As a Christian businessman (quantity surveyor) and pastor for 60 years, I am deeply troubled at the general state of the Church.
We seem to be too silent in graciously exchanging our biblical views against the current trends and legislation being freely imposed on society and family values.
One thing burdening my mind is the domination exercised by church leadership in opposition to the priesthood of all believers.
Recent visits to speak at or just attend churches have confirmed my suspicion that the structure of the Church as a whole is so insecure and fragile as to be built out of cardboard and out of date. Equally with being run by one man or woman, the congregation just sit like cardboard cut-outs waiting to be fed, entertained or bored.
The biblical concept of the equal priesthood of each believer is subjugated by authoritarianism; the concept is that one leader carries the anointing and divine authority. We are in the age of the personality and the theological degrees with no room for the common man or woman.
The apostle Paul is explicit, though, that every believer should know the Lord and know God’s Word as fully as the teacher or pastor (1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4:12-13). Jesus said HE would build his Church, not men; ownership belongs to God alone.
So, cardboard cut-out Christians, stand up, share Scripture and prophesy to graciously upset ‘the form of service’ (hymn prayer sandwich), and testify to what the Lord is doing in your life. Just comply with Ephesians 4: 12-13, Romans 8:29 and Philemon 6.
Stand up and testify to what the Lord is doing in your life
I think that the BBC programme ‘The Repair Shop’ models what the Church should be.
A variety of individuals with special skills work together to restore items of sentimental value. The team receive these worn items with a smile, kindness, deep genuine interest, and often with sympathy and a promise to assist towards the recovery. Great care, patience and time are spent by the repairers to achieve the best possible outcome.
The priesthood of all believers is outworked through their use of the God-given gifts of Christ, the gifts of God, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to equip the saints for their particular ministry.
Every believer has a voice and a ministry as the Holy Spirit was given that the Church may exercise the divine authority to witness for the Lord and carry his presence.
Authority is the outworking of Christ in our lives in humility not domination, control, intimidation or, manipulation.
Jesus came with an anointing to preach good news to the poor, freedom for prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, and to proclaim the time of God’s favour. We follow that as his disciples.
I believe the Church of Jesus Christ requires an urgent and radical change to the concept of leadership – a reformation followed by a revival.