Friday, March 27, 2009

God's Spirit is at Work in Denmark

While in my view the overall spiritual condition of Denmark is rather grim and the need for genuine revival very great, such an assessment isn’t the whole picture. We must not forget that the Spirit of God often works in ways that are not always immediately discernible. He is working quietly but decisively in various ways in Denmark, of that I am certain. It is my firm conviction that revival in Denmark would have to have a major influence on Denmark’s Lutherans. Though the Folkekirke is culturally embedded in Danish society, it seems to have little impact on the spiritual lives of the increasingly secularized nation.

And yet, God never leaves Himself without a witness. It would be tragically irresponsible to ignore the fact that there are Danish Lutherans who love the Lord and who long for and pray constantly for revival. I have met some of them and have been impressed by their earnestness and genuine faith. A trusted Danish friend of this webpage recently wrote that “there IS something encouraging going on in Denmark––a network of God-fearing Lutherans who have good theology but want more of the movement of the Spirit and who recognize people’s need to be born again.” These God-fearing Lutherans are connected in a network of new local churches and fellowships through Dansk Oase Netværk ( Dansk Oase is a Lutheran charismatic renewal movement. The new congregations are variously called “Valmenigheder” [or fælleskab or frimenighed]. All are in some way different or “edgy” in contrast to the more formalistic Folkekirke congregations and are more open to contemporary forms of praise and worship. They are growing and demonstrate that there are Danes who do indeed hunger and thirst after righteousness and a seek a vital, personal faith in Christ.

There is a large, healthy Valmenighed church in Århus (, and one that just opened in Copenhagen last November and understand it already has over 100 members. It is most encouraging to see what God is doing through these groups. It all started at Karlslunde Strandkirke ( that had a God-fearing, level-headed charismatic pastor back in the seventies by the name of Helge Pahus. He was responsible for the Alpha course coming to Denmark. Pastor Pahus is now retired, though still active in ministry. During his years of ministry, Pastor Pahus has built a lot of bridges to revival and renewal movements around the world and his influence is felt strongly in Danish charismatic Lutheran circles.

The Valmenighed congregations in various places in Denmark constitute a new and genuine church planting experience of which we have been too little aware. All are connected in some way with the Oase revival movement. To mention a few, there are now congregations and fellowships in Odder, Kolding, Silkeborg, Vejle, Aalborg, and elsewhere, and the list is growing. The terms Valmenighed and Frimenighed are not exclusive to the Oase Network as there are other Lutheran revival groups that also use them. The more I look into it I am finding there are many dimensions to Danish Lutheranism and writing about Oase I am not unmindful of the testimony through the decades of other Lutheran revival organizations, including Indre Mission, Nyt Liv, Luthersk Missionsforening, and Evangelisk Lutherske Missionsforening, some of which also have planted free Lutheran congregations.

If God was able to raise the Lord Jesus from the dead, He can also bring revival to spiritually dead Denmark. If I didn’t believe that I would shut down the Pray for Denmark website. No major revival in history has ever occurred without a barrage of prayer behind it. In some small way it is my hope that we are a part of that barrage of prayer and why we should be praying for the outreach of Oase throughout Denmark. That’s why Brad and I pray doggedly for the land of my ancestors and urge you to join us as well.

PRAISE God for the encouraging evidences of the Holy Spirit’s work in Denmark through the Oase revival movement.

PRAY for the Oase movement to continue to exert its influence for revival and renewal throughout Denmark without itself becoming overly institutionalized.

for the planting of new Oase-related Lutheran congregations throughout Denmark that will provide a resurgence of evangelism calling Danes to repentance and personal faith in Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Baptistkirken i Danmark

Baptist work has existed in Denmark for 170 years. In fact, the Baptists constituted the first free church in Denmark outside the Folkekirke, Denmark’s Lutheran state church. Today there are fifty Baptist congregations throughout the country with a total of 5260 members, making it still Denmark’s largest free church denomination. The Baptists have been and continue to be an important part of Denmark’s community of free churches.

As might be expected, the Baptist churches have throughout their history had their highs and lows in spiritual power and effectiveness. Understandably, it is difficult for any denomination to maintain a consistently high level of spiritual power and evangelistic thrust over 170 years. Succeeding generations more often than not lose some of the fire and joyful spiritual energy their fathers experienced in coming to Christ. Periodic revivals are needed.

The earliest years of Baptist work were marked by extensive evangelism and the planting of new churches. Converts came to faith through sound preaching of the Word of God. Their fervor of witness to the liberating gospel of Christ brought persecution but also a spread of their witness throughout the country. The aging of the denomination and a settling in of its organization and traditions seemed to sap the spiritual power the first generations had known. In the 20th century, the coming of the charismatic (Pentecostal) movement to Denmark caused a fair number of Baptist leaders and lay folk to switch allegiances. Some leaders in the Pentecostal and new charismatic denominations were formerly a part of the Baptist churches. Some of the Baptist churches have adopted charismatic theology and worship practices while others have not. The denomination has gone through some tough times theologically and organizationally and even at present is experiencing some leadership problems. It is not my place to delve into the details of controversy, but Baptists are at a crossroads. I am concerned that now is the time for a sweeping revival and renewal throughout the Baptist churches in Denmark that would renew and reinvigorate their ministries.

I have a great appreciation for Danish Baptists. Myself an American of Danish descent, I was ordained to the gospel ministry by a Conservative Baptist church. My first contact with Danish Baptists was in 1952 at Copenhagen’s Kristuskirken. Pastor Thomsen greeted me and discovered that I was a Conservative Baptist missionary on my way to the Belgian Congo. He knew something of Conservative Baptist origins and said warmly, “I don’t have to ask you what you believe. I know.” He then invited me to speak in the church. That was a never-to-be-forgotten experience. I found Pastor Thomsen to be a man of God with a real heart for the gospel of Christ. My last trip to Denmark three years ago introduced me to several more Baptist churches and I met a number of Baptist friends in Viborg and Aalborg who were so warmly welcoming and hospitable.

I don’t know the reasons behind Danish Baptists’ current discussions and difficulties, but, I do know there is need for a sweeping movement of the Spirit of God to bring genuine cleansing and renewal. Pray earnestly with us for the Baptists in Denmark! Revival and renewal will not come merely through improved organization, but it will come to churches and believers that surrender to the restorative work of the Holy Spirit through confession of sin and repentance that are always prime ingredients in spiritual revival.

PRAY that a series of regional meetings of Danish Baptists to be held in the following locations in March and April will evidence the cleansing, restorative presence and power of the Holy Spirit, repair of broken relationships, unity amongst leaders and churches, and renewed commitment to evangelism and church planting:

Monday, March 30, 7:00-9:30 p.m., at Roskilde Baptist Church
Tuesday, March 31, 7:00-9:30 p.m., at Odense Baptist Church
Wednesday, April 1, 7:00-9:30 p.m., at Vårst Baptist Church,

West-Himmerlands congregation
Thursday, April 2, 7:00-9:30 p.m., at Silkeborg Baptist Church
Friday, April 3, 7:00-9:30 p.m., at Sindal Baptist Church.

PRAY that God will provide effective, Spirit-filled leadership for several of the Baptist churches that are currently without pastoral leadership.