Plumbline Faith

Simple Faith, Simple Virtue, Simple Church

Simple Church — April 26, 2017

Simple Church

We need more elders sharing lives among us …

And less “preachers” on podiums above us.

Unfortunately, few are willing to give up the recognition and privileges of the latter …

For the humility and sacrifices of the former.

Simple Church — April 20, 2017

Simple Church

“Church” too often means expecting others to fit our own molds, in order to support the sensibilities and biases of our own cultural perspectives.

In contrast, I have learned to allow “church” to emerge in all its splendid diversity by letting the life of Christ take root in the rich soil of different cultures and communities.

Could that be why the Great Commission says “go”, rather than “come”?

Simple Church — April 12, 2017

Simple Church

Slowly but surely, God is shifting the paradigm of church and leadership. 

It is becoming organic, simple and participatory, with healthy fellowships beginning to emerge. 

All I can say is forget the buzz words by past advocates like Viola, Dale, Zens, Rodriguez, Giles, Rohde and their buddies …

With their failed attempts to impose their own existential, cookie-cutter visions of Christ and the Church on God’s people through books and blogs that never lined up with reality in their own lives and home towns.

Instead, go and let the Lord express Himself as He sees fit, building on the foundation already apostolically laid through Scripture as His authoritative written Word, in the unique context of diverse communities … 

Where He still sends us today to make disciples among the lost and redeem nations.

That, my friends, is real “organic” church and leadership.

Simple Church — April 7, 2017

Simple Church

In Hebrews 13:17, some translations tell us to “obey” those who “rule over” us in the church. This is a very unfortunate translation. 

In the Greek, the verb translated “obey” is in the middle voice and means to “be persuaded”. Yet it is often wrongly translated in the active voice as “obey”, which has an entirely different meaning.

The verb phrase “rule over” also is a misleading translation. 

In the Greek, it does not mean having authority or being “over” anyone, but rather earned esteem by those who have given thought to and walked farther along the same path.

If they can’t persuade or earn your respect by having actually thought through and lived what they’re saying, then we are under no obligation to accord them any influence in our lives.

Bottom line: 

There is NO command in the New Testament to blindly obey or follow anyone – and no mandate for authoritarianism, “cover” or control over others – in the church.

Church leadership in the New Testament is straightforward: 

Be persuaded by those who thoughtfully walk the walk and are further along in their faith and life experience, yielding to their example as we submit one to another.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Simple Church — April 5, 2017

Simple Church

The New Testament says we should sing God’s praises together to encourage one another …

Not to somehow persuade God to show up.

Since He’s already present in those who know Him – and thus among us when we gather as His church – anyone claiming some special status to “lead” us into His presence is committing spiritual fraud …

By peddling counterfeit “worship”.

Simple Church — April 2, 2017

Simple Church

For many, “church” has become a circus – a staged show where they go to be entertained, amazed, awed and sent home feeling good. 

This perversion is sustained by convincing folks that the more they are entertained, amazed, awed and feel good …

The more “God moved” and the service was “anointed” and “inspired”.  

It is collective narcissism at its worst.

To question what “church” has become among those who thrive on the show initially invokes blank stares …

Then an incredulous disconnect as the direction of the conversation is quickly changed. 

They will avoid at all cost having to consider the very idea that the Body of Christ is suppose to be something very different – and so much more significant.

Simple Truth — March 29, 2017

Simple Truth

It’s amazing how much huff, puff and indignation arise when you simply ask those pushing their books, blogs and conferences on how to be the church …

If they are actually part of one in their own lives and home towns like they keep peddling to others.

Hypocrisy is not a Biblical virtue …

Nor should it be tolerated in those who presume to be teachers among us.

Simple Discipleship — March 23, 2017

Simple Discipleship

It is liberating to learn that God did not create us to be like someone else …

But instead gives us different personalities and motivations that match our diverse spiritual gifts. 

We experience His pleasure as we learn to use and enjoy those gifts as He intended …

In our lives, families, fellowships and surrounding communities.

Simple Church — March 18, 2017

Simple Church

Pharisees in the New Testament were religious teachers and leaders who insisted that others do what they were not doing or living in their own lives.

Today, we have authors, bloggers and so-called “workers” (their euphemism for “apostles”) peddling their ideas, books, seminars and influence by telling others how to form an “organic” or “simple” church …

Despite no consistent history of substainably making what they promote work in their own lives, home towns or anywhere else.

One need look no further than Frank Viola, Jon Zens, Milt Rodriguez, Felicity Dale, Ross Rohde, Keith Giles and their buddies …

With their various here today, gone tomorrow mutual promotion networks.

The irony is that when you point this out, they call YOU the Pharisee!

Simple, participatory church works as the New Testament authoritatively shows it  …

Not as they keep selling it to promote themselves, their “ministries” and their failed existential agendas.

Be discerning.

Simple Church — March 14, 2017
Simple Church — March 12, 2017

Simple Church

There are no hierarchical titles in the New Testament regarding God’s people and the church:

Just straightforward descriptive words for different functions using the everyday language of ordinary folk when it was first written …

And bad English translations which imply otherwise today.

Simple Church — March 8, 2017
Simple Church — March 7, 2017

Simple Church

None of Christ’s mandates full work, like the Kingdom of God, mission and discipleship …

Without the other mandate to be His ekklesia – His local participatory assembly which expresses His Kingship within the communities where we live – also fully working.

Simple Truth — March 6, 2017

Simple Truth

False prophets, teachers and so-called apostles are not so hard to spot:

They seek more attention for themselves; 

More power for themselves; 

More fame for themselves; 

More money for themselves; and 

More followers for themselves …

Than Jesus ever did.

Simple Church — March 5, 2017
Simple Discipleship — March 1, 2017

Simple Discipleship

Be wary of those who peddle the latest theological fads.

Often they prey on spiritually wounded people by offering the affirmation of “deeper” life or knowledge …

Rather than the health and assurance that comes from the simple faith of Scripture.

Here are two tests that typically weed out these merchants of deception:

1. Are they part of an actual, functional local fellowship in their own home town where they are transparent and accountable to a community of fellow believers, among whom their ideas have demonstrated consistently good fruit over time?

2. Do they openly affirm and submit to God’s plenary authority of Scripture as His authentic written Word in all matters of faith, life and doctrine?

If not, you likely are dealing with a wolf …

Rather than one who’s​ legitimately come in the name of the Lord.

Simple Truth — February 24, 2017

Simple Truth

“Christian” narcissists reject the justice of God’s wrath …

While claiming the mercy of His grace.

Which also makes them delusional …

With their very own imaginary pick-and-choose Jesus.

The authentic God of Scripture, however, condemns the idolatry of those who seek to remake Him in their own image.

Is it any wonder, then, that those who do so are persistently plagued – often despite a public persona to the contrary – with private insecurities, angst and doubt …

While concurrently unable to form, sustain or be part of a viable, functional local church?

But that never seems to stop them from spreading their false gospel, rooted in existential idolatry, with an outer confidence …

Which belies their true inner turmoil and history of church failures.

Be discerning …

Not deceived.

Simple Truth — February 23, 2017

Simple Truth

Doctrine formed in reaction to bad doctrine …

Is almost always bad doctrine.

This includes the currently fadish, but reactionary, doctrine …

That the best way to avoid the misuse of doctrine is to have no doctrine.

Simple Church — February 22, 2017

Simple Church

A great hindrance to simple church as the New Testament shows it …

Is the lie that it’s all up to you.

That lie feeds the resulting impulse to then try to make it happen by directing, motivating and coordinating everyone else …

Under your primary “leadership” or “vision”.

In simple church as the New Testament shows it, however, God’s people learn to lead forth – each and every one – as He directs according to the diverse gifts, motivations and callings He distributes among us …

In submission one to another.

Biblical elders who unassumingly serve together within those local communities understand this.

In contrast, others who presume to assume the unbiblical role of solo “pastor” eventually limit God’s people – and themselves – to an edifice of their own ego, structure and agenda …

No matter how well intended.

Simple Church — February 14, 2017

Simple Church

If I want a performance, I’ll go to the theater or a concert …

Or maybe watch a show on a big screen TV.

If I want church, I’ll gather with those who minister one to another as co-heirs of God’s grace and joint participants in His Kingdom.

Simple Truth — February 12, 2017

Simple Truth

Teachings seldom lead to doing …

Unless rooted in actually doing.

Which may explain why so many “Church leaders” and teachings today …

Are so ineffective at actually making disciples.

Simple Discipleship — February 11, 2017
Simple Church — February 10, 2017

Simple Church

Christian Maturity:

Learning to use God’s gifts, motivations and callings for you …

In ways that aren’t dismissive of – but affirm – His differing gifts, motivations and callings for others.

Simple Discipleship — February 5, 2017

Simple Discipleship

New believers often need potty training.

Older believers, however, often need reminding that this inevitably involves messy “accidents” …

Because in real discipleship, crap happens.

Simple Church — January 26, 2017

Simple Church

Did you know that in the New Testament, “preaching” is always outside the church toward non-believers …

And never in the church toward believers?

In the church, the New Testament says instead we are to teach, encourage and admonish one another.

Plus, the original Greek word almost always used for “teach” or “teaching” in the church means through participatory, interactive dialog …

Rather than letting anyone monopolize our time together with one-way preaching or monologue sermons.

If that surprises you, check it out yourself.

Then ask, what else about “church” have you uncritically assumed without actually verifying it in Scripture?