What’s the Point? – Rethinking the Wineskin

13 01 2008

Many of you have been asking what’s the deal with the blogs? Sorry I’ve gotten off track with my daily ramblings. But I’ve got a couple of changes in my life that I have to adjust to. I used to blog every night when I came home, no matter how late it was, but between a new class schedule, a new roommate, and a new boyfriend, I’m finding myself having to make some adjustments to the times that I blog so it’s thrown me off a bit. So please stand by while I try and find an alternate blogging routine and I can get myself back on track with my daily blogs.

So anyways, I just finished reading this book called "Rethinking the Wineskins" by Frank Viola. It was an interesting read. I think the writer is a little bitter, though, toward the church because at any given point during the chapters he just starts rambling and going off on how screwed up the church is. It’s pretty annoying but at the same time it’s probably why I haven’t written a book about the church yet, because if I were to write one I’d probably do the exact same thing.

His basic premise of the book was that the church as it stands today has no scriptural right to exist. He says that the New Testament model for how the church is supposed to be set up is in direct contrast to the current model that we uphold as a standard. One of his main arguments is that the current church has aborted the idea of the priesthood of believers that Martin Luther fought so hard for during the Reformation. Churches now rely on a pastor to do all the preaching and teaching while everyone just sits back in the pew, not taking responsibility for anything other than showing up. The result is that church-goers no longer feel "qualified" or able to interpret or even discuss scripture on their own because they’re so accustomed to being spoon-fed by a pastor. Viola makes several other arguments about what’s wrong with the church today and his answer for all of it is to go back to the original model of the New Testament church: home churches. He believes that home church is the only way that all believers can actually be part of the  experience as a whole.

There were a lot of things in the book that I totally agreed with, and many things that I didn’t. I know one thing I definitely agree with is that I think the current church has gotten waaayy off course from what the original intention of the Christian church was. Quite frankly I’m sick of Christianity the way we’ve always done it. And I do think that too often we rely too much on taking the pastor’s word over what the Word of God says. And as a result, sometimes it’s hard for me to engage in conversations with other Christians. Mostly because whenever I want to explore something that may be outside of their comfort zone, they reject the idea because they don’t feel comfortable enough to read the Bible for themselves and interpret something based on the understanding that the Holy Spirit gives them. I’m also sick of the whole "celebrity" status that we give pastors, preachers and singers and all that.

I admit that I’m still a little bitter toward "the church." I want to figure out how I can get over it or at least turn my bitterness and anger into positive change. But sometimes when I read books like this it just rekindles the flame. And sometimes it makes me think what’s the point of even being bothered with the church in the traditional sense? I mean, we go to church every Sunday but what does that have to do with our relationship with God? And I know the scripture about not forsaking the gathering of the saints. I’m not talking about forsaking gatherings. Because saints gather at lots of places, not just the church. I gather with the saints every Monday night at my small group. And I feel like I’ve grown more spiritually within the past couple years because of my small group than I have in all my years of going to "church."

All I’m saying is, what have we become? As a body of believers, what are we really doing? What is our real MO? It seems like in New Testament times there wasn’t this whole thing of "joining" a church. The church was the church at large. It was a body of people who believed Jesus died and rose again. So once you became a believer you were automatically part of the church. And from there you would find other believers in your area of town so that you could fellowship together. It wasn’t about who speaks in tongues and who doesn’t, who sings these songs and who doesn’t, who dresses this way and who doesn’t. If you believed in Jesus you were part of the church.

With all that being said I don’t know that I’m ready or willing to leave the church altogether. And I don’t really have a desire to start a home church. I’m still trying to figure all this out. But I’m open enough to think for myself — even if that means RE-thinking the wineskin that we call the church.

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One response

28 07 2008
Jeanette

The book “Rethinking the Wineskin” by Frank Viola is no longer in print. His new book, “Reimagining Church” has replaced it. “Reimagining Church” is the sequel to “Pagan Christianity” which was authored by George Barna and Frank. “Reimagining Church” is a detailed theology of organic church, over 300 pages. Endorsements by Leonard Sweet, Shane Claiborne, Alan Hirsch, Tony Dale, Felicity Dale, Jon Zens, John White, Rad Zdero, and others. You can read a sample chapter at http://www.ReimaginingChurch.org
The book is also available on Amazon.com

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