Dr. Bruce Alexander of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC reconsidered a famous lab experiment done in the 1970s involving addiction. He pondered that the presumptions behind the science could be flawed and incomplete. The scientific experiment in the 1970s involved a lone rat in a rat cage with two water bottles. One was laced with cocaine and the other just water. In this well-known experiment, it was allegedly proven that nine out of ten rats in the rat cage will go back, again and again, to the cocaine bottle until they killed themselves. The conclusion taken from this experiment was that the rats were hopelessly chemically addicted to the point of suicide. Not so fast.
Recently I have been blessed with the expansion of relationship with brothers and sisters outside my direct church family. Like the gospel will do, and like Jesus will do, those lines become blurred and the family just becomes, well, more family: still the church–still the body–just more connected. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize that doctrine can be a relational stumbling block in the “extended” family.
Is there a better way to express a culture of giving and receiving than blindly throwing ten percent into the mouth of a voracious, impersonal, non-relational, religious machine that consumes resources like the Borg assimilating the universe?[i] I think there is.
But there as many opinions on this topic as there are believers!
It is an indisputable fact that there are differences in giving habits between different generations. These differences are deep and not going away. If we expect giving in the ekklesia to continue along the line it has for the last fifty years, or even twenty years, we are seriously mistaken. We ignore these differences at our peril.
City church is a concept/belief that only one church legitimately exists in a any city, and that it should be overseen by elders of the city, who then submit to regional apostles (overseers, bishops, superintendents–whatever your tradition calls the greater function.). The idea and its variants are prevalent in many so-called apostolic and prophetic groups and communions today, though not confined to those groups. It’s proposed that God wants to restore governmental order to the church under geographic delineations so it can fulfill its destiny in unity. Some consider the concept an essential for the realization of John 17 unity. In this lengthier (apologies in advance) than normal blog, I present twelve considerations or challenges to this idea. I am endeavoring to explore the implications, motives, and pitfalls inherent with the idea. I hope to make the case that relationships, not geography, nor hierarchy, establish spiritual authority and spiritual jurisdictions.
Anyone can wax eloquent about what could, or should be, versus what currently “is.” Idealism without action is a delusional dead end. Preachers, teachers, prophetic types, “apostolic visionaries,” dreamers, philosophers–whatever your language tradition might call them–are particularly vulnerable to irrelevant idealism. It is better to incarnate imperfection, than to romanticize about a never-seen ideal. Jesus can do a lot with folks who will simply “get to it” imperfectly, rather than “talk about it” ideally.
If in an inferior covenant, God was willing to forgive Sodom and Gomorrah if just 10 righteous people could be found (not even trying, not even praying) why do we think we need 10,000 “prophetic intercessors” in a nation’s capital, or 100,000 people in an arena to beg, groan, and wail for revival in an era of a better covenant, based on better promises? If the cross indicates that God works through weakness, and if God’s work is done by neither might nor power, but by His spirit, if Gideon won with a few, why do we spend countless hours trying to amass numbers, size, and success? It is just unbelief saturated anti-gospel carnal drive for significance and money veneered with a 2 Chr. 7:14 proof text.
In our sensationalist, foul, social media-driven culture, you can do 999 out of a 1,000 things well, but you will be judged, identified, and labelled by the one stupid thing you might say or do! This happens in church-world all the time! Who among us would like our tombstone epitaph to be based on the judgment of the stupidest thing we ever said or did in our lives? Not me. Besides, there would be too much competition for top billing on my tombstone.
2 Chr 7:14 is used by many as the pillar verse for virtually every revival ministry. The problem is, our definition and expectations of revival are often strongly influenced by our non-New Covenant thinking and theology, our religious culture, our political and social culture, and unresolved ego issues. This second installment in this series examines the difference between old and new covenant promises as it relates to our understanding and application of 2 Chr. 7:14 and our expectations of revival.
“Revival” is a charged term. It can mean different things to different people. When egos, identities, money, and insecurity get into the “revival business,” things go unhealthy quickly. In this series we will look at 2 Chr. 7:14 in CONTEXT and from a NT perspective. It has nothing to do with “revival.”