Often we hear church leaders explain that they are a “traditional church.”

The question is, where did those traditions originate? Many were borrowed from the pagan Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans; like the building, the sermon, the pulpit, the choir, the pastor, the funeral oration, and the seminary.

Other practices evolved throughout the last two centuries, like the order of worship, the altar call, the pew, Sunday school, Bible school, Interdenominational – and Para-church organizations, and the matter of all Protestants going “to church” on Sunday at 10 or 11 a.m.

(from “Beyond Radical” by Gene Edwards).

The order in which Paul’s letters are arranged in the New Testament, seemed according to descending length, not the data on which they were written.

Many young and some older folks are hungry these days to follow Jesus more closely again – just like in the Jesus-Revolution of the 1960s.

By God’s grace and in His perfect timing, this remnant is growing once more (Romans ch.11)!

While traveling in Europe this summer, most people I talked with were interested in having deeper conversations about the meaning of life, about God and Jesus and His Spirit, but not about the church-system.

Many old church buildings have been converted into libraries, apartments, offices and other secular spaces and tourist-attraction museums.

Even our own town has one! A good question to ask ourselves is: “If the Holy Spirit were completely withdrawn from the church today, would 90 percent of the work continue as if nothing happened …?” This can apply to us, as individuals as well, of course.

“Many Christians hold on to things while climbing the mountain of faith.

When it’s hard, though, they don’t let go of the things – they let go of the mountain top, and never reach it” (Alistair Begg, truthforlife.org).

“The true fruit of an apple tree is not the apple, but rather, more apple trees.

The true fruit of a strong leader is not a follower, but more strong leaders.

The true fruit of a healthy Church is not congregants, but more healthy home-churches.

God has designed the world to be one that reproduces and multiplies.

The apple trees that can’t multiply are the ones that are genetically modified.

We have too many GMO-churches and not enough reproducing ones” (wearechurch.com).

Home-churches can be dangerous, though, for we can easily misunderstand God’s ways.

He says “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa.55:8-9).

We assume success to be proof of God’s blessing … But being spiritually gifted can be hazardous to our spiritual health.

Why? Because our success might lead us to conclude we have God’s approval … As it says in Jeremiah chapter 17, only trusting in GOD is blessed, “For the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”

(to be continued)

Marita Hayes is a Del Rio resident and regular columnist.

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