Welcome to episode 58 of The UnSunday Show. This is the concluding part of what I introduced last week concerning how modern institutional religion requires pastors to be something we don’t see in the New Covenant scriptures. Church tradition tells us that Timothy was a pastor, carrying out the duties we see modern institutional church pastors doing. They insist that Paul’s directive to Timothy to “preach the word” is one indication that Timothy was a pastor, meaning that like modern institutional religion, Timothy got behind a pulpit week after week and did expository, verse-by-verse preaching of the Bible.
But is that what Paul meant when he penned those words to Timothy or is this another instance of us imposing our modern church practices back onto what we read in scripture in order to justify what we do? Was Timothy a pastor? Let’s talk about it.
Welcome to episode 57 of the UnSunday Show. I received a note from David, one of the listeners to this podcast, who asked for my take on Timothy as a pastor and how the function of modern church pastors differs from the function of their New Testament counterparts. I flipped the order of this to talk about the differences first and then next week, I’ll be taking a look at Timothy while continuing to build on the differences.
Comparing the differences between how modern institutional church pastors function and the function of pastors in the New Testament is like comparing apples to oranges. One of these is not like the other. So let’s talk about it.
Welcome to episode 56 of The UnSunday Show. Let’s talk about institutional church and the ekklesia because one of these is not like the other. Did you know Jesus never used the word church? And yet the word church is all over our New Testaments. How did it get there and what does it imply? This episode is a bit of a rant as I talk about a couple of differences between church and the body of Christ, the ekklesia.
Welcome to episode 55 of The UnSunday Show. Let’s talk about obedience. Doesn’t that sound fun? I’ve found it to be true that in almost every institutional church setting, the topic of Christian obedience in one form or another, dominates the landscape. It’s peppered throughout sermons to varying degrees (most of the time, overtly), it’s written into our church membership contracts (yes, those are contracts), it’s presented as the final solution in counseling sessions, it’s used as an enforcement tactic when church leaders threaten you with excommunication, it’s used as a guilt tactic to get you to confirm to church rules and dogma and to submit to church staff, and it’s at the center of most, if not all, discipleship groups and discipleship curriculum. Wow! I think that’s the longest sentence I’ve typed so far in 2021.
In short, we’ve made a mess of “Christian obedience”. Definitions of obedience and to what or to whom we should be giving our allegiance will vary from group to group and denomination to denomination. But rest assured that in almost every definition, Bible verses will be taken out of context and used to prove that you don’t measure up, diminishing the work of Christ on your behalf, who has already made you obedient from the heart.
Welcome to episode 54 of the UnSunday Show. Let’s continue talking about pulpits and institutional religion’s obsession with the pulpit and how it’s been elevated to such a place of prominence in institutional Christianity. Charles Spurgeon said this concerning pulpits:
“The moment the church of God shall despise the pulpit, God will despise her.”
This quote is one example of several that I share in this episode to show how the system of religion has elevated the pulpit, and the person behind it to a harmful status at the expense of a healthy functioning of spiritual gifts by every member of the body of Christ. In the process we’re left with a crippling view of the body of Christ.
Welcome to episode 53 of The UnSunday Show. This is part one of two on the subject of pulpits and institutional religion’s requirement of keeping the pulpit at the center of its Sunday events. I have a lot to say about this but my laptop battery ran down as I was recording this and I wasn’t near my charger, so I stopped where I was, making this part one of two. Part Two will drop next week.
Welcome to episode 52 of The UnSunday Show. Let’s talk about some of the pitfalls of professionalizing Christianity and relegating our time together to the professionals we’ve hired in our institutions and relying on them to do what all of us should be doing. The body of Christ suffers in this scenario because it’s impossible for every member to function and exercise their spiritual gifts. It also assumes one person in the assembly is more qualified to participate than the others and it creates a false level of separation in the body of Christ we call clergy/laity.
Welcome to episode 51 of The UnSunday Show. Let’s talk about how institutional religion often uses the small group setting as another way to promote itself by making the group agenda-driven and insisting that the agenda remains at the heart of the group. Whether it’s to review Sunday’s sermon, have an institutionally-sanctioned Bible study or book study, or to discuss the institution’s doctrinal statement, institutionally-imposed rules governing our time together are at the heart of the group meeting. Getting to that agenda each week is the real reason we’re allowed to meet and everything else that happens during our time together is an add-on. The simplicity of just living life together and enjoying it, gets lost in this kind of environment. Let’s talk…
Welcome to episode 50 of The UnSunday Show. Let’s talk about spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines are a group of activities that vary from group to group or church to church, that we’re told we need to be doing to ensure spiritual maturity. It’s an activity list of things like reading your Bible, prayer, giving, sharing your faith, etc. that institutional environments use as a vehicle for tracking accountability and compliance to preset standards of behavior.
In this episode I interact a little with this article: