Noteworthy/On the Call and on Building the Church

On the Call and on Building the Church

Interview in 2000
December 30, 2000

2001 is the year when I finally will get to prioritize what has been closest to my heart since the Lord called me into ministry 25 years ago during an encounter on December 30, 1975, says Jan-Aage Torp in this special interview with Victory Online.

From Victory Online. Top photo: Jan-Aage in 1985 on NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Company)

On the Call and on Building the ChurchJan-Aage in 1985 on NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Company)On the Call and on Building the ChurchJan-Aage was baptized by his missionary father Aage Torp on April 28th. 1968 in this lake in Thonburi, West Bangkok, Thailand.-The call to preach was really given to me as a present at childbirth. My mom and dad were praying people, and they had committed their lives to missionary work in nations such as China, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand, says Jan-Aage Torp.

-In 1968, when I was 11 years old, I was powerfully touched by God while I read the book by John and Elizabeth Sherill, "They Speak In Other Tongues". I remember how the grace and holiness of God made a strong impression on me.

But it was in the summer of 1972, at the convention that evangelist Aril Edvardsen conducts annually at his convention center in Kvinesdal, Norway, that Jan-Aage had his spiritual breakthrough. -I was baptized in the Holy Spirit at a meeting in which evangelist Bjørn Bergmann was ministering. I did not get the new language until later, but a fire and power came into me that immediately had consequences for my daily choices, Jan-Aage recalls.

The Call in Lausanne

On the Call and on Building the ChurchJan-Aage in 1975On December 27, 1975 Jan-Aage sat on the airplane on his way to Lausanne, Switzerland. He was invited to be one of the translators for the Norwegian-Danish delegation during the Youth Mission Congress, Mission 76. Lars Rise, who currently serves as a Member of Parliament in Norway, and Jan-Aage were the two official Norwegian translators. For four days they were to translate to the Scandinavians from their small translator boxes the teaching and preaching that was conveyed during the conference.

-This conference became the decisive turning point in my life, Jan-Aage recalls. -Michael Griffiths, the Brit who at that time was the leader of a worldwide missionary organization, was the keynote Bible expositor. His topic was the Church. I remember how I was shaken both emotionally and in my will power by the forceful and convincing revelation from the Word of God. I saw clearly how God has ordained the Church to be His local and universal vehicle of ministry. The definitive breakthrough came during a meeting on December 30th, 1975. Actually, I could barely do my job as a translator! I do not think the Scandinavian delegation could follow very easily the translation through their head phones. Some times I almost faded away, and sometimes I was yelling.... The specific calling was to apostolic ministry. At that time I had no idea that the apostolic is a controversial area of ministry, but thanks to wise parents I did not tell this to anyone back in Oslo. However, the desire to build many life-changing churches all over Europe had started to burn within me. There were not many good examples of this in Europe, but the revelation I had received in Lausanne through the great evangelical theologian and missiologist Michael Griffiths, had put its decisive stamp on my life. But little did I know that things would take such a long time, Jan-Aage says with a smile.

Years of Training

On the Call and on Building the ChurchVisiting Peter Wagner in his home in 1992.-After productive studies at Fuller School of World Mission, with special impact from Dr.& Mrs. C. Peter & Doris Wagner, I went back to good years of training in different pastoral functions in the Trondheim and Oslo area. However, I was a YAP - a young, aspiring preacher - and my talents made me a too obvious candidate for denominational and ecumenical leadership. This became a problem to me. My spiritual insight and experience was hampered by my ecumenical involvement. On one occasion, in 1986, there were big headlines in the media when I preached in an ecumenical setting with a Roman Catholic father. This gave me popularity, but in my heart I felt contempt for what I was doing.

Pastor Torp goes on to tell how he and his family in 1990 planted Victory Church in Lillestrøm. -This was an important step for us, it was a journey into the unknown. In 1990-1992 we were probably the fastest growing church in Norway. At times we gathered 400-500 on Sundays. But we were not building a solid base for an apostolic church. We were building more like a preaching center. And I was too naive: I sincerely thought that other charismatic churches would appreciate that we were ministering boldly, but the truth shocked me - we were regarded as competitors! At one stage during the Fall of 1992 and winter of 1993 we had some internaI problems on our staff, problems that undoubtedly could have been solved in a good way. But some churches were almost competing between themselves to spread division and take members from us.

Jan-Aage admits willingly that he was totally crushed by the betrayal and division. -But the Lord taught me a lesson: I had previously had many of the same bad attitudes, so in a way I was reaping what I had sown. Now I learned that betrayal and division must not be given any room in constructive church building.

-The Lord used these problems to set me into some really tough tasks that I never had dreamed that I could succeed in, that is in the secular media - in confrontation with the gay lobby, the abortion industry, spokesmen for Islam etc. And I got to do a lot of broadcasts that conveyed a radical Christian lifestyle to the people. I learned a lot of valuable things by taking part in difficult, live television broadcasts on secular, national channels in issues that shape the destiny of Norway. I have ministered in more than 100 such broadcasts since 1992, and I believe the Lord has used me to bring glory to His name in our nation. Now, this visibility has given me a greater platform for credible ministry among four and a half million Norwegians.

Peter Wagner and the Lightbearers

On the Call and on Building the ChurchPeter Wagner has meant a lot to Jan-Aage, beginning during his studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. Jan-Aage wanted his second son, Petter, to be named after Peter Wagner. Here Peter spoke his blessing over Petter. What a heritage for Petter!1998 was a turbulent year for Jan-Aage Torp. Things began to happen that lead him into more powerful spiritual environments nationally and internationally. But little did he know that things would get that difficult, not even in his wildest imagination!

The problems regarding the Lightbearers and the Group of Pastors in Oslo brought him back to his professor at Fuller Seminary, Dr.C.Peter Wagner. -His name was misused by some Lightbearers and by the leader of the Group of Pastors in Oslo, in such a grave manner, that I contacted Wagner during a visit to the US. Peter was glad to hear from me, and when he learned about the problems in Oslo with the Lightbearers, he said to me: This would not have happened if there were apostles in Oslo. That switched on the lights for me, and Wagner invited me to come to an apostolic conference to learn more. The problems with the Lightbearers and some pastors in Oslo, which I thought could lead to my ministerial death, became the exact opposite: The start of a ministry on a purer and more effecive level. Plainly expressed: Into the call that the Lord gave me in December 30, 1975.

Building the Church Today

On the Call and on Building the ChurchJohn Kelly & Jan-Aage together during the summer this year.-Now we face important changes in our lives, Jan-Aage adds. -One person that has meant a lot to me and my ministry is apostle John P. Kelly. He showed me that NOW is the time to function in my fundamental calling as a church builder. John & Helena are like spiritual dad and mom, especially for me. We have stayed with them in their house in Dallas for days. They have encouraged us and helped us in many ways. Moreover, their counsel and challenges to us have led us back onto the track that I thought we would never ever get onto again.

-Oslo lies heavily on our hearts. In 1991 God called me to plant a church that would bring a powerful Jesus message to the capital city. We are now in the process of planting a church in the center of Oslo. We will not walk too fast. We want to build solidly and thoroughly. Without a good foundation, the church will not be able to defeat the spiritual powers and principalities over a city like Oslo. We believe in breakthrough for Oslo and the whole nation.

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