Newfrontiers

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Newfrontiers
Newfrontierslogo.jpg
Founded1979
FounderTerry Virgo
TypeReformed neo-charismatic church network
Location
  • United Kingdom
Area served
Worldwide
Members
800+ churches
Key people
Terry Virgo, David Devenish
WebsiteOfficial website
Registered Charity number: 1060001

Newfrontiers (previously New Frontiers International) is a neocharismatic apostolic network of evangelical, charismatic churches founded by Terry Virgo. It forms part of the British New Church Movement, which began in the late 1950s and 1960s combining features of Pentecostalism with British evangelicalism.[1] Other streams of the British New Church Movement with which it shares some features include Together, Ministries Without Borders, and Life-Links. Groups like Pioneer, Ichthus Christian Fellowship, and Vineyard are more distantly related. Newfrontiers describes itself as "a group of apostolic leaders partnering together on global mission, joined by common values and beliefs, shared mission and genuine relationships."[2] Its theology is distinctively Reformed. Newfrontiers is committed to building churches according to "New Testament principles." One of the slogans of the movement has been "changing the expression of Christianity around the world," which is based on a prophecy given by Paul Cain (the Latter Rain revivalist) to the movement in 1990.[3][4]

New Addington Community Church is a Newfrontiers congregation in suburban London.

Participation[edit]

Every Newfrontiers church has its own unique approach to participatory worship, but most commonly, anyone wishing to contribute during corporate worship must first share it with the leader of the meeting. If it is considered to be potentially beneficial to the whole church body, any worship music being played will subside for a moment, and the individual can address the congregation. In other Newfrontiers churches the expectation is that members of the congregation will speak out if they feel they have received an idea, message, (mental) image or verse of Scripture no prior approval is required or expected.

Bible weeks[edit]

The logo for the Stoneleigh Bible Weeks

In the early days of the movement a bible week called "The Downs" was held at Plumpton race course each year. This was replaced by "Stoneleigh Bible Week", which was held at the National Agricultural Centre showground. After the Stoneleigh Bible Week was stopped a number of smaller more regional events were started, such as "North Camp" which was held in the North of England near Teesside. After running for 10 years "North Camp" was to cease after the 2013 event.Then after two years It was started again under a new name : Devoted. Newday is a camping event attended by young people between the ages of 12 and 19.[5]

Leadership[edit]

In each local church leadership is expressed in a plurality of local (male) elders (though generally one of the elders takes a leading or senior role), often with multiple staff.[citation needed]

In 2011, Terry Virgo handed over leadership to a score of leaders worldwide, each of whom is described as being "free to develop his own strategies, training programs, and gospel advance".[6]

Theology[edit]

Complementarianism[edit]

All Newfrontiers churches hold to a complementarian position on gender similar to that promoted by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. This means that women are not elders or apostolic ministers. However, women are leaders - and in many churches actively preach, teach and are a part of decision making affecting local, regional and national church decisions. Women also hold positions in almost every other area in the church and are encouraged to do so.[7]

Homosexuality[edit]

Newfrontiers do not believe that being gay is a sin, but that sexual acts of homosexuality are not okay. It strongly condemns homophobia. However, views differ from church to church. There have been claims that at least one Newfrontiers church has attempted to "cure" gay people, though these have been strongly disputed.[8]

Spiritual strongholds[edit]

A book by prominent Newfrontiers leader David Devenish on "spiritual warfare"—praised by Terry Virgo as a text that "will help to fortify every believer intent on winning this battle"—defines spiritual warfare as

The reality that the advance of the gospel and the building of the church involve us in attacking and experiencing counter-attack in relation to real cosmic forces of darkness under the control of Satan who is also described as the god of this world.[9]

Responses[edit]

Nigel Wright believes that Newfrontiers and other British restorationists are claiming too much when they speak of "restoring the church."[10]

In 1986, sociologist and church historian Andrew Walker wrote of Newfrontiers that "churches are far more centralised and controlled than those of (...) mainline charismatic fellowships... The situation seems slightly analogous to Japanese business practices: they… export with great success, but import virtually nothing from anybody else".[11]

In April 2009, the Journal of Beliefs and Values published an article reporting on a 2007 study which "set out to examine the psychological type profile of Lead Elders within the Newfrontiers network of churches in the United Kingdom and to compare this profile with the established profile of clergymen in the Church of England". One of the conclusions:

There is a toughness about this style of leadership that is unlikely to be distracted by opposition. The disadvantage is that this style of leadership can leave some individuals hurt and marginalised for what is seen by the leadership as the overall benefit to the organisation.[12]

In February 2016, musician Joseph Coward wrote an article for Vice Magazine, in which he described a now disbanded Newfrontiers church. He claimed that it had "all the hallmarks of a cult".[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Walker, Andrew (1984), Martin, David; Mullen, Peter, eds., Strange Gifts? A Guide to Charismatic Renewal, Oxford: Blackwell, p. 214
  2. ^ "About Us". newfrontierstogether.org. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  3. ^ Kay, William K (2007), Apostolic Networks in Britain: New Ways of Being Church, Milton Keynes: Paternoster, p. 260
  4. ^ You tube
  5. ^ http://newdaygeneration.org/about-us
  6. ^ The History of Newfrontiers, Terry Virgo, retrieved 2013-08-13
  7. ^ "Our seventeen values", Together, archived from the original on 2010-05-19 |contribution= ignored (help).
  8. ^ Jamie Doward; Cal Flyn; Richard Rogers (2 May 2010), "Rising Tory star Philippa Stroud ran prayer sessions to 'cure' gay people", The Observer, London, retrieved 6 September 2013
  9. ^ Devenish, David (2013), Demolishing Strongholds (Revised ed.), Milton Keynes: Authentic Publishing, ISBN 978-1-860-24371-4
  10. ^ Wright, Nigel (1986), The Radical Kingdom: Restoration in Theory and Practice, Kingsway: Eastbourne, pp. 118–9.
  11. ^ Walker, Andrew (1986), Restoring the Kingdom: the Radical Christianity of the House Church Movement (2nd ed.), London: Hodder & Stoughton, pp. 317–8.
  12. ^ Francis, Leslie J; Gubb, Sean; Robbins, Mandy (2009), "Psychological type profile of Lead Elders within the Newfrontiers network of churches in the United Kingdom" (PDF), Journal of Beliefs & Values, 30 (1): 61–9, doi:10.1080/13617670902784568.
  13. ^ Casey, Cherry; Coward, Joseph (2016), "I Grew Up in a Religious Cult in Essex", Vice.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]