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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Blogtext: Come Holy Spirit, come.

“The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.” 

You may have read that particular quote before, and even know that it was said in the 19th Century by the founder of the Salvation Army, "General" William Booth. In one of many moments of insight he foreknew and foretold what is today in full flow. Lots of "Spirituality" with not a hint or taste of the Holiness of God. Lots of spiritual events that never show forth the work of Jesus Christ for us, but focus on mans self-improvement by allowing his "spiritual" side to flourish in anything from Eastern mysticism to Western sales techniques for enhancing your own potential 'looking after yourself' and caring for "the inner you".

The business of plumb lines.

Being in the business of spending my time in holding up the eternal plumb-lines of God rather than finding the faults of this and that system of thought, I will do what I find most satisfying to my own soul. To eke out and deliver, as best I know, how what the Spirit of Truth has said about the working of the Spirit of God. Then any body can hold up that to the things going on around him or her and judge, discern and evaluate for themselves. (If you should be unfamiliar with that idea you might like to read a portion in one of the major minor prophets: Amos 7:1-8) I may have a naive faith, but here it is: if it is dark: hold up a lit candle against it.

This is crucial: If we cannot be sure of the truth content of what the Spirit has told us by the Word of God, then all hope of knowing any truth at all will be shattered. Should the word of God, the written revelation  be untrue then we have no hope, no saviour, and no faith to speak of. Woah! Wait! Is the written word written with the Spirit of God as it's selector, presenter and final arbiter?

Everything in the old testament is given, selected and presented to us by the Holy Ghost, or if you prefer, the Spirit of the Holy God. It is said to be "theopneustos" which is greek for "god-breathed" and the Hebrew and Greek words for Spirit are "Ruach" and "Pneuma" respectively. Both terms being  a tad ambiguous because they also refer to the breath in living beings, to the wind whom no-one can direct or control, and to various physical expressions without physical source, such as flames of fire on the people gathered at Pentecost, or indeed the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night over the wandering nation of released slaves from the nation of Abraham.

But this apparent reticence about the identity of the Spirit is totally explained by the fact that everything the Father and the Son do is done by the Spirit as the acting force.


"All scripture is given by inspiratie.on  (theopneustos)of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."2 Tim 3:16

"And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Pet 1:18-21

What has been given us to understand has no man's own interest as it's mode of becoming. The initiative is from God who makes man able to speak, think, read and write, and commands man: "Write what I give to you".  See Exodus  17:14, 34:27, Isa 30:8, Jer 36:2, 17, 28, Hes 43:11, Hab 2:2.
The connection between the written word and the Spirit is further clearly described: "Wherefore as the Holy Ghost says, Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness." Heb 3:7-8  referring to the events in the exodus, and written in psalm in Psa 95:8f. Another example is in Heb 10:15 "Whereof the Holy Ghost is also a witness to us, for after he had said before. "This is the covenant that I will make with them". Referring to Jeremia's prophecy about the new Covenant to come.

No mention can be made of the Spirit of God that does not also identify the Spirit of God with the Spirit of truth. Most notably told us by the Lord Jesus Christ in his farewell teachings about the work and role of the holy Spirit after His own death and resurrection:
"These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." Joh 14:25

"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you." Joh 16.12f
A spirituality or a talking much about the Spirit this and Spirit that which does neither lead to Jesus Christ nor to an understanding of what "Christ both began to do and to teach" (Acts 1:1) is then by definition contrary to what the scriptures, those footprints of the Spirit of truth, actually say. Likewise any focus on the Spirit as if He either demanded worship, acted on his own or desires our attention apart from the Word living and the Word written  is also contrary to why God the father and God the Son sent him to be with us, live in us and make Christ known through us.

None of the early church people prayed to the Spirit, because all prayer that is more than the wheezes of agony from an unrepentant sinners heart, are the working of the Spirit in us. The Spirit gives utterance to the deep things of the heart in various ways. Sometimes with groans beyond words, sometimes in words of understanding and sometimes in words that no man understands. But prayer is the work of the Spirit in us and He  is as unlikely to pray to himself as the eye sees itself while looking at someone else. No body can say "Christ is Lord except by the Spirit, nor can anyone in whom the Spirit lives curse Christ." The work of the Spirit is so intensely the task of making Christ known that Paul can write this: Having introduced us to the understanding that the Word of God must become flesh in us and not merely be the ability to repetitively say the right words, he then tells us how this work is done.

"You are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ, ministered to you by us, but not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tables of stones (or reams of paper) but in the tables of flesh in your heart... Now, the Lord is that Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there liberty is also. So now, we all, faces unveiled, we see the glory of the Lord as through a glass, and in that viewing of Him we are changed into the same image. Going from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord."2 Cor 3:3,17-18  We would do well not to treat the Holy Spirit as if He had his own agenda.
The acomplishments of the Spirit are many. 
And make no mistake, the ambiguity as to the Spirit that may arise from the words describing him, does not detract from His true  personhood. As is seen in many ways. Recall for instance how the scriptures speak of the ill-advised possibility of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.  Matt 12:31-32  "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."  How serious is it to call the work of the spirit "demon-work"? And how serious is it to deny the work of the Spirit and simply brush it off as "hysteria"? How serious is it to call fleshly manifestations which neither promote the good news nor change peoples character nor build up the fellowship of believers "the work of the Holy Spirit"?
Why are so many "manifestation oriented events" so blatantly bereft of both Respect for God whilst giving evidence of a lack of discernment between the Holy and the Unholy? William Booth said it: religion without the holiness of the Holy Spirit.

(Note :When speaking with representatives of the Watchtower organisation I often come to the work and person of the Holy Spirit. They deny that the spirit is a person. When asked how then could the Spirit be spoken against blasphemously to the eternal loss of them that do so, their theology crumbles completely. To them the spirit is no more than the notes a piano makes or the sound of a wind in the trees. How do you blaspheme against a tune?)
The Holy Spirit can be lied to. This is the experience of the early church. Acts 5:1ff When it is done the effects are devastating. The unwise pair to do so fell down dead on the same day. Not understanding the truth about the spirit of truth leads men do attempt a hoodwinking of God, pretending to be more generous, more "spiritual" than they have any cause for.  Having a form of godliness but not wanting anything to do with it's real power, is a sure way to self-destruction.

A corollary to this is the misunderstanding that the attending blessings and gifts of the Spirit can be bought for money and /or used by us for our own end. This is the importance of what happens when Simon, the (ex)wizard tries to buy the gift of laying on of hands for the distribution of the Spirit to people. Acts ch 8:17-25  "Peter said to him: Your money perish with you, because you thought that your money could buy the gift of God. You have no share whatsoever in any of this because your heart is not right in the sight of God."  That just about obliterates a great number of the churches in the world.

The Holy Spirit may be grieved. Eph 4:29  " Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you." What grieves the Spirit? What causes sorrow to Him?  Not hard to identify from the context. If the Spirit is grieved, one must not only think in terms of our actions against each other, being an offense to that which is holy, but also a diminishing of that ministry of the Spirit which gives a godly grief, a grief to repentance. And whoever remains unrepentant will of course not be sanctified nor holy. "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." 2 Cor 7:9-10

Sorrow before joy: not at the expense of it. It is the manifest task of the Spirit to make man unhappy before man can enjoy the Peace and Joy of the Lord. "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me;  of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged." Joh 16:8  There is no way to the  wellsprings of salvation from which man will draw the waters of eternal joy unless that man or woman has also been through the virtual valley of the shadow of  death which is the realization of our dreadful estate outside of Christ. That leads to the pain of repentance and recognition of the judgement of God of all sin and the self-willed life. Tears on the night before the joy in the morning.
Outpouring and infilling.
People may be forgiven for finding it hard to think of the Holy Spirit as a person when they read passages like Joel 2:28 and Acts 2. It is not common for any person to have the ability to be "poured out over all flesh" or to be able to "fill all the assembled with himself". It is outside our recognition of what personhood means. Possibly one step in the direction of understanding it would come if the reader went back to the Greek words "per" and "sona" which are the two words making up our idea of  "person". "Per" is what we know from "perforation", i e penetrating something and "sona" is  "sound". It comes from the Greek theatre where the actors played several parts and only changed face masks to become the other person. The  mask was handheld with a stick handle protruding under the chin. Each mask being different and therefore easily identified by the audience was a 'persona', something through which the sound travelled, that came from the new person that was indicated by the mask. It is when we limit "person" to "body" that the problem comes. Such limitation is not the problem for the "HaRuach kadosh", the Holy Spirit, even when spooking our minds.

It is the distinct promise made by God that whereas the Holy Spirit of God  was only selectively present under the entire time of the former Covenant, it will one day be available and indeed come indiscriminately over all kinds of people. Whereas it was specifically attributed to various  servants and workers, sometimes with high levels of unmeasureable practical skill, the coming of the Spirit in the new covenant would be of an inner and more "charismatic" kind. Look at the contrast between just these two passages: Exodus 31:1-11 and Joel 2:28-29.  But although the way the Spirit operates may differ between the two Covenants, both are for the same purpose: building the House of God. Physically in the OT, spiritually now. (Charismatic= a gift of Grace)

Half and half.
The outpouring is half the story, that is indiscriminate and universal, the infilling however, is individual and personal. It is a matter of personal and conscious reception of the gift of God. The promises made by God about the outpouring did not end in that, it was the first half. The second half was what that would mean to those upon the Spirit was out-poured. They received the gift of God which would result in the springs of living water now coming into flow through them, to be a service for God, to the world which God loves and is not willing to see go they way it is already going: to destruction.

Illustrative is the two-element issue of Baptism. John baptised in water for the visible remission of sin, following the law and the ordinances of the Old covenant, but he  said that after him one would come who would baptize in Spirit and Fire. There is no christian baptism without both those elements. There is no such thing as a believer who has not been baptized in both water ad Spirit. And no such thing as a person baptized in water without faith. For baptism is faith enough to die with Christ and willingness enough to receive the gift of God unto the new life.


" Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."Acts 2:38-42

Salvation without regeneration, said Booth.
Attempts to live a christian life without the presence of the Holy Spirit is entirely  guaranteed to fail. It is natural to fail to be spiritual if all you have is the natural. That which is  of the flesh cannot receive the things of the Spirit and that which is not born both of the water and the Spirit has no access to that which is from heaven and leads to it. Christ died not to bring us to heaven but by preparing us for heaven, now bring the kingdom to earth to be manifest in the world now and here. The kingdom of God would therefore be within us and among us. A kingdom in waiting within us for the manifestation of it in the World at the coming of Christ.


The reception of the Gift is done once, but the continued infilling of the Spirit is an ongoing and encouraged way of life. It is the root of all worship, to be filled with the spirit: " Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  (lit; keep on being infilled) speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 
Renewed  "topping up", as it were was, experienced by the apostles in response to extraordinary challenges. See how the witness Stephen is spoken of in Acts 6 and 7. Apart from being initially baptized in the Spirit, he was also full of the gifts of the Spirit and was again full of the Spirit before he was stoned for what they thought was blasphemy against God.
Gifts and Service.
The coming of the Holy Spirit into the World was packaged with miraculous and spectacular gifts from God. Initially those miracles testified to the resurrection of Christ and became the evidence that the new Covenant had begun. The command of Christ was to now do what Adam had been told: fill the earth! "Go into all the world"with this message. "Be my witnesses in  Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the World."And every time the gospel breaks into another tribe or tongue or nation, the same signs "as on us at the beginning" keep occuring. (Notice that the initial events were markedly different than the ongoing daily business) The signs of confirmation of these beginnings are then developed by the Spirit as gifts for the continuing building of a spiritual temple. The signs "at the beginning" become material for the building.

The church of modernity has more people seeking to follow after the signs than living in such a holy manner that the signs follow them that believe.


The gifts are distributed along two lines: a) by the sovereign decision of the Spirit himself, b) in response to the needs that the serving Church meets. The gifts are not given for those who are collectors of spiritual medals to be sported on the uniforms of the indolent and lazy.  (The christian soldier is not decorated with a fruit salad of spiritual experiences.) They are the tool of the workers. They equip for service in the valleys of the shadows of death, among the demon-possessed and the lost. They are not rewards for good evangelical behaviour. We are said to be justified by faith, not by experiences.

No character, no gifts!
The fruit of the spirit is the primary requirement for anyone wanting to serve with the gifts of the Spirit. In other words, where there is a good tree, the fruit will be good and result in Christian character.  "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.  O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.  And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." That is character, not emotional bling bling. That is not "feeling", that is acting out love whatever the pain involved. It is a love that knows no borders. And it is always a love for God first, and love is shown by obedience.

The building of character does not ever in the holy scriptures come by anything but steadfast faith, meeting life full on with all the grace of God so that there is endurance in hardship, enjoyment in poverty and glad generosity in times of abundance. It is faithful and consistent work and making choices to heed God more than man. And it is a life that never sets its eyes on the things of earth but on the things that are above. Character is not built by miracles or the spiritual gifts, it ought to preclude the use of a gift. They may well grow together so that the gifts will vary as we mature. 

"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience: in the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all."


Orwellian confusion.
Looking across the field of christianity and trying to take in what is happening leaves at least me speechless. The lack of distinction, of discernment and the mixing of unmixables leaves a bewildering impression of all lines being blurred and all rights now being wrong and everything beforehand forbidden being elevated to the highest heights of so called worship. I am sure it is worship, but I do not recognize the object as the God of Abraham, Isac and Jakob, nor the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is because I read the scriptures of the Spirit of truth.

For sure I have also read many other books. One is the prophetic (i. e. predictive) description contained in the English Novellist Geoge Orwells dystopian tale in "Animal Farm". The last scene is one that strikes at the heart of every saint.

The remaining and surviving farm animals are standing outside the house that used to be the human's dwelling. But it has now become the home of the pigs, looking in on a party celebrating the new pact made between pigs and humans. " And the animals looked from face to face, and could no longer tell any difference between the one and the other." (lightly paraphrased)
Instead of the fruit of the spirit we now see the ego vaunting it self in the worship place, and every trick in the common book of human seduction and demagogic manipulation is used by people claiming to be the voice of God in our time.   "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." Gal 5:16-18  But: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Gal 6:8
The Spirit and the Bride
To run afoul of the Spirit of God is the best way of being excluded from the marriage supper of the Lamb. Many who today call the Lord by name will be astonished to find that "He knew them not". And many who will come dressed in their own finest garb will be without the proper clothes at the wedding between the Lamb and His Bride.

How unwise those virgins are whose oil is run out and whose concerns are not the Lord but only the party after the wedding.


Frequently you can hear the preacher or the worship leader come towards the end of the meeting and after two hours of what is called worship calls on the Spirit to come down on the people. They plead for infilling and overwhelming and for Him to do miracles of their chosing. You can find a thousand such events on Youtube.
Where has the Spirit been until then? Is it not true that where two or three are together there Christ is in their midst? And where Christ the Spirit is also by necessity! Seemingly not?  They shout for a new outpouring of the Spirit, but the Spirit has already been poured out, and there are no repeats of that  in God's plan or purpose. In the present age it is more than common that the church orders the Spirit to do this and that, often in absolute and abject ignorance of the fact that the Spirit is the agent and executive of God and not that of mankind, not even of the church! We have "worship" without reverence.

If truth be told, it is often contradicted.
The ways of direct contradiction of what the Spirit has said to all the church can  only be known where the Spirit is honoured by the deliberate reading of the Word, and the committed attitude of all believers to honor the word given by the Spirit of truth. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly!"


The smiley generation has no time for the Word of God, it only wants a selfie with Jesus. 


But without the Word and the Spirit, the Jesus they seek will be another Jesus. And there are plenty of those about ever since the days of the apostles. "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby we know the Spirit of God: Every Spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not so confess is the spirit of Antichrist, of whom you were told that it would come, and now already is in the world."

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 2 Cor 11:13-15


"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
The Spirit and the Word say Come! But let us not think that we can come then unless  we keep Holiness and Spirit and Truth together now. 

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:" Heb 12:14

...

Teddy Donobauer  Doncaster 25 April 2018




Friday, 20 April 2018

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Thursday, 8 March 2018

A saving faith in a saving God: Yeshuah/Jesus

Why does it have to be Jesus? "There are so many other teachers of truth surely? Isn't it pathetic to hark back two thousand years ago when everything else has developed far beyond the primitive world view of the first century Jews and Romans and Greeks? There are many ways to find god, you are mad to claim to know the truth when truths are so many. If anything can be true in a universe that has been proven to be relative. You are stupid in maintaining that Jesus lived and was what we are told, it is all fake news that you hold on to."

These and many other such responses come from people with whom you share your belief in Christ. They will amiably chat about everything from knitting yarn to politics, from carburettors to milkshakes, from soap operas to the latest Come dancing scandals, but when the topic turns to Jesus Christ, i. e. the one and only reason for the hope that is in us, then there are suddenly awkward birds on the wire. Now and then we get an interested responder who genuinely wants to know, but most often all kinds of protests are made along the lines above. What we do believe is really not comme il faut in our contemporary mindset. We appear to many as archaic draggers of feet, fossilized anachronisms, who have not managed to catch on to the news of the day.

There is something totally disdainful in our confessing Christ in the eyes of many. It stirs up a plethora of emotions and scepticism and downright frostiness in the relationship to the world around. So we are silenced at times because the very reactions bring us to our knees and  the rejection of our testimony feels like a rejection of ourselves. And we like to be liked. We can well understand how the modern 'seeker friendly' gospels preached have such a great following, they never affront anybody and give people what they want, or so it seems. Are they getting what they need, we may ask? Well that is no longer for us to wonder about, because each man is the only one who knows what he needs, and we have no business to say otherwise.

So the saviours preached are to each man what he wants and therefore nobody can say "this is the Messiah, and this only". The very exclusiveness of the claims of Christ as recorded in the bible are rejected as being elitist and exclusive. How hateful isn't that!  And when it is enclosed in a 'sine qua non' follow-up then things can get really ugly. "You are such a bigot, you claim to know what God wants from us! And who are you to talk, look at all your failings. How judgmental you are! God is only love, he never judges anybody!" Any hint of a demand for repentance before reconciliation is poo pooed, any smattering of "you must be born again" is met with blank denial that there is anything really wrong with us except a little ignorance. Anything that remotely sounds as you must become as children is considered contrary to the great human spirit.

So why insist on Jesus Christ being what he claimed to be?  Why keep on getting bad vibes from people when you could be getting all smiles with a less provocative statement? Alluring question, is it not? Why chase people out of church with the cross of Christ when you could fill it with "the unconditional love of God?"


Indeed why?  

Some good reasons why:

1. Unless what Jesus did and said was true then there is no such thing as either faith in God or a church to go to. Unless what has been reported about him in the holy scriptures is reliable fact then we have no cause for anything called christian faith and all its derivatives called "christian churches". 

Christendom has very little to do with what Christ calls faith as recorded in the bible. In fact the very existence of Christendom is the most effective way of hiding Christ from the world. People who are believers are that not because of the churches, but because they in simplicity and humility accepted the offer that God made through Christ. That happens where ever a human being means business with God. In or out of churches.

2 A saving faith is only a meaningful concept to a lost and faithless human. Without an acute understanding of the need for salvation  no Saviour is needed. But to reduce Jesus to be only Lord in some sense (a Lordship carefully monitored by the would be powers in the world and churches alike) and to deprive Him of the main reason for coming: "To seek and to save what was lost" is to tell  less than a half truth, and by definition it is then a whole lie. If nobody is lost in a biblically defined sense then there is no need for salvation. Obviously not. But Christ came to give his life as a ransom for many, a ransom without which they would remain lost for ever. 

The record shows that were soever Christ went people saw themselves as unclean and sinners, demons yelled confessions of his true status and begged him not to torment them before the appointed time. Where the fact of his death on the cross was preached there he caused a mighty upheaval in the souls of men and women alike and they shouted: "what must we do to be saved?" Are we then surprised when our mention of Christ stirs up anger? "We are not slaves, we are free!" Christ came to release the captives, but they may not like to be told that they have been the servants of God's enemy! The slave mentality functions best when they believe their slavery to be their freedom. And not seeing the need for salvation they keep on being willing to stay as they are rather than set out a long journey into the unknown. By faith in the guide!!

3 Jesus the Christ claimed to be the only way to the Father. As no other ways are offered it seems wise to tread that only. But why go towards the Father? Who is he? God is One we are told. In what sense is it then likely that the ways to God must be many? Oh for sure, every human must walk towards God on his or her own two feet, or shuffle on their underarms and bottom, or which ever way necessary, but irrespective of the manner of motion towards God they all come to the same gate. "I am the door into the fold" "I am the true shepherd." "No man comes to the Father but by me." It is a non-negotiable statement made by Him who is the door. And at that the only one.

Dare you call this a bluff, and will you call it?  Will you say, nay I can't imagine a loving God making such a  narrow door? What of all who have not a chance of knowing about Him? I turn the question against you: there is not only a door, but also a road to it: "I am the way, the truth and the life." By what fiendish imagination do you demand another and different and shorter or better? What can you find to improve on a manner of approach that The Only True and Wise God has defined and proclaimed? Are you God's counsellor? Have you been invited to advise God on the issue?  The way God made is simple, it demands that you become like a child before the Father, and that the one way of being well received by that same Father is to come as a lost child yearning for home. You do not negotiate better terms when you are offered salvation. It would be like being caught in a blizzard on an alpine rock wall and only accept rescue from a troupe of clowns from a circus.

Only when you come to yourself will you realize what you have lost and what you still may find if you go back to the Father, and to do so  you cannot bypass His son Jesus Christ. That is why Jesus is central and crucial.


4 "The words that I speak to you are spirit and life".  Existing and living are two different things. Exist we do because we are living souls, as vital as any cabbage, ox or butterfly, but neither any more and as unconcerned about eternity. Living comes in when you have been given the life quality of Him who is a life-giving Spirit. And it is  His word that creates that life in you in exchange for your existence as a egotist self. He gives himself to you. No part exchange. You have no genuine spiritual being until the Holy Spirit of God has been given to you. But that Spirit is the Gift of Christ to you, in order that Christ himself might live in and through you. Being a christian is not the mere acceptance of a statement of faith. It is accepting for yourself Him who is the one in whom you believe. Without the presence of Christ in a human, there is no rightful claim to be a christian.  The sole object of Faith is Christ.

5 The one and final arbiter of how we have lived and spoken is  Christ. "For the father judges no man. He has given over all judgment to the Son, ..He has given all judgment to the Son because he is the Son of man."  There is therefore no condemnation for them who are in Christ." "This is the judgement that they do not believe in Him whom God has sent." "For every idle word that men speak will be brought to account on the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned." These are the words of the gospels and the apostles who were with Jesus for three years. It takes a brave man to ignore Jesus Christ. And also a very very foolish one.


6 "We preach not ourselves, but Christ crucified and ourselves as servants for His sake." "The preaching of the cross is a folly to those who prefer to be lost, but it is like a welcome aroma to those who see their need for salvation." The one factor that nerves the christian ministry is the cross of Christ. Removing the cross is the same as removing the one stumbling block that brings men to their knees. And it is in vogue in our time to let people come into the church without the cross as a reality in their understanding of  what the cost has been to the Lord and Saviour to thus open the gates for all to come in. The cross has been ignored in many a way and the effects of it is also missing. 

The cross is not just the place of the death of Christ on our behalf it is also the point at which God reconciled the world to Himself. There He who had no sins of his own to pay for payed for ours, all of ours, that whosoever will look up to Him on the cross also will be drawn to Him and raised up from having stumbled onto their faces. "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me"  When there is no longer a proclamation of the mystery of the work on the cross, then another gospel is preached than that given by Christ to his disciples. And another gospel can no longer do what the preaching of Christ is called to do.

When Christ is no longer lifted up so that he draws all men to him, then he will be dragged down to the cheap common level of men and be used for their ends.

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" That word is once and for all given to all the saints and is contained in that which we call the bible. So as truly as Euclides discovered some fundamental mathematical principles in the field of geometry, long before our time, but his findings are virtually identical to what we know today, and needed never to be improved upon, so the eternal principal teachings of and about Christ have been truly handed down to us.

The choice is ours

We have one choice to make: look at the things that scripture claims about Him, address Him personally, and then accept what is said and thereby become part of what He came to do, or study and deny Him and accept the loss of all that He is. But don't play games with the message. Like no other it has eternal consequences. If you reject Euclidian principles in geometry the only things that suffer will be some buildings on earth. Ignore the Bible and the message of Christ, and you will be naked before the throne of God and have no eternal home to go to. And while you live as they did in the days of Noah, eating drinking and playing all day long constantly on the chase for new temporary satisfactions, you will lay up for yourself no treasures in Heaven at all.

"This is eternal life, that they know you, Heavenly Father, and Him whom you have sent". And no, before you say that you are not interested in everlasting life, I must tell you that eternal life is not about time at all, but about quality of life now. Available in Christ Jesus  Alone. And now.


So tell me: how could I deliberately bypass all this on the spurs of becoming popular? Do you truly expect me to be quiet when I know all this about the Messiah, the Christ and Lord. And what better offer can you make? 

True, for the sake of Christ there are lots of things we can well do without. And we will seem unsuccessful and impoverished and living on a shoestring and never really landing in this world of vain emptiness. You see, we have been made for eternity, and will never be satisfied until the eternal becomes the core of our temporal being.

He is eternally The son of God and the Son of man. We are expecting Him back to earth to gather those who love him. Maybe soon.. maybe later, no matter, we wait.



-----
Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster  February 8th 2018




Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Blogtext: What the atheist should consider before it is too late.



As the atheists are becoming more and more vociferous, more and more dominant and more and more in command of the public mindset, and also seem to be "king of the hill" in most media, it seems necessary to ponder what they are ignorant of and what the consequences could and will  be if they are wrong about their basic assumptions.

"A-theist" from greek a=without and theos=god, is taken to mean that they do not believe in the existence of any god. It also nearly always includes the belief that since there is no evidence for God in the naturalistic sense of what can be proven by the normal scientific methods of proof for the existence of things within our observable universe, therefore God cannot "be". If a god exists, they argue, it is simply a construction by mankind. It is  a matter to be relegated to the realm of ideas, fantasy, wishful thinking or some such category of human thought. Science has proven long ago, they say, that God as such does not and cannot exist, there is simply no evidence for 'god'.

They know of course that their own position could only be possible in a world where the majority actually do believe in one or other God. They are also fully aware that they cannot prove the non-existence either. But they rest on their assumption that if they don't believe it, then what they do not believe must also not exist. Admittedly that is a great leap of faith.

One seldom addressed starting point in every debate about this issue is the absence of agreed starting point. The atheist adheres to a world view that says that nothing exists outside the scientifically observable universe. And that all explanations must be in accord with that limitation. The believer on the other hand knows that origins are never reproduced within the product created. In other words, the bread is never found  to contain the baker and therefore it is useless to find the evidence for a baker in the bread. The world view of the believer starts by the recognition that the things that are in existence have a non material starting point. Hence the material that can be studied is not very good at explaining how it came into being.

So the debates between the two parties about "god" have very different assumptions to start with, no wonder that most such debates are won only on rhetoric and who got most applause from the more or less informed audience.

One observable strain are the increasing bouts of very emotional responses, not seldom venomous and hateful, certainly none of those reactions  show forth a scientific mind. Many other elements beyond rational proof rear their heads when this matter is up for discussion. The faults causing them rest in attitudes on both side of the fence. Sometimes it looks as ugly as two pitbulls fighting for the same bone. Neither side fully understand the bone of contention but both think it to be theirs by right or might.

Atheism starts on the assumption that God must be part of creation. And as studies of creation do not seem to show God then God must be excluded. The apparent folly of that assumption is so obvious that it seems totally irrational. And the more rational they claim to be in their search for God where god is not, the more irrational they become. What are trade marks for? To show producer, to validate quality claims, to prove provenance and origins. Why is the world clamouring for products with status names such as Breitling, Dolce Gabbana, Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Dior, Vuitton and Rolex and a million others? Because origins matter and because unless the label is affixed and shown then the origin cannot be readily proven. But not one of the items in themselves prove their producers. Cotton is cotton, silk is silk, precision clockwork is just that and all makers put their marks on it. Because that is indeed important. And no atheist goes shopping believing that anything he wants has made itself. Nobody picks up a little black dress from Coco Chanel and expects to find Coco in it.

But they are fools enough to pick the world apart looking for God. And unable to do so they then deny the existence of what they could not find.

The starting point for the believer is totally different. It is totally rational, logical and self evident that as nothing on the shop-shelves is made by itself so nothing that is in existence of all the things that make up the known universe has made itself either. Thus the believer believes in a maker on the most sensible understanding that the maker of anything is outside of the thing. Just as the baker, thank goodness, is not a part of the bread. But the atheist position is cemented on the firm belief that the maker must be visible in the product.

"Quod erat demonstrandum". Latin for "What is to be proved". And not "quod erant demonstrandum"  "Which has been proved"  It has not ever been proved that the maker of something is part of and completely contained in the produced object. A thing that is made has purpose, has defined limitations and is based on a mass of information that is not in the product as such but remains with the maker. The recipe that I use for baking the bread is never found in the loaf. It stays in my head. But here the atheists have painted themselves into the corner and cannot get out. The one factor that would let them out is the realisation that there is a rational, intelligent, immensely sagacious owner and maker of everything, including themselves, outside of their observable realm.

The christian view is simple: "It is in God that we breathe, move, think, live and have our entire being." We are part of what God has made. and to step out of that domain in order to study it from the outside would mean first of all that we must leave behind the realm in which we already 'breathe,move, live, think'. By doing so we would no longer have either thought breath or mind to study anything and neither could we after the research is done climb back and tell of what we found.

As we cannot even exist outside of what God is the quest for finding God is seemingly a lost cause, is it not? No, for there is another issue here at stake. The christian also believes that "..That which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God as shown it to them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, and so they are without excuse."
God has made himself known in his creation. But God is not a part of it. God is not in it as if it was God.

Creation carries the evidence of the power and mind behind it. And as long as that evidence is taken in, then creation-studies will lead to God. But this is where things go so wrong: "Because that, although they knew God, they did not glorify God as God but became vain in their thoughts and began to worship creation, then they were on a track into the folly of exchanging the invisible and eternal for the natural and the temporal. Thinking themselves wise they became fools."

That is the  divine verdict on atheism. Looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place is excused by wrong thinking and leads to lots of wrong doing.

What should the atheist ponder?

1 What is the scientific evidence for the existence of his own rational thought capacity?  By what empirical methods has he proven the existence of his own rationality? Is it not more likely that he takes his ability to be rational by faith?

And by what stretch of imagination does he discount a rational reason for his existence by that same rational faculty? The ability to think rationally is not accidental. But that he must believe if there is no Rationality behind his own existence.
Can it not be shown that the atheist is very irrational on any number of other issues? What is the scientific basis for believing in concepts like "truth, honesty, democracy, love and solidarity, human rights and international agreements"? Those are softwares whose existence is unprovable by the very terms used to demand proof of God. They still believe some or all of them unless their intellectual despair has already put them in the hands of the psychopharmacologists. 

2 The atheist, as in deed any other person should  also consider this: any search done on any issue is not objective in itself but always is contaminated as it were by the presuppositions that the student brings to his studies. That means that whatever is found has to fight against both the intellectual and the presuppositional reluctance on the student's part to relinquish the previous position. 

The evidence is that people believe what they want, not necessarily the facts. If mankind was "innocent" and not morally preconditioned against God, things would be different. But such moral innocence is a myth. We may not start out weighted against God, (let the children come to me, to such belongs the kingdom of God) and only acquire a sceptical position from our learning from the world around us, but all society is nowadays only to eager to help in that wrong direction. I believe that children ask about God in one way or other, not because they don't know about God on a deep inner level, but because they want to know what is accepted among those older.  Whatever is the real truth in that, one thing is sure: nobody is a pure student accepting only what he finds. Even the choices where to look and how to search are loaded with presuppositions and often man-made prejudices.

The likelihood of a moral prejudice is at least equally as great as the desire to find out the truth. 

3 Few people would actually claim to be intelligent enough and intellectually capable of understanding a higher, more complex, purer and more complex mind than their own. So the need to first 'find fault' with God and reduce the matter to a caricature of their own making which they then turn away from often precludes them from seeing what is in view. When I am told what or which God they do not believe in I often find myself agreeing absolutely, because the effigy they reject has nothing to do with the God who has made himself known through Jesus Christ. Before the statement "I don't believe in God" has any practical meaning, you need to define what you mean by "God".

The major reason for avoiding the issue of a morally and intellectually superior being is that if it exists then my own morals are at stake. If you accept that God is maker, maintainer and owner of the world in which you are but a minion then your on the hard road if you then do not consider that this same God also has the right to tell us how to live in his world. Aye, there is the rub. More people reject "God" for moral reasons than for intellectual ones.

4 The issues of the knowable world in the scientific sense is what physics is all about. The issues of that which is the cause of this world and how it is structured are then metaphysics, and it is  quite unlikely that physics will say much about metaphysical things. The bread in my image is the physics, the brain behind the bread is metaphysics.  If the mindset denies the existence of a metaphysical world beyond the physical, then of course no amount of metaphysical data can be acceptable to the "physical" naturalist person. If you do not believe (note you do not know this, but believe it) that there is a metaphysical reality then no amount if information coming from that world will impress you. But don't call it scientific understanding. You may be very honest in not believing in anything but physics. But then you have no reason to expect anything but physical things. So you may have sex but cant know love beyond your usefulness to someone else. Why should anyone love you on the bare facts of your existence? 

Every claim that the christian faith makes is based on the metaphysical fact of a God who comes into the physical realm and demonstrates Himself to mankind.  That is what is meant by the incarnation. 

5 If God is indeed the very foundation of our existence then ignoring God and living as if God does not exist is a dangerous occupation. It is a most serious  denial of God as God is and substitutes the one and only true God for some other god. The atheist is not really atheist at all. But very likely is someone who has made him or herself their own ultimate judge of right and wrong, of good and bad and is also the very center of his or her own word. The passing from atheism to "egotheism", making the self god in God's place, was the first and most awesome temptation that mankind fell for.  And it is still so."I don't believe in God because I trust in myself to be good enough not to need any other god." That is the understanding behind egotheism. And it is not very different from the claim to atheism. Just a matter of spelling.

There is one final thought to ponder: "It is measured out to all men to once die and thereafter be judged". We shall all appear before God and be weighed in the scales and be found wanting. At that judgment we shall all receive according to our deeds. What will the egotheist and the atheist and the agnostic do when they stand before the throne of the Almighty and His Son? It ought to be a most serious question to answer before the end of life's journey.  It is only while the journey is still in progress that anyone can change it's direction. One day, for all of us, it will be too late to rewrite our itinery. When you stand before the Owner, Maker and  Giver and Sustainer of your life, what will you say?

"Sorry sir, we didn't believe in you, so you cant judge us!"

Our search for God is really commendable but there is another search going on that is even more important. God has been and is looking for us. The entire effort of God through history has been to seek and save that which was lost. The search has not finished.  But there is one prerequisite for the search to come to an end: "He that wants to come to God must believe that God exists and that those who turn to Him will be rewarded. Without faith it is impossible to please God." So a mere intellectual search for God on our own terms is a dead end for ever.

The only God that can be found is the God who is there. And we know Him because He has made H
imself known by his Son. That is what the Bible was written to testify to. I believe this  testimony.



Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster 7th February 2018

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Blogtext: "Doing church or being Church"

"When you come together, each one of you has something to share."

Have you heard of the 80/20 window? It is a way of describing a great number of things where people interact. Out of a hundred about 1/5th do all the work and the other 4/5th rely on it and support it in various ways but are rarely part of the 'producing' end but always on the 'consuming' end.

Whether you are talking of politics, sports, religion this pattern repeats itself to a high degree. It is also useful to understand many things in the world. If you want to pursue it then follow this link.  It is actually very prevalent in the world at large.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle)

Following it has however dire consequences for the living body of Christ on earth. (It is not really applicable to a living physical body, for that would almost certainly mean that 80% of the body was inactive and almost as good as dead and only kept alive by the remaining 20%. That is being on a life support system like a respirator and  is not very desirable.) In the life of any church that would mean that 80 out of every hundred make very little contribution to the whole. If only 20% of the church's membership are accountable for the life of the whole then vast blessings are lost and the up-building of the whole is left to the few. The truth is that this largely reflects church-life as it is today all over the world.

You only need to look at the basic layout of every room used by the worshipping community. How much is podium, elevated platform, performance area and how much is seating for the audience, attending subjects and consumers of what is performed on stage? 20-80? More often even 40-60.


No way of getting out?

The lovely thing is  that this issue has solutions in the Word of God for the church worldwide. They have been there from the very beginning but are virtually ignored, also on a worldwide basis. The first insight comes from the wandering people of Israel. A short passage at the end of Exodus 15 and the first verse of ch 16 tell us: "And they came to Elim, where there were 12 springs of water, and 70 palm trees. They camped there for a rest. Then they took their journey from Elim and all the  of the children of Israel came to the desert of Sin." 

It is always fascinating to come across the number 12 in Scripture. Twelve sons of Ishmael, twelve sons of Israel, twelve wells at Elim, twelve stones; one for each tribe in the High Priest's breastplate, twelve pillars surrounding the altar, twelve spies to search out the land, twelve stones taken out of Jordan, Solomon's twelve regional officers for his kingdom, twelve bronze oxen under the laver in his temple, twelve apostles, twelve gates of the New Jerusalem, twelve foundation stones for the city of God, you get the idea. 


Also at Elim. Again it speaks of a full number and more than enough. It is according to the 20-80 window, what is needed to keep that particular business running. 12 wells for 70 trees. Shading light the trees are totally dependant on the produce of the waters. The shadow of the trees shelters the wells. The people dwell in the shadow for a while and drink from the wells. But it was not a destination. It was an oasis  on the route from slavery, captivity and bondage to the "promised land, flowing with  milk and honey." As such it was ok. As a permanent place of living it was meagre and stark and narrow and limited. Israel realized that quickly and stayed there no longer than absolutely needed.


"The Elim somambulance"
Not so the average christian church. "Elim" means 'oaks' or 'terebinths'. That is all that could grow there and their growth is slow. An Oak takes three hundred years to grow to maturity, three hundred years to die. And  here is a real eye-opener: In it's growing years it exudes a poison that preve
nts the germination and development of its own acorns. In other words it allows no competition even of it's own offspring in the area of it's establishment. The scientific name for it is  "'allelopathy". (I am often told off for mixing in natural science in the bible studies. My reply to that is that if I want to teach the way God Himself and his Son do, then keeping natural science out of it, isn't in it. It would be to deny that the Rabbi is the Rabbi of Rabbi's. He certainly does not keep creation out of the church. He sent us not only to baptize but make disciples by teaching them!) *see link at bottom of page.

The opposition party

Here is a sinister note to that: If the Accuser of the brethren and the blocker of all true light is in operation then how would he reason? First he would try to stop the establishment of the church in the first place. If that fails, he will gladly let them grow quickly until they were full of newly born children that had not enough spiritual parents to ensure growth and then let them engage themselves with only themselves for as long as possible. His calculus would be this: "Here in X.town there are 65.000 people. the Christians have tried for years to establish a church here and if I can't stop them I will let them grow to five hundred or so. The faster the better. That will keep them occupied with teething problems for years to come and the remaining 64.500 in the town stay in my kingdom. They themselves have a proverb: If you can't lick them, join them. When they have reached their level of comfort in numbers they will stop being a nuisance to me. And if I can make them satisfied with being bottle Christians I can prevent their growth for the next three hundred years."(In case you should think that evil does not boost growth I remind you of the herbicide used in the Vietnam war by the USA. The herbicide used to defoliate the millions of trees, was really a super fertilizer which caused the leaves to kill themselves by growing rapidly. The cocktail was called Agent Orange from the orange stripes on the barrels, and its lethal effects came from being mixed with dioxin.)

The  20-80 principle guarantees a low growth rate. Growth? What is that?


In the life of the Church growth is several things.

1 Growth in numbers "And God added to the church daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:47 "and believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both men and women." Acts 5:14  "And the hand of the Lord was with them; and a great number believed and turned to the Lord" Acts 11.21 "For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and faith; and much people was added unto the Lord." Acts 11:24

2 Growth from spiritual babyhood to maturity. " I could not speak to you as to spiritual but only as to carnal, as babes in Christ. I have fed you milk, and not with meat. For up until now you have not been able to digest it, nor are you as yet." 1 Cor 3:1-2  "For by now you have had plenty of time enough to become teachers, but instead you have need of being taught the very first principles of the very words of God. Your needs are on the milk level and strong meat is not for you. Everyone who is on the milk level is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for such a one is a baby. Strong meat belongs to those that have grown up. To those who have trained their senses to discern both good and evil by repeated praxis." Heb 5:12-14  Childlike but no longer childish. No longer spoon fed but eating with own tools and teeth.

3 Growth is growing together into a living temple. "You are built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone in whom all the building, FITLY FRAMED together, grows into a temple, holy to the Lord in whom you are also built together into a habitation for God  through the Spirit." Eph 2:20 "Coming to Him as to a living stone, thrown away by men, but in the eyes of God precious and favoured, you make up those living stones that are built into a spiritual house, serving God as royal priests able to sacrifice spiritual sacrifices which are acceptable to God in Jesus Christ." 1 Pet 2:4ff

4 Growth is growth to full spiritual maturity. " He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, These are his gifts to the church so that the believers, the saints, should become fully equipped for their work, that of together building up the body of Christ, until every one of us comes to unity in faith and to a common knowledge of the Son of God, the perfect man. 
Yes until we all reach the measure of the fulness of the stature of Christ, so that we cease being children, easy to sway this way and that by every new doctrine, no longer becoming putty in the hands of suave talkers and easy prey to smart new deceptions. 
But learning to speak the truth in love  me may grow up into him in all things, into Him who is that head, yes Christ himself, from whom the whole body, fitly joined together and drawn into compact fellowship by the support that every individual member gives to the whole. 
All in accordance with the effective working of every part, this will cause the growth of the church and of the love that it is made by and for." Ef 4:11-15  If you read that and spend time on that image then you should at least become frustrated with the apparent absence or at least ultra slow motion of this growth.

Growth 1 can happen initially without 2,3 and 4. But not in the long run. If we think that growing out is true growth then we shall soon be out of both belts and braces. Unless the growth is upwards growth, then it will stop when the creche is full. Changing diapers on adult babies is hard work.

What about the 20-80 window?

The growth patterns of the church are diametrically opposite to the 20-80 pattern. The body has no dead flesh to carry along, the worship service has no  audience, the ministry of the church is on all hands, there is no such thing as a passive and active membership in the living church. There are not even laymen and clergy. There is no such thing as performer and public. There is to be no one man or one woman benevolent  tyranny of leadership. 

What is there then?

There is the conscious dedication by each member to the church as a whole. And I claim to have good cause to claim that the local church is the sum total of all those who are born again unto a new and living hope in one geographical location. And the gifts of God in leadership have been given to that entire church. When they each are limited in their gifts to one fifth of the church then we have 5 one/fifth blessed churches, and the deficit shows. Do not all need evangelists? Do not all need leaders with a missionary calling? Do not all need live prophets? Do not all need pastors and teachers? What if they are on site but not realized by the church?

There is a coming together in unity for one common aim. No 51% voting and carried,  but consensus in the Holy Spirit. Coming together cannot be  all that successful if the common aim is  dimly understood. All about trumpets with unclear sounds you know.

There is the clear understanding that if I withhold myself and the gifts that God has given me from the other's then we all suffer loss. If one member suffers we all suffer. If one member is glad and shares it not sadness deepens.

"How is it then brothers and sisters? When you come together, each one of you has a psalm, or a teaching, a message in an unknown language, or a revelation or interpretation, yes,each may have something to bring for the edification of all. The common up-building is the main thing, everything in your service must be aimed there unto." 1 Cor 14 The arena of the church meeting is for the saints to minster to one another. It is not the place to consume religious artefacts produced by some for the many. It is not a theatre of professionals to receive praise for their skills. The flesh shall not glory in the fellowship of the saints. Our God is not impressed.


Two more observations

Six days of the week most Christians battle it out along the demarcation lines between the world and kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. We are battered, wounded, worn and sometimes bleeding, but we are also blessed, encouraged, uplifted, and full of joy unspeakable, and we have made discoveries of both the goodness of God and the mayhem of the evil one. What is our coming together for?

Escape from reality? An oasis like Elim? A pause from the war? "I have in my heart a plant called reverence, it needs watering once a week?" 

It is at least two things
: a) a place for the battle weary to be bandaged, restored and strengthened. To be debriefed and open our hearts, to pour out all the heartaches to which we all are prone. 


b) And a place for being built up by the ministry of the individual body parts    body for each other. Of "continuing steadfastly in the teachings of the apostle's doctrines, of communion with each other, of the breaking of bread and of the prayers" . Of hearing teaching from the whole counsel of God, of learning and practicing the life of Christ in us. We expect to be warned of sins, admonished to love, encouraged to share the faith within, and to be built up in our relentless devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ and our God and Father. It is for us to be released of yesterday's burdens, restored by the day of salvation which is always today, and have bright hope for tomorrow.

We also have every reason to expect that we shall be called disciples, with lessons to learn and tasks to perform. That is what church is for. To do the work of the church, not merely to hear something new every Sunday. In every other field of learning we pass exams, show competence in doing what we learned and build more knowledge upon success in doing what is taught. Not so in the church. Not enough, not much. How else can we explain decades of no real growth in any direction?

Oh, we will still go to heaven on the conditions of the 20-80 window. But heaven was supposed to come here by the life-giving Lord of the Church in and through his people. "The kingdom of God is within you."  Luke 17:26  "..Hope never shames us, because the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us." Rom 5:5  

All that love is far to big to be locked into a 20%-80% existence. What would revival be in this context? Take down your tents, get out in the midday sun from under the shading oaks, fill the water bottles and leave Elim. Now!

Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster Feb 7 2018




*Allelopathy:  https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/HS/HS18600.pdf

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