preacherman

Monday, September 04, 2006

What Are We Trying To Restore?

I've been thinking about the restoration movement and think maybe we have been trying to restore the wrong things. In the restoration movement we have focused on form. How are we going to do church. I think as restorationists we tend to restore what we want to restore when it comes to the form. You hear people say we are trying to restore 1st Century New Testament Christianity. Are we? We don't have church houses, we don't meet together everyday, we don't meet in synagogues, don't have communion feasts, don't share and have everything in common. We think we have restored the form when in realtiy we haven't restored anything as far as form. Yes we have weekly communion, we sing, pray, have scripture readings and lessons. Things change over the years. The form changes. It was differnet in the 2nd century, 3rd and so on. We try to we have restored it to its orignial.. But as far as the form of the New Testament or the Pattern we haven't really restored it to its original.
In our focus on the form we have ingnored the function: showing mercy, grace, love, kindness, encouragement, 1st century Christian living. I believe the thing that really matters, the thing in which we should try to restore is the the function. The function not form is going to change lives and make disciples.
1st century Christians were 1st century christians. 2nd Cenury christians were 2nd century christians and so on. If we are to restore anything I believe it should be the function of the chruch in Acts. We need to be and must be 21st century Christians making an impact on our society with 1st century function.

A recommended reading on this subject is Tim Woodroof's book "A Church That Flies".

Please share your thoughts: What are we trying to restore? What should be restoreing? Has the form been our focus? Have we ignored the function? Is it the form of Christianity or the the function of Christianity that changes lives, make an impact, and makes disciples?
What do you think?

82 Comments:

Blogger Hurricane Willie Peppers said...

Good post, Preacherman.

I was thinking these same thoughts this weekend. Interesting how that happened...

Yes to function. "Pattern" or form is really not even there. Oh sure some in the coc make a big deal out of "tupos", but that is an idol, not to be worshipped. It is not the shape of us to conform to. It is not Christian. It is syncretism/paganism/idolatry of the 21st century.

If Paul had in mind us following a pattern in the way our tradition has tried to make out, he would have given us one very much like God had given for the construction of the tabernacle. A very detailed and outlined description of what he wants. Rather, the Restoration Movement (RM) has tried to tease that kind of thing out of the New Testament feeling justified in doing so by the greek word tupos.

But function is more what counts. Do what you see Jesus doing in the Gospels rather than trying to piece together a blueprint from the epistle of what a social club for Jesus should look like. And Jesus bore the image of God.

I like the way Exum puts it... "Go to the place of shame, pain, despair and agony in your community [for surely there is such a place in every community whether it is a town or an offic or a nursinghome or a jr high school], and bear the image of God there in worship, song, prayer and ultimately loving self-sacrifice -all in the name of Jesus."

Great thoughts. I am impressed. You might break a lot of old bonds keeping the RM subdued with posts like this one.

Adios & Shalom...

11:15 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Thank you for your comments.
I hope we have many participants in this discussion. I believe if we fail to miss this important question and deal with it, then no matter how hard we try we will have missed the heart of what we should be trying to restore and without the heart the living thing is dead.

Again thanks for your comments, it is great how God answers us and helps us when we seek Him. I totally agree with your comments.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Darin L. Hamm said...

Preacherman,

I pray that you will allow me to talk through this on your blog. First, I appreciate your heart and desire to please God. You are truly an asset to the Kingdom. Your heart and love shine through throughout the internet.

There is something interesting about how one is programmed growing up in the CoC. Form totally shapes the way one thinks IMO.

You remember my post on the LS on my blog? How many people responded to discuss form? Good godly people who know they are saved by grace who wanted to talk form.

I agree we should restore the function of the church but will that always be approached with the idea that you must change the form? Because of the CoC experience can it be separated? I ask because a church can look just like a 1950’s CoC in form and still understand they are saved by grace and still function as the first century church.

I am probably not making any sense but this is just what struck me. I can be wrong on this, just talking it out.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Velcro said...

"One who keeps his eyes focused behind him will trip over those things in front of him."
- Josh's Fortune Cookie of the Day

Preacher,

I'm not very familiar with the Restoration Movement, but you're right. We don't live in the 1st Century, nor do we live in any other Century than where we are now. I respect history and believe there are things to be learned from it, but throughout history only 1 thing stays the same... the principle. All else changes with culture.

I have nothing against the Amish or Mennonites, but how many outside the church think their way of life is appealing? They are behind the times, and unfortunately much of the time, so are we. So what is the solution?

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Preacherman,

I think focusing on form is easier for people. We think we've got the the form down. The function we struggle with. I believe the function is what we should be focusing on. We hear terms like "the Pattern" "or Form" in reality there is none. The New Testament does have a book that says this is the way God wants worship done, or this is the form you should follow to a T.
The function is what Christianity is all about. I believe preachers of the past have ignored it because they feel self justified by the form.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Form is a must. Function is a must. Which is most important?
Both are equally important! Restoring form is a must.
Restoring function a must.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

How about a perspective that that is dominated by the kingdom of God. This controlling motif turns us into true aliens in the present age.

Shalom,
Bobby Valentine

9:01 PM  
Blogger Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

I think "anonymous" does not really believe what he/she writes. I could be wrong but I would be willing to bet that he or she practices a holy hug or hand shake rather than a holy kiss. I would also be willing to bet that he or she does not practice footwashing ... if this is the case then he or she deems "form" a must only on those things he or she has already become convinced of.

Shalom,
Bobby Valentine

9:03 PM  
Blogger Ben Overby said...

Preacherman,

I want to agree with you, but not so far that I throw the bath tub (and baby) out with the bath water. All reality has form. The Father has the form of Father, the Son, the form of the Son, and the Spirit has His own form. They are distinct in form, and of course, they have very particular functions. And we are made in Their image. Form matters. I think one of the right questions we all need to be asking is "what shape should the church take in this place and at this time?" But form isn't the most fundamental question. Function is closer to rock bottom, therefore form must grow out of function. If you want to wash a baby you begin thinking about how that might work. You might form a little bath tub in order to perform the function of washing the baby. The water gets soiled so you have to toss it; that is, something has gone wrong with the project which leads you to throw out the bath water. But if you throw out the bath tub as well, then the life of the baby is in jeopardy. Obviously, you can create some other form, maybe a tub with a drain, or a pump to empty the dirty water. The form will will be shaped, in part, by the context (what materials are available at what price, how often should a child be bathed, how available is water, etc.).

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we can't get away from form. Forms can morph into a thousand shapes but forms exist. And the forms we choose, or the traditional forms we continue to use, manifest what we believe about function. If a baby's bath tub is created out of rusty metal and jagged edges a concerned person might rightly conclude that the creator of the tub doesn't understand the function of the tub.

A woman washed her baby in large tub on the front porch, filling the tub with water warmed on the stove. When asked why she chose that form in the 21st century while living in house with indoor plumbing and a perfectly functional hot water heater, she indicated that she was washed that way as a child, all of her family was washed that way, and her ancestors were washed the same way for as long as anyone could remember. A brief look at her form indicated that she valued function--regardless of who weird and out-dated it looked, she was getting the baby clean. And, she valued the traditions of her family even though hanging on to those traditions resulted in her appearing to be out of touch, odd, or weird. In a word, her form wasn't being appropriately shaped by her context because of an unbalanced yearning for traditions or a mindless submission to traditionalism.

Do our forms indicated that we are out of touch? If so, how? What do our forms say about what we believe in terms of function? We are what we do, not what we say we do.. If our form looks like a rusty tub with jagged edges, we may be risking the lives of souls while we clutch on to the past (for reasons that escape us). We need to trade the old tub for an up-to-date ceramic tub with smoothed edges, running water, and a drain. But the thing we have to watch out for is the baby. I keep seeing people change, hastily running from the past toward something more progressive, never noticing that out in the ruble of the back yard, lying underneath an overturned tub, is the weeping infant who got tossed out with the bath water and the bath tub. We don't exist to invent tubs. We exist to care for the baby, and as such, we'll follow the Spirit in finding the best means toward that end, adapting a form suitable to function within our particular context. Or we'll cling to the past and become marginalized in the eyes of our children and our neighbors.

Ben

10:22 PM  
Blogger Fajita said...

There is little that needs to be restored. But what does need to be restored, really needs to be restored. sadly, most of what the Restoration Movement ended up restoring had major problems.

1) What we thought we restored we really didn't.

2) What we did restore was irrelevant. Most things weren't worth restoring.

3) We got obsessed with restoring things - the more the better. Cripes! Why?

Discipleship.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Hurricane Willie Peppers said...

I like Ben's remark near his opening about image and that form matters. Earlier, I dwelled on form/pattern -tupos particularly. I think that has become the RM idol in some quarters. However, Ben is right to talk about image bearing, and form may well play a significant role there, but that is different from "the pattern."

However, I think Ben would do well to keep it biblical rather than rushing headlong into the baby/bath analogy. If there is a form for us to take seriously, it seems to me that it is that we are to be truly human -that is image bearers (Gen 1:26). I note that God formed the dust of the ground into the shape of a human before blowing his breath/spirit into the nostrils. That form is important. That dust is important.

The most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16 says that God so loved the kosmos... That includes the dirt. And God formed that dirt into the vessel that he would put his spirit.

In Gen 3, the human sinned and the image of God was tarnished. No one bore the image of God again until Jesus (John 1:18 and 14:9). But once Jesus is ascended and the church is formed, we see a new Genesis account of 2:7 in Acts 2:2 where the newly formed body is given the spirit again. We are to be the truly human being, as the church. I suspect further exploration of that will prove valuable to thoughts on form. However, I think the RM traditionally has completely missed it here.

Adios & Shalom...

12:36 AM  
Blogger Ben Overby said...

Hurricane,

You'll get know argument from me about the form of the new humanity. I agree. Creation is good. The cosmos awaits liberation (Ro. 8), which will follow our resurrection. Christ, the new Adam, is at the helm. Which is to say, a Human is once again exercising dominion over all the earth (Gn 1.26f), and will continue until all the powers are defeated, at which time we'll reign with Him in the world that is being born. Until then, the form we take is Christ-likeness, a lofty goal too great for any of us if it weren't for the Spirit working in us to bring us to glory.

4:49 AM  
Blogger "George" said...

Interesting timing in my life for this discussion. I'm not raised C of C, but I understand the spirit of the Restoration movement and have had a chance to compare different peoples' experiences (i.e., my brother's family goes to an instrumental C of C in NE Indiana; I have friends who were raised in very conservative, traditional, noninstrumental churches caught up in the "tradition").

I'll have to give this one some more thought, but the discussion of form and function is important to me because they are two pieces of the puzzle when you look at how social communication practices develop and sustain themselves. I agree that form follows function. But where does the need for this function come from? Circumstances. One approach to communications genres (it's what I'm teaching right now in my graduate class) is the idea that situations give rise to the need for particular types of communication.

So, my first questions to add to this discussion is: In what ways is our societal situation similar to that of first-century Christians? In what ways is it different? Until we answer those questions, we're kind of throwing darts at a board that has all the characteristics of the first-century Church and deciding which ones to aim for. (And we get to decide which ones are on the board at all . . . ).

7:46 AM  
Blogger Hurricane Willie Peppers said...

Ben,

We be Jammin' now! Mon. Yes! Your talkin' ma languige. :)

So, if this is the (or a) avenue to find value in "form," an otherwise abstract term that is now anchored to rich powerful scripture, what does that mean for the RM? For the church unversal? How does this understanding of form change things?

Good thoughts.

Adios & Shalom...

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Laymond said...

Preacherman good questions, good post.
I really don't put much credance in the restoration movement thing.As you ask just what are we trying to restore I can't answer for others but I am not trying to restore anything that I see as broken. I am only trying to refresh the intrest of people to follow Christ and believe in God's Grace. When we try to restore the church by following what we precieve as a first century pattern or form We had better darn well be right, and I don't mean partialy right I mean all the way right. as Paul said if you depend on and follow one law for salvation you had better follow all of them because 90% won't get you there. And when we judge others to be wrong, we had better not be wrong about anything, because we will be judged the same way we judge others. If you think you have perfect understanding and the perfect pattern I am not the one to say you are wrong I don't want to take that risk with my eternal life. If you are perfect more power to you, but for me I trust in the Grace of God.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Ben Overby said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Ben Overby said...

Hurricane,

If our function is to bare God's image (and it is, Gn 1), and if that means exercising wise stewardship over creation (and that's what it means, Gn 1 & 2), and if we've fallen from our former glory as wise stewards (and we have), and if Jesus came to reverse the old curse (and He did, Ro. 8), and if we are presently waiting for our King to bring all the powers under submission (and we are, Co. 1), then it seems to me that in this in between stage, we are to do all that we can in God's grace and by the power of His Spirit to seek glory (recover what we lost), honor (found only in Christ), and immortality (resurrection of life in a new and improved physicality), all of which are commended by Paul in Ro. 2.

Our form should be that of new communities, freshly formed communities, composed of Spirit-filled, Christ-redeemed humans who are now able (by the Spirit) to fulfill the righteous requirement of Torah--summed up by Jesus as loving God with all our being and loving our neighbor as ourselves. We will live to serve the interests of creation (the humans and the planet), not as if it--creation--is our God; that would be idolatry; but because it's our God-given vocation. As a church our form would fit that function. With this function poured into our worship, baptism, the Supper, the sacrament of reconciliation (Mt. 18), there would be no place for dead externalism; we'd be too busy seeking provocation to be for the world who Christ was for us--light. Our form would spread into the workplace, politics, economics, and most certainly the environment. Our work would take on redemptive qualities as we, the church of a new humanity gathered around Christ, sought to restore all the broken pieces of this enslaved cosmos. And we'd suffer, but our suffering would take on real meaning (again Ro. 8). We'd get rid of those songs that imply creation is bad and that some day we'll "fly away" to a home prepared just "over in the glory land." We'd write new songs that fit with the dramatic narrative from creation to new creation and all the peaks and valleys in between. Whatever and however our form would look, it would not, it could not look like a pointy gathering place, where despondent people come together a few times a week to lament the woes of the world, or to escape to some perceived safe "spirituality," singing about, and trying really hard to act excited about, a Platonic dreamland (because "this world is not our home, we're just a passing through"); awaiting our new vocation as eternal singers of devo songs in some wispy non-physical body without a memory of this life or the ability to recognize others (which is nearly as boring as the notion of Nirvana--in fact, I'd probably prefer nirvana to popoular and unbiblical notions of "heaven").

I could go on and on with sarcasm about who we are as a result of ignorance of both our form and function and ideas about what we would look like if we understood the glorious function we're given by virtue of the fact that we are God's highest form of creation (yes, higher even than the angels). There's no greater form of humanism than to affirm that God became one of us and is now One of us! Of course, humans aren't the highest value (God is), but the value we have is evident in both our vocation and God's efforts to restore us to a place where we can actually perform that vocation in glorifying Him.

As a footnote to this rant, part of the reason Steve Erwin had such incredible appeal is because he was doing, in part, what we were all created to do--enjoy God's creation while exercising wise stewardship over it. He tapped into a deep truth that echoes all the way back to Eden. We, sparked by the Spirit, should be unmatched in our zeal for life, our efforts to spread God's redemptive love, conservation of the earth, justice, mercy, and all the rest.

Sorry for taking up so much of your space Preacherman, but I do think this subject needs to be revisited time and time again until the ancient ideas (Genesis) begin to reshape the new ideas (platonism, enlightenment philosophy, etc). Perhaps, one day I'll learn how to say what I intend to say with a fraction of the words. Until then, please bare with my "wordy" weakness.

Ben

10:04 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Bobby,

You are a stoned-campbell disciple, what did they think? Did they both agree? Did one focus on form while the other focused on function?
Let me know.

10:52 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Ben,

You can use as much space on this blog making your point as you would like. I like your analogy. You make your point very clear. I don't know if we are throwing out the form completely we just need to as you said, if it is rusty we need to make the form shiny. I do think it is easy for us to ignore the function letting it cry and cry and not get the attention it needs.
Have we cared for the function the way we should?

Hurricane,
Thanks fo your comments as well.
I see your point.
Great thoughts too.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Josh Woods said...

Having been associated with the Churches of Christ all my life, I've seen a great emphasis on form, and I've seen good Christians take pride in having "restored" New Testament Christianity through that form. My question is not only whether we have neglected to restore function but also whether we have, in fact, completely restored the form. Form-wise, I often think we have only restored early Catholicism.

I don't think the Churches of Christ have intentionally neglected function, but we have historically held to a skewed idea of what function really is. Personally, I grew up with the idea that our service and worship to God is to be from the heart, and one of the greatest ways to reflect what is in our heart is to be sure to cross every t and dot every i in the worship form.

As I've matured in my faith, I've learned that, while form is very important, we've gotten carried away with it in many respects, reading things into Scripture and drawing fellowship lines in places God never intended.

I'm sometimes envious of small church communities that are secluded from the rhetoric surrounding current doctrinal issues. It's pretty much just them, God and the Bible. People I know who have been a part of church communities like that say that the form may be very traditional, but the spirit of worship is much richer and deeper. There's no hair-splitting – they're too busy building personal relationships with God.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Nick said...

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone."

Is it possible to keep form and function? It was suggessted above that it was not, that you basically had to choose one or the other, so which did Jesus choose? Function over form? Yet he was without sin or fault, he had no (true) grievance by anyone as to him violating any of the laws or statutes. Keeping the law of God did not hinder him in anyway from from meeting the needs of the people he came to minister to.

I can only speak for myself, but I for one strive to keep the weighter matter while not leaving the "other undone." Do I always succeed, of course not, I try to learn from my falters lean on Christ the more and get up and press forward.

We might consider asking ourselves what does scripture truly mean by Christ fulfilling the law? if it means Christ became the fullness, the completeness of the law, then wouldn't rejecting the law in reality be rejecting a piece of Christ? No wonder He said "If you love Me, keep my commandments."

is there a Josiah of this age? Are there leaders out there who are willing to truly restore the law of God that has become buried within the house of God? Are there leaders who are willing to stand for scripture and not right it off with constant "cultural cries?" Are there leaders out there willing to reject the call of legalism and the false security of self accomplishment? Without leaders that can walk as Christ did in truth and in Spirit the church will simply swing like a pendulumn back and forth. This is the true challenge in my eyes, and one thats is exteremly difficult to meet.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Adam Wolfgang said...

I am always a little anxious to be critical of the bride of Jesus, but as a husband I often step back and look at my performance. So I think that is a healthy practice.

However, as I read what Jesus says in the gospels I am convicted that he wants me to be less interested in church reform and more interested in soul reform. Jesus wants changed lives, we try really hard to change structures.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Hurricane Willie Peppers said...

Ben,

Excellent thoughts. Thanks for sharing. And I think you are absolutely right to say that this needs visited time and again. You obviously think on these things much the way I do. I am gelling.

I think the love of God and neighbors is the prime directive (function -as you classified it, I believe). This raises serious questions in the realm of form where sharing in instrumental music worship is concerned. If love is prime and all the law and the prophets - everything - hangs on that, and if getting this right gets it all right, and if blowing it here blows the whole thing, then how do we answer in the judgment about refusing to fellowship others over something the NT is silent on? Seems to me we might reform ourselves as a loving sharing bunch rather than the without piano ones.

However, you classified image bearing as a function, rather than a form. Is it not both? And though I highly regard worship -song, prayer, supper, baptism and preaching etc as image bearing, I think suffering love, self-sacrifice in Jesus name and especially laying down ones life is where ultimate image bearing happens (Mk 15:39) etc... I figure the truest image bearing form is naked, arms-stretched and nailed, self-sacrificing death. How does a church in the 21st century take that form?

Good thoughts. Got some more?

Adios & Shalom...

4:42 PM  
Blogger Royce Ogle said...

Unless one pours a different meaning into the word "Restore", I don't know that anything needs to be "restored".

My observation leads me to believe that most of what has supposedly been restored is not as much 1st century Christianity as innovative self-righteousness.

You can be "faithful", attend each time the doors of "the building" open, and tag all the bases of the 5 acts of worship, (or the "pattern"), and be a sincere child of God who is surrendered to Christ, or you can be a self-righteous snob who looks down his nose at anyone who does not look exactly like him.

Using a form, or pattern, lends itself to the later. It appeals to the flesh, the natural man, to follow rules, reach goals, etc.

The life of faith, is not faith in a church, in a Pattern, in doing it the way we've always done it, but rather faith in the living Lord Jesus. Our right standing with God rests wholly upon Christ's merits, His obedience, His death, burial, and resurrection, and His advocacy.

As Bobby Valentine rightly pointed out recently, God has always saved people by grace. No person was ever or shall ever be justified be keeping law.

The sort of theology that says a piano stands between you and hell is the same sort that delights in following the rules.

If the following questions were asked of coC congregations across the country the answers would be shocking. 1. Do you know you are going to heaven? 2. If so, why are you able?

Grace and Peace,
Royce Ogle

5:15 PM  
Blogger Frank Bellizzi said...

Our so-called Restoration Movement grew up around (and away from) already-existing expressions of Christianity.

As a result, the Movement's inborn Achilles heal is that it is not natural for its adherents to differentiate themselves in terms of something like "Jesus Christ and him crucified" or "seek[ing] first the kingdom of God and his righteousness." Instead, differentiation is done vis-a-vis the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, etc.

Churches of Christ tend to be a sub species of what Bonhoeffer observed in America and called "Protestantism without Reformation." A post-Christian era does not leave us the luxury of debating minutia with other believers (or "professing believers" as we might have called them, and did). Thank God.

6:41 PM  
Blogger KentF said...

PM - thanks for the kind words. I was reading in I Thess. 2 this morning - and this jumped out at me "For you, brothers, became imitators of God's church in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus."

Maybe that's a verse "they" use alot in this effort to perfectly re-construct what "they" perceive the NT church looked like - operative word being perceived. Once you perceive the church has it all wrong - which is quite likely if you're seeking perfection - you feel compelled to move on. I think we've missed the boat there - big time.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Ben Overby said...

Hurricane,

Again, I find my self in agreement with you. You wrote:

"If love is prime and all the law and the prophets - everything - hangs on that, and if getting this right gets it all right, and if blowing it here blows the whole thing, then how do we answer in the judgment about refusing to fellowship others over something the NT is silent on? Seems to me we might reform ourselves as a loving sharing bunch rather than the without piano ones."

Now this gets the core of the gospel. That is, God is one (Ro. 3) and has reformed humanity under His Son, making two (Jew and Gentile) into one, one family under one God. Jesus died so that this could be possible. Whenever we make something other than faith in Jesus our test of fellowship, we start to unravel the work of the gospel, we begin to reverse the work of the cross by creating two out of one, splintering, dividing, hating.

Obviously love isn't pitted against the law, so if the piano is against the law, then it would not be unloving to oppose it. However, the fact is, scripture (Old Testament and New) are both pro-instrument. Doesn't mean we have to use instruments, but it certainly means we have permission.

You wrote: "I figure the truest image bearing form is naked, arms-stretched and nailed, self-sacrificing death. How does a church in the 21st century take that form?"

Every church community has to work that answer out in their own context. Jesus is our teacher, and what we learn from Him in general, is that we need to do things and say things that subvert the oppressive powers of injustice, hate, sexism, racism, individualism, etc., confronting evil in an effort to spread redemptive light. How and where does this happen? The answer will come to us in prayer within our Christ-communities, as God uses us for His own glory.

Ben

1:39 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Fajita,
Excellent 3 points.
Your points made me think.

Josh Woods,
Being in a small town is a wonderful blessing. You don't get caught up in all the mess that you see in bigger churches over issues that don't matter. I am blessed to be where I am.
Thanks for your comments.

Laymand,
Good thoughts if it is broken was should fix it. If it isn't working why continue to do it?
Great point.

Nick,
I appreciate your comments and understand where you are comming from.
I believe Jesus summed it up by function...The entire law and prophets are summed up in this: First, Love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul strength and mind and the second, Love your neighbor as your self." The law and the prophets hang on these two commands. Is that not function. Did he not say that the form is not that matters..."Your God, the Father desires mercy, not sacrifice." "The things of the heart make a man clean or unclean. Not what is done on the outside." Is that not the function that Christ is talking about. How we love, live? Is function not about taking up our cross? My question is form can change over the centuries but the function cannot. We are expected to be what disciples, imitators of God. What do you think? Again, I appreciate your comments.

Adam,
Great comment.
I agree that God is interested in soul reform and wants changed lives (Function). We try to change the structure (Form) and expect lives change. I appreciate your thoughts in adding to this discussion.

Royce,
Thanks for commenting.
Excellent thoughts on faith. I totally agree. I also like what you mentioned about Bobby's thoughts on grace.

Frank,
I agree that as many have sought to seek the "pattern" or "restore" what they feel comfortable with they have failed to be seeking first his Kingdom and His righteousness. It has lead to a self-righteousness that you see in alot of churches today. The function I believe leads us to understanding our relationship is determained on His righteousness not our own. The form tends to cloud the view of that righteousness. What do you think?

KentF,
Thanks for you comments,
I like how you used the word "they" and "precieved". Amen. The church is made of what? Sinners. We mess up? We make mistakes? We have all fallen short of God's glory? Can we be pefect? The focus on form maybe tells us yes, you can. You can do it. The function reminds us that we can do all things through Christ. The function reminds us that we are justified and make perfect by Christ. The function reminds us that it is Jesus's Church, His Bride. I know it is easy for "they" to say it is "my" churh "I" think we need to restore..."I" want this..."I" want that...The function reminds us that it no longer "I" but "Christ" and that is what "they" tend to forget.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Scott said...

Great post preacherman.

If I understand the form as how we do worship and function living the Christian life; then of course the function should our focus in what we should be trying to restore.
What did stone think? What did Campbell think? I don't know. Does it matter what they thought? I don't know. What I do know is that Christians need to live to please God. Can we please God without restoring anything? I don't know.

What I do know is that living the Christian life is what is most important in my life.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

What is a disciple? I believe the term has become like many religious terms whatever we want it to be. In Jesus day a disciple was something well understood. A young Jewish boy would be sent to school. At a round the age of 5 the young students would be taught and they would be charged with the task of memorizing the entire Torah (and we struggle at times with memorizing John 3:16 lol). The best of the best would be able to continue ther schooling, the rest, the majority, would be sent home to begin the trade of their family. As pre-teen and through through teen years, those who were the best of the best would be put to teh task of memorizing the entire Old Testament. Again they would be filtered out the best of the best the most gifted of students would remain in the schools for further instruction.

At about the age of 17 the very top of the class would be given the opportunity to interview to become a disciple of a teacher. Very few were choosen. In the interview they had to prove themselves to be desiring to be just like the master. To walk like him, to speak like him to feel like he felt, to believe as he believed to think as he thought. A disciple would become an imitator of the master. A blessing in the day to disciple was pronounced this way "May the dust for your master's sandals fall on you." (On a side note but an important one isn't it beautiful that Jesus goes about choosing to be his disciples even with all bumps and warts when you compare it to what was going on in his day?)

How can we be a disciple, a true imitator and student of Christ, if we find ways to constantly lesson the things that Christ walked in? It seems to often if we don't like the commands of law we seek to lesson or do away with them or on the other side of the spectrum we don't like the demands of love we try to justify not loving. Unfortunately I believe too often we would all be like the pharisees and be offended by the way Jesus carried himself, some by the mercy he extended others by the laws he commanded.

The law was and is a reflection of God, Christ is the fullness. Christ didn't lesson the law but became its completeness. As the Pharisees had made less of the law lifting laws command over love's demand Christ called them on the carpet for perverting the law of God. However he did not say you should have not worried about form and stress love and justice only. He in fact was very clear in saying the other should not have been left undone but that they failed to keep the weighter.

I'm not sure that you can walk as Christ did by making less of law that he went to the cross to fulfill nor of love which he defined in the very same place.

Law is not a bad thing as so many have made it. Law is the reflection of the One who gave it. Its very fulfillment found in the completeness of Christ, its very existance tied to love of God and of brother (1 John 5:1-3), the very thing tied so imtimately to Christ, "If you love Me keep My commandments." I don't find legalism or "progressive theology" or whatever terms are more favorable to either side safe ground. I just wonder how those on the right and those on the left, in fact how all of us will answer for all the brotherhood bashing and ridiculing before the judge on the last day "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." (1 John 3:14-15)

I wish you all well in the further discussion of "all that is wrong with the church", but wouldn't our time be better spent reaching out to the lost rather than publically hanging our brethren out to dry? I don't find this conversation personally enriching or encouraging therefore I must depart, though I do hope if true goodness be found in it that you may be the recievers of such.

May God bless all those who desire his face and are not ashamed to walk in his ways. God bless you all.

8:05 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Nick,

I want you to know I am proud of my heritage. The church of Christ is more than just Church to me,it is a family. A spritual family. I love that family more than life. I want what is best for my family. As a family we understand that there are individuals that are to valued and loved. Each person in the famly has differnt oppinions, personalities, skills, and ideas. As a family we should respect and love each other despite differences of oppinions. There are times in a family that we need to say are we being the family we need to be. How are we? Are we healthy? What are we stressing within the family? Is everyone getting the love and attention they need? How are we functioning?

Are we looking like our father? Are we reflecting Him? Because I believe it is not the Law that is the reflection of God but us, His church that his his reflection.

How are we shinning? If we think we have arrived, have all the answers, are perfect and there is no need for conversation and change than we are self-righteous and fundamentalists. That what fundamentalists are in any religion. People who think they have all the answers.

I know that his church is made up of sinners. I know that we are not perfect. That we make mistakes. That we fall short.

So we need to ask ourselves how are we functioning as a spiritual family? His church? Have we focused on the wrong things? Have ignored areas that we should have given more attention too? How are we functioning?

Again I appreciate differing oppions. It is interesting to see both sides. No one on this blog is hanging out other "brethen" brothers, out to dry but challenging there thinking on important subject so we can make a difference for the Kingdom of God.

Nick, I pray that out of His glorious richs he may strenthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christmay dwell in your heart through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide, and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know that this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

I read the book by Tim Woodroof and think it is great. I used to think that it was all about form. I somehow did believe that if I had the form right, I could take pride in knowing I was okay. Over the years I have learned that I was wrong. The function is what I should have been enjoying. The function is the Christian life.

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a minister form an ultra-conservative church. We are trying to restore the Lord's church and brethern to the pattern in the New Testament. We are to speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent. The pattern is clear.
If we follow the pattern we function the way God wills.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Ancient Wanderer said...

I've been in the Lord's church for many decades. And for many decades there have been way too many leaders on both sides in the church that are always worrying about the "other" congregations.

Are you healthy?
Is your congregation healthy?
Is the Lord's church in your town healthy?
Is the Lord's church in your area healthy?
Eventually I will get to ARE YOU [way, way over there] HEALTHY but there is a lot of space between me and you.

It isn't first and foremost what are 'you' restoring it is what have I restored.

I'm glad the young folks were here to hear from the church's Green Party... (praise Gaia).

I like this despondent preachers coming together to lament over how "others" just don't get it like we do...this is fun :) kinda like heaven if there really was one.

Don't give up there is the Good News and there is the really good news- "THEY" won't be bothering us on the new earth :(

Thank you

ps: George this is blogging you don't ask questions seeking answers you just say "great post" and move on....get with the program!

pps: Nick...that's it We have had it with you and your, your meanie-meanness tradition... we say Good-Day.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

I said I was going to depart from the conversation but this comment certainly drew me back

Ancient Wanderer said:
"pps: Nick...that's it We have had it with you and your, your meanie-meanness tradition... we say Good-Day."

I know I'm going to regret this, but can you explain to me what my "meanie-meaness tradition" is?

6:30 PM  
Blogger Ancient Wanderer said...

Nick,
I agree with you. I agreed with your comments. Hang in there....it was tongue-in-cheek just like my comment to George....about having the gall to look for answers.

It is most definitely OK.

Didn't you see the entire "tone" of my comment....

AW

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

I'm sorry I didn't pick up on the tone, it's been a long week for me. I extened my apologies for misreading your words. God bless.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

I'm not sure what was meant there. I took it about the same way you did on the first read.

BTW I've book-marked your site and have taken a quick glance at it. Like the way its presented, hopefully I can get a chance to take a better look at it soon.

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

You look at Paul, Peter, John, James, The Hebrew Writter, Jude. Each of them cared about the health of the churches in town, area, states, and countries. Most of the letters are written to churches. As Christians we should care about each other because just because we are independant we are one. We should be concerned and talk about things that are going help us as His church whether it be in town, across town or way over across the world. We are to encourage each other, love each other, and help each other as we press on.
I have not see anyone attacked on this blog. I know personally if I hold a particular view and someone challenge me to think and I think I know it all then I personally will feel offended.
I like it that this blog and others have challenged me to think to look at what I am doing, to what the church across town is doing and to have more concern for the Kingdom.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Are there places we have put function over form? When I think about what the Lord's supper has become it seems we have minimalized it as far as possible. This minimalization of form has come at the cost of function. We champion ourselves in upholding its function but we have reduced it to as small a piece of "bread" as possible and as small an amount of "fruit of the vine" as possible. We have individualized it. We no longer share in the same loaf (in most congregations) and we no longer celebrate. It is no longer an "us" thing. It seems we have focused so much on the function "do this in remembrance of me" that we have missed out on the communal nature of its original form. The result is that function no longer functions as it should. Our form has become individualized and what is the resulting lack of function? It ceases to become a communal event of sharing. He have neglected the rest of 1 Cor 11 which says when we do not discern the body of Christ we are in judgment. The body there has a dual meaning, it seems to me. We have adopted the meaning that allows us to take it as an individual (remembering Christ) and neglected the one that is communal (the body of Christ).

I guess what I am saying is in some things we have neglected both. And there is reciprocity between form and function - when you lose one you often lose the other.

10:39 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Nick,

I always appreciate your comments.
Like I was telling you before I like to see the other side and where they are comming from. If you frequent my blog you know that I love Paul. Josh, Darin, Bobby and other will tell you that I quote him often. Paul is my favorite apostle. I like his prayers and have draw courage and strength from them. I was trying to encourage you with His words. It does take courage to share differing oppinions. Thank you again for you insight.

Ancient Wonderer,
Thanks for comments. I appreciate you adding to the discussion again it is great to see both sides. Like Jeff mentioned we are one church even though we are independant and many throughout the world. We should care about each other and be concerned with the health of each church. Each one of us should be striving to what God wants. We need to look at ourselves and each other and ask are we doing that...Are we functioning the way God wants us.

I know that each congregation has to make a choice. Each congreation has to decide what it does and what it's focus is and will be in the future. Each church is responsible for its own health. If the leaders in those churches think, openly, honestly, searching, asking questions, looking at who we are and where are we going as a body then it will help solve alot of the problems we have seen in the past. We must be open and honest with ourselves though. If real reform is to take place. The sad thing is thought at alot on both sides think they have it all figured out so we should be all left alone.

10:39 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Matt,

I appreciate you stopping by and I enjoyed your comments.
You are right we have a long way to go on both form and function.
Communion is just one of the many area's.
It is easy for us to restore what we want or feel comfortable.
Thanks for your comments.

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

I think alot of the conservatives and legalists are afraid that if we look at the function we will chang the form which they are comfortable. I thnk Darin is making a good point a church that does look 1950's in form can still function as God wants it to be.
Good thoughts Darin.

11:39 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

What are some ways we can restore the function?
Here's somethings I think where we can begin:

1) Prayer.
I believe we can restore the function first through prayer. Prayer is a powerful tool for us as Christians. Prayer tunes us into the will of God.
2) Fasting. Fasting draw's attention to what we seek. Jesus tell his disciples when you fast..not if you fast but when you fast.
3) Our Message. Teaching and Preaching to the leadership and congregation the function. Stressing the function: Discipleship,Christian Living, Grace, Mercy, Love, Forgiveness, Kindness, Goodness, Patience, Hope, Gifts, Service.
4)Our Giving. Start ministries that stress the function. Give to causes that help the function of the church.

What do you think? What things can be done to restore the function?

12:02 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

***I appreicate all comments on this blog. Although, I will not allow bloggers to put words in my mouth that I did not say and judge the motives of my heart. I will not allow bad language on this blog. This is a peronsal blog and have the right to delete any comments I think inappropriate and those who try to dominate the discussion in an un-Christlike manner. Thanks.***

10:11 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Now back on track: What are we trying to restore? How can we in a practical way restore it whether it be form or function? What do you think?

10:19 AM  
Blogger Chance said...

""One who keeps his eyes focused behind him will trip over those things in front of him.""

Josh, your fortune cookies are better than mine. I get "Your love of gardening will take on new meaning in your life."

I think you ask some good questions preacherman. I wish I had something intelligent to say, but on a first whim, I would say the most important issue is purpose of the church, but maybe because "purpose" is the newest buzz-word going around, but maybe that is a good thing.

I did a post just now on a church issue involving small groups vs. Sunday School. Since you are a preacher, I would love it if you shared your thoughts.

12:18 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

What are we trying to restore? To a people who had put form over function for so long God had these words:

"I desire mercy and not sacrifice; and the acknowledgement of God more than burnt offerings."
-Hosea 6:6

Additionally
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
-Micah 6:8

The intent of command was not solely obedience but hearts set on Him. We get so caught up on bashing people we feel have a couple things out of place but all the while their hearts may be closer to God than some of ours. We need to restore God to the center of all we do. It seems in the past, form may have taken center stage even over God. I hate to make a blanket statement like that and know that has not been true across the board.

8:30 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Chance,

Thanks for stopping by and add to the discussion.
I will definately discuss my thoughts on small groups.
Thanks again for stopping by and love for you comment on my blog anytime.

9:24 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Matt,

Excellent thoughts.
I totally agree with your referecne to Hosea 6:6 and Micah 6:8.
Amen brother.
The heart is what matters Jesus says it is not what is done on the outside that makes a man unclean but what comes out of his heart. God has always looked at the heart. As I mentioned earlier the function is sumed up "Love the Lord your God with all you HEART, soul strength and mind and the second is like it. Love your neighbor as your self."

Matt,
Thank you so much for your comments and adding to this important discussion. There are welcome and very insightful as far as what God desires. Thanks for reminding us about the heart.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Keith Brenton said...

I've been trying to follow the flow of the conversation ... I hope I'm not duplicating someone else's thoughts, but ....

If we let Christ restore our relationship to God (through Himself) and to others - and I mean really, deeply, thoroughly restore it - wouldn't form and function pretty much sort themselves out as a result?

Example: Would it really matter which form of worship spoke to me, personally, as long as I was seeing to the function of encouraging others and praising God in worship? Wouldn't we naturally seek to do that in the way that pleases Him?

I'm a little leery of "patternism" when it (or scripture, or anything else) become more important than Christ; when it's preached more loudly, more vociferously, more adamantly than His love or His sacrifice.

Christ is our pattern; not the church. He is perfect. The church is imperfect, though forgiven. Have we followed Him? Or the flawed pattern of the church? Or just scripture? Or just what we want scripture to say? Or just what we want?

(Wow, that devolved pretty fast!)

Please don't respond that the church is a perfect pattern, made perfect by Christ's forgiveness and therefore an infallible pattern. A close reading of any epistle will put the lie to that.

My short response: Neither the form nor the function should be the goal of restoration. It should be our relationship with God through Christ, and thence to others. It ain't something we can do ourselves; He does it through us.

If we're willing.

Are we?

2:44 PM  
Blogger Mike Exum said...

I got a crazy idea. How about rather than us restoring the church, the church gets back to restoring the world? It's perhaps the wrong direction to to RE store anyway. It is a little like Re treats. Why are Christians always retreating for a weekend somewhere instead of ADVANCING against the gates of Hell?

God is restoring a broken world. And I got my opinions on all this stuff too, but I had to leave at least 4, and maybe more, people at home today instead of taking them to church with me. These are lost souls who want to go. And the reason why I left them home instead is because I did not have enough help.

I am sure that plenty of good bro's and sis's came late to Bible class because "it is hard" to get the family up and ready in the morning. I have no doubt that is true. Yet meanwhile, we had plenty of need for people too poor, too young and too forgotten by the church (that thank God did not use a piano) to get there to share in it. We ran out of seats and time.

Let me invite you to, as the Peace Corps used to say, "The toughest Job you'll ever love." Go bring some lost souls to church and love them into your family. I promise that with all the squirmy, unbathed, ill-behaved, underfed, noisy, little bodies sitting on either side of you as you worship God, you will have both a new form and an new function. And you will not have planned any bit of it to go the way it does.

Many blessings...

3:50 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Mike,
Thanks for your comments.
I like your idea about restoring the world.
I believe that is what the church has been called to make disciples. Doing what we can to make a kingdom impact is the function which we have been called. May we be concerned about helping God get the world restored into that relationship we had before the fall.
Thanks for reminding us of that important call that we have been given.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Ancient Wanderer said...

Have a question..

Why did this discussion start with the assumption that "something" needed to be restored? By trying to answer have each one of us has admitted we haven't restored the "IT"? And if so...then why can't anyone define "IT"? Or, why hasn't a single commentator restored "IT"?

Wouldn't one have to have a [ ] you fill in the blank..pattern, form, function? I don't care what you call it ... to RESTORE "IT" you have to have a concept of:

[1] having lost "IT"
[2] knowing what "IT" is
[3] what "IT" is supposed to look like

And if anyone knew what needed to be restored how worthless would we be not having restored "IT"?

Have we assumed too much to begin with?

AW

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Preacherman,

I enjoy reading your blog. You make me think. Even though I grew up CofC, I never realy thought to much on the restoration movement itself. I have never given thought to what we are trying to restore. I am going to have to think about it a bit.
May comment more on this again.

Jim

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

The question I have if the Church of Christ is the one true church, then does anything need to be restored?

6:27 PM  
Blogger Ancient Wanderer said...

bill...

That's my very question. The premise of "What Are We Trying To Restore?" was that the-

""1st century Christians were 1st century christians. 2nd Cenury christians were 2nd century christians and so on. If we are to restore anything I believe it should be the function of the chruch in Acts. We need to be and must be 21st century Christians making an impact on our society with 1st century function.""

This means that each century [why not every 50 years?] the church redefines itself as the church. IF the original premise is true then all discussion is mute. We are by default or our own fault The 21st Century Church. Then there is nothing to restore. I don't agree with the premise that there was a difference between the "church in Acts" and the 1st Century church.

OR...OR there is form and pattern and we are striving to restore 1st Century Christianity and not 1st Century culture.

AW

7:28 PM  
Anonymous bill said...

AW,

I've been thinking and I think it is that we are to restore 1st century Christianity and not 1st century culture.
Excellent point.

9:14 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Jason said...

I think we should be focusing on doing God's will and if we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness I think we will form and function the way God wants.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe real change begins with prayer, fasting, study, self-examination. We must be honest with ourselves and ask the question are we relavent to the culture today? Are we making a difference? If not, why not?

10:31 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

AW and Bill thank you for adding to the discussion.
I think where the CofC has made the mistake is trying to restore the culture of the 1st century or like Anonymous state we confuse it with 1950 worship and think we have completely restored it.
The CofC has to understand that it must be relevant for today. We must be 21st century Christians not 1st century Christians. We must make a difference in the world, in our culture and if we you look at how the Christians in the bible and other generations they did it in their own culture. It was the function that made the impact. It wasn't the way they worshiped. The people in thoses societys did say, "wow, I like the way you worship...I like the songs you chant.I like the communion feasts. I'm impressed. I think I will become a Christian." It was the way they lived the Christian life, the way they functioned in the world that made a difference. Paul said, "I become all things to all men so that I might win some." It was the mercy and grace and hope that they gave to a world who was without it.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous John said...

You know, I used to be very concerned about restoration of the forms of the church, though I typically didn't phrase it in that way. Most of what I focused on, as well as my brethren around me, were externals. Rarely did we ever spend the time and energy with subjects such as prayer, discipleship, or being an agent of grace and justice in the world. It was much more easy to sit in our ivory tower and talk about how right we were by pointing to our "edifice," while the whole time we ignored the heart. Where did the heart go? I believe this is the reason that so many people that I grew up with have now fallen away. They had a lot of form, but no inner substance. Knowing God was not nearly as important as knowing scripture. We substituted one for the other. What we needed to transform was our minds, not just our forms. In fact, our forms probably flow out of our minds/hearts. That's my 2 cents worth.

3:08 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

John,

Thank you for your excellent thoughts on all this. I appreciate you stopping by my blog and love for you comment any time.
Transforming our minds and hearts is a must. Thank you for reminding us of heart.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

Great thoughts John.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous David said...

If the church of Christ is non-denominational why the restoration movement? Why do they do the same things? Worship the same way? Just wondering.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Preacherman,
Great post.
I am glad that you are dealing with this subject. If only everyone would approach it with an open mind. Setting aside what they might have been taught by RM teachers and preachers in terms of what it is all about. Sunday worship has become a thing we do for an hour or two and then we leave the doors unchanged. We worship as a church but we don't function as the church.
I like what Howard Snyder says, "Quite simply, the criterion of biblical validity means that all church structures should in fact help the Church be the Church and carry out its mission. They should be structures which promote community, build disciples, and sustain witness. Structures which in fact do this are valid; structures which do not are invalid, regardless of how aesthetic, efficient or venerated they may be." This quote can be found at the beginning of Chapter 6 in a church that flies. I have used Tim's book as a pattern for my ministry and church. We focus on the function. And we are soaring! Every minister should get this book and read it. It is powerful if you actually approach it with an open mind and listen, really listen to what Tim is trying to say. If every church put this book into practice I believe we would be turning the world upside down for God's kingdom.

2:42 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Dan,

Thank you for adding to this discussion. Great quote. I believe the way that preachers have preached and the churches emphesies on form it has as Tim puts it in chapter 7 has prevented the function.
Tim says, "Religious forms will always serve or hinder religous functions. They either help the church accomplish its mission or get in the way and keep the church from doing what God has commanded...It seems so "right" to rush to the defense of religous forms, clinging to the practices of our forefathers, and claiming "faithfulness" in doing so. Certainly the Pharisees thought so. But in fact such a practice is dangerous. Dangerous not because there is something intrinsically wrong with any particualar form, but because there is something wrong with the way we relate to all religous forms...But what good is circumcision without consecration, sacrifice apart from holiness, or Sabbath divorce from submission? What use are "correct" religous forms when disconnected from the functions they were intended to support? When faith's forms overwhelm its functions, faith ceases (in some meaningful sense) to be faith. At such times, faithful people take action. Better to break the mold and start over. Better to let go of the practice and get back to purpose it was designed to sustain. Better to recognize that, at some point, forms can cease to help and become an impediment to God's will and God's work." (Part of Chapter 7 of Tim Woodroof's Book "A Church that Flies". New Leaf Books).

I believem our focus on the form, clinging to the what we think is the form of our forefathers. Thinking we have the "right" form has hindered the function of its people.

You look at most churches today...We are more concerned with how we do church. What songs are we going to sing, books to use, power point or no power point, fellowship halls or no fellowship halls, one cup or many cups. Instead of: how can I know God personally? How can I love? How can I show grace to others? How can I have real faith for a real world monday through friday. Have compassion for the poor?

If the devil can get us to focus on anything but function and reaching the lost then he has succeeded.

While we are focusing on form, the function suffers and the lost world is still lost. We must wake up and restore what needs to be restored and that is the function of the church.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The new form or formation of the new church as I understand it is a more personal relationship with Christ much like a marriage. And their is plenty of reffrence to that in the New Testament but what holds folks back to their traditional ways is always pride. Verses like Mathew 6 verse 5 are know accident but alot of preachers will say that wasent for todays church or their church but I can point out a whole lot more that they dont much want to discuss either, and from their own bible too!

6:45 PM  
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