A new old way to imagine Church.
How does the Church “control” God?
It has been a constant theme of my recent books to trace the sad decline of the Western Church over the last two millennia, from the vital, exciting God-centred days of the first apostles, to the current state of affairs, where God is often neglected, doubted or manipulated by systems we have often put in place to “control” Him. Here are a few examples to illustrate:
- Celebrations/events are planned and advertised with catchy slogans promising what God is going to do there, so you must not miss the blessing. We simply can’t treat our Creator as if he’s just another celebrity coming to do His act. Of course, He is gracious enough to turn up at these places despite our efforts, simply because He always wishes to bless individuals. It’s just a shame that these ministries take the credit for this!
- TV evangelists / faith preachers. Do I really need to say more?
- When unusual natural disasters occur the default response of the mainstream Church is to assure the world that this has nothing to do with God. Have they not read their Bibles and seen how God has often used the elements as warning signs to His people? Or do they believe that God has turned into a polite civilised Englishman?
- The ready acceptance of our churchmen to follow a “scientific” narrative when explaining the world rather than the unchangeable Word of God.
- The shameful treatment of the Jewish people, something that still runs as a niggling undercurrent through the UK Church. To deny a continuing relationship of Jews with their God is to deny God’s covenants with mankind, which is tantamount to calling Him fickle, or a liar.
- The current accent on ‘God is Love’, categorising Him as purely one-dimensional and denying a full understanding of our multifaceted Creator. The widespread lack of Old Testament knowledge is responsible for this inexcusable ignorance. Isn’t it better to acknowledge Him as a person and not a philosophical abstract and instead describe Him as God Who loves.
But God really is alive and kicking and, in these articles, we are going to explore different ways that we can really engage with Him and gain a better understanding of His ways.
Sometimes God has to remind us that there is a world beyond that which we can see, hear, touch, taste and smell. In fact the Bible is packed with such reminders, from its very first Chapter (the Creation of the Universe) to its very last Chapter (the re-creation of our Earth). These are miraculous things, things that the Greek mind has no explanation for, but which fall comfortably within the compass of the Hebraic mindset. The issue I would like to address is the situation of Christians who fall between the two stalls. By now you should have deduced that ideally a Christian is a person who operates fully within a Hebraic worldview. If this is not obvious yet, then it will be by the time you finish the book – so please persevere if you are wavering!
This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp