Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My Commentary: The Top 10 Church Fallacies

I put out the list without comment on my last post. Indulge me, please, as I take a moment to comment on each of the ten.

1. Churches decide things by voting
Democracy, although a blessing in human government, is not so much as hinted at in the NT for that of the church. It is an invention of western society and capitalism rather than the scriptures. It has seeped into the church by osmosis, rather than arising from the inspired instruction of God for his church.


2. God has commanded the church to tithe
This is a relatively recent invention, developed out of a misappropriation of the OT law. Christians not only don't have to, they should not do so, if doing so is an attempt to gain status before or blessing from God (legalism). If one tithes, he or she should not think that it merits a blessing from God.


3. Modern pastors get paid too much
The Bible says that
elders, especially those that labor in the word, are worthy of double honor. The context is remuneration. If you work full time, take whatever you make, multiply it by two, and that is easily what your pastor is worth. A good pastor is worth his weight in gold! Now, I'm not saying that is what pastors should get paid, but certainly, 99.9% of all churches have no reason at all to complain about what their pastors do get paid.

4. Church growth should be the number one concern of church leaders
Church growth is not in the purview of church leaders, nor church members for that matter. They sow the word, and water it, but
God alone is responsible for the increase. A focus on church growth can only result in the dethroning of God and the subsequent substitution of human methodology in place of the work of the Spirit. If we control it, as we must if it is ours to determine, than it also follows that it must be generated from our creativity and determination. One can expand the clientele of a supermarket through good marketing, it doesn't follow that we can or should do the same for our church.

5. Evangelism requires Christians to act as unbelievers do
I have to admit, this one can bug me. Jesus didn't collect taxes, get drunk, or use the services of prostitutes. He didn't dress like them nor act like them. He did hang out with them, minister to them, and win them. He changed them, they didn't change him. How is cussing, drinking, watching questionable entertainment, or gutting the gospel following Christ's example? I don't think Paul's statements about cross-cultural evangelism can be taken to mean we should either.

6. Pastors chief role as leaders is vision casting
Where to begin with this? The Bible would be the wrong answer. This is out of the business world pure and simple-- Peter Drucker rather than Simon Peter. The word pastor literally means "a feeder of sheep', a bishop is literally "one who watches over", and an elder is an aged one. The only thing the Bible suggests that this leader cast is feed.

7. Christians in every generation need to apply their creativity to reinvent the church
The church is the temple of the Holy Spirit. We never get to scrap it and start anew, for no other foundation can be laid than what has already been laid. We must, instead, be careful how we build upon that which was built before. The church is his and the faith has been delivered once for all time. We had better do what we do out of the grace of God given us, rather than out of the manipulative fads of the moment.

8. The church is meant to transform society and cure its ills
Though we are salt and light, I see no promise that we will change the world. Just the opposite in fact: the poor will always be with us, evil will wax worse and worse, and evil men will proceed to their doom. The ship is going down, all we can do is to get as many as we can into eternity's lifeboats before it goes down.

9. It is acceptable for believers to treat other believers in error or sin with disdain
All I have to say is Galatians 6:1-2 and 2 Timothy 2:23-26.

10. The Republican Party is the only acceptable political party for American Christians
A reminder of things said before.

2 comments:

  1. #2 - Tithing - Please note Matthew 23:23, Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin and have neglected the weightier matters of the law justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the other undone.

    It would seem to me that Jesus was saying that tithing should not be undone. If tithing is something Jesus thinks I shoud do then being obedient would bring a blessing. Just because tithing was an Old Testament idea and practice does not mean the church should not make a practice of tithing. 2 Corinthians 2:20 - For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. - I think that "all" would include the Old Testament promises including Malachi 3:10. It might be good to back up to Malachi 3:6 and read these words - For I am the Lord, I do not change...(continue reading)... you have gone away from my ordinances and have not kept them. Return to me and I will return to you, says the Lord....in what way shall we return...(then come verses 8-11) - So if the Lord changes not and He calls for a return to His ordinances shouldn't New Testament believers do the same? I think it would be a mistake to discount the promises and warning of the Old Testament just because there are no direct references or commands in the New Testamnet to tithe. And I also think the "blessing" still applies.

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  2. Larry,
    Jesus was addressing those under the law in that passage, as was Malachi. Paul's letter to the Galatians is the operative paradigm for those under grace, and explains clearly that we do NOT operate on the basis of the law.

    If one wants the blessing circumscribed by obeying the law, not only should he tithe, but he should get circumcized, let the corner of his hair grow out, move to Israel, rebuild the Temple and start sacrificing the appropriate animals.

    We can not mix and match in this regard. It's new wineskins for new wine, or it's a mess that ends up destroying both. We either are under law or under grace, but never both.

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