Wednesday 24 June 2009

Some thoughts on Cutting The Cord

This is tonight's entry on Facebook by Paul Anderson Walsh and the first two replies.

Cutting the cord
I've been thinking more and more about the believer and his or her relationship to what we call church. It struck me that it might be a bit like a baby's relationship with its umbilical cord. What I mean is that so long as the child is in the womb then the cord plays a vital role...
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Ole Henrik Skjelstad at 19:17 on 24 June
Interesting train of thought. I have been in such a process for a couple of years myself deliberating whether to leave my present church or not. I have tried, without success, the last four years to introduce my pastor to the grace message. It seems to me that God is building an "cyberspace" congregation where the New Covenant truths can flow unimpeded and I feel an urge to be in that torrent.

Bob Lewis at 20:31 on 24 June
I haven't been in the organized religious community or in an organized religious entertainment centre (some people call it church) for 4 or 5 years now. My relationship with the Loed has never been better and I do not miss the church community at all. After all, you and I ARE the church! I have also noticed an amazing increase in the "cyberspace" congregation. People "called out" from virtually every country in the world. God is (as usual) doing an awesome work. Praising and thanking Him.
Much of the material on this blog relates directly to this question of Cutting the Cord.
If you are coming in from the outside you must forgive the jargon I use. Regular blog readers know that my use of first,second and third levels is quite specific, but as the TheoCentric bloglink shows, you can further subdivide the Christian life in just the same way that you might describe the development of our own lives according to say, decades.
But here, and in the Paul Anderson Walsh series of books the definitions of 1 John 2 are used: Children,Young Men,Fathers. These are not sexual definitions. These are Spirit.
Hence Mother Basilea Schlink (Darmstadt,Germany)was one of the Fathers in my personal life. She was one of only a handful of people in the Earth in the 70s to point to a real Biblical understanding of growth in the believer.
Unless we work from these Biblical definitions we will not understand what on earth is going on in our lives, nor have any real shape in our understanding of what church is, what church is for and what limits and boundaries are placed on the function of church.
To further confound people's left-brain understandings...and really you should be leaving these parts of your brain outside by the door for this next bit....
Ezekiel talks about a vision of wheels within wheels...
Nothing describes seasons of growth better.
Simultaneously you have the believer's growth stages
You have the growth stages of a local church expression.
But you also have the macro scale of the Church in the Earth. For centuries, the whole identity of the Church was with getting people saved from hell. In the last century the Pentecostal/Charismatic effusion concerned itself presenting a gospel of power, of signs and wonders to effect miraculous changes here and now on Earth. Actually, the initial foundation had been laid through the Quakers and the Brethren, re-establishing more Biblical patterns of meetings where "Everyone hath a", with which to bless and upbuild other believers.
The third level is I believe upon us now. This is where the whole direction of the church is set to birth Christ in a believer. Not the birth of new birth. This is rather the birth of a fully operational son of God in the Earth, who in his/her turn knows how to reproduce others to the same level. This is unique to our time period.
Further background material can be found in these places on this blog:
So the background to my response about "Cutting the Cord" is described in much detail in the above posts.
I like Frank Viola's angle in his book from Eternity To Here. This is also to be found in Juan Carlos Ortiz's book "Disciple".
The Church is NOT ABOUT US. Although we are in it.
It is not about how we feel.
It is not about whether we enjoy it or not. But if it is conducted in the Holy Spirit we should.
The Church is for the Lord.
As Ortiz described in detail,most churches, if born again at all, are piles of unrelated bricks.
Believers neither really know why they are there. Who they really are. And what their relation to other believers is.
All of us at birth are contaminated with lust...for power, for sex, for things. Baptism in the Spirit
is not the complete antidote. The Birth of Christ in a believer is the antidote. Saul, in the Old Testament was anointed and quickly entered into leadership. David, had anointing...but he had something else too...a heart change...made even greater after the sad episode with Bathsheba.
Churches are presently run by men and women, who many times are not even born again. Or born again yet not baptised in the Spirit. Or baptised in the Spirit but with absolutely no idea that a third level of growth exists, let alone that they are called to impart to others that same Life of Christ.
Jorge Pradas's vision, greatly influenced by Ed Miller, (both in Argentina) is described in his book (in Spanish),"Congregados para darle gloria" "Gathered for the purpose of giving the Lord Glory". This is the Church. It's all about God's glory. It's about gathering around His real Presence. Learning to relate together with a King, a Lord, and Friend.
The Church is unique. When we gather as little as two or three then mystically He is there in our midst. Does this take away from our personal position in Christ? Living as Christ in our forms as us? No. But when we gather as instructed in the Bible some really unique things occur. We are given gifts for one another that are the precise rhema word that we might be needing right now...if only to confirm what God may be speaking to us individually anyway.The Power of the Lord is experienced tangibly. Unbelievers who are present are confronted with what is basically a miracle week by week...."How can such a body of disparate people such as this, all ages, all intelligences,both sexes, all backgrounds, move in such a unified unplanned fashion? Without notes? Without string pulling? Often times with completely new beautiful songs? Or specific words of knowledge about exact conditions and circumstances that could not be known...How can this happen? Especially in today's secular world?"
The problem is the Church is mostly not like that. It is string pulling. It is gathering around one leader's set of skills. It is a pile of unrelated bricks. And very little Presence. Emotion, yes. Overhead projection. Maybe a worship band. But that's not what I have described above is it?
And so anyway. This is the difficult thing for Free Believer's on the internet and this is the difficult thing for members of what I call large "warehouse churches", particularly in USA, Australia and now in the UK.
Size in itself is not a problem. But are the Biblical components for growth there for you in that warehouse church? The ones I've described to get you growing supernaturally.
To "Free Believers", pulling away from a church to establish yourselves in a more 3D relationship with God, is not in itself implausible. I had to go that way. Actually, most of the Bible characters seemed to go that way. So it's not like we are unique here.
But what is important is to get the complete overview. The answer to bad church is not no is good church. And this last sentence presents a challenge to both sides of the divide:"Free Believers" and "Warehouse Christians".
Good church runs in the Melchizedek order. The Lord of the Universe runs it. He does use His own ministry giftings to achieve certain ends....but the end is ALWAYS this.
Jesus wants to live His Life through you as you. Exactly as he originally made you, before sin snaffled some of your divine image. There...just there....ministry giftings tail away into insignificance....because....hush now....the believer is in Union with his or her Christ. And what they get up to, like in a marriage frankly no business of just back away, whistling to yourself, just as if you are not there. Got it? That is the Jesus Pattern of Ministry. So so so so far from anything out there today.
Good church has the Presence of the Living God. And frankly, no one has a clue what He'll get up to next.
Good church somehow gets over the problem of cutting the Cord.
In Song of Solomon, the first time watchmen are mentioned, it's great. Like a good secondlevel church experience, they are there to feed and upbuild a believer. Next time they are mentioned, you're having your clothes ripped off you, being paraded around in the road for heaven's sake!!!
What's that about?
That's about cutting the cord! Or the other analogy some 3rd level teachers used (now the International Ministry Association or IMA, look them up on Wikipedia) is that of an eagle stirring up a nest of baby eagles.....Time to fly little ones!!! "But I like the nest!" "Sorry, but it's time to fly! Oh, did I just push you all out? How clumsy of me!!"
If this was just theory, well it would be a bit one-sided.
From 1978-84 in particular Emsworth church (near Portsmouth UK ) were experimenting how you run meetings in the Presence of God. Also how you train up young people in ministry. What we carried was a bit of the divine DNA about how you do meetings. How people are transformed from one level of glory to another by beholding the face of the Living God in meetings. Emsworth was pretty useless at the time on articulating growth in terms of the epistles, but in terms of hands on experience it was an incredible time.
In the last few years, Peter Stott and others in the church here in Havant (next door to Emsworth) have been pursuing a similar course under the title "Key of David " meetings. (More background here) This, and the fact that several locals were all present for some of the Lakeland Florida Outpouring last year (do a blog search on Florida Outpouring),
has actually meant huge changes to how we do even main meetings here. Perhaps our smaller size helps.
Finally, in thinking around this topic of Cutting the Cord...remember a relationship is a symbiotic union. Its 2 way. For good or for bad. Whether healthy or unhealthy.
2nd level churches are only successful because people willingly go there. They are defined by a leader or leadership team that require your submission to them. They usually require your money, in a very predetermined amount. And if you fulfil your side of the bargain, they will provide you with one, two or three hours godly entertainment and teaching, and maybe signs and wonders, in the case of those with outstanding anointing.
But never forget. You willingly gave yourself into this. It's not one way. Like an abusive relationship, the battered spouse is secretly and wondrously drawn to that powerful macho figure that beats her up.
So there is both a cutting of the cord from a healthy situation, just as a teenager gradually moves ever further out from his or her family home. And there is the cutting of the Cord from an abusive church situation that forever wants to keep you as pew fodder, digesting the same cycle of sermons, about things that have little or no revelation value, so as to make you grow supernaturally. Cutting this type of cord, has greater, more fearful repercussions, because you are pulling away from status quo land, where you may continue in great personal bondage for years, without you or others being aware....until you seek to make steps to following your Bridegroom more actively.


lydia said...

This was good Chris!! I agree that the answer to bad church is not no church............BUT, what if there are no GOOD churches, ones that really understand who we are now! That is my dilemma............

lydia said...

This post also got me thinking about the verse................"leave and cleave" - I don't know exactly how to relate it to your post, but I know for me, and many others who have left the modern day church, it has been much like a healthy 'leaving and cleaving' to our bridegroom!!

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

Lydia, I so feel for you- since this happened to me. And because I had been chucked out, I didn't know if word had got around, so I didn't dare go to another church for years. But I just knew I had received a light that I'd never had before that was enabling me to walk clearer and clearer of all things that used to just floor me so easily.
And it is so horrible...actually torture, when others laugh at you for being such an idiot. Or put pressure on you to do this and that, when you just know what the Spirit has said...and you must content yourself with that until He raises up something new.
I never, never ,never expected Havant Church to be what it in fact is. It was pretty hidden when I joined. Because Christine and I had no recommendation from anywhere, people did not know quite how to take us. We actually found Havant nearly impossible to break into. In these last few years things have changed. Because their conferences are up 2 or 3 gears from the local meetings, it was only when we went to the conferences that we realised how flipping amazing the thing is that God is building here.And since Florida this has leaked into the main meetings.
As for leaving and cleaving, if she feels happy to, you might get something out of Ruth Dunys via Facebook. Those were the precise verses that were so so so key in her life when I first knew her. As confirmation, like many of us, she began receiving these amazing prophetic words and beautiful songs. She was the one who suddenly had the word about the Barcelona church (about 8 people) suddenly growing. A week later they all arrived at church to find about 15 or 20 people standing waiting to get in. They said that this spiritist healer had given up on them and recommended the church to give them help. Wow! Wow! Wow! That still tickles me nearly 30 years later.
Love you girl...and all that God has shown you in the past 12 months or more!!Let's see if Ruth responds? Just let her know I sent you.

lydia said...

Thanks for your encouragement Chris! I am trusting that God will lead me to the right 'church' or group for fellowship in His perfect timing. The desire is there for sure!!

As for facebook stuff, I have temporarily bailed on it.........:(