I am beginning to envision a horrific picture of the body of Christ. I DO NOT like what this vision shows me. The Body of Christ more resembles the Bride of Frankenstein.
In order to have a heavenly image of Christ’s body, we need to look at the whole body. The problem is that there are cancerous portions to the body feedings on itself. When pushed, they may say the others outside of their sect, are part of the body, but in their minds and in their doctrines they see the others as outsiders. “Those who do not believe [insert doctrine here] like us are deceived!” is their battle cry.
“The liberals are deceived,” cry the conservatives.
“The conservatives are deceived,” cry out the progressives.
Do I think some are deceived? Absolutely! As a matter of fact, I am confident that I am deceived – I just don’t know where yet.
As I started to get a grand image of the Body of Christ, I started falling away from the congregation that I was apart of. And I believe that this was of God. As a [post-]Charismatic [not anti nor non, but post], I would say that this part of the Body is hemorrhaging. And not only I, but many ex-leaders and even current leaders of this movement are calling for its wake-up call.
For example, one of the sore point of what I came out of was the idea of “God’s Authority” and “God’s Government”. Not that all charismatic’s have the same idea or model of what this looks like, but the particular portion that I came out of very much had a papal/apostolic authoritative headship model. We all had authorities that we needed to submit to.
I believe that this model is a deception! I believe that this model is derived more from the Old Covenant and from the ruling of Rome then it does from Christ’s upside-down teachings of a non-authoritative, influencing, servant leadership. There is still accountability, there is still God’s order and governing, it’s just that these do not look like the world’s equivalent.
However, this debate is neither here nor there. The fact is that the poison of the cancer is not in these differing views but in the total rejection of the rest of the Body’s input. Truly the extreme of the apostolic/papal governance model is but one of many models used throughout the rest of the body. And all these other views have their biblical scholars that will argue for their positions. I firmly believe my position is the most sound biblical, christocentric position, and I will stick up for it. However, the deception greater than me being wrong in my position, would be my believing that my position is God’s position. The deception most dangerous to the Body of Christ is any teaching given in such an authoritative spirit (spoken from a pulpit as fact, as biblical and as non disputable) that it trumps all other opposing teachings in the Body and is seen as God’s Teaching. Such an arrogant, self-righteous authority is the fruit that reveals its source.
There are countless other beliefs and doctrines that we need to get over. Discuss them, dialogue over them and debate them? Sure; To take a stand in one position as though it were God’s? God forbid. Once we stop fighting for these positions as though they were our own, then and only then can God himself lead the whole Body into the truth. And I would not be surprised to find out that many of these opposing views are all part of the Truth.
If I were to be honest, I do not hold out much hope for a better picture of the Body of Christ any time soon. One that includes Orthodox, Catholic, Protestants, Anabaptists, Reformed, Charismatics, Emergents, pre-modernists, modernists, post-modernists, …. I do not hold out much hope because this Body is made up of humanity; specifically, a breed of humanity that is, and historically has been, divisive and hateful towards one another in the name of God, rather than loving one another out of the heart of God.
I can only hope that some would read this and take comfort and loosen their strongholds. However, I know that the reality is that for some this will be heard as the rant of a deceived liberal apostate.