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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.
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’:
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.
To celebrate this, here are some central documents from Jesus Army’s website, describing who they are:
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.
Yesterday’s election to the European Parliament was a shock to many people: the clear winners are the far-right, xenophobic and racist parties. Parties that want to decrease or stop non-Western immigration, and whos representatives say the most insane things about Muslims, Jews, homosexuals and other minorities:
Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of french party Front National that won a stunning 24 % of the french vote, has famously questioned the facts concerning the holocaust and has said that the gas chambers were a minor detail of world war two. And just a few weeks ago he said that the Ebola epidemic might solve the “migration problem” by killing non-Europeans. Jean-Marie led Front National for almost 40 years until he handed over the leadership to his daughter three years ago. She has distanced herself from her father’s antisemitism, instead the party is now extremely islamophobic and wants to stop non-Western immigration to France.
In the United Kingdoms, UKIP won a victory similar to Front National, and while they are not very antisemitic they are very hostile to immigrants. Their leader Nigel Farage has made racist statements concerning Romanians, he only wants to welcome Christians from Syria and not Muslims, and the party is overflowing with hostile stereotyping of non-British nationalities.
The depressing list could go on and on. The Danish People’s Party, that also had a success in the European election yesterday, wants to totally stop Muslim immigration, which obviously is clear religious discrimination. The Austrian FPÖ, which for a long time was lead by neo-Nazi Jörg Haider and which wants to stop immigration to “protect the cultural identity of Austria”, got 20% of the Austrian votes. And then we got the really bad guys: Jobbik from Hungary whose supporters say that the Roma people will die, that wants to register all Jews because they view them as a “national security risk” and that send neo-Nazis to the European Parliament. And of course Golden Dawn, who got 10 % of the Greek votes – their representatives deny the holocaust and quote the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the Greek parliament. And oh, their flag is very similar to the Germanic Nazi swastika.