Saturday, November 17, 2018

Territory (6) Priest/Temple Paradigm

The modern church model is priest/temple paradigm. The professional pastor-leader acts as a mediator between the Holy Spirit and the people.

  • Christians must attend the temple every week to be sure of their salvation.

  • If a Christian wants more of the Holy Spirit, they should go to the temple and the priest/pastor will pray for them.

  • If a Christian has a problem, they should come to the temple and get the priest/pastor to pray for them.

  • If Christian needs advice about life, they should go to the temple and listen to priest/pastor preaching a message.

  • If a Christian needs healing, they should go to the temple and the priest/pastor will pray for them at the front of the church. Others might pray too, but the prayers of the priest/pastor are expected to be more effective.

  • If they have a friend who wants to become a Christian, they should bring them to the temple and the priest/pastor will lead them in a prayer to Jesus.

Under the Priest/Temple Paradigm, everything important happens at the front of the church meeting. People who need ministry are prayed for by the leaders while the rest of the people watch. People needing salvation or ministry must be brought to the church by their friends so they can receive the ministry of the pastor-leader. The reality is that the Holy Spirit cannot do everything that he wants to do at the front of the church. He loves to go out into the places where people live, but he needs a body of believers to carry him.

What God wants to do is so big that it cannot be done by one person in a church building. The Holy Spirit wants to be doing things in public places where the world can see. Something is wrong when people who have been Christians for twenty years are still sitting in the temple listening to a priest pastor telling them how to do what the Holy Spirit wants to do.

The Priest/Temple Paradigm operates in the wrong direction. Jesus said to “Go” whereas the modern church says “Come”. Jesus commanded his followers to go into all the world and make disciples (Matt 28:19; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8) once they had received the power of the Spirit. When Jesus had 70 disciples that he trusted, he did not form a big church meeting. Instead, he sent his first disciples out into the towns and villages where the crowds that followed him lived (Luke 10:1-2). The Holy Spirit did great things because he loves to go out where people live.

  • The Priest/Temple Paradigm calls people into a big meeting, but this an Old Testament strategy. The Israelites had to go up to Jerusalem three times a year to meet with God because they had not received the Holy Spirit. The modern church has changed the frequency to weekly, but has not changed the direction, despite the Holy Spirit being poured out. The new covenant brought a change of direction. The Holy Spirit wants to go out, because that is what Jesus told him to do. The church calls people together each week, when it should be sending people out in the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • The Priest/Temple Paradigm draws resources to the centre. Most finance raised goes to paying for the church building and supporting the professional pastor-leader and his team. In the new covenant, money flows the other way. Resources go out to bless the poor and to pay restitution to people have not received justice. This is a key feature of the Kingdom of God.

  • The Priest/Temple Paradigm scatters people into the world alone. They get overwhelmed by the worldly culture where they live and work, because they spend most of their time in it. A church that gathers scattered people together in a big meeting cannot transform the culture of a city. When they go back out as individuals, they are overwhelmed by the culture of the world.

  • The Holy Spirit wants to go out in groups of two or three families. One person cannot be a powerful witness for Jesus. A family living in the world is not the best witness for Jesus, because they look just like other families, just a bit nicer. Jesus is so wonderful that he cannot be represented by one person or family. He is best represented by a body of believers living close together in a place where the world can see. The best witness for Jesus is a group of families who share with each other and support each other, because they love Jesus.

Because the priest-temple model cannot take spiritual control of territory, it cannot bring in the Kingdom of God, no matter how much pastor/preachers talk about it. Accordingly, they use the word “kingdom” as an adjective to describe what they are doing, rather than as a noun to describe an entity that God is establishing.

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