#0087 The Holy Ghost is designed to work within egalitarian arenas where the ideas of unconditional love; forgiveness and diversity make sense to people
Scripture relevant to today’s posting…
24 No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Matthew 6:24 (CEB)
Today’s posting is part VI of an excerpt from the book I am currently working on. This article looks at the difference between an hierarchy-based community and a community which is NOT hierarchy-based; this type of community would utilize concepts and principals of egalitarianism. The reason I’ve been talking about this is because, although Jesus’s message was filled with elements of the egalitarian principal, the Church continues to operate within the well-worn hierarchical structure, embracing and pushing its principles. Last time we focused on a certain point in the Book of Acts that seems to indicate a shifting of the dynamic nature within the community of believers. Today we are developing that idea and taking it a bit further. I cite an illustration of how the Holy Ghost is trying to work in the lives of all people vs. how the Church has interpreted how the Spirit works. The conclusion is that their misinterpretation has led the Church to the dysfunctional hierarchical structure we see at work today along with all of the dysfunctions that accompany it.
(Continued from Wednesday 4-27-16)
If the author IS, in this statement, claiming that the power of the Holy Ghost was working within the apostles alone to bring about the dramatic response from the people; then two things begin to appear drastically different in the minds of all of us who are reading about this account…
- We are given to believe that the way the Holy Ghost works is more like a sprinkler than say the process used in gold plating. The way a sprinkler works is that it throws water everywhere and whatever the water lands on gets wet; and in a very real way this is what this scripture is implying. The apostles where like sprinklers throwing their testimonies of the risen Lord Jesus Christ out to the crowds and as their words landed on the people they became convinced of its truth. In this illustration the process is a one way deal—in the world of sales it’s referred to as shotgun marketing. This isn’t how the Holy Ghost works, though. The way the Holy Ghost operates is more akin to a metal plating process. In this process the item getting plated, say a statue has a wire attached to it which carries a positive electrical current. Then it is submerged into a tub of liquid metal, say gold, which is charged with the opposite (negative) current of electricity. When the positively charged statue comes in contact with the negatively charged liquid gold, the gold surrounds the statue and instantly bonds with it. Then the statue is hung on a line to cool off and dry and when the process is complete, the gold and the statue have in effect become one—the statue has been transformed into a new, different and more valuable commodity. In this illustration the statue, of course represents the individuals in the crowd; the gold represents the message of the risen Jesus (and all the divine potential contained in that message); and the electricity represents the Holy Ghost residing inside both the message (the gold) and the persons hearing the message (the statues). With the electrical charge of the Holy Ghost jazzing around inside both the message and the persons there is an almost nervous anticipation for the connection between the two. In this illustration, the apostles are most accurately represented by the tubs that house the gold.
- Secondly, if we buy into this idea that the conversions of these people can be solely accredited to the preaching skill and ministerial giftedness of the apostles, it becomes a short stroll from that point to the embracing the entire concept of hierarchy (AKA: priesthood) and utilizing it for the Church’s structure. Once the consensus of the early believers reached the point of seeing the apostles as the arbitrators of the Holy Ghost and the rest of the Trinity, it was only a matter of time before the Holy Ghost’s egalitarian dream would become little more than a short and sweet, 1-line reference in the Book of Acts. This is what happened and once the Church started building on that hierarchical structure, it was back to Pharisee town once again. Today the egalitarian dream is all but forgotten by the Church and the Holy Ghost has had to use other means to try and operate inside that structure. The Holy Ghost is designed to work within egalitarian arenas as the ideas of unconditional love; forgiveness and diversity make sense in these arenas; whereas we struggle with these sorts of concepts in the hierarchical arenas.
Today the scripture references in Acts 4 and 5 are still used in Christian churches from time to time; however, the translation has been adapted to promote a hierarchical agenda. Christian preachers typically use these excerpts to collect money from people. They spin up the lines in Acts 4: 34-35…
34 …that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
Preachers like to assume that they possess the same authority as the apostles and in so doing paint a picture which puts their own present-day congregations in the same scene described in the scripture. They are nothing alike; but if there were similarities, these preachers would be making the same mistake the apostles did: assuming they held a priesthood authority which allowed them to over-extend their reach; take a superior position over the body of believers and to push the hand of the Holy Ghost out of the way providing them with a free reign.
If you have a question or thought about this or other postings please feel free to send them in. Thanks for reading.
TBC: Wednesday, May 4, 2016