Is the Church what we think it is?
How can Christians live the good life?
It’s a merry gathering. Glasses are lifted up, chinked together to the accompaniment of cheers, bottoms up, prost, na zdorovje, salut, chin chin or santé, all declaring good health or something meaningless. When a Jew lifts up a glass it’s l’chaim, to life!
To life! What a declaration! As mentioned earlier, the Hebraic way is of movement, of emotion, of power, of life! Life is important, we only get one chance at it; there are few things sadder than a wasted life. To the medieval Church, riddled with Greek nonsense, life was just a stepping stone to the after-life, of little value except to secure a good passage to the next World. But to the Hebraic mind, God created the body and the soul as complementary, not the deadly enemies that Plato falsely presumed them to be, and so life is to be valued and enjoyed as a God-given blessing. Jesus agreed with this:
I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
There is enough Greek residue in the modern Church to dent our expectations for true joy and openness to blessings. The more we view every part of our existence with Hebraic eyes, the more work God can do with us to mould us and shape us into the likeness of Jesus. This ought to be the goal of every Christian and we are all at different points in the journey, I fully acknowledge that my wife, Monica, is much further along the road than I am.
Of course, you don’t need an understanding of the Hebraic mindset to achieve this, as many are Hebraic without even realising it. This is not surprising as to be Hebraic is simply to be Biblical and many have managed to live true Biblical lives by studying the Bible and all that it has to say rather than living second-hand Christian lives through Church traditions and the mistaken understandings brought about through Greek thinking.
We have met the first Church in the early part of this book and marvelled at its life and vitality, realising that the meagre descriptions provided by Acts and the Letters are but a mere sumptuous snapshot of a people acting, thinking and living truly Hebraically (Biblically), in full relationship with God and each other. It was a true Biblical Church.
Then came the Greeks with their hierarchies and systems and pagan philosophies and the slippery slope downwards from the house meetings of those small groups, living in power and truth, to the cold, massive edifices, the churches and cathedrals, built to propagate an ecclesiastical system which served only to separate man from God.
So what do we do? Can we really strip out all alien influences or, like the parable of the weeds, do we wait for the final harvest and leave it to God’s mercy? I believe we can turn the clocks back, in fact it is our duty to seek out Bible truth and act accordingly. Some folk have tried and failed, others claim it can’t be done, saying that the first Church was a unique one-time phenomenon and, when it had served its purpose, God broke the mould and cranked everything down a notch or two. Perhaps people who hold that view are reacting, quite rightly, to the excesses and corruptions of the historical Church, particularly in the area of spiritual gifts and anointings. But this is not the whole story ...
Because God always has a faithful remnant; that’s how He has always worked, from Bible times onwards. Pockets of Biblical Christianity remained separated from the mainstream Greek/Roman Church from quite early times, including the Celtic Church in Britain, the Waldenses in Europe and the Paulicians in Asia. All were opposed and eventually persecuted by the Catholic Church. There was an intriguing progression from the English reformer John Wycliffe, to the European Hussites and Moravians, then back to England with John Wesley and the Methodists. It is telling that the Methodists, as already mentioned, were notable for their Hebraic nature, with their accent on holiness, doctrine and simple structures. Since then, there has continued to be a faithful remnant, folk from all denominations who are true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, despite their exposure to the toxic Greek trappings.
Of course, you don’t have to have a knowledge or understanding of the Hebraic mindset to be a true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and most haven’t a clue about this Hebraic/Greek conflict. It’s not a salvation issue, but it is a blessings issue. The closer we get to the Hebraic, Biblical mindset, the more God can bless us.
For the previous article in this series, click here.
To find out what is my favourite book of the Bible, click here.
You can reach Steve with any comments or questions at the Saltshakers Web Community website.