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Letter to Charisma,
from Andy Zoppelt

Charisma Editor,

Having been a pastor for some 35 years, and hearing comments of other pastors regarding the "stayaway Saints" is understandable, considering the way they interpret church. One only needs to consider their vested interest to determine how they interpret scriptures. If you are a pastor with a vested interested in people attending "your" church, then the stayaway saints are a threat to the church as you need and want it. What is the church as God wants it?

In Heb 10, we must consider what the exhortation is actually saying and for whom. "24 And let us (the Christians) consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." (NKJV)

The institutional system of church does not have a "one another" ministry on Sunday morning. The institutional church does not "let us" participate in stirring up love and good works. Everything is left to the paid professional. The biblical intent of the church was a ministry of "ourselves together" and a place to "exhort one another." The early church was a ministry built on the function and unity of the body of its members and not a passive, lethargic audience. Read 1 Corinthians 12 - 14; Eph 4:13-16.

The church, as we see it in America, hinders body ministry and has created a clergy/laity divide that has divided the body of Christ and has vested its ministry in the professionals, and have the sole role of ministry within the body. It ignores the need and function of the individuals within the body. A body must have all its members functioning to maintain health. Life demands both function and purpose, or it is not life.
If there is lethargy in the church among its members, consider the lack of importance we have placed on those members. Why should a person care when they have no vested part in the meeting? The saint in search of spiritual fulfillment and purpose is often treated as an eternal dummy in need of the weekly Sunday information from the professionals; this is not an encouragement to fill a pew on Sunday. The saint finds no place or purpose in being in the meeting. How long can one sit in a pew looking at the back of person's head? The people (church) are not given the opportunity to even know one another, let alone love one another.

Loving one another, the unity of the body of Christ, fellowship and having a part in body ministry, have been replaced with a corporate, vested interest of the few.

Paul went from house to house to persecute the church, today one would have to go from church to church to persecute the house. Something is fundamentally wrong with the way we see church and it is here we need restoration.

I believe we are getting ready for another move of God in restoring His church. The stayaway saints are just the beginning of the shaking and the forming of the body of Christ. Many are beginning to meet in homes for fellowship and support. I believe there is nothing we can do to stop this move that is coming. In the end Jesus will have a "glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing..." (Eph 5:27, NKJV)

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