A subtle and silent killer flows in the life stream of the Body of Christ—a virus of devilish design and effectiveness. This masquerader promises life, but provides only death. Sweet to the mouth but bitter to the belly, it is the Venus Flytrap of the kingdom, sending out promising fragrances, only to devour those who succumb to its allure. Like a stealth bomber or hypertension, it avoids detection until the damage is done. Preying on the weak and strong alike, it effectively neutralizes thousands of unaware believers. Its discreet presence belies its leavening permeation, devastating individuals, families, local churches, and ultimately the Gospel. What is this silent killer? Legalism.
Many bemoan what they perceive as a lack of the Lord’s intervention and deliverance in persistent and difficult situations they face: “Where is the Lord’s deliverance? If He is all He is supposed to be, and we have the Spirit that we supposedly do, why is there so little spiritual breakthrough in my life?” The problem can sometimes be that we want God to make things wonderful for us while changing none of our beliefs, thinking, values, priorities, and behaviors. We don’t “earn” our salvation, nor any of its benefits. Salvation is free, but not cheap. Deliverance is not earned, but it can be costly.
A parable for thirsty souls. Drink at your own risk!
Once there was a severe drought in the land. A rancher noticed that his herd was gathering at one of the few remaining waterholes, being driven by desperation by their thirst. He began to yell at them and wave his arms to keep them away from the water. The animals were not responding, so he had to get physically aggressive with them. His neighbors noticed his behavior and said to themselves: “Look at how that man is mistreating his herd. He is being so harsh.”
City church is a concept/belief that only one church legitimately exists in a any city, and that it should be overseen by elders of the city, who then submit to regional apostles (overseers, bishops, superintendents–whatever your tradition calls the greater function.). The idea and its variants are prevalent in many so-called apostolic and prophetic groups and communions today, though not confined to those groups. It’s proposed that God wants to restore governmental order to the church under geographic delineations so it can fulfill its destiny in unity. Some consider the concept an essential for the realization of John 17 unity. In this lengthier (apologies in advance) than normal blog, I present twelve considerations or challenges to this idea. I am endeavoring to explore the implications, motives, and pitfalls inherent with the idea. I hope to make the case that relationships, not geography, nor hierarchy, establish spiritual authority and spiritual jurisdictions.
Anyone can wax eloquent about what could, or should be, versus what currently “is.” Idealism without action is a delusional dead end. Preachers, teachers, prophetic types, “apostolic visionaries,” dreamers, philosophers–whatever your language tradition might call them–are particularly vulnerable to irrelevant idealism. It is better to incarnate imperfection, than to romanticize about a never-seen ideal. Jesus can do a lot with folks who will simply “get to it” imperfectly, rather than “talk about it” ideally.
There are only six mentions of the presence of the Lord in the new testament, and none of them have anything to do with praise and worship. When I discovered this, I was shocked, as I had been trained to believe the two were intimately connected. How the change from the old to the new covenant affects our understanding and experience of the presence of the Lord, is not well understood. What follows is a condensed and simplified compilation of the distinctions between the two covenants as it relates to the Lord’s manifest presence. The full book Praise, Worship, and the Presence of the Lord: A Better Way to Worship is available in all formats at: www.stevecrosby.com
The term “anointing” is as prevalent in Pentecostal/Charismatic circles (hereafter abbreviated: P/C, and representative of all subsets thereof) as salt in the ocean. Considering how little the new covenant scripture mentions it, it seems like too much has been made of too little. In some places, the alleged “anointing” has become a fetish, a golden calf: our worship services exist to facilitate someone’s idea of what the anointing is, rather than to honor the person of Jesus.
The leaders of the 1948 Latter Rain Movement taught that part of God’s restoration scheme for the church was the restoration of Davidic protocols of praise and worship. It was believed this was an integral part of God’s overall equipping of the church to reach its ultimate purpose. David’s life as a Psalmist and his relationship and interaction with the manifest presence of God (the ark of the Covenant, the Holy of Holies, Mt. Zion, etc.), were presented as the pattern for all subsequent generations of believers, in a restored truth sense. How did the apostles interpret and apply the “restoration” of David’s tabernacle (tent)?
Like sequels to a lousy B-grade horror movie, bad ideas often get recycled in the Body of Christ. It happened again for me this week in a painful phone conversation with a dear, damaged, soul. The bad-penny doctrine I am referring to is the concept of absolute submission to an alleged “spiritual covering” as a necessity for your spiritual welfare and advance. The spiritual covering is allegedly embodied in your pastor/leader, etc. This issue has been hit hundreds if not thousands of times over the years by myself and other authors and bloggers. As confirmed by my phone conversation this week, like a zombie, it just won’t die. For Jesus’ sake, and for the well being of His church, I am going to briefly hit it again here.
Clichés lodge in our minds for a reason: they’re catchy, memorable. However, they’re frequently only capable of capturing a partial truth . . . or maybe no truth at all. A preacherism cliché that is often heard in teachings and especially among “de-churched” folks goes something like this: “I am a human being, not a human doing.” I know what that statement is trying to reach: we are more to, and for, God than what we can produce. I understand how a nagging sense of inadequacy before God can be paralyzing. However, in Christ’s kingdom, being and doing are not in competition with each other and being is not superior to doing. They are incomplete without each other.