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Being Church, Being a Body

By APsit190, in Doctrine, Christian Life, Discipleship 29 December 2013 · 1,411 views

Pauls Letters Theology Pentecostal Biblical Studies
If you go through the studies series in Ephesians I've posted, the one main theme you will notice is that its all about how god purposed us to be church, to be a body. This being a body is something that is to be taken in four ways:
  • It is to be taken literally, in that as an actual body, as in a torso
  • It is to be taken spiritually, in that it's not an actual physical torso, but rather a spiritual one
  • It is to be taken realistically, or in reality of which this is what God made us to be
  • It is to be taken and seen from God's perspective.
Its when we, I believe, have these four views of seeing what we are in Christ, and of how it came about through Christ, then the way we are as believers - followers in Christ will radically change.

For quite some time, in fact for centuries, we have been taught of having an individualistic and independent form of being a Christian. The traditional concept of what church is is that its an actual building where one gathers to meet and have a form of worship. Although there has been a theological shift in this belief, yet our thinking is still embedded in the traditional concept, and this is seen in the way we express it to each other and others. Examples of the kind of ways we express ourselves are:
  • I'm going to church (referring to the building)
  • The church has to do something about it (referring to an entity that is outside of oneself)
  • That is a very nice church (referring to a building)
  • What church do you go to? (referring to a denomination and/or a building).
These are still very much embedded in our psyche because that is the way we have taught to believe and perceive church as. Sure we are told that the Church is not the actual physical building, yet the way we communicate belies what we are told.

The damaging effect of this is individualistic form of Christianity we have, and this can be seen by some of the following traits:
  • Lack of discipling new believers
  • Lack of responsibility of care of one another, either spiritual or physical
  • The "I don't have to if I don't want to" mentality amongst many, if not most, Christians
  • Lack of Evangelism and outreach to the Community
  • Lack of real church growth
  • Downturn in tithes and offerings
  • A spirit of meanness.
I could add a lot more to this list, but I think you get the picture.

Perhaps the largest and the most profound effect to the individualistic type of Christianity is in the way we actually see each other, and from that, in the way we treat each other. The lack of love shown toward one another, unfriendliness, lack of warmth toward one another are regarded as the most prolific affects seen in many churches. According to research conducted by the Barna Group, and released in the book, Unchristian, almost 25% of pastors believe their churches are unloving, lack friendliness, and etc., and almost 67% young adults (from 18 to about 33) regard their churches as unfriendly, unloving and etc.

Then add to that, the next most profound devastating effect to the individualistic type of Christianity is the relegation of the commands of Jesus and other commands in the NT to nothing more than moral relativism. Moreover, when it comes to interpretation of Scripture when it comes to these commands is the statement, "Well, that's just your opinion, and your personal interpretation, and it doesn't mean that to me," thus relegating one's belief as to mean nothing but just relative to the individual. So when it comes to seeing one another in Christ becomes nothing more than a cliche rather than what is suppose to be realistic in the church.

So, when it comes to what we are suppose to believe in, there is not that one faith, one God, and etc system we have because it all has become nothing more than being relative to the the individual. The Barna group has done extensive research in this as to the way we believe, and there has been a paradigm shift away from the orthodox view of Biblical theology of Christianity to that of an individualistic style of Christianity that is mixed with secularism, New Age, belief systems.

And from that, there is a profound belief that irrespective of these things, that irrespective of the condition of one's heart and life, one can have a personal relationship with God. And the reason for it is simply based on its suitability of one's individualistic belief system, and nothing more than that.

So, having said all that, how are we then to be church, how are we to act and be on the the same page to what we are to believe, to have faith (belief)? In order for this to work we cannot afford to have an individual form of belief. We must be humble enough to accept that us as believers our salvation is not about just a ticket to get to heaven, but that we have been saved for a purpose and a reason which God has for us as church, as a body. If we are to grow and mature in Christ, we grow and mature in Christ as his Body, and he as our head (that thing that is stuck between the shoulders of the torso). The statement that Paul made, "For we are members (body parts) of his body, from his flesh, and of his bone" (Eph 5:30), can only be taken literally, Spiritually, realistically, and from God's perspective only. And when it comes to God's perspective, that is the only one that counts. We have to fall into line to how God wants us to be, instead of trying to make our own form of what we are to be like.

Blessings,
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About Apsit 190's Theological Rants

Theological Rants are mostly about stuff in the Bible I believe. Its also a blog for sharing my thoughts that the Bible talks about, and how I think they can be applied to our lives.

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