Frankenstein Can’t Dance: You Can’t Reform “Church”

The problem with efforts toward “church reformation” is that it is like adding a new bolt to Frankenstein. What you end up with is still a monster. We can put it in a tuxedo, and teach it to dance to “Putting on the Ritz,” but everyone knows,  it’s still a pitiable approximation of anything that is really alive.

The reason “church” cannot be reformed is because it refuses to die, and death and resurrection is the only way kingdom life can come forth on earth. There is simply too much at stake to die. Too much money, too many paychecks, too many buildings and property, too much status, too much security, too much ambition, too much reputation, too much prestige and admiration of mankind.  That monster will never die willingly. The difficulties of the days we are in are divinely prescribed to kill the beast . . .  in all of us, which manifests uniquely in our corporate associations, whatever they might be.

Of course any group of people, any association,  just reflects the individuals comprising it.

If “it” does not want death and resurrection, it is because “we” don’t want death and resurrection. Reformation is the result of individuals trying to accomplish naturally through vision, drive, industriousness, sacrifice, devotion, commitment,  charisma, anointing, new ideas, etc., what can only be accomplished by a spiritual dynamic of death and resurrection.  There is no other way to manifest the life of Christ on earth, other than by death and resurrection.

I am not endorsing pietistic passivity, as if sitting and doing nothing is spiritual, and God makes everything happen automatically. God forbid. Being must precede doing, but there is a doing. They are opposite sides of the same coin. Our healthy “being-hood” must precede our activities (correct, healed, and functional identity/sonship is the root of ministry, not giftedness and calling) and must be the psychological fount of all our doing . . . but there is a doing.

The problem is trying to accomplish with industriousness, discipline, giftedness, and sacrifice what can only be accomplished through family. Relationship is everything. Birthing is everything, and being birthed into divine relationships is everything. Love and service through gift exchange is the commerce of the kingdom. Death and resurrection is the animating principle. Family is the context for it all.

An “it” cannot reproduce. It is not possible. It lacks the necessary spiritual genetics. The “church” the “thing” is an it. It is the spiritual equivalent of a mule. Yes, it can get a few things done, yes it can carry a burden, but it can’t reproduce. In a sense a mule is alive and dead at the same time, because though it is living and breathing, it has no future. It cannot generate a family.

Trying to “reform the church” is as futile as trying to get a mule to have babies. It is simply misspent effort.

15 comments on “Frankenstein Can’t Dance: You Can’t Reform “Church”

  1. The majority of the so-called church have been following another Jesus and another gospel preached by false apostles and false prophets.

    This is what one would call the harlot church , surely???

    However in the wilderness, is the true church which has read the Word, obeyed the Word and gone the way of the cross and found the narrow path and entered into the kingdom within, which was entered by the trials and tribulations they face by obeying that Word and being attcked by the false ministers.
    One will be shaken and find they built on sand, and other will shine, as they behold the face of their Lord.

  2. In continuing, as the false are currently being EXPOSED for all to see, they have a choice to continue walking in their flesh, or to love the truth enough to pay the price.

    The others will continue, walking in their flesh, because they ‘love it so’ and
    stay the harlot church, because they were never HIS in the first place.

    • People prefer darkness. Even some of His own. Because light comes with a hammer, nails, a cross, a tomb, and a resurrection. Darkness is just a whole lot easier. But by the grace of God, there go I. If we boast, let it be in Calvary.

  3. I know what you’re getting at, but a love the church I serve and I love the churches and pastors in my community. I speak as best I can to the church as God’s dearly loved bride. The true church, like true American’s is often described to point out the rightness of one group and the wrongness of another. I accept you expression of obediance, I hope you accept mine as well. All the best my brother.

    • It’s not about the expression/form, Doug. It’s about the animating principle of life. It is either present, or it isn’t. If it isn’t, you don’t have a church, regardless of the “form.” The true Church you speak of is a precious, vital thing, that I have given my life for, because Jesus gave His for it too. That’s the point. It’s about death and resurrection, not better administration. Love to you.

  4. I was just thinking, as God speaks to the churches in Revelations, they ALL had Gods grace, but some chose to obey, others didn’t.
    To the church at Philadelphia
    because they kept His word, he kept them in the hour of temptation.
    I agree it is Gods grace, but we ALL have that.
    I remember the man that said.
    “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’
    and then He anables, us and keeps us, and we put our faith and trust in Him to do so….oh yes I am not in favour of pain, my flesh is always crying out…’OK this far and… no further’ …
    then I always remember two things, how Demas having loved this present world, departed….and Jesus saying.
    ‘Can you not pray with me for one hour’..

  5. I enjoyed the post and my take of the church is that it is an organized organism. Brother Steve I know you weren’t saying it’s not. I just wanted to bring up the fact that there are systems that are within place a natural body so it also is incumbant upon us to build systems in the church. These sytems must be empowered by the life giving Spirit of God, but non the less they are still systems and if one of these systems get out of whack then the whole body feels discomfort. So we should be focusing on the health of the overall body. As stated previously Iknow that you werent probably going down that road but I wanted to add it, because some people over look the fact that sytems must be put into place, if we are going to use the “whole” revelation of the body of Christ.

    • Hi Dominique,

      The problem is, when good systems take on a life of their own, and when more time and energy is taken up maintaining the systems, rather than caring for people, we have Frankenstein on our hands, regardless of how well intentioned we might be in the purpose of our systems. I would argue this happens all the time, and is the norm in most American church expressions that I have experienced in 36 years. I would also argue therefore, it does not accurately represent Jesus or His kingdom.

      Let me work with your natural body metaphor.

      You’re right – an organized organism. But when we are “aware” of our systems, it usually means we are sick, because the systems are the byproduct of a healthy being. If we are pouring focus, energy, time, and money into one of our natural systems, it usually means we are unhealthy. So it is in the church. If we are calling people to conform and adapt to a system, instead of the image of Christ, we are very, very unhealthy.

      We are called to love one another, and to die for one another, and to encourage/build up one another. Jesus builds the church, not us (There’s not a single verse in the NT that commands anyone to “build the church” or to “plant a church”) We equip the saints for ministry, Jesus builds the church. This is very hard for highly practical, organized, and administrative types to come to grips with, but it is none the less, the truth.

      We are not going to lay down our lives for a “system” even a good one. I may have to lay down my life for my brother, though. It is easier to maintain a system, than to lay down my life for my brother. I can successfully participate regularly in a well run system, and never lay down my life. Ergo . . . never touch the realities of the kingdom of God, even in all my faithfulness.

      Systems are not reformable, only people are transformable, by the Spirit. Transformed people produce transformed systems . . . relatively effortlessly because systems are supposed to be the by product of a healthy life . . just like in our natural bodies. Trying to reform a system without transforming people is as futile as . .well, trying to get a mule to breed.

      Jesus was clear. Except a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies . . . it abides alone. Kingdom fruitfulness, success, if you will, is a death and resurrection based phenomenon, not an anointing and administration phenomenon.

      The kingdom goes forward only on death and resurrection, not better system administration.

      Love to you, I look forward to connecting again once I get in NC.

    • Hi Jeff, well, that’s interesting that both ofyou should feel that way. Maybe I ought to give it some thought. Expand it a bit? Or just brush it up for a short piece as it is? What do you think?

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