The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Shifting of Barriers & Paradigms

'Houston, we have a problem!'

Besides the normal everyday changes that we all go through, there is much going on, particularly in the Church of the 21st century that is going to require some major adjustments! More & more Christians are recognizing this need, while many have realized the need in their own personal ministry & have made or are making the necessary adjustments! If nothing else, at least they're on the right track! This is not to say that we have all the answers here in blog land or even in Fulfilled Escgatology, or even Covenant Theology, including Protology & Eschatology, but this view-point, I believe, is the most honest & complete treatment of the Story of Scripture that is available to date!

To get to the point where some of us are ( I realize that even now, we are not all at the same point ), some major shifts are going to need to take place & some daunting barriers are going to have to come down! The hierarchical structure that now exists within most if not all Instititutional Churches ( congregations ) is one good example. Even many congregations that have freed themselves of the chains that bind the Institutional Church have patterned themselves, either intentionally or unintentionally, after this hierarchical structure! There is a hierarchy of sorts, no doubt, within the Church & this is as it should be: Christ is the Head & we are the Body! We are all ministers & in that sense, we are all priests!

The priesthood of all believers in the New Covenant is a doctrine most widely accepted in all of Christendom, at least nominally! We say 'nominally' because most Christian congregations today do not really reflect this doctrine. The existence of seminaries & the professional minister, or preacher/pastor is probably the most glaring example of this lack of true belief! This, again, is not to say that those in the ministry & especially those who share their spiritual gifts of preaching or pastoring, should not share in the material blessings of those they pastor ( shepherd ) or to whom they preach; this is very Scriptural, but it seems that the professional clergy of today is a far cry from the first century Church & the priesthood of all ( man & woman? ) believers!

To be fair, not all believers have the same gifts; not all have the gift of oration ( though everyone, no doubt, has something to say )' not all have the same leadership qualities or inclinations ( though doubtless, everyone is called to lead at some point in their life ) & not all have the same level of love & care for others ( though all draw on & reflect the same Source )! Though we do not all readily exhibit the same Gifts, we all have the same Calling, being Gifted by the same Giver. That Giver of Gifts, of course, is the same One who comforted the Church in Her Infancy!

'So', you might ask, 'what is the best way to expedite this process?' ( we humans tend to be rather impatient ) Well; the best way to share a Revealed Truth, of course, is to live it! A wise man once said, 'preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words'. Most people need to see something before they can believe it & so we come to the root of our problem! Too often, those within the Institutional Church, whether purposefully or carelessly, have emphasized the preaching of the Revelation of God's Word more so than the practice of said Word, especially in days of future past!

This is not to say, of course, that all who subscribe to the Institutional Church commit the same error, not practicing what they preach, but for too long & far too many, this has been the practice, not only within the Institutional Church, but within the Church at large, She who claims no ties & even repudiates association with the Institutional Church! As such, the Paradigm Shift which has been looming ( though unnoticed by some ) over the Church at large has begun to wash over Her, crumbling erstwhile barriers & unleashing a flood of revelation which threatens, once more, to turn the world upside down!

While this shift may not happen overnight & doubtless will not for many within the Institutional Church, the breaking down of barriers ( to fellowship & ministry ) is occurring as we speak; it is no longer just knocking at our door, but it is pervading our House! We have a job to do, no doubt & much of the responsibility for this needful shift rests squarely on our capable ( thank you, Father! ) shoulders, but we cannot & do not discount the infinitely more valuable work of the Holy Spirit!

As we labor tirelessly toward this end, let us remember to work, rest & recreate, knowing that our labor is not in vain in the Lord! We may not witness this shift in what we might call a timely fashion or even in our biological lifetime, but, as surely as the Kingdom came which was inaugurated inJesus' day, so surely & indomitably will this shift come! Even so, our Lord Jesus came for this Purpose!

Charles Haddon Shank

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