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GOING TO THE ROOT: Mark Driscoll and the Celebrity System

Artwork by Richard Jacobson, ChurchAnarchist.com

Artwork by Richard Jacobson, ChurchAnarchist.com

America is one big celebrity culture. Big names. Big followings. Big money. One expects celebrity worship and big money in the culture of the world, but we can also see it in what calls itself church. Truth is, there has been a religious system in place since 250AD that has elevated church leaders in an extremely unhealthy way.

In the early church there was no “clergy” and “laity” as these words have been used traditionally for centuries. In fact, the Greek word kleros (“inheritance”) – from which the English word “clergy” is derived – is used in the New Testament, but it includes every one of Jesus’ people. Every believer is “clergy.”

Sadly, very early on the visible church began to divide people into the “ordained” (clergy) and the non-ordained (laity). We can now reflect on how perverse this chasm was and still is today, and how easily it was created. By changing the definition of a good word, kleros, which includes all of God’s people, kleros was narrowed down to entail only a few male church leaders, instead of Christ leading through all the one anothers.

The Qualified Clergy?

By 250AD the doctrine of the “Bishop” was in place, and the priesthood of all believers were told, “Obey the Bishop because he speaks in the place of God,” or you will be in deep trouble. As time marched on a well-defined hierarchical religious system was functioning to keep the priesthood in line, ending with the Pope in Rome on top.

When Luther, Calvin and Zwingli took issue with Roman Catholicism in the 1500’s, they pushed the sacramental table aside and made the pulpit central. While the Reformation had no Pope, it did have an inordinate dependence upon “the minister,” or “the pastor.” Thus, in practice, Protestantism ended up with thousands of mini-popes keeping those in the pews in line at the local level.

(An important fact to keep in mind is that from 325 – 1600AD all clergymen were embedded in and protected by state control of the churches.)

In Catholicism and Protestantism the system is heavily weighted to authoritative leaders who make sure the priesthood, the so-called laity, color only within the prescribed boundaries. In American history there have certainly been well-known and influential preachers/pastors of larger churches. But since the 1960’s, the religious scene has magnified and accelerated the appearance of charismatic celebrities who are able to gather thousands around their personalities.

The religion of the personality cult is a perfect fit with the long-standing practice of pastoral authority. The reality is that a powerful system is in place that cultivates, fosters and encourages the pedestal-status of “the pastor.” John Piper can write a book, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, but the reality is that the system requires them to be professionals or they are out on their ear.

The Centrality of an Individual?

Here are some examples of the doctrine as stated by those who advocate it. Ministry magazine said in 2010, “the local church pastor is key – absolutely central – to everything we are and do as a church.” Julia McMillan asserted in her otherwise excellent book, Prophetic Crack:

 

There is one primary voice in leadership. Where there is a pastor, that should be the only decisive voice that we hear. He is charged with soul care and is the ultimate voice the congregants expect to hear, especially regarding matters of vision and direction for the church. (Julia McMillan, “Prophetic Crack: Pushers in the Pulpits, Addicts in the Pews,” Thorncrown Publishing, 2010, p. 105).

 

Rick Bundschuh speaks of “the person who leads a church,” the pastor (The Church, 1988, p. 57). R.C. Sproul believes that the pastor is “the head of a group of people,” which is like being “the president of a company” (Now, That’s A Good Question! 1996, p. 343). Quotations like these are legion. The leading religious assumption across the board in all denominations is that “the pastor” is at the heart of a congregation’s existence.

However, one could rightfully ask, “Where in the New Testament would this pastor centrality and dependence be found?” Julia McMillan encourages us to be informed by “the Word of God” (p. 112), but her sentiments about the pastor being “the one decisive voice we hear” falls into the category of errant human traditions.

Paul made it clear that “the body is not one part, but many.” But if people were to judge by what they see practiced and a lot of what is in print, their conclusion would be that the body is one part, not many. All the bread is in the basket of “the pastor.”

For sure, American religion is all about the pastor, his vision and his leadership. Those who choose the role of pastor as a career are, like it or not, throwing themselves into a system that is unforgiving in its expectations, and totally without the sanction of Jesus. Some pastors seem to be successful in the clergy role, but in a high percentage of cases the system eats them up. I have said before – I’m convinced that most pastors go to bed at night with a gnawing in their spirit that church is way out of kilter, that games are being played, and that authenticity is almost never a reality. It is, in part, because of thoughts like this that Joel Gregory turned down the job offer to be pastor of a large, prestigious church (Too Great A Temptation: The Seductive Power of America’s Super Church, 1994).

The System that Lords Over Christ in Believers

It is in this world where these church leaders are exalted, where their authority is pervasive and where their presence is viewed as mandatory, that people like Mark Driscoll rise to incredible heights of prominence. But it makes no difference if one is pastor over 25 or 25,000, the same basic expectations are in place. It must be underscored, then, that Mark is a cog in a system that should have never been in place. This system’s inner workings account for both his climb to the top, his fall to the cement, and the confusion about his future. Because the system is perilously flawed, and because it does not have heaven’s approval in the first place, is it any wonder or surprise that it comes equipped with buried landmines that have blown people’s lives apart – both in the pulpit and in the pew?

Only in a leader-based system that has little to nothing to do with Jesus could a member of it get away with parading perverse, abusive opinions like these:

 

Here’s what I’ve learned. You cast vision for your mission and if people don’t sign up, you move on . . . . I am about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus [chuckle], and by God’s grace it’ll be a mountain by the time we’re done . . . . You either get on the bus, or you get run over by the bus. Those are the options.

 

Such sentiments may be extreme, to be sure, but believers need to understand that in principle every pastor has the same extensive authority that Mark exercised on the day he uttered those atrocities. The system grants “the pastor” virtually unlimited power over the assembly. The fact that Mark could say such things publicly and not be thrown out in the street in disgrace shows how much people will tolerate from those who are highly respected in the system.

R.C. Sproul asks people to think about,“What causes the most pressure or strain on my pastor?” (Good Question! p. 342) It is unlikely that anyone would give the correct answer: the religious pastor-dependent system he/she is living in. This clergy-system requires those in it to perform numerous rituals, wear a variety of hats, prepare speech after speech and put out endless fires. How can we be shocked that so many are crushed by it? Christ never intended any one person to bear such a load, to be “the president of a company.”

The Clergy is the Priesthood of All Believers

What is Christ’s answer to all of this? “My Bride has many parts. I wish to be expressed through each of them. One person cannot express Me fully; many parts can each bring a portion of Me to the feast.”

The essence of church-life has been boiled down to hearing one person give a speech. “In Protestant worship,” R.C. Sproul observes, “for the most part, we sit and listen to a sermon” (Good Question! p. 353). But, where is this model revealed in the New Testament?

The most light shown of believers gathering together is in 1 Corinthians 14. This is a body gathering. There is no “centrality of preaching,” but “each of you has” a contribution. There are no persons “up front,” because there is no front.

R.C. Sproul asserts that the first cause of why people are leaving buildings is because “church is boring” (Question! p. 330). He then notes, “If people were having a vital encounter with the Living God, nobody would say that church is boring” (Question! p. 331).

Isn’t it fascinating that the meeting in which all participated was certainly not boring, and in it the Living God was encountered – “if all prophesy and an unbeliever or unlearned person is present, he/she is convicted and judged by all, the secrets of their heart are revealed, and falling down on their face they worship God and declare that God is really in you” (1 Cor 14:24-25)? On what solid basis do we discard this revelation in order to work our way through a church bulletin that for the most part centers on the activities of one person?

Going to the Root

Brothers and sisters, when are we going to wake up and listen to our Savior’s voice? For years we’ve been trying to apply Mary Kay to a system that in crucial ways is opposed to Christ at every turn. As I’ve read blogs and articles about the pathway for people like Mark to recover, they are just trying to tweak a troubled system – like putting band-aids on a cancer. No one is going to the root.

The clergy-laity system is wrong and we can see that this very same system reflects the world’s way of doing things. It’s a stronghold against the Living Christ. It should be abandoned, not cuddled and tweaked. It has elicited pride in those exalted high by their positions over God’s people, it has crushed many by its demands, it has left families splintered and couples divorced, it has split untold churches – why else would 70% of pastor’s wives confess that the day of their husband’s ordination was the worst day of their marriage?

I encourage you to stop perpetuating and encouraging a wayward system. I encourage you to pursue Jesus Christ with your whole heart. Are you willing to go with Jesus into the unknowns of change, or will you remain content like 80% of Bernie Siegel’s patients?

 

Some [patients] will do almost anything rather than alter their lives to increase their chances for a cure. When I offer them a choice between an operation and a change in life-style, eight out of ten say, “Operate. It hurts less. That way all I have to do is get a babysitter for the week I’m in the hospital” (Bernie S. Siegel, “Love, Medicine & Miracles.” 1990, pp. 2-3).

 

The Air in the Box

As I said in June, 2012:

As I see it, it isn’t really organic vs. institutional. Jesus simply cannot be institutionalized. He said the Spirit is like wind. You can’t put wind in a box and make it happen. Inherent in wind is freedom. The only image that really captures reality is Vine-branches, organic relationships.

I think this highlights a lot of the tensions we experience. Institutions of Christianity dominate the landscape. So, well-meaning people are attempting to put Jesus in structures that do not foster the expression of His life in the saints. I believe that in the innumerable church buildings we have every 1/2 mile in America, Christ’s life is still coming forth in varying degrees. That’s because even human structures and rules can’t stop Him from at least some expression. But the disheartening tragedy is that His life appears in spite of the religious structures that He is confined in. Wouldn’t it be glorious if the way believers functioned, and came together, welcomed and encouraged Christ to be fully expressed!

Christianity’s institutions are trying to express an organic Jesus in non-organic structures. Is it any wonder that things work out like they say in the commercials –”your results may vary” — “some assembly required” — “batteries not included.”

— Jon Zens, September, 2014


Austin Miles, Setting the Captives Free, 1989.


Gary North, “Beating the State: Third Century Christianity in the Third World Today,” (I do not agree with many of Gary North’s viewpoints, but his sociological observations in this article about “not having real estate” are insightful and important. I analyzed key aspects of Gary’s theology in the 1988 Searching Together, “Moses & the Millennium.”)

R C Sproul, “Church Life,” Now, That’s A Good Question! Tyndale 1996, pp. 325-368. Strangely, in discussing church-life, R.C. never speaks of Christ’s leadership of the ekklesias, and he never talks about the 58 one another’s in the New Testament.

Frank Viola, Reimagining Church.

Jon Zens, 58 to 0 – How Christ Leads Through the One Anothers.

Jon Zens, “When Are We Going to Wake Up to Reality? The Nightmare of the Pastoral Institution

Jon Zens, The Pastor Has No Clothes: Moving from Clergy-Centered Church to Christ-Centered Ekklesia.

Jon Zens, “Uninstitutional

Jon Zens, “Unstitutional II

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Comments

  1. Owen Kindig says:

    Excellent comments, Jon, and a agree with your statements about the faulty structure. But you are still not getting all the way to the core.

    The mission and expectations are also radically wrong.

    First, rethink the church’s mission. I believe it should be following Jesus for the purpose of learning to love as he loved, with a goal of completing his church so that in the reign of messiah the church can assist in the blessing and judging of the world of mankind.

    All the people who have ever lived have been promised a resurrection and instruction in righteousness. That will mean a lot of work and teaching of character lessons. USA 26:9

    Guys like Driscoll are not really that different from John McArthur. Their styles may be different… One is academic and the other is crude. … But both have the idea god is planning to burn most people forever, and they both think the few saved saints will eternally praise god for his torment of the damned. That is at the heart of the problem… The picture of god that they imagine in their minds is what pushes them toward judgmentalism and unfairness toward their adversaries.

    • I think I got to the core in terms of how “church” comes to expression in the States, which is what my article was about. It is true that the normal expression, tragically, is not in step with God’s eternal purpose in Christ.

      All people will partake of a resurrection — but there will be a resurrection of the just (unto life) and a resurrection of the unjust (unto destruction). I develop these thoughts in my book Christ Minimized? A Response to Rob Bell’s Love Wins.

      “That will mean a lot of work and teaching of character lessons. USA 26:9.” Everything is about Christ, not character lessons. This sentence does not resonate with me, or make any sense to me.

      • Owen Kindig says:

        Thanks, Jon for your discussion. I intend to read your book. Sorry for the typo… That should say Isaiaj 26:9. Which says in part, “When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. “. That’s what I read again in scripture: judgment is not a condemnation of people for being born in sin and shaped by iniquity. That psalm of David reminds us that both our nature and our nurture are fatally flawed from the start. And yes, it is all about Christ. How big is your Christ? Big enough to do what he says he has come to do? “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me.” “My flesh I give for the life of the world.”
        “All in the graves will hear the voice of the son of man, and come forth.”

        Jon, I’d like you to reexamine the idea you get from the word “judgement”. Krisis is the Greek word used in all the John 5 texts. Destruction is not the thought of the word. It is a time honored principle of Jewish history that judges were leaders, teachers, saviors and benefactors of the people they served. Such were Samuel, Gideon, and Deborah. Rejoice and be exceeding glad… Let the trees clap their hands, because He cometh to judge the earth. … Psa 96.

        Jon, if you look at rev 22:12 in the blue letter bible you will see how simple and counterintuitive to the thought you have grown up with this grace of god really is. There you will find, if you look at the word definitions and tenses, that the Greek words in the passage say that they will be judged, “according as their works Shall be”. People will be corrected and taught during the judgement day. Of course they are awakened with a lot of wrong thinking in their minds… A lot of bad habits. But going forward, they will be judged by what their works will be in the millennium. They will learn from the love of Christ and his church. It is all about Christ. And he is the savior of the whole world… Whosoever will. If the promises of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah. Etc are to be believed… It will be hard to find people who are not willing and obedient to enjoy that feast of fat things!”

      • Lindy Combs says:

        Love this blog, Jon. Right on! In the structured church I spent decades thrashing around in, one of the main teachings was this: “Why Were You Born?” Answer given: “The purpose of life is to build righteous, holy character.” What a lie! The definition for character was taught thus: “Character is the ability to discern right from wrong, and no matter what, to choose to do what is right.”
        The building of character is a work of the flesh, man’s effort to line up with God. It is false. 2 Cor. 3:18 tells us how we are changed…with focus on Christ. Character is being built in us by His grace, empowering us to stay dead to our former selves…we were crucified with Him. (I am still learning how to reckon myself dead to that ol’ corpse).
        I am not familiar with what “USA 26:9” is about.

  2. Erik Merksamer says:

    Jon, my brother, you always inspire me and produce reflection within me. Thanks again for writing so many profound ideas into short, efficient posts!

    Here’s where I am torn: what place does preaching a sermon have among “organic church”? I think there are mixed messages among the movement about this. I’m with you, in that I’m usually the most bored person in a church meeting during “the sermon”, especially when it’s by the same person every week. But, what if a different person is preaching each week, or if anybody with a gift for teaching is given opportunity to preach a sermon?

    In this digital age, I can download a sermon from saints all over the world. Quite often, I am built up and further motivated to make disciples when I listen to these sermons. So, I feel like this is a good thing, no? In fact, several of your sermons have been used by God to inspire me! :)

    I don’t like the idea of one person getting paid each week to prepare a message, or the idea of “celebrity” preachers. In fact, I am absolutely turned off by that. But, I also wonder how we can give opportunity for those gifted to teach space to develop.

    Can you help me sort this out? Thanks Jon. Much love and a deep respect for you!!

    • When we gather together to celebrate Jesus each week there’s no place for a sermon. If you were having dinner to celebrate someone’s birthday one person might speak long enough to give a toast or long enough to present the substance of an idea that all would discuss. No polite person would monopolize, except the person being celebrated.

  3. I received this directly from my good friend, Steve Crosby.

    “Amen. We will never learn. We want a king, we want to make kings, and we want to kick them on the way down. The whole thing is terminally, fatally, broken. Blessings to you, Steve”

    You can check out Steve’s on-target writings at http://www.stevecrosby.org
    Given today’s religious atmosphere, his words come as Christ in the Balm in Gilead.

  4. graham wood says:

    Hi Rik. I would like to come back to you on your question:
    “Here’s where I am torn: what place does preaching a sermon have among “organic church”? ”
    This is such a big issue and there is so much one could say about it! I will try to be brief with my take on this. Firstly I have followed JZ’s teaching on this for many years, and that of many other leading advocates of the ‘organic church’ pattern – Frank Viola, Darrel Erkel, Howard Snyder and others. I agree with their approach which broadly speaking is IMO soundly based on the “body” principle and its proper functioning when the saints are gathered, and based on passages such as 1 Corinthian 12-14, Ephesian 4: 4-14 to name but a few.
    Firstly, I think that unfortunately words like “sermon”, “preaching”, “ministry”, “pulpit/pew” and associated concepts of clergy/laity and the “pastor” are all loaded with ecclesiastical and cultural baggage and need to be examined critically in the light of those Scripture passage I mention.
    Would you not agree that these are all associated with a fixed system, irrespective of church denomination?
    On reflection I believe there is nothing wrong with the occasional “sermon” or monologue address from time to time. the same would go for arranging a “worship service” also. But the rub comes when these are imposed on the church, week by week, usually with one man at the centre and it then becomes a form of legalism which itself denies the functioning of the rest of the body which Paul is concerned should function as a body.
    One has to ask therefore why Paul ever penned those chapters in Corinthians, and incidentally in Ephesians, if not to establish a general pattern for gathering together which he, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit thought essential.
    If the “priesthood of all believers” is to mean anything at all in practical terms then the structures and opportunity for such participation must allowed surely? For example, does he not mean something very tangible and practical by asserting in 1 Cor 12:7 that “the manifestation of the Spirit is given to EVERY man (woman) to profit withal” ?
    It seems to me that Paul would reject entirely what is seen as a “system” today and would replace it with the freedom and liberty potentially for every saint present to contribute to the gathering, and specifically for the edification of the whole body.
    This implies a full belief in the reality of spiritual gifts – another big topic, but this is a starter.
    In closing – have you read David Norrington’s challenge to the current practice of preaching in churches, (as opposed to evangelistic preaching directed to unbelievers) in his “To Preach or not to preach – the Church’s Urgent Question?” A real eye opener!
    In Him
    Graham Wood (UK)

  5. Jon,
    In your post you state that the Greek word Kleros refers to all believers. This def is somewhat selective. Yes, it can mean all believers but it can also mean someone who has been appointed for the purpose of oversight or care (http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/kleros.html) as seems to be the case when it is used in Acts 1:26 “And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles,” and in 1 Peter 5:3 “nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock” (NASB). It may be that the NT supports some sort of structure within the family. Thoughts?

    • James, “kleros” including all believers is the dominant and overwhelming use of the word, so I don’t see how you can view my definition as “somewhat selective.” A family shares the life of Christ together. It does not focus on leaders. Christ specifically said that we must not call people ‘teachers’ and ‘leaders.’ If we violate His words, then He says we vitiate or nullify His sole function as Teacher and Leader (Matt 23).

  6. Dear Jon:

    You wrote: “It is, in part, because of thoughts like this that Joel Gregory turned down the job offer to be pastor of a large, prestigious church (Too Great A Temptation: The Seductive Power of America’s Super Church, 1994).” I read that book around 20 years ago and that is not how I remember it. I remember that he took the job and it, so to speak, spit him out. (And left him greatly damaged in reputation relative to getting another pastoral job). Am I right? I remember that in the same book, James Meritt turned down the same church (and that was probably to Meritt’s. benefit. If I’ve got this wrong – please provide some quotes to prove me wrong.

    • Brother Lee, I apologize for forgetting the points you make. He did accept and then left. The thoughts I was sharing in that context were valid, but Joel did not turn the job down. Rather, he took it, but then it spit him out!

  7. Harold Brown says:

    Jon,
    You are correct about “Body Participation” . No mention is made of a “Pulpit Sermon” in the New Testament . Today’s church service is foreign to New Testament practice . There is no such church service in the New Terstament . You have to resort to the Roman Catholic Church for such a model . The construction of special buildings, with the purchase of pews, and a pulpit on a raised platform at the front of the congregation. This is the Roman Catholic Church . That is why she is called the “Mother Of Harlots” . Like mother like daughter . The Protestants denominations follow in the footsteps of their mother . The tradtional church service comes from Mother ! And may more hear the cry of God “Come Out Of Her My People” ! (Revelations 18:4)

    • Greg Greedy says:

      Hi Jon.
      As I get further away from the Institutional model ,and into just simply being the body of Christ.
      I look back and find how erroneous & corrupt the Clergy system is ,and why I was so
      seduced by it .I just thank God that he has revealed the truth to me about (The Church as one body,and members in particular ) It is so sad to think that most of the Church is in the Babylon type system and not functioning as the Lord intended. It`s no wonder that he proclaims by his Spirit,(Come out of her my people). But what I find amazing is not many saints want to pay the price to Come out !! They seem happy in the system .And one sometimes stands alone looking like your the strange one,!! and very misunderstood. Sometimes the only encouragement is that when I see the end of the story in Gods word ,(There is a glorious Bride in union with her bridegroom ) I feel encouraged ,praise God Amen .

  8. Harold Brown says:

    Jon,
    If I may, I would like to comment on what Owen Kindig said . “And he is the saviour of the whole world…Whosoever will .” But God cannot twice demand payment for sins , once at the hands of the Saviour, and then again the second time at the hands of those for whom He died by sending them to hell . Only those for whom Christ died will be in heaven . The Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep . (John 10:11,15) . And not all are sheep . (see John 10:26) But ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep .

  9. Great word Jon, keep up the good work!

  10. Harold Brown says:

    Hi Greg,
    I believe only a “remnant” will Come Out Of Her . “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace .” (Romans 11:5) And that will be by God’s election of grace . Election itself is of grace . If not for the grace of God there would be no election . And without election there would be no Jesus Christ . For had not God chosen a people in Christ before the foundation of the world , there would have been no one to send Christ to die for .
    Let us examine what are God’s intentions . What does God intend to do , and not what man intends to do . Man has a will , but God also has a will . And God’s will does not depend on the will of man . He is no effeminate god ! To learn who will come out of her we need to learn what are God’s intentions .
    “And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, (to take out of them a people for his name).” (Acts 15:13,14) Here we learn what were God’s intentions for visiting the Gentiles . God had no intentions to save them all , only to take out of them a people for His name .
    We must learn to trace everything back up to the Sovereignty Of God . The answer to every question you may have can be found there . “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” (Psalms 115:3) So I believe because of these verses of Scriptures that only a “remnant” will Come out of Her . That God has a small number according to the election of grace that He will bring out of Mother . I believe the vast majority will remain in Mother that are not among the “Election Of Grace” .

  11. Peter Lenton says:

    Jon,
    Thank you for another perceptive and challenging article. Your books and those of Frank Viola and George Barna are always an immense encouragement to read and understand the Bible correctly. Keep going.

  12. The vision you paint of the church is a wonderful one, but my experience of ‘community’ churches is that we end up with a pooling of ignorance. This is not a structural fault, but probably an accident of history and/or politics. At least I find in the Anglican church (the evangelical branch, at least) while there is the objectionable hierarchy that reticulates into every corner of church life, there is also good learning and teaching. I would be pleased if in community churches there would be a rigorous and critical approach to learning…my own current church sends its ‘clergy’ to theology school, but we are all left to our own devices. I’d be much comforted if at my local church centre we could meet a number of times through the week (optionally, of course) to study Bible, theology, church history, and the original languages. Not too hard, surely?

    • Harold Brown says:

      Dear Clive Walters,
      You do understand that denominations are “divisions,” and that Christ prayed for “Unity,” when He prayed, Father, make them “One” even as we are one. And even though there are a lot of good Doctrine taught in some denominations, that does not make denominations or “division” right.
      And if you go back to the Reformation and understand that Martin Luther had some light, but still remained in much darkness, which was an advantage to Satan, causing Martin Luther to retain much that came out of the Roman Catholic Church, which gave us our Protestant denominations (divisions). And for hundreds of years people have been raised in this old Harlot System of religion, which is where you find yourself today. But I have found that I cannot be faithful to Christ and faithful to the Old Harlot System of religion at the same time. So I have “Come Out Of Her”! (Revelation 18:4)
      May I suggest that you ask Jon Zens for a copy of “The Four Tragic Shifts Of The Visible Church,” which is one of the best studies I have ever come across on Church History.

      Harold Brown

  13. i think this article is a confirmation of what Jesus has been showing me also. As far as the question of what about sermons, I think that is answered in when someone has a word of exhortation or a teaching, but that doesn’t mean that the whole service is taken up with just that. i have actually seen this style of getting together work very well in Alcoholics Annonymous where everyone shares, and there is no CEO and the closest thing to ‘pastor’ is the chairperson who does nothing more than facilitate the meeting. It has not had any major scandals since its formation and to this day in meetings all around the world almost every person present is edified. i think the ‘church’ would be much better off if they used a similar format. i especially like the comment by someone above using the analogy of the birthday celebration. The ‘church’ would do better to consider who’s birthday it really is and who the ‘CEO’ really is! One of the comments used in the bible to describe the disciples is ‘unlearned men.’ Jesus is quite able to teach and lead each member of His body. I think paul addresses the denomination trouble early on in the church when he says, ‘one says i am of apollos and one says i am paul, is Christ divided, was paul crucified for you?’ or something like that.
    Thanks for the post.

  14. Let’s not soak up the bath water thrown out. The master left the comforter to the passed church to prep for His judgement to come after that generation nearly passed. The great commission (never completed) is over with. The Master is here and has ushered in the new invisible Kingdom since 70 AD. Therefore those whom he dwells in with The Father are in full fellowship in the spirit. No need to “gather together” in flesh with the new heavens and earth present.

    NO SATAN
    NO SECOND COMING
    NO CHURCH SYSTEM

    JohnBap, JohnRev, and The Master gave their all to reveal a kingdom. Please stop propping up a former frame called church, unchurch, dechurch, or any other derivative.

    SONS LIVE IN KINGDOM FELLOWSHIP OF SPIRIT ALONG WITH THEIR FATHER.

    The church systems in all forms and their “leaders” are by design irrelevant, ineffective, and anti-christ. No greater evil exists on the earth than a well orchestrated organization of truths wrapped in lies.

    V<

    • Vik, thanks for your comments! Your views, stated crisply in what you say, are skewed and inattentive to New Testament perspectives. To suggest that we are now in the New Heaven/New Earth is manifestly ludicrous. Much more could be said, but this line of thought in not relevant to the blog post on Choosing a Pastor.

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