How would you know?

…Whether a village, town or region was evangelized and the Church of Jesus was thriving there, and the Kingdom of God increasing daily? How would you know? By how many church buildings there are? By Jesus bumper stickers, or T shirts??

Are there any clear external visible things you could look for as you pass thru to indicate whether the place has been Christianized or not?

Well, you would have to meet the people.

The festival we just went to celebrated it’s 1OOth year this year. A church was founded there by German missionaries back then, and Christianity has been established in that area since then, though still a small minority.

One of the first things the missionaries did was build a huge very high steepled ‘church’ building. I’m not knocking what they did, but i’m under obligation to understand what’s happening today. Today, very few of these Christians are saved: it has become a niche culture, a sub caste, which people are born into as officially  ‘christian’.

The missionaries did a great disservice by building their edifice, as majestic as it is, bcos what happened was that the ‘church’ centered around the building, the monument, and around the keepers of the monument, and not around Jesus, by the vitality of the Holy Spirit.

They have to have something they can see and touch, a monument to Christ.

Today, it’s very hard to find Christians who can SEE the Kingdom of God, and function and live by faith, by the Spirit. Mostly, Christian’s understanding of what the Church is is based on material : see, touch , taste and not on a vital, living relationship to Jesus.

So, if we don’t build edifices, but build up the saints, that’s OK.

2 Responses to “How would you know?”

  1. ianvincent Says:

    Nowhere in the NT do we find a precedent or a teaching that there is a single head pastor over a church; rather, there are a group of co equal elders as the overseers of every assembly : no hierarchy.

    The five fold ministry were not, as individuals, the spiritual government / oversight of an assembly, the elders were.

  2. ianvincent Says:

    My comment from a forum:

    On Acts 15:12-21 : On the suggestion that James was the head of the Church in Jerusalem:

    They concurred with James’ advice on that occasion bcos they, corporately agreed that he was speaking the mind of the Spirit.

    Which is how the early church was governed, reached decisions, as an eldership.

    Another time, Paul’s counsel was accepted by the Church in Jerusalem , did that mean that Paul ousted James as the ‘head’? No.

    Was James’ advice accepted bcos he was the spiritual head / primate, like the pope, when speaking ‘ex cathedra’ ? Or bcos his advice was from the LORD?

    If James or anyone in the NT was a spiritual head of a Church, why didn’t someone just spit it out and say that? Why the total secrecy? A single leader is never addressed or named in any epistle to the geo Churches.

    Also, Paul’s relationship to Apollos :

    1Cor 16:12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brothers, but it was not his will to come at this time; however, he will come whenever he has an opportunity.

    This also reveals there was no primacy or hierarchy. Apollos is under no obligation to follow Paul’s advice in this particular matter.

    If Paul was the spiritual head of Apollos, then Apollos would be rebelling against Paul’s authority.

    Also:

    Gal 2:9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace which was given to me, they gave me and Barnabas their right hands of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised;

    James ‘seemed’ to be one of the pillars of the Jerusalem Church, with Peter and John. Not ‘the’ pillar or head.

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