What is truly strange: a Gospel practiced in our day without any evidence of the power of God, or a Gospel practiced in our day where the manifestation of God’s power is evidenced in a similar way to the book of Acts?
As incredible as it may seem, the vast majority of people, and especially the religious industry, tend to see the gospel practiced with manifestations of power, similar to what is seen in the book of Acts as the stranger of these two options.
How is this possible? – Well, fundamental denominationalism has created for the religious class a corporate structure where one can find ways of growing or scaling up authority based on socio-political skills and not necessarily called by God. This causes a religious comfort that is all that a man or woman in his condition of being human wants; comfort, structure, security, stability.
However, biblically speaking; the kingdom, the Church of Christ, is a body of world structure where the head is Jesus and not the executive committee of a particular denomination. Calling and orders of authority are appointed by the head and not necessarily the executive committee of a particular denomination. Now, can the head used the executive committee of a particular denomination? – Absolutely yes! But this committee must be under the submission of the head (Jesus Christ) and seek in humility (prayer, supplications, fasting – example given by the apostles) the direction of the head.
Does this submission to the head occur? – Yes, it does. There are true men or women of God in positions strategically positioned by the head within the various Christian denominations throughout the world. The problem is when submission to the head (Christ) does not occur and the political AGENDA takes prevalence and people without the call to such a function are positioned to lead. Thus the political agenda takes priority over the agenda of the head and political problems begin within denominationalism. The political focus within denominationalism ends up taking away from the spiritual life and the local body is left without a directive from the head (Christ). In these opportune moments, the adversary, the devil, takes advantage of human weakness and strategically inserts divisions, pagan doctrines, doctrines with small distortions of true biblical doctrine, etc. This occurs so subtly that it often takes a thorough evaluation of a denomination’s history to understand how it all began. Unfortunately, this close study will allow you to note that many of the Protestant denominations have begun because of different interpretations of a single biblical verse. These disputes, often fueled more by the human ego than the search for the truth, have caused and continue to cause the famous breaks ups that have generated and generate until today, divisions of the body and creations of denominations.
The sovereignty and grace of God is incredible, and He continues to use that same body broken and shattered into many pieces as we can see in our days. So, going back to the original question, why do we find the manifestation of God’s power as in the book of Acts strange? – Because divisions created by the human ego (denominationalism), political focus, spiritual comfort found in the corporate structure of religion, lack of individual and corporal search for biblical truth causes a chronic spiritual apathy that gradually becomes a spiritual stronghold, as well preventing generation after generation of the Church to clearly see the truth that can actually sets them free. They may see it in part but be limited to the whole!
When there is a jolt in this spiritual stronghold and it causes some cracks or even breaks the defensive walls of religion or denominationalism, this causes a bustle of defensive nature within the religious system that often “shuts up“ and “controls” the structure of religion. Often, this defensive reaction manages to stop the move that generates Biblical renewal. In other cases, this defensive reaction is not able to “shut up” or even “control” the cracks in the defensive wall of religion and there is an outflow of biblical renewal that we often call reform or revival.
In the book of Revelation, Jesus commands five of the seven churches exhorted to repent and return to their first love. Jesus loves his Church and denominational leaders which make up his Church. Maybe Jesus is talking to you now. Pray for your leaders, do not rebel or speak ill of them. The personal reform (prayer, supplications, fasting – example given by the apostles) precedes the bodily reform. The pursuit of truth will surely set you free!
Thiago Gonçalves, Th.M.
Missionary & Evangelist