Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Anabaptists: Is Nothing Sacral?

Sometimes you read something that makes you stand up and cheer. That happened for me while I was reading “The Reformers and Their Stepchildren” by Verduin recently.

The book is an overview of the Anabaptists and the Reformers (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, etc.) who violently opposed them.

In an attempt to explain why these Christians and their ideas were so aggressively resisted, the author points out something I am sure most people overlook; something that made me stand up and say, “Yes”!

Starting with Jesus, the author emphasizes the differences between “Sacral” societies and the revolutionary teachings of Christ. Namely, the idea that Jesus advocated for a radical ideology whereby men and women who differ – theologically, politically, etc. – can still live together in total harmony.

As he notes in the book, “This is one of the New Testament’s boldest innovations, the sweep of which will not escape the thoughtful.”

Now, what I find so exciting is that the author has put his finger on something that so many, many Christians today have totally missed out on.

He continues:

“It must not escape the reader that this was a novel insight, so novel as to be revolutionary. The world had never seen the like of it before. For all pre-Christian society is sacral. By the word “sacral”…we mean “bound together by a common religious loyalty.”…we mean society held together by a religion to which all the members of that society are committed.”

He goes on to point out that all other ancient societies were pre-Christian ,and therefore “sacral”.

As he illustrates so eloquently:

“The society of ancient Babylon…was a sacral society; all Babylonians were expected to bow to the one and the same “Object” (See Daniel 3); their society was pre-Christian.

The society of Ephesus was sacral; all Ephesians were expected to join in the chant: “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”; (See Acts 19:28) Ephesian society of was pre-Christian.

In our own day, the society of the Navajo…is sacral; all members of that society are expected to take part in the ritual; theirs, too, is a pre-Christian society.”

And then, then, he drops the proverbial bomb:

“According to the construction of things, the Old Testament too was pre-Christian – as indeed it was in the chronological sense. Every member of the OT society was considered to be in the same religious category as was every other member of it. This makes the Old Testament society sacral and pre-Christian.”

Why is this insight so powerful? Because if those Reformed Christians had understood this simple truth, then the murder of the Anabaptists by their Christian brothers would never have taken place.

“…there would in all probability never have been a [persecution of Anabaptists] if the Reformers had been aware of the pre-Christian quality of the Old Testament in this matter. It was the Reformer’s refusal to admit that there is this perspective in the relationship that obtains between the two Testaments, it was their refusal to grant that the one had outmoded the other at this point, that caused the exodus of the Stepchildren (Anabaptists).”

Did you see that? Do you understand what he’s saying here? Because one group of Christians did not understand that the Old and New Testaments were fundamentally different – and that one of them (the New) had “outmoded the other” (the Old)…the bloody execution of Christians by their own brothers and sisters was set in motion.

Today we have much the same arrangement among followers of Christ. One group – the vast majority in this nation – hold the idea that both the Old and the New are concurrent and equally in force. Another group – in the small, but growing minority – understand that Jesus trumps Moses and that the NT declares the OT to be “obsolete” and “fading away”.

All that is missing is the power of one group to put to death the other group for daring to disagree on this point.

Based on the amount of hate mail and venomous comments left on my blog and FB page, if it were legal for those in the majority opinion to have those of us in the minority group arrested, tried and sentenced to prison or death, I would say that this blog would have been written from a jail cell on death row.

But, I digress. Getting back to the book, let’s wrap up the differences between the sacral perspective and the Kingdom perspective:

“It was because the Jews of Jesus’ day were pre-Christian, and therefore sacralists in their conception of things, that the problem “whether it is lawful to pay tribute to Caesar” seemed to them an insoluble problem. How could a man, they asked, be loyal to the political community by paying his taxes, without thereby being disloyal to the religious community, the Church? They, sacralists that they were, knew no answer to this question. It vexed them every time they tangled with it. And for that reason they confronted the Master with it, so that He too might be embarrassed by it and be hopelessly pinned in a corner. How great must have been their surprise at the ease with which Jesus, acting on the new insight He had come to convey, sailed through the dilemma with “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”. In His way of thinking there wasn’t even any problem.

“As the thoughtful reader will have perceived, much is implied in this New Testament innovation. In it is implied that the State is a secular institution…It is implied in the NT vision that Christianity is not a culture-creating thing, but rather a culture-influencing one.”

Yes! This is where I could no longer contain myself and I jumped up to shout, “Yes!” in my living room.

The Church is not meant to be yoked to the State. We are not compelled to legislate culture through the courts or the law. Instead, we are commanded to communicate the radical Gospel of Jesus to everyone around us and to influence the human heart to submit to the rule and reign of Christ – regardless of what the Laws of the Land may be.

In that way, Christianity seeks to transform the culture from within rather than to legislate culture from above.

As the author notes:

“….there can never be such a thing as a Christian culture; there can only be cultures in which the influence of Christianity is more or less apparent. The NT vision does not pit a “Christian culture” against a non-Christian culture; rather does it introduce a leaven into any existing culture into which it insinuates itself, a leaven whereby that already existing culture is then affected.”



Wednesday, March 25, 2015


In this episode, Dan and Keith talk about a variety of subjects, including:
*What happens when God gives the same scripture to 2 different people, 2 weeks in a row?
*Who are "The Dones" and how should the Church respond?
*How can Organic churches sustain and retain membership and engagement?


God bless America, who spies on your phone calls, email,and text communications.

God Bless America, who executes its own citizens without a trial or even formal criminal charges.

God Bless America, who imprisons journalists who attempt to expose their war crimes.

God Bless America, which has been at war for 214 years out of the last 235.

God Bless America, which hires, or threatens journalists in order to have them write false news stories, and even film fake execution videos that advance their propaganda.

God Bless America which currently imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation on the face of the planet.

“Hey, If you don’t like it here, please move to another country!”

Moving to another country is pointless since every country on this earth is suffering from the same sin and delusion and sets itself up as a rival to the Kingdom of Christ.

However, if I did move to another nation, at least I wouldn't have to suffer the additional insult of being a citizen of a nation that proclaims to the world that it is Christian while at the same time exploiting and impoverishing other nations, stealing their resources, plunging them into poverty, dropping bombs, flying drones over them, and killing thousands of innocents...all in the name of Jesus.

No, rather than to leave this sick, sinful and prideful nation that believes She is "Christian" I must remain here and continue to point to the One and Only Hope for this (or any other) nation - Jesus, the Messiah.

When, and only when, this nation fully
turns to Jesus will there ever be any change of heart, or of mind, or of behavior towards one another.

"Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." - Jesus (Luke 13:3)

We must humble ourselves before God, and humbling ourselves involves repenting from our endless wars around the globe and exploiting the poorest nations of this earth for our own financial gain.

The best way to end the wars we are currently fighting and to bring peace to th
is earth would be to take the Trillions of dollars we are currently spending on our war machine and using it to bless our enemies, to feed them, to clothe them, and to enrich them.

Proactive love and Preemptive Agape disarms our enemies and transforms them into our friends.

We could do that if we wanted to. We have plenty of money available.

In fact, a truly Christian Nation would do exactly that.

This is what I am contending for. This is what I will continue to pray for.

This is what the advancing of the Kingdom of God looks like.

There is only one Christian nation on this earth. It is the Kingdom of God. It is global. It is eternal. It knows no national boundaries. It recognizes no border or rule of man.

My brothers and sisters - the vast majority of them - are not Americans. Therefore I do not see myself as an American either. I see myself as a child of the King who was, and is, and is to come.

As a Christian, and as a citizen of Christ’s Kingdom, I crucify my Nationalism. I put to death all those things that once defined the person I used to be before Jesus transformed me.

I now resolve to know nothing except Christ and Him crucified. The rest I count as trash and filthy rags.

Let His Kingdom come!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

[Subversive Radio Podcast] Cognitive Dissonance

Why do some people get angry when you tell them the truth?

Cognitive Dissonance Re-Examined by Laura Anaya

[NOTE: This guest blog post is a response to my podcast “Cognitive Dissonance”]

A thought on cognitive dissonance,  and the anger people have at being confronted with truth  - even truth you agree with. 

One of the key teachings of the church I grew up in was that the sin of Adam and Eve eating the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of good and evil was disobedience. Very little attention, if any, is placed on the effect of the fruit itself, or the doubt in Eve's mind about God being on her side leading up to taking the fruit. 

However in my walk back to understanding God's love I found that there is a profound effect of fear that the fruit of needing certitude of good vs evil has on one’s  life.  It is a shame-based fear that envelopes us when we see ourselves in the wrong.  And we instinctively take measures to protect. 

Adam and Eve covered themselves and hid.  We continue to cover ourselves and hide from each other even when we know our errors.  Often we embrace the certitude of claiming Christ’s name and believing He is God to ensure we are in the “Good” camp, but we do not give up the false security of the fruit of the Tree of Death. We remain self-protective rather than embracing Christ's way of vulnerable self-sacrificing service, and placing our certitude in Him rather than ourselves getting the right understanding and right doing and right saying that will earn the favor of God. 

When this happens we often look good on the outside but continue to rot on the inside.  And any truth that confronts our beliefs will be met with anger or defense, not because it is wrong but because if we realize we can be wrong in one area of our life it shakes the foundation of our salvation, which is a right understanding, and doing Christianity rather than Christ Himself.

I truly appreciate your love and the messages you speak.  Many must die to self-protection and embrace Christ-protection to hear the truth.  It is a painful process to die to self-protection and self-certainty; the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good vs Evil. 

When we claim this as Adam and Eve's sin and don't recognize it as fruit we continue to eat of it ourselves we deny it's deadly effects in our lives today. 

It is difficult, if not impossible, to eat of it and embrace the self-sacrificing service of love Christ made us for and died to regain for us.

-Laura Anaya


Thursday, March 19, 2015


In this episode, Keith and Dan discuss: "Is it necessary to live in intentional community to experience the same Koinonia of the First Century Church?" AND "What to do when good Ekklesia goes bad?"

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Nearly every Saturday morning I drive my two teenage boys up to a collectibles warehouse in Diamond Bar for the morning. It's one of the main things the three of us do together on a regular basis and I love spending that time with them as often as possible.

This last weekend we drove underneath an overpass and one of my sons pointed out a hand-drawn sign that someone had fastened to the outside of the rail. It read "Jesus Saves From Hell."

What followed was a fascinating discussion about Christianity in America today.

One of my sons compared that message to something like "Buddha Leads To Nirvana" because most of the people in his generation today aren't really sitting around thinking about things like Hell, or Being Saved.

We talked about how the Church today seems to be stuck on a script from the 1970's that almost no one in our modern society is actually reading from.

That sign brought responses from my boys like, "Why is it always about hell?", "Is getting saved from hell all we need Jesus for?", "Even if Jesus does save from hell, what does that sign want me to do about it?", etc.

From there our conversation went into another interesting direction. We started talking about the difference between promoting Christianity via a series of messages versus the idea of promoting Jesus' way of life by the way we actually loved people, cared for the poor, served others, and became living examples of the kind of life that Jesus can offer us.

One of my son's said, "If Christians were known for being people who took care of the poor, or who helped people in need, then even if non-christians disagreed with our faith they at least could respect the fact that we lived what we say we believe."

This is why it's so important that those of us who do understand this way of thinking go out of our way to demonstrate the love of Jesus to those around us. Because most Christians around us are not primarily focused on loving others. Most Christians in our society seem to be more concerned with being right and with proving that everyone else is wrong.

Of course, this sort of conversation is an easy thing to have in a moving vehicle on a Saturday morning on your way to shop for vintage video games and action figures and old comic books. But at least having these sorts of conversations means that there's the possiblity that these very practical ideas about loving and serving and sharing and giving can actually spill out into our every day lives.

I get it. No one really lives this out in any perfect way. But the fact that we cannot live it out perfectly should not prevent us from living it out at all.

The world around us is desperate to see the real evidence of a living Christ. We are ambassadors of His love. We are His hands and His feet. If we, those who are called by His Name, are not willing and able and empowered to love as He loved, and to give as He gave, and to serve as He served, then who is?

I am reminded of a little verse that says, "If anyone claims to be in Him, he must walk as Jesus did." (1 John 2:6)

Being a Christian is about so much more than slogans. It's about putting our faith into practice and stepping out daily to allow Jesus to live and breathe in us so that the world around us might experience the transformational love of God.

Breathe deep.


Monday, March 16, 2015


I am a subversive agent of a kingdom with unlimited powers.

My mission is to overthrow this empire from within and to unravel its systems and re-boot the culture.

This is accomplished by introducing a virus into the existing mainframe of reality. This virus is a “Metanoia Class” program designed to re-write the code of our thinking. It has the power to re-wire hearts, reprogram minds, and transform human behaviors.

The purpose of this is to increase the number of radicalized agents into the culture and exponentially advance the range and effect of the Metanoia program.

Our leader has given us access to an unlimited source of life and power. Our lines of communication with him cannot be tapped, traced or interrupted. We can receive messages from our source at any time, at any place, regardless of access to electricity, infrastructure or technology.

One by one, we are now in the process of changing the world from within. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, we are transforming people from darkness into glorious light. Those who formerly walked in the shadows are now awakening to the inescapable truth. Every second of every day, people around the globe turn from walking in the way of this world and begin to follow the way of life contained in the Metanoia program.

Those who are infected by this unique virus have begun to think different, and to act different, than other humans around them. They begin to take on the same heart and mind and perspective of our leader, Y’Shua of Nazareth; loving those who hate them; forgiving those who seek to harm them; seeing everyone as a potential brother or sister and a future operative in the program.

We are not alone. We are legion. Our methods are varied, but nonetheless subtle and unstoppable by any government, law or threat known to man.

The weaker we grow, the more powerful we become. The more you oppose us, the greater our effectiveness.

Our victory is assured.

We have outlasted every empire for the last 2,000 years. We have endured persecution, torture, and even death. We may die, but our mission carries forward. No force on earth, or even the entire universe, can stop us, or defeat us, or destroy us.

Our lives are already lost. We have surrendered all to this single purpose and calling. Our death was accounted for on the day we embarked on this mission.

We have no fear. All fear has been erased by an irresistible love that permeates our existence. We are guided by this love and fully compelled that it alone is the hope for all life on this planet.

We have no country. We owe no allegiance to any nation, state or ideology other than that of our King.

We have no armory. The weapons we employ are love, compassion, service, mercy, and grace. Combined with prayer, hope, trust, and faith, these are all we need to accomplish our goals.

Make no mistake, this world is fading away. A new world is coming. Behold, the kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our God.

Nothing you can do will change this. The insurgency will prevail.

Join us and live.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

EPISODE 5: Dan Notti and Keith Giles: "Jesus, Ekklesia and Evangelism"


Prompted by a question from a listener, Dan and Keith share practical ideas about how Organic, Simple and House Churches can effectively start and grow thriving ministries outside their meetings without programmatic or artificial structure.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Is Good

Tired of the “same old song and dance”? Who isn’t? Luckily, Jesus has fulfilled and abolished the Old and replaced it with the New.

It all starts with the New Covenant that Jesus made with those who place their trust in Him:

“This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” – (Luke 22:20)

Once we drink from that cup, He gets right to work making us new as well:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – (2 Cor. 5:17)

Once we’ve been made new Jesus pours His “new wine” into us:

“Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” – (Matt. 9:17)

Filled with the “new wine” of His Holy Spirit, Jesus empowers us to follow His “new commandment”:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” – (John 13:34)

Next, Jesus opens the door wide open for us to enter into glorious fellowship with Himself and His Father:

“…. we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh…” – (Heb. 10:19-20)

Jesus even abolished the Old Law of Commandments in order to make both Jews and Non-Jews into “one new man” so that those who are in Him are united as His Chosen Ones:

 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace…” - (Eph. 2:15)

To those who continue to abide in Him, Jesus promises to keep on making things new, even giving us a new name to match our new nature and identity in Himself:

To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’” – (Rev. 2:17)

What’s more, from now until the end of time, Jesus is continually, daily, making all things new again so that, eventually, everything old is redeemed and under His final, ultimate authority:

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” – (Rev. 21:5)

Now, that’s Good New!


NOTE: For more about the differences between the Old and New Covenant, read "Questions About The Old and The New Covenants"

Friday, March 06, 2015

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

EPISODE 4: Dan Notti and Keith Giles - "God's Design For Church"

Does God have any design for how He wants us to come together and seek His face? If He cared so much about how the Sanctuary and the Temple were built (down to the cubits), doesn't He have a plan for how we - the Body of Christ - are to worship Him?

Swimming won't make you a fish...