A Question from Hungary
>Pliny to Trajan—they seemed to have regular meetings—didn’t they?
Hi Mariann….. You’ll also notice, in Rev. 2 and Rev. 3, that the church was DEEPLY FALLEN by the time that Pliny, the pagan, had a chance to give his opinions. Read those chapters, and you’ll see that Jesus was even taking their right to be CALLED a Church (“a Lampstand”) away from them, if they didn’t repent. And that was years BEFORE Pliny’s quote was penned. (By the way, I love the part of Pliny’s quote where he said that they met together to confess their sins and vow together not to commit any form of wickedness. Isn’t it interesting that THAT is not why people “attend” so-called “services” today? )
ANYWAY, wouldn’t it always be better to ask Jesus if HE ever had “regular meetings” in the Gospels? ANY evidence? None. NEVER can we read that any disciple attended Jesus, or that Jesus called them to “come back next Wednesday at 7pm for a bible study or worship.” There is NO evidence that JESUS ever did what most “build around” today: pre-programmed time and place and “order of worship,” or any other automatic ANYTHING. He was Head of all daily Life of those who loved Him and followed Him. Period. Right? Come on, be honest. : )
Next we will ask the Apostles. Is there Teaching in any of the “epistles” that they should have “regular meetings”? No. It is plain ole NOT the Teaching of the Apostles, inspired by the Holy Spirit of Jesus. It was never their experience of Him, nor did they ever write in any letter that they should have “regular meetings” or that there was any such thing as a “christian Sabbath” (or “easter” or “christmas” or any such thing). Is there any example in the writings of Dr. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles that the church under Jesus’ Headship did such things as “regular meetings” or “christian sabbath services”? None. It is true, though, that those who promote cultural, leaven-filled attendance-based forms of religion will try to stretch TWO lone sentence fragments, in the 60 years of recorded Biblical history, to try to build an entire religion around them. To do so, they must ignore the context, as well as the passage itself, and “apply” these disassociated fragments without intelligent or Biblical application. Such a religion, built around two fragments in 60 years, when the application such compromisers strive for is not thorough or honest, and “epistle” after “epistle” and the entire Gospel Story in Acts is totally devoid of an “attendance-based” religion, is NOT a good idea, of course. I wouldn’t want to be a part of a religion that hold similar “themes” as the Church Jesus started, but bears no resemblance to it in actual Life. Time is too short for that.
So, a pagan’s thoughts, offered WELL after much of the church was in decay and tradition (they even had a “president of the congregation” elected, by Pliny’s day—should we do that, too?), aren’t what I would like to build my Faith and Life around!
1Cor. 12 is the Story of the BODY of Christ. Let’s do that instead. : ) Do you “attend” your own physical body? Do you have “regular meetings” with your own physical body? NO! You just ARE! You are “we being many are ONE”! Do you have “regular planned meetings” if you are a husband with your wife? Or regular meetings if you are a young child, with your mother? NO! “We being many are ONE.” And if we REALLY give our lives to Jesus, we now are “a HUNDRED mothers, brothers, sisters” as Jesus Himself said a true church must be. And we don’t “have regular meetings” with our mothers, do we? Even if we are pagans. Right? : )
PS In addition, there is a Command from Jesus to “get the leaven out of the batch.” IF you build around “regular meetings”—you CANNOT remove leaven from the batch, because it is unrecognizable amongst the “peripheral attenders”. You CANNOT know. Unless you HAVE no “peripheral attenders” because you are living a LIFE, and a Body, and true Family, you WILL have leaven and be in disobedience to Jesus. And, “a little leaven leavens the WHOLE batch.” You have paid a price for this already, even if you are not sure why. Totally committed lives, to one another, DAILY (read Heb.3:12-14, 1Cor.12, Acts 2:42-47—they are all the Same!) is GOD’S way, while convenience and pre-planned things to attend is man’s way, in cultural christianity, in islam, in baha’i, in mooney-ism, in mormanism, and other man-made world religions.
FAMILY, BODY, LIFE are Jesus’ way with HIS Disciples, then, and now. Read the Gospels, and you will see Jesus with His “Church” as it is meant to be. : ) And it is STILL that way by His Spirit in Acts 2:42-47. You can’t “attend” His Life, His Body, any more than Peter or John could have then. “HE is the same.” “Forever.” And you’ll find the full Fruit of HIS Life, changing “unchangeable” and “hopelessly addicted selfish” lives ONLY on His Ground of BODY, and LOVE, and DAILY, and REAL FAMILY. The rusty gates of Hell cannot prevail. We’ll blunder from time to time, but the LIFE will wash and free us of our fears and sins, IF we are Building His Way.
Love, in Jesus…again : ) Talk to you soon; perhaps see you soon.