Breathtaking stuff here. I like how this is written - it's not just an "Oh, that's interesting" kind of cultural shift, it's more like a revolution. I've unconsciously been doing steps one and two at the end - getting out of the way of the old structure, and being prepared for the suspicion of other Christians (hasn't really been so bad for me yet).
But I've got a fairly long way to go on the last two - taking responsibility, bearing others' burdens, loving. Although I know that's what I have to do. :) God, please help me to make small steps forward each day.
Friday Fax 2005 Issue 28, 15 July
In this week's Friday Fax:
Instructions for subscribing, unsubscribing and changing e-mail address are
included at the bottom of this Friday Fax.
That's the title of American author Jim Rutz's recently-published book. It's
hotly debated on TV, and one of Amazon's top sellers. It has also caused
controversy in broad swathes of self-contented US Christianity. 'Megashift' is
a sharp-minded analysis of current Christianity around the world, and is partly
based on dozens of carefully-researched Friday Fax reports. Rutz is now one of
the popular columnists in the conservative Internet news site World Net Daily
(www.worldnetdaily.com). What are his main observations?
- The 1700-year nightmare is over: the Constantinian Shift is shifting back.
Under Emperor Constantine, the Church became an imperial audience, but is now
finally freeing itself from the corset of state control.
- An unprecedented transfer of divine power is underway, from clerics into the
hands of ordinary people. According to Rutz' research in 49 nations, hundreds
of people have been raised from the dead in the past 15 years.
- This is giving rise to an entirely new form of Christianity - with far
greater repercussions than the Protestant Reformation.
- Over 1 billion non-Christians could become active Christians in the next 10
When millions of ordinarly people do extraordinary things
The Charismatic Evangelical movement, currently numbering 707 million people
around the world, is growing by 8 percent per year. That alone is exciting. The
centre of this movement, though, is a mostly unknown and little-understood
movement of 100 million Christians who have no building and neither pastor nor
programme. "A church without vertical hierarchies," says Rutz, "which will
change the future." They have experienced what Rutz calls a 'lifestyle upgrade':
Anyone who uses computer software knows what an upgrade is: a new and better
version of a programme replaces the old version. Through an act of God, many
millions of people have experienced an 'inner upgrade' leading to an entirely
new quality of life. Rutz lists a number of chances and advantages offered by
this upgrade, which were previously unthinkable for many people:
- People experience release from the limitations and burdens of a traditional,
hierarchical (and unbiblical) religious system, being freed into an 'open
Christianity' with 100% participation.
- They are no longer a number in someone else's religious programme.
- They experience personal empowerment and are able to do things they
previously could not even have dreamed of, including the supernatural
(healing, prophesying, performing miracles etc.)
- They learn to overcome their own problems, and help others to overcome
- They experience fellowship with a small group of close friends who give
mutual support, so that each person and the whole group reaches God's aims,
which are their calling.
- In doing so, they find that which they have sought for their whole life.
Away from spectator religion
The path away from spectator religion frees people from fixed church
role-playing. Previously, many people were passive, conformist churchgoers,
experiencing church as a television without a remote control. The personal
involvement of every follower of Christ, though, rouses millions of talents and
abilities to solve even the most difficult problems. The result is a
'Megashift', a quantum leap in church history.
Protestantism was an important epoch in church history, but it is now time to
stop protesting and start acting. The current post-Protestant awakening is
larger than the great American revivals since 1727 under Wesley, Whitefield,
the Herrnhuter or Johnathan Edwards. "This third Reformation," says Rutz, "has
The church is transforming itself from an organisation to an organism
After 1700 years of institutional structure, the Body of Christ is emerging in
the form described in the New Testament. People are rediscovering the original
forms and functions in an open, participatory system mostly consisting of house
Moving away from the one-man church system, in which the pastor literally did
everything, a growing number of Jesus' followers are becoming active
participants, leaving their spectators' seats and taking their place on the
playing field. It should be no surprise the number of goals scored increases.
When 100 people pray for the sick, prophesy, and plant churches instead of just
one, it is also reasonable to expect the number of miracles to increase.
Immense numbers of new believers
Church growth outside America is breathtaking. Tens of thousands of new
believers (Rutz speaks of 175,000 per day) means that although all religions
are growing naturally, only Christianity is experiencing significant growth
through conversion. Where religions meet, Christianity almost always gains new
believers, and new networks of house churches are formed.
How to be part of this Megashift
1. Stop going with the flow, and decide to actively turn away from the outdated
control structures (clerics & laypeople).
2. Take responsibility. That also means paying the price of being a pionier,
including Christian friends' suspicion and ostracism.
3. Learn to love others, overcoming selfishness and becoming a team player.
That requires a lifestyle of repentance and obedience - out of healthy
enthusiasm, not duty.
4. Help carry others' burdens, and not stagnate but take small steps forward
Rutz says: "Is there a small voice inside saying 'That's right!'?" Follow it.
But you also have the choice to ignore it. That too is freedom. But please
don't complain later..." Or, as C. Peter Wagner says, "Jim describes what God
is going to do tomorrow. You can't afford to miss this book!"
Source: Jim Rutz, www.megashift.org, e-mail ocmoffice @ openchurch.com
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(c) 2005 S Bufton