Teaching in stark contrast: your preference?

Here are two posts from yesterday, both from Newfrontiers bloggers.

I felt it was worth comparing the style of teaching between

Dave Bish: People are bruised reeds, please don't break us.

Which fits the new style of Newfrontiers better?
One takes US aggressive teaching and welcomes it while the other wrestles with it.
I know which I want to make time to read and am able to engage with positively.

14 thoughts on “Teaching in stark contrast: your preference?

  1. RotundScotsman

    I’m not sure I see the issue Dave. Being an NF guy I can appreciate both. I know the Driscoll talk Dave Bish is talking about (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WPVxndUcHQ) and yeah I think he does go overboard. Similarly what Piper is saying is true. I don’t want an elder who says this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9H_kgn6Rz4) I want one who stands by what the Bible says like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSGIPqXhofE). That is what Piper is getting at. In each case you need to do what Dave has done and compare what is said with what the Bible says and then come to a conclusion. We don’t treat Driscoll, Piper, Virgo or anyone else like the Pope. We have brains and are able to reason through an argument. Just because the style may not be to your taste doesn’t mean you can’t engage with both.

    Reply
  2. Dave

    RotundScotsman,
    Have you read the post by Dave Matthias on Dave Stroud’s talk at TOAM?
    My point is that regardless of what the US people are saying British Newfrontiers under Dave Stround, it’s Apostle, has committed to a different way of presenting itself and it’s beliefs that is:

    He says we love the WHOLE body of Christ. But we have not always been as smart as we could be in how we have communicated it. I agree.
    He says there should be no air of superiority. No exclusiveness. We should love people without agreeing with them. We should be more generous.

    So my point remains. Which of these posts Adrian’s or Dave’s fits better?

    Reply
  3. Gavin

    Hi Dave, As has been mentioned, newfrontiers don’t just follow everything that comes over from the States. We agree with some stuff, and we disagree with other bits. On the styles question…I think it is “both/and” rather than “either/or”. As you say yourself to justify your rants (as you describe them)Jesus was furious with religiousness, injustices and religious authorities who abused the people, and yet was so gentle/compassionate/pastoral with others – but still made their sin the issue eg woman caught in adultery. He could see sheep without a shepherd and he wept.
    We can be tough and uncompromising when it is called for, and gentle and uncompromising when that approach is appropriate. Two different styles typified in Jesus and also in Paul who also called a spade a spade and not an agriculteral implement on many occasions. Buthe also spent vast amounts of time praying for the churches too, and receiving beatings, imprisonment etc as a result of serving them.
    By the way….”British Newfrontiers under Dave Stround, it’s Apostle, has committed to a different way of presenting itself and it’s beliefs” ? Not sure that you have correctly described Dave Stroud’s role here. Certainly Dave is not THE apostle. He IS one of a team of people who have been recognised with apostolic gifting, but I think you may be giving him a role and authority that he would not accept as exisiting – much in the same way as you have previously said that Adrian is THE communicator of newfrontiers policy etc You do just love banging this newfrontiers drum – it does begin to sound like you have some issues – and I am sure you have approached the indivduals to resolve them the way Jesus said to? Have a good weekend.

    Reply
  4. Dave

    Gavin,
    As I have tried to make clear the question was not whether everything is accepted from the states but what is and in what style is it presented.
    Simply put it comes across as Dave expressing concern for others while Adrian rejoices that liberal leaders are being condemned.
    The term rant was used by a commenter rather than me.
    If you read the story of the woman caught in adultery and believe Jesus made her sin the issue then I do not read the passage the same as you. You miss that he treated her sin as no greater than anyone else’s and that he did not condemn her.
    I understood that Dave was the lead Apostle for the UK “apostolic sphere”. If the correct terminology is not Apostle then I apologise.
    I am still trying to catch up with this group of friends deciding to call each other apostles while denying the scriptural example of Junia as an Apostle.
    Have a nice weekend yourself.

    Reply
  5. Gavin

    Hi Dave, My apologies but I assumed that your comment in a previous posting “Jesus has some excellent rants against religious authorities. Seems like a good example to follow!!!!!” was an endorsement, and perhaps a self-given description of your own style – perhaps.
    Re the woman caught in adultery…what I meant was that in his personal communication with her (with little regard to those looking on), in his non-condemnationary very pastoral approach he didn’t sweep sin under the carpet either – it was regarding her sin that his final word came – a command for her to obey. I don’t think he was thinking “better make this look as though I am even handed”. He was just dealing with a woman caught in,and guilty of, sin. Perhaps it was because of this and the manner of his response that the whole incident is recorded for our incite & learning and awe as to how God kindness leads to repentance.
    He didn’t condemn – he didn’t need to she stood condemned already. But he did judge, called it sin, and give the woman the action to take. His response to the religious clearly highlighted the hypocrisy in their hearts. They too were in sin, just different sin. The effect is the same – separation from God. His response to the woman is good counsel. “This is sin…..don’t do it!”
    Re apostolic….I don’t think Dave S would ever want to be labelled “the lead apostle for the UK”
    I see the ministry that Dave S and others within and outside of newfrontiers is more akin to the ministry gift given to the church (which is plural)rather than a single authoratitive figure head. Many church streams have their accountability structures, but I see the type of apostolic role as a relational, advisory bringing healthy accountability for local leadership and the congregation. Many other church streams operate a similar approach to oversight, but would perhaps shy away from using the “a” word to describe it. I think people don’t firstly call themselves apostles and see if everyone agrees. In my experience this gift is firstly seen and recognised by others. People then attibute the description of apostolic to describe the type of ministry or role these folks operate in. I am comfortable with that – others may not be. But the idea of them being self-appointed is somewhat wide of the mark -in my thinking. Someone I know use to say…”If you think you’re a leader look behind, does anyone else recognise this in you and are they following? If you think you’re a communicator, do others see this and has anyone actually invited you to speak?”
    Usually gifts to the church are recognised by others first.Apostolic minitry is not just limited to a newfrontiers approach to doing church that’s for sure.One mans superintendant is another mans apostolic ministry – semantics perhaps ?
    I am sure you have seen gifts in their infancy in those people around you, and been delighted to see them grow into their gift, see it develop, and perhaps you have had a role in that. This God-given gift is then subsequently seen and recognised by others and released into a defined role. Is this not how gifts are manifest in the church and bear fruit? We have teaching gifts, we have evangelistic gifts we have pastoral gifts. We cannot exclude apostolic and prophetic gifts and they should be evident in the churches to build us up for works of service – in my thinking. Time to enjoy the sunshine. :-)

    Reply
  6. Dave

    Gavin,
    1. Bible Study
    Comments are not ideal for an extended exegesis. From my perspective you are downplaying the grace aspects (“neither do I condemn you”) and playing up judgement and sin.
    Of course Jesus says “leave your life of sin” he sets the highest moral standards ever. But he also is the one who offers forgiveness (in some cases without requiring repentance) and deals with sin once and for all for all people.
    Some of the points I want to note include:
    - the people who brought here were also sinners
    - you cannot commit adultery alone. A key question is where is the man? Is picking on only the woman part of their sin?
    - Through his teaching and example Jesus demonstrates a sinless life and also how to respond to sin (and going back to the original post the new Newfrontiers model described by David Stroud and illustrated by Dave Bish demonstrate a response that is more like Jesus).
    - Jesus challenges the sin of all and leaves them to decide how to respond to the challenge.
    - Jesus does not condemn even this woman who is clearly guilty. For all the talk of Judgement note that Jesus does not condemn!
    - In the way Jesus responds to the men we see (as we do in other places) Jesus challenging us to leave the decisions about people’s guilt to him.
    2. Apostle
    The language of Apostles is Newfrontiers, not me putting words in their mouths. Adrian Warnock used several posts to prepare the ground for TOAM, justifying why it is appropriate to call leaders apostles today (and of course in the process ignoring the big problem for Newfrontiers that scripture has at least one woman called an Apostle).
    I hear you saying how you “see” Apostle, but I am trying to take it fairly from the talk given by David Stroud and from that it seems to me that Newfrontiers consider these leaders Apostles each with their own “Apostolic Balls”, sorry “Apostolic Spheres”.
    The selection process is of course being wrapped in very religious language. However, at the end of the day Newfrontiers leaders are a small group of men and between them they decided on this new structure and who would be Apostles. The Newfrontiers way is not to get the whole church to decide but for the leaders to decide and then simply tell everyone else.
    Contrast this with the way the Apostles chose “deacons” at the beginning of Acts 6. It was the whole Church that chose Stephen etc because they recognised their gifts.
    I am not denying any gifts to anyone, gifts are great (especially when an accurate translation of Ephesians 4 recognises that these people are not all men). I welcome and celebrate all the wonderful gifts that God gives to people and delight in them exercising those gifts in the Churches I am part of.
    Instead I am back to the old tune of challenging poor Biblical scholarship and male headship (which has the side effect of authoritarian, non inclusive decision making as we see here).

    One mans superintendant is another mans apostolic ministry – semantics perhaps ?

    I am afraid that this mis-understands the nature of the role of Superintendent and the selection process. In Methodism this is not a hierarchical thing, indeed many ministers will follow an appointment as a superintendent with one where they are not (just as the President returns to normal circuit ministry [or whatever else they were doing] after one year).

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  7. Blue, with a hint of amber

    Ooh a good discussion to join!
    The Newfrontiers way is not to get the whole church to decide but for the leaders to decide and then simply tell everyone else.
    The three people stated as having “apostolic spheres” already in the UK are Jeremy Simpkins, Mike Betts, and Guy Miller.
    All those men were “received” by Churches wanting their input into the Church long before any suggestions of Terry Virgo’s future.
    So “The Church” did decide. Voluntarily.
    And only when a significant number of churches had decided on them were they recognised as having a particular role and ministry.
    Sure it was not a one off stand alone election.
    But niether were they appointed to a role.
    They were recognised for what they are already doing.

    Reply
  8. Dave

    Bwahoa,

    The three people stated as having “apostolic spheres” already in the UK are Jeremy Simpkins, Mike Betts, and Guy Miller.

    So is Apostle the correct title for these people (and Dave Stroud)?
    You and I know we have a very different view of how decisions are made.
    We have disagreed on what both Male Headship and Egalitarianism means in decision making in the home.
    We will disagree on this as well. The process you have described does not square with “voluntary” for me.
    So Churches decide they want the input of someone. How does that happen? Newfrontiers Churches are run by the elders (who are chosen by the elders with I think input from Newfrontiers) and these are all men.
    So we have no guaranteed input (no input by right) at all from any woman into who the Churches decide to have input from. Now I know that you will say that the elders consult and that people are asked for their viewpoints. But there is nothing in place to make sure that everyone can be heard.

    But niether were they appointed to a role.
    They were recognised for what they are already doing.

    I don’t understand. I hear that these apostles are now formally considered the leadership of Newfrontiers in the UK now that Terry Virgo is retiring from that role. In what way is this not being appointed to a role?

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  9. Gavin

    Hi dave,
    Respite from packing the car….
    1) Bible study – I love your approach. To some it may appear patronizing and with an air of superiority. Just makes me smile.
    I agree with most of your points. I don’t think you add anything new – just some reasonable questions that we won’t find out from a Bible Study, so strange you include under a Bible Study heading.I agree I would love to know what happened to the guy. We are not told.We are not told too much about the crowd beyond the whats written. Difficult to do a Bible study on what is not there ? But you do ask the historical questions that we have all asked about the crowd, the man etc
    Having addressed the crowd regarding their sinless qualification to carry out the stoning what Jesus then said was only to the woman, all the others had left. You’re right that Jesus did not condemn her – which is of course what he says. In the context of John 3:17-19, he didn’t need to. Exactly like all the rest who were standing there, if they were outside of faith in Jesus, they already stood condemend. As we both agree, Jesus came into the world to save,to rescue from condemnation that we already stand in – he doesn’t condemn. I love his pastoral approach to correction. Not making her situation any more public than it had already been made to be. But now it was in private – fantastic loving and pastoral pattern. Much more powerful than endless public communication of anothers faults. – or percieved faults.
    All we know about the crowd is that before they all left is that Jesus made it very clear that only those without sin could cast the first stone. As they all left we might conclude than none were qualified – all were sinners too.
    Oh and if I read correctly – you CAN also commit adultery alone. Jesus took it beyond the physical realm to include the realm of fantasising and imagination to deal with those who would claim not to have broken this one just because they had not physically been with someone other than their wife or husband.
    2) Apostles. I will leave the apostle question for now – just seems to trigger more questions as though nothing that is said would satisfy – much like the comments to BWAHOA.
    In closing (as I go back to finish packing the car) my comments about superintendants was not related to the methodist church. I wouldn’t want to comment on a church system I know nothing of first hand – I am not qualified to do so and it can lead one to making ill-informed sweeping statements, presumptions, misinterpretations on partial knowledge etc. I’ll leave that to others.
    Have a great summer, Dave. Look forward to catching up with your latest postings at the end of August. Gavin has left the office – yeh !

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  10. Eutychus

    Hi Dave. I wonder if you’ve been reading this thread on NewFrontiers after Terry Virgo on Ship of Fools…?
    My experience/understanding is that standard NF practice is for trustees to be appointed by the elders.
    Which of course makes them indirectly appointed by NF via apostolic oversight, not by the local church – so no local accountability in fact.
    This may not be the case in adopted churches but will become the case for them in the long term. One of my suggestions for changes to NF in the post-Terry Virgo era is that this be changed – in writing.

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  11. Blue, with a hint of amber

    Dave: re trustees in different Churches the answer would be different. There is no formula of how it would be set up.
    There is normally a mix of elders and non elders. This has to be the case because of charity law regarding how many trustees can also be paid employees etc.
    Our trustees are appointed by our trustees.
    And there is always at least one (currently 2) more non elder trustees than elders on the trustees.
    So the majority (if ever required) is not the elders.
    Back onto the apostolic stuff. I sort of agree with Gavin. The whole paradigm is so different to how you do it.
    We asked for someone to help our Church. Over a period of years we built relationship with various people, sometimes more successfully than others. Not that there was disagreement, but just that people are busy.
    Eventually we got to know Jeremy a bit better and when we heard he was moving to Manchester we figured he would be a bit more accessible, so we asked him if we could explore linking up.
    Within newfrontiers this is happening all over the place: pretty organically, sometimes haphazardly. Our own lead elder had about 7 Churches relating to him in this region until recently. I never heard him being called an apostle and I never heard him use the word.
    Jeremy is a bit different because with 70 churches looking to him there is obviously something about him that stands out.
    That is what has been recognised.
    I am pretty sure the next couple of newfrontiers magazines will keep explaining it. The current one is quite handy to see where the different people fit into the picture, but I am not sure it is online.
    But like I said: the language, the semantics, the structures: it will all sound like swahilli to you just like your reports of Methodist conference do to me ;-)

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  12. Charity

    I am pretty sure the next couple of newfrontiers magazines will keep explaining it.
    It doesn’t look as though this will be the case as if I’m not mistaken Terry announced at TOAM that the next edition will be the last one. So the magazine will cease to exist unless there is someone with enough influence to change that decision.

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  13. TW

    didn’t Peter and Paul have very very different teaching styles….wasn’t that okay?
    Are we really looking for a church environment where teachers and preachers are encouraged to ‘adopt’ certain styles instead of remaining unique and individual?
    I am in a newfrontiers church, where i teach on a regular basis, and have never been encouraged to adopt a particular approach, only develop my own.
    I love Driscoll at times, other times i find him frustratingly frustrating – but it doesn’t make him wrong – he is wrong when he says something wrong, and that has nothing to do with style but theology/shepherding.

    Reply

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