Navigation: This page '' ---> New View Overview ---> New View Main Page ---> abxn Main Page. About This Page. Contact.

Movements of God

This page looks at movements of God and how this New View might relate to them. In many instances, a movement was inspired via one or a few courageous people, who could see beyond what was ordinarily believed to something more. Each movement seems to have been something of an answer to, a reaction to, a suffocating spiritual situation. As such, each was to some extent defined by what was wrong with the previous situation, as a rectification of it. Unfortunately, some of those touched by each movement came to assume it was some kind of absolute final truth, and all other movements were worthless or worse. This led to the sin of spiritual pride, which eventually led to the movement's own nullification.

I find that New View incorporates something of the message of each of the following movements

Problem is: if New View manages to encompass all these successfully, it is in danger of seeing itself as some superior truth. May New View not fall prey to spiritual pride!

** page just started: I intend to explain each of the above in turn **

On Movements Deteriorating

However movements deteriorate over time. Partly this is due to human sin, especially pride. As Roy Clouser has said (in an email), "the medieval church made the same assumption that the Jews had made, namely, that since they were God's people God wouldn't allow them to fall into error, so whatever traditions had grown up must have God's approval. Jesus rebuked that when he told the religious leaders that they were teaching the "traditions of men" rather than the word of God." Other human sin like idolatry of some aspect in the movement. After a time, some people find their self-actulaisation through the movement, and gradually the movement comes to serve their ends rather than them serving God in the movement. After more time, power factions arise.

ALso, movements deteriorate because they were for a particular historical or cultural situation, and are not suited to new situations. By means of them God emphasises, and people discover, aspects that are being overlooked in a situation and His blessing flows into those situations. Once these aspects have been fully recognised and accepted, the emphasis on them should lessen. However, the leaders of some movements reason - very plausibly - that these aspects are the key to God's blessing, so it must be spread as widely as possible, lest they be held guilty of holding back to move of God's Spirit, and that the emphasis must not lessen, lest they be held guilty of compromise and being 'luke warm'. But this plausible reasoning is not always valid - especially when fear of guilt is what drives it.

All movements need reforming: "to be reformed is to be reforming." As Roy Clouser continued, the task is never done and is why we're to compare all doctrinal creeds and theologies to scripture. I would add that we need a humble heart and full growth of the fruit of the Holy Spirit as well as scripture.

Understanding the Movements

Here is a table that seeks to understand the movements, showing what aspects I believe that God introduced into the situation in which they emerged, and what kind of deterioration they have been, are or might be susceptible to. The table can also be used for comparison. For each movement, column 2 gives the situation(s) in which it emerged, column 3 suggests which aspects God was trying to emphasise, which led to blessing, and column 4 suggests some weaknesses or blind spots or kinds of deterioration.

(Note: THe following table is a draft, a kind of taster, which needs to be developed more fully and accurately. Some of the entries express my current very limited understanding of the movements, so please bear with it. A.B. 30 September 2012)

Movements of God
(Draft, to be completed and corrected.)
Movement Situation Aspects emphasised Weak points, deterioration
The People of Israel
Mosaic Judaism Canaanite paganism The One True God, Whose law is beauty and health for the cosmos, and as touching every sphere of life; God's chosen people (See Who Represent God) Over emphasis on God's law, neglecting mercy and grace;
Formalised religion, but hankering to be like others.
Prophets God's people corrupt, unjust, no longer representing Him God's representative people should be pure, devoted solely to Yahweh, the Living God, demonstrating His character and acting in His Name in the world. Justice, mercy and faith are paramount. (See The Responsibility of Those Who Represent God)
The Christian Church
Celtic Christianity European paganism Everyday life; missionary spirit; victory of Christ. (See Dignity of Creation) Harping back to the past; Tendency to compromise towards paganism
Francis of Assissi Formalised, uncaring religion Personal responsibility before God; Dignity of rest of creation, hence care for it; Humility of attitude. (See Dignity of Creation) Humility and poverty become formalised
Lutheran reformation Powerful Church institutions pushing a corrupt Roman Catholicism, Priority of Scripture over tradition; Salvation by faith. (See No Condemnation) Traditionism; Lack of missionary zeal; too much involved with the State
Calvinian reformation Lordship of Christ over every sphere of life; the importance of thinking and understanding; the sovereignty of God; the grace of God. (See Law for Creation) Suppression of art and pleasure; Over-emphasis on logic of doctrine, leading to inflexibility and unmercy.
Scottish reformation Roman Catholicism bolstering elite, wealthy aesthetes Integration of theory and practice; all people have dignity and should be educated. (See ?) Dourness and rejection of the aesthetic
Anabaptism Institutionalized religion Need for personal response to Christ, and personal relationship with God (See ? ) Superiority; over-emphasis on the individual
Anglicanism Warring extreme factions (reformation versus Roman Catholic) Breadth of acceptance of many views and doctrines (See ? ) Weakness in doctrine; establishmentism
Wesleyan movement Start of industrial life, with an uncaring church Importance of the ordinary individual, the need for repentance, the hope of salvation, and courage to stand for Christ even when jeered at; importance of group activity. (See ? ) Over-activism; later a tendency to become too 'nice' and inoffensive
Evangelical Awakening 19th C Grows in the fertile soil of the Wesleyan movement Importance of personal faith, and salvation and knowledge of Scriptures, and a strong notion of the people of God distinct from others, with social action that emphasises the ethical rather than juridical aspect. (See ?) Disinclination to take seriously the need to change structures of society; later: formalism and hypocrisy.
Sanctification movement of 19th C The pressure to trying to be acceptable to God in one's own strrength (partly as a result of emphasis on holiness etc.) The Holy Spirit changes our wills so that we are freely aligned with God, and truly want what God wants (See Our Will) Concentration too much on self, at expense of action in God's world
Missionary movement Self-centredness of Western Christendom Crossing all cultures; Differentiating the core of God's message from culture-specific concrete versions of it; the imperative for evangelism. (See The Missionary Call) Imposition of Western culture, presuppositions, assumptions and theological theories on other cultures; tendency to acquiesce to corrupt regimes and unjust global companies if they will just allow missionary work.
Pentecostal movement Formalised or cerebral evangelical and reformed traditions Power of the the Holy Spirit in individual lives; spiritual gifts that exceed reason. (See What Enables Representation) Ignoring the world that God loves; over-emphasis on the 'spiritual'; self-centredness; superiority
Holiness movement Hypocrisy, complacency or compromise in Christians Importance of deep honesty and integrity, holiness in the inward parts of attitude not just in the outward (See Holiness) Over-seriousness, and unnecessarily suppressing pleasure and fun.
Dutch reformational movement of 20th C Sacred-secular divide in both church and society Engagement with the world's thinking; importance of deep presuppositions in determining the direction society takes. (See The Law of God for Creation) Cerebral arguments; antagonism to the world
Liberation theology Church (esp. RC) acquiescing to poverty and injustice in the Two-Thirds World. Importance of societal structures; structural good and evil. (See God's Bias to the Poor) Humanistic arrogance and violence
East African Revival Division between missionaries and African Christians, and the tendency of both to put on a 'face' to the others Equality of all; importance of honesty; grace of God to cover all sin. (See Revival) Ignoring the structures of society, which allowed the conditions for genocide to develop
Charismatic movement Feeling-denying evangelicalism Enjoying God as present experience; knowing the love of God first hand, and responding with love for God. (See Holy Spirit) Middle-class self-centredness
Openness of God Theology God seen as Monarch Working with God in dignity, with joyful responsibility for how temporal reality works out. (See Working With God) Not yet known ?

Some Historical Points

This page is offered to God as on-going work in developing a 'New View' in theology that is appropriate to the days that are coming upon us. Comments, queries welcome.

Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2009. But you may use this material subject to certain conditions.

Written on the Amiga with Protext. Number of visitors to these pages: Counter.

Created: 8 March 2009. Last updated: 1 May 2009 some bits added. 19 October 2009 history started. 13 May 2012 reaction. 26 September 2012 deterioration. 30 September 2012 movements table. 17 June 2014 spelling correction, new .nav.