Today’s Weak Churches

 

Chuck Colson posted this question in his “The Year Ahead” write-up on Jan 3 ’08. Take a look.

 

As I said on “Break Point” recently, too, we need to take stock of ourselves. I believe Christians these days belong on our knees: repenting of our self-indulgence; repenting of going to church but not making any difference in our society; repenting of the fact that we have not learned how to defend and live out our faith.

 

I would like to say that the Church is a beacon of light to the culture today. But I am afraid it is kind of a dim light. If I were to make a New Year’s resolution, it would be to help Christians clean up our act so that we really are transformed and live in such a way that we transform the world around us-starting with the voting tomorrow.”

 

Chuck asks a great question: Why has the church not made any difference in society? Why has she become self-indulgent, and not yet learned to defend and live out her faith? I think that the key to correcting this is simple obedience to the Bible. Many false (man made) doctrines have plagued churches over the centuries. If we can reclaim some simple truths out of the Bible; we can again become the church God desires, the humble, submitted loving body of Christ.

 

There are clear Biblical doctrines that we have lost (Servant Leadership, and The Priesthood of Believers), and un-biblical doctrines that we have adopted (The Greek homilies).

 

Servant Leadership is a key concept in the new Testament.  Servant Leadership

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But over time the church has destroyed the Priesthood of Believers, in favor of the paid priesthood. What appeared is something very similar to the priesthood found in the old testament, but thoroughly inconsistent with the New Testament.

 

As bad as this is, it is not as damaging to the flock as the churches inability follow this simple verse.

 

NLT 1 Cor 14;26 “A Call to Orderly Worship” 26 Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you.

 

The KJV say “to edify”. The MKJV says to “build up”. The CEV say “you must do everything for the good of everyone there”. NIV says “for the strengthening of the church. This verse is God’s prescription to strengthen, to edify, to build up his church. Pastors don’t like this verse, because it is inconsistent with their sermons (Greek Homilies). Sermons are fine for outreaches like Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, but they are incompatible with believer gatherings, with church services. This error started as early as 100 AD. Rather than times where everyone shared (see 1 Cor 14;26 above), one predominant teacher began to monopolize the time.

 

These gathering times clearly belong to God, and to his control, but men have taken over. Today’s Paid priesthood has stepped in to fill what they saw as a void. What that really accomplished was cutting the body off from the headship of Christ. This is further explained in “ Is Christ The Head Of Today’s Church

 

There is nothing wrong with starting these times of sharing on a certain track, but when we are all truly seeking the Holy Spirit, God will take us where he desires to, but this rarely happens when one persons teaching dominates the gathering. The Bible describes a very simple process. Each follower of Christ seeks guidance from the Holy Spirit and then shares at the gathering. 1 Cor 14;30 in The Message Translation even states “Take your turn, no one person taking over”

 

Here’s a link that develops this further:

 

THE MAIN Believer Gathering Must be a Believer Gathering

 

This is not a new problem. Take a look at this excerpt from a 1920 pamphlet by Frank B Holes titled “Assembly Principles” updated by Roger P Daniel in 1977

 

http://www.stempublishing.com/authors/hole/Art/Assembly%20Principles.html

 

 

When we see the truth of the Church as presented in Scripture and we think about putting it into practice, we become aware that the present general condition of Christendom (professing-christianity) is a total denial of these church truths.”

 

Can the truth of the Church be practiced under present conditions? How is it possible today?

 

It would be impossible to walk into any building where religious services were being performed according to a liturgy (a formal order of service) or by an ordained minister and try to gather according to the principles laid down by the Holy Spirit in 1 Cor. 12 and 14. Any who attempted it would be considered disorderly. The only way to practice the truth as to the Church is by ceasing to practice what is not the truth. This can only be done by withdrawing from all that has no approval from Scripture. Being free from disobedience, we then can be obedient. Thus, we must first cease to do evil and then learn to do good. Any attempt to go on with both would be a great disservice to the cause of truth. It would say, in effect, that there is no basic, real difference between what is purely human and what is divine and, consequently, we can go on with either or both.”

 

… “First of all, the intrusion of any human system or organization into the divine order, to where the divine order is eventually obliterated, is a very grievous sin! It is not a sin to be attached to any one individual since it has crept in slowly: still it is a serious evil. It is a striking fact that at the close of a long passage on the divine order for the actual assembling of the church in 1 Cor. 14, Paul warns, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (14: 37). In this way, the Holy Spirit anticipated the careless tendencies that invariably come out whenever carnality (natural human, worldly ways) prevails, which tendencies are prominent today.

 

When spiritual power is low and worldly principles come into the Church, the tendency is to find divine order irksome because it makes certain demands on a good spiritual condition ― a condition not present. It also exposes the worldly-weakness which is present. So, the strong temptation is to be careless as to the instructions of Scripture: useful on many occasions, interesting, instructive but optional ― something that may be obeyed, not something that must be obeyed. All this, however, is entirely swept away by the fact that these instructions are “the commandments of the Lord.” We thus are not at liberty to alter them according to our tastes and feelings:” —end excerpt—

 

I agree with Frank Holes analysis and his recommendations, and I pray that believers can hear Jesus knock, and come outside their Lukewarm Churches and sit down to supper with him at a true believer gathering.

 

NLT Rev 3;20 Look I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door I will come in and we will share a meal together as friends.

 

After all, the participatory gathering, God’s true worship service is simply that, sitting down with Jesus, hearing his voice and sharing.

 

Dear God,

Please provide harvest hands, true seekers and followers of Christ, people who hear your voice, know your Word and practice it, worshipping you in Spirit and in Truth. Amen.

Glenn

 

Comment:

Re: Today’s Weak Churches by Wayne on Thu 10 Jul 2008 04:49 PM HST

 

Thanks Glenn. Very interesting reading. Reminds me of what I call the

3P’s:

 

The Pimp – some pastors/preachers/priest pimp the congregation The Pay Off – Exorbitant Salaries and perks for church “staff” The Party – Feast and Conventions hosted by the pimps and pimpets attended by the duped congregation – “don’t’ miss your blessing, etc…”.

 

I have not been to one church that invited the homeless to the building, feed and clothed and/or address needs specifically at the building and/or, taken a “loss” on behalf of the one(s) in need. I have not even seen a new church with shower facilities or accomodations to even meet emergency needs.

 

Very strange. It’s always build bigger – for who and for what?

 

My thoughts.

 

Reply by glenn.engle on Thu 10 Jul 2008 05:36 PM HST

 

Wayne,

Sure there are many Pastors today that are completely “out of control”. Most agree that the prosperity preachers, the word faith movement, … and the many fringe preachers are way off track. The real problem is that virtually all of todays mainstream Preachers are also decieved. The Bible calls us not to forsake meeting together, not to forsake the participatory gathering commanded in 1 Cor 14. I like this passage from Isaiah 1 in the message translation. I’ll argue that this passage applies to today’s “single sermon pew sitter” service:

 

MSG Isa 1;13 “Quit your worship charades. I can’t stand your trivial religious games: Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings- meetings, meetings, meetings-I can’t stand one more! 14 Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You’ve worn me out! I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning. 15 When you put on your next prayer-performance, I’ll be looking the other way. No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I’ll not be listening. And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody. 16 Go home and wash up. Clean up your act. Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings so I don’t have to look at them any longer. Say no to wrong. 17 Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless. 18 “Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.” This is God’s Message: “If your sins are blood-red, they’ll be snow-white. If they’re red like crimson, they’ll be like wool. 19 If you’ll willingly obey, you’ll feast like kings. 20 But if you’re willful and stubborn, you’ll die like dogs.” That’s right. God says so. Those Who Walk Out on God 21 Oh! Can you believe it? The chaste city has become a whore! She was once all justice, everyone living as good neighbors, And now they’re all at one another’s throats. 22 Your coins are all counterfeits. Your wine is watered down. 23 Your leaders are turncoats who keep company with crooks. They sell themselves to the highest bidder and grab anything not nailed down. They never stand up for the homeless, never stick up for the defenseless. 24 This Decree, therefore, of the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the Strong One of Israel: “This is it! I’ll get my oppressors off my back. I’ll get back at my enemies. 25 I’ll give you the back of my hand, purge the junk from your life, clean you up.

 

Each one of us is charged to fulfill the gathering command. This can not be accomplished at virtually all of today’s churches! We need to take action.

God Bless

Glenn

 

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