top of page
  • Writer's pictureSteve Starcher

Welcome to The Christosis Network!


Welcome to the Christosis Network website. The Christosis Network is a community of Pentecostal pastors and leaders seeking to center their faith, life, and ministry on Jesus Christ. Our goals are to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, renew the church’s spiritual life, engage our culture with the truth of the Christian faith, and continue the Pentecostal revival. Above all, we desire Christosis, transformation into the image of Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul prays for the Colossians to “be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9, NRSV)[1]. The spiritual wisdom and understanding he desires for them are not speculative but practical. The Colossians need to learn how the salvation experienced in Christ translates into Christian life. Paul directs them to the prophecy of their Messiah in Isaiah. “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord” (Isa. 11:1-2). For Paul, Christians receive the Spirit of their risen Lord to “lead lives worthy of the Lord,…grow in the knowledge of God, and bear fruit (Col. 1:10). They are to live as Jesus did!

Paul vividly describes the Spirit’s work of transformation for the Corinthians. “And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). Turning away from sin and receiving the Holy Spirit, Christians now see “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). Beholding God’s glory in Jesus, they are transformed by the Spirit into the same image, the image of Christ. They experience Christosis!

The early Pentecostals were Jesus-centered. The new experience of the Holy Spirit they received convinced them their ministry continued the work of Jesus. Their desire was “To Be Like Jesus.”


“To Be Like Jesus, To Be Like Jesus All I Ask To Be Like Him; All Through Life’s Journey From Earth To Glory All I Ask To Be Like Him;


To Be Like Jesus, To Be Like Jesus All I Ask To Be Like Him; Not In A Measure But In Its Fullness All I Ask To Be Like Him.”[2]


I remember singing this chorus at the Pentecostal bible college I attended. An assembly of aspiring young ministers gathered around the college president in worship and praise as he called each forward to lay hands upon them and pray for their ministry. He prayed for an anointing of the Holy Spirit to empower us for Christian proclamation and service and transform our lives into the image of Christ. He understood that the success of our future ministry depended upon the Holy Spirit’s work not only for Pentecostal power but for Christlike lives that would enable us to say with Paul, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).

The Christosis Network seeks to recover this Pentecostal dynamic. Pentecostal faith, life, and ministry need centered on Jesus. Luke boldly presents the first Christians as being like Jesus in Luke-Acts. Jesus and his followers receive baptism, pray, perform signs, wonders, and miracles. They proclaim the same message of the kingdom of God and call all to repentance. Luke describes Jesus and his followers in the same way. They are full of the Holy Spirit, possess power, bring joy, and create awe through their ministry. Like Jesus, the Christians in Acts use Holy Scripture to proclaim the Gospel and explain what God is doing in the world. Luke demonstrates that the ministry of Jesus continues in the first Christians. Jesus defined their life, gave them their identity, and was an example for the transformed Christian life in God’s kingdom. Christosis seeks to center Pentecostal faith, life, and ministry on Jesus.

Becoming like Jesus requires spiritual formation. Pastor Paul agonizes over the Galatians, saying, “My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19). The work of the Holy Spirit in their lives needed direction. Paul encouraged them to “live by the Spirit” and bear “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16, 22).

Peter uses the metaphors of birth and growth to describe spiritual formation. Christians are “born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Pet. 1:23). He encourages them to become like newborn infants and “long for the pure, spiritual milk” to grow into salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2). The metaphor of word-as-seed used to describe the new birth yields to the metaphor of word-as-milk to describe spiritual growth. Spiritual milk refers to the Gospel, the word of truth, provided by Peter in his letter. The goal is to attain maturity as children of God who set all “hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring … when he is revealed” (1 Peter 1:13). They will receive the outcome of their faith, the salvation of their souls (1 Pet. 1:9), and “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” (1 Pet. 1:4). Peter challenges Christians to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).

For Paul and Peter, spiritual formation is faith’s journey with the risen and present savior Jesus Christ empowered by the Word and Spirit. It is following Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Luke uses the term Way as shorthand for Christianity throughout Acts (Acts 9:2; 19:9; 22:4; 24:14, 22). It refers to Christians and their message. Luke writes of the “way of salvation” (Acts 6:17), “way of the Lord” (Acts 18:25), and “way of God” (Acts 18:26) and speaks of Paul persecuting “the way” (Acts 22:4). For Luke, the way describes Christians, their proclamation, and their distinctive manner of life. The Christosis Network seeks to renew the spiritual life of the Pentecostal faith community by presenting the unique way of life, spirituality, of the first Christians as the “road map” for spiritual formation.

Pentecostal spirituality stands in stark contrast to the continued decline of Christianity in America. In December 2021, the Pew Research Center released an astounding study for the ten years from 2011 to 2021.[3] Survey results showed a 12% decline in Americans who identified themselves as Christians and an 11% increase in those who identified with no religion, agnosticism, or atheism. There was also a dramatic 11% decrease in adults who identified with Protestant Christian denominations.

A growing secular community in America has moved beyond religion and ardently embraced secularism. They place their faith in science and reason and adopt a moral code arising from values deemed progressive.[4] For them, Christianity, like other religions, is antiquated, dysfunctional, divisive, and an impediment to human progress.[5] Engaging the secular culture they champion is mission-critical for the church in the 21st century. The Christosis Network seeks to provide resources for Pentecostals to understand the secular ideology rampant in American culture and equip them to make a defense for the Christian faith they possess and effectively witness to Gospel.

The Christosis Network believes in the Pentecostal revival. God interrupted human history and religious traditions in the early 20th century with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Thousands came to a small storefront mission at Azuza Street to hear the full Gospel proclaimed and experience their personal Pentecost. Empowered by the Holy Spirit and gifted with a new understanding of the Gospel, they embarked on missions worldwide. Today, Pentecostalism leads the world in new converts to the Christian faith and comprises 26% of Christians globally.[6]

Pentecostals need to retrieve and understand the heritage of their forbears that spawned and now sustain the Pentecostal revival. We need to embrace their spirituality, found in Luke-Acts. The Christosis Network will focus on presenting five critical elements of Pentecostal spirituality, 1) prayer; 2) reading, listening, and obeying Holy Scripture; 3) the continued presence and ministry of Jesus through the Holy Spirit; 4) victorious spiritual warfare and signs and wonders, 5) the expectation of the return of Jesus and the establishment of the kingdom of God. By embracing Pentecostal spirituality, Pentecostals will continue the explosive growth of their revival in the 21st century.

The Christosis Network has a bold plan to prepare pastors to implement spiritual formation programs in their congregations. The Christosis website provides weekly content through videos, podcasts, social media, and a blog. Study modules accompany the content to facilitate learning and offer lesson outlines for pastoral use in church settings. A Facebook group page enables discussion, resource sharing, and prayer requests. The Christosis Network seeks to build an online community of pastors and leaders configured to Christ, possessing a faith normed by Holy Scripture, following Jesus in a Pentecostal way, and proclaiming the Gospel message empowered by the Holy Spirit. We invite you to join us!



Bibliography

Dellatto, Marisa. 2021. “Christians Decreasing As More U.S. Adults Not Affiliated With Any Religion, Study Shows.” Forbes. December 12. https://www.forbes.com/sites/marisadellatto/2021/12/14/christians-decreasing-as-more-us-adults-not-affiliated-with-any-religion-study-shows/.


Homeschoolbookreviewblog. 2008 “To Be Like Jesus.” Hymnstudiesblog, November 18. https://hymnstudiesblog.wordpress.com/2008/11/18/quotto-be-like-jesusquot/.


Randall, Rebecca. 2021. “Pentecostals Lead the World in Conversions, But Not in US Missions.” ChristianityToday.com. December 13. https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/february-web-only/pentecostal-global-growth-missions-agencies-study-bok.html.


The Secular Community 2022. “The Secular Community Home Page.” The Secular Community. February 10.. https://www.thesecularcommunity.org.

[1] All Bible quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted. [2] Homeschoolbookreviewblog, “To Be Like Jesus, “ Hymnstudiesblog (blog), November 18, 2008, https://hymnstudiesblog.wordpress.com/2008/11/18/quotto-be-like-jesusquot/. [3] Marisa Dellatto, “Christians Decreasing As More U.S. Adults Not Affiliated With Any Religion, Study Shows,” Forbes, February 10, 2022, https://www.forbes.com/sites/marisadellatto/2021/12/14/christians-decreasing-as-more-us-adults-not-affiliated-with-any-religion-study-shows/. [4] The Secular Community, “The Secular Community Home Page,” The Secular Commuity, February 10, 2022, https://www.thesecularcommunity.org/. [5] Ibid. [6] Rebecca Randall, “Pentecostals Lead the World in Conversions, But Not in US Missions,” ChristianityToday.com, December 13, 2021, https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/february-web-only/pentecostal-global-growth-missions-agencies-study-bok.html.

3 views

Recent Posts

See All

Comentarios


© 2022 by The Christosis Network.  All rights reserved.

bottom of page