30 July, 2006

Seeking The Real Church

What is a real church? The word, church, comes from the
Greek word "ekklesia" which means "called out ones" or

It means any assembly, or in our case, an assembly of believers who meet together to worship the Lord. Many people think that the church is the building, the organization and all the programs that go on inside.

However, Jesus did not die for a building, a program, or an organization; He died for people. Saved people are the church.

It did not dawn on me, until now, that some seeker churches may not think of their large gatherings on Sunday morning in a building as ‘church’ or as an 'assembly of believers'.

For the past few weeks, I have had a dialogue going with someone from a seeker church over one of my posts. Go here for the post that started the discussion: http://coffeetradernews.blogspot.com/2006_06_01_coffeetradernews_archive.html

As our discussion went on and on, this commenter wrote something that astounded me:

I'm all for church discipline, but you're confusing the Church for the people who gather in a building on Sunday morning for a church service. I agree that there has to be a time and place for believers to gather to encourage one another and hold each other accountable to living by kingdom values. I just don't think that has to be a Sunday morning service.

Please do not misunderstand me. I believe this person is as sincere as they come. I believe this person has positive intentions and I also believe this person is mortally wrong….sadly so.

There is quite a bit about this statement that concerns me but what bothers me most may not be what you may think. The idea that bothers me the most is referring to discipline/accountability in the church as ‘kingdom values”. (What scares me more is that two years ago, I would have agreed with this!)

What are “kingdom values”? As a certified strategic planner, I have used the ‘values’ word quite a bit. But, as believers, we have a problem. Values are NOT principles. They are not Commandments. They are, unfortunately, subjective in nature. We do not have the 10 Value statements of God.

Would you, for example, say that Ananias and Sapphira were not living “kingdom values” in Acts? We know the Bible said they lied to the Holy Spirit and were struck dead. Let me repeat: Struck dead.

Let us call it what it really is: Sin. Not a lack of ‘kingdom values’.

If only Ananias and Sapphira had known. They could have attended the service in the big building on Sunday and avoided that whole wrathful episode!

I have to ask myself: Does a church that owns a Bible need ‘kingdom values’? Isn’t everything we need to know as a Body of Believers (church) right there in scripture? When someone tells me their church has core values; red flags go up. I have to wonder if they are really teaching scripture. Or perhaps they are promoting scripture as kingdom values? Such as this: “Hath the Lord said”…instead of “The Lord hath said”….

Values are what WE, as a group or an individual, think are important. Things we 'care' about. But we are all sinners and think stupid things are important all the time. Perhaps we could say we 'value' scripture. But even that is man centered. Scripture is God's Word. The Lord Hath Said. Period. We either believe it or we pay a horrible price.

The other part of the paragraph that helps me understand seeker churches better is where the poster says the Sunday morning service is not the ‘real church’. (I am assuming it is a Worship Service?) As the poster mentions, they have small groups that function as the real church. So what exactly are they doing on Sunday morning? How do they get around this not being the ‘real church’?

However, this poster answered a question that I have had for a long time. I have often wondered how these seeker churches justified watered down, man-centered teaching while pretty much ignoring the hard teachings of scripture such as 1 Corinthians 4&5.

Now I know. Just pretend like it is not the ‘real church’.

1 Corinthians 3:10-23
10According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw-- 13each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

16Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.

18Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness," 20and again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile." 21So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours, 23and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.

No comments: