Thursday, February 02, 2006


I've been reading Graham Cooke's book, "A Divine Confrontation: Birth Pangs of the New Church"
"We cannot hold onto our old order and still progress to a new level of anointing. When a new paradigm unfolds before us, it will always take us back to ground zero. Paradigms do not build on each other; they replace each other. God loves this! We start again with a new dependency rising out of fresh inadequacy."
Graham Cooke does not draw back from the sometimes painful process needed to allow God to do His complete work of transforming our lives. He rightly puts a emphasis on how to develop strong relationships; and outlines practical ways for equipping warriors in the battle.

The back cover states:
The Church is in a season of profound change. The birth pangs of transition are changing the order of "what is" into a Church that can do the will of God in the midst of a difficult environment.

By nature, labor produces a violent change from the old to the new, and it has left some churches broken and bewildered.

We must discern between the work of the enemy and the work of the Holy Spirit. In essence, transition forms the rite of passage from one dimension of the Spirit to another. This book details the elements of that changing process.


Kevin said...

The significance of this kind of thinking all hinges on what "ground zero" is. Along with some other recent posts (e.g. "Postmodern Ears"), this one on Cooke advocates radical rethinking of the Church. But how do we decide what needs rethinking?

Put another way, emergents advocate a "new kind" of Christian/evangelical, which requires dropping what they perceive as "modernist" cultural aspects of the Church. But one would-be radical may mean not wearing ties to Sunday services; another may mean moving from church buildings to house-meetings; and a third may advocate dropping the belief in Scriptural inerrancy or authority.

So I guess what I'm wondering is, where is the line between pruning the tree and chopping it down?

michael said...

Kevin raise a key question: "What is 'ground zero'?" A couple of brief comments:
1) the issue is not modeernist vs post-modernist. like most if not all movements or philosophies, post-modernism is a reaction to some of the imcompleteness (I think that is a better description than "flaws" - even through there are flaws within modernity)
2) the issue is are we willing to allow the living word of God to speak into our culture. all of us are shaped by our culture, all of us - to one degree or another - are influenced by it. That, i believe is a given. If we deny that, then we are living in a dream world. And, in part, some of north american fundamentalism, holiness movements and to a degree evangelalism has been doing just this. We need to allow the written Word of God to be ground zero. We need to let the Spirit of God be ground zero. We need to understand the trinitarian relevation of God as ground zero.
Sometimes pruning needs to be radical. Sometimes there are aspects of what we call "church" that are ok, even good, for a season - but we make them into fundamentals of the church.
What I hear Cooke saying, is if the church is to be the church in this age, then let God, through his word & by his spirit, do the type of pruning that is necessary, so that God's kingdom comes.