A New Perspective
Today, 1700 years [later], we have become so accustomed with the congregational-type church, that many find it hard to even imagine any other form of ”real church life” or ”worship services”. Those historical events created a powerful system, a uniformed pattern, a sanctioned and later even sanctified structure, which has molded the experiences and the mindset of people over long centuries, and has created a distorted picture of church that is not any more true to its original.
This whole process canonized and institutionalized a devastating mediocrity, a middle-of-the road-solution, simply functioning in religious and political correctness of the day. The congregational church became a ”structural lie,” because it paints the right message in the wrong colors, casts the right material in wrong forms, fills the water of life into contaminated bottles, takes the redeemed sinners and forms them into a harmless species of nice churchgoers and program participants. It makes heavenly promises, but does not deliver them on earth. It forgot to focus on the extended family as the building block of Christianity, and settled into occupying religious temples, more or less heavily ornate, reciting worship patterns in a small but solid haven of heaven on earth. Wolfgang Simson, Houses That Change the World
Let’s say you are driving down the road in your car. You’ve been driving on this road with some friends, who are in their own cars. You’ve been on this same road for twenty years.
Suddenly someone suggests that you stop the car and take a look around. Hmm. Novel idea! You do so, and together you pull to the side of the road. For the first time in twenty years you step out of your car. Next you walk a bit of distance away from your vehicles, and together you stand and look at them.
You have never done this before.
You would be struck by a whole number of impressions, including the size and shape and color of the vehicles. You might be struck by how dirty they are.
You might be amazed that what you thought was an average vehicle is old and rusty, with the paint chipping off. You might wonder how the bald tires have ever managed to hold the road.
You might be appalled at the dirty smoke issuing out of the exhaust pipe, producing black choking clouds behind the vehicle.
You might also be struck by the friends now standing nearby. Hmm.. they look just like me! They wear the same clothes, talk the same, and drive the same kind of car.
But the main thing is, this is the first time you have seen the vehicle from the outside. You are going to find yourself on a learning curve. You might wonder why it has four tires, and why they are so small. You might think it would be a good idea to have a tinted windshield next time. You might wonder why you aren’t in a bus, so that you can share the space with friends.
Stepping outside the IC gives a perspective that one cannot have while inside it. A whole host of assumptions are seen for the first time. These presuppositions about the nature of church, ministry, and community are widely held and rarely examined. Some of them prove to be accurate and unchanging; but most of them are temporal, cultural, and bear examination. Some of them don’t really fit well with a New Testament understanding of the church. Square wheels are not a good idea!
THAT is a mouthful. If it doesn’t bring a sense of recognition to your heart, thank God. If it does, it should bring tears to your eyes and a sense of shame. This, my friends, is the state of Jesus body. What are we going to do about it? Will you rise up with the spirit of Jesus as a true warrior and determine not to play church games anymore? Will you stand up and make a difference?