Renewal Journal 15: Wineskins
Book and DVD Reviews:
Pentecostalism, by Walter Hollenweger
The Transforming Power of Revival, by Harold Caballeros and Mell Winger
Transformations 1 and 2 DVDs (The Sentinel Group)
New Wineskins for the 21st Century
Jesus spoke about wineskins, and it is now a well known proverb: You don’t put new wine into old wineskins because the new wine bursts the wineskins; you put new wine into new wineskins – and both are preserved (See Mark 2:22 and Matthew 9:17, Luke 5:37-39).
Even tea-totallers and know that, although they may have never seen a wineskin nor drunk wine! In fact, most of us probably have never seen a wineskin except in pictures!
Jesus also noted that no one having drunk old wine immediately desires new because the old is better. Luke, the radical Gentile writer preserved that wry comment for us Luke in 5:39! So those who like the old wine in old wineskins have a reprieve! However, in times of rapid or massive change, the new wine pours out and needs to be preserved in new wineskins.
Like it or not (some like it, some don’t) we have all be living through these massive changes in all areas of life. Why use a typewriter if a computer is available? Why keep a horse if a car is available? Why use a chip heater if electric or solar power is available? Why use ancient English (or Latin) if few or no people understand it? Why sit on hard wooden pews if cushions, pillows or comfortable seats are available?
Change is now so rapid that Alvin Toffler called it “Future Shock” – the culture of the future invading the present. Some of it is good, some bad – as is true in all cultures. So new wineskins keep emerging to contain the new wine of current moves of the Spirit of God in renewal and revival.
Some churches have managed to contain the old and the new together. One way, among a huge possible range, is to have a traditional morning service and a contemporary or renewal evening service on a Sunday. Some churches have both traditional Bible Study groups and relational prayer groups. Many churches use both hymns and chorouses.
However, the massive shift going on at present involves emerging new wineskins which keep multiplying, growing and changing. This issue of the Renewal Journal gives some implications of some of those changes. It doesn’t cover all the changes. That would take volumes! It does highlight a few significant ones.
Evangelist Tommy Tenny has written about the awesome presence of God invading those who earnestly seek Him. He calls those people the God chasers. Some of our students recently reported how they began praying together one night on an outreach weekend and were amazed to discover it was after 5 a.m. when they finished. That was new for them. Yet, revival is full of such accounts. By the late nineties, Peter Wagner began describing these changes in what he calls The New Apostolic Reformation. It is not post-denominationalism because it is happening within denominations as well as in millions of independent churches and networks globally.
A leading Australian news magazine, The Bulletin, carried a significant cover article on “The New Believers” written by senior editor Dianna Bagnall. She describes one of the more visible emerging wineskins in Australian church life, noting that Pentecostal church attendance in Australia is second only to total Catholic attendance.
Baptist visionary and pastor Lawrence Khong describes a vision and strategy for church growth he has used in Singapore where his church has grown from 350 to now over 8,000 attending.
Sam Hey comments on how emerging Pentecostal scholarship is providing new possibilities for Bible study which responds to both the Word and the Spirit.
I comment on how everyone can now be involved in ministry and also can easily participate in a huge range of readily accessible resources providing powerful education for ministry.
Revival not only provides new wine, sometimes in a rather heady mix, but also escalates the emergence of new wineskins. Revival can never be contained in a ‘normal’ church service. So when we keep praying for revival, we are also praying for new wineskins to help us preserve and share the new wine as God’s Spirit is poured out upon us.
© Renewal Journal #15: Wineskins, http://www.renewaljournal.com
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