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01 July 2010

Salutations

Do you think it annoyed New Testament-era pastors when their churches received letters from the apostles which were addressed directly to the congregations? Because surely those churches were all generally pastor-led, right? But none of the letters in the NT intended for the Church is addressed to a pastor. Peter addresses the elders, as does Paul once.

If the early churches were clergy-centric like most churches today, as we've been taught, I find it glaring that none would be addressed in any letters to the churches. This does not necessarily constitute "proof" of a point I want to make. It's an indicator, though, that there's something amiss.

Here's what I mean...

"I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people." - Romans 1:7

"I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people." - 1 Corinthians 1:2

"I am writing to God’s church in Corinth and to all of his holy people throughout Greece." - 2 Corinthians 1:1

"All the brothers and sisters here join me in sending this letter to the churches of Galatia." - Galatians 1:2

"I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus." - Ephesians 1:1

"I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the elders and deacons." - Philippians 1:1

(Skipping the rest of Paul's letters... You get the point.)

"I am writing to the 'twelve tribes'—Jewish believers scattered abroad." - James 1:1

"I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia." - 1 Peter 1:1

"I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior." - 2 Peter 1:1

"I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children, whom I love in the truth—as does everyone else who knows the truth—because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever." - 2 John 1:1-2 (regardless of whether "the chosen lady" is literal or figurative, this is not a pastor)

"I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ." - Jude 1:1

"This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia." - Revelation 1:4

You can look up the ones I missed to make sure I'm not "cherry-picking." I believe that the Church today considers its pastors to be its leaders, having removed Jesus Christ from His rightful place as the Head of His Church. It's not surprising that as a result there is great corruption, a focus on men, a focus on money, and a focus on religion at the expense of the bride of Christ's relationship to the Lord.

This is not a small issue. It's incredibly important, because the dominant modern (actually, it's not too new) church model, typically centering around a single man, directly undermines the reality that the Church is to be made up of functioning, disciple-making men and women -- members of the body of Christ.

What are your thoughts? Am I wrong?

(All Scripture references above are taken from the NLT)

3 comments:

Karen said...

Preachin' to the choir here... I've always wondered how anyone could read the Bible and come up with a "pastor-as-head-honcho" leadership model. Am thankful to attend where that isn't the case, and where we have shepherds (elders) to oversee our spiritual welfare, not run the church as a corporation or business.

Jeff said...

...and you used to be such a "safe" blogger ... easy on the ears ... gave us all warm fuzzies. Are we to expect more of this "truth" business from now on? What is happening? Can't we just go back to doing church like it was in the 60's? After all, it was practically perfect back then. It's like the world is going to hell in a hand-basket.

(p.s. keep 'em comin') ;|

Dean Lusk said...

Karen & Jeff, thanks for the comments! I was thinking that the only ones I'd get would be negative.

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