God’s Spies

God’s Spies

In Mere Christianity, an excellent book by C.S. Lewis, planet Earth is portrayed in a unique way: ” Enemy-occupied territory – that is what this world is.  Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage”, writes Lewis.  Like every great Christian author, we need to “test everything” and “hold on to what is good.”  Lewis is brilliant in this first quote, but he continues to say something that falls flat, when he practically applies this truth about sabotage.  He writes, “When you go to church you are really listening in to the secret wireless from our friends:  that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going…”

While this may have been true at some point in history, it is not true any longer.  The church is no longer the center of society.  The whole town does not stop what they are doing and gather together when they hear the church bells.  Spirituality has become compartmentalized and trivialized in the hands of religious leaders over the centuries.  The American culture (as well as many others around the world) views church as a place where people go to participate in religious activities.  This is an extreme opposite of the “ecclesia” (a “who” not a “what”) described in the New Testament in which the only ongoing/repetitive religious activity was the Lord’s Supper.  The rest of what they did was an outpouring of who they were, coming and going, living, breathing, eating, and drinking with all the normal people.

What better way to keep the world safe from believers than to put them in little boxes?

What better way to ensure that the time, talents, and resources of God’s spies are segregated, resulting in the most minimal effectiveness in the world?

God’s spies have gotten side-tracked, full of themselves and their activities.  Each spy is equipped in specific ways, with certain talents, passions, and interests.  If the spy is invested more in the box than in the “great campaign of sabotage”, then the enemy is likely saying, “ROFLMAO… what a bunch of suckers!”  You won’t be getting a “secret wireless” message in the box.  The box is locked down tight, very high security, with spiritual police and preemptive protocol for exterminating anything that won’t fit neatly in the box.

 

 

 

 

*As a side-note, for those “who have ears to hear”, God is ultimately concerned about the world and is working out His plan of redemption in the world. However, there’s a “secret wireless” message which indicates that in this age, the “enemy territory”is institutional religion, and the sabatours’ “great campaign” is the “calling out” of spies from within their boxes, freeing them to be and do according to plan God predestined for them.  These people and this message are referred to in the book Daniel, which hints at what the age to come might hold:

…at that time do thy people escape, every one who is found written in the book.  And the multitude of those sleeping in the dust of the ground do awake, some to life age-during, and some to reproaches – to abhorrence age-during.  And those teaching do shine as the brightness of the expanse, and those justifying the multitude as stars to the age and for ever.  And thou, O Daniel, hide the things, and seal the book till the time of the end, many do go to and fro, and knowledge is multiplied.

[…] And I have heard, and I do not understand, and I say, “O my lord, what [is] the latter end of these?”

And he saith, “Go, Daniel; for hidden and sealed [are] the things till the time of the end.”

Comments
  • Mary Vanderplas September 15, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    I agree that, as you put it, “God’s spies have gotten side-tracked,” and that, to the extent that we have, we are ineffective in carrying out God’s mission in the world. I agree, too, that a distorted view of church as a place and spirituality as religious activity, as opposed to the New Testament picture of a community of people living out their faith together in worship, fellowship, study, and service, is at least a large part of the problem. I would argue, though, that it isn’t only religious leaders who are to blame for the disconnect between spirituality and life that is seen in much of the church today. The problem, in my view, is a false view of what it means to be spiritual – seeing it as something that is private and focused on the other-worldly rather than as something that involves every area of our lives in this world, including our public lives. There are Christians, leaders and others, who recognize that faith isn’t just about “going to heaven when I die” or communing with Jesus in private, but that it also is about such things as how I spend money and whether and how I vote in the next election.

    I couldn’t agree more with what you say about each spy being equipped to serve. To the extent that the institutional church is not focused on empowering all members to use their varied gifts in service to others outside its doors, it/we are unfaithful and are missing the purpose of our existence. And yes, I agree, the enemy more than likely is overjoyed. I have trouble, though, with your stating unequivocally that those in the “box” won’t be getting a “secret wireless.” Even though I agree with your point about alternative viewpoints too often being squelched by the leadership of the institution, I don’t think it’s fair or accurate to say that God’s word is never heard in the institutional church.

    I have some trouble, too, as you might expect, with your claim that the enemy territory is the institutional church, instead of the world that is hostile to God and his purposes. Granted, enemy forces are at work in the institution of the church, as they are in all institutions (and in all people), but this doesn’t mean, in my view, that the institution has been taken over by the enemy, as your statement implies. I have more than a little trouble, too, with your suggestion that God’s mission in this age is the freeing of those trapped in the “box” by those who have left the box. While I don’t disagree that some in the institution are bound by human-made traditions and in need of being set free to live the life God intends for all of us, I don’t see any grounds for arguing that God has sent a secret “wireless message” about a “great campaign” of leading people out of the institution. The great campaign is now what it has always been, which is to set free those who are captives to Sin and Death. The answer to the bondage of those in the institution is, in my view, reform of the institution so that all in the church are empowered to fulfill their God-ordained purpose and God-given potential.

    I don’t agree with your interpretation of the verses from Daniel 12. Nothing is said in this text about escaping from the institution or about a secret message received by some for the sake of helping others escape. Rather, what is being talked about here is, it seems clear, the future resurrection of the dead and the final deliverance of God’s people (and judgment of those who are not among God’s people). The exhortation to secrecy was a common feature of apocalyptic writing – and is not, in my view, to be interpreted as God giving a secret message to a select group of wise leaders or teachers.

    There is one other point worth mentioning here, I think, and that is tha,t while the world can rightly be thought of as enemy territory, our mission as Christians is not to defeat or conquer people, to gain victory, but to show Christ’s love and compassion and in doing so to enable them to be reconciled to God, to others, and to their true selves.

    Thanks for the blog. It’s deep and thought-provoking.

    • Jonathan MacDonald September 16, 2011 at 11:58 am

      From this post I am reminded of Rob Bell’s book “Jesus Wants to Save Christians”; the idea being how the Church is in exile and in order for the world to be saved the Church must first be rescued from its bondage to sin and lies. Hmm…this does seem to be a reoccurring theme in the story of God. (Bell’s book was inspired by the writings of Tom Holland and the new exodus theology.) It is what seems to be happening: the Church is in exile while the world is perishing. For various and understandable reasons there appears to be a mass exodus of people leaving the institutional church. My question is how are people going to find and be the “ecclesia” you so beautifully described above? I agree with your description of how it should be as it was in the early church but how do YOU personally live as the “ecclesia” now that you have left the institutional church? (if you have written about it elsewhere, please direct me) Our family is currently one foot in and one out. Do you think there might be a calling for some to “incarnate” back into the church in order to “be all things to all people so as to save some?” I feel I would lose the audience I am trying to reach if I leave all together. Also I believe it is the very theologians that I have been tracking with for the past 10 years that have structured and formed my thinking bringing it to the very brink of UR. (Eldridge, Keller, Plantinga) I see that the only difference is that I made that last jump and they are either still blind to it or too afraid of their colleagues (or themselves, untethered by fear and guilt). Some of their statements are astonishing. i placed them on the website to show how they are saying what they are not supposed to mean. Hope you will stop by. I do not have a blog yet at this time but you can post a comment if you like. I appreciate all you are doing to spread the good news! Jon

      • admin September 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm

        I’ll definitely check out the site. You bring up some interesting questions, which I can’t answer at the moment (bogged down with homework). I’ll be in touch soon.

      • admin October 10, 2011 at 8:07 am

        I’ve been thinking further about what you said/asked and I will post a blog on the subject soon as an answer. I’ll include a link to your website as well.

    • admin September 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      I don’t think that God’s word is never heard in the church, I just think that anything new or different is censored, as if we already know all there is to know. Thanks for your insightful comments, as always.

      • Mary Vanderplas September 17, 2011 at 7:24 am

        I agree with what you say. And I know that I need constantly to examine myself lest I think that I have nothing new or more to learn.

  • Jonathan MacDonald September 16, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Hello Alice, I just discovered your videos a few weeks ago and I think I have watched them all! You are very talented and incredibly insightful. I see I have much to learn here.

    I wanted to introduce myself and my new website godslovewins.com. Not a real clever name but I wanted to capitalize on the both Bell’s and Galli’s titles. I am a former staunch 5 point Calvinist and came to an understanding of UR about 5 years ago. However it was Love Wins that put the whole thing together for me to see the big picture of the Kingdom of God in relation to the restoration of all things.
    I look forward to exploring your site more. I have found it to be very thought-provoking and inspiring.

  • Stephen Helbig September 17, 2011 at 4:11 am

    FORSAKE NOT THE ASSEMBING

    We all know the passage of scripture of Jesus and the Samaritan woman @ Jacob’s well. Jesus stated “but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up unto EVERLASTING LIFE”.

    Today in this present age there is a message moving by God’s Holy Spirit across the land for ALL peoples. This message for today is a continuation of Kingdom of God and the next reformation concerning God’s Timetable for the Redemption of ALL mankind,” so that God will become “ALL in ALL”. Throughout church history there have been those Spiritual Police who have liked their “own” status and “the place” of their comfort zones. These spiritual police have been, (the Jewish leaders… the Popes thru history… and the leaders of institutional religion of today and yesterdays societies, (who would rather truckle in the safety of the mob)… the so called “blind leading the blind”. This crowd will most likely always be slower to move away from the traditions of man than those true seekers of God’s Grace where it is All of God or nothing at all.

    Alice’s quote “You won’t be getting a “secret wireless” message in the box. The box is locked down tight, very high security, with spiritual police and preemptive protocol for exterminating anything that won’t fit neatly in the box”. This to me describes the dilemma perfectly. Yes, I know that God’s word will accomplish that which He desires, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty, yet there is an order that is also unfolding according to His plan, line upon line and precept upon precept.

    Sorry back to the woman @ the well. The Woman @ Jacob’s well asked Jesus this question. Where should we worship, this mountain or Jerusalem? What church should we attend? The lord did not dodge this question and said, not at this mountain or at Jerusalem but “true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth”. We must worship God AS HE IS and not as man thinks He may be. Whatever your expression or ministry is, it should be able to function at any time and in any place, just as well as it does at a “church building”, and I don’t like using that term”church building”. You are THE TEMPLE of GOD! And I’m quoting again, “The American culture (as well as many others around the world) views church as a place where people go to participate in religious activities. This is an extreme opposite of the “ecclesia” (a “who” not a “what”) described in the New Testament in which the only ongoing/repetitive religious activity was the Lord’s Supper.The rest of what they did was an outpouring of who they were, coming and going, living, breathing, eating, and drinking with all the normal people”.

    There is a wonderful scripture passage which is troubling to many wherein the inspired writer admonishes, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as you see the day approaching” (Heb. 10:25). Do not be alarmed or distressed because some would use the letter of this word of encouragement as a hammer to bring condemnation to one who does not attend their weekly or set times of assembly! Nor on the other hand should we use our “liberty” as an excuse to do our own thing cutting us off from the body of Christ! Be humble before the Lord and before our brothers and sisters in Christ, ready to serve one another, and ready to receive from each other as He leads, and gathering together as He directs with meek and receptive hearts. But there is a truth beyond all this which needs to be expressed, and this is most important for us today. The Greek word for “assembling” is EPISUNAGOGEE. It is a verb meaning to literally synagogue. EPI-SUNAGOGEE is a compound of the Greek prefix EPI with the word SUNAGOGEE. EPI means super- imposition -that which is above, higher than, highest, upon. SUNAGOGEE means a meeting, assembly, or gathering. Putting these two together, means THE ABOVE SYNAGOGUE, THE HIGHER MEETING, THE HIGHEST ASSMBLY. It’s a meeting in the high places of the Spirit, and the heights of Truth. We are not to forsake the wonderful seating we have together with Christ in the HEAVENLIES!

    This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of ALL MEN, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. (1 Timothy 4: 9-11)

    “And those teaching do shine as the brightness of the expanse, and those justifying the multitude as stars to the age and for ever.” (Daniel 12:3)

    There’s a “secret wireless” message for todays “ekklésia” > “JUSTIFYING THE MULTITUDE”

    And I also agree with the following quote: *As a side-note, for those “who have ears to hear”, God is ultimately concerned about the world and is working out His plan of redemption in the world., However, there’s a “secret wireless” message which indicates that in this age, the “enemy territory” is institutional religion, and the saboteurs’ “great campaign” is the “calling out” of spies from within their boxes, freeing them to be and do according to plan God predestined for them.

    Alice, I hope I did not misrepresent your thoughts, but this is what has been spoken to my heart and mind, for God speaks upon these and I recognize His “Still Small Voice” within. I truly desire only His Thoughts and His Mind, and only wish to speak that which I HEAR from our Heavenly Father.

    This Blog continues to be a place among many places where I can come to worship in Spirit andTruth. God Bless ALL !

    Please watch the following short video on youtube: http://youtu.be/V9Y0pTKs0jY

    • Mary Vanderplas September 17, 2011 at 7:21 am

      While I don’t condemn anyone for not “going to church,” neither do I buy your take on Hebrew 10:25 – i.e., that this is referring to something other than physically gathering for worship. To me, this is “spiritualizing away” what is intended to be physical. At the same time, though, I don’t think that “meeting together” must necessarily be on Sunday morning in a particular building, though for me weekly worship in the company of other Christians is important. I agree with what Alice and you say about church not being a place and spirituality not being religious activity. The fact is, though, that gathering for worship was an important part of the life of the early church. Also, it’s worth noting, I think, that Jesus was an observant Jew who attended the synagogue regularly.

      • Stephen Helbig September 17, 2011 at 2:50 pm

        Mary , I assure you we are in agreement on this matter. (Hebrews 10:25) “IS” dealing with our realm of existance upon this earth (the physical) as we gather in His providence. Our physical realm is superceeded with God’s existance of His Spirit “working” in us. The places are of no consequence because God is everywhere. Certainly The Lord draws His people together for seasons of fellowship, praise, instruction, and edification. We do not oppose such gaterings, as the Lord ordains. The truth is, True worship will not take place just on Sundays or perhaps a night or two more each weak. True worship is a constant, continual, state of being. God is Spirit, and who can know spirit except God take us unto Himself in the realm in which He abides. God,Spirit and Truth, fills all space, and is everywhere present, eternal, and unchanging.The very rocks cry out! When we live and walk in the Spirit, we are abiding at Home in Him and changing our earth into the heaven of His presence. Again let me affirm that God does indeed gather His people together, but such gathering is Unto HIM. How greatly we can misconcieve our true position . He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in HEANELY PLACES in CHRIST JESUS….In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an HOLY TEMPLE in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Eph. 2: 6, 21,22). It is The physical for us puting on The Spiritual.

        • Mary Vanderplas September 17, 2011 at 5:18 pm

          I like what you say about true worship being continual, a state of being, and not just something we do at certain times of the week and in certain places. Still, though, the early Christians saw value in coming together for the purpose of worship. I like, too, your description of what it means to worship the One who is Spirit, though I don’t think worshiping God in the Spirit entails any kind of otherworldliness. I don’t think there are biblical grounds for asserting a dichotomy between the physical and the spiritual. If I worship God truly, I worship him with all of me – body, mind, spirit – and I praise him for the things that are part of life on this earth. It may be that I don’t understand fully what you are saying. At any rate, I agree that the one true God and the worship of the one true God cannot be confined to a building or a day and that gatherings for worship are “unto Him,” not unto ourselves. Thanks for the helpful words, Stephen.

        • Mary Vanderplas September 18, 2011 at 7:53 am

          I am continuing to ponder your words and am especially savoring your thought about “abiding at Home in Him and changing our earth into the heaven of His presence.”

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