Friday, July 02, 2010

REVIEW: Pursuing a heavenly vision (Stewart Keiller)

Charismatics can have a reputation for being theologically-lite but Stewart's pokey office in the recesses of the vast Art Deco cinema that Bath City Church own was stacked with serious books, including a desk lined with an an ESV study Bible and a Grudem Systematic Theology etc. Some stereotypes just need breaking.

That said, what Stewart gives us in this book isn't dense theology but a well rooted call to action. He's not showing all his working but he is taking texts seriously.

"This isn't really a 'how to have a vision' book, it is a 'poke' to live life a different way... a provocation...[to] cause the army of the people of God to get up, move out! ...We are a people who have got a mission and mandate from the King of kings..."

This book is a punchy rallying call to the church to be who she is. To take seriously what the Bible says, and to live in the heavenly reality that Jesus and the apostles knew.

In his chapter on Open Heaven he observes how Stephen saw heaven torn open, how Jesus said the same of himself, and raises expectation that this should be normal for the church - an outpost of heaven on earth. He calls for an expectation for signs and wonders but above all "The real deal is conversions. The real sign of an open heaven is multiple conversions - people literally propelled into faith and the kingdom...  I am not interested in increasing numbers on the basis of selling them a life-after-death insurance policy; no we are called to 'make disciples'... believers with guts and passion." (p53-54)

This call to action is rooted in the reality of who we are in Christ. The chapter Staying on track is a refreshing reminder of this... "As the Father's adopted kids, we have the privilege of gaining access to him whenever we want." This book isn't clever or full of caveats and expectation-lowering-exceptions, it's straight-forward evangelical taking the Bible seriously stuff.

Stewart Keiller is leader of Bath City Church which was the church I was a member of as a student between 1997-2000. I also worked for him for a few months during the dotcom boom, lodged with his family, and he gave me a free copy of this book when I caught up with him this week.

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