Sojourners Not Soloists

Church History

Martin Luther was forced to respond to the charge that Scripture in the hands of the people, in the language of the people, was a dangerous thing. On the contrary, responded Luther, the Roman Church had built up a wall around Scripture which denied reform of the Church’s teachings and practices. Scripture in the hands of the believers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit is the way things are supposed to be. Indeed, it was the motivating factor behind him translating Scripture into German—the language of his people.

Today we have the opposite problem.

If people are reading Scripture at all (and mind you, Biblical Illiteracy is exceedingly high) they are reading it in a vacuum from other believers—which is an inherent problem of modern technology. We have so many tools available that, those of us who are reading, tend to insulate our thinking from other minds. After all (quoting Scripture and following Luther’s argumentation) “we have no need for anyone to teach us.”

In so doing we might fall into error that has long been addressed in church history.

Recall that Christ ascended and gave gifts and some of those gifts were teachers. It is with those gifts that we are corporately built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God. Even those who have the giftedness of being a teacher can’t get away from the fact that they themselves are strengthened, and even built-up, by other members of the church.

We might have an abundance of tools available at our finger tips but we also have (and this is much better) over two thousand years of The Holy Spirit Himself teaching the church. Two Thousand years of a gifted church (with teachers, exhorters, evangelists, etc) corporately responding to error that has crept in.

As we sojourn in this life, and we individually study scripture on our way, we must make sure to also study in community (your assembly) and in light of history. We’re not soloists who play a one man tune, but are corporatelly a body that is being put together. We should learn from our past as well as our present so that we personally do not get derailed by errors that have long been dealt with. As Michael Patton warns, spring-boarding off a famous saying: “Those who don’t learn heresy are doomed to repeat it.”

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Jottings – Where Love Reigns

The church is not a stage where perfect people perform, but a family and flock where loves reigns.”

Jack Spender speaking at the 2011 Workers & Elders Conference, Raleigh, NC.

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