December 02, 2016

He Who Has an Ear

More and more churches are using video clips before, during and after church for announcements, testimonies and, as I recently discovered…confessions. There are even clips of countdown clocks to tell the audience services will start in minutes and seconds —  5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Gone are the days of people visiting with one another before and after worship service begins. During a recent church visit a video clip was played at the first of the service and when the pastor took the platform he said, “I’m going to ask that we replay that video. Some people were coming in late and didn’t get to see it.” Hummm…maybe there is a reason they are coming in late. John said, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 3:6 NIV).

3 comments:

Steve Corey said...

Gail;

-----I think what we must remember is that the church is into corporate worship. God calls us to worship together, but this is not the same thing. God meant for all the believers to be one, but not in the collectively driven way the corporate aspect of the church has worked for the last 1900 years.
-----God certainly meant for the church to be led by godly men. Hebrews 13:17, for instance, bids the believers to obey their leaders. Paul tells Timothy that the elders who rule well are worthy of a double honor (I Timothy 5:17.) Therefore, over the centuries, men have been drawing patterns and making templates for ordering the activities of the people when they come together. This is somewhat proper. If we come together it helps that it be in the same place at the same time, for instance. It helps that we all sing hymns and spiritual songs to God and one another all at once, and that we listen to the sermons all at once. It won’t work to have some singing while others are preaching while others are praying, at least not all in the same room. Like Paul wrote in I Corinthians 14:40: all things need to be done decently and in order.
-----But what Paul did not tell the leaders to do, what Hebrews does not imply is the leaders’ watch over the believers, and what Paul did not tell Timothy was the rule of the elders or Peter command the elders to exemplify was a script carried out by a particular set of actors. That we sing when the time is for singing and listen when the time is for listening and pray when the time is for praying isn’t engaging a script. It is merely setting activity in good order. But presenting a stager and selected actors upon it with intentionally chosen messages is a script.
-----The head of the church is not the leaders. The head of the church does not lead the church through the leaders. Christ leads the church through His Spirit in each of His believers. He leads us to all submit to good order in a church service. He leads teachers to teach and preachers to preach and believers to learn and listen. The actions and messages are His to lead. What the teachers and preachers teach and preach must reasonably fit on the framework of truth, therefore there must be an human involvement in assuring that the messages flowing through the church are reasonably true to the Word. But that is not an involvement in cherry-picking through the vast aspects of what there is to know in God’s Word, in man’s history as lit by God’s Word, or in what scriptural sense can be made of the physical world. The watch of the leaders whom we are to obey is that the information flowing within the church actually is congruent with the Bible. And that’s all. The affairs of the church handled well by the elders are the Biblical alignments of what the people in the church are doing, but not what the people are doing. What people do is le more the affairs of the Holy Spirit acting within each believer. That all their acting is in good order is an affair for the elders to handle. Who does the acting and what actions are done are the affairs for the Holy Spirit’s handling from within the believer’s heart.
-----Alas. Things of the worship service must be a scripted show, today. Many members of a group of believers having grown up into the full maturity of manhood in Christ Jesus is necessary for a worship service to function as Paul intimates at I Corinthians 14:26-33. But for nearly 1900 years, training up that maturity has not been the forefront of the affairs handled well by the elders. For 1900 years the lamp stand has been removed from its place. It has been used to make doctrinal differences of trivia and to accentuate those differences by adorning the worship services in them instead of all aspects of the new life. So the people of the church simply are not trained in the Spirit and cultured in the Word enough to participate in anything more effective than what we now do.

Love you all,
Steve Corey

Pumice said...

It amazes me how many people I have talked to that deliberately come in late to miss the music being foisted on them by the contemporary music model.

Grace and peace.

Gail Marvel said...

I’m once again in the process of visiting over 65 area churches and writing a series, “Houses of Worship.” Readers of The Christian Ear may be interested in the articles which are published every Monday in the Montrose Mirror. If you would like to be added to the subscriber list just drop the editor (Caitlin Switzer) a note and she email you the free on-line publication every week: editor@montrosemirror.com