Finding the Sweet Spot: 'Monday Morning Musings - November 30, 2020'

It is human nature to react to a reaction with a reaction, swinging from extreme to extreme. Because the Body of Christ, the Church, is made up or human beings, that tendency is common in the Church universal and local churches. One “new insight” [sic] that ends up being over-emphasized creates and equal and opposite reaction that is over emphasized!  What I call the “sweet spot” or the “radical middle” can be elusive. Viewing God, the Scriptures, and the Christian life in static categories rather than a living dynamism, is part of the problem. Even the mildest shift in emphasis to someone whose identity is at an extreme, is perceived as a threatening compromise. It doesn;t matter which ditch we end up in, we are neutralized in either.

Photo by Sunrise Photos on Unsplash

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Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

Kingdom Values in John’s Epistles – One Anothering: 'Monday Morning Musings - November 23, 2020'

John’s epistles are sometimes over-shadowed by Paul’s doctrinal epistles. John’s first epistle at first glance seems simple, repetitive, and to the English eye and ear, not well written. Nothing can be further from the truth. John’s structure and style are laden with purpose and his message is practical and profound: if you do not love one another, you do not know God. We know we have passed from life to death, not because of our doctrinal convictions (as some would present Paul), but by our love for the brethren. Failing here has far reaching consequences.

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

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Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

It’s Just a Symbol . . .: 'What does "symbol" mean in the New Testament?'

In our world, the word “symbol” means something that represents or points to something else that is the real thing. This would be thought by many to be a self-evident no-brainer. We then proceed to bring that understanding to the Scriptures and we think “that’s that.” Well it’s not. “Symbol” does not mean that in Scripture. This has great importance when considering the matter of the Eucharist, or in some places called Communion or the “Lord’s Supper.” If someone is telling you: “It’s just a symbol, or just a that, or just a this . . .” your warning alarm needs to go off.  In many so-called “organic” church environments the centrality of the Eucharist in both Church history and practice is ignored. It is, at best, an afterthought. 

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Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

The Long War Against Thinking in Pentecostalism/Charismatic Churches: 'Monday Morning Musings 9-21-2020 - "What . . . . IF?"'

There is a prevalent strain of anti-intellectualism that has infected some forms of Western Protestantism for one hundred years, particularly some Pentecostal and Charismatic brands. It goes like this: “I don’t need any one to teach me what the Bible says. The Holy Spirit gives me ‘downloads.” All that education just gets in the way of the ‘anointing’ and ‘revelation'”. In this episode, I use the simple English word “if” to demonstrate how foolish that paradigm truly is.

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Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

 

So You Think You are an Apostle: 'Reflections on Modern Day Claims of Apostleship'

Apostle or Poser?

Reflections on being an apostle of Christ

Many today (especially in Charismatic and non-denomination circles) claim for themselves the title and ministry of apostle. Most I have met do not claim equivalency with the twelve disciples of the Lamb. Yet they seem to invariably claim for themselves rights, privileges, primacy of place, and “positional governmental authority in the church” to which others must yield. The phenomenon is sometimes couched in language of “spiritual covering.” What they espouse and claim for themselves as apostles has no biblical legitimacy.

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Religious Buildings: Projections of Power: 'Guest Blog by Steve Hill, Harvest Now'

Western Values Regarding Church Buildings

Religious Buildings: Projections of Power

My friend, Steve Hill (Harvest Now in Ontario, Canada), does what I consider to be genuine and biblically sound “apostolic discipleship” around the world. He does it based on the values of Jesus in the Gospels (See his Luke 10 Manual), not Western values of success. He empowers local people in countries around the world to full kingdom functionality in their communities, without dependency on Western “experts” or money.

In this brief article he asks challenging questions regarding the emphasis (and cost) of maintaining millions, if not billions, of dollars in religious buildings, real estate, and property when the needs of others around the world are so demanding. It is my understanding that between 80-95% of all church budgets in the West are devoted to buildings and salaries. Is there not a better way to do “ministry,” a way with a global perspective and burden? I believe there is. I believe it is the Jesus-Way, and Steve and his coworkers  are doing it. This article is reprinted by permission.

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Apostolic Covering – Old Idea in a New Dress: 'Stop the Madness'

Apostolic Covering

Apostolic Covering – Stop the Madness

Within Charismatic circles, there is a widely influential subset group called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). One of their strongly held beliefs is the necessity of submitting to an alleged “apostolic covering” or maintaining what is called “governmental alignment” to a “covering apostle.”  It is alleged that failure to do so, cuts off heavenly blessing and opens the individual to spiritual dangers and demonic attacks. The Protestant forefathers must be rolling over in their graves. They gave their life’s blood to do away with the belief system that required a class of religious professionals to broker or mediate the blessings of heaven to the believer. It is beyond painful to see the resurrected form of this doctrine being espoused in so-called apostolic churches and foisted under the banner of “new revelation,” “restoring apostolic covering,” and “restoring apostolic authority.” It is not new revelation. It is old heresy in a new dress.

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Spiritual Covering: 'Stop the Nonsense'

stopsignSpiritual covering is a biblically illegitimate, bad idea, that just won’t go away.

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A “Culture of Honor?”: 'Legitimate or Controlling? You Decide'

An Honor Culture

A culture of honor

Building a culture of honor is a much bandied-about phrase these days in many non-denominational and “apostolic and prophetic” groups. On the one hand, you have our civic culture of rabid individualism and egalitarianism. It’s in the ditch of disregard and disdain for any concept of honor or respect. In the opposite ditch is a reactionary response to this cultural slide: honor that is non-relational, coerced, demanded, and required because of ungodly measures of rank and status. Both ditches are at work in the body of Christ, and both are wrong. The issue is not the legitimacy of honor. The problem is the values and ideals of what constitutes honor in a kingdom context, and why, how, and to whom it is due.

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Spiritual Covering: 'A Doctrine of Demons'

Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual Covering – A Doctrine of Demons

 

Like sequels to a lousy B-grade horror movie, bad ideas  often get recycled in the Body of Christ. It happened again for me this week in a painful phone conversation with a dear, damaged, soul.  The bad-penny doctrine I am referring to is the concept of absolute submission to an alleged “spiritual covering” as a necessity for your spiritual welfare and advance. The spiritual covering is allegedly embodied in your pastor/leader, etc. This issue has been hit hundreds if not thousands  of  times over the years by myself and other authors and bloggers. As confirmed by my phone conversation this week, like a zombie, it just won’t die.  For Jesus’ sake, and for the well being of His church, I am going to briefly hit it again here.

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