23 April 2009

Answering Terry & Mary

Terry & Mary, here goes...
The difficulties of the past came from a "command and control," top-down model... Wisdom and vision (and hence authority) were seen as belonging to a few and their job was to dispense it as they saw fit... It was the model we knew, the way we were taught.

Very OT... The problem: reading the NT with OT eyes and OT mental template... but again, if that's what you know, that's what you do.

It led to those "in authority" not really being answerable - in reality - to anybody. Hey they were God's man, and when you're on the top of the pyramid, where do ya go for wisdom? (I know, theoretically to God, but we're all going there, right?)

Jesus - His life, death, resurrection, ascension - made a difference.

The NT model is more about every Believer hearing the Spirit as an indwelling, influencing part of their lives so that a corporate vision "bubbles up" among people walking together. Not very "top-down" but more "all-level-at-the-foot-of-
the-cross" thinking. And being answerable becomes a heart attitude of listening to those more mature, more knowledgeable and having better insight.

It becomes a big problem for those of us who are into commanding and controlling... (sigh)

Discipleship happens as we hear God and teach others to hear the Spirit for themselves and to walk out what they hear in faith. And Jesus teaches us to listen to others with humble ears. And we trust them to actually hear.

Ok, ok... all this is just off the top of my head and I'm not sure FB is the place to air this... I'll post this on my blog and we can discuss there... Please hold all flame-throwers at bay...


  1. I deleted my comment on FB, so here it is again: I'm curious to get your insight into how the church today is different from what you describe above....because deep down, I wonder if it is!
    Terry's original question was how do we keep from making the same mistakes, and I'm afraid the answer is we ARE. So how do we fix it? Or can we?

  2. Can you give some examples from Scripture of how you describe the NT church, i.e. "every Believer hearing the Spirit as an indwelling, influencing part of their lives so that a corporate vision "bubbles up" among people walking together. Not very "top-down" but more "all-level-at-the-foot-of-the-cross" thinking . . ."?

  3. One example – just off the top of my head (a dangerous place to write from) – is in Acts 13:1-3 where Paul/Saul and Barnabas begin their first missionary journey from Antioch.

    It says: "In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off." (NIV)

    Prophets and teachers are gifts in the Body of Christ (EPH 4:11) for equipping. They are “gifts” not “offices.” So these gifted men from various backgrounds and ethnic groups heard the Holy Spirit, they obeyed.

    One of the things I see in the church today is what I call the Physics Heresy. We were taught in science that “a body at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.” And we have somehow transferred that into the church in this way: “People in the church who are at rest, will remain at rest until acted upon by a visionary leader.” Wrong! Every Believer, every Jesus-follower is given the Holy Spirit to live internally all the time 24/7/365 and according to Jesus, to lead us into all reality. (JOH 14-16) the Holy Spirit speaks, leads, convicts. He live in us all! And he brings vision and understanding to us all.

    Granted some are gifted, anointed and placed in leadership positions. And we are to submit to them (HEB 13:17) for they give an account (they’re answerable!) but they are not as the “rulers of the Gentiles” (MAT 20:25-28, MK 10:42-45, LUK 22:25-26). They are neither “lords” nor “benefactors.” They are equals with a diversity of gifts. (ROM 12:3-8)


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