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“IF ______ WINS, AMERICA WILL GO DOWN THE TOILET” The Samo-Samo Again

Barry_Godwater_-_New_Yorker_photo copy

I remember well in 1964 when Barry Goldwater was running against somebody. Scott Chesley and Anita Anderson (Howard) had come to my door in Canoga Park, California, and presented the “Romans Road” to me. That was the first time I’d really heard anything from the Bible, and I was 19 then. After a week’s worth of meetings with Major Ed Bundy of the Church League of America, I ended up being increasingly involved in Faith Baptist Church, a fundamentalist Baptist church in Canoga Park, pastored … [Read more...]

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REASON #3 WHY CHRIST IS SILENCED IN MANY CHURCHES

The Pastor Has No Clothes, by Jon Zens

I don’t know what reasons #1 and #2 are, but I know this one ranks way up there. As Frank Viola pointed out in Reimagining Church, there is one source that for sure impedes God’s purposes in Christ – human traditions. One tradition that has a stranglehold in most of what calls itself “church” is the notion that the buck stops with “the pastor.” This so-called “office” is, as was unfolded in chapter five of Pagan Christianity, the biggest “obstacle to every-member functioning.” As this all works … [Read more...]

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FRAGILE, by Jon Zens

JZ__Thinking_By_A_Tree_1964_pen_and_ink copy

FRAGILE mark i always assumed you were strong impregnable thinking you stood like granite in the swirling storms then you told me on the phone In 1985 that you were crushed doubting hurting dismayed it took me a few days to really believe that you were fragile too but as time elapsed i began to see that my wife and daughters and son are fragile like vases that can slip off the shelf and shatter we’re all like flowers whose delicate petals can be torn off with … [Read more...]

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PAY UP — OR NO SACRAMENTS FOR YOU!

Newspaper Arrticle--JZ

PAY UP -- OR NO SACRAMENTS FOR YOU! Constantine is still alive and well on planet earth. Here's a blatant example of how carnal things get in religion when State & Church are joined together. It also illustrates graphically what religion is all about -- fear and control. The "laity" are told by those in power -- if you don't cough up your tithe, the vital religious rituals we provide for you (wherein salvation is found) will be withheld. Basically, it's "pay up or perish." These kind of … [Read more...]

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“UPON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY EKKLESIA” — Carving Out Church Structures in the Rockscape of Cappadocia

Caves_of_God_-_Cappadocia_desert

Imagine living in a cave in the stark desert of what is now central Turkey, and having cathedral-like structures in close proximity to your dwelling. Well, believe it or not, that was a way of life for many religious people in Cappadocia from roughly A.D. 600 to A.D. 1200. Cappadocia is a barren, lunar-like environment, with cone-shaped rocks jutting up from the landscape. The area is mentioned several times in the New Testament, and Paul visited here on his third journey. Spiro Kostof … [Read more...]

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MEGA-CHURCH LEFT WITHOUT A PASTOR —THE DEACONS ARE IN FOR A LONG NIGHT!

OPEN DOORS FEATURE

In August 2011 I did a blog on “When Are We Going to Wake Up to Reality? The Nightmare of the Pastoral Institution.” Welcome to Part Two! First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, had 15,000 people come to its weekend services, and claimed 40,000 members. This growth had come primarily as a result of the pastor’s leadership and charisma over the past eleven years. But just like that, the pastor is dismissed, and now the deacons are crawling into bed tonight with sweat rolling down their … [Read more...]

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The Good Works Epi: A Revealing of Christ in Eph. 2:10

Artist's rendition of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus.

  The NIV translates Eph. 2:10 as, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” This translation can easily lead to misunderstanding. The text does not appear to say anything about works “to do.” Let’s look at Paul’s flow of thought. In verse 6, he points out that we have been co-resurrected with Christ and co-seated in the heavenlies with Him. These glorious realities result in God’s excelling riches of grace … [Read more...]

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Questions with Jon Zens

Sheep Grazing in Scotland

Questions with Jon Zens By Nick Mackison, Scotland I recently sent Jon Zens a list of questions related to organic/house church issues. He kindly responded and I have his permission to print his answers here (in bold throughout). Dear Jon, Over the last year or so, I’ve become convinced of the biblical basis of the organic church espoused in much of your writings (along with those of Frank Viola and Steve Atkerson). JZ: The phrase “organic church” itself needs some important … [Read more...]

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UNINSTITUTIONAL 2

Ekklesia, DaytonOH

Introduction 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.... Visible Christianity is trying to serve 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.” On … [Read more...]

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“WHAT GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS?”

Crucible_Witch-hunt_Salem_MA_1692

                In 2011, I was substitute teaching in a high school English class. That day, the lesson plan for one class called for a section of Act 2 of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible to be read aloud. This is a fictionalized historical play that takes place in late 17th century Salem, Massachusetts, concerning the infamous Witch Trials. Tucked away in the dialogue are some very striking points concerning the outworkings of … [Read more...]