Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Response to Tak Bhana (1)

Tak Bhana is the leader of Church Unlimited in Auckland and has a television program called Running with Fire. Last week-end, I listened to a message he gave called Every Christian is a Full-time Minister. At the end he said he would love to hear from me. I know that is probably not true, but here is my response anyway.

Tak spoke the idea that the church should be out in the world, and that all Christians should see themselves as God’s ministers in the world, and especially where they work. He debunked three myths.

  1. Clergy are superior to the laity.
  2. Going to church is enough
  3. Market place ministries are not as spiritual as church-based ministries.
This is really important message.

The challenge was brilliant, but the application was flawed. Tak talked about Christians being ministers in their workplace and how they should perform better, because God is with them. This is true, but many of his comments reflected the naivety of someone who has not worked in the world for a long time. Much of his advice was unhelpful, and some of what he said is just plain wrong.

He told his people they should go into their work place as ministers of the gospel, carrying the gits of the Spirit. That sounds good, but he do not realise how hard it is for a Christian to operate in a modern factory or workplace. It is much harder to pray in a factory, surrounded by demonic powers, than it is to pray in a church lounge surrounded by Christians.

He urged his people to operate in the gifts of the Spirit, but does not seem to realise that it is much harder to operate the gifts in a factory with dozens of demons dancing around, than in his church office, or at the front of the church meeting with dozens of people praying.

More seriously, he told his people that God can change a work place. That does happen, but it is not automatically true. He can change it if the conditions are right, but if most of the managers and staff are hostile to the gospel and resist the working of the Spirit, God cannot change them. They are free people, and God will not force them to change, if they do not want to. Sometimes people will respond to the Spirit and change their behaviour, but there is no guarantee of that happening, so Tak gave his people a false hope of cultural change.

He also told his people they kings in their work place, and got them to chant that out loud. Again, this is not exactly true. We are only kings in places where we have authority, and that depends on the existing authority lines in the work place. Ordinary workers have very little authority. They only have authority over how they do thing, and other people who may have submitted to them. They can make a difference, but the bosses and owners are the overall kings of the work place. Failure to recognise that will lead to frustration and mistakes.

I suspect that many of the pastoral problems he have to deal result from people, being in the workplace without understanding the working of spiritual authority, and getting smacked about spiritually without knowing why. (I explain the working of spiritual authority in my book Kingdom Authority).

Even if a Christian in a position of authority, they are under authority of someone else, who will limit what they can do. A manager or supervisor has more authority over their work place, so they have greater influence, especially in prayer. However, it is not that easy for them, because they are paid to represent the company, not Jesus. It is fine if the interests of Jesus and the company coincide, but if they don’t, the manager or supervisor must represent the company. Unless the action required is so diametrically opposed to Jesus will, that they might need to resign.

If Christians go alone into a work place without understanding the nature of submission an authority, they could be spiritually massacred. When we go into a work place, we have to submit to people with authority there, who are often not Christians (an implicitly to the demons that control them). This leaves us very vulnerable spiritually, if we are on our own.
Some will say that we are protected by the blood of Jesus, but that is naïve. When I submit to someone, I give them permission to control some aspects of my life. So if I am not careful at work, I am opening myself up to the spirits that control them by submitting to people who are not Christians (This is why we are not to be unequally yoked).

Christians are required to go into the world, but we must know what we are dealing with. More tomorrow

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