SUNDAY, 10 JAN 2021
In memory of Alexandra Easte: her faithful pursuit of the study of the Word to show herself approved as an Able Minister of the Gospel.
My initial experience
I have been in Christian service for 50 years. My initial experience in the first years of service to the Lord in the local church (1972-1983) proved I had a flair for starting new ministries. This resulted in helping to start up nine new ministries of outreach.
As part of this, I recognised potential leadership skills in others. This led to me helping them take the lead as the fledgling ministries grew. A further program in Outreach and personal evangelism training led me to eventually being recognised publicly in the church. My title was Minister of Specialised Ministries.
This church was patriarchal in outlook and practice. I do not say the Holy Spirit did not move in that church. What I will say is it was tightly controlled. I was the only woman regularly on the platform and, apart from the Pastor’s wife the only woman publicly recognised as having ministry gifts. I was, along with the other minister’s wives, a token woman. That church grew to approximately fifteen hundred people and was amongst the largest Pentecostal churches in Australia at that time.
After nine years I moved to Adelaide. Many churches on the East Coast welcomed me as an itinerant minister (1983- 1985). Finally, I left on my first itinerant overseas journey in 1985. I travelled twice around the world to approximately twenty-five different countries over thirteen years.
For as long as I itinerated in the church, in Australia and overseas, I had no regular income. My extended journey overseas took me into countless churches of all sizes of varied doctrinal persuasions. On one of those journeys, I came to South Africa.
I put out an invitation to any woman who wanted to join me. My now good friend, Anne responded. We visited several churches daily in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town and in scattered towns on their outskirts.
The minute details of the people who transported us from church to church escape me. Nevertheless, the rich memories of the people we met linger in that time of ministry. More often than not we had three different meetings a day.
The people were hungry for God. Anne introduced me and explained our backgrounds and our journey thus far before I preached and ministered. We prayed for people and revival in the churches was evidenced by all the signs that accompanied their devotion and freedom and response to the Word.
The churches I have preached in ranged from a small group to large established prosperous churches. I met people from Southern and Northern Ireland in 1988 who were attending the first Reinhard Bonnke Fire Conference in Birmingham where I was invited as a daily workshop leader. 1
This was during the times of the troubles in Northern Ireland. Once invited there I began travelling and teaching in Southern Ireland. During that time, I regularly travelled all over Southern Ireland to preach in house churches. The protestant churches I preached in, on the other hand, there in Northern Ireland, were well established.
I had initially met Irish people at the Birmingham Euro Fire Conference. They invited me to come over to preach in Southern Ireland. These comprise mainly members of small newly formed groups.
They were part of the Charismatic movement that swept through that country. At that time many Irish Catholics in Southern Ireland were baptised in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. There were a thousand or so meeting in their homes in Limerick alone.
They began to gather together outside the organised church. Their intention was to worship, pray, and study God’s Word. They were hungry for the teaching of fresh spiritual sustenance from the Word of God.
Finances are generally scarce when new works such as this spring up. Those involved at the outset have the added burden of finding a place to hold public meetings outside their homes. This is not always easy. I recall one public venue they acquired for me was a boxing ring. I might add it was the middle of winter and freezing cold!
On that trip, I went with Connie who had come from the USA to attend my RWVM Bible School in London. These schools were especially for women interested to find their ministry gifts and serve the Lord in them wherever doors opened. This had been my initial approach and I passed it on to them. There are women in ministry because of what I taught and I’m passing onto you here I am happy to report.
Connie was part of that team along with Paul, Anne’s teenage son. These are all precious memories of those heady days in the late 1980’s. This was when the fresh air of free speech belonged to all members of the body of Christ that gathered in Sothern Ireland.
Recognising a Holy Spirit Inspired Move of God
As it was in Southern Ireland at that time, it is special when the move of God is so fresh that scattered groups begin to gather together. It is not uncommon. 2 These are those interested in the things of the Spirit, but their meetings are not yet formalised. The established church generally ignores those that determine to leave the organisation and gather people in this way together to preach and teach the Word of God.
Often, people labeled them upstarts and renegades. When I stepped out in faith to go preaching around the world I was deemed as preaching without any ‘spiritual covering’. This is patriarchal speak meaning ‘no man in authority over’ me, to guide me and keep me from demonic harm. Utter nonsense and has no scriptural basis. 3
Fittingly, in this way, those small groups are safe from orthodoxy and organisation, the kind that quenches the Spirit. This then is the beginning of true revival. Paul in 1 Corinthians 14 speaks about this kind of gathering in Corinth …
“Well”, Paul writes, “my sisters and brothers, let’s summarise. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given them to bring a better understanding of the scriptures, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything must strengthen all of you” (v. 26).
If anyone speaks in a tongue, two–or at the most three–should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. (1 Cor 14).
Quenching the Spirit
How easily a church becomes formalised and with it comes to the authoritarian male-leadership, particularly, married men and their obedient subservient wives. The wives of these men know how to keep their ‘place’ in public. Along with this comes the hierarchical arranging of positions and titles.
That kind of organizing in the body of Jesus Christ means shoving women aside. This is what Paul told young Timothy in Ephesus to know and put a stop to. Wherever this takes place the Holy Spirit is quenched.
(continued next Sunday)…
Recognising The Signs That Lead You To Spiritual Death And Life. How To Create A Favourable Resting Place For The Holy Spirit. Dualistic Thinking: Insiders And Outsiders, Inclusive And Exclusive, Us And Them.
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- What God was doing in Africa gave CfaN the faith to believe God for a spiritual renewal of Europe. The first “Euro-Fire” took place in Frankfurt in 1987 and then a year later in Birmingham, England, and in Lisbon, Portugal in 1990.
Since then, there have been dozens of conferences that have blessed countless Christians. The main aim is to motivate Christians for evangelism.
- After he gave up his position as a “classic” missionary with a missions organization, for which he had worked since 1968, Reinhard Bonnke moved to Johannesburg to focus completely on evangelism. Christ for all Nations was founded on December 6, 1974, in Witfield, a suburb of Johannesburg in South Africa.
- There is no scriptural basis for this other than those invented by the patriarchs to keep everyone, particularly women, in their designated ‘place’.