Since I first connected with the P/C movement in college, I have struggled with a number of issues. Things like elitism, condescension, pretenses of intimacy, control, manipulation, covering, the fivefold ministry, and many of these I have written about.
But, a pattern has arisen that I could not verbalize until just a few minutes ago.
And I finally put my finger on what it is….
What it is that drives so many of my generation from the usual corporate expressions of worship….
What it is that keeps us who want and yearn for relationships with groups of other believers….
What it is that keeps us from moving into depth one with another….
What keeps us from fulfilling any sense of duty to one another (Greek αλλαλους)…
And, maddeningly, what keeps us from becoming a body….
This quality has kept us from behaving cohesively…
It is a sense of entitled secrecy.
Presentation Vs. Vulnerable Reality
We have failed at humility, transparency, honesty, and straight-shooting, in favor of slicked-up presentation, and appearances. And my generation is sick of those presentations that do not find root in bare reality.
Because of a presentation that is nothing more than a distraction from what is really happening behind the scenes, I despise the phrase “brother” and do not usually reciprocate in kind.
That bald-faced fakery is why I despise being called Dave by anyone other than those who respect me.
Secrecy, and the hidden hand. Guile, shrewdness, and all kinds of glad-handing, verbal barfing account for my sickness with most of what passes for “fellowship” (gag!).
It is as if we are more interested in coming off or appearing to be real and tender and affectionate with each other than we are in actually BEING real and tender and affectionate with each other.
A Possible Reason Why
Perhaps part of the reason we do not engage in reality is that we have been so wounded and damaged (cue Plumb’s cut called “Cut” from Chaotic Resolve) that we are fearful of exposing ourselves again. We get castigated repeatedly for not belonging to the church, and for picking expressions of the church that are not part of established and recognized congregations, and yet, those traditional routes for corporate expression are precisely the routes that brought us to a place of shipwreck.
And we are sick of hearing expressions that tout the fivefold as the right expression for church leadership that have not apologized for the toxic abuse of the extant forms of the fivefold.
Back to the entitled secrecy.
Jim Bakker, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Todd Bentley, and The Passion “Translation”
Jimmy Swaggart helped initiate Jim Bakker’s downfall.
Jerry Falwell, evidently offered Bakker one thing in exchange for his help and then did another.
Swaggart, the second time he was caught in infidelity, said “The Lord told me it’s flat none of your business.”
Todd Bentley never came clean with what happened to his first wife, and why he was justified biblically in divorcing her.
And finally, when straightly asked to identify and name the members of his translation team, Brian Simmons refused to. He talks about a translation team, by calling himself a “lead translator” and then fails to identify the group he is leading. By comparison, the translation teams for the NIV, the NLT, the NKJV, the ESV, the NRSV, the NASB, and even the KJV are all known.
I don’t care how you slice it, that sequence of events where we evade those for whom we are responsible is a twofold sin. First, it is secrecy of things that should be brought to the light, and secondly, it is either arrogance or fear of rejection that will create a natural gulf between leader and followers.
It’s as if, in each of these situations, there is either a an elitism or a massive wound that the leader is guarding, that keeps Charismatics or Pentecostal leaders from putting any “skin in the game” when it comes to humility or vulnerability or following through with Paul’s injunction to “be subject one to another out of reverence for Christ.” Where is the subjection that is the leader’s portion to those he is supposed to be serving?
Does anyone wonder why we are so riled up when Todd Bentley’s name is mentioned? It has diddly squat to do with a demonic spirit of vengeance and zip to do with our opposing his being restored to ministry. Instead, it has EVERYTHING to do with his refusal to repent and expose this crap, and be truly and biblically restored to his G-d and his family.
This right here is my guff with the Passion “Translation”. The refusal of a man to be vulnerable and authentic with those he is leading and placing the manuscript of the New Testament in alignment with the Greek originals.
Greek Is Only The Language of The Mind and Philosophy
The marketing rhetoric of the Passion lands as if Greek is a language of the mind and is devoid of emotion and passion. Let me say this. The nation of Greece has the Redemptive Gift of Prophet. When was the last time you knew of a Prophet by Redemptive Gift that was devoid of emotion and and zeal and heart. Are Prophets not the volcanoes of the body of Christ?
To sum up, I have witnessed a pattern in Charismatic and Pentecostal circles where, when leaders do put something forth for us to grasp, it costs them very little; it is a plastic extension, but not part of them. They extend very little of their own flesh and blood to us, and as a result, we never get to know them as they really are and there is therefore little intimacy, while we parrot “brother” and “we need to connect” and other triteisms. But the end result is, instead of the real unity and vulnerability to which they exhort us all, a farce and a show.
Gunning For Real κοινονια and στοργε
κοινονια is the Greek word for “community”.
στοργε is the Greek word that is described by maternal affection for a child.
You cannot make much of your accomplishments when you won’t also accept a complimentary amount of the priority of humility and submission to those whom you serve. If there is no risk, there will be no reward. If there is plastic risk, then there will be a plastic participation reward. If there is the risk of gold, silver, and precious gems, then the reward will be that valuable.
They are practicing terminal non-reality and expecting a massive harvest of community.
Be not deceived. G-d is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, that also shall he reap.
If you plant corn, you reap corn. If you plant plastic, don’t expect cotton and life.
Expecting to reap much without embracing pain, vulnerability, humility, and submission to those whom you lead, the end result will usually be tragedy.