Thursday, September 9, 2010

GOOD QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CHURCHES

GOOD QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CHURCHES

NOTE:  A. Bondservant posed excellent questions for me after my last post.  Here is our exchange.

A. Brother,

I love this, but a few things I would like to ask. Are you saying we shouldn't go to church (in its present state) or are you saying we should be striving to help change those churches back? I guess I am failing to see where abandoning the churches of today will service Christ, where as infiltrating them and tearing them down from the inside might be a better plan. Believe me, our church just went through an expansion and the bells and whistles were added and it has lost something. But I am challenged to not focus on the bells and whistles but to focus on Christ, what is he teaching me, what opportunities to serve him come about being part of this or these church(es). These are all very valid things you speak of, but I would ask, is it the medium or the message that is most important? I would think the message is and the means of delivery are unimportant. For I am just a seed planter, I can't grow the tree, I leave that up to God. As your blog is doing with me, it is planting seeds and I am praying that God grow the ones I need.

MY ANSWER:

Great questions, brother. 

I am, as you are, only interested in the "message", the Truth in Scripture, which calls us to live the Christ-life, and preach the Christ-life without compromising either the message OR the life.  And without letting it be tainted by our own filters, formed through a lifetime of “doing church” certain ways.  These filters often prevent us from seeing or hearing.  I just pray that the eyes of our understanding will be opened, and that Scripture will once again be the starting point for all we do in the Body of Christ.   

All I know is this:  if our forms and methods of doing church box God in (everything is led by our leaders without input from the "peanut gallery"), don't allow the Spirit of God any room to move (we have just one hour for this meeting, so no matter what You want to do, Lord, you'd better do it fast), and all is run by curriculum, calendar and clock (if it isn't in our plans today, it won't happen Lord, no matter what Your Spirit is saying), then we are on dangerous ground. 

We must, if being part of a Body, be sharing these Truths from Scripture with our leadership and challenging them to open things up.  For instance, when Paul says "everyone" coming to meet with the brothers and sisters must bring something to contribute (read 1 Cor. 14:26-33) was he joking?  Was he just pretending?  Or was this God's actual design for the Body?  Just the practice of this one passage would blow our current methods of church up!

Yet we continue, and I lump all churches I've ever known or been part of in this statement, to disobey Scripture and not follow these examples.  Suddenly, all would be challenged to prepare and pray and support one another in coming together.  Suddenly, "EVERYONE" (v. 26) would be growing in Christ as they were sharing some gift with everyone else. 

Yet we persist in our love for the "one preacher, one congregation, one pulpit" idea.  There should be many teaching within each Body, and many sharing other gifts, of encouragement, and serving, and giving, and strengthening, and mercy, and knowledge, and tongues with interpretation, and prophecy, and the whole Body would be vitally challenged each day to seek the Lord.

I say these things because they are in Scripture, and we are to uphold the Word of God, and not bow to the pressures and traditions (however misguided they may be) of men. 

The Roman Catholic Church is a great example.  How do you ever change that from within, when the whole structure is flawed, including the unscriptural foundational traditions?  If the brethren in that Church would begin following Scripture, suddenly the giant framework would collapse, the Pope would step down, all the Archbishops, Bishops and Priests would resign, all the false doctrines about Mary and the Saints et. al. would disappear, the tremendous wealth of the Church would be distributed to the poor and needy and those among the Body who were hurting, and thus the “the wood, hay or straw” would be burned up (see 1 Cor. 3:11-15).  Then God could truly begin working in all those who truly wanted to live the Christ-life.

But our “Protestant” churches have adopted many of the same traditions, if not in creed, at least in practice.  We have our own traditions and forms of religion that deny the power and presence of God, and we continue in them, our leadership continues in them, and we are responsible for our actions.  We must get back to working these things out with “fear and trembling”, and look to Scripture for the simple, unreligious frameworks given us there.

All I know, my good brother and friend, is what Scripture declares.  I'm not responsible, as God keeps telling me, for changing His Church.  He keeps reminding me that He is going to do that, but only through those who absolutely will not compromise any longer with religion.

We must pray together that God would reveal His will to us in these decisions.  Whether to go and continue to participate, whether to stay away and begin meeting with others of like mind, these are questions I’m asking the Lord now.  I do know that when I’ve suggested these Truths to leadership in the churches in the past, they immediately brand me a rebel, and my friendships and associations with them became distant.  Most in the churches take the “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” philosophy, sticking their heads in the sand and accepting whatever leadership hands them. 

So be prepared, if you share these Scriptures with your leadership, and ask them why we’re not obeying them, for the consequences.  Or, perhaps God through His Spirit, will have been telling them the same things.  That’s what I’m praying for.

A. Brother


2 comments:

  1. Brother, your example above to the RCC seems quite fitting.
    The branding "rebel" may not likely be a personal jab, as any religious system includes natural defenses for the continuation of its existence. Leaders of a religious organization (ref: church) learn to function as extensions of that organization, very different from the function of servants-of-servants with Christ as Head --- unfettered to an earth-corporate system.
    There has always been a (relative) few who did not succumb by institutional faith, or, who by Yeshua's mercy escaped to "life more abundantly". ekklesia visibility is simply not with pulpit or steeple.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amen, Marshall. Today's post goes along with your comment. It is Christ, not us. It is not a man-made structure at all!

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