Paul's Passing Thoughts

The “Church” is a Laity Movement that Doesn’t Necessarily Exclude the Educated

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 1, 2014

There seems to be a fundamental weakness among all of the “revolutionary” home fellowship movements in our day: they are started by those of evangelical academia. Invariably, though their observations are spot on, their movements are only programs that support the institutional church, or simply, “church” as opposed to Christ’s assembly.

The key to success of home fellowships is a return to the 1st century model that was laity-driven and necessarily suspicious of the formally educated. It also needs to make a complete break with the church. Jesus chose to build His assembly with the blue collar class of that day—nothing is more obvious. An emphasis on formal education does not align with where Christ placed emphasis—not even close.

Throughout the New Testament, we see lack of “education” and “authority” as a persistent issue used against the apostles. The apostle Paul was concerned that his education would make him a mere preference among the popular religious philosophers of that day. Credentials almost always lead to man-following rather than Christ-following.

Paul describes the typical home fellowships of that day:

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.

This also helps us to understand election. Notice that a particular class of individuals is the “calling.” God doesn’t preselect individuals per se, but groups, or categories. The noble are not excluded, they are simply not targeted by God because they do not fit into His overall purposes. They do exclude themselves due to a natural tendency towards arrogance. The lowly are more predisposed to seeking God. Likewise, God chose Israel, but by no means excluded the rest of the nations from salvation—He targeted Israel as His own unique people to show forth His salvation to the rest of the world.

However, the New Covenant also targets the Gentiles equally. They were never excluded, but when the Jews rejected their Messiah, God targeted the Gentiles as fully privileged heirs of the Abrahamic covenant to make the Jews jealous:

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.

Does this mean that salvation was never offered to the Gentiles before this? Of course not, it means that the Gentiles were then emphasized as equal heirs of salvation with the Jews—the Gentiles were no longer second class citizens in God’s kingdom. They were made equals with God’s chosen people as one holy nation of priests. Consequently, more Gentiles would be saved because of the shift in focus, but overall, God is not responsible for the natural worldviews that form people’s choices.

And, the noble were not elected to oversee Christ’s assembly, they have usurped that calling from the class of people God chose:

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.

Hence, if God preselected particular individuals, there wouldn’t be any saved nobles, but in contrast, they are free to choose, and many do because their judgment is not clouded by a caste worldview.


One Response

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  1. Christian said, on October 1, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    Love this post!


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