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Cindy Jacobs: The Reformation Manifesto

 

Cindy Jacobs, The Reformation Manifesto: Your Part in God’s Plan to Change the Nations Today (Bloomington, Minnesota: Bethany House, 2008), 238 pages, ISBN 9780764205026.

Texan Cindy Jacobs is an international leader in the modern prayer movement. With her husband, Mike, she founded Generals International which works to achieve social transformation through intercession and prophetic ministry. Her writings, including Possessing the Gates of the Enemy and The Voice of God, and television program, God Knows, tend to call for intercession, repentance, and renewal. A notable aspect of Jacobs’ work is its aim not only at religious revival or spiritual renewal but also social transformation. Further, a key aspect of the present volume is an emphasis on social transformation on an international scale. In fact, it compares and contrasts what Jacobs perceives as a move of God toward changing the nations that is a completion of the 16th century Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther and others. This is a popular level book that uses a lot of scriptural quotes and references, testimonies and examples, and includes frequent prayers and challenges to action. Likely it will most benefit those interested in a contemporary Charismatic Renewal approach integrating spirituality and social transformation.

Popular Charismatic leaders such as C. Peter Wagner are increasingly declaring that the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) is much more than evangelism. Wagner, in his Forward to Jacobs, The Reformation Manifesto, confesses that many, including him, “have for too long harbored a truncated view of the kingdom of God”, explaining further that they “began by over-identifying the church with the kingdom” and proceeded to limit their mission to saving souls without improving society. He specifically names the Great Commission, confessing again, that he “used to think making disciples meant getting people saved and multiplying churches” but that he has come to see a broader vision, in agreement with Jacobs, that includes “sustained social transformation”. This integrative application of Christian mission, the Great Commission, and social transformation is characteristic of this volume by Cindy Jacobs.

After an introduction that calls for a new reformation integrating revival, transformation, and reformation and explaining Jacobs’ own passion for this kind of ministry, the first chapter insists social reformation is founded upon prior personal reformation. Chapter two argues that social reformation today is in the tradition of previous generations of Christians who have shared a similar burden in their own context and time. The next several chapters set forth a vision of what nations ought to be and a course for accomplishing that objective, what Jacobs calls “teaching the nations” or “discipling the nations”. There is a strong emphasis on justice with accountability to God as ultimate judge. There is some discussion of the relationship between the Bible and contemporary government, including various approaches to political realities that affirm leaders and thinkers such as William Wilberforce and Abraham Kuyper as worthy examples but decry those such as Jean-Jacques Rouseau and Karl Marx. Chapters on economics and legislation attempt to set these complex and controversial fields in biblical perspective, in each case calling for radical reformation of present systems. The media, including journalism and entertainment, are not missed either. Finally, a stirring chapter on “Costly Grace,” ala Dietrich Bonhoeffer, challenges believers today to sacrificial action for achieving radical reformation.

Cindy Jacobs is a gifted communicator, and she’s passionate about her topic. She strenuously attempts to integrate Scripture, prayer, and Christian history and thought, as well as personal experience, and apply them to the contemporary social context. I find it refreshing that she interprets the Great Commission, the catch phrase of Christian mission for so many Evangelicals, Pentecostals, and Charismatics, with social mission and vision—and on an international scale at that. Her avid integration of spirituality and social activity is worth the price of the book. Her devotion is evident. It is a genuine treat to hear her heart and how God’s speaks and works in her life.

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Category: Ministry, Pneuma Review, Winter 2011

About the Author: Tony Richie, D.Min, Ph.D., is missionary teacher at SEMISUD (Quito, Ecuador) and adjunct professor at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary (Cleveland, TN). Dr. Richie is an Ordained Bishop in the Church of God, and Senior Pastor at New Harvest in Knoxville, TN. He has served the Society for Pentecostal Studies as Ecumenical Studies Interest Group Leader and is currently Liaison to the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches (USA), and represents Pentecostals with Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation of the World Council of Churches and the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs. He is the author of Speaking by the Spirit: A Pentecostal Model for Interreligious Dialogue (Emeth Press, 2011) and Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Religions: Encountering Cornelius Today (CPT Press, 2013) as well as several journal articles and books chapters on Pentecostal theology and experience.

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