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Old 06-12-2013, 05:19 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Natal Transvaal
Posts: 4,747
Default Nullification of the function of the body members

My history was different than many ex-Local Churchers: I had a great experience pretty much start to finish. As a new and struggling Christian I felt that I needed something more so I really loved the 24/7 immersive experience in the 'local church life' of the 'Lord's recovery'. We had meetings pretty much every day, and on weekends sometimes 2 or 3 meetings even. We really got into the word of God, and I got to speak a lot, which encouraged me quite a bit.

I heard about 'storms' and 'rebellions' but they seemed remote. I didn't know the details and didn't want to. Hear no evil, speak no evil. Occasionally I saw the Maximum Brothers come by and say or demonstrate something less-than-Christlike, but as WL said, "You have to forgive our 'messy kitchen' because we are trying to make something here".

WL didn't forgive the 'messy kitchen' of other christian assemblies, however, but pointed out their shortcomings repeatedly. I suppose he felt that their messes were systemic, and his were superficial. Maybe so, but nonetheless I would like to point out a shortcoming of WL's "local church system" which has increasingly become evident to me as systemic.

This is the system of the functioning of the members of the body. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul famously likened the church to a body, and differentiated church members as like the parts of a human body: eye, ear, hand, foot, etc. All the parts, said WL, had functions. He said that the clergy/laity system in Christianity had ruined the functions of the members of the body. I remember that he used the word 'nullified', as in 'rendered to none effect'.

My point is this: WL may have had a legitimate point regarding "the nullification of the function of the members of the body of Christ in Christianity", but what happened inside his system? In his system, there was to be only one church organization in each city, with one set of elders, who were dependent on the one speaking and leading of the one apostle, God's oracle. Nobody else could get any 'leading' or 'speaking' except on how to cooperate, or 'be one' with the latest directive from Headquarters. Did this not nullify the operation of the members of the body? Did this not cut off the speaking of the Shepherd of the sheep? I say yes, it did.

Let me give an example, and propose an alternative, which I see clearly presented in God's word. My example is a typical weekend 'conference'. What would happen is 2 or 3 'co-workers' would come by from Headquarters and give a series of messages. All the 'saints' from the various 'localities' would gather at one church building and listen. Usually it was Friday and Saturday night, and then Sunday morning. So there would be 3 or 4 meetings with a common theme. After each message, all the saints would get an opportunity to speak. Often they would only get a minute and somebody would bang a note on the piano if they went over their time. And the 'sharing' was supposed to be just repeating, verbatim if possible, what the co-worker had just said. Often the sharing was simply 2 or 3 saints who would chant a line together from the outline, then say, "amen!" with raised fists and sit down. Is this functioning? A robot could do that, or a tape recorder, which is exactly what we were told to be, more than once. Just enthusiastically repeat the word from Big Brother and sit down.

Now, let me propose an alternative. In the scriptures, I see three mediatorial agencies between God and man. First, of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ. "There is one mediator between God and man, and that is the man Christ Jesus." "There is no other name given by which man may be saved." Etc. Etc. That seems pretty basic, and pretty clear.

Second, there is the Word of God. God's word reveals His Son, who in turn reveals the Father to us. In fact, the New Testament even calls Jesus Christ the incarnated Word. The Word of God shows us Jesus Christ, and Jesus shows us the things of the Father. Again, pretty basic.

Third, there is the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that he was going back to the Father's house, and would send us the Spirit, who would guide us into all the true experiences of the Father's kingdom. Thus, in the absence of the physical Jesus, whom the disciples had for 3+ years, the disciples today have the indwelling Spirit leading us through the scriptures. Again, the Spirit shows us Jesus, who shows us our Father in heaven.

Of course, this is within the common collective experience of the church, in which there are specialized functions like prophets, evangelists and teachers. There are different gifts, and special manifestations of the Spirit. But none of these ministries should grow to the point that it nullifies the leading of God's Spirit in His Word in the rest of the body members.

The main function of the leading ones is to be an example for the rest. They should be the most obedient to the Lord, the Word, and the Spirit, and this visible example is a great encouragement for the rest of the 'flock'. The individual Christian believer, meeting in the church, says to himself/herself, "If so-and-so can do it, why not me?" They are emboldened to function by the functioning of others. They are not suppressed by the functioning of others.
"Freedom is free. It's slavery that's so horribly expensive" - Colonel Templeton, ret., of the 12th Scottish Highlanders, the 'Black Fusiliers'
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