Monday, June 16, 2014

Hearing God: Living Stones, Despite Their Problems, are Better than Dead Stones

Monroe County

Moses said, “Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit on them!” 
Numbers 11:29

Uh-oh. If all the people had God's Spirit on them and they could speak prophetic words from God, this could cause problems. The people might gain confidence and begin to think that they, like (supposedly at least) their pastors, could hear from God. The authority of the pastor might diminish, or at least not look so extraordinary. If individual Jesus-followers lived in relationship with God it could lead to chaos in the church! Therefore, let's not encourage it.

Dallas Willard writes: "Many beleaguered pastors will understand this. Perhaps the last thing they would hope for in their congregations is that people should be able to contradict and criticize their leaders—or one another—on the basis of their own private “conversations” with God." (Willard, Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God, p. 106)

So, we have threatened pastors and church leaders who, by their inaction, passively discourage people from abiding deeply in Christ. This creates "a hierarchy of authority and subordination and naturally results in one person’s speaking for God and thus enforcing conformity." (Ib.)

Welcome to the pastor-controlled, audience-driven Church. Which is: the powerless Church. Surely this is not the Church Jesus said he was going to build!

Willard writes:

"What is in question here is nothing less than the model of leadership and authority that is suitable for the redeemed community, which is living out the good news of God’s reign in the context of human life. “Living stones” (1 Pet 2:5) in conversation with God himself begin to look much better, despite all their problems, once we compare them to the alternative—dead stones." (Ib.)