Newfrontiers, self-delusional to the end

According to The Road to "Elder" ado: Farewell, Newfrontiers UK "At the turn of the year, Newfrontiers UK, the UK part of the "apostolic sphere" of Terry Virgo, formally ceased to exist in it's previous form."

So Newfrontiers has ceased to exist.

However, this hapens in a typically self-delusional way. The post delights in saying "WE NEVER WERE A DENOMINATION".
Denomination from Merriam Webter "4: a religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices"
a religious group, usually including many local churches, often larger than a sect: the Lutheran denomination."
I say typical because Newfrontiers play these kinds of games with definitions all the time.
For example I have been told many times that Newfrontiers believe in equality. Yet the equality that they believe in is consistantly not equal
  • Wives should submit to the headship of their Husbands
  • Women can never be elders in the Church
  • Many of them place additional restrictions on women such as not allowing them to preach in Church or teach men.

They claim this equality in just the same way as they claim to not have been a denomination, by playing with defintions. Equality is about value they say, not about role. Yet nothing tells us publicly more about value than the roles you permit and such a defintion is actually a redefintion of equality:

[mass noun] the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities:an organization aiming to promote racial equality Oxford Dictionaries

Now that Newfrontiers apparently does not exist (although recognising that this may simply mean that Newfrontiers have redefined the word "exist") it will be interesting to follow what happens with the new Apostolic Balls. NB fed up of redefining words they have decided to create new phrases "Apostolic Spheres" is the current favoured one, but as they contradict Scripture by requiring all their Apostles to have balls (yes a reference to Junia in Romans 16) I figure "Apostolic Balls" is more appropriate.

12 thoughts on “Newfrontiers, self-delusional to the end

  1. Dave Faulkner

    This guy just doesn’t understand denominations, does he? ‘Legal, bureaucratic and centralised’ – where does that leave the Baptists?
    ‘Terry Virgo was willing to let go’ – or, ‘Once Terry Virgo retired, Newfrontiers could no longer exist’?

  2. Blue, with a hint of amber

    Hope you had a Happy Christmas Dave.
    Forgive the flippant comment about denominations.
    Many of our denominations are wonderful moves of God. No intended slight there.
    But it’s a bit of a side joke with some people who read my blog who are always ribbing me about newfrontiers being a denomination by any other name.
    As for “making up” definitions, just a thought, 2 Corinthians 10: “13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you.”

  3. Blue, with a hint of amber

    An example of a distinction might be, say, a local Anglican Church which is part of the “New Wine Network”.
    When my friend from that Church says “Newforntiers is a denomination” I’d say “It’s more like the new wine network”.
    New Wine would never define itself as a denomination.

  4. Dave

    Good points. The fracturing is quite obvious when you look at these Apostolic Balls. Some cover half the country, others are one or two Churches. Looks from the outside as being far more about squabbling, who can get on with who and power.
    More and more the ecclesiology of Newfrontiers becomes a set of scripture verses taken out of context.
    For example Ephesians 4 is often referred to in Newfrontiers but it does not refer to elders and it does not put any gender qualifications on any roles. That only appears in the Newfrontiers “translation”.
    With respect Newfrontiers do not appear to resemble a network like New Wine which I understand like the Evangelical Alliance, like Family Friendly Church and many others has Churches from different denominations signed up as members. None of those others take Churches out of their denominations which is why a Newfrontiers Church might sign up to belong to some of them.
    Those people are not ribbing you about Newfrontiers being a denomination, they are simply using the English language.

  5. Blue, with a hint of amber

    There are Churches who are part of newfrontiers who are also part of the Baptist Union.
    Just like the example with New Wine above.
    Quite a lot of research etc has been done into networks / movements compared to denominations. Those definitions are what I am referencing to. I don’t think they come from Newfrontiers per se.
    The kinds of questions I would look at when distinguishing between a denomination and a Church movement would include…
    - who owns the property / assets
    - does money have to be given centrally?
    - who pays ministers?
    - Does the central body run: property, educational establishments, works amongst the poor etc
    - Is there a designated HQ?
    - Who sets policies and procedures for Churches?
    Not an exhaustive list, and not suggesting one is necessarily better than the other, but at the end of “Newfrontiers UK” all we have to do as a local Church is change the logo.
    There is something different between that and how other Churches are set up. It was that distinction I was making, however much the language was confusing.

  6. Blue, with a hint of amber

    “Looks from the outside as being far more about squabbling, who can get on with who and power.”
    Gossip AND slander Dave?
    I know you really, really like bashing newfrontiers, but has it really come to this?

  7. Dave

    [update] Ah ha, I have worked it out.
    Because the leadership of Newfrontiers are all men and men are always right then any challenge must be considered gossip or slander.

  8. Peter Kirk

    Blue, since you mention the Baptist Union (and Dave F does too), does it count as a denomination by your definition? And in the late Newfrontiers who set the policy that women cannot be elders? There was certainly some central organisation.
    Now it will be interesting to see if some of the Apostolic Balls, maybe even in time all of them, drop that eldership requirement of balls.

  9. Blue, with a hint of amber

    Dave, if I sat in my office making unfounded allegations about actions and motivations of the leadership within the methodist church I think you’d comment too.
    You have often complained people you disagree with don’t “engage” with you more.
    Ever thought why that is?
    You ever read Mark 9:40?

  10. Blue, with a hint of amber

    Hi Peter.
    I guess the question is, regarding anything, not just gender stuff, was there a newfrontiers “policy” imposed on the Churches, or did like-minded churches start to network into something that became known as newfrontiers? And when they started new churches they looked like their parents?
    As for whether the BU is a denomination, several Baptists I know would describe themselves as one.

  11. Dave

    Of course I am against Newfrontiers on issues of injustice such as your gender policies.
    A number of people have contacted me over the years who would use the term “imposed” when Churches in Newfrontiers have had issues with leadership.
    As engaging or not it seems to me to be reduced when as recently I blog less rather than anything else.
    It is the choice of Newfrontiers whether they wish to engage with me. I don’t ignore anyone wanting to do so.


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