Not Everyone Loves What We’re Doing Here

In case you think all of my email is filled with great questions and wonderful affirmations, it isn’t so. Take this one I got last week:

Although you make several true points in this article, you are totally off base when it comes to the local New Testament church. There is not only a Bible principle, but the New Testament also sets a precedent for believers in regards to the local church. That precedent is for us who claim the name of Christ to be part of a local body of believers. You better go back to the drawing board and spiritually reconsider these foolish remarks. This article will do much more harm than it will ever do good. Stay away from your opinions, and stick with the spirit and truth of the Word of the Living God.

Are you surprised he signed his letter as ‘Senior Pastor’ so-an-so? I’m not even sure what article he is referring to, since he didn’t say. I’d assume he means Why I Don’t Go to Church Anymore. But my heart goes out to people like him. I used to be one of them only considered those who were involved in a recognized local assembly to be committed Christians.

Now I know better. Institutional commitment alone is meaningless. Jesus never told his disciples to organize such things, nor people to attend them. The writers of the New Testament talked of the church locally as believers in a given region. They met in homes, related to each other with joy and service, and for over 300 years never began the kind of institutions and traditions that have come to mark Christianity for the last 18 centuries. They loved each other, were devoted to each other even beyond their faults and weaknesses, and shared his life together by the strength of their relationships throughout the week.

I honestly think those who see their church involvement as a congregational meeting have more to explain about New Testament precedents than those who live in the reality of open and honest relationships with lots of other Christians in their area—and not just those who attend one institution. Over the last five years Sara and I have built relationships with a variety of people in this area. Some of them attend a Sunday morning gathering; many of them do not. But what they do have in common is a passionate desire to live deeply with Jesus and to walk alongside other believers in meaningful relationships. What more could we ever want from the church?

I do agree that those who claim the name of Christ are part of the local body of believers. I guess I just mean that differently than my pastor friend does. Some us just grew tired of all the institutional baggage that seemed to hinder rather than help those relationships. We’re not attacking others who see it differently by calling their beliefs foolish or accusing them of great harm. I don’t see the need for them to do so with us.

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20 Comments
  1. Kent June 8, 2005 at 4:53 pm

    Wayne, I had a member of a local congregation who is also a board member of this large E-Free Fellowship say to me that he would have a much harder, if not impossible time justifing what they do on Sunday morning from scripture, than I would, doing what I am doing.

  2. Kent June 8, 2005 at 7:53 pm

    Wayne, I had a member of a local congregation who is also a board member of this large E-Free Fellowship say to me that he would have a much harder, if not impossible time justifing what they do on Sunday morning from scripture, than I would, doing what I am doing.

  3. D June 8, 2005 at 8:54 pm

    Frankly had i heard this stuff 13 years ago it would have saved me deep pain.

  4. D June 8, 2005 at 11:54 pm

    Frankly had i heard this stuff 13 years ago it would have saved me deep pain.

  5. Jim June 9, 2005 at 5:05 am

    I once heard a pastor say that it is much easier to be a Christian if you attend this particular church. I also remember a sign that was at a local institution that said if you think supporting your family is hard, try not supporting them. Maybe it is that many in the intitutions are not being who they are meant to be and can only find encouragement with others of the same problems. Actually the only hard time that I have had is when I’m not being the person the Lord has and is making me. I really don’t find being a believer hard. It’s when I’n not being one.

  6. Loren June 9, 2005 at 6:16 am

    I remember as a child my Dad saying; "If you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, you always know the one you hit".

    Could it be that the Lord tossed this stone into the pack to get this man’s attention? We all have reacted or responded to the pain we’ve felt whether from others or self inflicted.

    Although he may not know it yet, I believe this brothers comfort zone is starting to get a little rocky. Defending one’s territory is a tiring task.

  7. D June 9, 2005 at 6:34 am

    //that is allowing beleivers to be more real and walk in the grace of God?

  8. maryann June 9, 2005 at 7:37 am

    wayne: keep on!

    they are feeling the pain of the truth…we havent been doing what we are supposed to have been doing.

    we need change. the whole system needs changed.

    at first we feel it as a threat and need to protect what we have held on to so dearly….then as we realize it is Father speaking to us to let go…the lights come on and we realize we need to let go and follow Christ.

    grace and peace multiplied to you today

  9. Jim June 9, 2005 at 8:05 am

    I once heard a pastor say that it is much easier to be a Christian if you attend this particular church. I also remember a sign that was at a local institution that said if you think supporting your family is hard, try not supporting them. Maybe it is that many in the intitutions are not being who they are meant to be and can only find encouragement with others of the same problems. Actually the only hard time that I have had is when I’m not being the person the Lord has and is making me. I really don’t find being a believer hard. It’s when I’n not being one.

  10. eddie June 9, 2005 at 8:30 am

    Well Wayne

    I guess you BETTER GO BACK to the drawing board then. But of course, you can paint a picture of whatever you wanna. Men like these always have some elusive boogyman that needs to be caught. Either we have been set free for freedom, or let’s preach the law to the Nth degree.

    😉

  11. Loren June 9, 2005 at 9:16 am

    I remember as a child my Dad saying; "If you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, you always know the one you hit".

    Could it be that the Lord tossed this stone into the pack to get this man’s attention? We all have reacted or responded to the pain we’ve felt whether from others or self inflicted.

    Although he may not know it yet, I believe this brothers comfort zone is starting to get a little rocky. Defending one’s territory is a tiring task.

  12. D June 9, 2005 at 9:34 am

    //that is allowing beleivers to be more real and walk in the grace of God?

  13. maryann June 9, 2005 at 10:37 am

    wayne: keep on!

    they are feeling the pain of the truth…we havent been doing what we are supposed to have been doing.

    we need change. the whole system needs changed.

    at first we feel it as a threat and need to protect what we have held on to so dearly….then as we realize it is Father speaking to us to let go…the lights come on and we realize we need to let go and follow Christ.

    grace and peace multiplied to you today

  14. eddie June 9, 2005 at 11:30 am

    Well Wayne

    I guess you BETTER GO BACK to the drawing board then. But of course, you can paint a picture of whatever you wanna. Men like these always have some elusive boogyman that needs to be caught. Either we have been set free for freedom, or let’s preach the law to the Nth degree.

    😉

  15. Dom June 10, 2005 at 7:52 am

    Wayne its great that you show both sides,just shows how much God has apperently freed you up enough to do so-

  16. Dom June 10, 2005 at 10:52 am

    Wayne its great that you show both sides,just shows how much God has apperently freed you up enough to do so-

  17. Kelly Martin-Shirk June 10, 2005 at 7:51 pm

    It’s really hard to make the blind ‘see’. There are those who are blind by birth and those who have chosen to not ‘see’. I guess a lot depends on just how much one has ‘invested’ in the institution.

  18. Kelly Martin-Shirk June 10, 2005 at 10:51 pm

    It’s really hard to make the blind ‘see’. There are those who are blind by birth and those who have chosen to not ‘see’. I guess a lot depends on just how much one has ‘invested’ in the institution.

  19. Dennis June 18, 2005 at 9:38 pm

    Let freedom Ring. we need to pray for this individual.For he’s in bondage.

  20. Dennis June 19, 2005 at 12:38 am

    Let freedom Ring. we need to pray for this individual.For he’s in bondage.

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