Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once said, “Life is lived forwards but understood backwards.” In other words, without understanding the history of the Church of Jesus Christ – including the mistakes of the past – we are doomed to a flawed future.
In fact, another philosopher and poet, George Santayana, stated, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” So, it is good to study the Old Testament and see the roots of the faith we hold to and defend. It is good to read the New Testament and see the life of the early Church and what our roots are and where we have come from over the last 2,000 years.
It does not take much to recognize that much of what we do in the Church today is not found in the Bible. And, with a little bit of study of the early history of the Church (the first 600 years) and the culture (society) in which this Church found itself – the roots of what we hold to be true today can soon be seen. And, a vast majority of what we hold close to the heart is not biblical. In fact, the words of Jesus to the religious people of His day would still ring true for many of today’s believers. Jesus said, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”
So, we are now entering a new season in the Church when the Head of the Church – Jesus Christ Himself – is asking us to look at what it is we believe and how it is we live out these beliefs to see if they are truly rooted in the Bible or simply a matter of man’s interpretation of the Bible. He is asking true followers to look at every aspect and action of our corporate life and see if they are rooted and grounded in the Scriptures as written (and not twisted or seen through traditional, man-made lenses). What is truly of God and what has come about due to man’s rules and regulations, man’s traditions, and man’s need for control and security. Failing to respond to the Holy Spirit and what God is doing in His Church today will result in the Church and individual believers simply following traditions and thus repeating the mistakes of the past which have led us to this point in our history. A rather pathetic and powerless point in the history of the Church.
God is wanting to restore the true Church – His Church – and to do so He is needing to remove from the face of the earth man’s design for the Church … the organizational Church must die and the organic, life-giving, Spirit-led Church must emerge. And it will!