Christians make one mistake—and it’s a whopper! As a Christian, I never knew that we were making this mistake. But now that I see the mistake, it’s impossible to keep quiet about it! I can’t . . . nor should I. As a member of the body of Christ, I am obligated to speak up. Moreover, I believe that the church will forever spin her wheels unless Christians deal with this mistake and agree not to continue making it.
So here’s the crux of the matter:
Christians believe that the church was born 2,000 years ago!
Yup! That’s the big mistake! And it’s a whopper because it colors every aspect of our thinking! Christians have been taught to believe that the assembly of people, mentioned in Acts 1, founded the Christian Church. They did not. Moreover, the first believers didn’t even lay a foundation for the model we call, “church.” I’m certain Peter, Andrew, James, and John would all be rolling over in their graves, if they could see what the church has become in comparison with their initial efforts to organize in that upper room.
Our belief blinds us to The Way of Jesus.
The earliest believers in The Way claimed the church that Jesus claimed—the organization of God’s people birthed in the Sinai Desert at least 1,400 years before his earthly ministry began. So the church, as we know her today, might sport a 2,000-year-old history under human control, but The Way that Jesus taught began at least 3,400 years ago! And that Way looks nothing like the church of today.
When Christians don’t see the history of the organization Jesus claimed, Christians can’t promote his vision for the church. And that’s a huge problem because it isn’t up to the followers of Jesus to create a vision for the church. It’s Jesus’ vision that we, as followers, must obediently adopt. So, we cannot continue to imagine our own way for the future of the church. We must discover The Way.
Jesus embraced the biblical model revealed through the microscopic travels of a band of Israelites on their homeward journey to a Promised Land of spiritual freedom. The Exodus, literal or mythological, provides us with a symbolic image of the spiritual journey that the whole of humanity is experiencing—magnified billions and billions of times! The church of today cannot separate herself from the Exodus unless she is content to be an organization that follows Jesus in name only. Ouch!
Jesus did not separate himself from the Exodus of his own people. He understood the spiritual intention of the tribal organization in the desert to be the birth of a kingdom of heaven—an eternal-type of organization by which God’s Law (the Ten Commandments) and God’s people were brought together in a sacred relationship for all time. Jesus’ allegiance to the tribal way of life in the desert never wavered during his earthly ministry, as evidenced in Mark’s account of the miracle feeding of the 5,000.
However, Jesus increased the size of the organization during the feeding of the 4,000, as evidenced by the increase in bread from 5 to 7 loaves. The two additional loaves added two commandments of love to God’s Ten Laws, thereby embracing the law with love. The result was Ten + Two Commandments. This action ensured that the church would always feed her multitudes with a rightful spirit of both Law and Love. In doing so, a new covenant was created, but God’s Law was integral to both the former covenant and the new covenant.
Unfortunately this teaching is nowhere to be found in Christianity today—not because it isn’t a valid teaching, but because Christians have been taught that Jesus abandoned God’s Law. This is another facet of the big mistake. Jesus never abandoned the Ten Commandments. He found fault with the 600+ laws that were added to the commandments, but he upheld every letter of Ten Commandments until heaven and earth shall pass away. His vision for the church’s foundation is a foundation of Law and Love.
Without this spiritual insight at the forefront of organizational leadership, Christians are doomed to forever misunderstand the vision Jesus had for the church. But we can be certain that the first believers of Acts 1 understood The Way of Jesus. They knew that they were to organize people in groups, bless and break bread, and then pass the broken loaves to all people at the grassroots level. In this same manner, multitudes would be fed by “doing this in remembrance of Jesus.”
The only way to carry out the vision Jesus had for the church is to change the way Christians think about organizing people. We must reach back into history and learn something important from the 3,400-year-old tribal structure that Jesus employed during the feeding of the 5,000. We must notice that the structure looked like a net. We must listen to Jesus say, “The kingdom of heaven is like a net.” And we must realize that he meant it!
To be continued . . .
The Biggest Mistakes Christians Make – Part II
Thoughts along the way,
Carol Wimmer is the author of the acclaimed poem When I say I am a Christian, and three books entitled: The Net—An Organizational Vision for the Church of Tomorrow; The Clock—A Timekeeping Tool for the Church of Tomorrow; and The Key—A Spiritual Language for the Church of Tomorrow