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 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 48 of the UnSunday Show. Let’s take a few minutes to talk about institutional religion’s shady past. This is in response to a comment someone left back in episode 46 (Who Has Bewitched You?) that deserves some attention. The comment was actually in two parts. The first part was more of an observation when this person said, “Communities used to be built around the church, literally.” I agree with that. Entire communities existed around the centrality of the institutional church, but not always by choice.
This individual went to to ask, “Wasn’t that a good thing that bonded communities?” I think this is a really good question that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. So let’s take a closer look at it in light of a couple of snippets in church history and let’s see if the way institutional Christianity bonded communities was a good thing that created genuine community.
Welcome to another edition of Morning Coffee on The UnSunday Show. Today, let’s talk about some important distinctions between the system we call church and the body of Christ, or ekklesia. Jesus never said the system we call church would never be overcome or ultimately defeated. But he did say that about the ekklesia. That difference is monumental. Let’s talk about the implications of that difference in this episode.
This episode of The UnSunday Show is also available in video format and is posted on my YouTube channel.
Welcome to our second Morning Coffee together. Let’s start a discussion about pastors and ask the question, what is a pastor? This is going to ultimately open up a plethora of related subjects on the topic which can serve as future editions of Morning Coffee. But this episode will serve to start us down that path as we talk about how we’ve institutionalized the pastor and made him or her the central figure in most of our institutional settings.
This episode of Morning Coffee is available in video as well and can be viewed on:
Welcome to episode 33 of The UnSunday Show. Why are there so many burdensome rules in organized Christian religion when Jesus promised rest and relief from those same heavy burdens? When we read the Bible as though all of it applies to us, the lines blur between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, resulting in a fatal mixology of confusion and harm.
This fatal mixology is the springboard of our conversation in this episode. Push Play and join the discussion.
Welcome to episode 32 of The UnSunday Show. Let’s talk about the clutter that gets in between us and Jesus that ends up giving us a smaller version of Jesus. Institutional religion works hard at convincing us that Jesus alone really isn’t enough. It puts obstacles between us and Jesus that we’re told need to be there in order to be complete and remain acceptable to God. Sometimes it’s sub-mediators as we’re told we need Jesus and the pastor, priest, or leader to guide and direct us. At other times it’s things like religious obligation, accountability, service, tithing, works, or religious duty that we’re told must be consistent in our lives in order to keep peace with God.
But at the end of the day, these burdens are placed on us to keep the institution strong and when we embrace the thought that we need Jesus plus these other things, we’re settling for something smaller than Jesus. When we come alive to the reality of the life of God in us, the freedom from religious bondage that we experience makes us an instant threat to religious institutions because we realize we don’t need those institutions and in fact, they’re in the way and they’re forcing a smaller version of Jesus on us. Let’s talk about it….