Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The reason the New Testament church didn't have buildings? They WERE the building.

The reason the New Testament church didn't pay their elders, shepherds and overseers? Because you don't pay your family members to love you or care for you.

The reason the New Testament church didn't have any blood sacrifice (as every other religion around them did)? Because not only was Jesus the first and ultimate sacrifice, but this new temple, the new priesthood (that's us) also became the living sacrifices as well (see Romans 12).

So, fast forward 300 years and a Roman Emperor establishes a new way of doing church. He gives them buildings. He pays their leaders. This was a new addition. It had not been practiced until Constantine instituted it.

Fast forward another 400 years: The Church starts to require a tithe from their members. Before this only free will offerings were given.

Fast forward to our day and time: We're still paying our leaders and building temples to worship in.

I would submit that Jesus had a plan in mind for His Church. He communicated that plan eloquently. He modelled the leadership structure He expected. He knelt down and washed their feet. He told them to do the same to one another. He warned them not to "lord it over" their brothers or to call one another "Father" because they were all brothers and equals in the eyes of God.

The Family of God has one Father. His name is God. The Body of Christ has one head. His name is Jesus.

For over 700 years the church of Jesus took no tithes. All of the money freely given was collected and spent on the poor and the orphan and the widow.

That is New Testament Christianity. If you want to practice something else, something "new and improved" feel right at home. That's between you and the Lord.

But, as for me and my house, we will follow the New Testament and seek to "Be the Church" that Jesus commanded his disciples to be, by the Grace of God.

If you want to study the subject you will quickly see that the New Testament knows nothing of hierarchy. Plenty of Biblical scholars from all backgrounds and denominations agree on this point...even Catholic scholars! The NT church was not a hierarchy, it was a family.

We are not a franchise or a business, we are an organism that lovingly reciprocates mutual edification and love to anyone who is in Christ, regardless of differences in doctrine or eschatology.

If you want to be a leader in this Church, start serving people. Keep doing that until others around start to serve as you are serving and then you will know that you are leading people to be like Jesus. Remember to teach them how to pass along these things to others.

We are disciples of Jesus. We are called to make disciples who also turn around and make disciples who then make disciples.

The awesome Spirit of the Living God lives within each and every one of us. We are all capable of hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd and He is capable of making His voice heard if we will listen.

We are the temple. We are the priesthood. We are the living sacrifice.

We are the Church.



Mike Burleson said...

Thank you for this! For so many years I have worshiped a building and a tradition, instead of the true and living God, who lives not in temples made with hands, but in the hearts of those who love Him.

ContrarianSoul said...

This is great Keith! Thanks for your passion and for eloquently sharing what the Spirit is stirring up in much of the Body. We need a new paradigm...or actually a return to the old paradigm for Christ's church.

Bebe said...

Thank you Keith! So true and so well said.......Glad to see that we are not alone in this walk that can be a lonely one when those around you think that you are just being "subversive"...

savy consumer said...

Thanks, Keith.
You hit the most important nail on the head here. I have personally seen how ego, ambition and the politics of 'building an organization' ( where are we commanded to do that?) destroy the very sort of community Jesus had in mind for the church. It is something we are and our doing flows from that... I am beyond bored with all the hierarchy I have bumped into over the years.

Noah said...

Great post. Loved it!

Done with Religion said...

Very good. All of us have grown up in this society where church is a place we go, a place God shows up to meet with us. Fortunately, more and more of us are coming to see the truth, that we, His followers, are the Church and God lives within us. He is with us constantly. Rather than try to bring people to us, we are to go to them, ready to serve and love rather than condemn. Jesus is the head of the body and it is time we stop looking to men for guidance and follow Christ.