Posted: 10/02/2011 at 12:09pm
A Review of Creation’s Cry: The Heart of Apostolic Passion
by Steve Eastman
“Ministry is the privilege and responsibility of all disciples of Jesus Christ. The elevation of a ‘special class’ called ‘clergy’ is a throwback to Old Covenant days and an entrenched doctrine of demons that prevents the church from fulfilling her purpose in the earth.” — Don Atkins in Creation’s Cry: The Heart of Apostolic Passion.
An apostolic and prophetic conference came to my city two weeks ago. One of the reasons I did not attend was because of what I was reading in Creation’s Cry: The Heart of Apostolic Passion. A lot of what is going on today has great excitement and pulls the heart-strings, but falls far short of what God has in mind.
Don Atkins began his journey with God in 1963. He was firmly entrenched in the church system. A few years later he migrated from sunny California to snowy, upstate New York. His story brought back memories of other families I had met in the church system, who experienced miraculous provision as they sold out to God and trusted Him to meet all their needs.
But God is not static. Neither was He content to allow Don Atkins to camp out at his initial understanding of the Kingdom of God. Don ended up on the receiving end of two mentoring relationships that helped him move beyond the traditional paradigm of church.
It seems much of the church is obsessed with saving souls, which it subsequently abandoned. The New Testament emphasizes discipling newly born believers. For Don, that came to include hosting long-time house guests, who caught the Christian life by watching Jesus live out His life through him and his family.
Don is not a hierarchical guy. He sees apostles as wise master builders whose influence stems from their function, not a position. A man’s gifts make room for him, and people gifted to be apostles come to be recognized as such through the fruit in their lives. Don did not obey his mentors because they demanded it, but because he recognized God working through them. Mentoring is intended to be temporary, leading the disciple to where he can hear God for himself, no longer needing a constant intermediary.
I would be less than honest if I said everything in the book blessed me. One part was disturbing because it illustrates a style of parenting in sharp contrast to my own. Don tells about a time when his daughter was arriving from school. He had always told her to come straight home. At 20 minutes past the deadline, Don went to look for her and found her talking to a boy. He sent her to her room until he had cooled off, went in to speak with her and accepted her apology. They he spanked her with a paddle. He says she took it well.
In my opinion, what worked for Don and his daughter, would not work for the majority of families. A child who was spanked after being told she was forgiven would normally feel betrayed and resentful. Just as a disciple needs to be gradually given more responsibility before the end of a discipling relationship, I feel a child needs to grow in decision-making before reaching adulthood. Otherwise, he or she is not ready to accept adult responsibilities. If a daughter is old enough to be interested in boys, she is probably too old to spank. A more appropriate punishment would be a loss of privilege. Perhaps if Don had included his daughter’s age in the story, his actions would have been more understandable.
I do not wish to belabor my one area of disagreement with a book I found to be otherwise sound. Don Atkins has a lot to offer in practical experience as he teaches on the apostolic. You will learn more from him than you would at most apostolic-prophetic conferences.
Edited by Steve Eastman on 10/02/2011 at 12:15pm