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Our Sacred Tradition of Protesting

95theses

Martin Luther broke off from the Catholic church in protest of church leadership abuses both in doctrine and in traditions in 1517, his complaints were valid at the time, the church leadership was corrupt.

Was Luther driven by ambition and legacy building or was it service to God? Only God knows with certainty.

Many modern protestants I think have fallen into the same trap of following un-biblical traditions that the Catholic church fell into in the middle ages.  I wont try to list them here except for one tradition that I think is unique to protestants.

95theses

I think one tradition that we are repeating is breaking off fellowship via protest and forming our own group.  We’ve turned Luther’s protest action into our tradition. Pastor’s do it by building their own mini kingdom that they can control, defending their turf, competing with the guy pastor across town, non-pastors do this in many ways including jumping around to different churches… same motives, same tradition.

Rather than be wronged and not get our way at church, we break away and start our own or jump to another fellowship.

It seems that the protestant church is one of the most fragmented and un-unified groups in the US.  “World Christianity consists of 6 major ecclesiastico-cultural blocs, divided into 300 major ecclesiastical traditions, composed of over 33,000 distinct denominations in 238 countries, these denominations themselves being composed of over 3,400,000 worship centers, churches or congregations. (Barrett et al, volume 1, page 16, Table 1-5).  I would guess that the 33,000 number is an exaggeration but above a thousand is probably accurate.

Could it be that the tradition of protesting, which is so ingrained within many of us, provides cover for questionable motives of name building, of legacy formation, of factious competition?

Competition at church is heresy, it is toxic and it is an indication of a fundamental problem with how we gather. Christian’s who openly encourage competition with other believers are fleshly and confused about who the church is and how God wants his people to gather.

There is a well-known story when God dealt with a people who were trying to build a great name for themselves he confused the languages at the Tower of Babel, see Genesis 11. He did this so they could not stay unified in their selfish ambition, so they could not communicate and could not agree on anything.

One great lesson from Babel is that when we are out to build names for ourselves and cities and houses for our own names and legacies, God splits us up.  Could that be what is happening with our 33,000 denominations?

Maybe we should rethink the tradition of protesting. Luther protested against some terrible abuses.  We now protest for far less, sometime ridiculous reasons.  Instead lets begin to practice dying to self, practice not getting our way, practice being willing to be wronged without taking off and breaking fellowship… just like Jesus Christ.

 1 Cor 6:7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?7

In my next post (on 4/27/15) I will write about ways to break this sacred tradition of protest and understand when it is and is no ok with God to break fellowship with other believers even with competitive and cold Christians.

The Astounding Gospel to the Gentiles

I think we’ve short-changed the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel is not merely mankind’s ticket out of hell, it is the great plan..the great purpose of God which motivated him to create and which he began before he ever said ‘let there be light’. God is not trying to bribe humanity to get saved, the gospel is an offer of peace with God and an offer of reconnection to the purpose God has had all along.

The gospel does include the plan of salvation as found in Romans but it is much bigger and I think more fascinating and compelling than many realize. When we believe in Jesus Christ and accept God’s plan, his mercy and grace are immediately put on display as several things suddenly become true for us.  Most importantly the gospel is not all about us, instead the gospel is all about what God has done, is doing and will do through Jesus Christ. If we all rejected him, he could raise up a people from the stones.

I believe if more non-Christians, and many people who have been raised in church and have learned to tune out all spiritual talk were to hear the rest of the story told in a way that opens their understanding, they would more readily believe in and find a new love and fascination for Jesus Christ.  There would be many more disciples of this amazing, matchless creator and lover of mankind, Jesus Christ.

The book of Ephesians is unique to the Pauline letters in that it was written to a general audience and not to a specific church to solve a specific problem.  As a result of this most scholars believe that it contains a more general overview of Paul’s gospel to the gentiles.  Ephesians was still written to Christians however the basic principles found in Paul’s message revealing Jesus Christ to a general gentile audience can be seen in Ephesians 1-3 (1) Francis FoulkesIMG_0308[1]

So here it is, I will attempt to write the great gospel of God according to Ephesians 1-3 (and a little from Colossians 1)… my paraphrase and rephrasing to be shared with non-believers. Feel free to share this post or just what is written below.

There is something of great importance that I must share about why we exist, about the very meaning of life on earth. I feel compelled to reveal this to all willing to listen.

Human beings…you and I, are God’s chief creation, his chief work of art. God made us in his own image in order to expand the mutual love and fellowship that the father, the son and the spirit had together before creation.  He wanted to expand this love into a created universe, it pleased God to create a family to dwell with and within on a created earth.

It was we who quickly turned our back on him, the entire human race, we chose sin and in doing so we chose death, humans chose hostility and war and rebellion.   

Amazingly God decided to make peace available freely through Jesus Christ.  He did this for several reasons:

In order to create a redeemed people who would be a display of God’s mercy to rest of mankind, believers in Jesus Christ become a display of Gods grace and mercy to the rest of mankind.

He also did this to create a people to display his wisdom to all the authorities, men and spirits, good and evil, in unseen realms.

He also did this to make himself a dwelling place on earth within the people who would believe on Jesus Christ. A people to dwell within who have specific things and tasks he prepared in advance for them to accomplish.

When we believe in Jesus Christ we become the dwelling place of God on earth, all over the earth, displaying him, it is now him living all over the earth through us just as he planned.

When we believe in Jesus Christ and gather together in his name we become set apart to God, we literally become God’s dwelling place, his new growing temple, his new home and his growing family on earth.

When we believe in Jesus Christ we find new peace with God where there was hostility and death, we are made members of God’s family, and we can become near to God because of Jesus’ blood.

Now we even can fully know God and his thoughts and live by his divine life, not only our own life. We can approach him directly without a go-between, and we can know his great love, and be filled with the fullness of God; his great power is on display in us, the same power of God that was on display when Jesus Christ was resurrected from death.

When we believe in Jesus Christ we become a new kind of human being, not a Jew, not a gentile but a new race, a human with God inside and united to the rest of Christ’s body.

When we believe in Jesus Christ our inheritance becomes great, beyond what we can imagine, and we are literally become seated with Jesus Christ in heaven.

Jesus Christ is much bigger, much more involved with and is the culmination of everything in heaven and earth,  all of history, all of war time and peace time, all love, all politics, all wisdom, all knowledge, all science, all ideas and inventions, all the cosmos, time itself, everything was made for Jesus Christ, exists within Jesus Christ, and is heading to Jesus Christ.  He is the all-consuming creator and holder of the universe.

Romans Road to salvation…is what most consider to be the gospel, it is powerful and true but is actually the end of the gospel story, and is the part where mankind is ready to reunite with God, all of the following are scriptures found in the book of Romans and flow together.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, the wages of sin is death, but God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God…

Love him or leave him, you decide, but I can not get enough of him.

Please contact me if you’d like to talk about this at collierak@me.com

Nothing Will Be Impossible

They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used 2tar for mortar. Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top 3will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves 4a name, otherwise we 5will be […]

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