CHAT With The Author: John Armstrong, "Tear Down These Walls"
Interview by Phil Miglioratti • The http://Reimagine.Network
1. John, what compelled you to revision "Your Church Is Too Small" into "Tear Down These Walls" ... from "Why Unity in Christ's Mission Is Vital to the Future of the Church" to "Following Jesus Into Deeper Unity"?
JOHN>>> My earlier book came out of a long, slow journey into a desert experience where I often felt alone. This 13-year period became a time of trusting God alone. I learned more actively into what He called me to be. On March 26, 2012, my desert became a life filled with renewed opportunity for a wider, and far more delightful, ministry. I completely rewrote my earlier book to reflect this journey and to include the stories I’ve learned since I wrote in 2010. I just stress this is a NEW book.
2. How can I, as an individual, call the Church into deeper unity?
JOHN>>> By becoming more deeply involved with persons in relationship that leads to true friendship. Friendship must not be for utilitarian purposes or for my vision but as an end in knowing God and loving as he commanded me. Keys to calling the church are a robust vision of mission, a commitment to John 17:21-23 and prayer focused on oneness in the triune God.
Tear Down These Walls
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John Armstrong's Commentary
3. What can be accomplished by a group of cohorts (small group, study class, ministry team)?
JOHN>>> Groups are really the key. And groups that are trained, in a context of friendship and sharing life together, are the best. Small groups for the sake of small groups do not do this. The goal is not us but God’s glory revealed in Jesus who prayed for us to be ONE.
4. What counsel/challenge would you give to congregational leaders, regardless of their tradition, to help them respond to the call to follow Jesus into deeper unity?
JOHN>>> I would urge them to pray and read. This book is a place to begin, not the end. Ideas abound in my story and some will fit certain readers I am sure. Get to know the church better, all of it, learn from other traditions than your own and prayer for those not like you in your doctrine.
5. John, please write a prayer we can pray in agreement with you and each other that will invite/implore the Spirit to empower us, the Church, to tear down the walls that divide us...
JOHN>>> Blessed Holy Spirit, refresh us in the abounding love of Jesus, and lead us to know by deep experience the Father as our Abba. Take us in our brokenness and healing to other disciples who will hear us and love us so that we might together share the love of Christ so that non-believers will know the Father sent the Son because He loves the whole world.