Friday, December 13, 2013

THE CHURCH...TRIUMPHANT...OR EPIC FAILURE?

Greetings and Salutations O Ye Church Goers...

The closer we get to the return of Jesus Christ...to gather His church...the more attacks we seem to be having on the church.

In the New Testament there are 79 references to the word CHURCH (ekklesia).

CHURCH:  ekkleĚ„sia (ek-klay-see'-ah)=a calling out, that is, (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both): - assembly, church.

This thing called CHURCH over the years as been elevated to a place of worship to the point of idolatry...or has been denigrated as a tool of the d-evil...and must be destroyed.  Usually...this destruction of the system of the Church is by disgruntled sheep, disillusioned parishioners, gnostic based wolves from within, or just people looking for a way out into the First Church of the Agnostic/Atheist.  NOTE:  Oh to be sure, there are the purist of heart who really believe they are doing the right thing.  One thing I do see, is the ones applauding the destruction of the SYSTEM are the atheist and agnostics.  It is either TRIUMPHANT...or an EPIC FAILURE.

There are a few sayings come to mind when I think about a gathering of people, in various denominations with various interpretations of doctrine and how a CHURCH (the gathering of people and not the building) should be run.


"For God so loved the world...that He did not form and send a committee." (Unknown)

"For where two or three have gathered together in my name...there is trouble." (Unknown)

"How you leave a church/situation/job/marriage will determine how you enter the next place." (Edwin Cole)

"If you run away from a church...to another church...you will run into the same problem...YOU." (Rodney Boyd)

"If you isolate yourself from the church...you are isolating yourself from the people who need you." (Rodney Boyd)


"Woodbury  Church of Christ...Established 33 A.D." (Sign I saw on my travels)

"I can sit on log in the jungles of Africa...or be in a large cathedral...and worship God." (Arthur Blessitt)

"When you habitually isolate yourself away from those who can stimulate you to love and good deeds...you will grow inwardly...like an ingrown hair that infects your body...and the body of Christ." (Rodney Boyd ruminating on Hebrews 10:23-25) 

Steve "I Wanna Be A Clone" Taylor sang a song called STEEPLECHASE...and it goes a little something like this:

STEEPLECHASE

A change of habit
Used to go bar-hopping
You started church-shopping, did ya?
It's been a problem
Finding one to fit ya
You didn't feel good, did ya?

It's a steeplechase
Blame your failures on
Churches where you've gone
Steeplechase

Ice cold Christian fakes
Turn to frosted flakes
You like the big ones

 Worship incognito
Your problems ain't getting solved
You try a small one
Oops you must retreat-o
You'd rather not get involved

It's a steeplechase
Blame your failures on
Churches where you've gone
Steeplechase

Ice cold Christian fakes
Turn to frosted flakes
 
A Sunday morning
Get a drink of water
It's getting much hotter, huh?
You won't go back there
Must've been the sermon
You didn't like squirming, huh?

It's a steeplechase
Blame your failures on
Churches where you've gone
Steeplechase
Ice cold Christian fakes
Turn to frosted flakes

I currently attend an assembly of people at a BUILDING called Springhouse Worship & Arts Center...but make no mistake...the BUILDING is not THE CHURCH.  The BUILDING merely houses THE CHURCH.  People of like minds gather together in this BUILDING on Sunday mornings...to (1) Praise Him (2) Worship Him (3) Be encouraged, and edified, lifted up, and challenged with the Word of God.  Some even come for a thing that I oversee...Sunday School...as we gather every Sunday Morning at 9:00 A.M for Food, Fun, and Fellowship....and then at 9:30 we begin to Moo and Chew on the Cud/Seed of the Word of God.

NOTE:  Sunday School is not found in the Bible.  Here is a thumbnail sketch of this thing called Sunday School.

"It is important to realize that Sunday schools were originally literally schools: they were places were poor children could learn to read. The Sunday school movement began in Britain in the 1780s. The Industrial Revolution had resulted in many children spending all week long working in factories. Christian philanthropists wanted to free these children from a life of illiteracy. Well into the 19th century, working hours were long. The first modest legislative restrictions came in 1802. This resulted in limiting the number of hours a child could work per day to 12! This limit was not lowered again until 1844. Moreover, Saturday was part of the regular work week. Sunday, therefore, was the only available time for these children to gain some education." (Christian History.net)
 
NOTE:  This thing called Sunday School is housed with the CHURCH BUILDING.  Some would say that since it is NOT found in the Bible...we should not house it in the CHURCH BUILDING...while others would say...there should not be a CHURCH BUILDING. 
The earliest CHURCH included two people and God.  That's right...Adam and Eve...and God.  The building was not built...it was in a Garden.  Later, after the fall of disobedience...God still provided for the fallen ones...and still even received worship from them.  The structures around which their worship was presented were man made altars made of a gather of stones.  Offerings were made... and offerings were received by God off of the man made structures.  Later as the human beings sojourned across the wilderness in the direction of the promised land...they began a circular journey around a mountain for 40 years.  In the sojourn...God gave them a PATTERN for a STRUCTURE to carry out worship called a TABERNACLE.  Later...David and Solomon built another STRUCTURE called THE TEMPLE.  It was at these BUILDINGS that the people collectively assembled to worship and receive forgiveness.  Another place of gathering was a place called SYNAGOGUES...where the WORD could be un-scrolled and read to the people.  Jesus would attend these gathering of people and amaze them with His wisdom.  Jesus was also known to go in...and turn over a few tables and drive a few people out as they abused the system and turn the HOUSE OF PRAYER into a den of thieves.  He did not TEAR DOWN THE HOUSE...or CRITICIZE THE STRUCTURE...but did deal with the PEOPLE who were abusing the system.

Back in 1970...I was attending a small congregation at Temple Baptist Church...with Brenda.  In this CHURCH...I heard the Gospel...faith came and the cause and effect was I asked Brenda..."What do I gotta do to get saved?"  We were sitting in her driveway at 426 Fourth Avenue (not in a Church building) and she led me to the Lord.  We were gathered together in His name and He was in our midst.  The church at that moment was my 1964 Mercury Comet.  Thank God for that gathering of saints at Temple Baptist Church...and the Sunday School that Brenda attended and educated her to the point where I needed to get saved.  This group of people were housed in a BUILDING...led by a pastor (a human being) feeding the flock (the people). 

By 1971...I was in Chattanooga...at Tennessee Temple Bible School...and attending a CHURCH called Highland Park Baptist Church.  Instead of a small congregation of around 40 people...this church had thousands...and their claim to fame was they had the 3rd largest Sunday School IN THE WORLD.  How they came to those numbers...I don't know... but it was impressive.  Over the next few years... Brenda and I have attended various churches in various places around the world.  We have been in Mega Churches, thatched covered sheds and tabernacles in Peru, in storefront buildings, in villages in the middle of the Amazon jungle, in open aired churches...some with names like CHURCH BY THE LAKE NEXT TO THE SLAUGHTER HOUSE.  We have been in HOME MEETINGS where ten people gather in a living room and we have been in Holiday Inn's.  We have had the Eucharist given to us by priest of bread and real wine, have drank grape juice and crackers, and even had hot dog buns and tang as we remembered His death, burial and resurrection.

NOTE: The CHURCH (gathering of saints) has always had problems with people.  I have noticed that when the CHURCH (gathering of saints)...were meeting in HOMES (the original meeting place after Pentecost...as a matter of historical fact...but not a mandate or pattern to always meet in homes)...were where many problems occurred...to point that many of the epistles (letters) had to deal with rascals in the HOME CHURCHES within a CITY.

Brenda and I have currently been at the church where we started back in 1989.  It is currently 2013 going on 2014...you do the math.  During that time...there have been many times where I DID NOT AGREE with the leadership...certain ways that things were being done, the ecclesiastical organization and structure, who was or who was not in charge of various things.  Many times we have planned our way of escape to some other CHURCH or structure of gathering of the saints;  BUT one thing kept us there.  Love for the people we were connected with.  We did not want to isolate ourselves away from them because of DIFFERENCES.  We CHOSE to stay and work through differences and methods.  We look around Springhouse...and see the SPIRIT OF GOD...moving, changing lives, blessing people, establishing people, and growing them up. 

There is something liberating by yielding your RIGHT to be RIGHT and through love serve.  We have seen many leave for other venues...or no venues at all...and shipwreck in their faith.  Oh by the way...we have seen people who have left properly and FLOURISH in their new destinations. 

Well...the CHURCH (the gathering of saints...aka imperfect people serving a perfect God)...is based NOT on a perfect structure...or perfect people...BUT on a perfect God.

I am reminded of a teaching by BOB MUMFORD about levels of COMMITMENT (with a few of my thoughts added).  This principle applies to everything to our jobs, or spouses and families, and or interpersonal relationships with people that we collectively worship God with...in the Church (building and people).  The Three C's of Commitment includes:

  • COMMUNITY:  This is a level where there is minimal commitment.  You come and go as you please.  You are there as long as you are being satisfied...but if something better comes along you feel no qualms about not showing up and gong elsewhere.  Usually this type of commitment is also manifested in your giving.  You will throw whatever is in your pocket as the plate passes by...and end up tipping God instead of tithing.  These people like to show up at a business meeting and throw in their two cents and cause some trouble even if they have not been their consistently.
  • COMMUNION:  This is a level where there is more commitment.  Usually more faithful.  You show up on a regular basis, there for special events, and are a tither.  As long as things are going smoothly they will stay.  We have a connection with the body of Christ locally and at large.
  •  
  • COVENANT:  These people are rooted and established and take ownership of the body (they do not have to be in appointed positions).  They are not steeplechasers...and CHOOSE to stay and work through the difficulties with I CORINTHIANS 13 being the basis.  They not only tithe...the give over and above.  They are committed with not only their words...but also their deeds.  They are not perfect...but serve a perfect God.  They are ENCOURAGERS and not GRUMBLERS AND COMPLAINERSNOTE:  Grumbling and Complaining is d-evil praise.  The are not in agreement with the d-evil who is an ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN.  The do NOT cause STRIFE within the church with factions.  They may leave...but under the leading of the Holy Spirit and NOT their flesh.  They leave with a blessing and not a curse.  They leave by not burning a bridge.
FINAL THOUGHTS...FINALLY

Well...this little Rambling by no means solves the schism of CHURCH POLITY.  The debate will continue...because...well someone has to be right...and someone has to be wrong.  The theologians and theologian wannabes will be debating how a church should operate until the Lord comes back.  Meanwhile the gates of hell prevail, the agnostic and atheist rejoices...and the d-evil wins.   To quote my friend Joey Monteleone, ""Love never fails"! -------Corinthians" 

The CHURCH is either TRIUMPHANT or EPIC FAILURE.  For me...I'm going for the TRIUMPHANT.  An ECCLESIA...of imperfect people with imperfect methods...with weakness that is only manifested by His GRACE and MERCY.  Bill Gathier had a great song that I first heard sung by Doug Oldham called THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT.  Click on the link and see them do it live.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=536e9OQ7s5s

Love and CHURCHY KISSES
Rodney "Member of the Triumphant Church of Jesus Christ" Boyd
Posted by Picasa

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home