Christ, The Church

More Than a Method

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ…” ~ Paul in Philippians 3:8


I do not use the term “organic church” to simply describe another method of doing church.  I use the term to help describe the way in which we meet and function.  It’s “organic”, natural.  I guess I could call it “natural church”.  But then that would become just another label for just another method of church.  Blarg.

Why would I move my family halfway across the country for just another method of doing church?  (I’m not that crazy!)  There is absolutely no value in another method.  For what we are doing, for what we are a part of, we gave up a lot.  We broke our family’s heart.  We lost friendships.  We surrendered familiarity and security.  Why would we do all that for another method?  We are not saved by a method.  A formula for church is not why Paul and the other apostles gave their lives.  A method of doing church is not why the Father sent Jesus.  Think about it.  Why all the hubbub over a simple method??  When we moved, we had caught a glimpse of something.  We had found what we were looking for!  What we had found wasn’t organic church.  What we had found was Jesus Christ.

The foundation of Christ laid by the workers for the expression into which we were built was powerful.  Jesus Christ is who and what we saw and heard and tasted and felt and smelled.  We saw that Jesus Christ is alive and well and living in and through His people, the Church!  AMEN!!  He is Head of His Body.  The Church is His expression – His nature expressed on the earth.  Oh, it is a beautiful sight to behold.  When the Church is living in Christ, Christ is living through His Church.  Words escape me right now.

So, I’ll let T. Austin-Sparks talk for a few:

Concerning Jerusalem

Man has constructed his own interpretations of Christianity and of truth, brought in his own systems and has confused things so much that you really do not know, unless you have clear discernment such as Nehemiah had, what is of God and what is not of God. There are multitudes of good, honest, sincere Christian people who really are in the most awful fog as to what is of God and what is not of God religiously. Man’s religious systems have brought about that confusion and multitudes of honest people believe with all their heart that the thing that they are in is of God, and it is just possible for them to get such an awakening to see the whole thing was man-made and not of God at all; “…much rubbish.” Paul was one of those. Reflect upon his past life, privileges, and inheritances which he at one time believed were so utterly and absolutely of God for him, and that he really was in God’s will. He came to a time when he said: “The things which were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ… for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ”; and yet he was so devoted to all that as a traditional religious system in which he at one time was living as out from God, which had now become merely an outward thing of forms and external laws. He believed, nevertheless, that it was all of God until the light shone, until he saw that in comparison with the fullness of Christ it was refuse. It is a strong word that he uses; the word he uses is “stuff to be flung to the dogs.” Saul of Tarsus throwing his Judaism to the dogs! He did it when he saw Christ. You can never come out of the rubbish until you see Christ.

Ask the Lord to reveal to you the fullness of Christ and you will find things which have gripped and held you become as mere refuse, stuff to be flung to the dogs. There was much rubbish in the place which once represented a clear line of division between what was of God and what was not of God; confusion, mixture. I shall not attempt to apply that more thoroughly. The Lord will have to show us by revelation what the rubbish is, but there is the simple statement and it contains a truth, and you and I will really have to ask the Lord to show us even in religious matters, where man ends and God begins, or where God ends and man begins, so that we shall be delivered from everything that man has imposed or added upon what is of God, and we shall be able to get right down to foundations, the rubbish being removed: and there is a very great deal of ecclesiastical rubbish about in these days that must go. That is a real difficulty in recovering the full testimony of the Lord Jesus.

Paul wouldn’t have thrown away Judaism for another method of doing things.  It took seeing the Lord Jesus Christ to break him of that.  Only then did he consider it all rubbish.  We didn’t leave one system of religion for another religious system, one way of doing church for another method.  No, we saw Peerless Worth.  We hailed the Rising Sun and extinguished our candle.  We felt the Beginning of Summer and discarded our winter garb.  We saw Jesus Christ and left all for Him.

“You can never come out of the rubbish until you see Christ.  Ask the Lord to reveal to you the fullness of Christ and you will find things which have gripped and held you become as mere refuse, stuff to be flung to the dogs.”  Amen.

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8 Comment

  1. Reply
    Amanda Iosa
    November 19, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Amen!!! (‘Nuff said.) 🙂
    Amanda Iosa recently posted…Karter and The Christmas CamelMy Profile

  2. Reply
    November 19, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    RC. I generally agree with your post and what Sparks says, but something keeps bothering me about the way you all seem to present the traditional Christian church ( who still claim Christ and who may mostly belong to Christ). Please don’t take my following words as personal criticism. I very much appreciate and am enjoying what you are saying and writing. These are just my random thoughts. Since I rarely and barely can write, and am not good at expressing myself, please squint your eyes(understanding) to see my overall thought. You are comparing Paul leaving the “rubbish” of Judaism for Christ, with, you and others leaving the “rubbish” traditional church for the organic(natural, real, living, true, etc.) church. It does not seem like a true or fair comparison? Traditional Christians initially came to or gained Christ when they heard the message of Christ from the traditional church (many leaving false or pagan religions). Paul did not come to Christ because the Jewish religion was presenting Christ as the messiah or lamb of God to him. Traditional Christians still seek to grow in Christ and seek revelation from the Spirit of God through the written word(bible). Paul did not continue seeking to grow in Christ by following the teaching of the Jewish law. Imagine speaking to your former self in the traditional or organized church (especially soon after coming to Christ); “We found what we were looking for! What we had found wasn’t organic church. What we had found was Jesus Christ.” It could easily be understood that you are saying that the traditional(IC) church is all rubbish and Christ has abandoned it. I still see a lot of Jesus Christ being expressed out of traditional (IC) Christianity. Maybe not so many true “Voltron” expressions happen there, but he is still being expressed in maybe a limited degree all over the world through believers in these “rubbish” churches. Even in these non voltron churches, look at the thousands of lost humans all over our world being drawn to Christ (and being freed from pagan and false religions). I know nothing about the “organic group in Gainsvile” Fl., but I would have to expect (from what you have said about it) that an unusual amount of lost humans (not just seeking believers) are coming to Christ among them because the “whole Christ” is there. At least that is he way it appears in the new testament. Is that true of the group/church in Gainsville? If your view of traditional Christianity is that it is deprived of Christ (real Life-voltron life), and you have Christ ,then why not just give Him away and not try to explain the reasons the IC does not have Him? How do you help an undernourished children clinging to the crumbs in their hands? Do you criticize them by telling them the food they are eating is just “rubbish” (when that is all they have ever known to be food- which has been sustaining them to some extent). Why not just speak some Christ into them- if they are really hungry will they not receive it. You probably won’t invite a long time encaged animal out of the safety and nurture of his cage (where he receives his sustaining packaged food) by calling his food “rubbish” and telling him- my natural food is the only real food and, you must join my natural flock or herd to obtain it. If you dissect all the evils in his processed food and then attempt to take away his valuable packaged food, you will probably get bit and make an enemy. Why not just put some of your real (natural) food in his cage by speaking Christ out of the overflow of the natural daily supply that you possess (not information- daily experience)? If it is real (natural) he would probably smell it’s super aroma, eat it and begin desiring more. You said, “You can never come out of the rubbish until you see Christ”. Seeing Christ doesn’t separate or divide us from other believers. Just the opposite, it causes us to see how one we are and how much we need one another. It separates us from the rubbish (what is not Christ) only. Those who claim exclusive rights to Voltron and look down on the “rubbish” or IC, unknowingly may have already devolved into power rangers again and may be holding on to more “rubbish” than their counter part. Whichever is “Loving the other more” is probably holding on to the lesser amount of rubbish. Well I”m tired and this comment is way to long and probably slowly devolving into confusing rubbish, so I will just end it. One last rubbish thought – If the rubbish is the IC, then I have not come out of the “rubbish” and don’t plan to. I can’t even if I wanted to. If the rubbish is all that is tightly held by the IC that is not Christ- then I have come out of a bunch of rubbish. As I am seeing more of Christ everyday, I am still coming out of more rubbish. I really like this- “When the Church is living in Christ, Christ is living through His Church” – ” abide in me (and) I IN YOU”

    1. Reply
      R.C. Babione
      November 20, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Brother Tony, first of all, thank you so much for reaching out and “conversationing” with us. 😉 Secondly, I do not take your words as personal criticism, and I didn’t have to squint my eyes too much, either. I believe I can hear your heart in your words. Also, I think you can write and are very good at expressing yourself. 🙂

      Now, to more directly respond to your thoughts, there is so much my wife and I wish to say, and we will attempt to lovingly reply more fully with a special blog post tomorrow (Friday). Speaking against the IC is not something we desire to do lightly or flippantly; our brothers and sisters are still in that system, and you are quite right – “why not give [Christ] away”? Though you will read some of this tomorrow, please know that it is very difficult to fully express our heart in a few short words in a blog post. It has taken years for us to see Who we are seeing, and it will take years more to fully see and to even begin to adequately express Him in word.

      Please know that we hear you. Much of what you shared is in our heart, too. Please receive my few humble thoughts here, and our thoughts tomorrow, and take them before the Lord, as we have with yours. Only He can open eyes to see and ears to hear. If you are in Christ, and I am in Christ, then we are indeed brothers, and any differences of view points cannot separate that. I hope that the longer reply tomorrow will help to shed a little more light on our heart.

  3. Reply
    kenneth dawson
    November 20, 2014 at 2:45 am

    I guess that second comment is saying that a little bit of Christ is good but im with you guys and Sparks–I want the fullness of Christ.

  4. Reply
    Marilda Tuomala
    November 20, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Tony, thank you so much for humbly and passionately expressing what I also feel. One way to get dissatisfied individuals in the mainstream church into seeing what other fellowships have like the one I am learning about now is to let them/us see the love among you, the care for each other, and mostly your love for our LORD and His Word above the negative expressions of what happened to them (though real) in the past when they were in the mainstream churches. The friend that shared with me about a special meeting being held in my area, speaks nothing but Jesus and His life in and through her. I have met (along with my husband) many sweet Saints in the Lord in this group and I am open to seeing what the Lord has for us in the coming months. Thank you again Tony for your comments.

  5. Reply
    November 21, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Tony, I can’t thank you enough for your comment and honesty in replying. I co-sign with rc regarding your writing ability and the clarity in your comment. There needs to be more civilized comments on the Internet amongst people who see things differently. This is the spirit behind your comment.

    Rc I agree 100% with this post. Regardless how clear we try to be, some people will not understand or walk away offended.

    My thoughts on this post: I’m one who HATES the system but LOVES the people in the system. I think there are too many people today thinking that unless you completely agree with someone on a certain matter then you don’t love them or your looking down on them. If my favorite auto maker is Toyota and I don’t like Honda, that doesn’t qualify me as someone who hates or looks down on individuals who drives or owns Hondas. In my opinion I think all systems/methods are enemies to the government of the Holy Spirit. I grew up in the system and there were plenty of times when the Lord met me in it and spoke to me through it. However, I’m grateful that He’s moved and continuely moving me into a more intimate knowledge of Himself. In saying that, I don’t qualify that as looking down on the people within the system but just the system itself.
    My wife and I never try to impose the way we eat on anyone, however there are times when we are invited to share food that others prepared that doesn’t meet our standards and we politely refuse, when asked by the other party why we don’t eat it and we reply humbly and honestly some walk away offended and some completely understand.

    Regarding the IC or any religion for that matter, there are some good things that come out of it, but that doesn’t qualify it to be of the Lord in my book. There is more harm that come from the hands of religion (even the christian religion) than good. Jesus never came to bring another method/religion, He came to bring Himself. He said to eat of Me and drink of Me and that was a hard thing for even the majority of His deciples to do so they departed. He even offended without trying. In love

  6. Reply
    Kathy Cruthers
    November 21, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    I also want to say that these blogs are a blessing and a challenge to me. I came to know Christ in the system. Love sooo many people in the system. My husband and I were 30 some years in ministry. I know the system up close and personal. However, I’m so very thankful that Jesuschrist is bigger than and not limited to a religious system or denomination to speak to His children.Believe me, my denomination majored on being the closest to the truth. I’m so blessed, in that the Lord has given us a desire to know Him fully and completely through His Body and am looking forward to experiencing Him as we move forward in our journey. Thank you,RC and Bridget and Tony.May the Lord enlighten us to Himself. I want to be in such fellowship with Him that others will desire to come along side to experience Him with us. Love to each of you.

  7. […] begun to round out some things. Or if you are wondering about something specific you can just ask, like Tony did in the comments on Wednesday’s post. Instead of responding in the comments, we decided to write a post because 1. we knew our answer was […]

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