Autumn/Winter Edition (October 1995)
As you can see, I chose not to fill this edition of Mainstream with news and discussions revolving around Toronto. There's a good reason for that.
Although there are many who are still in need of clear teaching (and even some who have only just found out about the Toronto blessing!) the Lord is prompting me to move onwards, and not to get stuck in the rut of examining the minutia of Toronto manifestations in exclusion to almost anything else. I consider that a temptation and a mistake, because while we are examining our spiritual navels in that way, the enemy is creeping up behind us with new and more subtle attacks.
We need to be prepared for another, stronger onslaught on our faith and trust in God. Let us not be so preoccupied (or even lulled into a false sense of security by the damping down of activities) that we are caught off-guard when the next wave strikes.
Already, in earlier issues, I have tried to point out the wider scene, bringing in the Latter Rain connections and pointing out the agenda leading up to AD2000.
This time I am more anxious to put a hand to the rudder of our ship as we sail out into choppy waters, to make sure we are not steering into rocks.
A SPIRIT OF DIVISION?
I have become aware that satan is throwing confusion, suspicion and division into our camp. Over the past couple of months, I have been hearing of, and experiencing first-hand, incidents of disputes between Christians - not pro-TB and anti-TB but between those who have made a stand against Toronto. This is worrying!
Is satan now trying to divide us and threaten our unity and fellowship? Whereas the Kingdom-Dominion big-name ministries boast of their unity, theirs is a man-made unity based on allegiance to a common cause and maintained by submission to the leadership. We, on the other hand, have to "keep" ourselves in the love of God and "maintain" our spiritual unity by an act of will, in obedience to the Father.
True Christians are only in unity so long as they are all joined to the One Head, Jesus, and are in line with His will. Thus, if we step out of God's will for love and forgiveness and gentle correction (and many other such things) within the Body, we tend to see a breakdown of spiritual unity - just what we DON'T want at this time!
The Apostles spent a lot of their time trying to settle various disputes amongst Christians, so this is not a new problem, nor is it easy to resolve. Hurt feelings and suspicions, and profound differences of opinion cannot be easily rectified. Often there is fault on both sides, and often there is misunderstanding. Did God not command us to "love one another"?, and does love not "cover a multitude of sins"? We must be wary of damaging eachother and God's work as a whole by gossiping, criticising eachother too readily and slandering others without due cause.
This is the test that we face now. Are we willing to die to ourselves, to our own selfish desires and feelings? The wilderness is a place of death and dryness - we need to let our bodies die here, and go on in spirit to the Promised Land where lies great blessing, rest and abundance. However, WE ARE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT WITHOUT LOVING AND SUPPORTING ONE ANOTHER!
If we truly love God more than ourselves, and truly desire His will for our own lives and for the Body as a whole, we will be prepared to put aside our own hurt and our own need to "be right" and unselfishly extend forgiveness to others. Isn't that what the parable of the unforgiving servant is all about?
THE YEAR TO COME - WHAT WILL WE FACE?
It is with both excitement and trepidation that I look forward to the coming New (Jewish) Year. I believe we are standing on the threshold of many changes and challenges that will test us to the limit.
The Lord has been warning his people of approaching storms, and some watchmen are sounding the trumpet about persecution and hardship around the corner. The message is always the same: keep your eyes upon God, trust in Him and not in man or man-made institutions, know the Word of God, develop a working relationship with Him, and "fear not" for God is with us to deliver us.
The excitement is because, amid the seeming chaos, God is clearly at work purifying, purging and re-gathering his Church in a way no human being could.
THE HOLES IN THE SIEVE
When Jon and I were working on our house in Bristol, we needed to sieve the top soil, to get rid of the rubble left by the builders. We put it in a large sieve, and shook - the soil fell through and the stones that were left we threw away.
Now the spiritual shaking is having the same effect. God has gathered a huge pile of rocks to one side of his garden, and the soil that escaped through the holes in the sieve is becoming more and more fine and pure, ready for God's planting. In due course, we will begin to see healthy plants that bear edible fruit, instead of weeds and thistles all over God's garden.
I believe that God is preparing and holding in readiness many homes and small places of refuge, ready for the storm to come. When there is a need for counselling, practical help and genuine Bible teaching and fellowship, those whom God has appointed to this ministry will be ready and waiting, and will throw open their doors to the wounded, the stranded and the desperate.
Above all, no matter how dark the days become and no matter what pressures there are, keep on believing, keep on looking straight ahead at the goal, and keep plodding on with one thought in mind - there is an eternal reward!
(c) Copyright Banner Ministries 1995
The foundation of Banner Ministries is the Watchman call, found in scripture in Ezek chapters 3 and 33. Accordingly, "Mainstream" reports on trends in the world and particularly in the churches that pose a danger to Christians, in order to sound a warning. (All writing by T. Tillin, unless otherwise credited). The prophetic stance of Banner Ministries is pre-millennial, and its work is non-denominational
Thanks for your support, which is much needed. Banner Ministries is a one person operation with no outside funding whatsoever.
Please do not reproduce this newsletter, whole or in part, electronically or in printed format, without contacting Banner Ministries at the above addresses. We cannot accept responsibility for any inaccuracies, misprints, or misrepresentations in quotes. The opinions expressed in this newsletter do not represent the views of any one church or group of people and are not intended to be taken as authoritative. Funded by donation to Banner Ministries.