Plumbline Faith

Simple Faith, Simple Virtue, Simple Church

Simple Church — July 18, 2018

Simple Church

“Assembly” is probably the closest English word to “ekklesia”, which is commonly mistranslated as “church” in our English Bibles.

But even “assembly” falls short.

In the common usage of the day when the New Testament was written, “ekklesia” almost always referred to the participatory governing authority in a city …

Made up of local citizens appointed by a larger empire.

In Israel during Jesus’ time on Earth, the local ekklesia under Roman rule was the Sanhedrin.

Each city or provence had their own local ekklesia, appointed by the conquering Roman empire to assemble and manage the affairs of the city through local citizens selected by the emperor.

It was democratic as to internal function, but not ultimate authority.

The idea of Christ building His ekklesia, therefore, was both subversive to Roman ears, but fully in line with His further teachings on His Kingdom.

Unfortunately, “church” today has little to do – either as to form or function – with what “ekklesia” actually meant when the New Testament was written.

To really understand the Bible, we need to learn what it actually said when written, based on the meaning and context of the words used …

Rather than reading back into those words our contrary post-New Testament meanings.

Simple Faith — July 15, 2018
Simple Church — July 10, 2018

Simple Church

There are four verses in the New Testament which admonish Christians to sing together when we gather …

And the ONLY reason given is to encourage one another.

The idea of worship in the church as a way to experience, encounter or invoke God’s presence is not found in the New Testament.

Rather, it is from the Old Testament idea of the temple, where you went to encounter God.

In contrast, under the New Covenant, we have become God’s temple because He now dwells in us.

Thus, we sing to express God’s presence already in us, not to bring His presence to us.

And we are to do it congregationally for the purpose of encouraging one another …

Not as a staged performance to manipulate intense reactions which we then call “God”.

Simple Church — July 9, 2018

Simple Church

Most of what we call “worship” today …

Is so contrived and manipulative as to be an affront to God.

Most are so unwilling to submit their concept of “worship” to what the New Testament actually says is worship …

That they don’t even care.

Simple Church — July 5, 2018

Simple Church

Did you know that the English word “church” does not come from the New Testament …

But derives from an old German word “Circe”, denoting gatherings of those engaged in occult practices related to pagan gods …

From which our word “circus” also comes …

Which may explain why “church” today looks nothing like the New Testament concept of “ekklesia” – which is mistranslated “church”.

Maybe it’s time to take a second look at Scripture through the lens of the actual words actually used …

And what they actually meant when selected by the Holy Spirit to become the New Testament …

Rather than using our contrary, post-New Testament words and meanings.

Simple Church — July 2, 2018

Simple Church

Don’t be deceived by cries of “unity” by those who reject God’s plenary authority of Scripture …

And then have the hubris to expect fellowship around a Jesus of their own creation and perception.

Simple Discipleship — July 1, 2018
Simple Faith — June 29, 2018

Simple Faith

What if you actually studied the New Testament and the original, actual meanings of the words it contains?

What if you studied it a second time and then a third time?

And, after all that, what if you discovered that what you call “worship” …

Isn’t?

What if …

Simple Church — June 27, 2018

Simple Church

Jesus is our Lord who loves us …

Not our lover.

Unfortunately, the words and mood of too many songs that pass for “worship” these days …

Seem to confuse this vital difference.

 

Simple Church — June 23, 2017

Simple Church

“Assembly” is probably the closest English word to “ekklesia”, which is commonly mistranslated as “church” in our English Bibles.

But even “assembly” falls short.

When the NT was written, “ekklesia” almost always – in the common usage of the day – referred to a participatory assembly of local citizens appointed as the governing authority, under Rome, in a city or region.

In Israel during Jesus’ time on Earth, the local ekklesia under Roman rule was the Sanhedrin.

Each city or provence had their own local ekklesia, which oversaw local affairs under Roman authority through local citizens selected by the emperor.

The internal function of each ekklesia, in their own locale, was democratic – with full participation and say by each member – just like a State assembly or town council today.

The idea of Christ building His ekklesia, therefore, was subversive to Roman ears, but fully in line with His further teachings on His Kingdom.

Unfortunately, “church” today has little to do – either as to form or function – with what “ekklesia” actually meant when the New Testament was written.

To really understand the Bible, we need to learn what it actually said when written, based on the meaning and context of the words used, rather than reading back into those words our conflicting post-New Testament meanings.

Simple Faith — June 21, 2017

Simple Faith

Most of what we call “worship” today …

Is so contrived and manipulative as to be an affront to God.

Most are so unwilling to submit their concept of “worship” to what the New Testament actually says is worship …

That they don’t even care.

Simple Church — June 20, 2017
Simple Church — June 19, 2017

Simple Church

The phrase “simple church” means:

Smaller, intentional fellowships which relate together in their own home towns as the local Body of Christ, with throughout-the-week community.

In those fellowships, people regularly gather together in homes (and other places where life naturally happens) to motivate and encourage each other toward love and good works by ministering one to another in open, participatory meetings.

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Simple Faith — June 18, 2017

Simple Faith

A true encounter with God often invokes intense emotion.

Unfortunately, many “churches” today try to invoke intense emotion and call it a true encounter with God.

It’s not.

It’s just fleshly manipulation masquerading as “worship”.

Simple Truth — June 16, 2017

Simple Truth

When the “Gospel” is reduced to a “decision” devoid of repentance and submission to Christ’s Lordship and Kingdom …

It, and anything that promotes it, is a lie.

Including “church”.

Simple Truth — June 14, 2017
Simple Church — June 9, 2017

Simple Church

When the world does a better job dealing with and responding to sexual abuse within its ranks than does the “church” …

Isn’t it time to confront the fact that what is called “church” these days really isn’t?

Simple Church — June 1, 2017

Simple Church

Worship.

People keep using that word.

But what they mean …

Isn’t what the New Testament means.

Which means they elevate their own understanding over God’s own revelation …

And worship “worship” more than God Himself.

Simple Discipleship — May 29, 2017

Simple Discipleship

If Christians today started giving how the New Testament says we should give …

To what the New Testament says we should give …

Its doubtful that what we call “church” today would survive.

Simple Church — May 27, 2017
Simple Church — May 25, 2017
Simple Church — May 18, 2017
Simple Faith — May 16, 2017

Simple Faith

I may have an ability or perspective that you lack. 

But I have yet to meet anyone – and I mean anyone – who does not also exceed me in some aspect of their own abilities and perspectives. 

Likewise, no church, ministry or movement will be healthy if it pulls into itself or thinks itself beyond everyone else.

This is true also with our different sub-cultures, theological “tribes”, and the often unexamined presumptions and sensibilities of our own community of like-minded friends.

Unity in diversity through humility, not uniformity through hierarchy, is God’s intent among those who love Him and heed His Word.

Simple Church — May 12, 2017
Simple Discipleship — May 8, 2017

Simple Discipleship

I routinely ask men I mentored in the jail, who give their lives to the Lord there, why it’s so hard for them to become part of a church when they get out. 

I then follow up by asking whether, after being released, they were ever invited into someone’s home for a meal and fellowship from any church they visited. 

The answer? Never.

I’ve asked this hundreds of times, not just of men trying to put their lives back together after jail, but also of others living in the woods or in homeless shelters.

The answer is always the same.

In twenty years, I’ve seen no exceptions.

We all love arms-length “ministries” and “programs” that make us feel good about helping “those people”, so long as it’s not too close and personal.

I guess most “churches” are look-alike religious social clubs for cookie-cutter “believers” rather than real Christian communities. 

How tragic.

In the meantime, our house remains a place of hospitality, friendship and fellowship …

And our lives continue to be enriched beyond measure because of it.