Blacker, John. 1995. Healing in the Now. Melbourne: Australian Renewal Ministries.
John Blacker has authored this book bringing together his observations and experience from 25 years of ministering in renewal and healing across the body of Christ in Australia. John has served the church as a Methodist and Uniting Church minister and with his wife Val and son Paul has been active in the work of the Australian Renewal Ministries.
The privately published book gives a solid biblical and practical basis for the healing ministry in the church, and is the kind of manual many church groups find useful for training their people in prayer and counselling ministries.
In addition to John’s valuable insights, the Appendix offers useful articles by others. Paul Blacker writes on ‘Healing Pain and Grief’. Dan Armstrong writes on ‘Healing and Evangelism’. Owen Salter’s positive reflections on ‘The Toronto Blessing’ style of ministries is reproduced from On Being. The articles on worship and healing by Robert Tann and Robert Colman, reproduced in this issue of the Renewal Journal are from that Appendix.
This is a significant Australian book on the practical application of the healing ministry in the life of the church. It is available from Australian Renewal ministries, 1 Maxwell Court, Blackburn South, Victoria 3130. Ph. (03) 9877 0103; Fax: (03) 9877 0106 (G.W.)
Kaldor, Peter, et.al. eds. 1994. Winds of Change: the experience of church in a changing Australia. Sydney: Lancer.
Reporting on the National Church Life Survey of Protestant churches in Australia, this book provides a wealth of valuable insights on the significant trends changing the church in our lifetime.
They survey was completed by over 300,000 church attenders in around 8,000 congregations in August 1991.
Some of its quotable quotes:
‘Around 20% of all attenders at church have spoken in tongues, including 30% of 20 to 30 year olds. Nearly half of those speaking in tongues attend nonPentecostal churches. …
‘One in every eight attenders has switched denominations in the past five years. Around 23% of all switching has been from nonPentecostal to Pentecostal denominations, with 9% switching in the opposite direction. …
‘Australia is a nation of small congregations. More than half have fewer than 50 people. At the same time, most growth is occurring in larger congregations. These are particularly attractive to the post World War II generations’ (pp. viiix).
Chapter 6 ‘A Wind Shift Rocking the Churches: The charismatic movement in Australia’ has special interest for those involved in renewal. Some quotes from that chapter:
‘The charismatic movement knows no bounds. It has had an impact in all denominations, all socioeconomic and ethnic groups, and all age groups especially the young.
‘The charismatic movement has been the impetus for some of the most significant and profound changes in church life in recent times. It has gained increasing importance in a range of churches across Australia.
‘One of its key characteristics is that it is in flux: small meetings grow to mega churches, others flourish for a period and then disappear. Change is rapid, even unpredictable; the movement shows no respect for institutional boundaries. Denominations of all shapes and sizes, and waving a wide variety of theological banners, are having to respond in some way. … ‘NonPentecostal tongues speakers are not just concentrated in a few charismatic congregations but spread widely. …
‘There is a relationship between attitudes to speaking in tongues and involvement in congregational life. Those who speak in tongues are more involved, tend to feel a greater sense of belonging or have roles in the congregation. They are also much more likely to feel they are growing in their faith. … ‘Likewise those who speak in tongues are more likely to be involved in evangelistic activities, feel they exert a Christian influence, be happy to talk about their faith or invite others to church. In contrast, they are less likely to be involved in community groups. …
‘It is important to recognise the scale of its impact beyond the Pentecostal churches. Even allowing for Pentecostal groups not involved in the survey, nonPentecostal tongues speakers account for a third of all attenders. Nearly all denominations contain a significant procharismatic sector’ (pp. 7489).
The book, of course, ranges much wider than these issues. It is highly recommended for leaders in churches to become aware of the sweeping changes we are now living through and contributing to. [G.W.]
Kaldor, Peter, et. al. eds. 1995. Views from the Pews. Adelaide: Openbook.
Some general comments covered in this further book by the National Church Life Survey team:
Most church attenders are satisfied with the leadership in their churches, but about a quarter of them think their leaders are out of touch with people in the pew. Pentecostals generally see their minister as the one who provides the vision for the church, but this is not so in some denominational churches.
Pentecostals generally reject liturgical frameworks in worship, such as vestments, prayer books and set liturgies, and a majority of worshippers in mainline churches do not find them helpful.
Generally tongues speakers in all churches have a more literal interpretation of the Bible and hold to more traditional moral values and beliefs. Charismatics in denominational churches and Pentecostals rate highest in having an experience of God which involves healing, believing in evil spirits, and in Bible reading. Answers to prayer seem to be evenly distributed across all groups!
Again, this is a useful book for church leaders to increase awareness of the attitudes and trends in the congregations of all Protestant churches. [G.W.]
Norling, Alan. 1994. Jesus the Baptiser with the Holy Spirit. Sydney: Alken Press.
‘At last a book on the Holy Spirit that is Christ centred!’ comments Brian Willersdorf. ‘Allan Norling has made a most valuable contribution to the subject of “Being baptised in, of, by or with the Holy Spirit” … Allan talks of a “new approach” to the subject, but all he is doing is cutting through the accumulation of church cultures and attitudes to present a well written approach to what the Bible has to say about being filled with the Holy Spirit.’
Described by one writer as a multiwave approach to the subject, this book describes being baptised in or with the Spirit as on going encounters of Jesus with and in the believer.
Allan Norton, summarising his approach, says ‘The “baptism with the Holy Spirit” is shown to be a repeated experience in the life of a Christian believer. Jesus will be seen to be more personally, actively and intimately involved with us in every detailed piece of authentic ministry. We will become aware of Jesus working with us, baptising us afresh with the Holy Spirit, each time He uses us in ministry.’
The book provides an evangelical approach to the mystery and majesty of Jesus’ impact in our lives through his Spirit.
Available from the author, PO Box 219, Beecroft, NSW 2119, Australia (G.W.).
© Renewal Journal 6: Worship, 1995, 2nd edition 2011
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