"The Central Purpose of a Fellowship"

Marty Wooten, a one time ICOC teacher and bigwig, has recently joined Kip's LA church. I found it surprising and a little disappointing, but it may be a good thing after all. Marty may be the balance that Kip needs. Marty seems more thoughtful and introspective while Kip is zealous and impulsive. Maybe, as Marty has acknowledged, they can help balance each other out with each's weaknesses being complimented be the other's strength.

But that's not the point of this post. What I wanted to write about was something he wrote in his part 2 of why he's joined Kip's church:

If the central purpose of a fellowship is to impact the world for Christ, then unity is an absolute necessity for success (John 17); unity within an individual church and between a larger fellowship of churches must take place.

He's making a point that Kip makes a lot in this article. Churches need relationships with other churches if we are to be about our main mission, seeking and saving the lost. I don't take issue with relationships between churches being needed and good (he speaks of it in a way that I can better accept than what Kip usually says). My concern is with the premise that leads to the conclusion:
If the central purpose of a fellowship is to impact the world for Christ

Maybe I'm a heretic, but is that really the central purpose of a fellowship? Certainly it is one of the purposes of a fellowship, and even an important one, but "the central purpose"? I don't think so.

I'm not sure how I'd word it (help me out here), but Jesus told us that loving God and loving others were most important (in that order). Sharing the gospel and evangelism (what he's getting at if you read the article) are part of doing that (never mind the high minded wording of 'impacting the world'), but not all of it. Certainly, seeking and saving are not our central purpose, but part of it.

Isn't this one of the things that got the ICOC in trouble? We assumed Jesus' mission (seek and save the lost) was to be our mission. If that is true, then that will lead us to a lot of things. Door knocking, jumping in front of folks on the street to invite them to church, over emphasis on stats and growth and an unhealthy church to church interdependence.

I think the primary mission of the church is simply to love. Love God passionately, love each other deeply and love everyone else as we do ourselves. If we do, we will reach out to other churches, we will evangelize, and do so cooperatively and we will serve and care for those in need. We will be a light in the darkness, whether that darkness is sin, sickness or poverty.

What do you think?

9 Comments

It seems to me that even Jesus' mission was wider: to preach and to heal the sick.

Some Christian fellowships have taken that healing mission very seriously, establishing hospital systems and clinics all over the world.

Some feel they are gifted to heal in a miraculous way. (I haven't seen it happen, but that don't mean it don't!)

Most of the rest of us, I think, feel that if we can't do it miraculously, then we can't imitate Jesus that way, so forget it. I think that's bunk. "She has done what she could" was a commendation for someone who tried with the resources at hand. And there are all kinds of healing besides physical that God can achieve through us, if we're willing to put our resources toward it.

That will glorify Him as much or more than singing all the pretty songs in church that we can sing or praying all the adoring prayers we can pray.

Because in the process we'll get to know people who desperately need Him, and we'll be showing them that He cares through us. Don't you think?

Remember when Kip talked about reading the gospels through the lens of making disciples? You see different things when you do that... but you also miss a lot--things like loving one another and serving one another. Those are the weightier issues (love, justice, mercy, humility...) I think that was a fundamental problem that led to the troubles in the ICOC.

An organism whose only purpose is to reproduce is known as a virus. People debate whether or not it is even a life form.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. We took away the real meaning of John 15 - which was to abide (together - grapes hang out in bunches) in Jesus. And to love. When we do that then the fruit (love) will attract folks to consume the seed(word/Jesus). People were amazed at the early church not for their amazing evangelism but for their amazing love. When Jesus divides the sheep from the goats it will be over how we treated each other ('I was hungry and you fed me...') not over who cranked the ministry.

ttk

"Isn't this one of the things that got the ICOC in trouble?"

Bingo. It's great and extremely important, IMHO, that you bring this up. This reminds me of the survey someone (GF?) did at the Boston ICOC a few years back. When asked what was the Greatest Commandment, some huge percentage came back with the so-called Great Commission.

All of my CoC life, we were taught that Worship wasn't just something you do on Sunday mornings, as Keith brings up. Worship *is* those things (singing together, etc.), but it's so much more than that. It's giving to those around us, whether that means handing out sandwiches to homeless folks at the park or mowing your neighbor's lawn or giving to a children's home. It's telling folks how Jesus really is amazing. Worship happens when we live our life 24/7 to bring honor to God. I don't think this is just IMHO... :)

The thing is, it would be easy and *almost* more justfied to elevate Worship just like we elevated Evangelism. They all are just parts of loving God with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.

I like that part about "jumping in front of folks on the street", it just sounds funny.

But seriously, does the fact that most of the elders in the ICOC have cut Kip off mean anything to Marty? Lets face it, Kip has done a great job of alienating anyone who doesn't want to be under his authority. It reminds me of the guy "who always wants to be first". Kip consistently tries to unify his group through alienating others. I just don't think thats the way to create unity. It does however create a lot of people who MUST believe they are the only TRUE Christians.

I dont know what Marty is thinking, but maybe "joining" Kips group wasn't the way to go. All it does is give Kip more credibility, and it takes away from Marty's.

TTK - I fixed your comment by adding your name. Must be something going on with cookies (mmmm - cookies), I've gotten several anonymous comments lately. Judging by the I{ address, the above 'anon' is Mark, but I'm not 100% sure. :-P

BGC - "I don't know what Marty is thinking, ...

Well, if Marty believes what he wrote (a wild accusation, I know) about "the central purpose of a fellowship" being to spread the gospel, than signing up with Kip makes perfect sense. Kip talks that talk and walks that walk more than just about anyone.

Maybe it does give Kip credit, but remember, Kip's just a sinful guy like the rest of us. Don't get me wrong, I think he's seriously off base in his teaching, but he's still just a guy. He's not the antichrist.

Sometimes I think we put folks on pedestals or in holes based on our past experiences. So when a 'good' guy connects with a 'bad' guy, we're shocked on both accounts. I certainly was a little disappointed to hear Marty joining Kip. I can remember that Marty started a web site after the HKL with a forum and everything that went nowhere fast. I was hoping it would grow, but it just fizzled.

If anything, this helps put both back in perspective. If a guy I had some respect for at one time can join up with a guy that I find distasteful, well, maybe my respect was a little too high and maybe my distaste was too. They're both just guys trying to figure it out like we are.

Thanks!! I thought I'd filled out the info but perhaps not. (I did this time for sure!)

Yea, but "Anonymous" is my middle name. Hey, at least my first name isn't "Nonny." :-0

If anything, this helps put both back in perspective. If a guy I had some respect for at one time can join up with a guy that I find distasteful, well, maybe my respect was a little too high and maybe my distaste was too. They're both just guys trying to figure it out like we are.

I like this...it is within the realm of not polarizing anybody. There is too much 'our side' and 'their side'; us and them. I think that is where the love comes in. Regardless of my opinion of Kip, the truth is that we are still commanded to treat him like a brother, even if we disfellowship him, we do it as a brother, not a pagan. This is the command (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15). It is also the command that love is patient. I know that I myself have done many things in the name of the Lord that deserve anything but grace, however, not as destructive as what Kip is doing. But none the less...

I have proven many times over that the title of "The Great Commission" in the case of Matthew 28:18-20 is a misnomer. IF the whole of the gospel is taken into account, the mission, purpose, and role of the apostles is clear, and Matthew 28 directly applies to them, and the language of God commanded them to "baptize all nations" and "teach all I have commanded", ergo, it is our job to do that very thing, is also a misapplied mindset (this does not take away our response to the cross in our sharing with others, both converted and non-converted, the love that we have to offer through the teachings of the word, and the faith in action to follow through). The commands of Jesus are found in Matthew on the sermon on the mount, of which, the entire New Testament is an expansion of. The mission of the church, which didn't exist when that scripture was given, directly to the eleven apostles, is clearly laid out in Hebrews 10 when the Hebrew writer mentions the assembly in verse 25. And this encouragement that he speaks of can easily be defined in scriptures like Colossians 3 & 4; Philippians 2; Ephesians 4; and Romans 12-14.

Directly, the only scripture that I can find concerning worship, directly, is Romans 12:1-2. There is talk of the assembly in other places, but as to worship, this is the only one in the New Testament. I'd be curious if anybody new of another? Anyway, this confirms the above statements that our worship is the lives that we live, more so than our Sunday Morning service (totally traditional in most cases).

I'd be interested if anybody has another take on these things...



Monthly Archives

Recent Comments

  • If anything, this helps put both back in perspective. If a guy I had some respect for at one time can join up with a guy that I find distasteful, well, maybe my respect was a little too high and maybe my distaste was too...

  • Yea, but "Anonymous" is my middle name. Hey, at least my first name isn't "Nonny." :-0...

  • Thanks!! I thought I'd filled out the info but perhaps not. (I did this time for sure!)...

  • TTK - I fixed your comment by adding your name. Must be something going on with cookies (mmmm - cookies), I've gotten several anonymous comments lately. Judging by the I{ address, the above 'anon' is Mark, but I'm not ...

  • I like that part about "jumping in front of folks on the street", it just sounds funny. But seriously, does the fact that most of the elders in the ICOC have cut Kip off mean anything to Marty? Lets face it, Kip has ...

Close