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You can question everything except the elephant!

Mar 20, 2006 at 23:44
Category: Leadership Files

By: Steve Hill

Through my friend Arwie Koops I received an invitation to attend a symposium on the Ermerging Church that was held in Brussels last Saturday. Most of the folks hosting would have read Brian McLaren and it was interesting to listen as they shared and fielded questions. Everything was up for question! "What do you do when 99% of the folks in your area have no connection to church and like it that way?" was the starter from Jason Clark of the Suttin Vinyard, UK.

Questions about belonging, believing and behavior and the order in which we worked with them were opened up. Comments about modernism and postmodernism were made that were insightful. The issue is not so much that a postmodern does not believe in truth but that he has whole different process at arriving at truth. He does not accept it from outside or from any one authority but starts with himself and must experience multiple testimonies and hear multiple voices before believing that what he is experiencing is truth.

Not only questions about methods but the message were also opened up. What is our message? Believe in Jesus so you can be forgiven and go to heaven when you die? That does not sell well to me either! But it certainly does not sell well to a consumer culture that can get anything it wants now and does not believe in sin. Does the message change with culture? My comment would be that an unbiblical message needs to be changed! But just talking about changing the message is brave for most evangelicals!

Lots of good stuff but one question never came up. To me it seemed like the elephant sitting in the room that eveybody had committed to ignoring. Everybody in the room seemed committed to leader, building, program equaling church and we could talk about everything else but that. We could rearange all the furniture inside the box but we could not touch the box! Maybe the problem is the box and institutional "discipleship"- attend the meetings, give your money and support the leadership! Maybe the problem is the bench mark of success- how many people you can fit inside the box!

What would happen if you had a movement whose focus was talking about marriage. The leader was someone who had studied the books, the traditions, the relational psychology, the symbols, the ceremonies and the customs of many ages and cultures. He could really talk about marriage. He was funny and motivational They gathered once a week to sing songs about marriage, to listen to the talk and to be encouraged to be good people in light of how great marriage was. But nobody was ever allowed to get married. And you would say how stupid! The whole point of marriage is to get married!

As Martin Loyd Jones said, "I never realized how boring church was until I had to sit at the back!" The guy at the front is doing his stuff and the rest get to sing along. He gets to be married and everybody else just watches. We have a theology of the priesthood of all believers but a practice of priestcraft no different from the Catholic system. One "expert" does it all!

You become a son of God to become a father in God. You get married to Christ to have fruit unto God. You get filled with the Holy Spirit to move in the gifts and the power. The New Testament knows nothing of one preaching to the many. It only knows a priesthood of all believers where all function. The only instruction in the New Testament about how to do church is I Corinthians 14:26. Since nobody read anything from the bible during the whole day that might have been a good one to read! But that would have introduced the elephant!

Or should I say the sacred cow? Kill all sacred cows! They make the best hamburger!

 

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