026.2 Church Function, pt 2 – Foundations

Our goal with the show is not to offend or make light of God. Instead, we want to point to the truth of Scripture, and hope that the truth can provoke people to examine their ways, and respond how they see fit. When we fail to reach truth, then we are settling for something else.

Church Membership

Modern definitions of church membership are invented by man. The concept of membership is distorted because the concept of the church is distorted. The church is not the legal organization existing in a building with set public meetings. Only Jesus can add you to the church So the question is, how does Jesus add you to the church? Many churches state that baptism is how you are added to the church. Scripture does not reflect this. Apostles and others in scripture were looking for the Holy Spirit in others, which is the Gift that Jesus promised us. Receiving the Holy Spirit is what includes us into God’s church, the mystical Body of Christ.

So with this concept of church, what are the implications of becoming a member of God’s church?

  • The Bible says if we love God we will obey His commands.
  • We should use our spiritual gifts. “Time, talents, and treasures” are not spiritual gifts, and things that should already be surrendered to Christ. Spiritual gifts are gifts from God that supernaturally empower us to minister.

Church membership in most churches does something very harmful that most people never think about. It creates a social class system. There are first time visiters, random attendees, regular attendees, members, tithing members, lay leaders, paid clergy. These different classes are treated differently and have different expectations placed on them.

God didn’t design the church to be a class system. Scripture (1 Corinthians 12:22-25) states that God utilizes spiritual gifts to give everyone equal value in the Body. Each member should have abundant honor in the eyes of every other member.

Leadership and Structure

There is God’s design and man’s design. God has an order to things. The church is the Body of Christ, a mystical, supernatural being made up of all believers throughout all time, someone the Bride and the Body of Christ at the same time, filled with the Holy Spirit of God. This is not something God would not give guidance in. He is not negligent.

The primary function of leadership in God’s design is equipping. In man’s design, it is control. The leader’s of God’s church should be nurturing and empowering people for ministry, not trying to control who can speak, serve, etc. The only “control” that God’s leaders have is to stand against false doctrine, exclude unrepentant believers from the assembly, affirm God’s call by the laying on of hands and sending out, appointing elders and deacons, and resolving disputes. Man’s design of leadership resembles pharisees. They add requirements of education and submission. God gifts people supernaturally with leadership and forms them to lead. Man’s design also includes non-competes in employment contracts. Man’s leadership structure prevents certain people from teaching, speaking, singing, leading, serving, etc. Man doesn’t have to control the gift of God; we have to affirm and nurture the gift, and set it loose.

The early church was accused by the Roman Empire of turning the whole world upside down. Where do we see that today? We do not accomplish this through political revolutions, through winning elections and passing policy; through oppressively establishing the morality of others. We do it the same way the early church did. We BE. We manifest the body of Christ here on the earth and declare the glory of God through how we love God, love our enemies, value life differently, transcend societal hierarchies and castes.

Some of the aspects of man’s design are subtle, or appear altruistic, logical, and good. Among these is the practice of congregations electing elders. This seems like a minor preference of practice, and makes sense. The congregations would know the people best. America loves democracy. Democracy is good. Voting is good. However, it’s not found in scripture. The elders were appointed by apostles or those they sent. This was important because the apostles were gifted to start these new spiritual works, these faith communities. This is not to say that the leaders are to lord their power over congregations. It doesn’t mean they rule with an iron fist. As we outlined earlier, the leadership responsibilities have a lot to do with equiping, protecting, confronting heresy, etc. If a leader is elected by the congregation and then subjected to them through a paycheck and job description, then they are not free to lead.

Authority is an important topic to God. He establishes and empowers proper authority. He was heavy handed in how He shepherded Paul into his leadership position. Man’s design does not make space for God’s leadership development. Many American churches have a structure similar to a corporation. Many of them are legal corporations, in the form of a non-profit organization. Usually, this is so it can own property. Once it becomes a corporation, it needs to add officers, which are not found in Scripture but are required by law. Then then add offices, in the form of paid positions, to operate the church. These are jobs, with job descriptions, requirements, and paychecks. These also are not scriptural. This methodology is not found in Scripture, is subject to current laws, brings money and transaction into something which should function more like a family (could you imagine paying your father to be your father, complete with a list of job responsibilities and requirements to qualify?), and yet it has become the standard for how churches are formed. So much so that it is rarely questioned. If you dispute paid positions, people counter by saying you’re against people supporting their spiritual leaders. If you dispute job requirements, people say you’re opposed to ensuring righteous leadership. If you dispute having a legal corporation, people say you are opposed to accountability. And yet the early church accomplished all these ideals without subjecting themselves to extra-biblical, secular demands.

So why do we do this? Why does the church in America continue in this way, and why is it seldom questioned, and why is the questioning opposed? A lot of it is due to what we inherit. None of us invented these systems. We inherited them. We were told this was the way, it was good and true. We retrofit things into Scripture by cherry-picking verses to defend present practice, instead of diving deep and headlong into Scripture and the Holy Spirit and obeying diligently.

God has a structure for His church, and it is built on Jesus, on the proclamation of who He is, on the Good News of the Kingdom. The Church’s manifest power comes from the declaration of God’s glory through His people. The local church gains its uniqueness as the Holy Spirit transforms and empowers people to give up everything and separate themselves from the world, and as they use their spiritual gifts in power. As this entity grows, those with leadership gifts rise up and are recognized by the church, and they appoint deacons and elders to minister to the needs of the church. The leadership teaches and disciples people for the works of service.

Man’s design starts with a bad foundation of an incomplete gospel. It builds on that an unbiblical structure of business and leadership. It defines its ministry by the walls of its buildings and hierarchy of leadership. We will continue to examine how these bad foundations distort and divide through things that should unite us, like communion, baptism, and spiritual gifts.

Sean Carter – The Passover https://noisetrade.com/seancartercarolinecobb/
Young Oceans – We Sing as One https://noisetrade.com/youngoceans

This episode originally broadcast live on September 25, 2015 on KXEN 1010AM in St. Louis, MO

For more info:

Theme music: “The Resistance” by Josh Garrels (www.joshgarrels.com) licensed by Marmoset Music (www.marmosetmusic.com)


023.1 Creative Expression, pt 3: Logos and Rhema

Creative expression includes most things people think of when they think about art. We are going to start by reviewing some of the big picture ideas we got to in parts 1 and 2 of this discussion.

First obvious signs of creative expression after the fall

Jubal the first musician, Tubal-Cain working with metal. We see records of people desiring to express creatively after the fall. Prior to the fall, man and God have perfect communion. After the fall, communication is impaired.

In the Garden, we had perfect communion. We were fully known, and we knew God in a very intimate way. So will there be creative expressions in Heaven? We will sing, we know that much. And God is creative, and we are created in His image. Are there parallels between creative expressions and spiritual gifts? Obviously spiritual gifts come from God and express who He is. But there will be a day when some pass away, and they won’t be necessary, at least not in our current comprehension of them. They are for ministry and to build us up into the fullness of Christ. What purpose would they serve once we are in that fullness, together with the Father?

So instead of looking at creative expression as a compensation for lack of communion, is it something that is fully realized in unison with God? Is it something that we do WITH God, and in doing it with God, it becomes its true form, and works toward the will of God?

Is redeemed creative expression meant to EXPRESS God or EXPLAIN God? Likely, both.

Is creative expression out of union with God inherently corrupt? While they can be very honest, essentially yes. We had mentioned the urge to build and control related to the urge to create. These are parts of our image of God and part of His purpose for us, that we should be little creators who rule the world on God’s behalf, and with Him. When those are corrupt, we end up building Babels. When we exercise our own creative energies apart from God, it can exalt our pride.

While there is much to be said for all humanity’s creative efforts, the kind that will build us up will in some way point towards the Creator of all. Can our communion with God, our longing for Him, our desolation apart from Him, our questions and doubts, our pains and loss, inspire expressions that bridge the gap created at the Fall?

So after looking at all the ways music specifically was used in Scripture, for godly and ungodly purposes, and exploring lots of modern corruptions, how do we get back to God’s design for creative expression? How do we reform it?

The Bible displays a spiritual connection to expression, and servants, especially Paul, desiring to communicate in God’s ways.

Creative Expression, Rhema, and Logos

Martin Luther believed that the Gospel was Jesus – essentially anything that communicated Jesus was Good News. If everything that could be expressed about God in human form was Jesus, then there is some merit to this idea. There are some who believe God’s expression of Himself has ceased, and is contained entirely in Scripture. Some believe God is always communicated Jesus in some way. Not writing a new Bible, or replacing the Bible, or negating the Bible, but that God expresses Himself and communicates the Good News of the Kingdom always in many ways.

Logos and Rhema are two greek words that get translated as “word”. However, the represent two slightly different ideas, both of which relate to creative expression.

Logos is most famously used in John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Here, he is clearly referring to Jesus.

Rhema is most famously used in Matthew 4:4 “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

While their literal definitions are very similar, their uses in Scripture show a difference.

Logos is the word, it is declaration. Rhema is revelation. Logos is concrete and clear and trustworthy. Rhema is expressive and fluid, yet still never contradicts the Logos. Rhema is not simply allegorical interpretations of Scripture. It is revelation of God. Sometimes it involves reading scripture. Sometimes it simply happens in ministry, no where near a Bible.

How does art relate to rhema? As God redeems His people, He fills them with His Spirit, grants them rhema (revelation of the truth), and inspires them to express it in way similar to how He expresses. This could be seen as taking what Scripture says, and creatively expressing what it means.

God supernatually revealed the design of the Tabernacle, then He sent His Spirit to empower craftsmen to accomplish the design.

When we are faithful and obedient, we are declaring the character of God. God reveals Himself to people in certain ways at certain times. Sometimes as a burning bush, sometimes as thunder, sometimes as a pillar of cloud, etc. Why? Why does He choose different forms, different expressions? Even in Scripture, there are many literary forms. Why does He choose poems in place, and geneologies in another? Why did Jesus come in human, tangible, physical form to live an observable, historical, concrete life, and yet also grant confounding visions to John? Because He is expressing in forms that express Him, to the recipient, and to others to come after. Because He is the creative Creator. Because there is so much of Him to express.


Newsboys – God is Not a Secret

Nichole Nordeman – I am

Additional music

Ben Pasley – Rugged Old Hand http://www.benpasley.com/ Used by permission.

This episode originally broadcast live on September 4, 2015 on KXEN 1010AM in St. Louis, MO

For more info:



Theme music: “The Resistance” by Josh Garrels (www.joshgarrels.com) licensed by Marmoset Music (www.marmosetmusic.com)