Religion is systematic slavery

slave shipSystematic Theology is an oxymoron. God is not a system. God is Spirit!

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” – John 4:24

The citizenship of the Kingdom of God is composed of lovers. The citizenship of earthly kingdoms, and the prostitute with whom they keep company, (i.e. Babylon the Great, mother of Harlots) is made up of merchants of one kind or another — all with an agenda of getting.

These merchants range from those who sit in the market place crying out, We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn,” Matthew 11:17,

all the way to: “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes any more [i.e. cargoes including the… ] the bodies and souls of men.” – Revelation 18:11a, 13b.

Slave traders buy and sell the bodies of men, but who can buy and sell the souls of men?

Religious merchants. These merchants include the kings of this earth:

“When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: ‘Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come.” – Revelation 18:9,10.

Kings commit the same adultery as the merchants, but their interests are not quite the same; the kings want pure power, and the merchants want purchasing power. All the jewelry of Babylon – the gold, silver and precious jewels – are displays of this power. In the case of kings and those in authority, this power may in the first instance be preeminence. “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.” “3rd” John 9, 10.

There is a leadership – a kingship of sorts that is in a position to buy and sell the souls of men. This is religious leadership. Beware!

Love!

P.S. Please don’t speak to me of Catholic indulgences, by now there have been far too many Protestant indulgences to justify such a narrow understanding.

By Jay Ferris, originally posted April 27, 2012

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The Zeal of God: Part 2 – NEW RELEASE

Continuing this on restoration zeal, we don’t need to tear anything down. We are too late for that. Jesus tore every barrier down about 2,000 years ago; now all we need do is plunge boldly through it all.

It’s a view from the foot of the Cross that gives all the zeal we need. Jesus not only rent in his own flesh the old covenant veil of pre-existing external regulation, thus making possible real intimacy with God, but every such veil, past, present and future. We don’t have to tear anything down. He tore it all down on the cross! Institutional Christianity has already been torn down at the cross. All we need do is walk through the rent curtain with the life that He put in its place.

There is a zeal in the heart of God. It is a zeal for us to enter into and share His passion. What does that passion look like? For us who believe, or claim to believe, it looks like Jesus on the cross. This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for each other.” God redefined “agape” on the cross. Until then, it was a love only good for friends. After that, it was love good for enemies.¹ 

By Jay Ferris
NEW RELEASE: Part 2 of a “Letter to a Zealot”

¹ Romans 5:10

 

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Relationships From God ~ 2 Problems

Just as with the new birth, relationships that come from God are not a matter of human decision or husband’s will. That is, they are not calculated or contrived at a human level. They are born of Spiritual passion – not human negotiation. They are born of the Passion of Christ in the crucible of new love – not in the pottage of human agenda.

To know what relationships in Christ look like, all we need do is look at Christ and what His relationships cost Him. This is how we know what love is. In short, relationships that come from God can and will get you killed.

I return to this subject once again because there are two very costly mistakes that undifferentiated passion makes. One has to do with the flesh connection, i.e. a reliance on the flesh. The other has to do with a failure to learn the relational lessons that God has built into old creation life. In a sense they both have to do with the flesh; the first has to do with the foolhardiness of the flesh, and the other its inability to see the invisible truth built into created things. On the one hand we are to put no confidence in the flesh, and on the other, we need to learn the invisible things about God that he has built into the created things – things like family, in this instance.

Over the years of living in “relationships that come from God” I learned some painful lessons. The first painful lesson was not to put any stock in the flesh connection. It was one thing to see and appreciate this connection in the old covenant where flesh was only a shadow of things to come. Here, for instance is perhaps the strongest statement of the kind of relationship we are speaking about, only in the flesh: “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than the love of women.”

This is certainly a very powerful statement, and one which crosses gender lines. I believe that the love between David and Jonathan was mutual, so that we can read this verse in the following sense, “the love we shared, was to me, wonderful…”

Here’s where it goes bad in a New Testament context:

“David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?’ Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They summoned him to appear before David, and the king said to him, ‘Are you Ziba?’ ‘At your service,’ he replied. The king asked, ‘Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?’ Ziba answered the king, ‘There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.” 2 Samuel 9:1-3

This was certainly an appropriate relational kindness under the Old Covenant. The problem under the New Covenant is that it does not work in the Spirit, because it is rooted in flesh and blood relationship. Time and again, over the years I tried to be there for the flesh and blood relatives of those with whom I had spiritual relationships, and it was a disaster on every occasion. Flesh wars against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. The cost over the years has been very high for me personally as well as for my family.

The next very costly mistake has to do with the possibility of moral failure. It was only recently that I saw that the Apostle Paul dealt with this as a matter of first importance. His first attempt apparently fell on deaf ears: I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.” – 1st Corinthians 5:9-11

Apparently they didn’t get it. In fact they were so far from getting it that they were proud of their tolerance for immoral conduct and people. The previous letter he mentioned, that we don’t have, must have been written after Paul’s first missionary journey to Corinth. Paul was still very much in a learning curve. First time out, he went with Barnabas and Mark, and didn’t make it as far as Corinth. The second time out, Paul had Timothy with him, and his learning curve was much more effective where Paul’s own understanding of relationships was concerned.

Paul saw things in the fellowship at Corinth, that it apparently took him some time to process. The closeness or intimacy of Christian fellowship can be so close that it becomes an occasion for moral failure. This problem was so important that it was addressed in what we know as Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, as well as in a previous letter that has been lost to history.

In any case, the issue has such high priority that only Acts and Romans precede it in the chronology of the scriptures. Both Acts and Romans set the context: Acts with the historical order of Paul’s ministry, and Romans with moral order and context of the Kingdom of God.

Paul finishes his rebuke of this problem at Corinth with the following:

“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you,” – 1st Corinthians 5:12 & 13.

How then are we to escape even the appearance of sexual immorality in the face of such great salvation, such great intimacy of fellowship, and such relational oneness? The law is no match for such a high calling. Only the invisible things of God revealed in the things created provide us any hope of understanding such passion in the context of human relationships: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse,” Romans 1:20.

The question in the first instance is, “How does God do life?” And in the final version, the more abundant version of life, the question remains the same. We are without excuse if we don’t get how God does life from the created things, for this is how we have an idea how God does life in the new creation. God puts the solitary in families, and this is what Jesus promises us in his new creation – 100-fold of family – all conditional on our willingness to allow the Lord to change our priorities.

The old creation teaches us how it should be between mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and brothers and sisters. All of these relationships in the first instance are nothing if they are without passion – passion perfectly appropriate – and without moral failure in every case. Family is where we learn how it is to be in life together without moral failure. This is also where we learn about appropriate content, not only for each kind of relationship, but appropriate to every situation, circumstance, and season. If we don’t get it here, Romans tells us that then we will be turned over to perversity – moral failure:

“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them,” – Romans 1:24-33.

In short, life makes the boundaries of intimacy so clear that we are without excuse if we miss them. I know this is very hard hitting, but now as then moral failure in the context of supposedly Christian fellowship is epidemic.

  • By Jay Ferris, original posting April, 2012

[1] II Samuel 1:26

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NEW RELEASE: Misguided Zeal

Dear blog readers,
I’m excited to share that in the coming weeks we will be digging out some new writings of Jay Ferris, not previously published here on the website. Some will be short clips taken from longer writings or emails: such as the following written to a young man whose zeal to “make a difference” prompted Jay to give some loving advice.
Enjoy!

Dear _____,

In thinking about the zeal expressed here today, it came to me that: repentance isn’t a prayer. It’s not even something to do. Repentance is mostly a place to live.

All of this is because we have one small problem: we just can’t do it. Jesus said He would build His Church. Human efforts are doomed to be humiliating, and divisive.

What is needed is that we repent from our doing, so that we start seeing. It’s the same with talking: It’s hard to hear when we’re talking.

As for “our” love, we have to repent of a love that is only good for friends, and begin to understand and appreciate a love that is good for enemies. It’s not available down here. Down here, there is no greater love than that which, on its best day, is only good for friends. The new kind of love, God’s love, is only available at the cross. We think we can get there on our own, but actually it’s our friends that have to take us their. This is why we avoid relationships, and prefer religion. Relationships will get us killed. That’s why we avoid them, and yet critically need them at the same time.

Love!

Jay Ferris

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Kingdom Authority Works By Honor

In our last post we spoke about the priority of being over doing. In this post we want to explore the difference between the authority of doing and the authority of being.

I’ll begin by “cutting to the chase:” Authority of being works by honor. Authority of doing works by imposition. One is passive, and the other is proactive.

Jesus said in the kingdom we don’t rule as the Gentiles do:

“Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves,” Luke 22:24-27.

In short, there is a difference as to how authority works. Authority of being is authority for living more than doing. It is perhaps best seen in families or households where the first commandment with promise rules the day, “Honor your father and mother that it may go well with you and your days be long upon the land.”

Honor releases the best that is in a person.  The commandment with promise has an even broader application than just between parents and children. The following video clip provides a graphic demonstration of how it works:

 

The drop of water represents the best that is in another person.  Just as with the bead of water which is contained by the surface tension of the water, when we touch another person with honor, their tension is released and their content flows in the direction from which the touch has come.  When we touch another person with honor, we release the best that is in them to flow in our direction.

“Jesus left there and went to his home town, [Please note that Jesus had a “home town”] accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given to him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James and Joses, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’  And they took offense at him. 

Jesus said to them, “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” [Matthew has it this way:”But Jesus said to them, ‘Only in his home town and in his own house is a prophet without honor.’]  And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.” – Mark 6:1-5 

While Matthew attributes his unwillingness to do miracles in this context to their lack of faith, the greater context of both Mark and Matthew is lack of honor.

The Kingdom of God is best seen in how we relate to one another – how we are with one another. The kingdom of God does not look like a lecture hall so much as an intimate conversation among those who love each other.  It is in the context of speaking the truth in love to one another that we grow up into Him Who is the Head, even Christ. This conversation can be as numerically small as two people, where Christ, (the best within us) is in the midst or a gathering of many people. In either case, it is the honoring of one another that releases the best that is in the midst of them.

Kingdom authority operates in such a way as to release that conversation, and not to replace it with a lecture by doing all the talking or imposing its will or perspective on the gathering or the other person. For this to happen, however, those involved, those gathered, whether two or many need to be sensitive to or discerning of the authority that is present in their midst for such a conversation to take place.  A conversation full of people who are preoccupied with their own agendas never gets off the ground.

As an illustration of how this works, lets take a look at 1 Corinthians 16:15, 16: “You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it.”   Authority in the Kingdom of God is not about over doing, but over seeing.

Please note that this is not an admonishment to the household to Stephanas to Lord it over the saints at Corinth who are younger in the Lord than they are. Rather it places the responsibility on those who are younger in the faith to honor or submit to those who are senior in time, experience and service. It is this recognition, submission, and honor that releases the authority of the kingdom to the benefit of the saints in a place. In this context it is not about titles, like elder or overseer, it is about the facts of life inherent in seniority in time and place.

This operative principle of Kingdom authority works, not only in this larger sense, but also in the much smaller sense of the truth, (The TRUTH) present in a very small conversation. Each of us who are a party to a conversation brings something of Christ to that conversation, and can learn this Christ Who is in the others present, from the least to the greatest, each one has something to contribute of Him, Who is the Head. Each one of us has a responsibility to discern, and submit to the others present in the conversation. Otherwise the result is simply a conversation that is usurped by a lecture, a lecture coming from the one who is least sensitive to the presence of Christ in the midst, and so steps in by placing himself or herself in that place of preeminence – that place that belongs only to Him.

This kind of over doing authority has been the rule in what’s been calling itself “church” for thousands of years by now, beginning, at least with the “leadership” or authority of Diotrephes, in 3rd, (4th) John.

The most sure and certain way to spoil a small group or any conversation, for that matter, is to talk too much. This is a life killer, just like one who takes the Lord’s supper without discerning the body of Christ present at the table. This not only results in meetings that do more harm than good, but also in judgment, 1st Corinthians 11:17-34. For present purposes, let’s just call it “conversational gluttony,” even pollution.

As lovers, even lovers in training we are sensitive to what’s in the hearts of those around us. Love listens!

Love!

By Jay Ferris, Originally posted Sept. 24, 2012

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Revisiting Cana Afresh


“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.

When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine.’
‘Woman, why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied. ‘My hour has not yet come.’His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.’ They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, ‘Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.’

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” John 2:1-11 NIV

The first and the last – the Alpha and Omega of The Great Mystery – Christ and His Church.

“These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning!” Acts 2:15

The day of Pentecost began with what would be the ongoing consummation of a wedding feast that continues to this day. Just as in Cana, there was plenty of wine, enough so that uninvited onlookers thought them drunk. On that day a wine became available, a wine of more abundant life that no one had ever seen, tasted or experienced before. It was a wine that had never before been served because “… Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” John 7:39b

This wedding, this consummation, this wine, not only gets better with the unfolding of human history, but it gets better over the consummated lifetime of each saint. And that is what we who know Jesus are.

As an old saint, I can testify that the wine at the end is even better than what was served at the first. And let there be no question about the ongoing consummation – without the Galilean wedding, the new birth would be illegitimate.

Love!

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