I have joined the Facebook discussion page on Francis Chan’s new book “Letters to the Church”. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/507736526352456/)
In one of the threads, the discussion is on whether those involved in institutional churches should abandon their involvement and begin Unchurching-type communities.
I responded with this (paraphrasing – hopefully not butchering) the Israelite King discussion in the Unchurching book):
The One Anothers. That seems to be the heart of the matter. Is the current building-based, staff-does model promoting One Another fulfillment? Does our particular church family (building-based or house-based) promote vibrant relationships with each other and with Jesus?
Richard Jacobson, in his book “Unchurching” addresses the subject of God ordained vs. God tolerated (vs. God condemned). Giving the example of the Israelites wanting a king, Jacobson expresses that God warned the Israelites of the dangers of them having a king, but he allowed (tolerated) the practice of Kings. [It seems that God did not consider kings to be like “unholy fire”. He tolerated, not condemned, the practice.]
Jacobson compares our historical building-based model to king installation – not a biblically-mandated model but God has used it (like Israel’s kings) in spite of its less-than-ideal structure.
Should Letters To The Church challenge all of us to better reflect God’s design & biblically-exampled, one-another relationship-focused, and Jesus-led churches? Yes. Does it require each of us to burn down church buildings, scattering congregants and staff into hiding? No. (I’m not indicating that anyone is saying this, I’m just giving an extreme example of what can happen when we take “unholy fire” condemnation into our own hands instead of leaving that determination – and consequences – up to God.)
If you find yourself “serving an Israelite king”, ask yourself – and more importantly, ask the Lord – how am I to serve You as King? – 1) Do you wish me to leave a building-based, staff-does model (if I haven’t already) and start or participate in a We Are Church-like fellowship? 2) Do you wish me to stay connected to the building-based congregation that I’m a part of AND start, or participate in a house-based, one-another-focused, Jesus-led fellowship?, or 3) Do you want me to stay where I am, fostering change that moves the local church that I find myself in, in a more biblically-modeled direction?
In prayer for us as we seek His will.