Spiritual Covering: 'Stop the Nonsense'

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

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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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The Kingdom of Heaven and Violence – Matt. 11:12: 'Jesus' Kingdom is Not Forcibly Advancing'

The Kingdom of Heaven is Not Forcibly Advancing

The Kingdom of Heaven and Violence

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force. – Matt. 11:12, KJV.

All my Christian life I have found the idea that Jesus somehow endorses violent human effort for His cause as very odd. It contradicts the rest of His teaching, the life He lived, the example He set, and the rest of the New Testament. What does this passage about the kingdom of heaven and violence mean?

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Block Logic – Reading Scripture with Jesus and Paul: 'Guest Blog by Dr. John Armstrong'

Block Logic - Reading Scripture Like Jesus and Paul

Block Logic – Reading Scripture Like Jesus and Paul

Last week I presented a broad overview of how I believe the church has evolved in America during my lifetime. I now believe that there should be little doubt that the church is not only in rapid numerical decline but intellectually and spiritually we are almost powerless. A major reason for this condition lies in the loss of what I referred to as “the romance of orthodoxy.” When good orthodoxy is joined with a deep sense of mystery shaped by paradox I believe we see a better way to enter the next era of church history. I want to explore this idea today. 

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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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Grace and Obedience: 'It's a Root and Fruit Issue'

Obedience and Grace

Grace and Obedience

I once heard a leading pastor of a “successful” evangelical church in a city preach the following: “We are saved by grace, but after that, it is all up to us.” This is a frightening proposition.

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The Bible and the Church: 'Truth Needs a Body'

Truth Needs a Body

The Bible and the Church: Truth Needs a Body

There was a Body before there was a Christian “Bible.” This is a threatening fact for many. It is none-the-less, an indisputable historical fact. The implications can, and have been, argued for centuries, but the fact cannot be.

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Money and the Church – Part 4: 'Funding New Testament Ministry'

The Church and Money - Part 4

Money and the Church – Part 4

How should we fund ministry efforts (local and trans-local) in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, in a new covenant, grace-based, non-coercive way in community?  On the one hand there’s the way we’ve been doing it for centuries, that I hope to have convinced you in this book is at least lacking if not utterly broken: tithe to an impersonal institution to support a professional class of full-time clergy who are the real “ministers.” On the other hand, there are the more reactionary elements who believe that no individual, under any circumstance, should be compensated in preference over an another, as we are all equal as “ministers”–the gift of hospitality is as worthy of compensation as preaching and teaching.

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The “Doctrine” versus “Love” Conundrum: 'Guest Blog by Aaron Tilbury'

The Doctrine Conundrum

The Doctrine Conundrum

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.

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