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My Daily Life and Thoughts while in San Diego | List of Best Posts
This blog is where I express myself to the world or at least to those who might stop by to read what I post . Maybe God will use what I post (I am a Christian and this blog will have a most decidedly Christian bent to it) to good effect in the lives of my readers.

I may turn some of my posts into a book. I may cease blogging here altogether. Who knows. But for now..I am content to post away in this, my own little corner of the world.

Rather than reading through my now lengthy list of posts you may wish to read what I consider to be my very best posts or you can just read the posts that deal with a single subject category that might interest you.

Please know that I am open to any input on any topic I write about. If you have something to say about anything you see written here please....feel free to speak up in the form of leaving a comment or sending me a PM (private message).

And if you are in San Diego and wish to meet the one and only Carlos (that's me )...drop me a private message. I always enjoy meeting one of my readers!



PS. If you want to follow my blog such that you will get an email when I write new posts you can subscribe to my blog.
Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

On Stealing Sheep and Church Hopping...

Posted 11-23-2009 at 12:37 PM by carlos123

A few days ago I was invited to attend a church by a Christian who also wanted to make sure that I was not involved already in a good church given that her church was careful about not being seen as stealing sheep.

While I appreciated her offer...it also reminded me of how off the wall the modern Christian church is with respect to what is biblical or not regarding the various "traditions" or viewpoints that have just become an accepted "truth" of Christianity today.

One such "truth" is the whole concept of sheep stealing.

What churches mean when they refer to this is that they do not want to encourage or otherwise pull members from another church to then become members at their church. That they want to respect the boundaries between one's own local church and theirs. Presumably because they want others to respect what they perceive to be their own boundaries.

The problem with this view is that biblically there is no such thing as "sheep stealing" not to mention that the reality of the situation among churches is such that a great big, overwhelming majority of church members have come from other churches.

In other words most church members today in most churches in North America have not come straight from conversion to the church they are in. They have come from other churches.

To be sure it does not happen as a result of one church focusing on getting sheep from any other church per se but the fact that sheep go from one church to another all the time is an indisputable fact.

In that sense, any attempt to be seen as not sheep stealing, is like me trying to prevent myself from being seen as eating food. Given that I engage in the act of eating food regardless makes any attempt to be seen as not eating food a ridiculous exercise in who knows what.

If churches were really, really against sheep stealing then they would do nothing to encourage members from other churches to switch churches by offering better programs or otherwise.

Rather every church would unselfishly encourage their members to visit and participate in the services of other churches. Losing themselves in promoting His Church and having little concern for increasing their own membership.

Which brings me to the most fundamental problem of all with the whole concept of "sheep stealing".

It's not biblical!!

Whose members are we as Christians? Do we "belong" to a particular body of local Christians who meet in one particular building on Sundays or do we in fact belong to the Lord and to His Body?

Are we one Body or many?

Romans 12:4-5
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
We ARE...ONE Body!

That is not just a nice sounding theory but a truth that we are to live by! But which most churches do NOT live by.

How can anyone steal one member of my body and then incorporate them as a member on another part of my same one body?

It's the same body!!

You can no more steal one member of my body to only give it back to my same body than one "church" can steal a sheep and make it a member of a different "church"!

The whole concept of sheep stealing belies a complete misunderstanding of the essential oneness of His Body!!

Furthermore it belies a complete misunderstanding of what the Church is.

A church is a visible and local assembly of some of the members of the one Body that meets in a particular building on Sundays. But...that is not THE Church! The Church is the one Body comprised of all believers!

The local assembly "church" is not a different Church than the overall Church. It is simply a part of it. A very small part of it at that.

There should be no boundaries between local churches! We are one body! His Body!

If we as Christians were to implement these truths the way we should there would no longer be this concept of your church or my church...for we would all belong to the same one Body manifestation of the Church.

We would become a city wide Church just as it was in the New Testament.

There wasn't a Baptist church or Pentecostal church in the New Testament. There was the church of Jerusalem or the church of Ephesus or the church of Antioch or even the church that met in so and so's house.

Furthermore how exactly do we "go to church"? How do you go to something that we are all members of? The one Body Church.

Do we "go to our friendships"? Do we "go to our biological brothers and sisters"? Do we "go to our fellow Americans"?

That's just silly. We get with our friends. We get with our brothers and sisters. We are with our fellow Americans in the U.S.

But we don't go to them as though they are this inanimate object that exists in time and place such that we can "go" to it.

The whole concept of "going" to church is a misnomer of what church is about. It is a concept that has come down to us from the established modern day (relatively speaking) practice of meeting inside particular buildings on Sundays. "Church" has become associated with a place you go to.

So instead of being the Church the church has become this place you go to.

Which is completely unbiblical!

Which itself ties into another sacred "tradition" of modern Christianity. The idea that "church hopping" is somehow evil and not something that should be done.

The whole concept of "church hopping" just like the concept of "stealing sheep" is based on faulty ideas of the one Body Church.

One can no more hop one member of my body to another part of the same body than a church member can be accurately said to be church (or body) hopping when the truth of the matter is that they belong to one and the same body! That there are no different bodies that one can hop around to!

Now I know that these concepts may be foreign to many of you. Perhaps some of you might even think that what I am saying is itself off the wall.

But I would ask you for a bit to stop looking at the whole concept of church through modern-day Christian glasses and ask yourself if what I am saying is biblical?

Are we one Body?

Yes or no?

And if we are one Body, and you cannot be intellectually honest and dispute that as a fundamental truth about the Body biblically speaking, what are the implications of that for our practice?

Does our practice of church today line up with that truth?

Furthermore are the concepts of "sheep stealing" and "church hopping" based on this understanding of us being one Body or something else?

I am not saying anything outlandish or weird. Indeed it is perfectly biblical unless someone can show me why it is not.

The problem, as I see it, is that WE of today are not being biblical in our application of truth regarding the Church.

We have become accustomed to all kinds of church "traditions" that are not in line with what the Lord wants!

Mark 7:6-7
Don't get me wrong. I am all for the exercise of biblical authority through godly men (otherwise called elders biblically). To submission to authority in our lives out of conscience toward God. To learning that submission in part, by being involved in deep and stable relationships with members of His Body through which the Lord can also speak into our lives to encourage, correct, or otherwise help us in our Christian walk.

Don't take anything I have said to be otherwise.

But the modern day practice of church going as seen in the concepts of "sheep stealing" and "church hopping" (which betray a deep and foundational misunderstanding of the essence of what church is supposed to be about), is unbiblical and counterproductive to the advancement of His Kingdom and of His glory.

As I have said before we need to stop playing church and become THE Church the Lord means for us to be.

We need to leave aside modern day "doctrines of men" and get back to being all the Church the Lord means for us to be.

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