Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Primary Reason Simple Church is Simply Better

The simple church model for church life is not just another model. It is the best model. It is superior to any and all of the man-created, tradition-laced models of church life that dominate the Christian landscape. Simple church, in its various forms, bypasses the shackles that the institution places upon the body of Christ. It frees the church to be what Christ intends for it to be.

Many reasons exist for why simple church is better. However, one particular reason stands out as most important. The primary reason why simple church is simply better is that it recognizes Jesus Christ as its one and only Head.

Objectively and positionally speaking, Jesus Christ is the Head of his church no matter what anyone else does or says. For example, Ephesians 1:22 tells us, "And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church." Later in that same epistle Paul writes, "Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ" (4:15). Likewise, we read in Colossians 1:18, "And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent."

One of the core aspects of simple church life is that the entire body is active. Everyone uses his or her gifts to serve the church family. No one person is elevated in any manner over others. All are equal in the eyes of God and live this out through sacrificial service (at least this is the way things ought to be). The priesthood of all believers is embraced, all teach one another, and no one is treated as any sort of elevated intermediary between God and man.

Therefore, within simple church life Jesus Christ is not only the objective Head of the church, but he is treated this way on a daily, moment-by-moment manner.

It's not so simple within institutional Christianity. While Christ is often given lip service as Head of the church, pastors confuse the fact. Just go to any worship service (denomination doesn't really matter). Who stands up front on an elevated platform? Who does most of the talking? Who leads? Who has a special title? Who does most of the teaching? Additionally, what are most of the people doing?

You know the answers to the above questions. A small number of folks do almost everything. The church views them as the religious experts. These are almost always the pastors. Everybody else generally sits quietly in rows, singing when told to and speaking to one another for a minute or so if given permission. However, generally what is going on is that the majority of the church sits and watches a performance put on by a small group that is paid to do so. This happens week after week after week.

Within the above institutional framework the pastors act as the daily, functional heads of the church. Jesus Christ fades into the background as the pastors lead the way. Christ is clouded, almost as if a sort of curtain is pulled closed in front of him. Ironically, many pastors have decent intentions. They may even speak about Jesus quite a bit during their sermons. However, their sermonizing often places them in the way of Jesus.

In light of all this, the institutional model must be rejected is favor of a simple one. Is simple church life perfect? Of course not. After all, the church is composed of people. Despite this, the model itself promotes and recognizes Jesus Christ as the one and only Head that he is. Because of this, simple church is simply better.

1 comment:

T Aagard said...

I don't call it a "model". I call it obedience or disobedience. There are specific instructions and commands that will be obeyed or not obeyed. Paul told Timothy "Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." 2 Tim. 1:13. Pattern is the word for type. Along with obedience is rewarded and unrewarded, that which will survive the fire or show to be wood hay or stubble. Is this too strong? Do we really have options to teak what is specifically asked for? It seems to me most believers think they are obeying everything the Bible says. That is because they have not "tested" what they have been told with the scriptures to see if it's true. They just sucked it all in from their favorite Bible expert. They are sure he is not wrong. It's been this way for so long, who could it be disobedient?