Somewhere along the path, churchianity replaced being the Church.
An easy study of the scripture reveals two basic concepts:
Concept #1) the Saints are anyone who names the name of Jesus and trusts in Him. Period.
Read Paul's letters and it becomes quite evident that there is no basis whatsoever for the saintology that has risen out of iconograpically based belief systems.
The Gospel message is pretty simple.
Easily understood by 4 year olds and yet deep enough to baffle the most astute thinkers of history.
Jesus Himself offered the answer in John 6:28-29
Then they said to Him,
"What shall we do, that we may work the works of God ?"
Jesus answered and said to them,
"This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
Jesus could have told them anything, be baptized, keep the Law, wear blue on Thursdays and only eat spinach, but He didn't. Much of what we do today smacks of man made traditions, from the separation of sects or denominations to the way our supervisory boards work.
The Acts of the Holy Spirit, (Yes, that's what I call it), and Paul's works show that the early Church was set up according to spiritual gifts and even that rather loosely. The prominent group being the Elders, who shoveled out spiritual food and the Deacons taking care of the physical needs of the body. Simple, right?
Fast forward a few millennium and the State of Nevada controls the articles of incorporation. (Insert wherever you happen to live.)
They "let" you become a Church.
Where's all that talk about separation of Church and State?
Why doesn't the ACLU defend our right to free and open association without State interference? Who told the State that they could levy taxes against the tithe of individuals toward their God?
I'm just askin'.
If Christians have to stay out of gov'mint bizness,
then the gov'mint should keep their noses out of Church bizness.
I'm just sayin'.
Concept #2) The Church is a group of 'called out ones'. Not a building on the corner. Most folk get that, but listen to your own language and the use of the word church over the next month. It rarely means the people, even when you know the difference. We have started I Cor at the Saturday Study and the first thing Paul tackles is the division in the church over who they are following. Martin Luther did not establish the Lutherans. All he wanted was a correct understanding of the scripture. John Wesley would be appalled that a group has co opted his name for their denomination. To paraphrase Paul; Did Wesley die for your sins? Was Luther hung on a tree and shed his blood for you? BY NO MEANS!
Decide in your heart that you will start being the Church and stop going to church.
No, I don't mean to stop going to the Sunday gathering, just a change of reference point.
Karen's Koinonia Connection has started to attract some with similar stories as hers and it has become a point of contact and great encouragement. the kind we should get from a body of believers. Problem is, it aint happenin' on Sunday, it's happenin' on the Blog-O-Sphere.
Next we'll look at the Church model. (continued)