To Err Is Human, To Arr Is Pirate (FAQ Part 3)
Ok, try this! Squint one eye and utter these words: “Arr, matey, shiver me timbers!”
My high school mascot was a pirate. I liked all the Pirate of the Caribbean movies and at random this song plays in my head (from VeggieTales):
We are the pirates who don’t do anything
We just stay at home and lie around
And if you ask us to do anything
We’ll just tell you we don’t do anything
In the next set of FAQ’s from So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore, we’ll get the author’s responses to common misconceptions of religious institutions. Just like the Savage Chicken comic about pirate linguist debating the ARR-YAR-HAR question, we can easily divide over small issues and teach others to err. [View the full article]
#5 – But don’t our institutions keep us from error?
I’m sorry to burst your bubble here, but every major heresy that has been inflicted on God’s people for the last 2,000 years has come from organized groups with ‘leaders’ who thought they knew God’s mind better than anyone around them. Conversely, virtually every move of God among people hungering for him was rejected by the ‘church’ of that day and were excluded, excommunicated or executed for following God.
If that is where you hope to find security, I’m afraid it is sorely misplaced. Jesus didn’t tell us that ‘going to church’ would keep us safe, but that trusting him would. He gave us an anointing of the Spirit so that we would know the difference between truth and error. That anointing is cultivated as we learn his ways in his Word and grow closer to his heart. It will help you recognize when expressions of church you share life with becomes destructive to his work in you.
#6 – So are traditional congregations wrong?
Absolutely not! I have found many of them with people who love God and are seeking to grow in his ways. I visit a couple of dozen different congregations a year that I find are far more centered on relationship than religion. Jesus is at the center of their life together, and those who act as leaders are true servants and not playing politics of leadership, so that all are encouraged to minister to one another.
I pray that even more of them are renewed in a passion for Jesus, a genuine concern for each other and a willingness to serve the world with God’s love. But I think we’d have to admit that these are rare in our communities and many only last for a short span before they unwittingly look to institutional answers for the needs of the body instead of remaining dependent on Jesus. When that happens do not feel condemned if God leads you not to go along with them.
Let’s start with this basic truth: In God’s organizational chart the top box is Jesus’ Name and on the bottom box is “humans”. Isn’t it wonderful that it’s that simple. In Matthew 20, the mommy of “the sons of thunder” thought differently. She asked Jesus to promote her sons to sit at His right and left. Sorry believer, but not even your mommy can change that! =)
The Holy Spirit is our primary teacher and not a Sunday sermon (John 14:26). But that doesn’t stop men from thinking that they have monopoly on God’s truth nor does it stop them from making merchandise of gullible followers.
Please know this truth that God gives His Spirit freely to those who have faith like a child. Child-like dependency is key to knowing and experiencing Jesus.
We must also guard ourselves from being like them that search the Scriptures to find eternal life but can’t find it (John 5:39-40). In John 5, Jesus was persecuted by his own people and they sought to kill Him for not jumping on the religious band-wagon. They worshiped their traditions and laws. Jesus healed a lame man and that was a very big no-no for healing people on the Sabbath. It also enraged them that Jesus claimed to be sent from the Father and was the Son of God. If they will throw Jesus under the bus then you too will be treated the same if you passionately follow in His footsteps.
Enjoy these music videos by Brandon Heath and Je’kob!
Brandon Heath – Jesus In Disguise
Brandon Heath – The Light In Me
Je’kob – “A Beautiful Place”
Je’kob – “In Your Hands”