A must-read essay by Toby Sumpter | Theopolis Institute
The unity Jesus is leading us toward has far less to do with hammering out a single organizational structure and far more to do with many different Christian tribes and tongues bringing their respective glories to the King.
There are many legitimate reasons to lament the divided state of the church. Fleshly pride, theological hubris, sectarian rivalries are each in their own ways modern versions of the Galatian heresy, refusing table fellowship with brothers and sisters for whom Christ died. And denominations have frequently played the same role as the names of Paul and Apollos in Corinth, for which we join in Paul’s manifesto to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified.
“The guardian’s role is to prevent evil; the judge’s role is to deliver from evil, once it has been allowed in.”
An excerpt from James B. Jordan’s commentary on Judges (47-51) concerning the role of Israel’s Messiahs.
What were the judges? They were civil rulers and deliverers of Israel. God is concerned with all of human life and society. It is false to try to limit His interest only to the institutional Church, though as the sacramental body of Jesus Christ, the Church is the foremost earthly “institution.” The judges show us God delivering His people from His and their enemies, in particular in social and political situations. According to Scripture, the civil magistrate bears the sword of iron (as distinct from the Sword of the Scriptures) as a threat to evildoers. A magistrate is a minister of God, no less than a Church officer is, but the magistrate is a minister of God’s vengeance, while the elder is a minister of redemption. (See Romans 13.)
I recommend this article by Pastor Bill Smith.
Christ is absent. Though he is not dead, he did go away, leaving his ministers to care for his bride and “raise up seed” for him. As levirs, they have the right to profit from the inheritance of the heir–the entire church–until the seed/son comes of age.
The church in Corinth was a pastoral nightmare. Factionalism, sexual immorality, incipient syncretism, using the church as a stage for self-promotion, and denial of the final resurrection were just some of the problems.
Bauhaus and the Bible
“What is in the nature of these materials?”
The Bauhaus, founded in Germany in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius, had a profound influence in every area of design, from graphics and typography to clothing, furniture and architecture. The institution was not so much a style as a method, its philosophy based on the idea that if something is well-designed it will be beautiful of its own accord. The means to this end involved the founding of an art school where every student was also a tradesman, and every tradesman was also an artist. The Bauhaus manifesto expresses Gropius’ desire to unite the trades and the arts that their works might possess the grace of an inseparable marriage of function (design) and form (beauty).
“The whole world is like a drunken peasant.
They fall off one side of the horse or the other.” – Martin Luther
An Apology to Joel McDurmon – In Both Senses of the Word
“As Christians, an exhortation to ‘remember your baptism’ is a good one, but this begins with a baptism you can actually remember.”
Joel McDurmon of American Vision just wrote a post tracing back to their Arminian doctrine the deceit and manipulative tactics use by, and even marketed by, the Elevation Church to increase their baptism quota. He writes:
If “saving souls” is the main end-game of your Christian faith, and if the free will is the last hurdle of salvation, then why would you not what the help of an army of marketers, managers, assembly lines, pre-packaged directions, techniques, tools, processes, and networks of support farms and professionals who can claim “billions served”?
It’s only from the standpoint of the doctrines of grace that it makes sense to criticize these manipulative tactics. It is encouraging that some Christians seem naturally uneasy when a church like Elevation admits what it does. But Elevation is just a mote. Free will theology is the plank.
Well, my nickname is Bully and I saw red. A discussion ensued on facebook which did not end on very good terms. Of course, this is something that rarely ever happens (not). I believe what I wrote was entirely objective, and at least as gracious as Mr McDurmon’s opinion piece, however re-reading it, it was badly worded and Joel, a writer whose work and ministry I admire, took it personally. I wrote:
“The Lord’s Table is for dangerous people.”
If you are going to baptize infants, it makes sense that you would also allow them to take Communion. Baptism brings one into the priesthood (through the Laver) to the court of God, and Communion is fellowship in the priestly kingdom. To unite the two is consistent—as consistent as the two pillars flanking the threshold of Solomon’s Temple.
“We come as those who receive first and then, second, only in reciprocal exchange do we give back what is appropriate as grateful praise and adoration.”