Wednesday, October 07th, 2009 | Author:

It’s Wednesday again, and time for more Words. If you’re posting, be sure to leave your link in Mr. Linky. If you’re just reading, be sure to click on Mr. Linky and see what others are saying this week. And, as always, your comments are invited.

I had an interesting exchange this week with a pastor in California. He has a blog called “Leave the Building” which is just what their church did. They sold their building, and are now operating as “a community of house churches.”

Regular readers will know that I think this is a great idea – much better than my idea of blowing up all the church buildings – so I’ve been sporadically following the posts on this blog.

In his most recent post, he was taking Max Lucado to task over his new book titled Fearless. I objected to this line in his post:

Because when the Body of Christ has your back, what is there to fear?

My response was this:

I think you more appropriately should have said “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8:31)

We eventually came to a sort of agreement, but I’m asking all of you what you think. You can read the whole thread here and even join in if you want. But I’d be very interested in your comments on this.

And while you’re reading, you can listen to this classic hymn, one of my favorites.

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5 Responses
  1. Queen of Pith says:

    "When two or more are gathered in my name…."

    A church is not a building, but the two or more gathered together to worship Christ!

  2. AKA Angrywhiteman says:

    I think you presented your case well, I hope your pearls didn't go for naught.

    I would add that QofP's comment is apt, and that when you get down where the rubber meets the road, it is sometimes just you and Christ (making two) gathered in His name.

    When we're delivered up there will be no community standing by.

    Mar 13:9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.

  3. Jim Wetzel says:

    In fear and trembling, I'll have to say that I don't really see community as being optional for believers. And that doesn't mean, as far as I can see, that one's faith is to be "in" the community, nor "based on" the community. Rather, it's based on the One Who said to a small community, just after Judas Iscariot had departed, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

    This command of our Lord didn't promise us immunity from betrayal by those we love. There is, as many have observed, no safety anywhere in this world of sin, and Jesus certainly knew, even as He spoke His words, that his immediate betrayer was already on his way to the "authorities," and that He was speaking to another (temporary) betrayer in Peter. He loved them anyway, just as He loves me in spite of my many betrayals. And if, in the dark days to come, a brother or sister sells me to the minions of the dark Prince of this world, it will be my obligation to love that brother or sister anyway. Don't know how well I'll succeed, but that goes back to fear — something that I'm shamefully familiar with.

    Enough rambling. To sum up, I agree that our faith isn't to be "in" community; but community is expected to grow out of our faith — kind of the way works do. And just as James is skeptical of faith unaccompanied by a manifestation in works, so too am I skeptical of the faith of a man who doesn't know any brothers or sisters by name … whose brothers and sisters are hypothetical, or faceless and distant.

    Okay, so I rambled on anyway. This time, I really will hush up.

  4. Renee says:

    "Because when the Body of Christ has your back, what is there to fear?" Your response is right on. Who cares if the "Body of Christ" has our backs. The only thing that matters is if we are on God's side, serving Him. Then we know that He has our back. Christians can be wrong, and there is plenty to fear when you put your trust in man.

    Psalm 118:8
    It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.

    I agree with your conclusion that we should stand on the foundation of Jesus. Period.

    I don't think "me and Jesus" is wrong either, because it should be a relationship between me and Jesus: Me serving Jesus, doing whatever He tells me to do regardless of whether the Christian community agrees. Ultimately it will be just me and Jesus at the end of time.

    But I do see your point about "me and Jesus". We are to follow Jesus, and it should be all about Him and not me.

    Great thought provoking discussion!

  5. akaGaGa says:

    @Lisa True enough.

    @AKA Ultimately, it will be just you and Christ. We'd better know Him well.

    @Jim Thanks for your thoughtful response. I don't disagree with anything you said, but I want to define some terms for clarity.

    Many these days think love is comprised of smiling and "being nice" to the brethren. They think hate is comprised of disagreeing with the brethren.

    I think love is oftentimes expressed by speaking the truth in love (Eph.4:15) and reproving, rebuking, and exhorting, with great patience and instruction. (2 Tim 4:2)

    I don't think it's very loving to watch the brethren running toward a cliff and remaining silent until after they've fallen off.

    "so too am I skeptical of the faith of a man who doesn't know any brothers or sisters by name … whose brothers and sisters are hypothetical, or faceless and distant."

    I would mostly agree as you've stated it, but do you think that includes those who don't belong to a formal "church?" I find real fellowship only with a handful of people I know, where there is true unity of the Spirit. We're not "a church" and we don't meet together formally. But we're "there" for each other in prayer and works and encouragement. Conversely, our foundation is only Jesus Christ. As you stated, our fellowship is a blessing that grows on that foundation.

    And I would not completely rule out the fellowship of those in the WFW group. Even without faces, it's good to discuss the real issues of following Christ.

    @Renee "Christians can be wrong, and there is plenty to fear when you put your trust in man."

    I think of the many famous ministries that have fallen into sin of one sort or another. Those who put their faith in those ministries were left dismayed and betrayed. If their foundation was Christ, they would have grieved, but they would still have been standing on solid ground.

    Thanks, all, for your responses. I'll get to the other posts … probably next week. We're going camping tomorrow and I have to get things cooked and organized.