Experiential Spirituality: William Seymour and Don Williams (Part 6 of 7)

Experiential Spirituality: William Seymour and Don Williams (Part 6 of 7)

The focus on experiential spirituality dramatically increased within Protestantism at the beginning of the 20th century with the start of Pentecostalism through William J. Seymour.  The son of former slaves freed at the end of the Civil War within the United States of America, Seymour (1870-1922) passionately pursued God at an early age and “found his identity in Jesus Christ” [Liardon 1996, 141] in such a way that he oozed the Spirit of God. John G. Lake, an early Pentecostal leader, said that Seymour had “more of God in his life than any man I had ever met up to that time” [Liardon 1996, 154]. This passion for experiencing the Living God captured the hearts of thousands of people as Seymour lead the Azusa Street Revival (1906-1915). Early Pentecostal historian Frank J. Ewart, who was also an eyewitness to the revival in its later years, later wrote that Seymour’s ministry was “not built on a new system of doctrine, but on an eminent scriptural experience” [1975, 69]. The inmate ongoing relationship promoted by St. Thérèse and other mystics within the Roman Catholic Church had finally found a home within Protestantism. The tenth travel guide along our experiential spirituality journey is Don Williams (1937-Present). Williams was a Presbyterian pastor who had a personal encounter with the Living God through the ministry of John Wimber, the leader of the Vineyard Movement, which challenged his Calvinist education that had taught him “not to expect any powerful work of the Holy Spirit after conversion” [Williams 2011, 5]. Building upon this experience, Williams went on to influence the direction of Christian worship and church...
Remembering Dr. Bill (Jax) Jackson

Remembering Dr. Bill (Jax) Jackson

I went camping this past weekend, relaxing under a shade tree while my son dug holes in the ground (LOTS of holes and tunnels, mustn’t forget the tunnels…). Keeping me company on this trip was Dr. Bill Jackson’s “A History of the Christian Church: Book 1: AD 70-1730.”  Ever since last fall when I heard that Bill (or Jax as those in the Vineyard called him) was publishing a book on church history, I have been wanting to read it. Some extra birthday cash gave me the excuse to download the book to my Kindle and, well, the rest is history. =) In a kind of sadly odd way, this reading of Jax’s book turned out to be a tribute to him as Dr. Bill Jackson passed away while I was camping (June 7, 2015) after a long battle with his health. A tribute… yeah, I think I can call reading Jax’s book on history a tribute as he spent his life telling the story of the scriptures through the lens of a pastor/historian. His first book was a history of the Vineyard movement called “The Quest for the Radical Middle.” This was one of the first books I read when I joined the Vineyard Movement twelve years ago. Published in 1999, this book told the story of the Vineyard, warts and all. Lite on fire by the Spirit during the Jesus Movement of South California, the founders of the Vineyard (Kenn Gulliksen, John Wimber, Bob Fulton, Lonnie Frisbee, and others) tried hard to walk the line between Pentecostalism and Evangelicals, having traits of both but belonging in neither...

Doing the Stuff explainED by John Wimber

Someone created an AWESOME animated video to highlight the teaching of John Wimber. Give it a watch, it is really cool. (note: make sure you skip the ad in front of the video…it is for some alternative religion healer guy who doesn’t look to be following Jesus. Just so you...
A Vineyard View of the Poor

A Vineyard View of the Poor

The following text is an excerpt from the recently released “Remember the Poor” booklet published by the Vineyard USA. Who are the poor? Today, we often see poverty through the lens of economics or personal financial weakness. In the New Testament, however, the poor are generally seen as those who are powerless in society, and who therefore lack the basic necessities they need to sustain their lives. Without resources, and without a voice, they lack not only power, but also social respect and material goods. Because of the daily stresses of survival, relationships often break down. Poverty is a disease of society, and the remedies for all our social ills are found in the life and teaching of Jesus. In the Scriptures, it seems that God has a special place in his heart for the poor. Poverty is mentioned, directly or indirectly, more than 2000 times in the Bible. Reminding us of the Church’s call to care for the marginalized and impoverished among us, Jesus said words that pierce us to this day: “…‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matt. 25:40). The Vineyard family of churches leans toward the poor, the outcast, and the outsider with the compassion of Jesus. From the beginning of our movement, Vineyard churches have worked to actively serve the poor in the most practical ways possible – in our towns, cities, and spheres of influence. John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard, was personally committed to calling us to a radically compassionate life in the way of...
“Go Ahead – Pray This Prayer. Your Life Will Never be Dull Again.”

“Go Ahead – Pray This Prayer. Your Life Will Never be Dull Again.”

The following text was written by Steve & Cindy Nicholson, Evanston Vineyard pastors, for the recently released Come Holy Spirit” booklet  published by the Vineyard USA. “’Come, Holy Spirit.’ We remember the first time those words were used by us as a conscious invitation to the Spirit to come, with an expectation that we might see evidences of the Spirit’s presence. It was at our young church’s annual dinner-come-slide-show-come worship celebration. Everyone was standing. There was a deep, unnerving, very long silence. Then in the cavernous acoustics of a church gym, the sound of a metal folding chair flipping over and the unmistakable wail of a man whose emotional pain had just gotten uncorked by God. More flipping chairs, more crying, laughing, shouting, people shaking, people ending up under folding chairs, and all through the room, such a sense of purposefulness to it all, of God doing things and saying things, as though we had finally opened the door and let Him in. Which we had! ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ did not originate with John Wimber. We are merely the latest generation to embrace it. It has its roots back in the earliest prayers of the first Church Fathers and Mothers, the first generation after the apostles to carry the flame of the gospel forward. This prayer is not just some oddity of 21st century Western Christianity. It is part and parcel of Trinitarian theology, a beloved prayer of every generation of believers before us. You are in very good company when you pray, ‘Come, Holy Spirit.’ ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ is a direct, bold request for the Spirit to do...