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Henry I. Lederle: The Third Wave: New Independent Charismatic Churches, Part 1

Strong Link to Israel

Another dimension of the Restorationist movement is its strong link to the nation of Israel. This is also shared more widely in the Independent Charismatic circles, for example, well known Charismatic leader, Pastor John Hagee of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio advocates unwavering support for the state of Israel and the Jewish community. In broader theological circles, some have emphasized and (re)discovered of the Jewishness of both Jesus and Paul since the 1960s.

The Christian Embassy in Jerusalem and the annual celebration of the third great Jewish festival, the Feast of Tabernacles, by evangelical and Charismatic Christians are also indications of this focus. In line with this is an exuberant style of worship found among Independent Charismatics, including dancing, rhythmic hand clapping, and joyous praise. By this style of worship, some claim the Tabernacle of David is being spiritually restored, ushering in the rapture. David’s way of worship is seen as paradigmatic for New Testament church believers because it was not centered on animal sacrifices like the temple worship; and worship centers like the International House of Prayer in Kansas City have had ongoing worship led by musicians and prayer leaders around the clock (24/7) for almost a decade.

The biblical basis presented for the “Tabernacle of David” trend in worship is found in Acts 15:16, where James quotes Amos 9:11-12 concerning the restoration of David’s tabernacle. Other more common interpretations are that the reference is to the restoration of Israel as a nation or to the restoration of the Davidic kingship in the eternal kingship of the Messiah. However, to these Restorationists, the renewal of a perfect pattern of exuberant praise and worship is seen as a pivotal step in restoring God’s glory to the Church, which will then usher in the return of Christ. This form of worship is sometimes called “warfare praise” and is linked to doing battle with demonic forces. Bill Hamon speaks of the “Joshua Generation” which has crossed over the spiritual Jordan to march around Jericho in order to take the land. The term “Eagle’s Nest” for a network of congregations also represents this military language of conquest.

Shepherding & Discipleship

In the United States the whole Charismatic world was rocked just prior to its largest gathering ever—some 50,000—at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City in 1977 by the controversy which centered on the so-called “Shepherding” movement associated with such leaders as Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, Don Basham, Charles Simpson, and Ern Baxter. They were leaders in a Restorationist style group called the Christian Growth Ministries. These popular Bible teachers and evangelistic preachers gathered a large following through speaking at Charismatic conferences, circulating audio tapes, and their primary publication, New Wine magazine. At the heart of this Shepherding movement was a concept of discipleship involving submission to Christian leaders that challenged both American individualism and the style of evangelism represented in the frontier revivalist heritage of American evangelicals. The discipleship teaching of Argentinean evangelist, Juan Carlos Ortiz, seems to have been influential in developing the theological concept of the Church found in both the British and American forms of restorationism. His 1975 book Disciple sold well internationally. Leaders in the Shepherding movement, which was centered geographically in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and later in Mobile, Alabama, emphasized that the Christian life necessitated ongoing discipleship and character development. Leading someone to Christ made one responsible to provide follow-up teaching and guidance. Here the controversial term “shepherd” was introduced. New converts were to submit to their shepherds.

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Category: Church History, Pneuma Review, Winter 2012

About the Author: Henry I. Lederle, D.Th. (University of South Africa) and M.A. (University of Orange Free State), is Professor of Theology and Ministry at Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas. He is the author of Treasures Old and New: Interpretations of Spirit-Baptism in the Charismatic Renewal Movement (Hendrickson, 1988), Theology with Spirit: The Future of the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements in the 21st Century (Word & Spirit Press, 2010), and several collections of essays, articles and reviews.

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