The Kingdom Advances!

Faithful believers of this region will be the preservers of the great truths of Judeo-Christian orthodoxy joined to the vitality of Spirit-led and life-transforming discipleship says

Dwight Pryor, Founder
The Center for Judaic-Christian Studies, USA.

JULY 2001

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations
... teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

(Mt 28:19-20, NIV)

As a man, Yeshua went about on a mission: raising up many disciples. His focused determination to accomplish this task assigned Him by the Father explains why Jesus avoided and would even run off great crowds that came for healing, inspirational sermons and miraculous provisions of bread. He under-stood that discipleship does not occur en masse, nor is it suited for those intent just on 'getting' something from God. Disciples rather are those who ask, 'What can I 'give' to advance the Kingdom of God?'

Two weeks ago, at the 1st Asia-Pacific Consultation on Discipleship (APCOD) in Sabah, Malaysia (formerly Borneo), Dr. Os Guinness made an interesting observation about the West. Never has it been easier, he said, to preach the gospel to the lost; but never has it been harder to make disciples of the saved.

We want spiritual blessings it seems but without giving up worldly things. So discipleship remains a distant ideal for most, or an option that few choose to exercise. As a result we miss out on the righteousness, shalom and joy that attend those who receive Yeshua as King as well as Savior. Disciples are the redeemed who grow into an intimate, knowing relationship with the Rabbi from Nazareth that truly makes them free.

Asia Pacific Consultation on Discipleship

It was this extraordinary event that brought me to this part of the world. A physician and longtime Haverim member, Dr. Charles Lee, purposed in his heart five years ago to call Christians and their leaders in the Asia-Pacific rim to a deeper commitment to discipleship, which he believes will result from a firm understanding of the Jewish roots of our faith in Messiah. Few here have heard the encouraging news about the nourishing sap of Israel's faith and heritage that is ours in the Seed of Abraham, Jesus.

That is why Dr. Lee asked me to deliver the opening, keynote address to the more than 650 delegates from 28 nations attending although many distinguished scholars and church leaders were present. For example, widely published author and Director of the Trinity Forum, Os Guinness traveled all the way from Washington, DC, to attend, along with the respected scholar and founder of Regent College in Vancouver, BC, Professor James Houston. The Anglican Archbishop of Southeast Asia was in attendance, as were notable and godly church leaders from many third-world countries, including Africa, India and Pakistan.

However, Charles Lee wanted the original Gospel of the Kingdom to go forth as proclaimed by the Jewish Jesus; so he asked me to deliver two plenary addresses, including the opening one, and to do four different workshops during the three-day conference.

The Kingdom Advances!

By the clear grace of the Father and the fervent intercession of His dear saints, the Lord did accomplish His purposes through me at this conference. But not without some daunting challenges and spiritual warfare.

You will recall that we were praying before the trip about the Lord making a way for Keren to enter Malaysia with me to assist at the APCOD. The Muslim government in that land permits entry to people from all nations in the world except one. Only citizens of the Land of Israel are forbidden to enter.

Before leaving the U.S. we explored every option to find a way for Keren to accompany me. We even enlisted the aid of our US Senator, Mike DeWine. While we were in Germany (more on that below) our office continued to work on the problem, express mailing some documents to us regarding Keren's Permanent Residence status in the United States.

The day before departing Germany for a difficult, cramped twelve-hour overnight flight to Singapore, the Lord spoke to us through a messenger and confirmed in our hearts that Keren should not try to go into Malaysia with me—although we had a plan to attempt it—but that she was being called to deep intercession on my behalf and should remain behind in Singapore for that purpose.

Subsequent experience confirmed that was the right decision. Though I missed Keren terribly, I soon realized how crucial intercession was for the Lord to accomplish His work and word through me to the delegates at the APCOD. At the opening session it became evident to everyone that the Adversary was seriously opposing the word I was to deliver and intending to disrupt the whole conference.

Earlier that day, the APCOD Leadership Council received a fax from a faithful and trusted intercessor, warning of the spiritual opposition to the conference and urging them to make a proclamation at the very beginning rebuffing Satan in the name of the Lord. They hesitated to start the conference on such a note, however, and decided to wait until the next morning to read such a proclamation.

Very quickly the Adversary showed his hand, attacking me through my weakest point, my body. At the beginning of my plenary address, therefore, I had to call in prayer upon the name and blood of Jesus and command every opposing power, principality and wicked force in the heavenlies to desist and to depart from the meeting hall. Then in the strength only God's Spirit can give, the good news of Yeshua's invitation to discipleship and life from went forth with boldness and was received gladly by the assembled delegates from many nations.

In the spirit and direction of the 'Great Commission' it was my privilege to teach the nations about the commands of our Lord, the importance of discipleship to Him, and how the Kingdom advances through the lives of His students. During the conference many bright and deeply dedicated Christian young people from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia literally followed me from session to session to hear more about the historical reality of their Lord and the rich Hebrew heritage that is theirs through Him. My heart was deeply warmed by their responsiveness, and I know the Lord will return us to the Asia-Pacific area for further discipling.

Something very significant spiritually is occurring in the Asia-Pacific region and among these faithful and sacrificially committed believers. The Kingdom of God is advancing powerfully and deeply. In the West, with the 'advance' of modernity, most mainline churches either are dead, dying or apostate; and most evangelical denominations espouse a spirituality that is superficial and irrelevant to this life, and therefore our churches are filled with 'undiscipled disciples.'

It may well be that the faithful believers of this region will be the preservers of the great truths of Judeo-Christian orthodoxy joined to the vitality of Spirit-led and life-transforming discipleship. May it be so, for the glory of the Father and the advancing of the Kingdom of His Son! The APCOD meeting was a breakthrough in many ways, and it was my privilege to contribute toward its goals. A sequel is planned for 2003 in Sri Lanka.

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