Individualism and the Kingdom – A Clash of Cultures: 'Monday Morning Musings - November 16, 2020'

At the foundation of Western thought, political and religious, are certain presuppositions about the supposedly self-evident nature of human existence as “individuals.” Individualism as a belief system referring to the “autonomous self,” is not a value found in Christ’s kingdom. Ephesians 4:25 says: we are “of one another, members.” That is, our existence is social. The life of Christ and his kingdom is only fully experienced socially. This is threatening to deeply held Western cultural values, but none-the-less, Christianity 101.

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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.

Gnostic Evangelical Christianity: 'Monday Morning Musings - November 9, 2020'

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“You are a spirit, who has a soul, and lives in a body.” Have you ever heard that? ” Jesus was ‘”God in a zipper-suit.” Have you ever heard that? I have heard both, hundreds of times growing up in evangelical/Charismatic churches. They are 100% Gnostic; 100% mishandling of 1 Thess. 5:23 and in my experience, common beliefs among thousands of poorly taught Evangelical believers.

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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.

 

Pizzeria or Library?: 'Monday Morning Musings - November 2, 2020'

If you are hungry, you look for a restaurant, not a library. Jesus said: Feed my sheep, not intellectually inform them. Paul describes the Church as the One Loaf for the world: a strong metaphor implying being “consumed” by others as foundational to our calling and mission. Paul speaks of an “aroma of Christ.”  It is not difficult to get people who are craving pizza into a pizzeria. The question for us as Christ-followers becomes: What are we? A pizzeria or a library. Too commonly it is the latter and then we wonder why no one is eating: we are not putting out any aroma, and what we are presenting isn’t food.  We just have strongly held convictions about “the Bible.” Many “evangelistic” modalities are like expecting people to find food in a library. The kingdom of Jesus does not operate that way.

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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 Power of Love in a Christian Community: 'What a Healthy Local Church Looks Like'

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

The Power of Love in a Christian Community

If you have followed me any length of time, you know I am not shy about critiquing the corruption and short comings in institutional and organized forms of Christian religion. I know many of you, like myself, have experienced not just poor church experiences, but scarring and damaging ones. Many are wary, rightfully so. Many are in extreme forms of reaction, both theologically and emotionally to anything formally structured or organized  in terms of following Jesus with others–being the people of God together practically. Frankly, some have lost hope and given up.

That is why this post is so important. I have permission to share it and have blanked-out personal names to maintain privacy.  

I believe this real-life, real-time letter from a pastor I know personally embodies the values and the transformative power of what can happen in a local church REGARDLESS of how it is STRUCTURED, when Christ is exalted and central at all times, where the good news of the gospel is relentlessly preached in a simple yet powerful way, and where loving and serving each other is all that matters practically.

 I believe it will be worth your time to read. 

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The Church Refugee Sanity Guide – Part Nine – Evangelism: 'Taking the Dread Out of Evangelism'

Taking the terror out of evangelism. Church Refugee Sanity Guide Part Nine

Church Refugee Sanity Guide – Part Nine – Evangelism

In this installment of the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, I take a fresh look at the topic of evangelism and discipleship apart from traditional theology, mindsets, and methods.

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Church Refugee Sanity Guide – Part Four: 'The Psychology of Transition - Part Three - The Power of No'

Part Four of the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, presents ways to recover from the pain we will likely experience in our  relationships (church, family, and friends) when we are misunderstood because we no longer participate in traditional forms and expressions of “church.” If you or someone you know has been damaged, accused, threatened or other wise spiritually abused in a religious atmosphere, I entreat you to watch this video (as well as Part Five that will be coming next in this series). I think they are the most helpful and practical things I have ever done in this regard.

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The Leadership Legitimacy Survey: 'When is it appropriate to confront your leadership?'

What does legitimate leadership look like? Not This!

What does legitimate leadership look like? Not This!

I am often asked: When is it appropriate to challenge or confront my church leadership? There is a full spectrum of opinions about the definition and expression of leadership in the church. There is also a broad spectrum of opinion on if, when, and how to confront church leadership. Jesus is our example in this matter, whether we like His example or not. Take my little “Leadership Legitimacy” survey and discover what Jesus would have you do.

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Pastors are in the Fall: 'Guest Blog by Nick Vasiliades'

Pastors are in the Fall

Pastors are in the Fall

The expression of pastoral ministry in the church can tend to aggregate at extremes in the Body of Christ. On the one hand you can have pastors who are oppressed by domineering and controlling board members and elders, whose mission in life seems to be to be to break pastors down and keep them in poverty. On the other hand, you can have pastors who think themselves as demi-gods at the top of a pyramid hierarchy who think people are little more than resources given by God to them to fulfill carnal ambition rooted in insecurity and thinly veiled as “corporate vision.” In Part One here, by my friend, Nick Vasiliades, explains why fundamental values and ideas in most western churches of how pastors are expected to function are the underlying reasons for so many misconceptions and malpractice of one of the necessary, precious, and legitimate gifts of the resurrected and ascended Lord to His church. Is it possible to be a supernaturally gifted “carer of souls” and avoid reactionary expressions? Yes, but not as long as we cling to biblically baseless definitions, values, and expressions of pastoral ministry.

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A Night in Jail in the Presence of God: 'Power and Presence Where Jesus Said He Would Be'

A Night in Jail in the Presence of God

A Night in Jail in the Presence of God

Recently, I had the privilege of spending an hour and a half in the manifest presence of God. What made the experience so unique is all the things that many of those reading this have been conditioned to believe are necessary for such a thing to occur in a meeting (a good crowd, prolonged praise and worship, sermon/ministry of the “word,” prayer, altar call, heart wrenching repentance, whatever,  were all absent. How can that be possible?

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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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