Archive for July, 2010

Under the hood of Undercover

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

It has just dawned upon me that John Bevere does not understand the need for boundaries or how they work with authority. Saying “yes” all the time to authority spells instant trouble for creating independance as a person and dependence on God (and not on men).

“We are a priesthood of belivers, not belivers under the priest’s hood.” – random book reviewer

We all know in part, and we minister in part. The New Testament is filled with scriptures about leadership being about servanthood (not about authority) and the body of Christ being about equal parts in service and not about heirarchy. No authority has monopoly of God’s voice.

“Don’t leave your brains at the church door” – Book title from the 1990s

Indeed, authority is instituted by God and we need to be wise in dealing with authority. A great amount of church abuse, which eventually turns into a bad reputation on the church and people being turned away from Jesus happens not just because of abusive authority, but also loose boundaries. It takes two hands to clap.

Abuse often happens in church over issues where there is no right or wrong. If I am being abused by authority above me and I keep saying yes to them, I am still under God’s provision and protection. I am being abused while I am under protection. I am being provided for while I am being fed wrong theology, an unhealthy sense of self-esteem and not in God’s rest. A bit of a contradiction eh? Does God teach humility and submission to someone by beating them down even more? I don’t think so.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” – Matthew 5:17-18

I also think that there is a blatant disregard for the finished work of the cross and the grace of Jesus Christ in the book. The book seems to apply requirements of the Old Testament unto us skipping past the obedience of Christ. Our obedience is portrayed as a prerequisite to acceptance by God and not a response to His grace. Utterly amazing. It is as if Jesus never died.

On the other hand, I think that they have defined sin very well. The book offers concrete examples of how sin has been trivialised and compartmentalised in churches and in culture. Its construction of Eve’s imaginary thoughts on the other hand is utter nonsense.

Placing ourselves under Godly authority is important and knowing when to get out from under abusive authority is important as well. It is God who vindicates from abuse, it is Godly wisdom to have boundaries and to honour authority.

Corner mamak shop

Back in Perth

Monday, July 26th, 2010

I had a 2 week holiday to Singapore (my birthplace, hometown). It honestly wasn’t much of a holiday. The agenda of the trip was to complete the wedding plans, which we did. So we’re back with most of the wedding settled. Hurray! I stuffed myself silly in Singapore and put on about 0.5kg. Spent about $180+ on durians alone. More pictures will be up soon.

Mee pok

I’ve been sinking my teeth (or eyes) into 2 books recently. One that I bought in Singapore and another familiar book which I am revisiting. The book that I bought is of great interest to me: Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View by Garry Friesen, and the other is Undercover by John Bevere.

Although I am more interested in the decision making one, I’m trying to cover John Bevere’s book first. There are many things that I don’t agree with in the book – emotional interpretations and loose handling of scriptures, traditional (old testament) views without much consideration for numerous new testament verses, promotion of top-down leadership approach and not servant mentality, distinct clergy/laity seperation. But my church is doing the series and some points are good. I guess no one view is correct, we all know in part. The decision making one on the other hand seems more like an scholarly study of decision making, with the formation of a kind of christian decision making model and understanding of the will of God. The reviews of the book are fantastic! The first chapter has already got me hooked!

“Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting” – Edmund Burke

Still ringing in my ears: what has changed today since hearing yesterday’s sermon?