A Brief Analysis and Proposal for the Organisational Structure of the Body of Christ
ARC GUIDE LEVEL 4
Ideal for those well acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community and with other Church communities.
What is the defining organisational line between the various factions of Christianity? What line distinguishes us as distinct movements and yet a part of the same faith? What places us squarely on the right side of that line between Christian and non-Christian? Is it our name for the Eternally Powerful Divine One, our exact message, how we organise ourselves, our scriptures? I contend that we regularly put the defining onus onto church polity. Now, traditionally, church polity has meant whether or not we recognise certain church officers and their roles, but, I believe this to be an insufficient definition. Using this definition of church polity in tandem with the position that it defines us as a faith, we find that we can only differ so much before we cross the invisible line into a completely separate faith. I say, ‘invisible,’ because no one is quite sure when we have crossed it. The line is both a subjective and an objective border. It is objective in that Christianity has clear core beliefs laid out in the scriptures and yet it is subjective because of each individual believer’s ideological risk tolerance. In this way, church polity is a unity issue. If you cross the invisible line in my mind; differing or questioning my practices, theology, traditions, and politics, then you are no longer ‘Christian,’ as I know and experience daily. For example, instead of extending love and unity beyond our own cultural traditions, the Western Church historically cut ties with the Eastern Church, depriving one another of their respective strengths. As such the Western Church has a weaker wisdom tradition and the Eastern Church a weaker analytical tradition. The subdivide of will and purpose was fairly straight forward as, when the break occurred, institutions were still conceptually strong. However, more recent, closer to home instances of ideological chaos happen in the event of an organisational implosion caused by widespread delayed deconstruction, reformation and revival. This leads us to an ultimatum: expand our concept of church polity and therefore of church unity, or continue to fracture into a million self-obsessed pieces.
What to Expect
So, how should we conduct ourselves organisationally in the body of Christ? This question of church leadership and organisation spans centuries of church thought–most of it extra-biblical in nature. However, an honest discussion of organisation and unity leads us to the New Testament epistles. The respective authors come back to the refrain of unity and how we ought to treat one another regularly. This is usually in the vein of reminding their readers just exactly who the people of God are and therefore how they ought to act. This may seem out of the scope of the everyday believer’s proverbial paygrade but stay with me because it is essential that how we organise ourselves in the body of Christ is centred on the reinforcement of the God given rights of the everyday individual believer from the least of these to the greatest. If we organise and conduct ourselves in such a way, not from the top-down, or the middle-out but from the bottom-up, then I believe we will have more fully realised what it means to be and to live as the people of God who have received mercy. The following background information may be helpful in understanding the coming article.
Useful Background Information
For a full overview of church polity in its many forms I can direct you to John E. Lynche’s synopsis of church polity 1987 and updated in 2005.
Essential to my analysis and proposal is an understanding of the basic believer’s rights as I have detailed them in The Christian’s Bill of Rights as well as an understanding of the three types of traditions in the Scriptures as I have detailed in Developing Biblical Traditions.
The A Word is also essential reading to my analysis of abuse in the body as it relates to church polity.
Church polity is a lame horse in the public square. It can be holistically defined as the regular, everyday running of the body of Christ including the offices, culture and spiritual formation of the people of God who have received mercy. No one has written anything particularly fresh about the organisational structure of the body of Christ in recent memory; it tends to be a recitation of the old forms with new clothes on. More to the point, no one in the active body of Christ is even really that concerned about updating the Church’s organisational structure. What people are far more interested in is Church Culture.
“Never mind how you’re organised, that doesn’t really matter! Your church’s culture is what defines how healthy it is!”Church Culture Critic
I respectfully disagree. When how a church is organised and run is removed from the church’s culture and spiritual formation, we put a band aid on a gaping wound. According to John Lynch, it was the Lutherans who didn’t initially give much merit to the idea of specific, God ordained, church polity. They became all things to all people, so they just continued much in the same way that the Catholic church did or whatever church they were reforming in whatever country. As a result they also conformed to the world in the pre-existing sins these other organisations indulged in, including antisemitism and the murder of unbelievers and heretics. The Baptists eventually took it one step further and gave church polity into the hands of each individual church to decide, saying that once a new church had been established that it was its own autonomous entity scrubbing their hands of any sin that resulted from this distaste for church polity. Spiritual abuse runs rampant among the people of God and the only thing we can think that is wrong is that we have poor church culture; that our culture isn’t “Tov,” (good) enough. Countless volumes of books detailing specific church cultures crafted over 20-30 years of ministry stock our shelves, and yet, reports of widespread abuse like that of the SBC report exist and continue to be published on a regular basis. It is time to return to the scriptures and give them and the Spirit of God the reins of our church polity and culture. I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that someone may have read that last statement with disbelief. So let’s take a look at what a truly biblical church polity might look like in contrast to other forms of church polity we currently employ.
Three Forms of Polity and Culture
In my mind there are three basic forms of church polity and culture. Clergy Centred, Congregation Centred, and Christ Centred. In Clergy Centred Polity the few professionals make one policy for the many, a top-down approach. In Congregation Centred Polity the majority make one policy for all, a middle-out approach. In Christ Centred Polity, the Spirit does away with policy and moves as He wills, a bottom-up approach. There is, of course, bleed through and many variations of these three standards. For instance, if the clergy or the congregation are the ones making all of the decisions for everyone then the simple act of getting rid of policy does not give us a Christ Centred Polity.
Clergy Centred Polity
We all know what Clergy Centred polity looks like on the regular so let’s look at a recent variation that has attempted to buck the system but sadly still falls squarely in the realm of Clergy Centred Polity. Alan Hirch in his book, The Forgotten Ways, challenges the institutional paradigm of church polity with what he terms as a ‘movemental,’ paradigm. What this amounts to is that policy is done away with for a more intuitive, organic polity led by what he terms as apostolic genius. However, it is clear that Hirch is still quite clergy centred in his polity. Hirch makes clear use of the 8th law of leadership, The Law of Intuition, from John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership in which Maxwell states that “Leaders examine everything from a leadership bias”. Hirch claims the inevitable inconsistencies that occur in his decision making model are features and not flaws and glories in the organic nature of what he has created. However, it would not classify as a Christ Centred Polity. Put simply, it’s top-down approach where the professional leader makes all of the decisions for everyone means that his is a solid Clergy Centred Polity.
I will discuss more fully the problematic nature of the first two polities in a moment but it should be clear that nowhere in scripture are we led to believe that one or a group of people ought to be the sole leaders in the body of Christ. I’ll let that rest and we’ll go on to the natural opposite of Clergy Centred Polity.
Congregation Centred Polity
The historical answer to Clergy Centred Polity has nearly always been Congregation Centred Polity where the majority make one policy for everyone–a middle-out approach. This stance is associated with the classic Baptist and non-denominational position and is reinforced by a strong belief in the autonomy of the local church. This polity is closer to a bible based church polity, but there’s an old saying that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. What results is still a class of people (members in good standing) who receive more spiritual rights and recognition than others (non-members and members in poor standing).
So we see that in these first two polities that a group of believers is idealised and other groups seen as at least a gradation lower. These two polities have many manifestations but all of the same problems. Let’s take a look at Christ Centred Polity and what that looks like.
Christ Centred Polity
Christ Centred Polity, in contrast to the first two polities, sees everyone as on the same level. Jesus knew that we don’t naturally see this as reality so how He presents it is with a parable with a conundrum.
“But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”Matthew 19:30 ESV
Jesus illustrates this conundrum with a parable about the harvest of a certain land owner’s crop. A servant is told to go out and hire certain men at a certain hour to come and harvest his master’s crop for a certain amount of coin. He goes out several times each time at a later hour with the promise of the same amount of coin. When it comes to the end of the day the labourers line up to paid and the master instructs his servant to pay the last labourers first and the first last. There were some who assumed that the master intended to sweeten the deal he had made with the first group of labourers, but when it came time to pay them, he paid them exactly what they were owed.
The parable about the conundrum of who is first or last is meant to make us question our metrics for valuing people. The labourers in the field put their value in being first and the amount of work they did and how long they worked. To them, those who had come last and done the least amount of work were the ones who deserved to be paid the agreed amount. For themselves, they expected better treatment.
10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’Matthew 20:10-12 English Standard Version
Did you catch the crux of their complaint? “you have made them equal to us,” if the heart of their protest to the master didn’t say enough about them, the master’s response and Jesus’ re-itteration of the conundrum tells more.
13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’[b] 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”Matthew 20:13-16 English Standard Version
The first half of verse 15 reveals the heart of the master. “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?” In the parable, what belongs to the master is his money. The correlation to the master’s money in reality is the people of God who have received mercy. Just as each coin is valued the same, so too is each person. The second half of verse 15 reveals this; ” Or do you begrudge my generosity?” If we are in doubt of the meaning of this parable, five chapters later Jesus returns to this anthem of placing those the world considers to be least as our equals in every way.
34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’Matthew 25:34-40 English Standard Version
It is really tempting to read this and imagine ourselves as being the greatest of these showering mercy down on the least of these, but this is not the heart of Christ. This is revealed by the very nature of the people who took care of the world’s forgotten. They didn’t see themselves as being better than those who needed mercy and physical provision. They saw themselves as equal. If indeed, we are still in doubt about the equifying, unifying heart of Christ read the words of Paul in Philippians 2.
1Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:Philippians 2:1-5 English Standard Version
I will leave you to read the rest of the passage, but you get the idea. A Christ Centred Polity is an equifying, unifying polity; a bottom-up approach.
How we Got Here
In recent church history we have neglected the scriptures for our source of church polity for the regular everyday running of the body. This may sound like a harsh judgement but it is because we have failed to see the forest for the trees. We no longer see that what will corrupt the faith of one believer will corrupt an entire gathering. We see this clearly on display in terms of church unity. Swap unity for membership and we can see that the reasons we neglect meaningful unity among the local churches are the same reasons people are not members of our respective churches; anyone who has gone church shopping already knows what I’m talking about. A litany of excuses ranging from, “they’re too far away”, “they’re just not a good for me,” and “I don’t think they believe in (insert pet theology here)”.
Enumerated Spiritual Rights
If we take the individual instances in the epistles and certain instances in the Old Testament where one group of people asserts themselves over another in the body of Christ to the misuse and abuse of another group, the author regularly gives them the theology of why no one is higher than another in the body of Christ. We see this plainly on the microscale of 1 to 1. But, somehow, in the conversion from individual to group dynamics we have reasoned in ourselves that if one group is not meaningfully dominant in the body, then there will be chaos. This is our reasoning against using the scriptures for our source one of church polity; in short, it doesn’t convert. Whatever rough treatment that comes from the dominant group is seen as an individual ambiguous violation of maybe their human rights, but nothing that indicates a violation of so-called ‘spiritual rights’. Consider, though, that there is no such thing as ambiguously violating someone’s rights. For instance, we can’t abuse a stick in the same way we abuse a human because the stick has no enumerated rights. If there is abuse then there are enumerated rights to be abused. If there are no enumerated rights then abuse becomes ‘rough treatment,’ but nothing more sinister. However, enumerated, those rights enter the collective conscious mind as inalienable. For instance, if our rights derived from our common humanity are abused they become ‘human rights violations’. However, our designation for when a spiritual leader abuses their followers is ‘spiritual,’ abuse. We cover an analysis of spiritual abuse in, The A Word, but, as it relates to church polity, I will make an observation that should be clear by now. If spiritual abuse exists as a concept in our collective moral consciousness then enumerated spiritual rights must also exist. I contend that the Scriptures enumerate those rights on a 1 to 1 micro scale; seeding them into New Testament letters and whose subconscious presence can be found as evidence among the people of God today. But, there’s a problem, clergy and congregation centred polities are not designed to honour those spiritual rights. Much to the contrary, they are designed in an effort to curb those instinctual rights and focus them institutionally into, “doing something for Jesus”. Even now, my internal Fundamentalist Baptist is nodding his head in holy affirmation. It is a forgone conclusion for him that to highlight and officially enumerate our individual rights would be devastating for church unity, and, therefore, for our respective church polities. This is absolutely correct if our current organisational unity and polity is built on the back of these spiritual rights violations.
Authority Without Domination
Despite our obsession with strong, dominant leaders, the biblical authors never pull the authority and superiority card in a non-tongue in cheek manner. They far more often pull the maturity card defined not by obedience to a man or woman in authority but by obedience to the Spirit of God in their hearts and, therefore, in their lives. When maturity is praised over position, then anyone can rise to so-called church leadership through obedience to Jesus. However, when a position is praised over maturity then once the position is filled there is no more need for mature believers. We see this plainly in denominations who forbid a retiring pastor to continue fellowshipping in the same body that they pastored just in case the people reject the authority of the new pastor in favour of the old. But, lest we think ourselves any better, it is the same for all others as well. A positional figure or collective who sets the course for the whole church to the exclusion of all other spiritually mature believers will stunt the maturity of an entire gathering. However, a group dynamic where all are raising one another up to full reproducing maturity will result in many mature believers who freely and willingly lead those in their wake to the next step in their spiritual journey with Christ. Paul, in writing to the Corinthian church, highlights this destructive positional figure paradigm–it doesn’t have to be voluntary on the part of the leader to cause the kind of damage that would stunt the spiritual growth of an entire gathering. In chapter 3 Paul reprimands the Corinthians for being immature for their age as a result of putting himself, Apollos and Peter in the position in their hearts where God alone ought to sit and spends the whole rest of the book detailing the immaturity that has resulted from the idolization of their human leaders–himself included.
God Ordained Order
Paul doesn’t neglect the fact that Apollos, Peter and himself are leaders who made certain contributions to the body of Christ. Paul says that he planted and Apollos watered but God caused the growth. His point, at the end of the chapter, is that our natural exposure to human leaders ought not to be taken as exclusionary.
21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas[c] or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.1 Corinthians 3:21-23 English Standard Version
Paul’s leadership was not distinct from Peter’s or Apollos’ or indeed anyone in the body of Christ as they are all of Christ who is our High Priest.
The High Priesthood of Christ is the single greatest threat to the way that we currently conduct ourselves as the people of God who have received mercy. It erodes all fantasies of spiritual supremacy over one another because of our fleshly accomplishments and desires. It is only in counting them as nothing; literally adding nothing of value to us that we can be seen as first among the people of God and as having a witness worth listening to.
So we see that God ordained order, is more than the so-called offices of elder and deacon and runs far deeper than a couple of lads in their mid 30s sat down at a folding table trying to make a living out of their start-up symbiotic organisation.
The concept of a God ordained order in the scriptures–a hierarchy–far surpasses the notion of who is in power and who put them there. That’s just the etymology of the word we made up to describe what we thought we were reading. It goes down to the deepest levels of every human heart. It surpasses those who by selfish ambition seek after that which would make them look better in the hearts, and minds of those they would lead. It describes those who give up that human credibility for the sake of Christ. This is not because they are weak, blind, poor and uneducated for their time, but because they have received mercy for their previous arrogance and see the wandering barren souls of the people in their lives and refuse to condemn them but offer them pure unadulterated mercy instead. This is the divine order God has ordained and to the degree that a person meets this criteria they will be raised up as an example of what it really means to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. But let us entertain the flipside of this divine order to understand why this is not the case currently in the body of Christ.
There are two main beliefs that have landed us in the climate we have today in regards to church polity and culture. The first is total depravity; the hamartiology (theology about sin) that says that all people are irredeemably self-focused, and the second is adversarial unity; the belief that the only factor that truly unites is a common enemy. These two beliefs have manifested an adversarial relationship between those who have been entrusted with leadership in the church and the everyday Christian.
Sin, the common enemy, initially led believers to join together to seek out a measurable solution to total depravity which we call spiritual formation which, essentially, focuses on a theological statement and a code of conduct designed to ferret out sin as defined by both documents. This introduced a scale of distinction into the body of Christ. The scale goes from those who have signed the documents, effectively copy and pasting their so-called faith and practice, to those who haven’t and everyone in-between. Those who either wrote or whole heartedly agreed to these statements gained spiritual capital in order to lead and those who didn’t found themselves on the outside not even a part of the new spiritual economy set up by these two documents. The middle ground is those who signed the documents, but to varying degrees continued to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, keeping a private theology that is often uncovered in disagreements with those fully committed to the symbiotic organisation and its goals. When disagreement or sin arises, it is often solely attributed to the person in whom it arose or to the failure of the church to spiritually form its people thereby taking back the conversation from those who would see deconstruction, reformation and revival happen and planting that reformation squarely on the individual’s shoulders. We can see how a truly mature believer would not stay in a situation like this for very long. They will not stagnate themselves in an effort to hold a party line or bolster the popularity of a certain group of people or ideology that they believe to be destructive to the overall running of the body.
James 1 Lit Test
If you’re like most people reading this, you’re asking yourself what we can meaningfully do about the fact that we are so heinously organised in the body of Christ. As with all sin, it starts with repentance. Leaders with significant influence to change things are now without excuse to make those changes whichever way the Spirit of God leads them. It is my belief that a Year of Jubilee; a year of loosening and breaking the bondage of clergy and congregation centred polities ought to be recognised in each body that desires to throw off the weight of organisational sin and embrace a Christ centred polity. The cycle of deconstruction, reformation, and revival are supposed to be a normal part of the healthy everyday believer’s life, so, when I call for a year of Jubilee, a Sabbath year if you will, I am calling for the people of God to reinstate this cycle back into our functional organisation over the cycle of a year. The cycle itself will take over after that point. Our current organisation causes the backlog of these regular system updates causing the whole system to periodically crash. So, over the next year, I am calling to the people of God to edify and encourage one another to work out our own individual salvation with fear and trembling towards the end of seeking after God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. This starts with the proclamation of Jubilee that sets everyone free from the bondage we have put them in including theological statements, codes of conduct, non-disclosure agreements and any other documents and agreements that impinge on the spiritual rights of the people of God who have received mercy. If every person of God can be discipled to do this and to disciple someone else to do this then the automated cycle of deconstruction, reformation and revival will be re-established. This is only the beginning. A deep examination of our unity and polity is merely the start. The end goal is, as always, God’s Kingdom and His righteousness.
5 responses to “Polity for the Least of These”
LOL, first the term “polity” was new to me, and I found increasingly, that I am not a friend of it. 😉
Second, your literacy certainly is astounding university level, and I laud your ability to think through and put into words complicated matters of polity. I was finding myself reading faster and faster while my brain was shouting ,” Too much by far, too much my far!”.
I was imagining Jesus sitting together with His Talmidim handing out a teaching like this to them and smiled!
I loved the Scriptures you brought, the way they emphasise the unity in the body of Christ, reminding me of my own personal journey out of the culture of Roman Catholicism to find the true and living GOD, a relationship with Yeshua/Jesus, going through the waters of Baptism, struggling to find a fellowship which was truly teaching the Word of God and walking together the way Jesus commands us to live. During all this time I ignored denominational labels. The only thing necessary was that we have Jesus at the centre. Thanks be to the LORD He put us as a family into such a Christian fellowship. It’s a family church with an eldership, and things are run by prayer.
Just recently Jesus spoke to me very clearly during one of our morning prayers: “I will burn all the labels”. That phrase kept strongly coming back to me until I shared it.
I believe that not only labels, but church polities too, will go up in smoke during the things that are coming upon us.
The LORD bless you, Brother Daniel and your family! 🖖
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Thank you! This is only the start. I’m currently working on a follow up article to explain what a Christ Centred Polity would more fully look like. I am honoured that you shared your vision with me. I’m not married to the word, ‘polity,’ but it speaks to those it is written to.
Because of your story you might also be interested in our treatment of deconstruction.
I hope you stick around to hear more and I would be honoured if you felt you could count yourself among the people of God who have received mercy (Ammi Ruhama).
EXPOSING PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIANITY.
Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing! Moreover, beware of any pack of wolves who have convinced themselves they are a herd of sheep! That is what progressive Christians have done, and sadly, they don’t seem able to take an honest look at themselves or admit their conceit.
The line that distinguishes us from false believers is our fruits. Those who heed the WHOLE witness and testimony of Jesus Christ, and those who ignore the awkward passages that get in the way of their desire to play churches. THAT is a distinction worth making.
Those who hold Christian unity in higher regard than the express warnings of Christ Himself, want unity over everything, and betray His testimony in the process. They claim it to be God’s will, when it is really theirs, borne of misguided socialist ideals, and in treating the faith like it was an ideology, to be re-written to suit their conditioning. They betray their postmodernist, and ultimately communist indoctrination, which is anathema to Christian living. The well is poisoned by such selective readings that stress unity over holiness (which is the separation from unrighteousness) and those who are willing to compromise over foundational Christian teachings for the sake of peace and harmony, because that’s more ‘christian’ (with a small ‘c’) to them. They are deceived, and need to repent. To submit themselves to the will (and the word) of God, rather than arrogantly claiming to know better.
So how DO we unify catholic and protestant churches? All those disunified sects and creeds? The simple answer is, WE DON’T! These dead religions, that have formed as calcified leftover edifices, built around the living faith are NOT Christianity. They are spiritually bankrupt. The traditions of men. To seek to unify them is pointless, and exactly what a careful interpretation of the scriptures warns us of. A one world church. A modern tower of Babel, and it will undoubtedly be a progressive, inclusive church by its very nature.
“Oh that’s not a very Christian attitude!” I hear you say, but YES! Yes it IS! We are to come out from among them. We are to separate ourselves from the unrighteousness of the world, and stand out as a tiny minority of periahs, not seek to accommodate it and embrace them, promising harmony with all, even the catholics and muslims! Sin is sin, and bowing to idols is sin. Enslaving people with dogma is sin. Amassing earthly riches and seeking earthly prestige is sin. Hypocrisy is sin, and these churches are unrepentant sinners, leading their flocks astray. We are clearly warned in the scriptures to have nothing to do with such. To shake the dust off our feet and move on.
Christianity is exclusive, whether you like that or not. The body of Christ is holy. It was rejected by the world, condemned, spat upon and scourged, then banished to Gehenna, outside the city walls,(the established boundaries of this world’s rule) to be crucified for opposing their misrule. If you are truly a part of the body of Christ, you will not resist this fate. You will rejoice in being counted worthy to suffer in His name, for the sake of His uncompromising message, and if you are not on board for that, then you have no part in Him. If you seek to unify the churches, who only claim to act in His name, giving His words lip service, and using post modernist platitudes, then you are part of the counterfeit church, and no amount of unity will make that edifice stand on the day of judgement.
Conflating churches with Christianity is a common mistake, and treating the faith like an ideology, to be re-interpreted and re-imagined is another. No matter how highly we think of our perspective on Christianity, or our social engineering skills, we are not tasked with uniting the church. The true church IS united, in direct opposition to the ways of this world. It stands opposed to worldly methods and worldly ideals, and I am unashamedly opposed to those who seek to unify Christians in their progressive, post modernist likeness. They do so only with the ways of this world, and only to the detriment of those misguided souls who mistake their ideological rhetoric for divine inspiration.
The living God is not concerned about such earthly concerns. He knows who are His. Those who do not compromise with evil and unrighteousness. Those who speak out, no matter the cost. No matter who takes offense or claims it to be hurtful.
“Be ye holy, for I am holy.”
Embracing sexual deviancy, violent, coercive and deceptive ideological extremism like critical theory, or wokeness is sin. The progressive’s subversive calls for the church to downplay holiness, and become more accepting of goats and tares, false churches and false teachings, is sin. The suffering of the remnant, or the separation of sheep from goats is apparently not in their bibles, but if they were to have their eyes opened, they would see it manifesting all around them even today. The polarization in society is set to continue and intensify, and any fool ought to be able to see those who hate God and all that He stands for. They are not subtle about it. One day soon, rather than being harmoniously joined in a utopian one world church, true Christians will be hunted down and killed, as being “the problem with the world.” It won’t surprise me if those doing the killing are convinced that they are in the right, just as progressive Christians have managed to convince themselves that they are right to embrace the world and its dead churches in unity and harmony for the sake of all. It may seem right to some, but that way lies destruction. I pray that you have not invested too much in this misleading path already, to be unable to retrace your steps back to the WHOLE teaching of God, which calls us to holiness and redemption, not to some form of theological and ideological unity wrought by our own hands.
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Hi Joe, nice to hear from you again. Thank you for your patience, WordPress flagged your comment and only decided to show me now. I hope you know that I will always engage with your comments.
Your warning is justified. There are many among the people of God on both extremes who would either chain us to our symbiotic organisations and to their idea of Christianity or see us completely abandon the faith in pursuit of a utopian unity in sin to the exclusion of all other manifestations of the church. They are indeed wolves and in some cases whole “flocks” of wolves. I would argue that extra-biblical organisation is the worst kind of fruit that we can produce. It is a revelation of our own deep conceit and desire to control people in the name of God and as you rightly say, we can only do this if we ignore those pesky passages that conflict with that end goal. Some will do this, as you have said via a socialist bent and others a fascist bent–normally in reaction to one another each taking a step further into socialism or fascism in response to the other.
Unity in these perversions of Christianity is exactly what I’m trying to avoid. No one who is being honest with themselves about what they believe will say that they do not want more people to agree with them and the logical end to that would be that everyone would agree with them. It is in this way that we all seek unity, but if it is not unity with God primarily and by extension with one another then it is a perversion of unity built on human ideologies like socialism and fascism.
If God sees fit that I should suffer and die for Christ’s sake then I will of course submit to Him and I fully expect to receive my fair share of suffering for his sake before this is all over. I have written elsewhere what it means to love our neighbours and our enemies according to the scriptures and I encourage you to read that. It’s called “Love Thy Frenemies,” in which you will find that I, along with Christ, do not condone only loving those who look, think and act like me–that is our first natural love but supernatural love is found in those who, like Christ, lay down their lives for their enemies.
If the church is currently united, and you wouldn’t be alone in this belief, then I believe it is a union of enmity and because we cannot all agree on who the enemy is, we are divided in our worldly unity. If it is as simple as having the right enemies and not the right gospel then we are one with the Catholics who championed anti-abortion laws before the protestants did. If indeed we agree on the common enemy of socialism then we align ourselves with the fascists who we have seen more recently on the world stage. I would argue that in setting ourselves against the world, we have done no better than they have because there is always an opposing worldly gospel that is not the gospel of Christ. We do not hold entirely to this ideology of unity in enmity either because most protestants do not claim unity with the Catholics and even less would lay claim to unity with the fascists even though there is a perceived common enemy. Our unity must be more than opposition to the world and her systems; it must be Christ Centred as I have said in the OP and in many posts after this one.
I think perhaps in your assessment of me, you are still conflating my definition of the church with Symbiotic Organisations. It is a difficult definition to get away from. The church, by way of reminder, are the people of God who have received mercy. These people transcend SOs and so I am not trying to ‘unite the churches’. I am trying to unite the people of God who have received mercy. This happens on a much more individual level. If I was trying to ‘unite the churches,’ then I wouldn’t be speaking to the everyday believer, I would be speaking to their overlords they call pastor, elder and deacon. This is the crux of the OP. If by our organisation we neglect the nature and rights of the individual believer then we are not organised how Christ has organised us. I am not in this way trying to unite the body as much as I am trying to get the body to admit their unity in common love and mercy and therefore in faith and hope.
Although I have not had an opportunity to write a detailed analyses of what I mean by, ‘unity,’ I hope I have made it clear in other instances that abstract unity, even unity in faith or hope is not the ultimate goal. It is not what Jesus prayed for in John 17 or what Paul proclaims in 1 Corinthians 13 or what John proclaims in 1 John. I’m sure there are other instances but I will keep it short here. My main concern in this particular article is that we are unbiblically organised and have been for some time. If you get anything from my writings I hope that it is NOT that I proclaim theological or ideological unity as the unity we find in the scriptures.
I hope you are well and in fine community with the people of God who have received mercy who are around you.
[…] the designated leadership team, we will not experience that gifting in any real way because of our chosen polity. If we are Christ Centred in our polity and confess that the last shall be first and the first […]