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There has to be more to this Faith
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Post Patrick...It's about freedom wahoo
Patrick...more than 13 years ago I felt the same way you seem to feel right now. I was not angry at the institutional church, I was just weary with the show and what seemed to be an attitude of pleasing those in the church more than cultivating ways to reach those outside the church. There was a growing sense of frustration that I knew would eventually rob me of my joy and enthusiasm about serving the Father.

I was counseled by several great men of God to "stay in the church of your youth and help create change." I seriously considered that approach but, looking at the previous 15 years of my ministry, and after talking with several other retired ministers who were now living with frustration over the fact that they did not do what their heart had urged them to do when they were younger, I elected to start a non-traditional ministry caring primarily for those that most churches would prefer not attend their worship services.

It is impossible to express adequately the level of freedom I have walked in the past several years. I still have relationship with many of my friends that I walked with as a young minister and, privately, they often tell me they are jealous of that freedom...no longer do I concern myself weekly with song selection that appeals to the majority, or to making sure the right folks are spoken to, or comparing the youth and kids program to the church down the street. Church, for me, takes place in really powerful ways on a daily basis and we also get together to hang out on Sunday mornings in a raw, stripped down, no show or performance environment and simply worship Him.

I waste zero time debating WOF, honorary degrees, or trying to be the Christian policeman who calls out every heresy they think they have discovered. I have been set free to live free and to invite others to freedom. I sincerely hope you will find your own place of freedom and embrace it fully, smiling politely at those who criticize your journey.
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1/2/15 10:19 am


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There are a number of books from house church people that talk about some of the themes on this thread.

Reading the Bible, there are a lot of things that are lacking in a lot of American churches that are taught in the Bible. The book of Hebrews says to exhort one another daily. Just reading Acts and the greetings in the epistles, and the fact that family is a metaphor we see throughout the New Testament (brothers) I sure get the impression that first century believers had strong relationships with one another and a strong sense of family and community. In some churches, you go to church to fellowship with the back of someone's head.

The things the Bible tells churches to do when they meet encourage this. There aren't a lot of passages that tell us what to do in church. One that goes into any detail is I Corinthians 14. In it, we read that 'every one of you' can sing, teach, share a tongue, revelation, and interpretation 'unto edifying.' Paul doesn't even mention a pastor or an elder. He does pass on commandments of the Lord to regulate interpreting tongues, prophets speaking 'all' prophesying. I Peter 4 encourages using gifts to edify one another, including gifts that involve speaking. Hebrews 10:24-25, in the context of telling believers to provoke one another to love and to good works, says not to forsake assembling, but to exhort one another. The implication is that when we gather, we are to exhort one another.

There is no reference to one man being the pastor over everyone else in the congregation (aside from the Man Christ Jesus, the Pastor and Bishop of our souls.) Many modern people read the modern pastorate into Ephesians 4:11. We see that the apostles appointed a group of elders in every church.

Where did elders come from? They came from a tribal government system. The Hebrews had elders. They were made up of tribes, groups of clans made from large extended families. Certain older men among these groups of families were elders among the people. God had Moses gather seventy elders so the Spirit that was upon Moses might be upon them. Later, there were elders in cities in the tribes divided according to tribal relationship. Elders are a type of extended family leadership. And the church inherited elders from what God established in the Hebrew nation.

My point is church is supposed to be a big family. When we meet, we are to edify one another. Notice that Paul instructed the Corinthians, correcting their error for the big meal they ate together. He did not say not to have a meal. He corrected how they ate the Supper. Families often eat together when they gather.

If we went to a meeting of a first century church, we might see people eating a meal or different people in the church teaching or prophesying. A lot of things that are considered essential to church, like worship leaders, pianos, guitars, pews, church buildings, hymnals, and even one pastor preaching one long sermon may not have been present.
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1/2/15 10:39 pm


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Right on Link. Good post.

If you tried to tell any existing church that they need to fit the biblical model in scripture, they would call you a fault finder and trouble maker. The USA (COG) way of doing church is so ingrained that it would take a miracle to see a change. When small children are taught that the way church is supposed to be is the way its always been done, its hard to convince otherwise.

When doing church has been done that way for years it becomes more correct than doing it according to scripture. Crying or Very sad
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1/3/15 11:45 am


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