Wednesday, February 22, 2012


For the last 10 years, I have been studying church history. Apart from my study of the New Testament, I must have read at least 60 books on the subject. My latest journey is the 8 volume “History of the Christian Church” by Philip Schaff.

I am rather pleased with this purchase as it normally sells for $200 and I paid $50. A big thanks to the Christian book trade in the USA.

One of my purchases was tapes called “Pastors in Crisis” which talks about all the sorts of problems that pastors in the USA experience. There were cases cited of pastors who gave up because of the success syndrome. They were employed to get results and when they didn’t they were sacked or resigned.

This does not surprise me as I went though a website that advertised Christian jobs. There were 263 adverts for pastors. Apart from three, the qualifications required were experience, a degree and the ability to make things happen. Only three mentioned they wanted someone who had a serious prayer life.

In one book, I read that on average, 1,600 USA pastors resign or are sacked each month. In my country there are over 10,000 ex pastors who gave up because of burnout or unrealistic expectations.

One other thing the tapes mentioned was the fact that these situations were sad because these men were called by God to do a special ministry.

I am not convinced however as I cannot see God approving of something contrary to his word. My own feeling is and it has been confirmed by other writers that probably at least 50% of the pastors out there should never be in ministry.

The reason they are is that they are fuelled by rejection so they need to be needed which means their so called “calling” is nothing more than to cover up a dysfunction without having to face it.

If you are in ministry because of rejection, everything is filtered through it so you are unable to see reality. A protective mechanism builds a wall to stop you being hurt so you cannot see the wood for the trees as they say.

Apart from the forgoing, I cannot find anywhere in the New Testament church where they hired a pastor from outside the church to run it. Leadership in the NTC was firstly apostles and prophets and later resident Elders who were chosen from within the fellowship. Not once does it say a pastor is in charge.

What this tells me is that when you ignore the obvious and impose a man made system on a spiritually devised and God given structure, you are asking for trouble because you are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

I believe the reasons I have stated are the reasons why the current church leadership model is a killing ground for professional pastors. It doesn’t work because it was never intended to.

The question no one wants to ask is “why do we so blindly follow man’s design and ignore the scripture and what God intended for leadership of the church.”

There can only be one answer to this and that is that man has too much invested in their way of doing things and to do otherwise would mean a loss of authority, power and prestige because doing it God’s way would mean that he gets all the glory, not man.

Man’s sinful nature does not want that to happen.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Perhaps you have noticed that in most churches, if you want to be part of the life of the church, you have to go to meetings. Don't laugh, but in one church I attended, my application for formal membership was knocked back because I did not attend enough of the monthly communion services.

Back of heads fellowship meetings (Sunday morning), prayer meetings (maybe), Sunday school meetings, youth meetings, meetings for women, very occasionally meetings for men, bible study meetings, missionary meetings and so on.

A new ministry starts with another meeting after it has been decided to embark upon it after several committee meetings. (I was told that God so loved the world he didn’t send a committee).

Did the New Testament Church hold meetings? Well, yes they did but I get a distinct impression that they were nothing like the ones we have today in churches.

Today, what seems to be the most important thing about church meetings is the programme. We grace our “church” building with our presence and follow the meeting procedure set out by those who are in charge. We do things the same way as we have done for 500 years in many cases.

If you ask why we are doing things the same as we did 500 years ago, the usual reply is ‘because we have always done it this way.”

Why? Don’t know.

The New Testament Church, despite many vigorously stating they met in structures built for the purpose of meeting in, met in homes. If we are to believe archaeological history, that meant a maximum of 30 people for most homes.

The central feature of these “meetings” was a shared meal that all could partake of regardless of their social or financial standing in society. This was especially beneficial for widows and orphans who have meagre means of support.

Whilst eating they enjoyed each others fellowship. From my own experience, I do not know of a better way to relate to others than sharing a meal together.

As an aside, let me ask you how much fellowship you get with people during what is known as the eucharist/communion/Lord's table eating of a piece of bread or biscuit and drinking a thimbleful or sip of wine as most churches do today. If your experience is like mine, zero, zilch.

For that reason, I prefer the New Testament Church take on things than today’s religious ritual.

Add to the meal and fellowship, prayer and teaching and you have one well rounded and beneficial gathering. A meeting? Maybe, but I would say that it was more a meeting of mind and hearts rather than a meeting of traditions controlled by a programme.

The common factor in the New Testament Church was that they were all one in Christ Jesus. The common factor in the church today seems to be we are all one in meeting ritual. This is the way we do things and we are not going to change it for anyone…not even God.

I am very blessed inasmuch that I go to “meetings” where our main purpose is to meet with each other and with God. Any programme that we might have remains very flexible and fluid and is subject to change without notice if God shows up, which he often does.

We eat together (in armchairs), talk and share together; we sing a few songs of praise to God, not to make us feel warm and fuzzy, but to bring joy to the heart of God; we share the word of God with each other (forget sermons); and we definitely major in prayer. And it all takes place in a tin shed in someone’s back yard.

What does each others back of heads look like? We don’t know as we rarely see them. We connect with each other with our eyes, our bodies (lots of hugs) with our prayers and waiting on each other. Often we kneel in front of another as we pray for them. A kind of washing feet exercise.

When all is said and done and more is done than said, the overwhelming response is that we met God in the midst of our gathering. He came, and saw and blessed us beyond measure.

This happens more often than not because we are a small fellowship that is ready, willing and able to give God the right to do what he pleases, when he pleases, through whom he pleases and how he pleases.

We have enough confidence in God and each other to allow him to use whoever he wants to bring his blessing and presence into our gathering.

In comparison, going through the hymn prayer sandwich meeting week after week could not be more boring.

Going through the singing, communion, sermon meeting every week could not be more boring, especially when the whole atmosphere is fabricated by the type of music used to produce a warm fuzzy feeling.

If being alternate, strange, different, non religious, rebellious even means that we experience the God who is there on a regular basis, I raise my hand and plead guilty. Here I stand. I can do no other.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I remember about 25 years ago, speaking at a fledgling church one Sunday morning. My topic was "In the Beginning God." I don't remember much about what I said as I spoke without notes of any kind. I relied entirely on the Holy Spirit to give me the words that I was to speak.

I know that I said the whole of life hinged on these four words. Unless we believed that in the beginning God, we entered all sorts of speculation about life itself and more importantly, we fall prey to the fallacy of evolution.

Which is exactly what has happened for many Christians? As I peruse Christian forums on the Net, I am amazed how many so called Christians vigorously defend evolution. Many believe that God's creation and evolution can sit side by side. Many contend that the earth is billions of years old. Many contend that God started it all with the big bang. Many contend that six literal days is pure conjecture. Many contend that man from apes is logical. Many contend that man is just another one of the animal species. Many contend that evolution is an explanation for Genesis one.

It is becoming hard to find those who believe that creation happened as it said it did in Genesis one. Despite the fact that everything has to have a beginning, Christians are having a hard time accepting that God was the beginning who created the beginning of time and the universe.

Like so much of scripture we have become very adept at turning something that is simple into something complicated. Too often, sermons add to what is already there to the point that they add what is not there.

A simple story used to illustrate a simple principle of Christian living becomes an esoteric application of some doctrine which quite often ignores the purpose of the story in the first place. As a result, when all is said and done, more is said than done. The sermon just becomes a theological treatise with no real meaning and no call to action or requirement to be applied.

Bearing in mind that we only retain 20% of what we hear, most sermons are a waste of time. Yet we persist in such a failed method and think we are doing a great job because we pay someone to prepare and present what is in the end much ado about nothing.

Getting back to my original comment, I cannot imagine anything more stupid that trying to justify man made evolution in the light of the awesomeness of “in the beginning God...”

It is picturesque, poetic, awesome, majestic, life giving, breathtaking, brilliant, imaginative, creative, eye opening, infinite, indefinable, absorbing, and limitless, beyond comprehension and so on and so on.

For me, knowing that in the beginning God, is so reassuring and life giving. Without God as the maker of all things, we are left to the speculation of man's puny efforts to explain the universe and a lot of cases explain it away as something infinitely complex brought about by design. They would rather believe in big bangs, ponds, slime, things happening by chance, and mankind as the product of some primeval process that just makes us another animal species.

How dull, boring and totally implausible. When you look at the achievements of mankind and his ability to find clues to processes and produce life saving medicines to say that all this was a product of chance is to say the least, quite incredulous.

In the beginning God explains so many things to us right down to the incredible workings of the DNA and the fact that every human being has a different DNA to everyone else. Chance? I am sorry; I just don't have the faith to believe that.
According to zoological experts, every Zebra has a different stripe pattern. Millions of them. Chance? I am sorry, but I don't have the faith to believe that.
It would appear that every human being apart from having their own individual DNA, have their own set of individual fingerprints. Chance? I am sorry; I don't have enough faith to believe that.

What I do have enough faith for is that a great big benevolent God decided to be God and create a magnificent solar system for no other reason than he could, and in the midst of it all he decided to create a man in his image to enjoy the magnificence of his creation and out of his side he created "woman" to enjoy it with him and so they could procreate and populate his garden of Eden or what is commonly known as his utopia.

If sin had not interfered that is how it still would be. If Jesus had not died on the cross and rose again, there would be no hope of experiencing it once again. All we are left with is doom and gloom and death, eternal death. There is no doubt that the atheists and evolutionists have a death wish and what they wish for they are going to get.

The disciple of Jesus however, has eternal life to look forward to and experience. The sort that was there in the beginning.....God. Need I say anymore?

Monday, May 23, 2011


This book is an account of one woman’s journey through the tradition of the Anglican Communion, or as she calls it, Eucharist. It is the story of her feelings and thoughts that make the experience meaningful for her, most of which has no connection to scripture. More often than not, she uses mundane examples i.e. yoga (???), global capitalism, illegal aliens, provisions to an army etc. to explain what she is talking about.

If one wants to be informed on the biblical truth about this subject, this book is not for you as the scriptures are rarely mentioned and far from being a historical account, it is only an account of the Anglican communion experience which as we know did not begin until the Middle Ages.

The book is divided up into chapters where she investigates the qualities needed prior to taking communion, what was her experience in receiving communion and what she looked for as a result of taking communion.

She then tries to defend or deny the ideas of transubstantiation, magical thinking arising out of taking communion, myths and traditions associated with it and finally some history.

For me the history chapter was the best as I have already done extensive study on this subject, and it encompassed a wider brief in discussing the topic and she moves away from her own emotional responses to taking communion.

In the history chapter Nora the author points out that the New Testament church always conducted this ritual in the context of a communal meal, yet there is no questioning as to why this is not the case today. She just accepts that “things changed” when Constantine made Christianity the state religion but she does admit that the modern day communion may be quite different to the original intention of the New Testament church (which it is).

In the last chapter she admits to loving ritual and liturgy, performed weekly without deviation, which could mean that she is not an impartial observer which prevents her from being objective.

If you are an Anglican and have the idea that there is more to communion than eating a wafer and imbibing a sip of wine, you will probably enjoy the book as the experiences the author sets out which she believes makes it more meaningful or mystical (I am not sure where one ends and the other begins) may help you enjoy some of the things that you do when involved in this ritual, or as she calls it “practice.”

For others it will be a may or may not, depending on how you see the majesty and/or sacredness of the so called meal which Nora puts a lot of emphasis on and one cannot help get the feeling that there is some magical or supernatural outcome if one can only “tune in” to the force behind it.

All in all, definitely not a historical or biblical treatise of the subject, more an autobiography of the emotions and feelings of one person’s involvement in the Anglican Communion in an attempt to give it a life that ultimately might only be a figment of one’s very vivid imagination.

Monday, April 11, 2011


(Matthew 6:31) Therefore do not be anxious, saying, what shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? Or, with what shall we be clothed?

(Matthew 6:33) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

(Matthew 6:34) Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow shall be anxious for its own things. Sufficient to the day is the evil of it.

(Matthew 16:24) Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.

(John 16:33) I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.

(Romans 5:3) And not only this, but we glory in afflictions also, knowing that afflictions work out patience,

(Romans 8:28) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

(Romans 8:31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

(Romans 12:12) rejoicing in hope, patient in affliction, steadfastly continuing in prayer,

(2 Corinthians 8:8) I do not speak according to command, but through the eagerness of others, and testing the trueness of your love.

(2 Corinthians 12:9) And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may overshadow me.

(Philippians 2:13) For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

(Philippians 2:14) Do all things without murmurings and disputing,

(Philippians 2:15) so that you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. Among these you shine as lights in the world,

Saturday, April 9, 2011


I have been reading about new wine and new wine skins. Jesus said you don’t put new wine into old wineskins. Why is that? apparently wine skins that were made out of goat skins, when they had wine put into them, the wine fermented, meaning it became alcoholic.

Whilst this fermentation took place, gasses were produced which a new wineskin could cope with as it expanded. An old wineskin did not have this capacity so putting new wine into an old wine skin meant that you would probably lose the lot as the old skin would burst under the pressure of the gasses.

All sorts of interpretations have been put on this passage of scripture in Luke 5, even to the point of arguing that Christians should not drink alcohol.

When I read scripture, I like to have the proceeding word of God as well as the written word, so I tend to ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything that he wants me to know.

With this passage, I started thinking about the church, and God putting new wine into……..

I get the impression that we are very pleased to have the new wine but we want it put into old wineskins. In other words, we don’t want to change. God can give us the new wine but it will have to be in the context of a programme that never changes from week to week, so if that is not convenient to God, then we will have to give it a miss (and continue with our programme).

My experience has been over the years that when the new wine comes, the programme goes out the window, because the new wine of the Holy Spirit always challenges the status quo.

The programme says we are running the show. The new wine says God is in charge because anything can happen, including the supernatural. We tend to shy away from this as…we can’t control it and we see that as chaos.

Well it is chaos in a way as we don’t know what the Holy Spirit is going to do next.

I know of a church that has a prayer group that prays for God to show them people out in the community that need prayer. They actually see the person concerned that He wants them to pray for in a vision and then they go out into the community looking for that person.

A father and his young daughter got a vision of a lady with her arm in a cast. They went down the street and they met a lady with her arm in a cast. The little girl said to her “can we pray for your arm?”

When a sweet little girl says that to you how can you refuse. She and her father laid hands on the arm and prayed and she was healed of a medical condition that she’d had for years.

That is new wine at work, not a programme.

If you want to control everything, keep going with your programmes. If you want the Holy Spirit to be in control, get rid of the old wineskins so you can have a new filling of new wine.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Just imagine being part of a family where two brothers have a disagreement with each other and as a result one of them refuses to talk to the other. They live in the same house but they eat in different rooms, watch TV in different rooms, and they talk to other members of the family that agree with them but not the brother or anyone who disagrees with them.

What would you think of a family that lived like that? Not much I bet as families are supposed to get on with each other, help each other, love each other despite mistakes and disagreements and be a haven from the cares and pressures of the world.

Do you know a family that lives like that? I do. It is called the church. In virtually every town and city, the members of the church of God won’t talk to each other unless you agree with them. They spend a lot of time criticizing each other and giving the impression that they are superior to everyone else because they believe this or that. They refuse to help each other because they believe different things and if problems arise, they ignore each other.

Some members of this family, if they have a disagreement they get up and leave the family and start their own, and cut themselves of from the rest of the family.

When you read about the church in the New Testament, it becomes obvious that there was only one church in each town. Paul writes his letters to the “church in Corinth”, the “church at Philippi”. Nowhere do we read about a letter being written to the “churches at Ephesus”.

There was only one church which met in various homes on a daily basis for fellowship and meals. There was only one church that cared for each other and met each others needs. There was only one church that didn’t spend its time shooting the wounded. There was only one church that was bound together on the basis of the redeeming work of Christ, not a long list of doctrinal beliefs or of do’s and don’ts.

Most churches today bear no resemblance to the church in the New Testament. They are more like businesses or social organizations with a set of rules and membership conditions and are run by a CEO and a few paid executives.

The New Testament church was a family. Paul said as much and was often referring to the members as “brothers”. The sad thing is that we excuse the fact by saying that we don’t have to have a literal interpretation of the bible, we can interpret it and take into consideration cultural issues or we justify the apostate church of today by reinterpreting passages that will support our theories of how church should be.

One example is the verse that says the labourer is worthy of his hire so that is justification for having professional paid pastors to run the church even though it is quite clear that the New Testament church was run by unpaid elders.

Another is the idea that you can’t lead a church unless you have theological degrees. We don’t seem to realize that we are emptying the church by degrees as we impose man made ideas as to how the church should be.

Very few churches in the western world are growing with new birth growth. The few that are growing are doing so by transfer growth from other churches which are losing membership to those churches that have a belief system that is three miles wide and three inches deep.

In other words, the church is attracting people with a wishy washy bless me message that says you can have it all and God will bless you if you give to the church.

What is really sad is that we are happy to allow this God forsaken status quo to go unchallenged. What is really, really sad is that we are being robbed blind by an organizational structure that denies the very nature and purpose of the family of God.