Please find as part of this text, the original letter of November 9th. As for your thoughts around another INTER-SEED event, hey, that would be fantastic. If this event is any indication, evangelical churches have a real burden for the crisis in the mainline. People should be open to this, because I think God will lay it on their hearts to be open. That's my experience at least.
Thanks very much,
By Tony Copple:
This is posted to gauge interest in a local Ottawa INTER-SEED intercessory event on April 1, 2000, synchronous with the event in Edmonton, proposed below. Read on, and if you are in sync with this, and can speak for your church or Alpha group, please contact me.
November 9th, 1999
To the Saints of other denominations, who are in Christ Jesus:
I am writing today to make a rather unusual— even audacious— request.
As I was praying recently, I believe God planted an idea in my heart— one which I truly hope will strike a chord among those in your congregation who have felt a similar burden.
In short, I’m looking for the help of the Holy Spirit, in the form of Christian intercessors. For years now, I have been engaged in a rather formidable task— that of being an evangelical Christian (and a pastor) within the United Church of Canada. It is not an easy role; currently, I represent two small United Church renewal organizations: the Community of Concern, where I sit as the Northern Alberta representative to their national Board, and the National Alliance of Covenanting Congregations (N.A.C.C.), where I presently hold the position of Vice-chairman of the Alberta region.
While I would not want to overstate the case, and while I agree with Hebre ws when it says that we “have not resisted to the point of shedding our blood”, I believe that I represent a thoroughly battered and beaten group of people. Quite arguably, of all the evangelical Christians who worship in Canada, few (I deem) have a more difficult church-context in which to uphold the gospel of Jesus Christ than those within the United Church. Day by day, we are exposed to a burden that others barely feel. When our Moderator, Bill Phipps, denies the physical resurrection of Jesus, it is we who protest. When our colleges flirt with goddess worship, or when our Annual Meetings openly sell Wiccan materials, it is we who lament and grieve. By and large, what few evangelical and charismatic Christians remain within the United Church face hostile leadership, patronizing seminaries and indifferent clergy, as well. Admittedly, we may be merely reaping what we have sown in the past generation, but the anguish we feel is still real— made all the more challenging when we do not sense the Holy Spirit calling us to leave.
The burden, as I say, is considerable, but it is also strange— one might even argue “other worldly”. Sometimes, I return from Conferences and Presbyteries more spiritually harassed or exhausted than anything else.
Only lately, therefore, have I begun to give serious consideration that we may be facing “powers and principalities” rather than mere flesh and blood.
What I propose, therefore, is a day-long gathering of concerned intercessors among your churches (at a time and place to be disclosed soon), to worship God and pray for Mainline churches like the United Church of Canada— not only prayers for revival, but prayers of deliverance. For I honestly believe that there are, indeed, demonic influences at work in the crisis of Mainline churches.
Moreover, I believe that the people I represent in United Church renewal groups would really benefit from any encouragement you could give us, as would other mainline renewal groups. We need ministry. More to the point, I think we need to be ministered to. The only “advantage” we have presently is this: we are now so completely powerless as to be ready for something beyond mere human strength. Indeed, we find ourselves at the humble level of the “Gideon three hundred”, and can hope in nothing other than the Holy Spirit’s intercession. And this could be, of course, the exact place where God desires us to be.
Ultimately, it is my belief that our loving God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, wants to use you to intercede on our behalf— and grant refreshment to us all, by His Holy Spirit. Already, CD Community Church (Castle Downs Pentecostal) has been offered as a possible site.
At present, I am looking to a date in the spring of 2000. June will mark the 75th anniversary of the United Church, and a turning point is needed soon in the denomination. At this point in time, I have no clear sense of what the specifics of such an occasion would look like; my primary purpose in writing you is to see whether the Holy Spirit has gone before me— to prepare your hearts and minds for such a ministry.
What I simply request is this: if your church would be interested in such an event in Edmonton, please respond to either the previous address, or by contacting me at home at 780-987-3173. I can also be reached via E-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
On behalf of such few as I represent, I throw myself at the mercy of our loving God, and beg for the help of the saints in Christ Jesus...
Rev. David MacKenzie
December 2nd, 1999
To my Mainline brothers and sisters, in Christ:
Please find attached a letter which I have sent to a cross-section of evangelical and charismatic denominations within the city of Edmonton. As many of you can attest, there is a definite cross to bear in being renewal-minded within the Mainline denominations of this country. As an evangelical minister within the United Church of Canada, I am acutely aware of the common concerns and problems many of us face within our respective churches. As regards my own denomination, I believe that a critical watershed is upon us. Doctrinally, we are strained to the absolute limit; every year, it seems, there is less common ground between liberal/radical theology and Christianity. Consequently, I believe, without a miraculous intervention by the Holy Spirit, many of our denominations will either fade away or fly apart. Without revival, the respective time-lines may differ, but the inevitable results will not.
A growing sense of spiritual desperation has, therefore, led me to cry out to God in prayer, and I believe that He has answered by encouraging me to approach various evangelical denominations to humbly ask for their intercessory prayers. Early in this month, I sent the aforementioned letter seeking their support. What I found is very encouraging. As of today, no fewer than eighteen separate churches representing the Alliance, Pentecostal, Baptist and Vineyard denominations have expressed profound support for a day-l ong intercessory and worship event slated for mid-Lent of 2000. A particular date has yet to be finalized, though Saturday, April 1st (no fooling!) is a distinct possibility. The location will be at Castledowns Community (Castledowns Pentecostal) Church in North Edmonton.
Knowing, therefore, that other renewal-minded Mainline churches could benefit from such a unique event, my purpose in writing you is to ask your membership whether they would appreciate the opportunity to be prayed for and ministered to in this respect. I believe a day set aside for such a gathering, will be a real blessing to many and, by the grace of God in Christ Jesus, I would like you to join us. Further information will follow, but for the moment, if you could please contact me with your initial answer using the above address, or phone me at home at (780) 987-3173 I would appreciate it.
You can also reach me via E-Mail at: HollisMACK@aol.com. I pray that the Spirit of Christ Jesus might prepare your hearts for this grace and this blessing. I hope to be hearing from you very soon.
Yours, in Christ,