22nd March 2019
What a great day we had on Wednesday at the Newfrontiers UK Prayer Day. It was fantastic to see leaders from across the church family come together to pray for the nation.
To read more about how the day went, here's an excellent report from Catalyst Network.
This weekend, Deb and I will be away with our pastors, elders and trustees, together with their spouses. This is something we like to do every year – a valuable time of fellowship, as well as a great opportunity to invest in our key leaders. On this occasion we have invited Geoff and Sherry Surratt from the USA to bring some input to us. Geoff and Sherry are experienced church leaders and have recently written an excellent book on marriage and ministry, called Together.
When I say we are away for the ‘weekend’, I mean Friday evening and Saturday! Don’t worry, King’s, we will all be back for Sunday as usual, and I shall look forward to seeing you there.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
14th March 2019
Like many of you, the Tibberts love to get our extended family together for a day. These family days often mark a significant event (our last one was to celebrate my mum’s 80th birthday) but sometimes it’s just for the fun of it. Tibbert family days are noisy, multi-generational affairs, and as the years go by and our own children marry, our numbers seem to keep on growing. It takes some organisation to find a date that suits everyone, but it is always worth the effort.
Two years ago, we held a Newfrontiers ‘family day’, when we gathered everyone from the wider Newfrontiers UK family to pray for the nation. It was the first time for a while we had all been together like that, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We are now less than a week away from our second National Prayer Day, which is being held at Westminster Chapel on Wednesday 20th March. This will be a time for us to worship together, pray, and call out to God for our nation. As I write this post, our UK parliament is divided and our future relationship with Europe remains unclear. For this reason alone, our Prayer Day is timely. However, the spiritual need in the nation is of far greater importance than the need for consensus on Brexit.
I am excited about next Wednesday. It will be a moment to come together as extended family to worship our sovereign God, who holds all things in His hands, and pray for this country. Over 500 of us have already booked in to the day next week, but tickets are still available if you would like to attend. More details can be found at PRAYERDAY.UK.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
7th March 2019
Deb and I have just returned from an excellent two-week trip to Mexico and the USA. While we were away, we spent time in three different locations and were superbly hosted by Lee and Stacey Yarborough in Leon, Mexico, Travis and Tiffany Aicklen in Visalia, California, and Bryan and Rachel Mowrey in St Louis, Missouri. It is always a joy to visit fellow believers, often in very different contexts to ours, all of us united in the same mission to build the church and reach the lost. Our time away concluded with a very encouraging few days at the Good to Grow conference in St Louis which was attended by over 80 leaders from the Confluence family of churches.
Upon my return last Friday, I was immediately back to the joys of leading King’s. We are now just a few weeks away from the launch of our new 1.30pm meeting on the Catford site. Our 11.30am service is filling up fast again following the launch of the Beckenham site in October last year, and with the 1.30pm service, we hope to create more space for new people. The question of multiple meetings – how, why and when to move to them – is one that comes up quite frequently in my visits to other churches. King’s started multiple meetings in 2005, and we have learnt a lot over the years (and are still learning!) about what works and what doesn’t. As we approach the launch of another meeting, I thought I would include a link to an updated version of a paper I first posted in 2008 about The Move to Multiple Meetings. I hope you find it helpful.
Scott and Claire Marques arrive in London from Harare, Zimbabwe, on Thursday morning, and Scott will be preaching at King’s this Sunday. As you know, King’s has an ongoing church-to-church partnership with River of Life Church in Harare, and it is great to be able to welcome Scott and Claire to London again.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
28th February 2019
This is the third and final instalment of a three-part series based on my new book, Spirit and Sacrament: An Invitation to Eucharismatic Worship. This section is focused on the call to be “charismatic.”
The pages of the New Testament reveal a charismatic church, characterized by an experience both of the person of the Holy Spirit—one that could be described in very tangible ways, including drenching, filling, drinking, crying out “Abba!” and so forth—and of angels and demons, languages and interpretation, prophecy and teaching, healing and miracles. Biblical Christianity was charismatic Christianity.
The claim I am making here, however, is not just that the miraculous gifts were given throughout the New Testament period. I am also arguing that they continue to be given today—prophecy, languages, interpretation, teaching, miracles, healing, and the rest—and that, like every good gift that our Father gives us, they should be pursued as a result. Put differently, I am arguing that Romans 12:6, 1 Corinthians 12:31, and 14:1 still apply: believers are urged to use, to be zealous for, to earnestly desire, and to strive for spiritual gifts. This much is highly controversial, of course, as a few minutes on the internet will quickly reveal. Even so, I say it for three main reasons.
The first, perhaps surprisingly, is historical. That is, one of the best reasons to think the miraculous gifts continued is the fact that, according to many of the church fathers, they did. In the context of contemporary debates, this point is often lost, not least because the gift that has proved the most divisive in the last hundred years or so, namely the gift of languages, is the one over which the patristic evidence is least clear. Charismatics are also, to generalize for a moment, less interested in the fathers than many more conservative branches of Christianity, in part because our narrative is so often presented (unhelpfully) as a bold rediscovery of something the church had lost for nineteen centuries. As a result, cessationists have leaned into the historical evidence, and charismatics have leaned away from it, even though much of it indicates that the gifts continued (a position often called “continuationism”).
The second reason for pursuing the gifts today is hermeneutical. Put simply, this is the principle that explicit New Testament instructions to Christians should be followed, unless there is a clear reason from the context why they should not be. This presumption of obedience, it seems to me, should be a fairly uncontroversial rule of thumb for anyone who follows Jesus; we are under the same covenant as our first-century brothers and sisters, and as such, we should assume that what the apostles taught them, they would also teach us. In other words, the burden of proof should always be on the person who says we don’t have to obey an apostolic instruction, rather than on the person who says we do. If we flip that round, we quickly end up in pick-and-choose territory.
This has big implications when it comes to the pursuit of the gifts. “Zealously desire spiritual gifts,” Paul says (1 Cor 14:1). Or, fourteen verses earlier, “Zealously desire the greater gifts” (1 Cor 12:31). Or, later in the same discussion, “Zealously desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues” (1 Cor 14:39). Or, as part of his exhortation to humility in Romans, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith” (Rom 12:6). Or, in his conclusion to 1 Thessalonians, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thess 5:19-21). Sometimes the debate over the pursuit of the gifts can look like a no-score-draw, with continuationists pointing out that the New Testament never says the gifts will cease, and cessationists responding that it never says they won’t, either. But in light of the hermeneutical principle we would normally use—and I tend to call it the Presumption Of Obedience, although I am not wild about the acronym—the reality is different. Our default setting, if you like, should be one of obeying these passages, and eagerly desiring spiritual gifts, unless a clear case to the contrary can be made from the text.
And the third reason is eschatological. The gifts of the Spirit, and prophecy in particular, are seen by the apostles as characterizing the entire era between Pentecost and Parousia, the coming of the Spirit and the return of Christ. The kingdom of God is currently spreading throughout the earth like the little stone of Daniel’s vision, dethroning kings and crushing empires before it, but it has not yet fully arrived. As long as we still live between the inauguration and the consummation of the kingdom—between D-day and VE-day, in one analogy—we should continue to expect, and pursue, all the spiritual gifts.
This expectation is clear on the day of Pentecost itself. These people aren’t drunk, explains Peter; they’re doing exactly what the prophet Joel predicted: “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17-18). It is interesting that here, right at the start of the first sermon ever preached by a Christian, Peter so explicitly connects the last days, the pouring out of the Spirit on all nations, and the gift of prophecy. The “last days,” between the ascension of Jesus and his return, are described in the New Testament as a period of sinfulness in the world and difficulty for the church. But they are also, according to Peter, a period both in which the Spirit is poured out on all flesh and in which male and female, slave and free, will prophesy, see visions, and dream dreams. The latter, in fact, will be a clear sign of the former. So the Pentecost story itself leads us to expect that as long as we are still in “the last days,” we should expect the pouring out of the Spirit, accompanied by prophecy.
You can find out more at spiritandsacrament.com.
Andrew Wilson is the Teaching Pastor at King's and is responsible for much of the preaching and teaching. Andrew has a PhD in theology, has written numerous books and regularly blogs at thinktheology.co.uk.
Posted by Andrew Wilson
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham, Lee and Beckenham. Over the past fifteen years the church has seen continued growth, both in size and diversity. Steve is also involved in Newfrontiers and regularly coaches other lead elders. His book, Good to Grow, was published in July 2011. He is married to Deb, and they have three sons.