"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Upside Down Church Through Inside Out Christianity

It's difficult for some believers to grasp that they are the church. Anytime I hear of Christians who are "upset with the direction of a church," or "angry with the church," or "tired of the church," I wonder if they truly understand what they're saying. They are the church, but it's rare to hear a Christian say "I'm angry with myself," or "I'm tired of myself," or "I'm upset with the direction in my life,"  etc.... Why is it that so many see "the church" as something other than themselves in union with Jesus Christ?

I think the fault lies with Christian leaders -- particularly us pastors -- who for many centuries have attempted to place churches and church ministries on par with ancient Temple and Old Covenant worship. From massive church buildings erected to inspire, to stained glass windows or elaborate decor intended to tell stories, to a "priesthood" of authoritative pastors/leaders who separate themselves from 'laity,' to injunctions to tithe into the storehouse of the church or risk being devoured by the devil, and to programs that are set in stone (unalterable and unchangeable)  like Israel's Ten Commandments, the modern church looks more like Old Testament Israel than the early followers of Christ who were radically different from the "religious."

The early Christians were known for their radical departure from dependence on a worship place, authoritarian priests, and any religious performance through ceremony, holy days or sacrifical 'offerings.'  As Adolph Safir reminds us in his brilliant work on Hebrews:
“The Greeks and the Romans were not merely astonished at, but felt irritated by the worship of the early Christians, who without image and altar, without priests and vestments, appeared to them as atheists, men and women ‘without gods’ and at times felt threated by the mysterious power Christians possessed as they rejoiced in suffering and met with calm courage the tortures of death itself” Adolph Saphir.
The crystallization of the institutional church using Jewish modes of worship is not limited to Roman Catholicism beginning in the 4th century AD. Eventually, Baptist churches and other conservative evangelical churches, though historically shouting loudly 'no creed but the Bible,' have come to ignore the New Testament teaching on the nature of the true church and have now:
(1).  Replicated Israel's hierarchy of priestly authority (calling them pastors); 
(2). Imitated Israel's emphasis on a particular type of worship at a specific place (calling it sanctuary worship); and
 (3). Perpetuated Israel's obligation to the old 'if-then' covenant with God ('if we will obey God, then God will bless us').
The freedom of a sinner to personally trust Christ and experience the power of God at work within--transforming that sinner from the inside out - is substituted for a form of behavioral control imposed by a spiritual authoritarian from without (usually a pastor) who uses Old Covenant passages of Scripture to bind believers.

The simplicity of New Covenant worship 'in spirit and in truth'  has been overwhelmed by the desires and the demands of leaders within the institutional churches. We pastors, often in an attempt to protect our jobs and salaries (or future jobs and current reputations), spiritualize everything we do, acting as if our ministries and programs are God's ministries and programs. The greatest danger I face at Emmanuel is the temptation to forget that what is done at the building on Sundays and Wednesdays is just a part--a small part--of who we are as a people. Whether it is giving, serving, or attending other places of worship, our people should have the liberty and freedom to give, serve, and attend wherever the Spirit leads.

Christ's church always leaves the building on Sundays, therefore the church should never be called the building. Whatever is done on Sundays or Wednesdays in the building should be designed to empower and encourage "the church" (you) to worship in spirit and truth every day of the week. My job is to lead people in such a manner that they cheerfully give to the Lord, joyfully serve the Lord, and willingly worship the Lord. A good pastor will always remind God's people that Christ's church extends far beyond the membership rolls of any one corporate church. If the Spirit leads someone at Emmanuel to join another corporate church, an institution that uses different methodologies and ministries to encourage "the church" to give, serve and worship - then great! We are all on the same team.  We are the church.

In addition, if the Spirit leads the people at Emmanuel to give less, attend less, and serve less, then our budget, our ministries, and our organizational mission efforts will shrink. If the Spirit leads our people to give more, attend more, and serve more, then our organizational ministries will expand. Regardless, the New Testament is quite clear that our church is not a new Temple, our pastors are not a new priesthood, and our religious activities are not prescribed by any law. God's people should give, should serve and should worship as the Spirit leads, where the Spirit leads, and as long as the Spirit leads. It is not the Law that constrains us but the Spirit who compels us. Unfortunately, many modern Baptist churches have taken promises and laws of the Old Testament and attempted to force them into the New Covenant church. The result is a dysfunctional gathering of law worshippers who are more concerned with conformity than a gathering of strong, individual believers who are empowered by the Spirit. 

I can almost hear objections from some pastors who say, "But the Word of God prescribes bringing the tithe into the storehouse! The Word of God demands that God's people 'touch not the anointed' in the church! The Word of God dictates everything we do at our church!" My response is simple: "Which portion of the Word?" The Word pertaining to Israel in the Old Covenant or the Scriptures pertaining to followers of Christ in the New Covenant? Read carefully the following verse in Hebrews 8:13:
 
"When He said, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first (the old) obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear."

The book of Hebrews was written around AD 65, thirty five years after the death of Christ. The writer of Hebrews says in this verse that God’s old agreement with Israel was made obsolete by God, is growing old and will shortly be abolished (disappear). The old agreement God had with Israel is called "The Old Covenant" and it is found within the Old Testament. Old Covenant worship revolved around the Tabernacle/Temple, the priesthood, and the festivals and sacrificial rituals (collectively called "The Law" in the OT).  The Law was an "if/then" agreement where God promised to Israel His blessings "if" Israel obeyed the Law. The writer of Hebrews tells us three explicit things about this Old Covenant and the "if/then" promises of God that came with it.  (1). The Old Covenant has been made obsolete.' (2). It is 'growing old,' and (3). It will soon be abolished. This biblical truth leads us to ask three questions:

When did God’s covenant with Israel become obsolete?   In AD 30 Jesus the Anointed One died on a hill called Golgatha. The night before He was crucified He took a cup of wine and declared, "This cup is New Covenant of my blood shed for the remission of your sins." The next day, on the cross,  Jesus cried “It is finished!” Everything about the Old Covenant-- all the laws, the rituals, the sacrifices and the types--were all fulfilled in Christ. The Old Covenant had served its purpose (as a schoolmaster that points the sinner to Christ) and is now fulfilled. God made it obsolete in the death/burial/resurrection of Christ.

Just like your old television set is made obsolete by the new wave of communication called HDTV, so too, the old pattern of worship in ancient Israel was made obsolete by the new pattern of worship opened up at the cross. The veil was ripped, so the sinner has direct access to God through Christ. And the good news about this new way is that the sinner who comes to God by Christ is guaranteed that he will 'never be cut off from the goodness of God' (Hebrews 7:25). No longer is worship about Temples, priests and rituals. In the New Covenant, those who truly worship God worship Him in "spirit and truth" (John 3:23).

When did God’s covenant with Israel grow old? For forty years (a Jewish ‘generation’) after the cross, from AD 30 to AD 70, the Temple remained standing. For those forty years the early followers of Jesus Christ came to the Temple to pray, worship, and proclaim the new way to God through faith in Jesus Christ. It was on the steps of the Temple that Peter healed the lame man by saying, "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I to you. In the name of Jesus Christ arise and walk." The disciples preached Christ in and around the Temple grounds, but the Old Covenant Temple way of worship was 'growing old.'

So too, when the Apostle Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, he eventually came back to Jerusalem and Acts 9 says he "preached Christ boldly at the Temple." The Jews were so furious with this former Old Covenant Hebrew who now advocated the new way to approach God that they sought to have him killed,. The disciples thwarted the Jews plan for Paul by secretly escorting the Apostle out of Jersualem for his own safety. Old Covenant worship was growing old. The phrase 'growing old' must be interpreted within the context and time of the writer of Hebrews. He was living in the mid-60's AD, and for over three decades since the death of Christ, Temple worship among the Jews continued --but it was growing old and would "soon disappear" (be abolished).

When was God’s covenant with Israel abolished? In AD 70 God used the Roman army to utterly destroy the Temple. Just as Jesus prophesied forty years earlier (Matthew 24), the Romans did not leave one stone standing upon another. This destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple and the Old Covenant way of worship was prophesied by the prophets and Jesus for centuries. Israel had been unfaithful to the covenant they had with God, and God therefore abolished it and instituted a new covenant. Again, it is not as if there was no good purpose for the Old Covenant. If it were not for the Law (the biblical way of describing the Old Covenant), Paul would not have known sin. The Law acted as a mirror, reflecting back to the Hebrews their sinfulness and God's holiness. In addition, the Law, particularly through its festivals, rituals and symbols, portrayed a coming Anointed One (Messiah) who Himself would take away the sins of the world. When the Messiah came and fulfilled the Law, the Old Covenant was made obsolete by God, grew old in time, and was eventually abolished (disappeared) in AD 70. The Temple was gone.

The dwelling place of God in the new agreement that He has made with sinners, called the New Covenant, is the life of the individual believer. It is the life of God in the soul of man that is the true miracle of the New Covenant. The power of the Spirit of God changes the sinner from the inside/out. We are the Temple of the Living God. For this reason, any institutional church that tries to substitute itself as the old Temple, its pastors/priests as the Old priesthood, and operate by Old Testament "if/then" principles and promises, is denying the truth of the New Testament.


The New Covenant changes the way we worship God every day of our lives. The Old Covenant agreement between God and Israel was a come see religion. Come see the Temple. Come see the rituals. Come see the festivals. The New Covenant is a go tell religion. Go tell sinners of the Savior who has guaranteed the Creator’s goodness to those who trust Him. Christianity is radically spiritual, internal, personal, and trans-cultural (all people). Some of the best worship you can have is with family or a small group of believers around a camp fire at a lake, or at home around the dinner table, or at a backyard barb-e-que. Believers are the church. God dwells in us. Where we are, there He is. We don't behave one way 'at church' and another way everywhere else. We can't do this because we ARE the church. Further, since the life of God is in the invidual sinner who trusts Christ, there is no hierarchical authority in the church. Every believer is a priest unto God.
 
The New Covenant changes the way we apply Scriptures from the Old Testament. The “If … then” Scriptures are seen as part of God’s promises to the people of Israel. Let me give you three examples of “if/then” promises that Christian people use wrongly.

(Example 1): If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek  my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (II Chronicles 7:14).

That is a great Old Covenant promise. Israel often failed this condition of humble repentance, and as a result, they were often taken captive by foreigners and there land was destroyed. This verse, often quoted by Christians, is not a New Covenant promise.

In the New Covenant God says that He "is able to do far more abundantly beyond all we even ask or think, according to the power that works within us" (Eph. 3:20). This is the New Covenant promise. When you come to God by faith in Christ, God resides within you and has begun a work in you that He will carry to completion. Do you find yourself pulled toward addictive sins as a believer? He will eventually break you of them for your good and for His glory. The alcoholic who comes to God by faith in Christ need not worry that a relapse into drunkenness will cause the favor and goodness of God to withdraw from Him. In the old agreement he would have worried, because in the old agreement it was his obedience that ensured God's goodness, but in the New Covenant it is God's goodness to Him in Christ that ensures the sinners' eventual obedience. God is conforming, and He will continue to conform, every sinner who trusts Christ into the image of His Son. It is a guarantee dependent upon His fidelity and strength not your own.

(Example 2)If you bring the tithe … then I will rebuke the devourer for you” (Malachi 3:10).

This is an often quoted Old Covenant promise by pastors, used as an enticement (and/or threat) for the New Testament believer to give to his or her local church. This promise, given to Old Covenant Israel, is another if/then promise. The rebuke of the devourer is given IF Israel brings their tithes to the Temple. If the people of Israel do not bring their tithe to the Temple, then the devourer is free to reign and destroy their possessions.

In the New Covenant, Jesus died and in His death He “destroyed the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). In the New Covenant, the devil will seek to devour you as a 'roaring lion,' but as Bunyan so eloquently pictured in Pilgrim's Progress, the lion is chained. Naturalists also tell us that only teethless lions roar. The truth of the New Testament is quite clear. The "strong man" (Satan) who was once at peace in his home (your life) and was well armed, was disarmed and dislodged by One "stronger than he" (Jesus Christ) who has now taken up residence within you (Luke 11:21-22). As a New Covenant believer in Christ you don't give money to your local church in order for God to rebuke the devourer. Malachi 3:10 is an Old Covenant promise. The devourer is already REMOVED from your life. Jesus is now your Lord. You give as you follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. The more you comprehend the work of Christ on your behalf the more you cheerfully give, the more you joyfully serve, and the more you radically worship! In other words, in the New Covenant, giving is a matter of the heart, not the Law. As the Spirit leads you to give to ministries that proclaim the good news of Christ, care for the needs of fellow man, and work hard to do kingdom work--then give!

(Example 3): If you call upon me in the day of trouble; then I will deliver you” (Psalm 50:15).

Again, that is a great Old Covenant promise, but it is nowhere close to the incredible truth of the New Covenant Scriptures. In the New Covenant, God delivers His people even when they find themselves emotionally, spiritually and personally “dead in our trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). His amazing and agressive love for His people through Christ ensures that He will "never, no never, no never" (five negatives in the original) leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). It is interesting that in the first portion of Hebrews 13:5 says that we should have "the kind of character that is free from the love of money BECAUSE God will never leave us or forsake." We  do not live this way IN ORDER for  God to never leave us or forsake us. Words are important.

In the New Covenant our lives are a response to God's goodness to us in Christ. In the Old Covenant, people lived their lives in order to obtain God's goodness. If you ever find yourself being motivated to do something in order to get God to do something in return, you are living under the principles of the Old Covenant. Unfortunately, the Old Covenant, and Old Covenant churches, and Old Covenant promises will always let you down. However, the new agreement that God has with sinners will never let you down. "He is able to save to the uttermost  (i.e. a guarantee that you will never be cut off from God's goodness) those who draw near to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25). 

This post might have turned upside down your understanding of "the church." If so, I hope you might land on the realization that you are the church and the Spirit of Christ is changing you from the inside out.

46 comments:

John said...

It is never my intention to just flatter you with accolades for your posts. But, I profoundly appreciate you and the knowledge, wisdom and insight God has blessed you with. When I read posts like this, I am like a starving man who stumbles upon a delicious feast and gorges himself. It has taken me four decades to unlearn the abusive teachings of these issues that fly right in the face of proper hermeneutics. When I teach these truths as you do (not as well as you)people will look at me with stares of unbelief in light of the scriptural support in the teaching. The Siege of Jerusalem and a correct understanding of Matthew 24, should be taught to give a proper understanding of the transition to the New Covenant and the end times. Next semester when I teach Gospels and Acts at my college, I shall be printing copies of this to give to my students as I have several mother posts in which I credit you and talk about your site.

Victorious said...

When I read posts like this, I am like a starving man who stumbles upon a delicious feast and gorges himself.

I love this! I feel the same way but could never have said it so eloquently! Wade truly is gifted.

Thank you, Wade!

Ramesh said...

THIS is the reason why I knew from 2008 when I first came across Wade's messages that Wade is lot more destabilizer of the SBC the way things are always being done to rob the believers of their source. Much, much more than Wade's blogging against SBC practices. BTW this is not Wade's message but Christ's message. Thank you Wade.

Wade Burleson said...

I understand what all three of you - John, Victorious, and Ramesh - are saying.

Christ truly sets us free.

Christiane said...

" By His broken body, we, the body of humanity, are made whole . . .
We are healed and can come together in the fullness of the Body of Christ.


He has penetrated into the depths of darkness, loneliness, rejection, agony and fear,
in order to touch the depths of darkness in each one of us and to call us to belief "

(Jean Vanier 'The Body Broken')

Pege' said...

Wade,
"It is never my intention to just flatter you with accolades for your posts. But, I profoundly appreciate you and the knowledge, wisdom and insight God has blessed you with." I concur with John.
WOW!!!!!!!!
If this is all I ever think about the depth of it's truth would never be understood by my pea brain. I have been blessed by over 16 years of your teaching ministry...8 at Emmanuel and 8 on CD and on line. You teach CHRIST. Simply, honestly, celebratory,insight-fully. From your teaching and other men and women I have read and listened to I am forever changed. I live and walk in the freedom only these truths can provide.
THANK YOU!!

Wade Burleson said...

Thank you Pege - you are always an encouragement to me and others!

Aussie John said...

Wade,

For a long time I have taught, and yearned to see, the New Covenant freedom which Christ delivered to His people expressed clearly on blogs such as yours. I pray that it will be widely read and the truths shared.

Thank you!

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

"Whether it is giving, serving, or attending other places of worship, our people should have the liberty and freedom to give, serve, and attend wherever the Spirit leads."
Really appreciate you spelling this truth out. Thanks pastor!

Anonymous said...

Seeing that you pastor one of the largest SBC churches in Oklahoma does you church practice complete transparency when it comes to finances? Is your personal financial compensation package amount available for members and even people outside the "church" to see and if not then why not? Complete transparency is the first step you mega church pastors should practice and if not then why not? The members pay your salary and you should be if not already doing so be ashamed of yourself. I mean complete honesty and not just vague so called pies with slices taken out for this and that. Show us some real bravery and publish the facts.

John said...

Anonymous,

I am just a commenter. so I do not speak for Wade. I do not know Emmanuel Enid's financial policies but I do know Wade has a most biblical stance on giving and does not berate his people to give, but when they do, to give from the heart as the Spirit leads. I do not understand why any information from there needs to be made public to anyone who is not a contributing member.

Anonymous said...

Ok,is the info easily avialiable to a contributing member without having to go through any red tape or committees? When I was a member of a SBC church many years ago the monthly business report was available to anyone,member or not. Why should there be any secrecy at all. The church does operate on a tax free non profit basis doesn't it? I personally will not attend a church that is not 100 percent open about finances. If there is not any funny business going on then why the secrecy? Come on preachers and answer that.

Ramesh said...

Lessons in Dealing with a Disgruntled Member

David said...

Anonymous,

Show your transparency. Use your real name.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

The Personnel Committee of Emmanuel sets the salaries of all staff, reviews the 360 job evaluations, and establishes personnel policies. A policy they established long before I came as pastor was that any church member may request and receive individual salary information. By policy they do not share publicly staff salaries. The main reason they give is that staff members at Emmanuel will not be able to compare their salaries with other staff members at Emmanuel. What I can share publicly is that every staff member's salary at Emmanuel Enid, including mine, is BELOW the national average for salaries of comparable churches that run 1,000 or more in attendance. I've been at the OU vs. Iowa State game! Big game at Baylor next week - go Sooners! :)

Anonymous said...

My inquiring about financial info from a religious organization has nothing what so ever to do with my "real name" or transparency. As I guessed, we did not get any specific info or numbers regarding what I requested. So that you will not be disappointed though my real name is Bill.

Susan said...

I think the point of John's comment Anonymous "Bill" is that you guard closely your own privacy, giving little information "publicly" in this forum, yet you demand from others what you yourself are not willing to do. "Place of employment, Bill? Your salary? Your phone number and address? Your giving record to mission causes. I demand, if you claim to be a Christian, that you reveal these things!" See how that sounds Bill. It rings hollow.

Anonymous said...

Pure bravo sierra. I don't demand anything. I just ask some simple questions from a minister in an open forum. I am not a public person and am not responsible for this blog. My personal business is actually nobody's else's business. Simply following the rules laid down by the moderator is all I am doing"Susan".

Marc B. said...

Hi Anon Bill,

So this does not get lost in all the back and forth, here is what I'm seeing as Wade's response to your inquiries:

"A policy they established long before I came as pastor was that any church member may request and receive individual salary information."

"What I can share publicly is that every staff member's salary at Emmanuel Enid, including mine, is BELOW the national average for salaries of comparable churches that run 1,000 or more in attendance."

As far as I am concerned, those 2 responses would satisfy the matter for me (I am not a member of Enid).

Earlier you said "Complete transparency is the first step you mega church pastors should practice".

Then later you said, "I just ask some simple questions from a minister in an open forum".

Your first statement puts forth a sort of "axiom" (which is really just an opinion) that you seem to believe should be the standard for all to follow. So you first present yourself as an authority. But your second statement seems an attempt to cast yourself in a different light. Therefore, I don't read you as just asking some simple questions. You seem to be trying to lessen the weight of Wade's post, and IMHO, you have failed.

I do agree with you that your personal business is actually nobody else's business.

Victorious said...

I'm not a member of Wade's church, but am an avid reader of his blog. I also watch his sermons on the Wartburg Watch website.

I remember Wade saying that he told the congregation at one time that when the offering baskets were passed, if anyone had a pressing financial need, they should feel free to take something out of the basket to meet the need.

That says a lot about the type of ministry and example he sets for those who attend that church. You gotta respect that love and generosity.

Mary Ann

Christiane said...

HI MARY ANN,

I, also, have heard WADE say this during one of his services (I was listening on-line.) People can say what they want about WADE, but there are so very many witnesses to speak up for his good character . . .

a minister who offers that kind of generous help to someone in need is a minister who understands and lives out 'loving-kindess'. The people of his Church are fortunate to have him to help them.

Christiane said...

I do believe, when 'the Church' celebrates 'as Church', people come together as a Body to recognize the many ways we have of 'knowing' God . . .

some of these ways are very simple ones, some of them involve no words at all, and some celebrate the whole of God's creation in the presence of His creatures:

"“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
9 Which of all these does not know
that the Hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In His Hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.”

(Job, chapter 12)

so next Oct. 3rd, I encourage everyone, regardless of fear of 'buildings' or strange ways of praying, to find a place where, when they say 'let us go into the house of the Lord' even the most humble are welcomed and blessed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG2NExd-4XY

when you come to the places where the humble are welcomed in as honored and blessed, even if there's a dirt floor, or a great procession corridor into a Cathedral, chances are you are not in among the 'pharisees' anymore . . .

why Oct. 3rd? 'blessing of the animals' . . . a celebration of joy in God's Creation
. . go and see . . . bring your beloved pet . . . it's a good thing

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

This post was so good I had to print it for our church. Before I did, I corrected what ‘spell-check’ shows with red lines. You must not have spell-check because this post had 19 words without a space between them, 9 misspelled words, and 3 fragment sentences. Spell-check does not recognize some names such as “Saphir”. I consulted internet to find out the spelling since the post spelled it two different ways.

BTW, I wish you and your father would not have a background for your posts. It requires at lest four or more times the amount of ink. My printer states it has printed 62,343 pages but does not record the amount of ink. Ink cost a lot more than paper.

Well, that’s all my griping today. :)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful real Baptist post! Now, if we only had a study bible or new testament with this kind of verse by verse exposition....

Linda

Gordon said...

Wade,
You have probably perplexed, challenged and annoyed many who hold firmly to the received understanding of what the church is. Their confusion is partly due to the several meanings attached to the word 'ecclesia' which the KJV of 1611 translates as 'church'. This was done on the specific instructions of King James who wanted the national institutional 'Church' to retain its place and authority in society. He would be both King of the country and Supreme Head of Church, a position still held to this day by the Queen of England (UK). At the time of her coronation in Westminster Abbey, Queen Elizabeth was given a private 'holy anointing' into her supreme office. Prince Charles will go through the same OT ceremony when his time comes and be given a title of Defender of the Faith. He can rightly speak of 'my church' because that is all it is.

But, as you have pointed out so well in you article, the New Covenant does not support such an understanding of the church. The word 'ecclesia' is not specific; not a proper noun but a common, collective noun. It merely means a gathering of people, for whatever social purpose. The word 'church' has to be qualified and amplified by the addition of the words: the church of Jesus Christ to clarify what we are talking about. The Devil also has his church to promote an entirely different agenda.

Many translations use words like assembly or congregation to describe the gathered church, or what we might also call the local church, acknowledging the Divine Rights of the Redeemer over his gathered children. We are inspired, encouraged and enabled to serve the Lord when we do it in the company of other pilgrims.

( Any mistakes Rex Ray ? At 'lest' four , I suppose !)

Wade Burleson said...

Wow - Rex!

I'm hiring you as my executive assistant.

Laughing.

Rex Ray said...

Gordon,

Thanks for information on King James and the ones taking his place as being head of the church. Also on what “church” really means.

Your comment was perfect until your note to me. :) ‘Green lines’ showed two extra spaces and I think you meant ‘least’ instead of ‘lest’.

Wade,
I’d take that job if you included my wife because she’s the one that tells me how to spell. No joke!

Anonymous said...


According to Ranier Emmanuel is the 7th largest SBC church in Oklahoma - 301st in the country.

http://thomrainer.com/sbc500/

JL T said...

Hello Wade,
I have really been enjoying your blog. Your posts are very encouraging and challenging.
I have a question but did not know how else to contact you. I was wondering if you direct to something you have written or someone else has written or even what ever answer you have to time to give on the subject of CONFRONTING another believer regarding sin. What attitude and manner is appropriate, how does anger fit into that? Trying to understand the what it means to abmonish, rebuke, encourage in light of Galations 6:1-6.
I would really appreciate any of your thoughts. Thank you.
Jenn

Wade Burleson said...

Jenn,

I don't know if this article will help, but see - http://www.wadeburleson.org/2015/05/a-spirit-of-forgiveness-is-peculiar-to.html

Otherwise, go to the "Search" button in the top left hand corner of my blog and search for words like sin - repentance - brokenness - confronting - weaker brother - etc...

JL T said...

Thank you for getting back to me. I will read the spirit of forgiveness and do that search. Have a great week.

Curious Thinker said...

This is the best article I read regarding this subject matter. I too don't attend church and was quite weary of them after reading so many stories of legalistic rules the churches have made, which I don't agree with. I may return to the church one day, but for now I'm embracing Christ and trying to grow more spiritually everyday relying on God's strength and guidance. I agree 100% of what you've said. Great Job and thanks. God Bless.

Ramesh said...

The result is a dysfunctional gathering of law worshippers who are more concerned with conformity than a gathering of strong, individual believers who are empowered by the Spirit.

If one takes a larger view of this concept, it shows the maladies afflicting our world of mass production of education, work and interactions which are ALL top down rather than bottom up and horizontally.

My thinking is here is a concept that is very basic but powerfully profound that resonates in fields not only spiritual but in science, education, ethics and morality even if discussed outside the concept of God. There is more here than meets the eye, mind and heart.

Ramesh said...

It is not the Law that constrains us but the Spirit who compels us.

Another gem!

RRR said...

Rex Ray, you're married?!

Wade Burleson said...

Curious Thinker and Ramesh -

We three definitely think a great deal alike, but I love the way you both are empowering others to be the way God has created, gifted and empowered them to be.

That's real Christianity IMO

Rex Ray said...

RRR,

Got married July 4, 2015 after asking her to marry 60 years ago, went our separate ways, lost track, married over 55 years, lost our mates, gave up finding her, paid an agency, got phone number, showed a jewelry box I’d made, her name, 1956, my picture inside, city person but loves country living, went down slide, first to try 30’ seesaw that goes 16’ in air, honeymoon’s not over

Johnny D. said...

Wade, I love you, brother. What a powerful entry to your blog - dripping with grace and its associated freedom.

I'm still here. Still reading. Thank you.

Johnny D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pege' said...

ANON~...I worked at Emmanuel as a Janitor. I spoke to the leadership and shared with them what In needed to make each week to meet my needs financially. They graciously paid me the income I needed to care for my family. I was honored. There is no need to expose the salaries of the church staff to the public. There are some very wise men and women who are stewards and overseers in Emmanuel who do a spectacular "job" being stewards of the finances. Even though Wade is a Pastor...he does deserve some privacy.

Victorious said...

Pege' thank you for sharing that...it blessed my soul!

Wade Burleson said...

Pege,

About three years ago I brought a recommendation to the Personnel Committee that the policy they've operated by for years be changed and that all staff salaries be made public, including mine. My recommendation was voted down by the men and women who serve on the Personnel Committee. They had their reasons (as stated above). So, revealing my salary is not about "privacy" for me. I don't care who knows; particulalry since it's below the national average.

:)

J. Guy Muse said...

Couldn't have expressed it any better. Thank you so much for putting into words so eloquently what we have been trying to live and teach now for many years. Now, if we could only get this translated into Spanish!!

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks, Guy!

KiruvNow.com said...

Christianity requires on to pray through an intermediary and to recognize a man as G-d. That is idol worship. Because the old testament was here first, it has primacy. G-d does not change. If there is a conflict between Old Testament and New Testament, the Old Testament wins. Idol worship cannot be merged with the Old Testament, with G-d's word. Christianity is wrong.www.kiruvnow.com

Wade Burleson said...

KiruNow,

I would much rather trust God and the incredible work of His "only begotten Son," Jesus the Christ, in obtaining for me a perfect righteousness that is credited to me via faith in Him, than to trust myself, and my imperfect sincerity, my inadequate works, or my wavering commitment to God.

For what its worth.