The 21st Century Church’s Identity Crisis?
In my May 13th blog I wrote, “After writing almost 300 blogs over the last few years about the Church from the perspective of the five fold not being “offices” by “church officials” but “passions” and “points of view” that drive believers in Jesus Christ, why wouldn’t the Church want to examine the relevancy of..... actually “building relationships, not on likeness, but on different giftings to share in service to one another and to draw on in time of need. In marriage we often chose opposites to augment our strengths and weaknesses, why not in other relationships?
Let’s look at that question.
When are the many parts of the body of Christ finally going to admit that “we need each other?” Why do our differences draw us apart rather than bring us together? Why are they so divisive? In the natural, as a parent, I have worked hard teaching my children that family is important, relationships with kin is significant, love and acceptance trumps petty grudges and self centeredness. It must have had an impact because my boys claim they never had a “slug fest”, an all and out fisticuff brawl between them. When raising fists, they laughed at each other. Today they thrive in peace in a family setting, not division, strife, hurt, jealousies, grudges, etc. that dysfunctional families possess. I cannot say that is true for the Church for it is strewn with divisions, critical of each other, and are known for shooting their wounded. How can we be a light to the world, a Bride ready for the return of its Groom if that is its image?
In the natural the mystery of marriage is the bringing together two opposites and making them one. In the natural it looks like it can’t be done, for it would bring strife. In the supernatural it is a spiritual principle taught throughout the Bible. The Church has an identity crisis. The Groom is telling the Bride that she is beautiful (read Song of Solomon), but today’s bride, the Church, doesn’t believe it because of all of its internal turmoil. Because of its lack of unity, striving to be uniform rather than united, the Groom is in disarray. To the Bride, looking at the turmoil with in itself, it looks defiled, but the 21st Century Church, the Bride of Christ, must begin to look at itself as the Holy Spirit reveals it. The Holy Spirit will reveal what the Groom looks like, and the Bride will transform into the likeness of the Groom bringing it into union.
Church, we got to stop looking at our differences, our past histories, our vain traditions, and allow the Holy Spirit to give us the revelation of who Jesus Christ is on this earth. The Church is the extension of Jesus Christ on earth, so we need to get a supernatural revelation of what that really is! A groom is always dazzled by the bride’s looks. It is breath taking to him. The same is with Jesus, the way He looks at His Church, so we need to get that same vision of who we are in Christ as an individual and corporately as a Body of Christ, the Church.
The purpose of the five fold according to Ephesians 4 is for individual believers to grow into the maturity and likeness of Christ and corporately for the Church to become united as one. If that is its purpose, then maybe as a Church we should embrace it. Maybe we need to “equip”, “prepare”, “train” the “saints”, the believers in Jesus Christ and release their “evangelistic,” “pastoral,” “teaching,” “prophetic”, and “apostolic” spirits, or passions, or point of view to bring maturity to its believers and unity to its Body. It is worth a try, particularly since what we have tried in the past has not proven to produce good fruit but hurt among its believers and division among its ranks.
We need to look vertical, heavenward for the inspiration on what to do supernaturally (John 3:16), but we need to look relationally horizontal (I John 3:16) to recognize in the natural the passions, giftings, and the way we view things differently to draw us together by “laying down our lives” for each other. That, my friend, is the CROSS. We are at the intersection of the supernatural dissecting the natural in history, I believe, the Cross the 21st Century Church must face. How will we respond to this challenge?
How is it all to work? Not our problem if we allow ourselves to listen to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and be obedient to His directions and calls. If there was ever a time for the church to “trust and obey, for there is no other way” as the old 19th century hymn proclaimed it is in the 21st century. Let’s quit fighting the Holy Spirit, begin trusting Him, listening to Him, and be obedient to the revelation of Jesus Christ that he will unveil. This will produce a new look for the Church to prepare it as a Bride.
21st Century Church….. let’s do it!
(This is the 7th part, the last, of a 7 part series. I invite you to look back at the previous blogs and join me in future blogs about the relevancy of the five fold to the 21st Century Church.)