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Archive for January 26th, 2010

Deconstructing Church (pt 1)

In my quest to find, “What is Church”, I have found that I have had to de-construct everything I thought I knew about Church. As I have looked to the Biblical blueprint for church and how we are to participate in church function I find the American Church model is woefully off track and has very little resemblance to the Church found in Scripture. (I know, that statement was a little “churchy”.) From the Brick and Mortar edifices that we have constructed, to the services, the lectures, the one man focus, the passive pew occupation, the authoritarian offices that man has imposed on the flock of God… every aspect of ‘church’ we see in America today is more traditionalism than it is biblical.

Let’s begin by looking at the “How we do Church” model. I realize that one of the most effective ways to teach a group is in using the lecture style, “I teach, You listen.” Massive amounts of information can be transmitted to the greatest number of people using this method. And there is a place for such teaching/learning. What has taken place in the American church is this has become the exclusive method for a “pastor” to use. This method has helped create a caste system in the body of Christ where it is no longer a gathering of equals but has become a showcase for the “anointed” (I have heard pastors referred to as “God’s anointed” and called “the man of God.” I will address this a little later) to stand, perform and be over other believers. Total control is placed in the person behind the lectern. There is no place for Hebrews 3:13, or Hebrews 10:23-25, or 1 Peter 4:9-11 in the “service” of the lecture ready congregation. Then somewhere along the way we have held the Epistles of Timothy and Titus apart as though the Scripture in these passages are only for the “anointed” or the “spiritual” or the “called…man of god” as if the teaching of these Epistles somehow created a special office, and a special class of Christian believer who is above all others. Mark 10:42-44, “But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.”

 At this point many will be ready to hammer me with Ephesians 4: 11, and if Ephesians 4:11 was a stand alone thought I would say, “Okay, you’re right” but it is not the main emphasis of that passage. The emphasis of that passage is not that Jesus Christ gave “some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,” to be offices of the church. No! He gave these as functions of the church in order to equip the body for service; “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” Even the King James Version says, “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”. The “ministry” is not the functions given, but what each and every believer is to be engaged in and to be equipped to do. The function of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor/teacher is to equip the body of believers to minister the Gospel of Christ to a lost and dying world.      (more…)

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