Sunday, June 21

Did Jesus actually say do these things?

More from *Victor Choudhrie...
  • Jesus never asked you to worship only on Sundays. His disciples worshiped daily, broke bread from house to house and the Lord added to the church daily and the churches were planted daily. (Acts 2: 46-47; 16:5; Heb. 3:13)

  • Jesus never said that only the pastors can serve bread and wine. Jesus served roast lamb, bread, bitter herb and wine for the last supper. Whenever His disciples gathered they shared Agape meals together in His remembrance. (Exo. 12:8; 1 Cor. 11:20-26)

  • Jesus did not say that you should tithe. According to His teachings, the disciples opened their homes and shared their possessions with others so that no one lacked anything. (Acts 4: 32-34; Deut. 8:17-18)

  • Jesus did not ask you to build a church building. He said God does not live in houses made with human hands because the heaven is His throne and the earth is His foot stool. Now we are the temple of the living God. (Acts 7: 48-49; 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Cor. 3:9)

  • Jesus did not say that you appoint qualified professional pastors. He gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers to equip His church. (Eph. 4:11-12)

  • Jesus did not say that only the Pastors can baptize. Jesus said you go and make disciples and baptize them. (Matt. 28:19)

  • Jesus did not ask the pastor to bury. He said let the dead bury the dead, you go and raise the dead. (Luke 9:60; Matt. 10:8)

  • Jesus did not ask you to follow the church program. He said follow me and I will make you fishers of men. He did not ask you to send believers to Sunday service or the Bible school. He said send the laborers to the harvest fields. He said he who gathers is with Me and he who scatters is against Me. (Matt. 4:19, 9:38, 12:30)

  • Jesus did not ask you to organize crusades and conventions. He will not judge you on the basis of large crowds or the wonderful worship and beautiful music. He will judge on what you did for the little and the least of the world. (Matt. 25:31-46,18:3-6; Isa. 58:6-9)

  • Jesus did not say that only men can talk in the church and the women should cover their head and keep quiet. He made them talk, even allowed them to argue with Him in public. (Luke 10:40; Mark 7:24-30)

  • Jesus did not say that you are just a layman. He bought you with His blood and ordained you priest and king. As royal priests, make disciples, baptize, equip fishers of men and rule on earth. (Rev. 5:9-10; 1 Pet 2:9)
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*Victor Choudhrie gave up his medical practice for full time church planting in central India. Along with his wife Bindu, large numbers of grassroots level leaders have been trained who have planted thousands of house churches all over India. After reading, you may not agree with some of Choudrie's interpretations of the various Scriptures quoted. I personally find his non-western conclusions quite challenging. While mostly agreeing with what Bro. Victor writes, I find several of these difficult to implement in our own church planting context. What about you?

9 comments:

Fox said...

The only one I have somewhat of a qeustion on is the 10th one (on women covering and silence). True Jesus himself did not say this, but Paul did. Is Victor pitting one against the other? Both Gospel referances given by Victor refer to personal communication, not the same situation as what Paul is refering too. This is a dificult issue, but it may be more dangerous to pit Paul against Jesus.

John Marklew said...

Guy

Hope this is relevant.

I had an interesting experience a few years ago in our town. All the local churches had agreed to do a town mission together (praise God!!) this included Church of England (Episcopal), Methodists, Baptists, Charismatics, Evangelicals and Roman Catholics.

Because my ministry has always been evangelism of one sort or another and I suppose because I was seen as "politically safe", I was asked by the leaders to go around all of their churches at a Sunday morning service for a recruitment exercise amongst the lay people.

Quite an eye opener!

But the thing that struck me most was not how different they all were - but how similar they all were including the Roman Catholics which I had expected to be totally different.

They were all led by a man - he was called different things - Pastor, Vicar, Elder, Priest etc. but had the same function. They all sat at the front of the church - they all taught the word - they all administered the "sacrements" they were all clearly in charge and apart from the Independant Evangelical Church, all were paid and had been to bible college of some sort.

Even the services were structured similarly. All on Sunday morning - Welcome then prayer - led communal singing (led by choir, organist or modern band, but all led) - breaking of bread (or wafer) - prayer - notices (my slot) - collection - teach (from the word) - finish. All of them separated the children from the adults - Goodness they all even had refreshments after the service!

I really praise God for the unity that occurred in running that mission that year - the gospel was sown. But it did show me that all traditional style churches are in many ways exactly the same because of the structure.

I hope I don't offend anyone by lumping together some of these denominations - but that was the way it was. I hasten to add I met many people who were passionate for Jesus and loved him dearly in ALL the churches I visited.

So when I hear the word Pastor, Vicar, Elder or Priest in reference to traditional church I don't see much difference.

John

GuyMuse said...

Fox,

I don't think Victor's intent is to pit Paul against Jesus. Scripture does not contradict itself. If Jesus allowed women to speak/minister then maybe we need to reexamine our understanding of some of Paul's words and what he meant when writing these things that, to some, might seem go against what Jesus taught.

Mark,

Interesting observation. Thanks for sharing this experience with us. We too have found that in all churches, denominations, gatherings, etc. one finds many people passionate for Jesus and loved him dearly. What I see is an immense army eagerly waiting to engage in the battle with King Jesus leading. Sometimes it seems, the sergeants and corporals are more about holding back the troops than releasing them into the harvest.

Lance Johnson said...

I have not read anything Victor Choudhrie wrote so I am not sure exactly what point he is trying to make. If he is saying the modern church has become encumbered with traditions that hinder it rather than help it, I would generally agree. If he is saying we should throw out all that tradition and return to the "New Testament model" I would generally not agree.

This is related to the earlier discussion on this blog about New Testament church practice. The Scripture does not give us strong mandates, only general guidelines that we must faithfully apply to each culture and generation. We really don't know what the New Testament practice was, and just as importantly, if we take these statements to their logical conclusion, Jesus did not say we should duplicate New Testament practice.

My guess is that Choudrie's point is that we should do church more simply. I agree. However, from the snippets posted here it appears he may just want to dismantle the church structure and practice.

I also would take issue with his method of expression. It is catchy, but it is misleading. Jesus did not say many things. He did not say we should wear shoes to church, but that does not mean I should arrive barefoot, nor does it say I should not arrive barefoot. To address one of his points specifically, no Jesus did not say only pastors can serve bread and wine, but neither did he command us to continue the Old Testament Passover. Furthermore, Jesus did not instruct his disciples to share "Agape meals." That is a practice that developed quite a few years after the crucifixion.

When I read these statements as presented I feel like the victim of a drive-by shooting. Instead of aiming his points a a specific issue, he simply shoots them all down with little regard for the consequences. A well placed shot can be very effective—it can take out an enemy soldier or provide food for a hungry family—but drive-y shootings are always destructive rather than constructive.

I know that last paragraph may sound harsh and I hope the readers will not take the illustration too far. My point is that more specific criticisms would be more effective and less destructive.

Debtor Paul said...

I would agree with Lance's comments. I have read more of what Choudrie has written. He often goes well beyond these thought-provoking questions to viciously attacking all who would practice differently than he does. It is not uncommon for him to say things that make you seriously think, but that are found biblically lacking in the end.

While I would take issue with much of what he does say (and how he says it), I would also say that there are reasons he says what he says. Western Christians have made many mis-steps in India (as well as other places). It is sad that Brother Victor cannot see much of the good that has been done by us there, but it is (somewhat) understandable that he takes some of the positions that he does. Also, though he is so far off in many of the things he says, it does not hurt us to think a little, as all here have been provoked to do.

Thank you for the post Guy. Thanks for the comments everyone else. I am blessed to see the balance that is here.

Tim Patterson said...

Guy,

I had the privilege of meeting Victor while serving in South Asia. He is a sincere humble servant and has no ulterior motive or intent other than being part of expanding God's kingdom for God's glory. He is speaking from his context as a participant in a great movement of God across India. I know that he would love to see the harvest they have experienced over the past several years repeated around the world. Since what they are doing works so well there, it stands to reason he would be passionate about it and want others to experience the same.

Though his words may seem harsh to us in the conventional church, we would do well to take what he says and apply the PRINCIPLES of what he is saying. Sure, the context is different in South Asia from our western context, but biblical principles still apply.

We can argue about what is prescriptive or descriptive in the New Testament... but we usually protest the things that challenge us to get off our rears and do something. We would be better off to stop arguing about it, get on with it and obey the commands of Christ no matter the consequences.

GuyMuse said...

Lance, Debtor Paul, and Tim,

Excellent points coming from each of you. I wish you guys were all on our team here. It would make for an even more interesting time!

While personally agreeing with every one of Victor's bullet points, I can certainly understand how someone might feel like the victim of a drive-by shooting.

Several years back, when given the chance, I too, would "shoot off" similar kinds of things daring anyone to contradict. What I soon discovered, though, was that this approach was not helping anyone. It wasn't that the things I was saying were untrue, but those I was speaking to, were not ready to hear them.

It was unrealistic to expect someone to swallow in one sound bite, something that I had been chewing on for years.

It's not so much what we say, but HOW WE SAY IT.

An example of this happened last night. I was invited to a legacy church by a pastor who admitted to me that for years he thought we were "crazy" and "off the wall." He had dismissed us as an irrelevant part of the Kingdom here in Guayaquil. Three years passed, and after having him and his wife over for a meal where we shared our hearts, he invited us to begin teaching/training in his church on Monday nights. While I am sure he wouldn't be convinced of every point of Choudhrie's declarations, HE IS DEFINITELY ONBOARD AND MOVING IN THESE DIRECTIONS. It might be several more years before he is able to give a hearty AMEN to these kinds of "outrageous" declarations about the church, but he has turned the corner and is now beginning to see for himself some of these things.

Last night was a stimulating time of open dialog we had with the church. I tried to be VERY CAREFUL in the language used to address some of these issues. There are a lot of things that simply don't need to be said right off the bat. I tried to focus everything based upon their vision of understanding of what God was leading them to do, and how we might help them more effectively reach their goals. There were many things in their outlook that coincided with ours, and many that did not. But we choose to focus on that which we have in common, and leave the rest--the more controversial issues--for a later time. No need to bring in to the mix matters that have little relevance to the bigger picture.

Again, thanks for each of you for your thoughtful input. I have read and reread all your comments seeking to learn from you and your own pilgrimages.

Debtor Paul said...

I am sure that many (most?) here have read after him too, but I have found George Patterson to be most edifying on these types of issues. He is extremely practical and almost always biblically sound (with a biblical tone as well).

I have friends that are leading some house church planting in South Asia which have profited from both Choudrie and Patterson, but have found Patterson much more useful in the end. If I remember right, they have met them both in the past as well. Anyway, I though I would bring up another name to see if he was read by anyone else. If not, I would suggest him.

GuyMuse said...

Debtor Paul,

George Patterson has been a huge help to us here as well. We have purchased his "Train and Multiply" menu based training and subscribe to his Mentor newsletters (however I haven't received one for quite a while now and wondering if they are being continued?) In the past we have quoted GP and blogged about some of his suggestions. I agree DP, he is a lot more diplomatic in his choice of language to express some of these concepts.