A Bit of a Production

1 Thessalonians 5:4-11, “4But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

I can only tolerate so much theatrics from a church. In this case, a prayer for a specific individual that turned into an annointing and excorcisim-like affair was too much for me. It didn’t take me long to tune out during the sermon, but I often find it hard to connect various theatrics with Bible passages. It didn’t take me long to find 1 Peter 4:7 and realize that it wouldn’t hurt anybody to put it into practice. One could argue that America’s lack of self-control in recent years has contributed to our debt, obesity, and sheer amount of stuff.

It’s a fine line, really. The Bible tells us that the sorts of congregations that go all out in the Holy Spirit, get quite disorderly, and in every way appear to be outside their minds put an emphasis on the gift of tongues. Rarely would today’s charismatic churches pay attention to the verse that says something to the effect of: “As long as there is an interpreter to share the words being spoken in tongues there isn’t a problem. But if there is no interpreter and the words can’t be used to build up the church then don’t speak! For it is better to build up the church than it is oneself.” However, self-control is demanded of every posititon of authority mentioned in the Bible be they overseers, deacons, etc. It is what we should expect of ourselves.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be excited to be in church, but what good are you doing if you’re running laps around the room and preventing the service to proceed? What if an outsider arrives and decides that you are indeed outside your mind? Is it the outsider’s fault for not knowing the procedures? Is it your fault for offending him? What is the limit of theatrics you can deal with? Is your church too lax or too controlled?

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2 thoughts on “A Bit of a Production

  1. Yeah it’s a fine line because we don’t always know for sure motives of heart and what spirit is in control… it does make me sad though when there is confusion whether it is God freeing someone from bondage (hooray!) or other spirits at work (yuck). My church is far on the side of self control, too far actually. (because of ancestry-Germans tend to be stoic and also because of a church heritage that prizes discipline and views emotions with suspicion) It hinders the flow of expression that I’m sure the Holy Spirit longs for us to share. 

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  2. @PeacefulLady – Most of the churches I’ve ever attended were pretty much the same way. I just think that they’re afraid of what would happen if they relaxed their rules and let God move through them. In Colossians 2, Paul tells us that an abundance of regulations will pass away because even though they seem right, they don’t really keep us from doing the wrong thing.

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...Anyway, that's just how I feel about it ... What do you think?

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