David Matthew
UK ‘Restorationism’ article

Restorationism in British Church Life

from 1970

An insider’s view

Background: two streams British evangelicalism in the early 1970s was, as I remember it, in a sorry state. At one extreme of a polarised church were the Reformed churches, strong on doctrine and the systematic exposition of Scripture, and revitalised by the re-publishing over the previous fifteen years of many standard Puritan works by the Banner of Truth Trust. These churches took a strong anti-Pentecostal, cessationist stand. At the other end of the spectrum were the three Pentecostal denominations: Elim, the Assemblies of God and the much smaller Apostolic Church. All three traced their roots to the Welsh Revival and the Pentecostal Revival at the beginning of the twentieth century and the isolation forced on them by their rejection at that time by the existing denominations. In the middle stood a more lukewarm type of evangelical church, sceptical of extreme forms of both Calvinism and Pentecostalism, yet strongly opposed in principle to neither. Such churches were allied to a variety of existing denominations: the Church of England, The Baptist Church, the Brethren and many more. The Charismatic Renewal The Fountain Trust, established by Anglican minister Michael Harper in 1964, provided a channel to contain and direct much of the growing charismatic vitality, and it channelled it in a clear direction: towards the renewal of the so-called ‘historic denominations’. A statement by Cardinal Suenens, often quoted at the time, described the church as a crown on the head of King Jesus, with each of the multi-coloured gems in the crown representing a renewed denomination. The crown itself symbolised a unified church, while the various gems emphasised the diversity within that unity. As the seventies unfolded, my observation was that most charismatics seemed comfortable pursuing that goal, though it was hard work: many continued to find their local churches frustrating—especially if the leaders were opposed to the renewal—but they stayed in them with the aim of seeing them, and the whole denomination, ultimately renewed. To counter their frustration they would attend cross-denominational Fountain Trust conferences and praise meetings where they could use spiritual gifts without criticism and enjoy the fellowship of like-minded Christians from a variety of backgrounds. I attended and spoke at many such meetings; they were charged with joy, enthusiasm and hope. But in time the excitement waned. This seems to have been chiefly because of the continued refusal by many local church leaders to allow renewal activities and attitudes to leave the fringes and enter the mainstream of their programmes and traditions. Many charismatic Christians were beginning to realise that the change they sought in their local churches and denominations would be a long-term project, not an instant one, and as they braced themselves for the task, some of the fallen inter-denominational walls were rebuilt. Restorationism Some British Christians, however, had questioned the idea of denominational renewal from the very start. Another idea had existed alongside it with an altogether different focus. This was—to use the terminology of the time—the ‘Restoration’ viewpoint, a term usually seen as based on the phrase the ‘restoration of all things’ in Acts 3:21 NASB. Its adherents took the view that denominations had never been God’s long-term desire for his church, so why waste time and energy renewing something that was, from an eternal perspective, undesirable? If in the age to come denominations would disappear and the church be truly one, why not begin here and now to work to that end, with the help of the unifying Holy Spirit? It was into this stream of thought and conviction that I was introduced in 1973, when I first met Bryn Jones (1940-2003), who became the primary spokesman for the Restorationist conviction. Bryn Jones Born and brought up in South Wales, Bryn became a Christian at 16 and then attended the Bible College of Wales in Swansea (1958-61). After brief periods doing evangelism in Methodist chapels in Cornwall[1] (1962), in France[2] (1963) and in Germany (1964), he went as a missionary to Guyana for two and a half years (1964-66). On his return to the UK he pursued a further period of evangelisation in Cornwall (1967-8), then in 1969 moved to West Yorkshire, in the north of England, settling near my home city of Bradford.[3] He became a laundry van driver to support his family and later told how he would sometimes stop his van on the surrounding hills to pray for the city below. Formative influences From Bryn himself, and from others who knew him before I did, I learned the background to the spiritual and relational situation in which I met him in 1973. As a widely-travelled man, Bryn had inevitably found himself in contact with other travelling preachers and teachers. Among these, Arthur Wallis (1922-88)[4] had quickly become a father-figure. Always consumed by a desire to see revival in the nation, Wallis had also begun, chiefly through contact with David Lillie, to realise the importance of a New Testament local church life in helping bring it about. Wallis and Lillie (both ex-Open Brethren and both living in Devon) arranged a series of three influential conferences between 1958 and 1962[5], whose titles indicate their emphasis. The first was entitled ‘The Church of Jesus Christ: Its Purity, Pattern and Programme in the Context of Today’; the second ‘The Divine Purpose in the Institution of the Church’; and the third, influenced by an awareness of the Charismatic Renewal by then touching Episcopalians in the USA, ‘The Present Ministry of the Holy Spirit.’ Attendance was by invitation only and drew leaders of wide influence. Bryn Jones, then in his early twenties, attended the third conference and caught something of the vision of the two convenors. Only churches constituted on New Testament lines, directed by the Holy Spirit and unbound by traditions that lacked a clear biblical mandate, he came to see, could be adequate receptacles to contain the ‘rain from heaven’ when it came and thus stop revival power from dissipating. He and some of his contemporaries lent their youthful enthusiasm to the church-building cause but, with this background, while they rejoiced in the spiritual boost that the Charismatic Renewal was bringing to the church at large, they agreed that it was certainly not the longed-for revival. When I first met Bryn Jones in Bradford I found him openly propounding the Wallis- Lillie views. His travels around the UK as a popular speaker had led him to believe that the only realistic way to get such churches was to build them on the desired basis from scratch. Dismantling churches in their existing form and rebuilding them on New Testament lines was already beginning to prove too painful for some of their members and too much hassle for the builders. Jones’s vision was crystal clear. He knew the kind of churches he wanted to see. They would not be modelled on some allegedly perfect primitive church—he was quick to point out that the early church as portrayed in the New Testament was far from perfect. No, he wanted churches ‘restored’ to a point far further back: to all that had been in God’s heart from the beginning for his church and that he had caused to be recorded in Holy Scripture for our instruction. This vision was far removed from the main thrust of the growing Charismatic Renewal, typified in the Fountain Trust and its magazine, Renewal (launched in 1965), which was to encourage not just individual experience of the Holy Spirit but also the renewal of existing local churches.[6] Hocken suggests a reason for the ecclesiological differences between the two streams: ‘The difference of vision for the future of the church, between the Lillie-Wallis circle (summed up in the term Restoration), and those primarily looking to Harper and the Fountain Trust for leadership (finding their aims expressed in the term Renewal)¸was fundamentally a difference in received ecclesiology.’[7] Harper was an Anglican; Lillie and Wallis both had Brethren backgrounds, and Brethrenism’s very foundations in the nineteenth century lay in the rejection of the traditional ecclesiology of the Church of England and the Church of Ireland. It was inevitable, perhaps, that both would bring their ecclesiological convictions to their perception of the move of the Holy Spirit. And perhaps it was inevitable, too, that once the initial uniting euphoria of baptism in the Spirit died down, those convictions would surface again and, in so doing, highlight the differences between the two streams more than their unity.[8] Apostolic teams For the Restorationists, with no traditional church framework to rely on, the question now was how the type of local churches they sought could be established and serviced. Again, Bryn Jones became the chief spokesman for new insights which would eventually have enormous influence. He had been deeply stirred by reading Roland Allen’s Missionary Methods—St Paul’s or Ours?, which describes the expansion of the early church through the ministry of apostles and prophets.[9] At a significant meeting of a group of church leaders and itinerant preachers, including Bryn, at the home of Arthur Wallis in February 1972[10] the Holy Spirit broke in on the men in a dramatic way, releasing a flow of prophesying. A key theme of the prophecies was the need for the men to stop working as isolated individuals and, recognising each other’s gifts, increasingly work together as a team. This way they would be in the best possible position to utilise their varied, complementary abilities and so be able to build local churches matching the Restoration vision. The recognition of each other’s gifts soon began to clarify under the categories listed by Paul in Ephesians 4:11, namely, apostles, prophets, evangelists pastors and teachers.[11] The group, quickly seeing Bryn Jones as endowed with what they viewed as an apostolic gift, confirmed him in the leadership role among them that they had previously recognised instinctively. When I first met Bryn in 1973, the expression ‘apostles today’ was beginning to be used openly. Reaction to the notion was polarised, the enthusiasm of its proponents matched only by the vitriolic opposition of seemingly all Christian leaders in the non-charismatic churches and of some charismatic and Pentecostal leaders too. The Bradford base Church-building and team-building proceeded in parallel. On the church front, by 1974 Bryn had established relations separately with three distinct groups in his home city of Bradford. One consisted largely of believers squeezed out of the Baptist and other denominations because of their charismatic beliefs and practices. Bryn had put his younger brother Keri[12] in charge of this group. The second was the remnant of Pastor G.W. (Wally) North’s Calvary Holiness Church in Bradford.[13] This had fallen apart after North’s departure from Bradford, and he had later commissioned Peter Parris, a printing lecturer from London[14] to pick up the pieces. This Parris had done, bringing the remnant together to meet in his own home. The third group was my own ex-Brethren assembly. During 1973 and 1974 Bryn gradually drew the three groups together until their formal union took place, with the hearty agreement of all involved, in October 1975. The new entity was called The Bradford Church. It met in Bradford Central Library Theatre on Sunday mornings and in regionally-based housegroups all over the city during the week. Bryn was accepted by all as having apostolic oversight to the 150-member church and he installed an initial eldership team of three: Keri Jones as the ‘first among equals’, Peter Parris and myself.[15] Over the next few years the church grew and prospered[16] under intense opposition from virtually every existing church in the city, including the Pentecostals. Tithing was taught vigorously, securing a steady income for the expansion of the church, which eventually peaked at around 650 committed members in the mid-1980s—though it must be remembered that there was a constant drain on its numbers as many churches were planted across the north of England using people who, under apostolic guidance, happily moved from the Bradford area to other towns to be part of the new churches. Projects to spread the message Meanwhile, Bryn, in his apostolic role, was developing a relationship with a variety of leaders and churches around the country. All these leaders were men who had broken free from their previous denominational ties; Bryn was adamant that he could expect no meaningful relationship of men with divided loyalties.[17] Bryn arranged regular conferences to bring them together for prayer, waiting on God and the sharing of insights into the New Testament, particularly on issues of ecclesiology. Their eschatology, too, came under scrutiny and the increasing trend was to reject the premillennialism on which most of them, including myself, had been raised, in favour of a what I could best describe as amillennialism with postmillennialist leanings. Certainly they believed that the new breed of local church that they were pioneering across the UK would be at least one factor in triggering a revival that would spread around the world and bring a substantially new order of gospel light, justice and joy prior to Christ’s return.[18] It was seen as important to make known more widely the implications of these eschatological and ecclesiological convictions, and I found myself quickly drawn away from eldership in the Bradford church to engage in several projects aimed at achieving this for the team—a team which, after carrying the informal label ‘the Harvestime team’ for a while,[19] became formally known as Covenant Ministries (later Covenant Ministries International: CMI). In 1980 I set up a Bible college for Bryn and served as Principal for several years. Initially called the International Christian Leadership Programme, the one-year course began in The Church House in Bradford and later moved to new premises in the village of Riddlesden, near Keighley, when it was renamed Riddlesden College. I continued to teach at the college until the end of 1995. Then, when in 1982 Arthur Wallis moved to the south of England to be closer to Tony Morton and his Cornerstone team,[20] I took over from him the editorship of Restoration, the bi-monthly magazine that propagated the Covenant Ministries emphases to a wide readership, exerting a significant influence on Christian thinking in many countries.[21] I was privileged to edit it for eight years. These emphases included openness to the Spirit in praise and worship; the importance of relationships in the family and the church; the conviction that the kingdom of God had been established with Christ’s ascension and Pentecost and would grow until his return to consummate it; the value of ‘lateral covenant’ between leaders working together; the need for all of the ‘Ephesians 4 ministries’ if the church was ever to reach maturity, especially apostles and prophets; the authority of local church elders; and the importance of personal discipling in the ways of the Lord. All of these, it was believed, were clear teachings of the New Testament that had become neglected and were now being restored to the church by the Holy Spirit under the direction of the risen Christ who had promised, ‘I will build my church.’ Move to the Midlands Bryn moved the team base from Bradford in 1989 to Nettle Hill, a complex of buildings near Coventry, with a view to planting churches across the Midlands in the way that they had been planted across the north of England from the Bradford base. The college, now known as Covenant College, also moved down. I was based there from 1991 and spent five years editing and writing nine volumes of theological material—the Modular Training Programme—for the college’s distance-learning service.[22] The north-south divide By this time the circle of leaders around Bryn had undergone many changes. The original seven leaders who met at Wallis’s home in 1972 had soon been joined by a further seven.[23] In time, a gradual polarisation developed between ‘the London brothers’ (with John Noble most prominent) and those based in the north of the country (led by Bryn Jones), ending in a major split in 1976. This was partly due to a clash of strong personalities, but it also reflected emerging differences in both doctrine and practice between the two parties, in particular the issue of law and grace. The southern men were more liberal in their views on drinking alcohol, for instance, and were wary of labelling masturbation a sin. Also, the southern men, notably Gerald Coates, George Tarleton, Maurice Smith, Graham Perrins and John Noble, felt that they had been the true pioneers of apostleship, discipling and a charismatically- led church, and that Bryn Jones had to some extent taken over. When Jones announced plans to publish Restoration magazine in 1976, the southern men felt threatened as they were already publishing the magazine Fulness, whose first issue had appeared in 1970. The split eventually took place in spite of arbitration attempts by a group of American leaders known as ‘the Fort Lauderdale Five’.[24] After this time the southern arm of Restorationism represented by Gerald Coates and John Noble moved out of my personal field of vision. My occasional contacts with some of its leaders gave me the impression that their team and church setup was a good deal looser than our own, more relaxed and less structured, with spiritual authority relegated to a lower place in the list of priorities.[25] A flexible team The make-up of Bryn’s own Covenant Ministries team, too, was constantly changing—as he had always insisted it would, in line with the apostle Paul’s practice, recorded in the New Testament, of apparently using certain men for a period only, according to their gifts and the ministry’s changing needs. By 1989 he had a ‘core team’ of eight, but worked also with a further, larger stratum of less consistently involved leaders. While I worked full-time at Nettle Hill, taught regularly in the college and travelled to teach, often at Bryn’s specific direction, in most of the churches in the network, I wasn’t always clear whether I was ‘in the team’ or not. And that was no problem to me; the whole enterprise was a living, organic entity and I was happy to play my part in it without any concerns about official status. Under the team’s direction the CMI network had been expanding across the UK, with links also into other countries. Numbers of related churches fluctuated as several groupings hived off. A CMI directory of 1995 in my possession lists 44 well-established churches in the UK—many of them at the time in process of planting out new ones—and links into the USA, Norway, Germany, Sri Lanka, India, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Terry Virgo (based in Hove), Tony Morton (Southampton) and David Tomlinson (Middlesbrough) had all earlier cemented a working relationship with the northern group. In 1985 Bryn Jones released Virgo and Morton to develop their own teams.[26] Of these, by far the most successful was Terry Virgo’s and the New Frontiers International network that it serviced. The network grew rapidly, helped by the popularity of the Downs Bible Weeks in the south of England, and later the Stoneleigh Bible Weeks in the Midlands, and it continues to grow and prosper today.[27] Bible Weeks Terry’s annual conventions were modelled on Bryn Jones’s earlier Dales Bible Weeks, the first of which took place in the summer of 1976 in Harrogate, Yorkshire, building on smaller summer conventions in other locations during the few previous years.[28] The Dales Week, attended by thousands,[29] became an annual showcase for the Restoration churches and a powerful instrument for the propagation of their message. Christians from denominational backgrounds who attended were openly challenged to come out of their churches and be part of the movement—and many did. From 1983 the Dales Week was supplemented by a second event, the Wales Week, held at Builth Wells in mid-Wales, where the same message was put out. While the call to come out of ‘the denominations’ was clear, it was not a call to come into a new one. Bryn always insisted that the network he had pioneered was not a denomination. He saw a denomination as a group of churches defined not only by its history and its system of beliefs and practices but also by its organisational structure. If a leader died, he left a post to be filled. The church by biblical definition, Bryn always maintained, is not primarily an organisation but an organism, not a skeleton but a living body. Its gifts and leadership are sovereignly assigned by the Holy Spirit. It was inevitable, therefore, that the CMI network, built on this basis, would be fluid in its structure. True to this pattern, in time apostleship was recognised in Bryn’s younger brother Keri, and in Alan Scotland and, equally inevitably, both men eventually took the churches in their care in the direction of their own choosing.[30] The same was to happen later with Paul Scanlon, Andrew Owen and Tony Howson.[31] Reasons for decline Andrew Walker states: ‘After 1985, Restorationism ceased to be a runaway success as far as growth is concerned.’[32] He reckons that numbers of ‘hard core Restorationists’ peaked at around 40,000 in 1984-5. He attributes the slowdown chiefly to the ending of large-scale defection from other churches and the increasing reliance on new converts. This was prompted by the emergence of many new independent churches who took on board many of the emphases of Restorationism but shied away from its authoritarian aspects and, in so doing, drew many away from mainline Restorationism. Another factor in the decline, in Walker’s view, was the start of the annual Spring Harvest summer conferences in 1979. Unlike the Dales and Wales Bible Weeks, Spring Harvest was launched from a broad evangelical base with no particular Restorationist, or even charismatic, axe to grind. It was a teaching and training event aimed chiefly at young people and drew from a far wider Christian constituency. By 1990 it was attracting 80,000 people to its week-long conventions.[33] Also, the visits to Britain of John Wimber in the early 1980s provoked a huge wave of interest in his brand of Christianity, especially the healing ministry, some aspects of which did not sit comfortably inside a Restorationist framework[34] and led many to believe that you could be a dynamic, cutting-edge Christian without embracing Restorationism.[35] Reaching out In social concern… From the late 1980s some new trends were beginning to show within CMI. Bryn had secured a university degree in Peace Studies (and so had Keri) and began to encourage his churches to become more involved in social concern and action. Restoration magazine, for instance, began to feature regular items criticising the apartheid regime in South Africa, and Bryn established the Institute of World Concerns at Nettle Hill to encourage justice and Christian attitudes in every aspect of social life. He also set up the charity Help International to channel aid to needy nations, and I was involved in seeing some of that put to work in Zambia. At the same time, visits by American Buddy Harrison (son-in-law to Kenneth Hagin) introduced a note of ‘faith’ and prosperity teaching, though this never became mainstream, to the relief of many in the CMI network. …but not to other leaders Bryn was a warm and outgoing man. He was always quick to reach out to the needy and this found expression in the new element of social concern. His warmth, however, did not extend to active ‘bridge-building’ towards other groups of Christians. On the contrary, he was always reluctant to get too involved with such activities, which he saw as a potential blunting of his prophetic cutting-edge. For many years he refused to attend the annual Charismatic Leaders’ Conference organised by John Noble, arguing that spending time with Christian leaders, including Anglicans and Catholics, who did not share his own vision was for him a low priority; instead, he sent me to represent him! As a result, some accused him of a proud exclusivity, but as he himself declared on more than one occasion in my hearing, ‘I’m not exclusive; I’m just clear.’ His brother Keri was, if anything, even less inclined to build bridges. He maintained a tighter grip than Bryn on the churches under his care and was perceived by some as legalistic in the demands he made on them. His present network is probably closer to the original Restoration vision than any other manifestation that has grown out of it, but it remains relatively small. Assessment I look back on my own years at the heart of the Restoration movement with gratitude for the warm fellowship I enjoyed with its leaders, for the long-neglected biblical emphases that it brought back to a more central place in my personal view of things, and for the excitement it afforded those of us privileged to ‘live on the edge’ as part of it for many years. In its time it was, I believe, an instrument of God to help shape the church at large into something approximating more to God’s ideal. Weaknesses As for the movement’s main weaknesses, in retrospect I see these as two in number. First, it became so used to the alienation from mainstream church life that its pioneer role thrust upon it that, when many of its emphases were eventually embraced by a wide variety of churches, instead of rejoicing and reaching out to those churches in fellowship, it tried to remain distinctive and, in so doing, was perceived as exclusive.[36] I recall Keri stating forcibly in one leaders’ meeting, ‘We must maintain our distinctives.’ I pointed out—to deaf ears, I fear—that our distinctives would of necessity always be less important than our non-distinctives—those doctrines and practices that we shared with Christians of many varieties.[37] The other weakness concerns the nature of the authority of present-day apostles. Both Bryn and Keri tended to see the churches in their networks as their churches. Their function towards a local church’s elders was, in their view, not advisory but executive. I would say that this approach has in some cases produced an unhealthy dependency and stifled the proper development of governmental stature in those elders. As recently as the late 1990s Bryn was giving an unorthodox interpretation to Acts 14:23, where Paul and Barnabas, when visiting churches they had founded earlier, ‘appointed elders for them in each church’. According to Bryn, ‘for them’ meant ‘for themselves’, that is, for the apostles Paul and Barnabas. He took it to mean that they appointed men who would serve the apostolic vision and provide both personnel and funds for the apostolic projects. Several leaders, including Terry Virgo, pointed out to Bryn that such an interpretation was without warrant, and he stopped propounding it, though he gave no indication of shifting in the view of apostolic authority that he had used it to support. Terry Virgo was quick to adopt a more ‘hands off’ approach to apostolic ministry which has proved highly successful. It sees the apostle’s role as a fatherly one,[38] a role which may well start as executive but which, as a child matures, becomes increasingly advisory, and which is intent on producing the next generation of mature leaders capable of making their own decisions with only occasional reference to apostles. Alan Scotland and Gareth Duffty—who now exercises an apostolic role to most of the churches formerly with Bryn—have both adopted a similar approach. Keri, by contrast, seems to be maintaining a strong controlling role towards his churches. Interestingly, in R2—the southern style of Restorationism—things had started moving in this ‘softer’ direction from as early as 1985, when Walker discerns ‘a considerable and noticeable softening of shepherding practices…[and]…a shift in understanding apostolic ministries—away from a governmental model and towards a servant ministry model.’[39] Maybe the southern leaders went too far in this direction; certainly that stream is barely visible today as a recognisable Restorationist entity. Many of the original leaders, of course, like the ones in R1, are now past retirement age and lacking the vigour they once enjoyed. Other, younger leaders have quietly stepped into positions of influence and seem to be doing their job in a far less radical and flamboyant way. Restoration’s legacy Having been out of mainstream Restorationism since the end of 1995[40] I am now able to look at what the CMI branch has left as its legacy, and it is almost all good. Bryn Jones’s sudden death in 2003 marked the end of the movement’s pioneering era. But the reins are in capable hands and the local churches linked with apostles Keri Jones, Alan Scotland and others who have resisted the mega-church pull seem in good shape. I still visit some of them to teach the Word. I also visit NFI churches, classical Pentecostal churches and independent charismatic ‘new churches’ without any apostolic team link and rejoice to see an embracing there of many of the values and practices introduced by Bryn and the other pioneers. Terry Virgo has commented that, in his view, the restoration of apostles is the most important and distinctive feature of Restorationism.[41] In this connection I recently talked with Alan Vincent, who had loose ties with Bryn for some years and is now based in the USA. He told me about a book he is shortly to publish. In it he likens the rediscovery of apostolic ministry to the invention of the jet engine. The early jet prototypes were flawed; there were explosions and crashes. But the underlying principle was sound, and second-generation jet engines, modified in the light of previous mistakes, proved their worth, to give us what is an essential means of propulsion in today’s world. So it is, Vincent maintains, with apostles. The pioneers like Bryn were shaping something new and untested. Mistakes were made and some people got hurt. But the underlying principle has solid New Testament backing and he believes that, with appropriate modifications, we will soon see the apostolic ministry come into its own as a key shaper of the church leading up to Christ’s return. Let us hope he is right.
2. He was in France under the auspices of Operation Mobilisation.
3. Bradford was known in Christian circles chiefly for its connection with Smith Wigglesworth (d.1947). It was also the location of Dean House Christian Fellowship, established by Cecil Cousen in 1953, and of Pastor G.W. (Wally) North’s Calvary Holiness Church, formed in 1952.
4. For an outline of Wallis’s life and ministry see T. Larsen (ed.), Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, IVP, 2003, p692.
5. For details see P. Hocken, Streams of Renewal: The Origins and Early Development of the Charismatic Movement in Great Britain, Exeter, Paternoster, 1986, ch 3.
6. For a statement of the Fountain Trust’s aims see Hocken p125. The Trust was closed down in 1980.
7. Hocken p174.
8. Hocken notes in his conclusions: ‘While there was a genuine communion in the Spirit between the Spirit-baptized, there was not a common understanding of the movement and of its purpose in God’s sight.’ (p178).
9. See W.K. Kay, Apostolic Networks in Britain, Carlisle, Paternoster, 2007. (Chapter on Bryn Jones; page numbers not available, the book being still in its pre-publication stage)
10. Further details of this meeting are noted by A. Walker, Restoring the Kingdom: The Radical Christianity of the House Church Movement (Revised and Expanded Edition), Guildford, Eagle Publishing, 1998, p76ff. The six present were Arthur Wallis, Bryn Jones, Peter Lyne, David Mansell, Hugh Thompson and Graham Perrins. Subsequent meetings were also attended by John Noble—who came from a Salvation Army background—to make up what was in jest called ‘the magnificent seven’.
11. Most evangelicals, of course, considered that only the last three of these were permanent gifts to the church, the first two being temporary roles for the establishment of the church in the first generation.
12. Keri had previously been a schoolteacher in Dewsbury.
13. Kay describes North as ‘a kind of proto-apostle, who had established a congregation of believers in Bradford as part of his own proto-apostolic network.’ (Kay, chapter on Bryn Jones).
14. For several years Parris had sat under the ministry of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
15. Keri and Peter had already been in full-time leadership for some time; I was still schoolteaching, not coming into full-time ministry until Easter 1976.
16. In 1977 the church bought a redundant premises, The Church House, from the local diocese and refurbished it as a multi- purpose meeting-place. The church was then renamed the Church House Fellowship.
17. Later, by contrast, Terry Virgo would prove quite happy to adopt an apostolic role towards a church that remained in, for example, the Baptist Union.
18. ‘Bryn…did not see restorationism as a theological luxury or an interpretive quirk but rather as the divine response to a dark and threatening world situation.’ (Kay, chapter on Bryn Jones).
19. A retail side had developed to help support the team’s ministry, producing items like Bible cases and decorative plaques carrying Bible texts. This, along with the team administration, magazine planning and distribution, and Bible Week planning, was based in premises in Bradford named Harvestime House.
20. Wallis remained based there until his sudden death in 1988.
21. In that year the magazine had a circulation of 12,000.
22. My service with CMI came to a natural end when, in January 1996, I went to live in South Africa to establish and run a Bible college for a network of churches there. The MTP theological material has been translated into several Eastern European languages at the instigation of Dutchman Goos Vedder, who was part of Bryn’s team for many years. It is also now enjoying a wider circulation in English through distribution in electronic form by the Together network led by Gareth Duffty. Together is the natural successor to CMI following Bryn Jones’s death in 2003 and is still based at Nettle Hill (see www.togetherweb.net).
23. Gerald Coates, George Tarleton, Barney Coombs, Maurice Smith, John MacLauchlan, Campbell McAlpine and Ian McCulloch.
24. See Walker p96ff. The five were Derek Prince, Bob Mumford, Ern Baxter, Charles Simpson and Don Basham. They had formed a working relationship not unlike that of the British men in many respects, but independently of them and with a stronger emphasis on hierarchical leadership and ‘shepherding’ that was later to be exposed as ‘heavy shepherding’. Baxter and Mumford were both speakers at early Dales Bible Weeks.
25. Andrew Walker has designated the two streams of Restorationism as R(estoration)1 and R2, with R1 the more conservative branch remaining more true to the original vision, and R2 the more liberal movement. See Walker p38ff.
26. After a disagreement with Bryn, David Tomlinson had defected, along with his churches, in 1982 and had aligned himself with the ‘southern brothers’. He left, he said, ‘on issues of authority, hierarchy and that sort of thing’ (Walker p345).
27. The 2004 Stoneleigh Bible Week drew 10,000 people to each of its two consecutive week-long conferences. See www.newfrontiers.xtn.org. This website currently lists over 200 NFI churches in England alone (excluding Scotland, Ireland and Wales).
28. Held first in Wales, then at Capel in Surrey and finally, in 1975, in the Lake District.
29. 4,000 in 1979, of whom half were newcomers to Restorationist thinking and three quarters were under 30 years of age (report in Restoration magazine Nov/Dec 1979). Numbers peaked at around 8,000 in 1980-81.
30. Keri Jones now heads up a network called Ministries Without Borders, probably stronger in Norway than in the UK (see www.ministrieswithoutbord ers.com); Alan Scotland leads LifeLink International (see www.lifelink- international.org).
31. Paul Scanlon leads the Hillsongs-style Bradford mega-church, the Abundant Life Church (see www.alm.org.uk); Andrew Owen leads Destiny Church in Glasgow, Scotland (see www.destiny-church.com); Tony Howson leads the smaller New Day International network based in Wrexham, Wales (see www.newdayinternational. org). It was clear at the time Bryn released them that he hoped they would continue to work under the broad Covenant Ministries umbrella, under his overall leadership, but he quickly came to terms with their need to plough their own furrow.
32. Walker p301.
33. Walker p307.
34. Wimber believed, for instance, that one could have the gifts of the Spirit without the baptism in the Spirit, whereas Bryn and the CMI men believed that baptism in the Spirit was an essential element of Christian initiation and not negotiable.
35. Kay sees the numerical decline as dating from around 1990 and suggests four contributory factors: ‘The corrosive effect of continual criticism of Bryn Jones as well as a series of problems with his health; the closure of the big Bible weeks in the Dales; the financial effort and structural disruption brought about by the move from Bradford to Nettle Hill; the splitting up of the apostolic team into several sub-groups with the consequent creation of separate mini-networks.’ (Kay, chapter on Bryn Jones).
36. Bryn was fond of saying, ‘We are called to change things not by infiltration but by provocation.’
37. Having said that, I still have a very high regard for Keri at a personal level.
38. Note Paul’s description of his own apostolic role in fatherly terms in 1 Corinthians 4:15.
39. Walker p344.
40. But still totally committed to the basic Restorationist principles, with some mellowing adjustments.
41. Walker p158.
1. Cornwall is in the south- west of England and is known for its occult links.
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