuming other goods. In fact, consumerism is the defining social end economic order in modern Europe.
Consumerism is caused by the economic envy of Europe which sees endless economic growth as the main political goal, and it is because of this consumerism we see the horrible greedy neo-colonisalism where Europe enslaves poor workers in Asia and Africa. But not only does consumerism oppress poor workers, it also destroys the environment. It becomes increasingly clear that the world’s climate, water, forests, air, flora, fauna and more get polluted and destroyed by sinful humanity. The environment is a broad topic so let me just focus on the main environmental issue of our time: climate change.
I don’t want to spend so much time refusing climate skeptic’s arguments since that has already been done by others – check this website to find good replies to what they say. We have to agree that man-made climate change is a fact, and that it is caused by inequality and injustice. As the video above shows, it is mostly rich countries that has caused climate change due to their industrial pollutions while it is the poor countries that will suffer the most from climate change’s consequences. Climate change is thus not just one of the biggest market failures, but also one of the biggest neo-colonial strikes against the global south. Europe gets rich through pollution and let the poor countries pay the expensive, life-costing bill.
Half a year ago my pastor told me that there is a Chinese lady studying at Stockholm School of Theology called Ge Baojuan who has raised dead people back to life. Since this school isn’t exactly charismatic I was cheerfully surprised and went to Stockholm to do an interview. I asked her to share some miracles she had seen, and she didn’t disappoint me. She said that a lot of miracles are happening in China and that this is one of the major reasons why the church is growing so quickly there.
She told me about when she raised a child from the dead, when a girl with mental problems was healed, when tumors disappeared from a woman’s womb and when a lady miraculously survived a car accident. The two latter examples were from Sweden, so luckily the power of the Holy Spirit isn’t restricted to China.
I was so impressed by pastor Ge’s humility and faith. She has been a pastor for a long time and has done a huge impact for the Kingdom of God in Wuhan, and now she has come to Sweden to take a master of arts in theology. In my opinion, she should teach the Swedes how to be a Spiritual master.
A month ago I was listening to Chinese pastor and revivalist brother Yun as he was conducting some meetings in Sweden. His autobiography, The Heavenly Man, was one of the first Christian books I read, and it has impacted me a lot. Yun describes both countless miracles and unspeakable suffering, persecution as well as revival. These aspects go hand in hand, he argues, the glory of the resurrection cannot be separated from the pain of Calvary.
As a Western Christian who at that point had neither experienced revival nor persecution, Yun’s testimony opened my eyes to what Christianity really is about. Having fled from China in 2001 to Germany, he had some very interesting reflections about the state of the Western church. Based on the story about the lame man in Acts 3, he wrote prophetically: “The Western church has a lot of silver and gold. The Chinese church rises up and walks.”
Of course there are exceptions, but generally this is painfully true: churches in high-income countries are rich in money but poor in spirit, churches in middle- and low-income countries are poor in money but rich in spirit. I would say the latter group is better off, still I am constantly aware of the urgent material needs they have in order to fight poverty and nurture revival. (more…)