February 2011

The corporate anointing

Theme: Anointing in times of revival
‘All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them’. Acts 2:4
What seems now to be a lifetime ago I led a trip on a tour of Israel. In Jerusalem we went to all the major New Testament spots like the Garden tomb and the upper room. When the bus arrived at the Upper Room location our guide told us that we had just fifteen minutes to look around and then we had to vacate the area so that the next tour party could enter. We entered the vaulted chamber, looked around and listened to the guide’s explanation of the day of Pentecost experience. She finished speaking and headed off towards the exit. Just then someone started singing and soon we all joined in. The guide stopped and looked back impatiently at us. I can’t adequately describe what happened next, but it was as though the Holy Spirit poured out His anointing on all of us. Our voices soured in songs of adoration and tears streamed down our cheeks. Then the words of the song faded and instead a glorious harmony of tongues immerged as we joined as one in singing in the spirit. I don’t know how long we were in that place, but it was well over half an hour yet the next tour party had not arrived. When the singing subsided I looked over at our guide, a secular Israeli, and saw her standing with her face heavenward and tears coursing down her cheeks.

What happened that morning was what could be described as a corporate anointing. No one in that room was unaffected by what the Holy Spirit was doing, not even the guide. I will never forget the wonder of it.

In times of revival, corporate anointing is common. Crowds of people travelling from one village to another are stopped in their tracks and fall to their knees in prayer, repentance, and worship as the Spirit of God comes upon the entire company. Church services go on for hour after hour and not one person leaves the building for as long as the anointing of the Spirit is upon them.

Revival is not an individualistic thing. True, individuals are indeed revived but the experience of revival is a corporate phenomenon. Groups, church congregations, and sometimes whole geographic areas are affected as God pours out His anointing.

“Lord God, as in the days of Acts, as in the days of Roberts, Campbell, Wesley, and Lake, so O Lord in our day, will you not pour out your anointing on your people?!”

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Video: Revival and the Church, Episode 1

In the latest Truth Talks series, I am interviewed on my thoughts on revival.  This is the first episode of the four-part series.  I discuss what kind of leader is usually used in a revival scenario; how the revived church of Acts looked and behaved and in episodes to come, I will be discussing the impact of revival.  I will also discuss why the world and South Africa needs revival.  May you be encouraged by these videos, and feel free to share your thoughts with me!

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Anointed for revival

Theme: Anointing in times of revival
‘How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him’. Acts 10:38
Every now and then I hear someone commenting that, “so-and-so is an anointed man of God”. I think what they mean by that expression is that the person in question is a powerful preacher, or that he ministers in signs and wonders. In other words, it appears that the Holy Spirit has enabled him to preach dynamically or to demonstrate the power of God in healings and miracles. I don’t think I have ever heard anyone calling a quiet, humble and godly person ‘anointed’, but the anointing of the Holy Spirit is not only manifested in works of power.
In times of revival the Holy Spirit invariably anoints a key person to be the human catalyst for the transformation that He wishes to bring to church and society. Even Roberts was an anointed man of God yet he hated to be in the spot-light and to the best of my knowledge he didn’t heal or perform miracles. Despite this, Evan Roberts brought healing to an entire nation. Duncan Campbell was the anointed man of God in the Hebrides revival of 1949. John Wesley was anointed to bring revival to England, John G Lake in South Africa, and so on. Some were known for great preaching, some for prayer, and others for mighty manifestations of spiritual power. All of them emulated the first and greatest revivalist of all, Jesus of Nazareth. 
When you scan the spiritual landscape of your nation, do you see God’s anointed person for our day? If you do, then pray for him or her, but if you can’t spot whom God has chosen then pray “O Lord, raise up your anointed servant for this hour, that revival may come and your name be glorified in our nation.”
I have read as much as I reasonably can about the great revivals of the past, and several things are common to all of them. God initiates, a small group of people to pray, He anoints a man or woman to act as a catalyst for what He intends to do, The Holy Spirit comes with nation-changing power upon a church or an area, people repent, multitudes are saved, and in the aftermath men, women and children say “Surely God was with us in glory.”

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The ultimate result of Revival

Theme: Outreach in Revival

‘Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. So there was great joy in that city.’ Acts 8:4-8[/su_note]

I have learned that I can do nothing of eternal significance without the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I have preached a sermon which I believed should have rocked the worlds of my listeners, but they have been more or less unaffected. Of course I get the odd, “that was very, very nice” comments but I have come to interpret ‘very, very nice’ as ‘interesting but unchallenging’. At other times I have preached a simple message that I don’t think is spiritual rocket science yet people have sat weeping as they listen. The difference can only be the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
A church that is relevant to it’s community
A church that is not anointed will, at best, be interesting but spiritually irrelevant to its community. An anointed church can, and should, challenge and transform its local community. Revival brings great anointing to the people of God but that Holy Spirit anointing MUST impact the secular community. True, revival is a ‘church’ thing. God sends revival to the church, but the ultimate result of that revival must be a reformed community.
I hesitate to use the word ’reformed’ because a segment of the church has appropriated it to describe their particular doctrinal biases. However, it’s a good and noble word and so I use it to label the transformation in values, morals, ethics, and spirituality that must be the ultimate product of any true revival. 
A revived church must result in a reformed society. If this is not the result of revival, then we should be questioning the legitimacy of the revival itself. What do you think? Is it enough to send out teams of ‘trained’ people onto the streets with simplistic tracts? Is the ‘fruit’ of revival merely a hilariously horizontal congregation? Or is the true fruit of revival a secular society deeply impacted by eternal realities and a sense of the presence of God?

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.