The Three Streams Church

Posted by ajenkins on May 15, 2013 under Uncategorized | Read the First Comment

A number of years ago at Saint James our hearts were captured by a Biblical vision of the Church. It is called a Three Streams, One River vision.

Three Streams…is derived from Psalm 46:4: There is a river whose streams make glad the city (people) of God…” I pointed out that “glad” can be translated  “whole.” God has provided these streams to bring His people into wholeness — a reality that Ezekiel saw when he noticed that, growing beside the river of the water of life, were trees whose leaves were for the healing of the nations.  Ezekiel 47:12
One observes that three great streams have flowed throughout the history of the Christian Church. (We can also find evidence of them in the Old Testament.) The apostle John identifies these three streams in his first letter. In 1John 5:8, he says There are three witnesses — the Spirit, the water, and the blood — and these three agree.

Some of us come from “the Spirit,” or Pentecostal stream. Others identify more with the “water,” with its emphasis on the washing of the Word and personal cleansing. This is the Protestant — the biblical and evangelical — stream.

Others of us come from the “blood” or Catholic stream, with its emphasis on the sacramental. The differences and even struggles which may arise between us often reflect our inability to understand another “stream,” where we feel less at home.

John says that, though these three witnesses are distinct, they are in complete agreement! What do they agree about? They are unanimous about the person of Jesus Christ: who He is, why He came, and what He has done for us. Those witnesses agree because, together, they create a brilliant composite picture of Christ. None of them can manage that completely on their own.

So the three streams agree on the substance of our faith: the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet though their witness is in perfect agreement, there is a dynamic tension between them.

The three streams – Catholic, Protestant, and Pentecostal – have always been present in the Christian Church. They are complementary, intended by God to flow together. Tragically, they are usually separated. Churches which major in a specific stream typically reject – and often criticize – the others.
What, then, will a “three streams, one river” church look like?
Here is a brief summary of the distinct approaches adopted by each stream in just six areas:

Standards of Orthodoxy
A “three streams” church won’t separate faith from works. It will be passionate about calling people to a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ through repentance and faith. But it will not be tempted to see that as an end. The goal is also to call people into a life of obedience to Jesus by sacrificial service “to the least of these my brothers.” Our vision statement captures that truth. We are called to “Proclaim God’s Grace in Jesus Christ.”

Music and Worship
All the great kinds of music which Paul mentions in Ephesians 5:19-psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs-will be welcomed and balanced in a “three streams” church. Each has its own unique place: “psalms” – liturgical music to enhance the liturgy; hymns, which express the grandeur and majesty of God and which are rich in doctrine and biblical imagery; and “spiritual songs” – music which arises spontaneously out of, and gives expression to, what God is saying and doing to His Church now. Spiritual songs usually have a relatively brief shelf-life. They feel dated after a few years. At our Sunday celebration – a “three streams” service – we employ all three genres.

Our Anglican model of authority is hierarchical. Clergy have spiritual authority over their congregations. Bishops have spiritual authority over clergy. A “three-streams” church receives and respects that authority. But it will expect those in authority to recognize the spiritual giftedness of the congregation, and to call all its members to the work of ministry. A “three streams” congregation knows the utter futility of engaging in ministry without the empowering of the Holy Spirit. It will pray for its leaders to be freshly and powerfully anointed, so that their leadership will manifest the presence and power of Christ.

The Catholic preference for top-down, centralized structures speaks of the need for spiritual oversight, and submission to the authority God has placed over the church.
The Protestant preference for bottom-up (lay-initiated and -led),  diversified (shared power) structures insists that the congregation be trusted  with real responsibility, and be given a sense of ownership for the life and mission of the church.
The Pentecostal preference for spontaneity speaks of a burning desire for life – and a recognition that structures in themselves cannot bear fruit.
These three, apparently incompatible, approaches are mutually consistent. Each needs the others. The first, by itself, leads to authoritarianism; the second to anarchy; and the third to chaos.  We will hold these three structure preferences in cohesion with our Team based organization.  This method of organizing, administering, and encouraging our shared ministry recognizes the episcopal authority of the bishop imputed to the Rector, while relying on the ministry of all believers in ministry team participation and discerning and employing the Spiritual gifts of the congregation.

Theological Emphasis
The Charismatic Renewal succeeded in bringing back the forgotten Holy Spirit into the Church. “Three streams” churches will make generous room for the Holy Spirit. They will welcome the manifestation of all the spiritual gifts. They will emphasize intuitive ways of knowing Truth, not restricting these to the rational and cognitive.
But they will never divorce the Spirit from the  Word-preferring manifestations of the Spirit to disciplined Bible study and biblical preaching (in fact, the Word should judge manifestations); or creating false dichotomies between spontaneity and freedom on the one hand, and program and structure on the other. Neither will they divorce the Spirit and the Word from the Father, who creates order by keeping Word and Spirit in dynamic tension.

Key Aspect of Christ’s Salvation
A “three streams” church will receive and love Jesus Christ as the scriptures reveal him to us through his incarnation, sacrificial death, triumphant resurrection, and glorious ascension; through the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost; and through His promised return. It will never prefer His divinity over His humanity, or His miracles over His command to love and serve others.

  • pastor BBrao said,

    Praising HIS Son…… Preaching HIS word……Loving His people…… Sharing HIS Hope….. Glorifying His Name
    Reaching the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ
    Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”?William Carey,
    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me Phil 4:3
    For I know the plans I have for you saith the lord Plans to give you a hope and a future, plans to prosper and you and not to harm you Jer 29:11
    Our Plan Is To Work Till Jesus Comes by His Grace and Will Jesus is Lord
    Dearly beloved brothers & sisters [who are chosen of lord, a real heart for the lost] galore greetings to you from down under of our hearts in the most highly exalted name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I would like to drop a leaf of contents in brief about me and my ministry doing in India.
    About Myself: Words cannot express the gratitude, appreciation and love for the blessing God placed in our life by introducing our ministry as AGGWMinistry[non-denominational ministry] I Bro. Babuji [BBRao] Director/Pastor & founder of Almighty Grace Gospel Welfare Ministries Regd in Indian govt 45/98 working in Rajahmundry India. By the grace of God I was called and doing ministry emphasis on to demonstrate the love of Jesus through Word and Deed
    We serve Through: Church Planting & Evangelism training youth / Training Pastors, Pastors Conference Medical help/Tailoring .Widow 15 & leprosy Care15, Churches Construction and Open air meetings. Working with 75 congregations of tribal and rural each congregation 15 to 20 members Children Home 20 & Bible School 20 students God asks us to care for the poor, the widows, & the needy. He asks us to go into the entire world to share His love. If your heart touched by our ministry focus please uplift our ministry in your prayers.
    Free distribution of Bibles, tracts ,Books , stickers ,DVDs ,Medicines, Clothing and food packets to leprosy Poor Sick & rural tribal slum people hospitals and market areas
    Right Proof: We are pleased to send the proof pictures of our ministry. After looking /seen our ministry pic then only you can believe us and reply
    Welcome to to India:: Beloved we invite you to India to share Gods to the unreached and unknown and untaught We trustfully prepare balanced budget for your trip to India. The air port is very near to us RJA Madhurapudi AP
    Special Request We want to work on behalf of your ministry we are willing to start any church bible school/ children home /church Plantation or any training Center on your ministry name or on your name or any name you suggested by you I am willing to do as coordinator in India for your ministry

    Pray for our ministry needs a Gospel Van : Beloved in Christ we are greatly in need of Gospel Van for the spread of gospel in far way places of rural and tribal areas distribute tracts bibles medical help free distribution of rice packet for all these to win lost souls for Christ pray for this. We are willing to work with you to win trhe lost and uplift the poor and needy. Let us share to Make a Difference God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 Please contact us directly no mediator. Our mediator is Jesus .1Timothy 2:5, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. If you are willing I will act as a coordinator in India on behalf of your ministry Bro I am in Rajahamundry We are near to Madhurapudi air port [ RJA ]
    Waiting for your reply and looking un to Jesus to receive your prayerful reply soon Mailing Adresss : Rev BBRao MA[PSY]MEd.BTh.,P.O.BOX.113 S R.Nagar Rajahmundry 533105 EGDT AP India My Phone number:+918500394961 Email Address: May the lord continue to bless you what you have taken up for the glory of Jesus be with you forever. We look forward to hearing from you!. Together we can accomplish things that neither would be able to do alone! I would like to chat with you if lord wills.
    You can help us in any way as follows: Pray for our ministry/One time gift/Support to Pastors, Widows ,Orphans/Church planting Evangelism/Pastors training/ Bible school/Gospel preaching/Introducing us to your friends/Warm welcome to you India. So I need your generous funds for the for the above programs . We are praying God to encourage and enable you to support us according to Gods Will
    God is doing wonders in our ministry grant us to share with you what God has done for us May the lord richly bless you Grace and Peace
    We do not know what God will do,But we do know what He can do
    “Do all the good you can.
    — John Wesley
    u By all the means you can.
    In all the ways you can.
    In all the places you can.
    At all the times you can.
    To all the people you can.
    As long as ever you can.”
    Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these Mark 12:31

    No Jesus No peace Know Jesus know peace
    . Greetings & Warm welcome 2 U dear bro & Sis 2 India. To share & spread the word of God & win souls for Christ Pray for us We pray 4 you