Music in Church

2 Weeks of Pagan Christianity

Chapter 7 starts out with this statement:

“In the early church, singing and leading songs was a corporate affair, not a professional event led by specialists.”

The book traces the history of many of the musical aspects of church, such as the Gregorian chant, papal choirs, boys’ choirs, the use of instruments, the funeral dirge, hymns, and special music.

A few facts:

“During Constantine’s reign, choirs were developed to train and help celebrate the Eucharist.”

“The congregation of God’s people became spectators, not only in spoken ministry, but in singing as well.”

“The Reformers restored congregational singing and the use of instruments.”

“Through Calvary Chapel and the Vineyard, revolutionary musical changes took root in the church.”

“In many contemporary churches, the choir has been replaced by the worship team.”

Only a footnote is devoted to the “worship wars” in the church. Disagreement over traditional and contemporary music has caused division and far too many church splits in recent years.

The main argument against professionally led singing is that it “becomes more like entertainment than corporate worship.”

Personally, I have a great appreciation for talented musicians and a good song service. I think there can be a great deal of participation with musician-led singing. I’ve been in services where the audience is very involved and in services where the audience mostly watched the show. I’ve also been in small groups with spontaneous singing, although I must say that it is somewhat awkward for those who can’t sing.

The principle the authors suggest is “everyone actively participating together spontaneously.”

Is this realistic or doable? If so, how do you envision it? And what about the non-musical among us?

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26 thoughts on “Music in Church

  1. I haven’t read the book, so maybe they address this, but since when has worship been reduced to singing — and usually songs of limited emotional (not to mention theological) range? I’ve moved in the past few years from being a big fan of those “revolutionary” worship songs, to sitting in church wondering why there is really no pain, grief, alienation, bewilderment, whatever allowed in the worship set — at least not for more than half a verse. That isn’t what I see when I read the psalms.

  2. Actually, the claim that the Reformers restored the use of instruments in worship is wrong. The dominant tradition in the AnteNicene churches was non-instrumental. Several sources indicate that the Christians associated instruments in worship with two things (1) pagan worship and (2) pagan militarism. Not using instruments in worship was one of the (many) points on which early Christians differentiated themselves from the surrounding pagan society. The introduction of instruments into worship came later, as more and more concessions to Roman culture were being made in the churches.

  3. Grace, let me say that I have really enjoyed this series and I hope I will enjoy wrestling with the book when it comes this weekend; I have not read it.

    I have a hard time with corporate singing. I have an even harder time with happy, clappy, soft-rock “praise bands.” This is surprising because I led worship in a previous life for nearly 10 years, and I’m still a very active and dedicated musician.

    I have heard it preached that worship is a lifestyle, and yet all I have seen from every church has been more, better, louder music. I assume this is because corporately, music is the easiest thing to centrally control and so it’s the only thing institutionally they will commit to. Music also happens to be one of the most powerful forms of emotional expression we know. I must ask myself the question though, what would happen if the church removed it altogether? Would it force us to see and acclimatize ourselves to a lifeSTYLE of worship? Do we need to get out of our sunday singing comfort zone to realize those songs are written to be the soundtrack of our life, not of our Sunday mornings?

    For many, singing songs is an emotional release. But that’s simply all it is, and it’s selfish. Does it build others up, or is it entirely emotionally self serving, so that we walk out sunday morning ‘feeling good’? Why do we need to raise our hands on sundays to symbolize surrender to God when we should surrender with our decisions during the week? Isn’t God happier when we make decisions and do things instead of honoring God with our lips, as a famous scripture says?

    I think I would have less of a problem with worship music if it was written with the whole spectrum of emotion that David wrote in the psalms. As it is, we cheer on “Jesus is our boyfriend” happy music that has all the complexity of a Britney Spears pop single. Not just lyrically, but musically as well.

    I don’t have a fully formed alternative, but I will say that I literally can’t stand most worship music anymore.

  4. In our own culture, music is a real big deal–more popular than sports, video games. The discovery of being able to use current music to express our faith is a great thing today.

    There is more than emotion to music. It tells a story. The power of story is part of our postmodern society and so music is here to stay as an expression of our journey of faith.

  5. I may have been too brief in my introduction.

    Thom,
    In the book, the authors trace several periods where instruments were and were not used both before the Reformation and after. Hymn singing and the use of instruments became more generally accepted after the Wesleyan revival.

    Maria and Dan,
    The authors do not equate singing to worship, and I was careful not to also in my post. This chapter was about the history of music and singing in the church. It is possible that singing was not equated with worship until recent history with the worship team and worship music. Not to say that singing can’t be worship or that worship can’t be singing, just that worship is more than singing, as you both said.

    Rich,
    Thanks for bringing up the narrative aspect of music. It brings to mind the negro spiritual. Those were not certainly all happy songs, many were songs of lament. However, there were also many songs of joy in spite of the circumstances. I think there can be an aspect of our music and singing that shapes our identity as a people.

  6. I’ve led – what you all call “contemporary worship” for over 20 years – and these questions are real difficult for us as we look at “simple church”. I can tell you where I’m at right now, anyway – but my views are changing by the day it seems. However, revelation only really changes in how its applied – not in what it is.

    In the context of “synagogue” (4 songs – anouncements – an offering – a sermon – and an altar call with music), the music becomes just another facet of something that seems to find little scriptural basis. It’s not the music that has no scriptural basis – it’s the synagogue.

    If you take the music out of the “synagogue” setting – and put it in a “temple” setting – where everyone is praying, praising, prophecying, and yes “worshipping” – then it seems to be a lot closer to its scriptural basis. In the “synagogue” setting – false motives (being up front, the center of attention, etc) can easily abound (this goes for musician, pastor, whoever is “up front”). In the “temple” setting – I’m not so sure they can. I reflect the other brother sentiments in some

    Most of the Psalms were composed in a “temple” setting where the musicians and singers were dedicated exculsively to that activity. This is found in 1 Chron 25 where David established 24 groups of 12 people who had the duty of coming before the Lord 1 hour every day. These groups were led by a “father” – with his “sons and relatives”. Overseeing the groups were the “grandfathers” – Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun. This thing looks amazingly like a house church, or cell church format – in that you have David an apostolic figure (architect and builder of this thing), three prophets, twelve “fathers”, and 288 “sons and relatives”. It is built relationally – not hierarchically – even on the foundation of the “apostles and prophets”.

    Now David did something very strange with these “groups of 12” – I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone address this – so I’m out on a limb here. Anyway – he stuck them right beside, and put them perfectly in sync with the guys doing the “burnt offering”. This practice is reimplemented with nearly every revival in the Old Testament. Praise with music, prophecy, prayer – implemented along side the burnt offering. 1 Chr 16:39-43; 2 Chr 7:1-6; 2 Chr 29:24-28.

    This last passage ties it very neatly to the “burnt offering” in that “As the offering began, singing to the LORD began also, accompanied by trumpets and the instruments of David king of Israel”.

    The “burnt offering” is a continual offering – it is never to go out – it must be kept burning – it must not go out. (see Lev 6:8-13)

    And I might be perfectly willing to lay down the keyboard or guitar and call all of that “Old Testament” – a dispensation gone by – except for the following:

    Heb 13:15 – let us CONTINUALLY offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips (calves of our lips in Hosea 14:2) that confess His Name.

    Eph 5:19-20 psalms (implies musical instruments by it’s meaning) – hymns, spiritual songs – giving thanks ALWAYS (at all times)

    Then – there’s the idea – that the apostles in Acts – daily went to the temple – for an hour of “prayer”. (Acts 3:1)

    This directive is to the “group” – as so many of these passages are becoming to “us” these days.

    And then – if that’s not enough to convince anyone – you have Revelation 5 – the ultimate in a “participatory” meeting. So participatory that it looks like a multiperson “ping pong” match.

    Anyway – right in the middle of that – are 24 elders with harps (a “band” if you will) – with prayer and praise and prophecy and yes culminating even in “worship” – where the 24 cast their crowns to Him who is their total and absolute everything ….

    The ultimate goal in any musical setting is that you’ll end up on your face in a heap before the Living God…

    The fact of the matter is – God loves music – He’s a musical God – as we participate in that aspect of Him – “the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own”.

    And all of that – to say this – its not going away – but how it surfaces – and where it really “fits” in the new wineskin – I’d sure love to hear your ideas and revelation.

  7. Actually – as I re-read this – I noticed that I got the numbers wrong –

    This thing looks amazingly like a house church, or cell church format – in that you have David an apostolic figure (architect and builder of this thing), three prophets, 24 “fathers” (matches the 24 elders in Revelation 5), and 288 “sons and relatives”….

    I’d never seen the corelation until now.

  8. In my experience in a simple church some sing, some do not. In any event, we are to make a joyful noise, not necessarily a musical one.

    Sometimes I think we over complicate these issues and questions. Why does there have to be a certain way this is done. Or, even certain ways?

    Music is important and powerful but just like other aspects of worship (living our lives as a sacrifice to Father) this is expressed in different ways at different times.

  9. If I had a nickel for every time someone tried to discuss music in the church on a blog and the phrase “Jesus is my boyfriend” came up, I’d be quite wealthy.

    As it is, if I see that term one more time, I think I’ll puke.

    Style preferences always seem to cloud any discussion of music, and it is frustrating to see the conversation immediately go in the direction of broad sweeping generalizations about a particular style or phase in church music.

    Grace, thank you for pointing out that you didn’t equate music with worship, nor did Viola/Barna. The point that they make is extremely valid and gets lost in the personal biases. That point is simply this:

    Something that is described in scripture as participatory and “body-led” was wrested away from the people and given to “professionals”.

    And it still remains that way in many (most?) churches today. That is the greater disgrace, above even the content or style that some have preferences and biases against.

  10. So, a real musician doesn’t have a scriptural right to exist (or function) in a simple setting?

    Is that what you’re all saying? If I brought a guitar to your house meeting, would you make me leave it at the door? I can play in any key you start singing in, and accompany about any song you start – even if you make it up on the spot.

    Oh sure, I can teach, or prophesy, or help you fix your stereo or HD TV too – or get your messed up PC back on its feet again – do I have to leave all of those gifts at the door of your house meeting too?

    Just wondering – does “simple” mean we don’t pray or praise God anymore?

  11. Let’s be careful here. Almost everyone participating in this thread so far is a musician, and I know that Steve and Rich are professional musicians. The authors have not said they don’t have a right to exist or function.

    The question is how participation can be encouraged in the regular gathering of believers and avoid being entertainment and performance.

    Personally, I don’t necessarily believe that stage-led automatically means non-participatory. Obviously the applications here vary between a larger gathering and a gathering in a home.

    Perhaps part of the issue is in trying to envision a single type of gathering for every meeting. I sometimes love a large corporate worship gathering. I also enjoy an intimate gathering in a home (where it would be awesome to have an in-house musician available!).

    In the large meetings I’ve been in where the worship was participatory, there was a willingness to open the mike, and there was a natural flow between the music led by the musicians and others who offered scriptures, encouragement, prophetic words, testimony, and sometimes a spontaneous song.

    I have also been in large meetings that I would describe as participatory even though the audience members stayed in their seats. Their participation was in that they were fully engaged with the singing, rather than passively spectating.

    Music and musicians are a valuable gift to the body. How can we best use their gifts in our gatherings?

  12. Steve,

    The “Jesus is my boyfriend” comment has nothing to do with musical style, and everything to do with lyrical depth. Most of the lyrics cycling through today’s churches are shallow; that was my point by that comment.

    That’s not to say I think we should all go back to singing hymns with subjectively “more depth.” As a culture we are getting worse and worse at expressing emotion in healthy ways, so I expect our songwriting is simply a reflection of that.

    Grace,
    Part of the problem with re-envisioning music in our gatherings is that for most churches it already holds a central role, second only to preaching. Also, many organic churches have tried to replicate the “music ministry” on a smaller scale rather than reinventing how music is used.

    I don’t think there’s one simple answer for every gathering, but I can say that I don’t think the current model of church band+passive audience will stick.

  13. Grace, thanks for bringing this up. I can only imagine you thought twice about it, knowing what a volatile subject church music can be!

    Jerry-
    I so appreciate your taking time to outline the OT basis for music in worship. Although the NT very much guides our thinking about church- and it should- I can’t (won’t) discount the obvious detailed accounts of worship in the OT as incidental. We have that record for a reason. While Christ’s death eliminated the need for blood sacrifice in worship, there’s no indication he meant to do away with every aspect of Temple worship. As you said, prayer, sacrifice (offering), prophesy- all valid part of OT and NT worship.

    I wonder why the music gets us in such a stir? There were specific Levites assigned to lead music (OT). It’s clear in the NT that certain folks naturally fell into positions of leadership and teaching in the “simple churches” (though I’m not sure I really buy into that term anymore.) Why not song leaders?

    As we discussed on one of Grace’s earlier posts about PC, ideally, the responsibility for various aspects of worship would alternate through a number of folks gifted in those areas. Realistically, since we’re a church of broken, sinful, sometimes selfish, often self conscious, exhausted, over-committed, stuck-in-a-rut real people- that isn’t how it usually works out.

    On the subject of happy music– Isn’t praise supposed to be a positive thing? Since we incorporate teaching into our services, music can and should also teach, inform, and voice our other emotions. But, to me, praise is the dominant purpose for our worship music, and that is generally uplifting. When I tell you I think you’ve done a great job at something, or that your shirt is a wonderful color, shouldn’t I feel good after praising you? Is there any reason we shouldn’t feel good when we praise God?

    I would personally be thrilled if there were some folks clamoring to help me and my husband out with leading music in our service. The reality is that when we just want one special song, it sometimes takes 6 months to get someone to commit. There occasionally are other times when a person agrees to help out with a song, but they’re often unwilling to practice before hand and prefer to just show up and offer up whatever comes out. Is that scriptural?

    If you’re one of the folks who decry having special musicians, when is the last time you volunteered to lead a song or play an instrument in worship? For that matter, have you put your name on the list for speakers for when the pastor is out of town?

    Bottom line is that music does elicit emotions in us-positive and negative. Because of that, we tend to get passionate about our preferences. We’ll do well to remember that we’re all trying to live out God’s plan for the church, and different preference are just that.

  14. Hello, All!

    Yes, the music wars…. I come from that group who had a split over the use of instruments. What a sad thing–not going to go there today!

    I think that the greater point in all of this is that we are at all times and in all way to use all of our creativity to offer ourselves to God. Music is a powerful medium for communicating ideas WITH emotion. Music is a very special gift from God and it grieves me to see it boxed up, like so many other gifts from God, to be used in such and such a way only.

    One of the biggest challenges of the house or simple church arena is the music (Jerry, you could be my new best friend, dude!). And it has a lot to do with preconceived ideas about just how one worships God with music. To require all to sing or play goes against the very heart of worship…but so does narrowly defining what singing or playing is appropriate.

    Too many groups, large or small, are unwilling to embrace the ambiguity of allowing greater breadth of worship styles. They want the ease and comfort of what is expected and known. And while this may work for some, I have a sense that some of this is an issue of maturity.

    Does our worship smack of immaturity precisely because we foster immaturity?

  15. Well, early gatherings started out simple enough:

    They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

    Usually on “the first day of the week.”

    Then Paul made room for additional spiritual giftings to be expressed, I assume, upon this original framework. The trend toward allowing more artistic expression in worship is one of the hallmarks of emerging groups. And of course one must make practical concessions of what is going to be ‘expressed’ based on the size of the group & the physical environment it meets in.

    Personally, I can do without singing. Especially in a smaller group. And more so it is expected. No thank you. It can be awkward. Well, while I am on a roll, I do not much like public prayer either. Sorry. It’s my knee-jerk reaction to the prophetic debacle I extricated myself from…

    Definitely do not like the ‘choir’ arrangement of the big churches. No thank you. And the ‘praise’ band? Can be pleasant, but please, please, do not try to ‘amp’ up the crowd with whatever is considered acceptable ‘worship’ manipulation…

    Music consists of such varied forms. I would think adapting something to a small group easy to accommodate. I am not a big fan of a cappella singing either, but then I am not a gifted singer. But I do know what sounds good… :)

    The more I think about, the more I like the idea of quiet contemplation advocated by the Quakers…

    Hey, maybe we can incorporate a personal meditative “your choice of music” time. Just BYOI (bring-your-own-iPod). No need to inconvenience your neighbor & whatever is considered inspiring something you bring along to listen to…

    I prefer a low-key gathering that strangely enough looks like a group getting together for fun-food-fellowship. Yes, one can further expand what is considered fun or fellowship, but the element of worship not a formalized ritual, even if it looks like a gifted guitar playing type leading the group in psalms, hymns or spiritual songs…

  16. Personally, I regularly experience both spontaneous singing and leader led singing on a fairly regular basis and appreciate both. In my mind, both have their place and there is nothing inherently wrong with one or the other. In my experience, you really need the right mix of people to have spontaneous singing when the setting moves beyond close friends meeting in a living room, though. I’ve found it more common here in the SW than elsewhere around the country. I think it is the Hispanic influence. There are some Hispanics at my church who love to break out in Spanish song and get the rest of us native English speakers to join in. It can actually be quite beautiful, despite the butchered Spanish of many in the congregation.

    MB

  17. Ok, by now all must know how I’m all for the “particapatory” aspects… ;o)

    As a musician (cello, never received remuneration so I wouldn’t classify as “professional” [nor am I good enough for such…Yo Yo Ma’s perfection just makes me want to do a Who on my instrument] I guess that allows me to speak somewhat authoritatively to this issue.

    I was raised in a non-instrumental religious tradition from which I departed at age 44. Subsequently I found much satisfaction and joy in the Lord through the combination of vocal and instrumental musical expression in corporate worship. When the instrumentalist and the congregation find “the groove” together something powerful happens which could only be acknowledged as a work of the Spirit of God. Such times (relatively few) have reduced me to a blathering, middle-aged lump of tearfulness slumped over a vintage cello in danger of being flood damaged. So, I wouldn’t write-off the wonderful reality of worship to God through vocal and instrumental musical engagement.

    But, Grace (and Viola/Barna) expresses well the concern;

    “The question is how participation can be encouraged in the regular gathering of believers and avoid being entertainment and performance.”

    My experience serves to also highlight some of the negatives.

    Some “worship leaders” have trouble distinguishing performance from “leading in/to participation”. I have both played with and been in the congregation attempting to participate with some “worship leaders” who felt the necessity to control the experience in such a way that as worship participation began to occur the leader became intimidated/uncomfortable and short-circuited the participation (“ok, sit down now please” for instance). This is especially disconcerting when “leadership” doesn’t see a problem.

    Also, a paid, professional musician/worship leader is still an accoutrement of an institutional mindset where specialization is demanded…just as with “The Pastor”.

    I appreciate Jerry’s insight into the structure of the Temple musicians and singers. I had never made those connections. I would not take those connections as either “authorization” or as a pattern that must be followed, but I would try to understand those things as a prefiguring of some reality which has found it’s “fullness” in Christ.

    If Jerry met with the ekklesia I’m a member of he and his guitar (acoustic, I presume, but a Telecaster can be esthetically useful) would be welcome and encouraged. We would love your contribution to our gathering! And I hope you yourself would be the real subject of our love…not just because of your musical ability. And, since we strive to be participatory you would be following others more so than you would be “leading”…we wouldn’t be waiting around for you to set the musical agenda.

    If any practice in the assembly of saints stifles participation it should be suspect and subject to scrutiny for disposal.

    Tom

  18. My friends Todd and Angie are the worship leaders at The Bridge, my spiritual community. Todd and Angie are forever cognizant of breaking the spectator/entertainment vibe that we’ve all be trained with in traditional church settings. Nearly every week they are telling our small church to worship God anyway we want and to be a part of the mix. But we are a small church so there is a lot of breathing room for spontaneity and community participation. I think bigger churches with full-on worship departments and huge worship teams have a very big challenge to unplug the worship-as-entertainment machine.

    Todd has recently posted an article at The Ooze about how to start an alternative worship service in your church .You can check it out at

    http://www.theooze.com/articles/article.cfm?id=1434

  19. Grace ,
    I think this is a really touchy subject, obviously it is from the comments already.
    I also have not read the book , but like every one I have an opinion :D
    Music is a powerful “tool” in the environment in a service( what ever kind of service ). I think there are time it can be a hindrance.
    I have attended a charismatic church in the past, served as an usher there and I was drawn to that place primarily by the music. But after about a year of it , the music became sort of a hollow expression. I was getting something from it, But music in and of it’s self is not transforming. I would hate to see music be removed from worship services, but I also think there could be great worship with no music at all.
    Personally I am very much affected by what I listen to and what I sing. There have been plenty of times that when I was all alone, playing my guitar & singing or singing along with Worship (or other ) music , I have had really wonderful encounters with the Father. I do believe that God inhabits the praises of his people , but not that music is the only “praise ” that He inhabits.
    In my humble opinion, Music is an important “element” of worship(especially if you are a musician) I think it is like anything else though , it can become an idol and if that is what it becomes it isn’t worship at all .
    Peace

  20. I led a Bible study, yes as an institutional “the pastor” as well as “institutional worship leader”–how to worship without music. It was a blast of a concept. We did go back to music, of course.

    I think entertainment is not a problem. Narrative is by its nature entertaining and we should be story tellers. This is what good art does and preaching , worship, liturgy can bring this to a higher artistic level. It does not make it bad because it actually is quality! It makes it effective. I’m a real guy who happens to have a mic, but I think we need to value options to get people to participate that fit their cultural tendencies. This is hard work and worthy work to specialize in. I love it!

  21. The way I look at the gathering of the saints is this – if the Lord brings a musician into your group – you’re probably going to have some good music. If the Lord brings an intercessor into your group – you’re probably going to have a lot of good praying. If the Lord brings a prophetic person into your group – you’re probably all going to learn to prophesy to one another – and revelation is going to abound. If the Lord brings a pastor (referring to the pastoral gifting – not the “office”) into your group – you’re probably going to be well nurtured. If the Lord brings an evangelist into your group – you’re going to see people get saved.

    When you put it all together – you have a singing, praying, revelatory, well nurtured group that loves to see people get saved (and is very good at it). If that’s the mix (of members) you end up with. I realize that that is very neat – and the real world doesn’t work all that concisely – and people generally have a multiplicity of gifts.

    However, in the sense of “gathering” and “honoring one another” and “submitting one to another” – when the group is really being assembled to one another – it’s like putting together the pieces of a bicycle or something. This is really “an assembly” if you will. You can “gather” forever and never truly be “assembled”. Throwing all the pieces of the bicycle in the box is “gathering” – putting all the pieces together is “assembling”. The bicycle doesn’t go anywhere – until it’s assembled.

    Heb 10:25 – and the “assembling of the saints” is a “one another” scripture. One of the keys is accepting and receiving who the Lord brings along side you. Trouble is – they may not be like you AT ALL. The other key is figuring out just what gifting you and they guy or gal standing beside you really has. Most people don’t know at all. What really makes you tick – and how can you tick in sync with the others?

    If the musician can’t be musical, or the prophet can’t be prophetic, or the pastor can’t be looking out after someone, or the teacher can’t be instructing someone – or – if you’re only doing one of these things – then I suspect your assembly is really just a gathering underneath someone who thinks that the Lord is altogether like them – and who thinks that everyone else should be just like them too.

    This will create uniformity – but it sure won’t create unity or an assembly. The group won’t last long because nobody will “fit” – kind of like church as we know it. The only two people that “fit” in the traditional charismatic service are the pastor and the worship leader. So sure I do understand people’s strong reaction to the “position” of worship leader. Still that strong reaction doesn’t change God’s view of music – He seemingly has quite a lot of it going on in heaven – with harps and singing and all of that.

  22. It can happen, but I don’t think it’s something you can count on or plan out. The best we can do is get music leaders (of whatever form) who are conscious of involving the congregation as best they can. It will still be a performance for some, but others will be drawn in and swept up in the musical praise. I’ve seen it happen, so I know it’s possible.

  23. Jerry wins.

    Actually, I’ve had the rare opportunity to actually see the model Jerry’s talking about WORK, and be beautiful.

    Seems that the bulk of the barriers we’ve faced is:

    unwillingness to be honest
    fear of criticism
    crippling depression

    These are ongoing things to address, but the “coming alongside” and “assembling” thing really puts everyone in a beautiful place where the root is encountering God, learning to be grateful, and appreciating each other’s uniqueness.

    I’m serious.

    These things tend to happen when those gifted at teaching show the assembly how to get at the depths of their expressions of worship, messy and painful, and those gifted at pastoring are compassionate to what that exploration does in folks, the ones who prophecy look ahead and share the hope and purpose of these expressions and the apostles reinforce the whole organism and help it grow.

  24. wow, silence…… I think I killed this thing.

    Flip side is, I’ve gotten so beat up over these ideas that if you say “boo” behind me I jump to the ceiling, as you saw my earlier reaction. What I described earlier was “the assembly” in heaven – Revelation 5 if you will. No sin, no devil.

    Earths’ version – throw in a little jealousy, control, bitterness, lust, hurt, rejection, superiority – oh yeah – the manipulator’s main weapon – guilt and shame. Easy to see why hierarchy rules the day…..

    We had to leave the institutional church – mostly in a shambles, hurt, struggling with bitterness, pretty much all that’s left is this “seed”. The idea that “I have won” anything is foreign to me. Yeah – I have seen it work – in small groups – and even in a large congregational meeting too – make room for Jesus – and Jesus will show up – but He does it thru THE BODY (not an elite chosen few).

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