Martin Luther is credited with saying “in essentials, unity”.
In applying that sagely advice, over the years I have developed two essential prerequisites for all other essentials. They have served me well, and tend to weed out over 90% of the frauds, fakes and flakes that plague God’s church (don’t ya love ’em!).
Cynicism and lazy seem to go hand in hand.
Many “Christians” habitually express those qualities when it comes to the problems and challenges of our age …
Rather than make a difference, they use cynicism to justify laziness.
To put it bluntly, they are not my brothers and sisters.
Until we understand that the Gospel preached by Jesus was the “Gospel of the Kingdom”;
That “Christ” wasn’t His last name, but meant “the King”;
And that He claimed “all authority” over all things,
Both in heaven, and “on Earth”…
Last week, several local leaders openly intervened – after private efforts failed – to deal with a few individuals who were trying to dominate a particular fellowship with their false, hyper-grace heresy.
A friend posted this meme on Facebook, and it was too funny – and disturbingly perceptive – to pass up.
The Christian Pundit published an interesting article, Young Evangelicals Are Getting High.
It claims that the trend among young people now is towards “high church”, including Catholicism and Anglicanism, where they can find “a holy Father who demands reverence, a Saviour who requires careful worship, and a Spirit who must be obeyed. They are looking for true, deep, intellectually robust spirituality…”
This a clear reaction against the recent fad of Christian existentialism – in all its many forms.
May 15, 2013 (updated)
Re: Author and “Apostolic Worker” Frank Viola
Dear Mr. Zens:
I am providing this preliminary response, both personally and on behalf of our fellowships, to your letter of May 10th and to your many related statements on Facebook. I thus write for myself and as an elder within those fellowships.
Your letter was co-signed by Bart Breen and sent on behalf of Christian author and “apostolic worker” Frank Viola and his mutual promotion network of other so-called “apostolic workers” who – like you – enjoy his repeated public endorsements, including Milt Rodriquez and Felicity Dale.
The context of this response are the facts and public warnings issued against Frank Viola for abuse and sexual exploitation by his former church.
To this day, those warnings have not been factually refuted and thus warrant an open response by Mr. Viola. Any such response should be at least as public as his own public claims of being a leader in, and to, the Body of Christ.
So, after all the sound and fury, where are we left?
This morning, in response to my series on “Is the Holy Spirit a Liar?”, Christopher Kirk publicly called me a liar on his blog – after telling me I am not allowed to respond on his blog.
This crosses the line from a vigorous and needed debate on the important issue of scripture’s status and authority, into personal attack with no opportunity to directly respond.
More fundamentally, though, Christopher Kirk has now borne false witness – against himself.
Yesterday, I posted a debate I had on Facebook with those who claim that their personal “revelation” and “inspiration” can trump scripture, and that scripture is not the Word of God.
In that debate, Christopher Kirk, a longtime “organic” voice and blogger, finally made clear what he and many of the “old guard” in the organic/simple church community believe: “The bible is NOT the Word of God” and “God can tell you to go directly against scripture“.
The fellowships I’m part of are organic/simple churches. We are not big or flashy, but daily we see the transforming power of God as He works through everyone in dynamic functional community and open, participatory meetings.
Unlike the organic church “old guard”, we are growing, multiplying, and seeing folks move forth in authentic spiritual power. Many are coming to Christ, and their lives and whole communities are being transformed.
Why? Because we fully embrace a vibrant relationship with the Living Word, while submitting to the discipline and authority of His written Word.
On April 1st, I posted a statement on Facebook (what a wild and wooly place!) in opposition to some postings by Christopher Kirk in his blog, notesfromthebridge.
In his blog, Chris creates a dichotomy between scripture and “living by the Spirit” – as though what the Holy Spirit says in the Bible can’t be trusted, or lacks validity, absent some additional deeper, personal revelation.
In his blogs, he also claims the right to personal revelation and inspiration which contradicts and is more authoritative than the Bible.
Along those lines, his blogs suggest that we cut out significant parts of the Bible because he disagrees with their content (including most of Paul’s epistles); say that the Bible is not the Word of God; and repeatedly attack the plenary authority of scripture (“plenary” means we must submit our own contrary opinions to the authority of scripture).
As Christopher Kirk confirms below in his own words, “the bible is NOT the Word of God” (it’s interesting that those who hold this position never seem to esteem the Bible enough to capitalize it) and “God can tell you to go directly against scripture“.
What is meant by the “plenary authority of scripture”?
It means that we must submit everything we think, perceive or feel – even about Christ Himself – to His external, written Word of scripture.
Here, in a single simple quote, is the best explanation I’ve found.
Does God do what is right, or is it right because God does it?
Many think God is subservient or subject to external standards – that He does what is right because there is a higher moral code that even He obeys.
This denies God’s sovereignty, and as a result many today seek to hold Him to the standard of their own sense of right and wrong.
Yesterday morning during fellowship, someone asked how to know if he was walking in the authority that’s ours in Christ.
I thought a moment and said: When I wake up each morning, I’m confident that Satan is more worried over what I’ll be up to that day then I’m worried over what he’ll be up to.
If you have that quiet assurance – rooted not in ego but in your unassuming confidence in Him – then you are walking in His authority.
~ Jim Wright