A quick lesson on the English language:

If I were to walk across the room, and fall on my face, you would say that is had a "slip"

On the other hand, if I pointed at a woman who had her underwear showing, I might say, "er excuse me miss, your slip is showing"

Yet again, if I were walking by the shore, and a boat pulled up to it's dock, I might say that it pulled into it's "slip".

Here is the point--the same word, can have different meanings.

How do we know what the meaning of a word is?

By context.

Words gain their meaning by the other words around them--by the context in which they are used. In the above example, I used the same word (slip) in 3 different contexts, and it had 3 different meanings.

Now, what does this have to do with the operation and structure of the Christian church?


Here is the problem:

We very readily and easily set words that we find in the Bible, into the already established context of what we believe the church to be.

We have been handed a firm, repetitive, authoritarian structure of operation from tradition. (traditions which were established in a time when the Bible was not very well understood or published). We are sure that "church" is going to a building on Sunday, where we focus on worship and teaching. "Ministry" is something which is mostly preordained and for only a handful of people to do. And we firmly believe that those "ministry" people have authority over the rest of us. The context of "church" is "shepherd and sheep"--"submit to the rule"--follow the "order".

Are these words in the Bible?

Yes they are, but--have we set them in the context that the Bible gives us?

Or, have we presumed that our context is correct, and made these words "fit" our already established definitions and functions?

I do not claim to have perfect knowledge of what the Bible says, but I know there are wrong traditions in the church. I know these traditions are not what the church in the Bible was. The biggest problem I see in the church is that there seems to be absolutely no striving or study in these areas, no room for change in the church, in these areas.

We presume a context--is it correct?