Need Anti-DePRESENCE?

C3 PRESENCE Conference at Darling Habour in Sydney has just finished.

Key speakers were Kong Hee, Bill Johnson, Phil Pringle and Marcus Witt at this event.

What did you think of the event? Do you have any comments? Have you had much feedback from anyone who went?


30 thoughts on “Need Anti-DePRESENCE?

  1. Highlight? Bill Johnson claiming that people are healed as they walk past him……not HIM but him.

  2. My highlight was staying at home and not going… Unfortunately I already had paid last year for this year, but did not go.

    So, you went “MO”??? LOL

  3. @ John Smith – no I didn’t go. Went online to particularly watch Bill Johnson as I was so shocked to see he was a keynote speaker. Scraping the bottom of the barrel with that particular gentleman…..

  4. “Bill Johnson claiming that people are healed as they walk past him”

    Never heard of Bill, but let’s take him to the closest hospital. Does it work if he walks past sick people, or do they have to walk past him?

    Either way, if he is that confident, after going to every hospital in Australian, maybe he can go overseas.

    Charismaniacs are the biggest talkers in the world.

  5. Moving On:

    Were the events of that evening recorded? I’d really like to see/hear Bill Johnson say that people are healed as they walk passed him. I believe he gets this from Acts 5:15 (Peter’s shadow) and Acts 19:12 (Paul’s handkerchief and apron).

  6. @Craig – Other Presence conferences were recorded, so no reason to assume Presence 2011 wouldn’t be. Were you there? I can provide other valid sources of his outrageous claims (his own words on YouTube).

  7. Moving On,

    I live in the US, in Texas. I don’t have the $$$$ to visit these sorts of conferences even though one day I’d like to go “down under.”

    Yes, I’ve seen plenty of Bill Johnson on YouTube; and, I’ve been reading a few of his books and writing articles on what I’ve found.

    I’ve not been keeping a close tab on him of late and I wasn’t aware of these “Presence” conferences. I’ll see if I can find something on YouTube. Thanks.

  8. CTruth, one of the problems being experienced by local churches is interference from some government agencies which have no idea of Biblically run church structures, and see not-for-profits as sports associations which need democratic governance of some sort, and insist on some kind of system whereby members vote in annual meetings for the very things churches are attempting to avoid. The sheep voting for the shepherd, as it were. The team running the coach. The school controlling the Principal.

    Government legislation for the running of churches, of course, isn’t, or shouldn’t be, the normally accepted course of events. Some churches will choose a voting presbytery, others a hierarchal leadership with a Board f Management which advises fiscally.

    When the State interferes with the way in which a church operates, and dictates the confines of their operation, we enter a dangerous era whereby the Church is, in effect, State run and controlled through prohibitive and obstructive legislation.

    When churches start to become powerful socially and financially, as in Singapore, with a number of high profile churches, the political and business sector sits up and takes notice, and have clearly decided that the competition is potentially beyond their control.

    it’s OK when churches are asking for a handout on the street corner, but when they start buying up the commercial sector, watch out!

    The only thing these churches have done wrong is to become successful in the market-place, the very place Jesus sent us to minister.

    The separation of Church and State was originally meant to protect the people from State-run religion, so that they had freedom to worship and express themselves without interference from the government.

    The Westminster democratic system was birthed out of the need for liberation from State run and controlled religion and social interaction. This kind of interference is tantamount to a reversal, and should be watched with great vigilance, but probably for different reasons to the ones generally expressed on this blog.

  9. I couldnt agree less, Kipling. One of the key features of the Westminster system is an acknowledgement of the importance of separation of powers. Separation of powers in government, separation of church from state, and separation of powers in organisations.

    The idea is that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and you have to create a system where multiple people have some power. They will then act to keep each other in check.

    Mega churches conciously model themselves on corporations in their structure, and Mega-Pastors often compare themselves to CEOs. But they dont follow the basic principles of corporations which say that the CEO is answerable to an independent board, and the board is answerable to the shareholders. And all are answerable to the proper Government authorities in matters of law and taxation.

    Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.

    Finally, if the state provides tax exemptions for an organisation then it has the right and responsibility to take appropriate steps to ensure that that money is not misappropriated. This may include requesting that appropriate governance be put in place.

  10. @ wazza2

    So, then, God, being in absolute power, is, by your reckoning, prone to becoming absolutely corrupt? His word, being the absolute above all things, must, by your rule of thumb, be a document which we cannot, as the Church, and local churches within the Church, successfully apply to our affairs without becoming corrupt?

    Of course, this is a nonsense, and you base your claims on the secular inefficiencies of law and structure and apply them to the Church.

    In your world, Mammon can not only run the market place, but the political system, and oversee the Church better than God’s ministers. Ludicrous.

    The Church should never be made subject to secular powers as an end to itself.

    We do need to obey the secular authorities, in regard to laws made for all citizens, as protectors, under God, of the community, provided those laws do not violate Christian principles. But there is no scripture which allows the secular to control and oversee the Apostolic.

    When the Church is empowered, through enterprise and numerical growth, to be of great influence in both the market place and in political affairs, the secular will naturally become wary, and protective of the values it sees as vital to its survival.

    Forcing legal restraints over and above that of those generally accepted by other not-for-profits on churches because they are successful in the community is government interference.

  11. By the way, wazza2, I would disagree with you on church structure, especially in Australia, but also in Singapore. Most employ systems with checks and balances, and have been warned to do so for over 20 years to assist with improved legal governance accorded to all non-profits. It has been beneficial for all churches to comply, to protect both congregants and ministers.

    State and Territory Governments allow flexibility within the basic constitutional form, but, once the constitution is laid down for each entity, it must be complied to. This is fair.

    When governments begin arresting and interrogating senior ministers, not for corruption, but because they are successful, and pressure churches to comply with additional structural controls, we are entering a different era, and we do have to watch with care to ensure that controlling powers do not stifle the ability of churches to function. There is no law against influence or success.

    I know that many people here have a low opinion of successful mega-churches, but we should bear in mind that what happens to them in the coming years will affect the mission of every other church, the majority of which are not so large and influential.

  12. Wazza2,

    It sounded as if you considered the secular to have the wisdom to oversee the Apostolic, hence my comments. Maybe I overstated it, and I’m sorry you found it ridiculous, but, effectively you were saying that the Church was unable to handle power, so the secular should have the power over the Church.

    What we have to avoid is a State run Church which has secular powers and controls the populate out of the liberty of freedom to worship.

    The separation of powers in the Westminster system came about after 1,000 years of resistance to the control of State and Religion.

    When the State resumes control over religious affairs we are going backwards.

  13. Reading both your observations it seems glaringly obvious WHY the early church chose not to incorporate, or seek authorization from Rome, or own corporate property for them to hold meetings in, but to be fluid and relational, not paying salaries but rather a weekly distribution to those who taught, and to widows etc..

    They functioned powerfully, turning the world upside down, with NONE of the things deemed necessary, today, to even have a “church service”.

    The modern definitions of church, ministry, minister are so far off the original they have no connection.

    http://ianvincent.wordpress.com/

  14. The fact is, ian, that to comply with government regulations for non-profits, churches have to become legal entities, with insurances and protections for members. It is already the case that State and Territory laws for non-profits, which vary, are sometimes overbearingly democratic in structure.

    The Bible does make provision for local churches to work within secular constraints, however, and we shouldn’t be encumbered in our witness by anything, really, should we, provided we preach the gospel.

    The modern definition of Church is no different to Christ’s definition. The structures and walls are not the mission. We areas fluid and effective as we want to be.

  15. No, we don’t have to do any of that stuff to function today as the 1st century church did.

    The reason people do that stuff today is bcos it’s the only way to make a career for themselves in the religious system, and make a good income.

    There’s other reasons also, but none valid.

    http://ianvincent.wordpress.com/

  16. We can’t function as the church of the 1st century did in Roman Jerusalem. That’s the point. Going back and looking back is not the way forward.

    In our world, in the West at least, we have safeguards which must be complied with. You might be able to fit your ten people into your home and have church on Sunday or whenever, but once you start growing, and have more families with children attending, duty of care kicks in and you cannot risk being caught short.

    You say you can get along with giving a weekly distribution to those who teach, but who gives account for this, and how is it applied to ATO requirements?

    Once you grow beyond 100, what kind of obligations do you have towards the people you oversee to comply with the secular authorities?

  17. You can’t?

    You can’t rent a hall? You can’t meet in the park or in the bush, or on the beach?

    The early church faced being thrown to the lions or crucified for gathering together (subversives).

    Now, we face a more deadly danger , the local council!!!

    Quick, throw away your NT! It can’t be done today!!

    http://ianvincent.wordpress.com/

  18. Oh, you can do what you like and gather where you will, ian, but sooner or later you will have to declare any financial interaction, and ensure that the congregation has adequate duty of care compliances in place.

    Being thrown to the lions isn’t the issue here. The reputation of the Church amongst the community is.

    It’s not the local council you need to be aware of, but the ATO and non-profit laws.

  19. I don’t think anyone is saying that secular should have power over the church.

    On the contrary, the issue at stake is the lack of accountability inside the mega-churches.

    Again, you build a straw man argument about “democracy” inside the church and Elder and deacons being voted on or off as if there was a political process whereby individuals get to choose between candidates.

    That is not the case. In the churches I have been a member of, individuals who have been recognised by the elders as having the gift of eldership etc would be presented to the membership in order for the members to formally recognise this for a period of time, 4 or 5 years. This spreads the accountability through the body of Christ in the fellowship and it gives dignity to both elders and members. It becomes a collective decision.

    Only Elders do the nominating and the members ratify the recommendation. That seems a more biblical way of doing things as opposed to only having a dozen or so voting members who are all on the CEO’s payroll and the rest of the church being 2nd or 3rd class Christians.

    Before you go on and say this is impractical for a church of 10,000 believers, I would agree. However, there is nothing stopping them breaking up into more managable sets of 200-500 members and having their own sub-leaders. That would give people a sense of belonging and participation. It might give people an opportunity to be more active and give to the church in ways they are currently prevented from doing, merely by the size of the mega-church.

    What is the most important resource of the Church? What is the most important thing that the Holy Spirit can make use of?

    I think we all agree that it would be a disaster for the state to try and take control of the church.

  20. You miss the point I was making, Bull, and since it was my point, it can’t be a straw-man.

    I am saying that it is already true that some Australian State and Territory governments are putting pressure on churches to be almost totally democratic, which may, in some cases stifle their mission. We have personal experience of this in Australia i one church we were involved in, and working hard to comply with government regulations. This is interference.

    It occurs to me that a similar thing is happening in Singapore and we should be aware of such developments.

    Being suspicious of mega churches can interfere with our realisation of creeping State controls if we are not wide eyed to all developments.

  21. RE:

    “Being thrown to the lions isn’t the issue here.”
    .
    .
    .
    Well, it’s an issue inasmuch as they were willing to risk their lives in order to live according the Kingdom truths and principles.

    They didn’t have to risk their lives. They could have signed up with Rome as a state approved religion.

    Whereas most today are totally clueless as to why the Apostles built the church in the manner they did.

    http://ianvincent.wordpress.com/

  22. @ian

    It’s a kingdom truth and principle, as wazza2 pointed out earlier, to comply with governing authorities, which, in Australia, require declaration of income and non-profits to be registered. Maybe you are immune to this Scripture.

    The early church martyrs were thrown to the lions for believing in Christ, and rejecting Caesar, not for refusing to pay taxes, or apply for non-profit status. I don’t see how this applies to your concept of resistance of authorities.

    My point is that we should be aware that the rise of the mega church may encourage governments to take more control over church affairs than is healthy.

  23. Ian is US based … aren’t you Ian?

    Your last para Kipling is correct. However, this is unlikely to happen in the US before it might happen in Aus. But I am speculating there.

  24. I’m in NE India.

    Judaism had an understanding with Imperial Rome for centuries, where, if they would acknowledge the Emperor and toe the line, then they could build synagogues and practice ALL their religious festivals and rituals freely, without persecution. They were not killed for their faith in God.

    The Apostolic church could have done exactly the same as Judaism and avoided persecution.

    So, it was not belief in Jesus that was the issue with Rome, it was the belief that Jesus is greater than Caesar, and to be obeyed OVER Caesar.

    OK, In Oz, you don’t have to bow down to Julia, yet. But it’s swiftly coming to that place where any religious body will be tightly controlled in articles of faith: particularly that Jesus is the only way to heaven and that every other way/religio/faith leads to hell : that will soon be a criminal offence.

  25. RE:

    “I don’t see how this applies to your concept of resistance of authorities.”
    .
    .
    .
    Well, i don’t have any concept of resistance to authorities. I just believe, as the Apostles did, that my faith is not the business of the government. Yes, my income is, and many other things, but not my faith.

    The government is totally irrelevant to the Church.

    What a joke if the Church of Jesus Christ has to get the government’s permission in order to function as the Church.

    http://ianvincent.wordpress.com/

  26. It has been entirely my point, ian, that we will have to be vigilant to not allow governments to interfere with the autonomy and witness of the church by introducing prohibitive legislation.

    I have observed a blindness to this probability by church leaders and critics who are more content in being condemnatory of mega churches than of government departments which seek to use the Pentecostal church’s growing influence as a weapon against the rest of the Body.

    It is no joke when the State attempts to impose its will on the Church. It’s persecution.

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