Faith…

…is going to church here every single Sunday!

santuario-san-besso

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Attack of the Mutant Denominations!

Imagine seeing a body made entirely of hands, or of eyes (see image)?   Or even, of feet?  Or armpits?  (I am imagining one eighty feet tall terrorising rural England- yeuch).  Yet that seems to be how denominations can be.  Bear in mind that the following post contains gross generalisations and is not an absolute guide to any particular fellowship of which you may be a member!  The many eyes of salmon roe

From 1 Corinthians 12: (focussing on the part from 12-27):

“Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.”

“If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?”

“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,…”

The emphasis of Paul’s passage is the gifts of the Spirit.  But I would like to take this further and make some suggestions, that surely apply to the denominationally divided church today. Continue reading

I’ve Found the One True Church

…and it was behind the sofa all along.  No, not really.  The thing is, if you are a Christian, you are already part of the Church, which is a Body (1 Corinthians 12:27), and is described as the Bride (Revelation 21:9-10) of Christ and in a million other ways.  If you trust in Jesus as Saviour and Lord, you are therefore a part of the One True Church.  However, this is not a call to relax, as the Spirit will keep prompting you onward to “keep in step” (Galatians 5:25), even though the Sacrifice has paid in full, “once for all” (Hebrews 7:27).

The Spirit descended on Christ

The Spirit descended on Christ (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

And this is (at the moment, concerning a lot of the apparent church around me, and generally in Europe) where things have started to go really very wrong.  Without the Spirit to lead, we are doomed to argue amongst ourselves in the manner Paul warns us about (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).  We must keep in step with the Spirit.  And for that we must hear what He has to say to us today.  Otherwise, at the very least we are behaving in a way described as “worldly” as stated by Paul in the passage (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).  This is not a complement!  Is there any chance at all in this state that we can fulfil God’s purpose for us?

My wife once made an excellent statement about what the ultimate, inclusive, non-heretical church would have as its modus operandi, if not an actual slogan: “read the Bible and do it”.  I firmly believe that she is right.  Ah, but what about all this Spirit stuff then?  Surely that undermines the word in the Scripture?  No, just like vegetables on a plate do not undermine meat.  It is the Scriptures themselves that tell us to keep in step with the Spirit.  By doing this we are in obedience to the scripture and in-line with the Spirit.  We seem to be presented with a series of false choices which bear an uncanny resemblance to “Would you like food or drink this year?”   The Spirit of God will not contradict what God has previously caused to be written through the Spirit in the Bible, and in fact (still just about on topic) the Bible tells us to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” with a remarkably straightforward test (1 John 4:1-3).  Nor does the Bible forbid using the Spirit’s gifts to contact Him (in fact it says to “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy” (1 Corinthians 14:1).  Now already at this point, having mentioned just one of any number of issues of practise and belief in the church, I will have offended many Christians, who do not believe the gifts are relevant, or that they died out, or that such things are dangerous*…

Continue reading