Last week we were delighted to welcome to Poole Chris Horwood, an old friend of the church. The elders had an excellent evening with him on Saturday and he spoke at our main church celebration on Sunday.
There have been some comments, concerns and questions raised about the Sunday morning ministry, concerns which we share and I wish to address now in this statement, which I am giving on behalf of the three elders.
The central point of the message that Chris Horwood brought was that “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever”, that he lives in the lives of his children and in his church and that everything that Jesus is able to do we may rightly expect that he is able to do today. We support that view wholeheartedly and are grateful for the reminder that with God all things are possible, to ask and to believe God to move and to work in power in whatever way he wishes to do so.
However, there were some concerns about the ministry.
Firstly, the style of “bigging up” stories of remarkable acts of God is one that we are not comfortable with. Neither can we endorse the support of some of the ministries that were mentioned last week.
Secondly, and far more importantly, there are theological issues. Chris’ ministry was interpreted by some as saying that it is always God’s will to heal, and that when we ask him he will do it. That is not the view of this church. Our view is that healing and miracles are a part of God’s dealing with his people in every age, but it is always subject to God’s sovereignty and purposes. God’s kingdom has come now, but is not here in its entirety. Everyone will be healed in heaven – in the meantime God graciously chooses to give us down – payments and glimpses of his kingdom.
So in both style and content we wish to indicate a caution over what was said in here last Sunday.
This episode highlights a very important principle that underlies that way we should respond to ministry. The Bereans, we read in Acts 17, were commended for being noble because they searched the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul was saying was true. In I Thessalonians 5 Paul urges his readers to test everything, holding on to what was good.
In applying this in our own situation we would say that the basic point that Chris was making last week was good. We endorse it and thank Chris for bringing it to our attention. There were matters of style that we were unhappy with and doctrine that we were unhappy with. On both style and doctrine we need to consider what was said with caution, wisdom and maturity.
If you still have any questions or concerns about what has been said this morning or last week please speak to one of us about it.
Listen to this talk (or download – right click here and ‘Save as’):