Skill – BT5
Entertainment of the saints by skilled professionals on a stage
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Skillful or professional “might and power” flesh turns the “assembly of the saints, the separated-ones (a), the Church of ‘called-out ones’” (b) who were meant to be a fully-functioning (c), ministering Body-of-Christ, into just another of the world’s many “entertaining shows” by a special few, talented paid, professional, skilled “ministers” (see Coaches & Factilitators) – the “entertainment of the saints,” not much different than a Christian concert! In fact, many mega-churches have turned their “worship services” into Christian concerts with million-dollar sound and lighting systems. I know because I’ve played for many of them in Tucson Arizona over many years. <Notes> a) hagios, b) ekklesia, c) Romans 12:4.
Is our “ministry on stage” really projecting or reflecting God’s idea of the Church as a family of equals around a dinner table for intimate koinonia fellowship, or the world’s idea of watching sport heroes or rock stars perform. Are assemblies like attending business board meetings? I’ve actually been in church services that used the Robert’s rules of order to discuss their finances, building projects, and other worldly matters all “in the name/authority of Christ!” Has the Church been “conformed to the image of the world” (a)? Has it simply “conformed to the desires of our former ignorance” (b)? Is this just another form of “loving the world or the things of the world” (c)? But this borrowing from the world builds The Great Wall quenching the Holy Spirit. <Notes> a) Romans 12:2, b) 1 Peter 1:14, c) 1 John 2:15.
By focusing everybody’s attention forward to few people on stage, does this really help us “fix/gaze our wide-open eye on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our trusting-relying-faith” (a)? How many family dinner tables are designed to stare at one person while they eat and stare at the backs of everybody else’s heads while you do? Since the only 2 universally-binding entole commandments in the NT are “trusting-relying-faith (b) in Christ and/coupled unconditionally-loving reciprocally one another” (c), aren’t we disobeying this mandate by putting so much trusting-relying-faith (b) in a 1 or 2 skilled professional people or even a small team to simply “equip” us? Aren’t we NOT “discerning of the Lord’s Body” (d) and NOT “unconditionally-loving one another” when because the “ball-hogging” of the “equippers” has actually kept the “saints doing the work of the ministry to build up the Body-of-Christ” from actually happening (e) – see Coaches & Facilitators? <Notes> a) Hebrews 12:2, b) pistis: relational conviction in trusting reliance, c) 1 John 3:23, d) 1 Corinthians 11:29, e) Ephesians 4:12.
Are we elevating a few skilled professional people “over” the Body-of-Christ when Paul says that “everyone among you is absolutely in fact not to think of himself more highly than he ought to . . . for as in the one Body-of-Christ we have many members (a) that do not have the same function (b) . . . members one of/belonging reciprocally to another” (c), “needing one another . . . that there may be absolutely in fact no division in the Body (d), but that the members may have THE SAME CARE for one another” (e), therefore we are to “submit/yield/subject to one another reciprocally out of reverence for Christ” (f), “bearing with one another in unconditional-love” (g). <Notes> a) “not one, but many” – 1 Corinthians 12:14, 19, b) praxis: functions, sustained activities, deeds, and/or responsibilities, c) Romans 12:3-4, d) isn’t “clergy vs. laity” a major division?, e) 1 Corinthians 12:21-26, f) Ephesians 5:21, g) Ephesians 4:2.
But if we put a few skilled or professional people “in the spotlight” on a stage to “minister” – when they were just supposed to be Coaches and Facilitators – or put them on stage to perform for the rest of us to watch and clap, how in the world does this fit with anything Paul just talked about? And aren’t we then showing partiality or favoritism toward these few when we know God doesn’t (a). Aren’t we supposed to “do absolutely in fact nothing from partiality” (b) as “we hold onto The Trusting-Relying-Faith in our Lord” (c), lest we “commit sin and be convicted by the Torah Law of conditional-favor as sinners” (d)? <Notes> a) Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25, b) 1 Timothy 5:21, c) James 2:1, d) James 2:9.
Has our focus on 1 pastor/shepherd teaching from the bible, even from the OT, just brought the Church back into “ministry by the means of the old (a) way of the gramma letter (b) instead of the completely different-in-kind ‘New’ Way of the Spirit” (c)? Are we falling back into religion’s special rules from a special graphe book of scripture (d) of gnosis info-knowledge written in gramma letters read and taught in special buildings with special furniture, special statues, by special people with special titles of authority dressed in special clothes, taught using special speech or wisdom, and even treat some foods and days as special? It sure seems like much of churchianity is just so many divisions showing partiality and favoritism! <Notes> a) palaios: antiquated, worn out, b) gramma: the sacred writings of God, c) Romans 7:6.
Or are we simply “all brethren” so that “nobody in possibility is to be called Father, Leader, or Teacher” (a) because there is “only ONE Head over all things for the Church” (b)? Are we really “in possibility doing nothing from self-ambition or conceit, but in lowliness counting ALL others more significant than ourselves” (c)? Or will the structure and format of our churches be just like the world’s “greatest to least” hierarchal structures, even when the completely different-in-kind New Covenant promises that “ALL of My people shall actually mentally ‘see’ to perceive/know (d) Me from the least to the greatest” (e) and even when Jesus says, “You know that the ‘great ones’ of the world exercise authority over the world’s people, but it absolutely in fact shall not actually be so among you, for whoever would be ‘great’ (f) among you, actually ongoingly should be you-all’s servant (g)” (h) or “the slave (i) of everyone” (j) or “I strongly urge they be as the younger and/coupled he that is presently/ongoingly chief-leading (k) as those who are presently/ongoingly serving (l) (m) – this is not an option, it’s an imperative, and a reality that is to be done on earth as it is in heaven! See Least Among You. <Notes> a) Matthew 23:8-10 – see Teach One Another – BT10, b) Ephesians 1:22, c) Philippians 2:3, d) eido, e) Hebrews 8:11 citing Jeremiah 31:34, f) megas, g) deaconos, h) Matthew 20:25-27, i) duolos, j) Mark 10:42-45, k) hegeomai, l) diakoneo, m) Luke 22:25-27.
As Christian musicians, shouldn’t we move past “entertainment of the saints” as skilled or professional musicians, by surrendering our prideful talents and get rid of the stage-audience structure & format with its thousands and sometimes millions of dollars used to produce great sound and lighting? The “Come Together” passages all say that the music is to be shared by everybody through the Spirit even spontaneously. If we are all “in the band” and all “in the ministry,” then there is no need for a stage or amplification or lighting. Just think how the churches could use all that money to really minister to real needs? Who said hundreds or thousands have to figure out how to hear 1, 2, or just a few people? Only traditions of men! Only pride and the desire for financial success!