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Christian Ideology or Christ's Gospel

In practice –  the history of Christianity has tended to constantly and subtly blur the distinction between these two very different realities, with seriously subversive results . . .  

The Gospel of Christ is not a gospel about Christ, and never was!  
It is
the same gospel that Jesus preached – the continuance of which was the reason for the Holy Spirit being given to His Church at Pentecost just as He Himself had received the Holy Spirit at His Jordan baptism and for the same purpose.
The Gospel:
It is the direct revelation of the nature/character of God, in which His people have become partakers through being born-again by His Spirit and they therefore are as unregulated as the wind (Jn.3:8).
It is the character of Christ contrastively demonstrated in relationships and behaviour, as 'light' (in the darkness) and 'salt' (stopping the rot) in this world environment.
truths associated with this glorious work of God's grace through Jesus, and the reality of this, applied practically in the fellowship of God's people, may easily become understood as 'ideals' to which one should be committed:
a set of beliefs or ideology to which one becomes committed
– rather than an immediate personal direct living relationship – in which the Spirit of God Himself 'calls the tune' among God's people.
"Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom."
2 Corinthians 3:17.
teaching-systems become set up and organisational-structure designed to maximize personal commitment and the practical living out of this belief-system. It has become an ideology founded on facts, but it is no longer the Gospel which Jesus preached, even though congregational worship continues as before and house/life-groups are used to implement it at a personal level.
It is no longer the vehicle of God's present direct and immediate lordship beyond organisational control. It is now a packaged and controlled church program.
our modern world, the useful techniques of positive-reinforcement and marketing management help this Christian Ideology into a recruiting mechanism which then presents itself socially as the 'hope of the world', the 'redemption of society', and so the Christian community is an agent for change to right living. It all sounds so good.
It is very
understandable that when church leaders pray for guidance concerning the future that they should expect a 'map' of the way ahead, as they think the Lord may wish it to be, but that is not God's method, ever.
Yes, that would allow church-leaders to be the managers of the way ahead, but God does not hand out 'maps' to those seeking guidance.
He may give a yes or no on specifics but never a 'map', for He gives His own hand, He gives Himself to accompany His people forward into the future, to give direct continuing guidance. His lordship lies in the immediacy of His Spirit.
  God's future for every believer is designed to require faith/trust in Him – beyond understanding! The future is not measurable! As with Abraham

Multiple-campus churches which ignore existing churches in the areas of their activity are especially blind in this regard.
'map' idea has fed the ideological form of Christian church practice and produced many of the entrenched blindnesses which continue to significantly hinder God's people from the goal of becoming, what the Word of God described as, –
"until we all attain
the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ"
This goal has not changed, and it reaches across every organisational structure and historical division of the Christian Faith!
Ephesians 4:13, based on
"your love toward
all the saints"
Ephesians 1:15.
the world communist movement was built on a similar ideological commitment – to a view of how things could be.
Here of course God is the authority-figure and catalyst for any personal trust issues but practically He is not directly the Lord of the situation.
Systems have been streamlined and developed to make His direct involvement unnecessary. The 'church' local or otherwise now runs the show!
by 'church', Christian ideology does not really mean the congregation, for 'ministry' has now migrated from the people of God in general (to whom His Spirit was given for that purpose) to proven leadership-accepted persons:
it has migrated from the auditorium-of-the-people to the platform-of-the-approved — and confined to it.
The Lord no longer rules directly in His Church. The refined system of ministry built upon evangelical doctrine is now sovereign.
The Apostle Paul's unapproved rebuke of the Apostle Peter at Antioch "before them all" would now of course be an impossibility.
Galatians 2:14.
may interfere at a personal and private level such as in answers to prayer, but not in general direction or ever publicly address an issue unless by prior agreement with church leadership management. Their directional control is vital.
church services are no longer completely focused on immediate direct encounter with God Himself, but become packaged presentations of truth and motivational messages to become part of a movement which holds hope for the world.
in many 'pentecostal'/'charismatic' churches, which previously were focused on the immediacy of the Lord's presence and so were open to full congregational ministry, this has given way to platform-approved contributions to the church meeting.
And it all sounds so right... to
In the first
century, the Spirit of God's message to the church in Laodicea was a warning from Christ – that He stood outside knocking, calling for any individual to hear Him, with a promise of personal fellowship with Him to those who did.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone [in this church] hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me."
Revelation 3:20.
But this personal appeal was first introduced with a most serious warning to this apparently successful church as a whole
"So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold,
I will spit you out of My mouth."
Revelation 3:16.
Change is direct personal encounter with God; which is the primary purpose for the gathering of God's people.
programs and teaching systems replace this primary focus, so that the gathering of God's people, the so-called 'church service', simply becomes a hymn-sermon-sandwich or today a more upmarket equivalent in music and presentation, that church has, perhaps unknowingly, become a purveyor of Christian Ideology rather than of the living sacred Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ –
and it is time to repent or face the future of the Laodicean church.
'programmatic' approach to church meetings is understandable. It is very human, and any society would be inclined to do so.
But it is not the way of God among His New Covenant people.
have understood a church/congregational meeting/service as a spiritual 'ploughing' and 'sowing'. The hearts of the audience are 'ploughed over' during the singing or worship, to soften attitudes and prepare them for the preacher to 'sow' the sermon into their hearts and lives. This is not wrong, and so seems right – but it is not God's perspective.
immediacy of God's presence among His people is appointed to be the central focus and conditioning factor for all that happens in the gathering of God's people.
The Quakers rediscovered it and lost it, like the rest of Christianity, before and since.
Good substitutes are not good enough!
perspective is specifically why the Apostle Paul, when addressing the very issue of order in the gathering of God's people, declares –
"If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent.
...If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual,
 he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord." 
1 Corinthians 14:30, 37.
arrangement has no precedence!
The immediacy of the Lord in the midst of His people, by the Holy Spirit whom He has given to all His people, is the only absolute of a Christian church meeting.
— The recovery of this commonly lost perspective is essential to the completing of the purposes of God through His people in this world! —
"[God] made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter [ideology] but of the Spirit [immediate presence of God].
For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."
2 Corinthians 3:6.

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