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Posted: 07/17/2005 at 6:44pm
A Review of David Newby’s The Bubble Will Burst
By Steve Eastman
David Newby wants to see God burst your bubble. The purpose of The Bubble Will Burst is to expose the “wood, hay and stubble” that has been built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, so believers can return to the kind of Spirit-led body ministry that God intends. Along the way, Newby slaughters “sacred cows” right and left.
Although God is directing other authors to identify pagan practices that have infiltrated the church, He’s using this Australian writer to warn about Old Covenant practices that have crept back in. Newby contends that the very clergy/laity distinction is largely to blame for pastor burn-out and for why revival dies.
The author believes that God wanted all of Israel to be a nation of priests, but that 11 of the 12 tribes forfeited their rights to the Levites, who performed most, if not all the work of ministry. Newby reminds us from I Peter 2:9 that under the New Covenant believers are “… a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation …” He goes on to say, “But like Israel we can disqualify ourselves from our calling through laziness, pleasure seeking, disobedience or the snares of ecclesiastical traditional thinking. This robs not only ourselves but others in the Church as we are prevented from fulfilling our priestly roles in our family, church and community.”
Newby sees the rise of what he calls “Levitical bishops” within 100 years of the founding of the church as the re-establishment of a pyramidal hierarchy, which took away ministry functions from the “brothers,” who up to then, had ministered one to another. The change-over was gradual. The book supports this position with a quote from Clement of Rome, showing that some Levitical-style practices were already taking hold in 95 AD.
These changes in church practices were reinforced many hundreds of years later by choices of wording in Bible translation. In a discussion of King James’ rules for the translators of his Bible version, Newby writes, “Thus, with respect to the current position on hierarchical church structure and government at the time of the translation, ‘political correctness’ had to be supported by the translators, thus ‘submit to those who have the rule over you’ was easily justified by them.” Newby says, “A more correct translation of this verse would be, ‘Have confidence in and be convinced and persuaded by those who guide you….’”
The Bubble Will Burst includes a chapter on statistics compiled by a group called ClergyCare in Arizona. The information from Clergy Fact Sheet is based on a number of surveys of pastors and other church leaders. In summary it says, “90% felt they were inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands. 70% say they have a lower self-esteem than when they started out. 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend. 80% of pastors are discouraged or dealing with depression.” Newby concludes, “Pastors need to stop trying to be what they are not – they need to establish Team Ministry and share the load through the whole body.” In connection with revival, Newby says night after night of meetings causes its own kind of burn-out, citing Evan Roberts, of the Welch Revival of a century ago, as an example. He experienced what would today be described as a nervous breakdown after more than a year of nearly daily services. “Leaders that begin to experience burnout tend to shut the revival down rather than develop team ministry to maintain what is happening.”
The Bubble Will Burst is a challenging read. It is not for the faint of heart. Newby effectively tackles the Discipleship Movement of the 70’s and 80’s and the ongoing Prosperity Message. You may be surprised by what he says about tithing and expressions of Messianic Judaism. He displays impressive knowledge of Scripture, history and New Testament Greek. I recommend reading the book with an open mind and asking God if your bubble needs to be burst.
Read an interview with David Newby by Steve Eastman
Edited by Moderator on 07/17/2005 at 7:33pm