A New Chapter of Church History Begins!
The Future Church Has Finally Arrived!
7.19.16 - by David Bradshaw
If you are like most Christians today, you have never seen the church.
When you do see it, it is going to take your breath away! So far you have only seen shadows - mere glimpses of the family of God working together as a potent, loving force, drawing on the strengths and talents of everyone.
Soon you will see the reality: men and women taking their true place as full participants in gatherings of the church, meeting in homes and in larger group celebrations, bonded together by love and humility, bridging the divide between Catholic and Protestant - like streams of water flowing into one River - demonstrating to a fragmenting, disintegrating world the Kingdom of God on earth, as it is in heaven.
According to John 17 Movement founder, pastor and author Joseph Tosini, "The essence of the Kingdom of God is the selfless pursuit of loving one another as the Father loves us. John 17:23 tells us that the promised result of such love will transform the world just as Jesus commissioned us to do. John 17 is a movement connecting passionate Christ followers with a heart for unity, reconciliation, and city transformation in Metro Phoenix and beyond."
"Unity is about fixing our eyes on Jesus, submission to one another out of reverence for Christ. It's what I like to call Jesus plus nothing. Many things are very important, but only our shared relationship with Jesus is essential," writes pastor and author Gary Kinnaman.
Speaking of essentials, Pope John Paul II affirmed the words of St. Augustine ...
"Unity in the essentials, diversity in the non-essentials, charity in all things."
On what foundation can the unity Jesus prayed for in John 17 be built upon today? Our Lord said, "every student of Scripture instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who brings out of his storeroom what is new and what is old." (Matt. 13:52)
After centuries of fragmentation of the church into some 30,000 denominations, it seems wise to revisit "what is old" for clues to the restoration of Christian unity - starting with the oldest of Christian creeds - the Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed - which date back to the 3rd century.
As futurist, author and historian James H. Rutz so aptly stated a quarter century ago, 1,700 Years Is Long Enough.
According to Rutz, "Within 30 years of Christ's ascension the gospel was being preached in every outpost of the Roman Empire. Unencumbered by mortgages, committees, staff salaries, the conflicts between choir rehearsal and church softball team practice the 'followers of the Way' blazed a trail of stunning successes."
Imagine a new chapter of church history, beginning now, which brings healing and wholeness within the church first, then spills out into our hurting world.
Joe Tosini explains the John 17 Movement's vision: "The John 17 Movement is a contagious call to all professing Christians to relate together properly, beckoning us to embrace the final prayer of Jesus. On the eve of his death, He pleaded: 'Father may all who believe in me be one so the world will know you sent me.' This final plea stands as the most authoritative strategic direction for followers of Jesus. As we respond, the church - in all her rich diversity - will emerge as the attractive 'city on a hill' potently demonstrating the authenticity of Jesus' claims."
The world is anxiously waiting to see the true church emerge, after 1,700 years of obscurity. If you are interested in becoming part of the answer to Jesus prayer in John 17, do what I did, volunteer to help support the John 17 Movement. Visit john17movement.com
Watch Joe Tosini explain the John 17 Movement from the new film, FUTURE OF THE CHURCH.
P.S. The Future Church Has Finally Arrived!
Scientists tell us that every cell in our body carries in it two DNA codes; one code to bring the cell to maturity and reproduction, and another code to bring the cell into harmony and integration with the entire organism. It's part of God's natural design.
So it is in the spiritual realm. God has placed within every member of the body of Christ an individual destiny of maturity and reproduction and a corporate destiny to integrate with the whole body. This organism, the body of Christ, is called to conform to the head, King Jesus Christ, and then to transform the world into the image of His Kingdom.
The process of coming to spiritual maturity requires: 1) a period of deliverance for the new believer, then 2) discipleship, including mentoring and apprenticeship, only then are we ready for 3) commissioning and deployment, being sent back into our confused and hurting culture.
John 17:14-18 is a restatement of this strategy by our Lord Jesus himself in His priestly prayer for us. Note that maturity, in Jesus' mind, involves a dynamic tension of recognizing: A) God's sovereignty to "Take us out of the world system," and B) our progressive, obedient yielding to the Holy Spirit, taking the world's system of thinking out of us. It then culminates in C) our responsive action to His mandate to go back into the world system to represent the Kingdom of God. (Trust me, this kind of "full" gospel will challenge even a Fortune 500 executive.)
Thank God! The era of spectator Christianity is now ending because the urgency of our present cultural crisis in America and abroad simply won't permit it!
In HOUSES THAT CHANGE THE WORLD Wolfgang Simson writes, "Imagine Christians meeting in your area in two places just like in New Testament days: from house to house and at a large, central place - a modern version of Solomon's colonnades - a big hall or stadium. In the houses they would authentically share their lives, live organic fellowship and thus be a true shopping window of God for the neighborhood."
As leaders and congregations begin to discern their unity of purpose - to advance Christ's Kingdom - they will begin to discover one another. Periodic inter-church celebrations will be the forerunner of citywide corporate gatherings, concerts of prayer, praise and worship that will further unite God's army and rattle the gates of hell.
House churches and small home groups offer healthy family dynamics, participation by all and a safe nest for each person to grow together. It is an organic space in the community, where Christians can share their lives and be accountable to one another. They can focus on the church at the place where we spend most of their time - in our homes.
The citywide church is a unified, public expression of the local church, where all Christians of the city or the region can come together for celebrations. This is the place where we all come together to connect with the larger Body of Christ.
"God's Singular Purpose" - My 2-min. clip from FUTURE OF THE CHURCH
THE BIG PICTURE: The Shape of Things to Come, 1995 - Featuring Joe Tosini and over 100 other leaders