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This weekend I'll be working at another Cleansing Stream Retreat. At my last retreat in November a lady mentioned how most of us were unaware of each other's denominations. I'd never noticed this before but it was true. We identified ourselves in two primary ways. The first was our home cities and states as in, "I'm with the group from Pagosa Springs, Colorado." We also identified ourselves by our role in the retreat - intercessor, annointer, music, logistics, and leadership. "What team are you on? Who is your team captain?"

Cleansing Stream was founded by the First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, CA and though it's become an independent ministry the Pentecostal/Charismatic flavor remains. Even so I've met people from many different groups. Some from mainline or Baptist groups say their involvement is controversial in their home churches, but they participate anyway (they are required to get the approval of their pastor). In spite of the diversity of doctrines and labels there tremendous unity at the retreat because we're there for a single purpose.

This brings up the issue of focus. The ministry is very focused in its purpose - healing and deliverance through spiritual warfare. Because everyone is in agreement with the ministry's method and purpose (or they wouldn't be there) I've never witnessed any division at all, and for that reason this is one of the most powerful ministries I've ever witnessed. Through it I've witnessed people in my own church get completely turned around for Jesus. In fact some of their personalities drastically change.

It's pretty cool really. A multi-racial, cross-denominational group gathered together from near and far, working together with tremendous unity and focus to glorify Jesus and set people free. It's the Body of Christ in action!

-- Anonymous, January 26, 2004


Excellent. One day they will get it together as much as the AMEs. There is a basic difference however. Our basis of belief is found in the Apostle's Creed rather than the Lausanne Covenant.

-- Anonymous, January 27, 2004

Mary -

What is the Lausanne Covenant? QED

-- Anonymous, January 27, 2004


Ooooh...I hate when I don't know the answer and have to look it up :)

It's an interesting document/treatise, but I, for one, can't understand the need for this OR the Manila Manifesto OR the Apostle's/Nicene Creed.

Why can't we just accept the Bible for what it is: God's Word?

Ladies and Gentlemen , START YOUR ENGINES!

-- Anonymous, January 27, 2004

Now there you go Rev. Harper. In any event, I would point you to the following website for additional information. It is www.gospelcom.net/lcwe/statements/covenant.html.

I prefer the Apostle's Creed because it contains the basic tenets of Christianity. It tells the life of Christ and the basis of Christiab belief without complication. Straight and to the point.

-- Anonymous, January 27, 2004

WOW. I can't believe that I'm aware of something the Bro. Bill is not. The Lusanne Covenant came out of the Lusanne (Switzerland) Congress of 1974.

At the time it was suggested that "History may show this Covenatnt to be the most significant ecumenical confession on evangelism that the church has ever produced."

The person making the quote is identified only as "a theologian who teaches in Asia". There are 15 sections of the covenant and of course, it's too much to summarize here, but I'm sure that if one points his browser to "Lusanne Covenant", a copy of it should show up.

Some of the key sections are: The Purpose of God, The Authority and Power of the Bible, The Uniqueness and Universality of Christ, several sections dealing with aspects of evangelism, persecution, and The Power of the Spirit and the Return of Christ.

since we hear very little of it today, perhaps it has not had the effect envisioned in 1974.

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2004

Now Larry you know well I'm nothing more than a poor, semi-literate ex-Baptist struggling to play catch up with all of my Methodist friends :-) Thanks for the introduction to the Luasanne Covenant. Now concerning covenants, creeds and manifestos, I'm in agreement with Parson Harper's suggestion that we would be better off de- emphasizing these rhetorical expressions and focusing more on the Bible itself. I'm troubled when folks can recite the Apostle's Creed from rote memory but can't quote Scripture. Last I read, salvation is found in the Scriptures not creeds. QED

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2004

The Apostle's Creed is an affirmation of your faith. If you do not believe the words of the creed then you are NOT a Christian.

Please read and understand in the Spirit: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilage, was crucified, dead, and buried. The third day He arolse from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty: from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Church universal, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen."

The Apostle's Creed is an outline of basic Christian beliefs as found in scriptures. Tell me what part do you not agree on?

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2004

Mary opines -

"The Apostle's Creed is an outline of basic Christian beliefs as found in scriptures. Tell me what part do you not agree on?"

I'm not quite sure who this question is directed at but let me offer a reasoned response. First, my position is not that the Apostle's Creed does not have theological value for our faith journey. As a compact summary of Christian beliefs it attempts to fulfill that objective. My concern is with current church zealots who show indifference to learning Scripture but take pride in memorizing creeds. The Apostle's Creed has been subject to several rounds of "spiritual editing" since its inception. For instance, in AME churches I attend we do NOT say the expression that John Calvin emphasized, "He descended into Hell" or ".....I believe in the holy catholic church". These revisions were made to accomodate a particular section of Protestant theology who were uncomfortable with talking about hell and clearly misunderstood that the holy catholic church is NOT the Roman Catholic Church. If we are going to stick with the "original creed" we need to be saying both of these now banned expressions. This current censurship I find objectionable because I find no merit for the selective editing. The Apostle's Creed does not state specifically our belief in soteriology (doctrine of salvation) not does it state our beliefs about the inerrancy of Holy Scripture. These are important ommissions which must be properly addressed or else we run the risk of having a very underdeveloped witness.

Thanks to Parson Harper and Larry I now know more about the Luasanne Covenant. It's clear that the proponents of the Luasanne Covenant sought to make the aggregate affirmation of faith more inclusive with evangelism. It's obvious that the Apostle's Creed does not address evangelism even though that is a mandate of any member who is a part of the holy catholic church or the more politically correct expression "Church Universal". I'm just not big on creeds, never have been, never will. I accept their value but I do not elevate them above the Holy Writ. If you were to ask the average curch goer who enthusiastically cites the Creed what are the supporting Scriptures for each, many will be tongue-tied to give you a clear answer. That is the problem. QED

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2004

Well, again, listen with the Spirit, and not your mind. The most beautiful statement describing the miracle of Christ is made into an essay.

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2004

Mary -

Forgive me but I'm having a difficult time following your position. You suggest I (we) should "Well, again, listen with the Spirit, and not your mind". How does this response address the issues I raised about the exclusion of certain language in the original Apostle's Creed? QED

-- Anonymous, January 31, 2004

Bill Dickens says: "nor does it state our beliefs about the inerrancy of Holy Scripture."

Bill where do you get that statement from? The discipline says we believe in the sufficiency of scripture for salvation. You would not find many Bible scholars who would agree that our current versions of the Bible are the "inerrant" word of God. That does not detract from their sufficiency as much as it recognizes that just as man has selectively edited the Apostles Creed, anything humankind touches humankind has the ability to change.

This is sort of what I think Mary is saying when she tells you to read the Apostles Creed with your spirit. I don't necessarily agree with that thinking, although the Apostles Creed does restate some strong biblical themes you are quite correct, that you will not find it as a verse in the scripture.

-- Anonymous, January 31, 2004

Well the retreat is over. This time we warred against the demons behind rejection, guilt/shame/condemnation, abuse, sexual impurity, freemasonry, and death/destruction.

As usual this was an extremely powerful spiritual experience, and many lives were transformed. I was especially proud of the group of fledgling ministry workers we took along. They did great, and God gets the praise! I'm a big supporter of training workers.

I'm always reminded in these retreats that there is a higher reality than the one we can take in with our five senses. The more we live in that reality the stronger we'll be as Christians, and the bigger difference we'll make in the reality we can sense. Why? Because we're operating in the supernatural.

The enemy grabs his Maalox and dials 911!

-- Anonymous, February 01, 2004

OK! I will file it away. Affirmative Action is acceptable when placing a less than competent Black Conservative on the job.

-- Anonymous, February 02, 2004

Please forgive the post above. It was not meant to be placed here.

-- Anonymous, February 02, 2004

Bill, what I meant to say is that when I recite the Apostle's Creed I think of the miracle of God in our lives. If you think about the actual words of the creed it invokes great joy. When you think of God, the Creator who sent His son Jesus to us, is the same God that speaks to us individually and cares so much for each one of His children, I just get a since of awe. That's what I meant with the Spirit.

When the brother on another post asked about the Apostle's Creed and the Beatitudes I was excited because I could picture Jesus giving the Beatitudes to the multitudes. If you can imagine God on earth, looking out to His people with all compassion in His face and telling them that He understands their concerns. He says blessed are the poor in spirit: those that understand they are nothing, have nothing and can do nothing without God. Then he spoke to the mourners and told them that their spirits would be comforted. He saw the meek and told them they will inherit the earth. He told them continue to be humble and lowly hearted, because then God can instruct them. He saw those who were hungering and thirsting after righteousness and He told them that His righteousness would be revealed to them. He then addressed the merciful and told them they would receive mercy. To those who do not deserve His mercy He still gives it. God then told the pure in heart that they would see Him, and called the peacemakers His children. And last He told them that is alright to be persecuted for His sake, because they will have a great reward in heaven.

Since childhood, I've always pictured in my mind, giving this sermon. I always wondered what His eyes looked like when He gave His sermon. This is a very relevant sermon for today! People are so loud and boisterous and war like. God can't speak to them because they're so busy shouting they are not listening to the small voice.

God bless.

-- Anonymous, February 02, 2004

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