For the Body of Christ 1
by Steve Dines
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For the body of Christ in the 21st-Century, there still remains a new and living way. By implication then, if there is a new and living way, there must also be an old and dead way.
The purpose of this book is to help the body of Christ see and understand the difference between these two “ways”. This is of vital importance, it is a matter of life and death. One way (the path) leads to salvation but the other way (the road) leads to destruction.
All of my work is constructed around a series of questions that I use to collect and organise information for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness (the quality) of an activity or an entity.
When I evaluate an entity, I am looking for the way in which it is structured and how it goes about fulfilling its purpose. In other words, what does the entity look like and how does it do its work?
When I evaluate an activity (or set of activities) then I look for the ability to overcome obstacles and accomplish tasks in relation to aims and objectives. In other words, is what we do going to fulfill our purpose?
Structure must fulfill purpose otherwise effort becomes futile and time and money are wasted. If structure does not facilitate purpose, then we are in danger of becoming efficiently ineffective.
Traditional Christian wisdom says that there is only one entity that names Christ as Lord and saviour, that entity is the Church, the body of Christ. That wisdom goes on to explain that the different Institutions, denominations and groups within Christianity are all part of the same body, the body of Christ.
However, there is now a growing body of people who believe that there are two distinctly different entities that name Christ as Lord and saviour; one is often referred to as the “church system”, “Institutional Church” or “Churchianity” and the other is the body of Christ, the “ekklesia”.
Over the last ten years or so there are three sets of questions I’ve developed to evaluate an entity and its activities. I modified them a bit for the purposes of this work. Here are the questions:
Firstly, are we on the right track? Is what we are doing taking us where we want to go?
• Where are we now and where are we going?
• What is God doing?
• How are we reacting to what God is doing?
• How are things changing over time?
Secondly, does the way we are structured facilitate God’s purpose?
• Who are we?
• What do we do?
• How do we get things done?
• What makes us useful to God?
Thirdly, do we possess the competence and motivation to reach our objectives and be successful?
• What do the objectives mean to us?
• How do we think these objectives can be achieved?
• What am I doing to reach the objectives?
• What problems and difficulties am I experiencing trying to reach the objectives?
• How does the education and training I undertake help me reach the objectives?
I have come to believe that these questions are central to our understanding of what is happening in our generation. Up to now, we have looked at God and the body of Christ form the perspective of our traditional Christian wisdom, which we have mainly “inherited” from previous generations. But in the future, we must look at the body of Christ and the “church” from God’s perspective.
The failure to do so will result in being told, “away from me, I never knew you”.
My work is laid out in three main sections, relating to the three main sets of evaluation questions. All going to plan, I will describe my experiences over the last few years in sufficient detail to make a compelling case for the body of Christ to separate from the church system and for the church system to come out of the body of Christ.
I want to show that the body of Christ and each member thereof, needs to undertake a journey of personal transformation, rather like Abraham did.
Transformation is not change, it’s a paradigm shift.
The word “transformation” seems to be the latest buzz word, but is never used correctly. The true meaning of transformation is “metamorphosis”, like a tadpole into a frog or a caterpillar into a butterfly. With metamorphosis, the end result, the final entity, bears absolutely no resemblance to the that at the beginning. Someone visiting the eart for the first time could be forgiven for thinking that a caterpillar and a butterfly are two different species.
To my mind, terms such as “transformational church” and “systems transformation” are oxymoronic. If these entities, the church and the system, were transformed in the true sense of a metamorphosis, they would cease to exist.
The kind of transformation I have in mind for the body of Christ coming out of the church system and vice versa is like the difference between Noah’s Ark and the Apollo 11 spacecraft and the difference between a production line and an ant colony.
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