Charismactivism

Home » Posts tagged 'Jesus Army' (Page 4)

Tag Archives: Jesus Army

The author

Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

Join the Jesus revolution! Write your email adress to follow this blog and get updates about new posts via email.

Join 2,817 other subscribers

Living like the Apostles at the Jesus Army

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. (Acts 2:44-45)

Yesterday, me and my friend Frida arrived in Kettering, England, to visit one of my favourite churches, the Jesus Army. As I’ve pointed out several times before, the Jesus Army is one of the very few examples of when the Jesus hippies of the 70’s organized themselves in their own church instead of joining existing churches, and this has made them able to sustain the radicality, fire and passion for God that characterised the Jesus revival. What is most noticable is that the Jesus Army practices community of goods just like the apostolic New Testament church, something that unfortunately has become very rare among Protestant Christians.

You see, cessationism is sadly not just a doctrine of the margins within the Protestant movement, but a key factor in how both Luther and Calvin viewed Scripture. While claiming that they based their theology on Scripture alone, they deliberately ignored large parts of the Bible that didn’t fit with their theology. Cessationism is generally defined as the idea that miraculous gifts have ceased with the apostles, but within Protestantism we also teach that the community of goods we read about in Acts 2 and 4 ceased with the apostles.

With cessationism, you basically are your own god who make your own bible. Jack Deere, a former cessationist, writes in Surprised by the Power of the Spirit how he didn’t like fasting very much, so he claimed that fasting has ceased with the apostles as well. After all, there are not so many people fasting in the later books of the New Testament. But the problem is of course that the Bible never says that anything – miracles, community, fasting or whatever – would cease with the apostles, and so cessationism is just a way for Christians who claim to be Bible-believing to have a reason not to believe in all of the Bible.
(more…)

Cross My Heart and Hope…

An awesome article from Jesus Army’s Streetpaper.

The Jesus Army's famous red crosses

The Jesus Army’s famous red crosses

You can’t get away from it. It’s everywhere.

The cross.

In homes, in films, in paintings, in pop videos. Worn as an earring, on a necklace. Stitched or studded onto leather or denim. Tattooed onto skin…

What would Coca Cola or McDonalds give to own a symbol that millions wear round their necks every day?

The cross is the universal Christian symbol, acknowledged by millions of Christians everywhere as the single visual sign of their faith.

Which is weird, isn’t it? Because the cross was originally a symbol of suffering and defeat. The Roman Empire killed thousands of its enemies by nailing them to wooden crosses.

It’s like wearing a gibbet round your neck. Or hanging a little golden lethal injection from your necklace.

(more…)

Book Review: Pilgrims of a Common Life by Trevor J. Saxby

PilgrimsFor a long time, I didn’t want to read non-biblical Christian books. I thought that most of the time they were actually diluting the radical teachings of Jesus (and quite frankly I still think this is the case). But I discovered that there are two areas where I get very equipped by Christian litterature, namely church history and testimonies. This has helped me a lot both when I pursue signs and wonders, evangelize and work for peace and justice. I want to share with you some books that really has inspired me a lot and that I highly recommend. First out is Pilgrims of a Common Life: Christian Community of Goods Through the Centuries by Trevor J. Saxby.

Saxby has been a part of the Jesus Fellowship Church, or the Jesus Army, in the United Kingdoms since its beginning in the 70’s. The Jesus Army was the main fruit of the charismatic revival among hippies in the UK and they practiced community of goods, something Saxby was very attracted by. He doctored at Oxford in church history, writing his thesis about community of goods. In Pilgrims of a Common Life, he shows how community of goods has been practiced in all of church history in many different cultures, countries and churches.

In the first three chapters, Saxby effectively challenges the popular misconception that the apostolic church of Jerusalem was the only one practicing community of goods and that it was an exception rather than an example. He shows that community of goods is the logical consequence to the economic teachings of Jesus, he points at the fact that Jesus Himself practiced community of goods with His disciples, and he also looks at the cultural and historical context and shows how community of goods was not a foreign idea in first century Israel – the essenes practiced it and it was supported by both Greek and Jewish morals.
(more…)

Joy and Power at London Jesus Day

Every year, the British charismatic hippie church known as the Jesus Army arranges London Jesus Day, a big evangelism event and a public celebration and worship service. Hundreds of people walk in a carnival style procession up to Trafalgar Square where they then worship, pray, dance, preach the Gospel and shout the name of Jesus from the rooftops. The latest London Jesus Day was just last Saturday, and here are some inspiring photos from both this year’s party as well as earlier years’:

(more…)

The Mission and Vision of the Jesus Army

I’ve written several times about the Jesus Army, a charismatic, evangelical church in the United Kingdoms that is known for its active evangelism and social work. It is one of the extremely few churches I know of in Europe that practices community of goods, where everybody share everything so that there is no longer any rich nor poor. Around one quarter of Jesus Army’s members live this way in around 60 community houses that are called New Creation Christian Community. The Jesus Army is mainly a house church movement, where people gather for worship in the community houses or other homes, but during the last decade they have also built Jesus Centres which are places for social ministry to help immigrants, homeless people and others.

I’m very inspired by this church! It’s a remnant of the amazing Jesus hippie revival in the 70’s and a church that is very similar to the Biblical church of Acts, that also was a house church movement that practiced community of goods. Today, I got a confirmation that it’s possible for me and my friend Frida to come and visit the Jesus Army in August. It’s the second time I’m visiting the Army and I’m so excited! My dream and prayer is that the Holy Spirit will use me to plant more Jesus churches, in Sweden and elsewhere.

jesus army painting

To celebrate this, here are some central documents from Jesus Army’s website, describing who they are:

About the Jesus Fellowship

The Jesus Fellowship Church, which is also known as the Jesus Army, is an evangelical Christian church with a charismatic emphasis and Baptist roots. The church aims to be a contemporary expression of historic Christianity. It is orthodox in doctrine, and upholds the established Christian creeds. Details of the church are listed in the UK Christian Handbook and the English Church Census. It is linked with other churches and groups in the UK and overseas through the Multiply Christian Network, and is a member of the Evangelical Alliance UK.

(more…)

A Modern Miracle: Healing Oil Appears from Nowhere

Members of the Jesus Army

Members of the Jesus Army

Not only are they practicing community of goods and spreading the Kingdom through evangelism and social justice, the Jesus Army in the UK is a church that flows in the wonderful miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. They’re also experiencing a lot of signs and wonders. This testimony is from a series they’ve published called Revival Fires that I got at home:

Holy Oil

Holy Oil

During a Jesus Fellowship ‘covenant band’ (a small group meeting) in London recently, a mysterious oil appeared on the hands of three of the four women present while they were praying and worshipping.

They laid hands on the other woman in the group and the oil began to appear on her forehead and on her hands also. One of them attempted to wash the oil off with copious amounts of water only to find that the oil appeared again.

The next day, during lunch time the same four women began to pray for Ruth, a young woman who had had severe pain in her neck for the previous two months. The pain was so bad that Ruth had become housebound and was on large amounts of morphine to control the pain.

As they prayed they watched her face change from the chalk-white colour they had become accustomed to to a normal healthy rosy glow. Ruth found a large degree of healing and was able to run and dance about and later to walk around the block. At the same time, another woman who had become deaf in one ear through an ear infection was healed when she felt oil dripping into her ear.

The most powerful effect of the experience was an anointing to pray for others, and in particular to intercede for people in the housing estate where they had been meeting in Sharon’s flat. In the month since that evening, two residents of the same block of flats have come to Sharon’s door in tears, wanting to find faith in Jesus.

Lonnie Frisbee and his Charismatic Hippie Communal Houses

Lonnie Frisbee, 1949-1993

Lonnie Frisbee, 1949-1993

Lonnie Frisbee was an amazing Jesus freak. Being a key figure and informal leader of the Jesus People Movement in the 60’s and 70’s, his impact on Western Christianity is huge. With his long hair and beard he tried to look like Jesus himself “because there’s no one else I want to look like”, he preached on the beaches to his hippie friends that the Holy Spirit is even better than LSD and brought thousands of them to church.

The Jesus movement spread rapidly across California, US and the world, but most churches closed the door for them – after all, they were hippies. A church that did welcome them though was Calvary Chapel led by Chuck Smith, not because he was a hippie, nor because he wanted to become one, but because he liked them.

While Chuck emphasized Bible studying and evangelical values (which Lonnie thought was awesome) Lonnie himself was a holy roller. He cast out demons, spoke in tongues, healed the sick and prophesied loudly. He proclaimed himself to be a prophet and a mystic, and the whole Jesus Movement became a radical charismatic movement.

In 1980 he visited John Wimber‘s Vineyard church and released the youth into full scale charismatic renewal, which had a huge impact on Wimber himself and the whole third wave charismatic renewal. In John Wimber: The Way it Was, John’s wife Carol Wimber shares how important Lonnie was for the Vineyard, and she has some awesome testimonies from a trip to South Africa she, John and Lonnie made where they literally saw the blind and lame being totally healed when they imparted the power of the Holy Spirit to them.

(more…)

Suffering and Revival in the Congo – the Story of Helen Roseveare

Helen Roseveare

Helen Roseveare

A month ago, I wrote about the mix of tears and joy, suffering and glory that Iris Ministries in the Democratic Republic of Congo is experiencing. While people are losing their children and the women are raped by soldiers; miracles are abundant and the church has a burning passion for God. This paradoxal relationship between the cross and the glory may be hard for Western people to understand, but it is very real. Today I want to introduce you to a missionary who also experienced this in the Congo – but 50 years ago. Her name is Helen Roseveare.

After studying medicine in the UK and feeling the calling to be a missionary, Helen went to what was then Belgian Congo and started to develop the pretty much non-existant health care system. She was the only doctor for two and a half million people, saving thousands of lives. In the early 60’s, civil war broke lose as the Congolese people wanted to be liberated from Belgian colonialism. The war was extremely brutal. Helen was raped, twice.

Government soldiers came to my bungalow, ransacked it, then grabbed me. I was beaten and savagely kicked, losing my back teeth through the boot of a rebel soldier. They broke my glasses, so I could not see to protect myself from the next blow. Then, one at a time, two army officers took me to my own bedroom and raped me. They dragged me out into a clearing, tied me to a tree, and stood around laughing. And while I was there, beaten and humiliated and violated and ridiculed, someone discovered in the bungalow the only existing hand-written manuscript of a book I had been writing about God’s work in the Congo over an eleven-year period. They brought it out, put it on the ground in front of me, and burned it.

It takes less than that for others to leave both the country and the faith. But Helen knew the power and love of the living God, and she knew that He had called her to Congo to be an instrument of grace and peace. In an interview with Jesus Army, she told about the revival fires that her church saw in the midst of chaos:

(more…)

God vs Wealth, part 10: Now What?

To read other parts of the series, go here.

Christian communism logo

Christian communism? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s finally time to end God vs Wealth. And in this final part, I want to talk about some practical implications of this teaching and adress some questions that I think some of you who have followed the series have.

Question 1: Are you really saying that everyone should have everything in common?

I think economic equality is the goal and community of goods is an effective means to reach the goal. In fact, I don’t really know any more effective way to reach equality than Acts chapter 2. The model most churches use today clearly doesn’t work, and for many of them equality is not even the goal.

Of course, community of goods requires more than one person, so start with connecting with others who has the same thoughts as you. get inspired by New creation Christian Community and The Simple Way, and start building. Remember though that Christians communities should include the really poor and marginalised. Get to know poor folks in your area or neighbourhoods, invite them for dinner, love them, and if they’re up for it, live with them.

Also urge your church to start building international community of goods. Connect with say five churches in other parts of the world, look what common budget you have and split it equally. Then, rich churches will learn simplicity and poor churches will have more resources to meet needs and spread the Gospel. Win-win! (more…)

God vs Wealth, part 3: Sharing Everything

To read other parts of the series, go here.

image

I wear a red cross around my neck. I got it when I visited a church called Jesus Army in the UK a couple of years ago. Many people in this church practice community of goods. They eradicate the gap between rich and poor simply through sharing all they have together in community houses called New Creation Christian Community.

This is of course very biblical. We read about the first church in Jerusalem which was led by the apostles themselves: “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” (Acts 2:44-45). This should not be surprising, they simply obeyed the commands of Jesus. He clearly told all His disciples in Luke 12:33 to sell what they have and give to the poor.

It is thus misleading to think that this command was just given to one certain rich man in Matthew 19:16-22. I have heard countless rich Christians arguing that Jesus told him to sell what he had just because his money was a stumbling block to his relation with God, and thus rich Christians with a good relationship with God can ignore this command and continue to be rich. But the gospels doesn’t say that he had to sell his stuff because they affected his relationship with the Lord, the only reason Jesus gives is that the poor will get money – something they need no matter how our spiritual situation looks like. And again, He did say the same thing to all His disciples, and they all obeyed it.
(more…)

Community of Goods at the Jesus Army

Is it really possible to share everything, like the apostles did on Pentecost (Acts 2:44-45), today? Many Christians in the Western world seem to think that the community of goods is an unrealistic utopia, and thus, they don’t even try to live like the apostles. But the Jesus Army in the UK proves that it indeed is possible to live a New Testament life. Many of their church members live in the New Creation Christian Community, where they share everything, just like in the book of Acts. They write:

CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

Practising a radical ‘New Creation’ lifestyle in the Jesus Fellowship

Jesus Army LogoYou don’t have to live in Christian community to belong to the Jesus Fellowship! But many of us do! Around 700 of us share our possessions and pool our income and wealth (if we have any!) to live like the early Christians. They had “all things in common”[Acts 2:44] and “no-one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own”.[Acts 4:32]

That was the result of the power of the Holy Spirit coming on the church at Pentecost. And our community life, too, is the result of the Holy Spirit’s presence. We have power to love! Power to serve! Power to share!

We’re able to break the mould. To escape from the rut. The question we ask is “How does God want us to live?” Of course it’s to love. Of course it’s to share. Of course it’s to show that through new life in Jesus He brings into being a new way of living!

Jesus had little to call His own.[Matt 8:20] He shared a pooled fund with His disciples.[Mark 10:28] He warned of the love of money.[Mark 10:21,22] Small wonder then that Peter led the new converts at the day of Pentecost into Christian community.

(more…)