[anzac] LEAVING the "OUT-OF-CHURCH" - Andrew Strom

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006 12:19:42 -0600
-by Andrew Strom.

A year ago I made a public announcement that I was leaving the 
'Prophetic' movement - a movement I had been a part of for over 
ten years. In hindsight I certainly believe that was the right 
decision, and one that had to be made. Sometimes a public
"leaving behind" is important. However, I don't want to be known
as the 'Leaving' guy, so I am kind-of embarrassed at having to
make another similar statement only a year later. But God has
been laying this on my heart for some time.

Recently I have been growing more and more uncomfortable with 
another move that my name has been associated with for many 
years. -On our website we call it the "Out-of-church" movement, 
though recently George Barna has taken to calling it the "Revolution". 
-It is not exactly the same thing, but it overlaps greatly. And as 
someone who has been a known sympathiser and supporter of 
this movement, the time has come for me to state publicly that I 
am leaving it behind. I can no longer be seen to support something 
that is fundamentally anti-New Testament.

Please do not think that I am referring to the 'House-church'
movement here. That is not what I am referring to, though I do 
have small concerns with that movement also. But that is not it. 

For the last 20 years I have been involved with a network of people 
who have left their churches - often to go into a kind of individualistic 
"just me and God" type of mode. I cannot be party to such thinking 
any more. The problem I have seen is that a "wilderness" mentality
develops - and many people simply live there forever. There is no
true "Body Life" and no true "Leadership" - and I have noticed that
because of this NOTHING REALLY HAPPENS. For year after
year - NOTHING. 

Why is this? -Because 'Body' and 'Leadership' are utterly essential
to basic New Testament Christianity actually HAPPENING. Without 
these two things we simply do not get anywhere. I mean - isn't that 
the pattern that we see right through the Book of Acts?

For some people the 'Out-of-church' Revolution is "new". But for
me it is very old, and after 20 years observation there is one simple 
thing I can tell you:  IT DOES NOT WORK.  It does not transition 
into real New Testament 'Body Life'. It does not lead to Revival. It
does not transform the church. It "scatters" instead of gathering, 
and leads to what I call "amorphous blob" Christianity. -In other 
words, the Body of Christ becomes an unfocused mass of 
individualists without form or direction - "each man doing what is 
right in his own eyes." I don't know if we can find much more of an 
opposite to true Body Life than that.

A lot of these people say that if we are going to have leaders, then
they must be real "servants". Amen! -I fully agree. But the New
Testament also states that we need 'Fathers' in the faith (-who
bring correction, discipline and teaching) and also true 'shepherds'.
In my experience, those who want the 'servants' - without the 
'fathers' or 'shepherds' - are often people who have a deep stronghold 
of 'REBELLION' in their hearts - which they are trying to cover up 
with high-sounding talk. (-Just as I myself used to do).

And that is what this movement is full of:  High-sounding talk.
You see it in Barna's book "Revolution". You hear it everywhere
you go in the 'Out-of-church' movement. Vast claims are being
made for those who will simply "come out" - and actually "BE the
church without having to GO to church", etc. One would think that
"coming out" was the solution to all that ails us. But as I have
seen for 20 years now, nothing could be further from the truth.

The facts are plain and simple: If your thinking and behaviour are 
basically "anti-Body" and "anti-Leader", then don't expect to get 
anywhere. And don't expect the Body of Christ to get anywhere 
either. We are not designed to be an "amorphous blob". We are
designed to be a unified army with leaders and direction and
teamwork - taking the kingdom of darkness using "combined force".
United together we are very powerful - for God designed us to be
a 'Body'. Split apart into "individualists", we are weak and ineffective.
And in the Book of Acts, they united under 'LEADERS'. It was
'LEADERS' that were the glue that God used to keep the whole
thing together. -This has simply always been His way.

Are you someone who has trouble with the concept of uniting under
leaders? -In that case, do not expect to take part in the coming
move of God. -Your attitude is totally anti-New Testament.

But do I have sympathy for people who feel like 'outcasts' in the 
church? Do I have sympathy for those who search and search, yet 
cannot seem to find a church that is biblically sound? -Certainly.
I get people writing to me all the time saying they have been 
around every church in their area, and all there seems to be are 
'dead' traditional churches or hype-ridden, over-the-top 'Charismania' 
churches (and yes, I am Spirit-filled myself, but have to admit that 
the Charismatic movement today is in an awful mess). That is a 
huge problem - for where do these people go?

The fact is, what Barna is popularizing as a new "Revolution" in 
many cases is something a lot less. Often it is simply the church 
getting so bad that many of its best people are being forced out - 
never to return. Does that sound like a great "Revolution" to you?

The real problem, as Barna himself has stated many times, is that
there is a LEADERSHIP CRISIS in the Western church. It is simply 
impossible to believe that things would have gotten so bad if this 
were not the case.

So what is the answer? -It is certainly not to abandon the concepts
of 'Body' and 'Leadership' altogether. That is not an option at all. But
there has got to be a "new" way for God to bring order to His
backslidden church.

I have said many times that what is coming in the West is not just
a Revival but also a "Great Reformation". God cannot live with a
lukewarm church. He is about to bring great 'change'. And during a 
Reformation, God always deals with these two issues of 'Body' 
and 'Leaders'. - He raises up something NEW.

So what am I saying here? -Simply that "coming out" is not the
answer. Rather, the issue is whether you will "enter in" to the
new thing that God wants to do. -That is always the issue. And
I tell you, if you have a problem with 'Body' or 'Leaders' then
your chances of entering in are almost non-existant. -We simply 
cannot come into New Testament Christianity without these two things. 

I don't know about you, but I have a great sense of expectancy
about this year (2006) and coming years. I truly believe we may
be about to see some breakthroughs in the "new thing" that 
God is wanting to establish. But one thing is for sure:- If we are 
unwilling to either LEAD or be LED, then I believe we can virtually 
forget about taking part. -That is how important Leadership is, in 
a new move of God. -It is UTTERLY VITAL.

Friends, can you grasp this crucial fact:- The season has changed
and it is time to "ENTER IN" not 'come out'. God wants to do a
'new thing', and the real question is whether your heart is capable 
of entering in and being part of it. Do not be like the children of 
Israel who wandered and died in the desert because they failed to 
enter their Promised Land. -Be one who 'enters in'.

In closing, I need to say this:
Because I can no longer condone the 'Out-of-church' Revolution
that I have endorsed for many years, I needed to take my e-book 
"The OUT-OF-CHURCH Christians" off the main page of our website - 
http://www.revivalschool.com . This has now been done.

I would also ask that you please forward this email to your
friends and to other Lists - to anyone who may be aware of our
previous stance. We need to have it widely known that we no
longer support the 'Out-of-church' Revolution - mainly because
of these two issues - 'Body' and 'Leaders'. So please let others know. 

I realize that we risk angering and upsetting a great number of 
people by "cutting ourselves off" from this movement. I am truly
sorry. However, I believe that my calling as a Revivalist is to 
restore and preach the original gospel - that is the major call on
my life. And lately I have had a strong feeling that I cannot advance 
into 2006 properly with this issue hanging over my head. -This is 
a crucial year.

So do we ourselves belong to a local church? -YES WE DO.
And is our ministry actively pursuing true 'Body Life' and an 
'apostolic' gospel? -YES WE ARE. Glorious days are ahead for 
the Body of Christ - I am convinced of it. That is why I am urging
us all to leave behind the 'wilderness' mentality, and take on a
"Promised Land" mentality instead. It is time to "enter in". And I
cannot remain with any movement that preaches otherwise.

To respond to this article, please send any feedback to-  

God bless you, my friends.

Kindest regards in Christ,

Andrew Strom.