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Sunday, 30 December 2012

Restoration Legacy 5

I hope all you readers of my blog had a great Christmas! I managed to, and kept on writing my dissertation in between - I am now well over the word count and will need to be doing some serious pruning! But better doing that than padding!! Taking a short break to write a few more thoughts on the legacy of the restoration movement (just a couple more posts should do it for now).

  • freedom in worship - this has got to be one of the most precious things it contributed as far as I am concerned! I know that others not directly involved in the restoration movement also contributed, but  events like the Dales Bible Weeks paved the way for many. The encouragement to be free, passionate, spontaneous and wholehearted in worship, being released to break out in dancing and shouting as well as singing, being responsive both in exuberant praise as well as the deepest, most moving worship where you felt caught up into heaven at times. It was the sense of God's presence and the openness and freedom to be led by the Spirit that was the first thing that struck me when I started attending meetings of these churches. I thank God that I have now been part of building a church that puts such value on freedom in worship and experiencing the manifest presence of God in our gatherings together. 
  • challenging religiosity - there is a universe of difference between religion and relationship with God, between religion and life in the Spirit, between religion and the gospel of grace. Others might have understood this but I learned it within this movement and it was a key feature for me. It took someone outside the movement to help me realise the welcome informality in our leadership and our meetings, in contrast to the stuffy, religious institutionalism that many endured. But it was not just that - at its best, men like Bryn Jones demonstrated a genuine but relaxed and real, down to earth spirituality; you could walk in the Spirit and enjoy friendship with God without getting all religious and stuffy or superspirtual about it. It took me a while to learn it and it is easy to slip back into religion if you're not careful but this is legacy of great value that I am intent on holding on to. 

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