Brown, Michael L. Revolution in the Church: Challenging the Religious System with A
Call for Radical Change. Chose Books, Grand Rapids. 2002 price 24.95 pp.234 Available at Leadership Centre; 800-804-0777
Michael L. Brown- founder and president of the FIRE School of Ministry, Pensacola, Florida.
Ch. 1. A Dog Food Revolution? Some Revealing Signs of the Times.
The concept of revolution is prevalent in our culture. It is commercialized. Revolution and revolutionaries are something else when applied to church. The challenge is "Let’s start a revolution in the Church". 17.
Ch. 2. It’s Time To Wake Up. We Cannot Afford to Sleep Our Way Through Another Revolution.
A number of authors are quoted regarding their position and understanding of ‘present revolution’ e.g. Bill Bright, Pitirim Sorokin, Roger Kimball, Paul Oskar Kristeller. Society has changed drastically in the last 30-40 years. This is the result of revolution. 1968 is labeled as a year of revolution. During this time the church was a non-influence, having missed a huge opportunity for evangelism. The result was wide-spread spiritual degeneration.
Ch. 3. The Church is not a Building. The Family is not a House.
The author is not against buildings but he has a great concern about the cost of these buildings at the expense of funds for missions. House churches are a very basic unit of the Body of Christ. Watchman Nee is quoted several times regarding the significance of the house church, or the cell group.
Ch. 4. The Body is not an Audience. And the Preacher is not the Performer.
The concept of the priesthood of all believers was taught in the New Testament but had to be restored during the time of the Reformers. There need to be leaders in the Body but they must not be given spiritual exclusivity as the terms clergy and laity often suggest. This kind of thinking necessitates a revolution. When Paul wrote to the churches he did not address their leaders but the whole church family.
Ch. 5. Cut-Like or Cutting-Edge? What it Really Means to be a Disciple.
To be a disciple is one thing, to be a disciple of Jesus is something else. It requires a high level of commitment. Matt. 16:24-27. "The unconditional sacrifice of his (the believer’s) whole life for the whole of his life." 76. Scripture refers to a disciple as "a bond slave of the Lord".
Ch. 6. Revolutionary not "Rebelutionary". Following the Jesus Pattern.
Being a Jesus revolutionary is characterized by humility, long-suffering, reproach, etc. Rebellion is not to be a part of a spiritual revolution. It happens through obedience and submission. Such should be the revolution in the church. (This chapter is foundational to the following three chapters.)
Ch. 7. Covering or Smothering? Or, Has God Ordained Protestant Popes?
It is a very serious charge to label another believer rebellious. Disagreement is not necessarily rebellion, especially when obedience to the Spirit clashes with obedience to human leaders. Spiritual leadership can become manipulative and abusive. "Spiritual authority has only spiritual means at its disposal." Menno Simons.
Ch. 8. Confronting the Pastoral Fraternity. How to Disarm the Ministerial Labor Union.
Some of the genuine challenges of the pastor are looked at. The majority of them are doing what they are supposed to be doing. What the author is addressing is the problems that a pastoral fraternity can produce. One of these problems is a "ministerial labor union"134 attitude. Five suggestions are made about how to prevent this problem.
Ch. 9. By What Authority Do You Do These Things? Getting to the Crux of the Matter.
A genuine ‘prophet’ will always be against the establishment and will have to deal with conflict. The challenge regarding authority is the voice of tradition. All new movements (denominations) were the result of local authorities challenging the authority of those who would espouse serious change
Ch. 10. Have You Read the Epistle of Jacob Lately? Restoring Our Jewish Roots.
This chapter takes a look at the differences, and in some cases, the conflicts between Judaism and Christianity. The O.T is viewed as Jewish and the N.T. is viewed as non-Jewish. This is a problem that is reflected in serious anti-Semitism among non-Jews. Writers such as Martin Luther, Peter the Venerable, and St. John Chrysostom are a few. Other historical events are listed and discussed that document anti-Semitism under the guise of religion (Christian). In most translations (non-English) the book of James is called Jacob or Jacobus, a very Jewish name. Our Spiritual roots are indeed Jewish.
Ch. 11. Going Outside the Camp. The Price of Being a Pioneer.
When things within the camp become bad enough there is no other alternative but to go outside the camp. It is the place of suffering and revolution. For those within the camp it is portrayed as a place of great spiritual danger, devoid of protection.
Even the table of contents with its chapter headings and sub-headings quickly conveys a message that is both challenging and discomforting. The author takes the need for and the nature of change to a new level - revolution. He is careful to explain exactly what this revolution is like and what it is all about. He is not suggesting adjustments and fine-tuning of the system. He is preaching major change - revolution in the Church.