“There is always something terrifying in the feeling that we are letting loose a force which we cannot control. When we think of spontaneous expansion of the church as a force, instinctively we begin to be afraid. Whether we consider our doctrine, or our civilization (culture), or our morals, or our organization, in relation to a spontaneous expansion of the church, we are seized with terror; terror lest spontaneous expansion should lead to disorder. We are quite ready to talk of self-supporting, self-extending and self-governing churches in the abstract as ideals, but the moment that we think of ourselves as establishing self-supporting, self-governing churches in the Biblical sense we are met by this fear, a terrible, deadly fear.
Suppose newly planted churches were self-supporting, and depended no longer on our support, where should we be? Suppose self-extension were really self-extension, and we could not control it, what would happen? Suppose they were really self-governing, how would they govern? We instinctively think of something which we cannot control as tending to disorder.”
Again, we are faced with a question whether we really trust God the Spirit to do what we cannot; a divine work in new believers that will last and bear much fruit for the Father’s glory. Do we think that the Spirit cannot have access to them as He has with us? We should realize that He may have more access in them than in us because we may be too bound by tradition and not willing to be guided by the Spirit.
Let me remind you of what happened six years after the church was formed at Pentecost. Leaders were needed in Jerusalem to govern so that the needs of widows were properly met (Acts 6:1-7). They did not set up a training program or control mechanism. They looked for “men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (6:3). This is God’s method and there is no need to be afraid of what He does!
Roland Allen, Edited by Sherman Driver
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