David Pawson --- Building a New Testament Church Part 1(b)
David Pawson’s “Building a New Testament Church” Part 1(b) “Jesus’ family”.
We continue this “taster”, where we left off last time… to review, click here…
6) The relationships in the family of Jesus.
The essential thing about a church is relationships…it’s a family…
The word used by the early Christians for their fellowship was “Koinonia” – which is the name I gave the first house I owned in the UK. The Greek word is used of twins being born joined together – where they share their blood – and so are totally dependent on each other. In our context maybe it could be said of a married couple who have vowed at their wedding to stay together, “for better, for worse, for richer for poorer, till death us do part”. It is the strongest word for dependence. It means you will give your life for the other. When Corrie Ten Boom hid Jews from the Nazis, at risk to her own life, that was “Koinonia”. It’s overuse now, cheapens it’s meaning.
7) Leadership in the family of Jesus…
The leaders who should be recognised by the family are those who live for the family to the extent that they give their lives, and, if necessary, die for Jesus’ family. That is what the apostles did when they followed the example of Jesus.
Jesus and Hebrews used the example of sheep being led by a shepherd. Sheep in the mid east are called by name, ie not with a stick. It is not of God for leaders to use force, and so Derek Prince resigned from the “Shepherding movement”, (which he helped set up with 6 others), after realising how wrong he had been. The heavy handed nature of his so called “shepherding movement” was unbiblical and he repented of it publicly. Other religions in the past have done it, like the Catholic church, when they had power, and then the Anglicans did it when they replaced the Catholics in England, when they “fined” very heavily anyone who did not attend church on Sunday, and even imprisoned John Bunyan. Nowadays it is more subtle. Hebrews 13.17 tells us to live by being, “persuaded by those who lead you”. Being persuaded means we “give way to them” when they persuade us. Some translations have incorrectly translated the verse using the words, “obey”, “rule”, and “submit to their authority”. The Greek does NOT use any of those words. This bad translation has resulted in many abusive leaders claiming an authority over believers, which is forbidden by Jesus. He orders leaders, “not to lord it over people as the gentiles do”.
8) No more “tithing”.
Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 9:7, that giving is “no longer compulsory”.
The “Old” Testament 10% tax imposed on the people was cancelled, although Paul did add that voluntary giving from the heart was to be encouraged…but Paul also said where any giving should go to. It should go to the widows, the orphans and the poor in the church and elsewhere it was to relieve believers from famine.
The church has been led by those who have used and abused believers and seekers. They have done it spiritually, financially and physically. Well, Jesus said that they will be dealt with more harshly than other people. Meantime – it is still up to us to read for ourselves what Jesus taught in the gospels. (And John Bunyan’s “Pilgrims’ Progress” was written to help us with that too, which you can read on-line.)
For more on how the church should have been...watch the video!
I’m John Dunning and that’s “Thoughtful Thoughts” for another week.