Monday, March 08, 2021


People sometimes ask why am I not a member of a church. The basic reason is courtesy.

When I was pastor of a church back in the 1980s, God confronted me about the way that his church is organised. I discovered that the pastor-leader model that I was engaged in does not exist in the New Testament. That was quite disturbing.

After a detailed study of the New Testament, God gave me a vision of how he wanted the church to function. I published a book called Being Church Where We Live describing what God has shown me thropugh my studies. People have critiqued my book on the Church, because it is too hard, but no one has been able to show that it is inconsistent with the New Testament. This creates a dilemma for me in participating in a church (I also resigned from my public service role before publishing my last two books, for a similar reason).

If I join a church, courtesy required me to remain silent and support the pastor’s vision. I have done more theological study than many pastors, so it would be unfair for me to push my views and undermine the pastor’s vision.

I tried this courteous option for nearly twenty years as a member of an apostolic church. I remained quiet and gave my full support to the leaders’ vision. These leaders understood my position, but were happy to make use of my gifts when appropriate. However, when a new pastor was put in with more of a pastor-centric drive, I could see it would become too hard, so to avoid conflict, we decided to move on before he arrived. The people and elders sent me out with their blessing and some prophetic encouragement.

Now at the age of seventy-one, and the situation on earth becoming urgent, I am not prepared to sit and remain silent anymore. I want the freedom to speak what I believe, without the fear of offending a pastor to whom I have submitted.

I am not willing to put my energy into a vision that I believe to be wrong. Other people might be able to put their head down and give their support, but my calling has a visionary aspect. I think a lot about how things should be done, both in my working and in my private life, so it is too hard for me to sit and remain silent.

I realise that not belonging to a church is not ideal, but it is the best option at this time (I also realise that a pastor-leader model provides very little spiritual protection). I understand the risks involved, but I accept them because I want the freedom to serve God without undermining my pastor by explaining that his role is not biblical.

I have never had a fallen out with a pastor, and have several good friends who have continued in that role.

If a pastor wanted to make radical change in the way their church was organised, I would be willing to join and support them, but I have not been invited yet.

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