The next time you are tempted to fall under the influence of some author, blogger or other self-anointed “itinerant” authority on “being the church”, ask first if they have a history of personally being – on a sustained basis – part of the kind of church they promote.
For example, here in the U.S., the number of phonies pontificating on all things organic and missional in various books, blogs, social media posts and conferences is astounding. They talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.
Some of them even proclaim that your church is not legitimate unless it is founded and maintained under an itinerant, so-called apostolic “worker” like themselves.
Yet, when you check, you will find that not a single one of them has a history of successfully being able to function as part of an actual local fellowship – like those they promote with their unproven ideas and grand visions – on a consistent, sustained basis.
Rather, their local church history is a pattern of either not being part of any local organic fellowship in their home town (it seems they can’t actually function in, or successfully start, a local church where they live), or they have a pattern of jumping from church to church in other locales around the country under the claim of being an “itinerant” (yet nearly all of those churches eventually fall into obsolescence or outright ruin after a couple of years of their “help”).
When it comes to such self-appointed “somebodies”, ask, check and discern – then just say no.
If some “expert” or pontificating author can’t prove that they first have walked the walk and made it work in their own lives and their own local church (assuming they even have one!), don’t fall prey to their attempts to bamboozle you as they try to sell their attempts to talk the talk.
Seriously. There’s just too much phony going around.
Fortunately, God is raising up proper local leadership in the form of elders and deacons – who are tasked in scripture with strengthening local fellowships and protecting them from wolves with phony credentials, unproven teachings and failed histories.
The Biblical role of local elders is frightening to those guys.
Maybe that’s why self-appointed apostolic “workers” like Frank Viola, Milt Rodriquez and Jon Zens – along with their supporters and promoters like Felicity Dale, Bart Breen and Keith Giles – have been so adamant lately about attacking the legitimate need for distinct, functional elders and deacons at the local church level.
In fact, their disdain for actual, functional local church leadership – which then might be a check on their own crazy stuff – is so great that Viola and Rodriquez for many years openly called local leaders “garbage men”. (It seems they now have stopped using that term, realizing how offensive it was, but the sentiment is still there in their current teachings.)
I guess it’s not enough for them to openly dismiss the plenary authority of scripture as a check and restraint on their own “deeper life” “revelations”.
Now their mutual promotion network (including their newly resurrected House2House Magazine) is intent on undercutting the clear Biblical mandate for distinct local elders – who in turn are charged with protecting local churches from folks like them.
Sometimes it’s so bizarre, you think it can’t get any more weird. But then, they prove you wrong.
~ Jim Wright