FOR THE RECORD
by Keith Giles
I am the victim of my own convictions. I hold opinions that most do not agree with. I am often insulted and ridiculed for my positions and attitudes.
Do not feel sorry for me. I have made my own bed and so I must lie in it. I fully understand that if I write the things I write and if I say the things I believe that many will not like what I have to say. I say these things anyway.
Still, I do struggle within myself on many of these issues. It seems the more I learn about church history and the more I discover about God's Word the more painfully I suffer outside in the cold.
The other day I was having coffee with a friend and I told him that, in my opinion, I am a fundamentalist. The things I believe about Church and the Gospel and God's heart for the poor are the most foundational and Biblically supported views possible. For me it's everyone else who is "emerging" or "creative" in their practice of faith. Yet many look at me, and at our house church, as if we were the "new" form of Church. To me we are the most ancient and Biblically authentic form of Church possible.
My struggle comes mostly when I consider how many good friends and family members are still involved in traditional church. Not because I feel that they're wrong and need correcting, but because I don't want to damage my relationship with them because of my views. In other words, I hope that they will love me even if I don't agree with them.
Yesterday I had coffee with a local Presbyterian minister. He was writing a book on the emerging church and he wanted to interview someone who was doing the new "house church" thing. As we spoke together and shared our different viewpoints he said something to me that blessed me deeply. He said, "You and I have very different opinions about Ecclesiology. You think you're right and I think I'm right, but that shouldn't prevent us from being friends or loving one another as brothers in Christ."
I wish that everyone felt the same way as this man did. However, I am also cognizant that many who hold me in contempt do so because of the articles that I write. I suppose if I stopped being so vocal about my convictions they might accept me. Or if I kept quiet about what I've learned they might embrace me more as a brother in Christ and love me. Maybe. Maybe not.
As I have affirmed numerous times in this weekly newsletter, and on my main blog (www.KeithGiles.com) the traditional church is still a place where God's Kingdom is advanced, the Gospel is preached and lives are transformed by the Holy Spirit. Many who criticize my articles respond to me by itemizing for me all of the wonderful things that their traditional church is doing for the Kingdom. These are all awesome works of God and I take nothing away from the ways that these Churches are reaching out and using their resources for the good of others. I also have no contempt for pastors who have responded to God's call on their lives and serve faithfully seven days a week.
However, just because those churches and those pastors are filled with love for others and are motivated to share their resources with the poor and serve the Body faithfully (all very good things), says nothing about how much better their ministry could be if they empowered every believer to be a priest of God and allowed every member to fully use their spiritual gifting for the entire Body, and disposed of the professional clergy who is expected to do most of that work in their place.
Again, these are not my ideas. If they were I would fully expect everyone to dismiss me and turn away and have nothing more to do with me. However, these grand ideas are not my ideas. They are God's ideas. It was God who created Adam and Eve to walk in fullness of fellowship with Himself. It was God who spoke directly to the people of Israel out of the cloud. It was God who told Israel that He would be their King. It was God who told Isaiah and David that no man could build a house for Him, but that He would build a house for Himself and that it would be the heart of man.
It was Jesus who destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. It was Jesus who tore the veil of the Temple. It was Jesus who became the ultimate sacrifice so that no further blood sacrifice would be required.
Jesus made each of us His Holy Temple. Jesus called each of us to be priests of God. Jesus called each of us to become the daily, living sacrifice. Not me.
So, when I see us rebuilding the Temples, and I see us reconstituting a priesthood, and I see us returning to an Old Covenant system of tithes to pay for a place of worship and support a priestly hierarchy I cannot help but scream and cry and shout - "This is not what God wanted for His Church!"
Because it's not.
So, I will continue to speak and to shout and to cry and to write these messages to God's Church, for as many who will listen, that God's plan for His Church is something radically different and profoundly more astounding than anything mankind has dreamed up on its own over the last few thousand years.
God has a plan for His Church. It's a good plan. It's the best plan. It's the only plan that fully realizes His long-standing dream for His people to encounter Him personally and know Him intimately and relate to Him as a Father and to one another as brothers and sisters in the Family of God.
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." - 1 Peter 2:9-10
THE END IS COMING. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
We'll all find out on 8/28/09