Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Welcome To Nowhere" Population…1

(If you're already feeling kind of bummed about life, don't read this.)

There are times I really hate where I am spiritually. I was thinking about it the other day and came up with this analogy.

It's like traveling down the road on a bus with everyone you know. Life feels pretty good and it all seems to make sense in some way. The journey may have some ups and downs, but at least you're moving forward.

The next thing you know, you're being told you need to get off at the next stop. It really doesn't make sense, especially when you realize no one is getting up to exit the bus with you. Still, off you go, all alone into the unknown. Quietly, you watch as the bus pulls away with everyone you know and everything that was familiar, and then…nothing.

Every now and then, someone will stop and offer you a ride, but you never get in. Why? Maybe it's simply fear. I mean, how can you know they are even going in the direction you need to go? Besides, you really don't know yourself where you are or where you're supposed to be. All you know is you were told to get off the bus. But in the end, it's probably more about some half-brained belief that somehow you are where you're supposed to be regardless of how little it seems to make sense. The people that offer you a ride think your nuts for just sitting there. Wouldn't it be better to at least be going somewhere? When they ask you what you're waiting for, you honestly don't even know how to answer. So you just continue to sit, holding on to this ever fading conviction that this is where you are meant to be. It is quiet, it is lonely, and it is frustrating beyond words.

And so I sit at my little bus stop, waiting, wondering, and sadly finding myself caring less and less about any of it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Did You Mean “church” Or “Church”?

The following is my response to ideas presented in an article by Kevin DeYoung entitled "The Glory of Plodding". To read the article, click the link at the top right by that same name.
Is going "to church" necessary?
Not only is it not necessary, the phrase is not found in the bible at all!
You heard me right! Nowhere and I do mean nowhere will you ever find any of the following phrases in the bible:
"Go to church", "Meet at church", or "Attend church"
I could go on, but I'm guessing you get the point.
Yes, I do know what many of you would say. "Ken, doesn't the bible admonish us to not forsake assembling with the saints?" Yes, it does indeed. I have not, nor will I ever disagree with that. It is scripture, it is true, and it certainly represents the heart of God for His kids.
Now, here's a question for you.
What does that have to do with "admonishing" others to attend a man instituted system of religion and the twisting of a biblical term to mean something completely unbiblical?
Answer: Nothing!
By the way, how many people would it take to fulfill this mandate to "assemble with the saints"? I would encourage you to keep in mind that Jesus said where two or three were gathered in His name, He would be in their midst. If I need a special building for two or three folks to assemble, I suppose I better "assemble" with some loaded saints!
Look folks, I know very well that it is God's desire that we travel this journey of faith with other believers. It's absolutely true that there can be no spiritual Lone Rangers. We need each other just like a body needs its parts to function properly, but let's get real here. There is no way on God's green Earth anyone will ever find ANY biblically, sound support for what American's call "going to church".
I've said this before and I'll say it again. "Church" is always used in the bible as a word that describes "the body of Christ". It is not something you attend. Granted, you may choose to meet with "the Church", but you do not meet "at the church". That use of the word comes solely from the mouths of men not God.
You might be tempted to accuse me of splitting hairs here, but I could probably accuse you (at least those of you who adhere to using the term incorrectly) of doing the same.
Is it wrong to meet with other believers in a building? Of course not! As a matter of fact, if you want to buy a building and use it to meet with other believers, have at it! I personally do not see it as being a good use of what God has given us, but you may and that's your business. My problem is that so many folks use the term "church" in phrases such as loving the "Church" and going to "church" synonymously, when in fact these two uses of the word have very different meanings.
With the phrase "loving the Church", "Church" speaks of "the people" while "going to church" would lead us to believe you are speaking of a place or destination. Again, these are two very different words with very different meanings. You cannot use them synonymously.
Again, I have no problem with the idea of "the Church" loving on each other and meeting together however and wherever they choose. I do have a problem with folks muddying the water with religious jargon based on religious traditions instead of sound biblical doctrine. It confuses the world and serves no purpose other than the manipulation and control God's people.
Oh and by the way Mr. DeYoung, Jesus was indeed "anti-religion", "anti-doctrine" (at least the man contrived junk), and "anti-institutional" (just ask the Pharisees).
So, if you're going to use the term "Church", use it within context of what the bible actually teaches. Otherwise, you might find it wise to say nothing at all.