I needed the reminder.
It’s not a matter of hostility, not on my end. But I do have a sense of what Paul felt (Acts 18:5-6) when he made the decision to cease working through the synagogues. After the unbearable church politics the last place I held membership, I knew it was over. I checked a few other places, but it never worked out.
And given what I know about the doctrines they hold, there should have been no surprise they would find me intolerable. Now that I’ve moved a considerable distance farther down the same path, I’d be shocked if any established organized church would have me. I’m not even on the same planet.
I still have friends who go to those churches. We fellowship and even talk Bible with each other. We don’t talk about modern Israel. And it’s to the point I have no interest in making trouble for their churches. The leadership has a deeply vested interest in keeping the system going as it is. Let them keep it, if they can. It will take a miracle to break them loose.
The reminder? Recently I’ve felt the call to renew the vision of my target audience: the marginalized and disenfranchised. It’s the outcasts and people who, like me, can find no place in the mainstream system. It’s not a question of attacking the system, though I do teach the system itself is not what God had in mind. Rather, I believe I am part of a long, slowly building tsunami. For quite some time it’s been just a trickle, but it’s starting to rise noticeably. We are part of the tsunami that will see the established church system crushed and washed away. Not because we want to destroy it, but because it’s not designed to handle faith like this; it’s hostile to the heart-led way. And as God increasingly demands that way of everyone, the system will break because it refuses to bend.
Of course, so long as humanity remains under the Curse of the Fall, you can bet that fallen folks will come up with a new system. They’ll face the irresistible urge to organize. It will always seem so vivid and alive, but it will eventually become a trap, same as the current system. It’s that way with fallen humans: a sea change revolutionary movement becomes organized, then compromised and eventually made a part of the establishment. The way to avoid that is to avoid organizing. As long as we stay like a covenant family and resist every other way of bringing people together, we’ll never see our shared faith turned into a system.
I reiterate the overwhelming sense in my heart that I am on the verge of another mission adventure. There is no doubt that I will be obliged to help organize things, and I’ll have to do so in a form others will recognize. But you can be sure I’ll inject Biblical Law into it at every turn. Meanwhile, the whole point is that this will be a missionary journey. I don’t know what to expect in concrete terms and context, but I do know what to expect in moral terms. My experience so far has taught me that precious few active members of the mainstream religious system will want to work with me, especially once they understand what I teach. That’s okay. My mission is to reach out to those out on the margins, folks who know they need something, but haven’t gotten it from the current system.
In fact, I’ll start off rather reticent until I know the lay of the land and where the traps are. It’s the best way to avoid the inevitable unpleasant surprises arising because mainstream believers just assume everyone is like them. I still run into that all the time. I’m not a fan of drama, so I’ll avoid waving the Christian flag, as it were.