Sunday, December 05, 2010

Shouldn't God decide what is important?

Just a brief thought this morning. Believers of all stripes revere the Bible as God's special revelation that He intended to serve as a witness of Himself and especially His Son. As a people we declare in various ways our belief in the Bible as the Word of God. Shouldn't that belief form our actions as well as our doctrines?

Here is what I mean. God in His infinite and perfect wisdom established just how big the Bible was going to be and it is a large book but by no means an exhaustive one. So what was going to be revealed was limited by size. What "made the cut" in the Bible is there because God knew it was important to His people and what isn't there...well, it isn't there for a reason. God only had one editor and He was it. So if God deigned to reveal something in Scripture, it should be important to us and what God focused on is what we should focus on.

That seems like common sense but it is not practiced all that often. God expended no "ink" on listening to sermons or membership classes or professional education for ministry. He wasted no time on the building of fancy buildings or concerns about tax exempt status or denominational politics and bureaucracy. There is no hint of political activism or reasons for orthodox believers to be divided from one another. What we do see emphasized by God in the precious words of Scripture is too rarely what we emphasize as the church: care for the poor and the widow and the orphan (although many individuals and even some local churches have this emphasis, it is not emphasized in the church as a whole compared to the emphasis it is given in Scripture). The gathering of the church to break bread and edify one another instead of watching a religious themed performance (Eric Carpenter has good thoughts on this from Acts 20:7 this morning). A functioning priesthood of all believers. The sharing among Christians materially with one another, a sacrificial sharing rather than a perfunctory offering. Preaching to the lost rather than sermonizing the saved. A pursuit of holiness rather than a conformity with the world.

It seems to me that if we emphasize what God emphasized the church would look a lot more like it did in the early days and a lot less like the splintered fiefdoms we see today.


Eric said...

A good word Arthur!

The more I think on these issues, the more I see the biggest problem being the salaried pastor. He must justify his paycheck by perpetuating all of today's traditions - especially the sermon. He needs people to sit in pews and listen to him. Etc.

My hope is that more and more people will begin to ask questions based on scriptural teachings.

Chad said...

I agree with what you're saying as far as letting God decide what's important. I struggle to keep that in mind as I read the Bible. How do you handle the enormous amount of time spent in Torah talking about the tabernacle, priestly garments, the ark, the table, etc.? Can you easily dismiss the ink given to these topics simply by saying, "Jesus never mentioned it, therefore it's not important"? Not putting words in your mouth, but I know how you feel about buildings and the "spectacle" that modern worship has become. God obviously thought there was some value in us knowing exactly how the tabernacle was to be built...not to mention the meticulous instruction to Solomon regarding the Temple. How do we deal with these passages?

Arthur Sido said...

Chad, those passages all pointed to a shadow of the Christ to come. They had no intrinsic value other than the pointing of the way to Christ. It is not just that Jesus never mentioned these things, it is that the trappings of the modern church not only are not analogous to the OT in type or purpose but that they actually oppose what has been revealed about how the church should function.

Arthur Sido said...


I would agree in part but it is more, in my opinion, the church culture that salaried pastors exist in and depend upon. The whole culture is one of co-dependency, congregations counting on pastors to do the work of ministry on their behalf and the pastors dependent on the congregation to pay them to do what they should be doing.