I stand on the edge of frustration to impart a sober word of personal revelation regarding the pattern of apostolic, prophetic, and episcopal leadership in the church world today. We, as leaders, spend a lot of time throwing around buzz terms and then arguing over the validity of them. Some even work at trying to impress rather than impacting people with the Gospel message.
The Church of Jesus Christ, not the empire mandate some of us find ourselves embracing, but the worldwide body of Christ, is one ready for spiritual maturity. We need fresh maturity in our doctrine, worship, and ethics. Unfortunately, until Jesus comes, I believe we will see flaws in every reformation and movement. Although we strive to develop strong fellowship and purity of the Faith, it is those strong religious demons in the Church world that are destroying us from within.
You may ask, How do you mature a church or anything when the reality is we do not understand balance? Balance simply means being able to determine limits. It will take the power of The Holy Spirit to determine boundaries for ones’ life. We can’t achieve it alone. The early Church was a primitive, confused entity that was seeking balance between racial harmony with the Jews and the rest of the Gentile world. It was wrestling to define this new dimension of discipleship in the circle of Jewish culture and religious traditions. The early church message was two-fold, to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and usher in the Kingdom of God. Where have we gone wrong? What have we forgotten about Jesus message that has left us unbalanced? Balance must be achieved through study, prayer, and common sense (Heb 5:13-14).
However, we war over our pet doctrines, disagree about how the Holy Spirit manifests Himself, and make up rules along the way as it suits us. When will we get back to the simplicity of the message and focus on Jesus Christ as Lord?
I have discovered that the issues are captured in three general areas of concern:
- The Foundational Doctrine of the Church – I believe it will take a return to Orthodox Christianity in order to break the bondage of a superficial religious spirit in the Western Church. The strength of the internal tradition in the Church is the strength of spiritual experience and the continuity of the right spiritual path. What is orthodox? It almost depends on who you talk to. The early apostles went to extreme measures to protect the purity of the kingdom message. They regularly spoke out against false doctrine and false teachers that perverted the person and work of Jesus Christ.
- The Power of a Super-personal Spiritual Life – We must return to personal, as well as, corporate responsibility and accountability, in which every generation shakes off a consciousness of self-satisfaction and exclusiveness and is united with the spiritual life of all believers globally. Connecting them to preceding generations back to the Apostles is the ultimate goal of the Church.
- The Governmental Order in the Church – If there is a rank and file to leadership in the Church world today, we would never wholly accept the order. It was the questions of the Pharisees in Jesus day. By what authority do you operate? And who authorized you? We can never speak as one voice to the social climate in the world when we don’t agree on who is authorized to represent us. Credentialing is important but who regulates it? Until we can sponsor trusted leadership, more ministry titles will be pealed out, and more claims to the throne will be sponsored.
The manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s power in the world is the challenge of all Christians today. He wants to be released and empowered for positive Glory manifestations in the physical realm. We need to restore the “Prayer Movement” and release the inactivity of a true “Worship “experience in our gatherings without restrictions.
I believe we are pulsing toward an end-time mentality as the Second Coming of Christ draws near. The real question is whether the body of Christ is ready for the Head of the Church to rest on its shoulders? I perceive that we will have heated debates about the use, operation, and continual exercise of the gifts of the Spirit until Jesus comes.
A few observations are clear though, every time we think we know where the Holy Spirit is, He moves. Whenever He manifests His Presence and someone claims exclusive territorial rights on His fame, He weeps. But when we call on Him, He responds.
We keep adding to Grace until it becomes ineffective and useless. The greatest trick the devil can perform is not making us reject Jesus, but pervert Him. Let’s pray for a revival of transformation to the “True Church of Jesus Christ.”