Birthdays and anniversaries open opportunities to revisit big ideas and founding purposes. As Seedbed turns two we want to rehearse a bit of that with you, our friends, in this journey of sowing extravagantly for a great awakening.
This five minute chalk board session captures well Seedbed’s founding purpose. We think you will resonate with it (you can skip the outtakes.) ;0)
So What about This “Great Awakening” Are We Sowing For?
- The next great awakening will likely not come as a result of “decision” oriented evangelism built on a propositional gospel centered around an ethereal afterlife in “heaven.”
- The next great awakening will sprout from the seeds of the whole gospel, sown into “good soil” of the nascent Kingdom of God, sending down deep roots into the ancient orthodoxy of the Word of God and drawing up living water from the eternal springs of the Holy Spirit.
- The fruit of this awakening will be nothing less and nothing more than the holy love of Jesus Christ, mediated by the Holy Spirit and manifested in and through his followers.
- It will be a slow growing and sustained awakening of global proportions built on a brand of discipleship whose means and end is holy love. It will be centered around the New Creation’s cry, “On Earth as it is in Heaven!” Equally amplified will be the longing cry for the Kingdom to come in final glory, “Come Lord Jesus!”
So Why John Wesley?
To be clear, this isn’t about John Wesley, nor is our mission to make people Wesleyans or Methodists. When we look back on our history, we search for exemplars who not only saw the vision of the Gospel but who lived into it in history making ways. Wesley considered himself and his people nothing more than Scriptural Christians. That’s why we like him. We learn from the Wesleys to be better followers of Jesus. Here are a four reasons why:
- The Wesley brothers demonstrate for us a practiced theology rooted in a sovereignty shaped by the Fatherhood of God, rich with the mind of Christ and contagious with the supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit.
- The Wesley brothers lead us through a structured approach to community-based gospel conversion reflecting the dynamics of crisis and process coupled with patterns and benchmarks in the long perseverance of character transformation.
- The Wesley brothers show us a more excellent way of discipleship; one which subverts a shame-oriented moralism on the one hand and a prosperity based motivation on the other. They disciple at the level of our dispositions, affections and ambitions.
- The Wesley Brothers impart theological truth and missional vision through the incarnational fabric of their sermons, songs, prayers, journals, and letters. These every day vessels provide a far more native habitat for theology than does that of the more manageable and yet imposed systematic constructs.
Bringing It Down to Two Words (or maybe three)
One day I asked the noted John Wesley scholar, Ken Collins, how he would concisely summarize the Wesleyan theological vision. He said, “I can do it in two words: Holy Love.”
John Wesley took the great message and movement of the 16th century reformation to its only necessary conclusion. The Reformers gave us Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus and Soli Deo Gloria.
When Wesley speaks of perfect or entire sanctification he is talking about holy love. Hear it in his own words from Sermon #43, “The Scripture Way of Salvation”.
It is thus that we wait for entire sanctification; for a full salvation from all our sins, from pride, self-will, anger, unbelief; or, as the Apostle expresses it, “go on unto perfection.” But what is perfection? The word has various senses: Here it means perfect love. It is love excluding sin; love filling the heart, taking up the whole capacity of the soul. It is love “rejoicing evermore, praying without ceasing, in every thing giving thanks.”
Sola Sanctus Caritas! Only Holy Love! It’s the beautiful merger of grace and truth; the beginning, middle and end of the Gospel. It’s the great commandment that undergirds the great commission. It’s the metric of the Kingdom; profound love for God and profound love for people. Sola Sanctus Caritas! It’s the banner and battle cry of all who would sow extravagantly with us for a great awakening in a new century.
A Final Story Capturing the Challenge
At key moments throughout history, this fiery vision of holy love arrested the attention of faithful women and men. Oswald Chambers caught sight of it and thanks to the faithfulness of his wife, Biddie, his writings were put together into one of the best selling devotional books of all time, My Utmost for His Highest. This fact alone testifies to the abiding hunger for the holiness of love in our time. In the early twentieth century he read The Evangelical Revival, a book by R.W. Dale. Writing in an unpublished journal he copied the passage below from the book.
There was one doctrine of John Wesley’s – the doctrine of perfect sanctification – which ought to have led to a great and original ethical development; but the doctrine has not grown; it seems to remain just where John Wesley left it. There has been a want of the genius or the courage to attempt the solution of the immense practical questions which the doctrine suggests. The questions have not been raised – much less solved. To have raised them effectively, indeed, would have been to originate an ethical revolution which would have had a far deeper effect on the thought and life – first of England, and then of the rest of Christendom – than was produced by the Reformation of the sixteenth century.
It stands to reason that Oswald Chambers considered his own work as an effort to take up the mantle of this message. That’s why Seedbed exists; to take up the mantle of this message, find new voices for this vision and together “attempt the solution of the immense practical questions which the doctrine suggests.”
We believe the Lord of the harvest is granting us the genius, the courage and the seeds to extravagantly sow this ancient vision into a new century to the end of a great awakening to the whole gospel for the whole world.
If your heart is as ours, please. . . give us your hand. Let’s do this, sowing this vision in such a profound way that the children of our children’s children might still be reaping the harvest until he comes.