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Author Topic: “Every nation, this generation”  (Read 38873 times)
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« on: March 20, 2007, 04:50:26 pm »

A fundamental belief of the early movement was Jim McCotter's strategy (aka the "Heavenly Vision") to reach the world for Christ within one generation.

This is the church that was going to reach the whole world with the gospel in its generation? It does not sound like much progress has been made since the 1980s. What happened to the goal? What happened to the movement?” - MidnightRider

"McCotter left. They had to deal with alot of the damage that had been done in many of the “Works” around the US. I think the vision is just different now. McCotter’s ambitious vision is not GC*’s current vision at all. I haven’t heard anyone say “Every Nation in this Generation” in a long time, except Hershel in recounting stories of the past." - Nate (current staff member)

"I have. And I’ve had the “heavenly vision” explained to me. I dug out my GC church’s membership class binder (circa 2002 or so), and it says this on a page labeled “Our Strategy”: One Life At A Time, Our World In Our Lifetime”
Two pages away it has a page titled, “Church Planting - Strategic Plan,” laying out McCotter’s church planting vision (without the mention of McCotter.)
" - puff of purple smoke

MidnightRider wrote,


"The idea of reaching the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ in our generation - wasn’t this what attracted many of us to GCx in the first place? It was one of the most important distinctives of the movement. In fact, one might say it was _the_ distinctive feature of the church. No other church had such a vision and a goal, it seemed.

“Every nation, this generation” may be the source of some of GCx’s best and worst features. Does some of the harm that GCx has (allegedly) done trace back to its very reason for existence?

Here are some questions to discuss:

1. What does it mean to “reach the world with the gospel”?

2. How would we know when the goal has been accomplished?

3. Was the world reached with the gospel in the 1st century AD?

4. Does the Bible teach a technique for reaching the world that can/should be repeated by Christians at any time?

5. Has GCx abandoned the “this generation” part of the goal? If so, why?

6. What are the benefits of pursuing the goal of “Every nation, this generation”?

7. What are the hazards?

8. Is “64 in 84″ the most unaesthetic Christian song ever?  8-)

HAVE FUN!!!!"
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Frail
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2007, 04:51:55 pm »

These are great questions! Also, (maybe this is your point) I think that people could use these as actual talking points with current GCMers!



1. What does it mean to “reach the world with the gospel”?



This is the question of the evangelical and maybe moreso, the apologist. Before GCM I thought I would be an apologist. I didn’t think that it was “God’s Will” for my life or anything, I just thought it was a good idea, that the world needed people to answer their tough questions.



The campus that I was at had around 8 or 9 different Christian groups on campus. Almost none of them had any converts that I was aware of (I tried to stay involved with the major players on campus to know what was going on with Christians on campus). At this GCM church (can I call it by it’s name or abbr? I saw several ECC references in other posts) in the year and a half that I was their we only saw 1 convert. All our growth was of people that were already Christians or had major Christian backgrounds. The one we did have was completely random and had nothing to do with GCM’s theories. A guy came up to a GCMer and said something to the affect of ‘how can I know God’.



GCM seemed to state that the only way to evangelize was through friendship evangelism (those people ‘projects’). You were not to argue with people because that was ‘bad’ and nobody was converted through arguing. If someone you were witnessing to brought up a concern they had or an issue, you were just supposed to stick to the track.



GCM did do a lot of outreach programs so lack of converts was not from not trying. Their hearts seemed to be in the right place but we didn’t seem to have results (leadership would often make fun of Campus Crusade for not having any converts!).



All this said, I don’t think that GCM has a good model for evangelism. My assumptions here, that they are claiming to do evangelism the ‘right way’ and that that way will have results. I don’t think they are claiming to do things the right way and yet have no results… Taken to its logical extent, if GCM cares about evangelism (at least with college age people) then they should change their tactics.



Uh, did I just get way off topic?
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MidnightRider
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2007, 04:52:23 pm »

Frail, when I was in GCx during the 1980s there was a lot of cold-contact evangelism:

- special meetings to attract people from the university (prophecy, rock music, etc.).
- outdoor preaching
- door-to-door “surveys” in the dorms. The surveys were a foot-in-the-door technique to give a gospel presentation.

Friendship evangelism was certainly encouraged, too.

I can identify with your comment about apologetics and being told not to argue. I saw some of that as well. One of my friends spent a lot of time studying creation/evolution. He was a science major and it came up a lot when he would talk to people. An elder told him to spend less time on the subject because it is not part of the gospel. Ugh.

I will say this much in favor of the “don’t argue” advice:
- If you don’t know enough about a subject to answer the objections, then it is probably better not to argue.
- Sometimes unbelievers raise objections not because they really care, but because it’s a way to distract you or ridicule the gospel.

Nevertheless, I think honest questions deserve honest answers. Apply Proverbs 26:4-5 appropriately.

There are a lot of problems with using results as a standard for judging evangelism or apologetics.
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MidnightRider
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2007, 04:52:34 pm »

Does anyone else remember “64 in 84″? Maybe somebody knows more, but here is what I recall. Sometime (late 1983 or early 1984), the national leadership decided that to stay on track with the goal of reaching the world in our generation, we had to grow by 64% in 1984. A song was written for the effort, sort of a GCx advertising jingle.
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2007, 04:53:16 pm »

I wondered what you guys were talking about with the 64 in 84 thing. So it was a growth strategy. Interesting. Were they serious about the jingle? Or was it sort of a joke? I mean obviously the plan could be serious, but was the song/jingle serious? I would love to have heard it.
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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2007, 04:53:49 pm »

Previously, Agatha L’Orange wrote:

I wondered what you guys were talking about with the 64 in 84 thing. So it was a growth strategy. Interesting. Were they serious about the jingle? Or was it sort of a joke? I mean obviously the plan could be serious, but was the song/jingle serious? I would love to have heard it.

I only remember the first line:
“64 in 84, the Lord wants us to pray”

As far as I know, there was no joke intended. It was written in the same style as a lot of comtemporary chorus type songs.

We say sang it a few times back home. But since most of our singing was done by request and nobody fell in love with the song, it did not stick around long. And there wasn’t much point in singing it after 01/01/1985 anyway. 8-)

Now somebody might be wondering how we would know if we had grown 64%, since we did not have “membership” at that time.
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2007, 04:54:17 pm »

About evangelism, I too remember being told not to argue. Personally, I think this stagnates any Christian because it tells you to turn off your brain and stick to the information you are fed. Often the question non-believers would ask where the questions I was already secretly asking myself.

When I eventually did begin to argue with people I began to realize that pretty much everything GC said was full of holes (no wonder they tell you not to argue Smiley). Eventually I came to my own conclusions and left GC.
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2007, 04:54:32 pm »

I believe that the « every nation in our generation » mantra was the real downfall of GCM. I know they no longer maintain this goal but they still continue to place evangelism as the number one goal of their church. I would say their current motto would be “as many nations in this generation, “slightly more realistic, but still very unbalanced.

In one sense I have to admire GC’s fervor. Very few churches seem to care as much about sharing the gospel. I don’t have a problem with their goal, yet I think its overemphasis spawns pretty much every problem which has been discussed on this blog.

Their thinking is something like this: Because we need to reach as many people as soon as possible we don’t have time for democracy. It’s much more efficient if a few elites call the shots and everyone else follows along in a militaristic hierarchy. Individual expression, feelings, opinions, etc are not really important. You need to sacrifice all of you to the leaders who know the best way to reach the world; I mean people are going to hell! Don’t you care?

Authoritarianism is the best way for rapid growth. If some people get squashed along the way, it’s simply a war casualty. You keep fighting.

There is also a lot of confusions over who is in the “going to hell category.” Usually this category is made as big as possible (Catholics are heretics, Lutherans are lukewarm etc.)
to make the task more daunting which encourages people to submit more, sooner, faster.

(Of course only God knows who will spend eternity with him so painting the world as a place where maybe 90% of the populace is going to burn is a little speculative.)

Saving the world is a big task. Do you want to jump on board and help pull others out or do you just want to float and watch other’s drown? (I love their guilt tactics!) If you where a decent Christian of course you would want to help. But how can you? It’s such a big task. Answer, “trust us the leaders, we have a plan. We’re going to do it right!”

GC seems to forget or not to be concerned about people after they become Christians. If you can get them into the boat who cares? The fulfillment of you Christian life is to save others, period. It’s kind of like a pyramid scheme, once you’re in your job is to recruit 10 more people.

I don’t think this represents necessarily all individuals within the movement. There seems to be many people like Nate, who are genuinely concerned with helping people no matter where they are on their spiritual journey. However, the Nates are not in charge.

This is just my opinion of the situation as I felt it while attending GC. I’m sure others have many other interpretations of the situation. But for me this is right on.
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Mike in Tejas
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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2007, 04:56:39 pm »

I only remember the first line:

“64 in 84, the Lord wants us to pray”



Since I didn’t get involved until ‘86, I missed out on that song. Smiley



As far as the emphasis on “Every nation, this generation”, I do remember a song called “Every Nation in Our Generation”, which was sung pretty frequently. Here are the lyrics, as best as I can remember:



“Every nation in our generation,

Lord we’re marching forward in your cause

We’ll raise Your banner high, even tho’ it takes our lives

‘Cuz You’re worthy, Lord, we know You’re worthy

And You’ll get all the glory in the end

When every knee shall bow,

And every tongue confess

Jesus is Lord, the king above all kings

You’re the savior of the world,

In majesty You reign

So we’ll labor on for You

It’s what we want to do

So, Lord, help us through

‘Cuz we’re laboring for You”



I know there is still a major emphasis on evangelization and international ministry in GC, but I don’t know if “Every nation, this generation” is still the battle cry.
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MidnightRider
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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2007, 04:57:17 pm »

Mike in Tejas commented on 64 in 84:
Since I didn’t get involved until ‘86, I missed out on that song.

You mean they didn’t follow it up with 66 in 86? 8-)
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FreeIndeed
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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2007, 05:10:13 pm »

As an exGCxer, I can say that I am so thankful to the Lord to have since found a fantastic church where I am free to use my spiritual gifts, am not bullied into using all my spare time for “evangelism”, and am free to associate with Christians of all denominations without being ostracized…..just for starters!
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GD
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« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2007, 09:35:47 pm »

I now see "Every nation in our generation" as hubris.

There is no doubt that God can do "great" things through people if:
1.  They will step aside and let God lead
2.  God chooses to use them

Think of all the accounting scandals around 2000.  CEO's and accountants kept looking for gimmics to hit those mythical numbers, and demonstrate THEIR worth.  Short cuts to make "converts" and not "disciples" can succeed for a while, but the bubble will burst.  When it does, it hurts God's children which can't please HIM.

God didn't appoint some to be CEO's and some to be accountants of His church.  He did appoint all of us to serve him with our gifts and abilities, and seek Him and His will each day.  Praise God for pastors that are faithful with the little things, for God may someday choose them for greater things.  (If not, God still be praised.)
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MidnightRider
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« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2007, 04:22:08 pm »

I got away from this topic when we changed to the new forum. IMHO there was more discussing to discuss.

I explained to my son one day about GCx and how I got into it and some of its benefits and hazards. When I told him their goal was to reach the entire world with the gospel in this generation (by now maybe I should say "that generation"), he thought for a moment and said, "That's a _lot_ of people".

Indeed. Which may be one source of potential problems. When you are trying to reach the world in a generation, there is not a lot of time to devote to stragglers. So what happens to the ones who have doubts, personal problems, family obligations, education, real jobs, etc.?

Not only that. There would have to be a need to evaluate friendships and marriages in terms of how they impacted the goal and the deadline. Don't marry unless it helps you reach the world faster, and dump any friends that are slowing you down.

And what about church government? To get the job done, you are going to need to have leadership with more authority than in those not-so-dedicated churches.

Am I on to something?
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« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2007, 07:41:24 am »

Quote
And what about church government? To get the job done, you are going to need to have leadership with more authority than in those not-so-dedicated churches.

I think you're definitely on to something, Midnight. In the 2 page (with multi-page attachment) response/rebuke that I received to my resignation letter, the local leadership stated as much. With anything resembling a congregation-driven, democratic form of government, the important work of the "church" would "grind to a halt." Hence a sort of spiritual—even apocalyptic—expediency and efficiency becomes the pretext for what I regard as their eccentric and rather toxic view of "church" leadership.

The quotes around "church," by the way, are intentional. I concluded long ago that what we were dealing with was not a church, but at best para-church and at worst an aberrant religious sect—or perhaps somewhere in between, a curious religious "order" of some sort. It would follow that the words "pastor" or "elder" aren't accurate either when referring to GCx authorities, so I don't use them.
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MidnightRider
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2008, 11:57:14 am »

Does anyone still have a copy of the booklet "GO - The Cry From Eternity" ? I think it was written by Henry Hintermeister back in the early days of GCx (1970s). My copy has long been discarded.

As I recall, the author put a lot of emphasis on the "Go ye" in the Great Commission, and argued that you could not obey this command unless you did some "going" (moving from place to place) to spread the gospel.
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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2008, 10:24:07 am »

This came up on Hellos but I wanted to ask about it here to be more on-topic.
Quote from: "exshep"
I used to cringe that Christianity reached the end of the world by AD 99.
Were you folks taught in GCx that the 1st-century church reached the world with the gospel? I of course was told that the Great Commission was a command for all Christians (a VERY HIGH PRIORITY command, too). But I don't recall being taught the part about the 1st century church achieving it.

So fill me in. What were you told about this? Was this taught in certain parts of GCx but not others?
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« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2008, 11:52:18 am »

I remember hearing that thought conveyed where I was, but I don't remember the specifics.  It was motivation to follow their (1st century Christians) example since supposedly they achieved reaching their known world with the Gospel in their generation.  We sang the song "Every Nation in Our Generation" too.  It is a noble goal to try to reach as many as possible with the Gospel. I love to share the Gospel in many ways ~ verbally, written, with friends/relatives, with strangers...  But God is the One who causes ones to be born again by His Word and Spirit.  I think GC just tended to think it was all up to them (pride) when really God has many Christians sincerely sharing the Gospel all over the world, in many different denominations.  As long as it is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, proclaimed with humility and love, the Holy Spirit can indeed use it.  Actually Paul said even some were sharing it out of false motives but as long as the truth was preached he was glad.  That's how I feel too.
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« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2008, 04:07:23 am »

In the 70's we weren't taught that the world was definitely reached in the first Century. It was inferred that the job hadn't gotten done due to the Church;s failure to follow through.

Abraham's journey from Ur and stopover in Haran was used as an example of how "family" held him back from reaching the promised land sooner.
It was taught,  "if you aren't willing to pick up your stuff and move for the Gospel then you aren't committed enough."

When we sang about, and heard teaching about reaching the entire world in our generation, we were also told that anyone coming into our midst would feel convicted that they weren't working towards the same goal.
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« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2008, 09:24:28 am »

There was no mistake about it.  Our elders taught us that the entire world had been reached in the 1st century.  

That same sentiment may also have been repeated by McCotter at the Rutger's conference before he sent us to the convention.  However, I am not 100% certain.

On this point I do agree, it is a noble goal to saturate the world with the gospel message.  But it is pure arrogance to think one subgroup (denomination?) is going to do it alone, or even that they will be largely responsible for reaching that goal.

Somehow, I suspect in my own personal situation that when my "works" are tested, I will discover that I am more like the servant that only did what was expected (making me a lazy servant).  On that basis, I have no footing on which to stand to throw stones at GCx's evangelism enthusiasm.  Of course, their doctrine that only evangelism is important is fair game...
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« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2008, 12:09:51 pm »

Why is the world still in need of being reached if it had already been "reached?"  There are still dialects that are as yet unknown and the Bible hasn't even been translated into every language yet.

That doesn't make any sense.  Also if they really wanted to reach every generation than why is there NO emphasis whatsoever on tribal missions??  Wouldn't that be a reason to send someone to Bible school or seminary?  

I think it may speak to the practical "down and dirty" idea of numbers.  It's easier and takes less time to learn Dutch than a tribal dialect in Papua New Guinea and more people will be converted so it's better for them to go there.  Plus don't forget the "cool" factor.  It's way more hip and emergent to go to post modern places than to tribal places that have no idea how uncool it is to sing an old hymn.

Wow that was really mean spirited, wasn't it?  I may delete this later after feeling bad about it so READ FAST!!!
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