Monday, May 01, 2006

Folkekirke Renewal Movements

There are several revival/renewal movements within or co-existing with the Folkekirke, Denmark's national Lutheran Church. The term "Folkekirke" means "people's church." The Folkekirke is deeply rooted in the Lutheran Reformation and is very much a part of Danish history and culture. Two of the revival/renewal movements, Indre Mission ( and Luthersk Missionsforening (, are 150 years old or more. Both were strongly influenced by Scandinavian revival currents of the 1800s. Newer revival/renewal movements include the Evangelisk Luthersk Missionsforening (, Dansk Oase (, and Nyt Liv ( All play a sort of gadfly role in that they consistently remind the Folkekirke that the Bible is God's inspired Word while at the same time urging the Church to adhere strictly to is own Lutheran confessions and doctrinal standards.

Dansk Oase, founded in 1989, has been strongly influenced by and supportive of charismatic renewal. One informant suggests that, "While the others do not deny that God bestows spiritual gifts on believers or that He heals, they question the acceptability of certain phenomena and especially the necessity of the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" in order to believe in and practice the gifts of the Spirit." The informant continues, stating that "The frictions between the old revival movements and Oase/Charismatics were stronger in the past than they are now. The new generation of leaders seems to have opened up to at least some elements of the renewal, in particular new worship songs which are used across the board but which originated within the international charismatic revival circles. The big divide is still in the theology and it also has direct bearing on the acceptability of certain phenomena" accepted by the charismatic/Pentecostal movement.

Much of the work of the revival/renewal movements takes place in local "mission houses," schools, or adherents' homes, and sometimes even in a local Folkekirke if the church is inspired or influenced by a particular renewal group. Several of the revival groups have very vital interests and involvement in overseas missions. The informant cited above states that some of the movements are stronger in certain areas of Denmark than in others. Some of the groups have a tendency towards isolating themselves from the Folkekirke and forming alternative churches. Luthersk Missionsforening has been more active in forming alternative congregations, but more recently some in Indre Mission have begun to follow LM's lead. We believe God would be pleased if these movements could find it in themselves to join hearts and hands without reservation to pray together for revival. We also sense that a major factor in the answer for Denmark's spiritual needs must come from genuine revival and renewal within the Folkekirke.

PRAISE God for revival movements within the Danish national Church that maintain a high regard for the Bible as the Word of God and call Danes to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ based on the salvation procured by His death and resurrection.

PRAISE God for the extensive outreach and influence the revival/renewal groups have in many local areas throughout Denmark, for their work of evangelism and Bible teaching for children, young people, and adults, and for their significant summer camping programs. Camping programs will be starting soon.

PRAY for the leadership of each of the renewal organizations on both national and local levels: Indre Mission, Luthersk Missionsforening, Evangelisk Luthersk Missionsforening, Nyt Liv, and Dansk Oase.

PRAY that the Spirit of God will sweep throughout the Folkekirke and Denmark bringing confession, cleansing and the empowerment of the indwelling Spirit to its bishops, clergy, and layfolk.

PRAY that the revival/renewal movements will forgo their historic differences and organizational loyalties to achieve cooperation and spiritual unity in prayer so that the Spirit of God is not hindered in His work of reviving and renewing the Folkekirke. Revival movements themselves need periodic revival and renewal or God will raise up new movements in their place. He does not leave Himself without a witness.

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