Saturday 25 June 2011

The church is for man, not man for the church

So let's just get this straight. Christians are not for the pastor. Pastors are simply there for teaching the straightforward truths of Andre Rabe's book "Imagine". The gospel is to get human beings fully functioning as God always intended long, long before the Fall appeared to interrupt things.
People are not there in church to listen to endless sermons about the same thing.
People are not there to sustain a pastor with their tithe so he is happy.
People are not there to be endlessly patronised, so they feel good about themselves humanly, so fully bolstered they can go back into the week set up for another fall, to be able to crawl to church the next weekend to have their back patted again. (Well actually....clearly people do go for that reason, or what else would sustain a man financially providing the same repeated behaviour for decades on end? Clearly , in order for the synergy to work, that IS what people want. But you'll find no authentic basis for it.)
In Africa the pastor's role is not to fill the role previously occupied by the village elder, a semi-god like person who was there to sort out all your major problems, so you never had to fully grow up yourself, and face the world as a man is supposed to.
Jesus never said I will build my church on Pastor Kwami Smith, so when he pulls the strings, you all move your limbs.
He never said through Paul, "and the Body, fitly joined together,by everything Pastor Kwami Smith supplies on the overhead, while passing round the offering plate for his super duper house with 5 bathrooms."
No, honestly, Jesus, nor Paul , never said or wrote that. I know that has come as a shock to Africans.
Jesus never said I will build my church on my apostle and prophet. And the apostle shall pull all the strings, and all pastors shall do what he says. Yup. He never said that. That's for England.Apostles is always plural Terry Virgo.
Also for England, Jesus never said I will build my church to straddle all the geographical locations of England, subdivided neatly between bishops, who pull all the strings of the little vicars in all the parishes.
Are you sure Chris?
Well, maybe I've just got the wrong Bible, but I've checked about 12 on the internet, and I haven't found it yet.
I've also checked the letters, and they all seem to start and finish, and have middle bits with the word grace in.And, from the context, it didn't seem to be a thanksgiving prayer at meal times. It seemed to be about a spiritual power imparted by true teachers and ministers, that when they passed through a place, they only seemed to teach for a few hours, and weird is this? the power of the grace force coming out of their insides seemed to empower the believers so much, the ministries just left. And when they returned they never preached the same message twice. How extraordinary is that?
I know the early church had a lot to learn to be as clever and dead as we are...but that's just how it is.
Now here's another weird thing. Let's take a walk through Ephesians.
Ephesians chapters one and two seemed to be the starting point. All English pastors regard this as a lesson for the more spiritual. But Ephesians 1 , 2 and 3seems to be what people learned first, and because of this strange power these early ministries had called grace, that's all they really needed to know to empower them to live. And chapters 4 and 5 were all about working out this grace power with a few practical instructions, not so much laws, in the following  areas of Church, (or living within a LIVE Body ), earthly families and work environments. The Body living was interesting because this didn't just seem to be between 10 and 12 on Sundays. Clearly the early church got that wrong, as they were showed the error of their ways when they crystallised into the Catholic church by about 400. And people were able to show Christians the right and proper way not to be so keen.
Then, now this is absolutely freaky: having worked out this strange grace power message...well actually more than a message, more a force really, which made church, family and work environments other words they became overcomers right where they were......they seemed to think they now had enough authority to extend their territories and their prayer focus in spiritual warfare. Now , not one of them refers to spiritual warfare conferences, or special seminary studies, or exams, or special forms of clothing....but it's a funny thing, by the end of the first century, what began as a bunch of followers of the Way, had congregations of believers in certainly every major city and most towns in the lands bounding the Northern side of the Mediterranean. Most probably fluke.

Surely modernday pastors could teach these people a thing or two about living from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the 7 steps of this and the 10 steps of that? I mean how would believers know how to live? You cannot really rely on an unseen force of grace acting in the life of a believer? This is really no way to run a mega denomination which will only expect a few people to convert every decade or so, and begin teaching others how they can live from rules in the same way  like good honest churchgoers.

Ofcourse, the very thing I'm pretending to be incredulous about like my fellow left-brain countrymen in England IS THE VERY way GOD moves in and through His genuine church. Grace imparted. Grace left to work itself through in all areas of life. Then Ephesians implies in Chapter 6 you have spiritual grace empowering to go into action yourself, and the Body you've worked things through with, in order to expand into other regions. You get your authority in Jerusalem, you expand your grace authority in Samaria, and by now you are on a roll to take over the ends of the Earth and bring the nations, as Paul writes, INTO THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH.

Pastors, bless'em are all working backwards. They are struggling over their own gospel, because they never heard it in the first place through a grace empowered servant. They are left in the delusion that "the Overcoming Life" must be a set of rules then, carefully studied and examined in seminary. Full of all these facts they then deluge this putrid LAW filth onto a bunch of willing listeners until they too are as bewitched as the pastors. The people never grow, but get increasingly bound up. The pastors get madder. They go 200 miles to make a convert twice the son of hell that they are. Then they send their flock to conferences to get them gee'd up with the revelation someone should have taught them in the first place. The congregation are then turfed out onto Waterlooville High Street to do a healing crusade, but inwardly and outwardly they are all miserable, because they know their Johnny is on drugs, their daughter is pregnant and her boyfriend has left her, and they are trying to strum a few chords and tell everyone that Jesus is marvellous.

Anyone sense a gulf between the Ephesians letter and present day churches?

first appeared as a Facebook note by Chris Welch

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