Welcome to episode 22 of The UnSunday Show. This episode is a short return to the topic of how we view church informs our view of other things. In this case, the gospel. I wanted to mention a couple of things that I didn’t get to in episodes 19 and 20 and present them to you an addendum of what Greg and I talked about in those episodes.
Thanks to all of you who have reached out to me. It’s always good to hear from you.
Welcome to episode 20 of the UnSunday Show. This episode is a continuation of my conversation with Greg McInturff from the previous episode as we continue our dialog regarding ways our view of church informs our view of what God is like, either good or bad. In this second part, we talk specifically about the downsides of formal church membership and Bible verses that get taken out of context and used to guilt us into staying in an institutional environment when the Lord may be leading us out of that setting.
Welcome to episode 19 of the UnSunday Show. My friend Greg McInturff joins me in these next two episodes as we talk about how our view of church informs and/or mis-informs our view of God. Now that I’m a Christian, is God really satisfied with me? Am I enough? Am I doing enough? Should I be doing more and giving more? Is God watching and waiting for me to mess up?
Often, the moralistic messages we hear from pulpits weigh us down and make us feel condemned or ashamed because they are heavy on performance and light on grace. We hear a lot about our failures but little to nothing about our identity in Jesus. Institutional religion is performance based and employs the tools of guilt, shame, and condemnation to keep us on a performance treadmill in order to ensure the longevity of the institution. Many have had enough of this kind of system and are walking away from the institutional church in search of a more authentic experience and have come to realize that this type of performance based Christianity has given us a wrong view of what God is like.
Join Greg and I in part 1 of this topic as we begin a discussion about how church informs our view of God, either for good, or for bad.
Welcome to episode 17 of The UnSunday Show. I’ve listened to two different podcasts over the last couple of weeks that asked the question, “Can fallen pastors be restored?” One was from a former mega-church pastor who had an emotional affair with someone and in the process of working through that, several people surfaced with other charges of arrogance and pride that led to his being removed from that position.
The second was an interview with a former pastor who admitted to having an affair and both podcasts were asking the same question, can a fallen pastor be restored?
I believe this question is symptomatic of a larger problem that plagues most institutional churches in the west. It assumes there is a valid top-down position of authority in the Ekklesia and in both of these podcasts, restoration meant climbing back into a role of being in charge. It’s another indication that Christ’s words, “it shall not be so among you” with regards to top-down authority in the church he’s building, have become meaningless to us.
I also continue my interaction with Jon Zens’ book, A Church Building Every 1/2 Mile: What Makes American Christianity Tick? Here are a couple links to my articles I reference in this episode.
Welcome to episode 15 of The UnSunday Show. In this episode I continue my interaction with Jon Zens’ book, A Church Building Every 1/2 Mile: What Makes American Christianity Tick? as I look closer at the top-down authority structure of the clergy/laity system. In my opinion, this system is not neutral but adds an intentional, built-in layer of division within the body of Christ. The pastor-centric, top-down clergy/laity systems in most institutional churches is a product of church history. There is no New Testament warrant for its existence. In fact, the New Testament clearly mitigates against it.
The result of 2,000+ years of the clergy/laity system is that we can’t function apart from the pastor. The pastor is central to the extent that the identity of the entire local church is wrapped up in the person of the pastor in charge and if he or she fails to show up on a Sunday unannounced, we don’t know what to do. We even assign ownership of our local churches to the one pastor in charge. This expresses itself in phrases like, “I go to pastor John’s church” or “Pastor Jim started a new church.” This system of complete dependence on one person was first introduced by Ignatius of Antioch in the early 2nd century when he said,
“Let no one do anything in the church apart from the bishop. Holy communion is valid when celebrated by the bishop or someone the bishop authorizes. Where the bishop is present, there let the congregation gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the church.”
Welcome to episode 14 of the UnSunday Show! In this episode, I continue my interaction with Jon Zens’ book entitled, A Church Building Every 1/2 Mile: What Makes American Christianity Tick? In Section 5 of the book, which is called Why Has Church Become So One-Part Driven?, Zens shares the following quote from David L. McKenna,
“[The pastor] is like the cerebellum, the center for communicating messages, coordinating functions, and conducting responses between the head and body…. The pastor is not only the authoritative communicator of the truth from the Head to the Body, but he is also the accurate communicator of the needs from the Body to the Head.”
Later in the chapter he quotes C. Peter Wagner as saying,
“The army has only one Commander-in-Chief, Jesus Christ. The local church is like a company with one company commander, the pastor, who gets his orders from the Commander-in-Chief. The company commander has lieutenants and sergeants under him for consultation and implementation, but the final responsibility for decisions is that of the company commander, and he must answer to the Commander-in-Chief… The pastor has the power in a growing church… The pastor of a growing church may appear to outsiders as a dictator. But to the people of the church, his decisions are their decisions.”
Let’s talk about it!
Zen’s book and my blogs mentioned in this episode: