13 November 2021

Kea and I are pewsitters. When we were younger, in completely different cities, we led worship, taught Sunday School. I have, on occasions, preached. We have done these things, but in the time before COVID we were both providing for the church and doing a lot of secular work. We were not inside the tent, running the services. And we were comfortable with this.

Being a pastor, a priest, a bishop, an archbishop is not a matter of one’s qualifications or credentials. It is not a job. It is a calling. There are many other ways to make a living, that are worthwhile and sensible. But to stand in front of a congregation and teach them, to shepherd them, and to be accountable for them before the creator of the world is a high and holy thing.

Much is given to you. In the time of the temple, that included one’s daily food. There is a duty to listen, understand and apply the word taught correctly and to support our elders and pastors so they can devote their full attention to the flock.

But what happens when the church leaders fall into error? When there is envy of the pastorate, and division? If Korah, Dathan and Abiram teach us anything, it is that it is a fearful thing to oppose God. To go against those who he has appointed.

Again, but what happens when the true pastors — the Aaronite — are replaced by the converged, the sophitistic, the worldly, the Korathite?

Numbers 16:1-19

16 Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. 2 And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. 3 They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” 4 When Moses heard it, he fell on his face, 5 and he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the Lord will show who is his, and who is holy, and will bring him near to him. The one whom he chooses he will bring near to him. 6 Do this: take censers, Korah and all his company; 7 put fire in them and put incense on them before the Lord tomorrow, and the man whom the Lord chooses shall be the holy one. You have gone too far, sons of Levi!” 8 And Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi: 9 is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the Lord and to stand before the congregation to minister to them, 10 and that he has brought you near him, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? And would you seek the priesthood also? 11 Therefore it is against the Lord that you and all your company have gathered together. What is Aaron that you grumble against him?”

12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and they said, “We will not come up. 13 Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, that you must also make yourself a prince over us? 14 Moreover, you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up.” 15 And Moses was very angry and said to the Lord, “Do not respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, and I have not harmed one of them.”

16 And Moses said to Korah, “Be present, you and all your company, before the Lord, you and they, and Aaron, tomorrow. 17 And let every one of you take his censer and put incense on it, and every one of you bring before the Lord his censer, 250 censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer.” 18 So every man took his censer and put fire in them and laid incense on them and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron. 19 Then Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the Lord appeared to all the congregation.

Hebrews 13:7-17

7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

The church I am a member of does not want me. I am unvaxxed, and they have folded like an umbrella on the issue of vaccine passports, leaving me and some of my friends with no church but ourselves. We are aware of similar fellowships that have not folded. This is an example.

In over 40 years of Pastoring I have never seen anything like the challenges that have been presented to the Church, our Nation and even the World in the last few years.

This is new territory for everyone, and we are all endeavouring to work through this “season” the best way possible.

We are working it through in keeping with scripture and in accordance with the restrictions that have been placed upon us.

From the beginning in 1982 and to this day, City Impact Church has had a three part Vision Statement, and we will continue to fulfil this vision / mandate from God.

  • To see Souls saved.
  • To Worship and Glorify God.
  • To see the Church grow in Unity, Maturity and Wholeness.

We acknowledge, as New Zealand moves into the ‘Traffic Light’ framework many organisations, businesses and individuals are having to make decisions they have never made before.

Over many weeks and months, with much research and prayer, we have carefully assessed the options available to us.

In deciding on the best ‘Way Forward’ for our church, we value the following scriptures:

Romans 14 is a whole chapter on not judging others for their choice, nor condemning or excluding, or belittling anyone on the basis of personal choice or conviction over these matters.

Unity in the church is paramount. (Psalms 133, Colossians 3:11, Galatians 3:28, John 17).

Inclusion (non-exclusion, all welcome) is also important to us as Christians. (James 2, Colossians 3:11, Galatians 3:28)

As such City Impact Church has always been, and will continue to be, open to all.

As Jesus said – “Come unto me ALL that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

Christ broke down every dividing wall (Ephesians 2:14) and we certainly don’t want to be putting any division back up as we see that there is no justification for segregation or division in the Scriptures.

As much as possible, in line with scripture, we also want to comply with all Government directives.

Therefore, our current plan to work through this season is:

Church services will always be streamed online.

Under the Red Light we will have small off site gatherings that will NOT require vaccine passes, limited to a maximum of 25 people.

Currently throughout Auckland we have groups of 25 or less gathering off site to share our Sunday morning online service. To find out how you can join one of these gatherings please click here.

In Auckland we will continue with these Sunday gatherings in locations around the city through the Christmas/New Year period. If Auckland moves into Orange Light before the 23rd of January we will have our first meetings of groups of up to 50 at our North Shore, Mount Wellington and Westgate Campuses on the 23rd of January 2022.

Under Orange Light our church services and gatherings will NOT require vaccine passes and will be limited to groups of 50, plus workers.

Currently in our South Island Campuses (Orange Light) we are running Services on site in groups of no more than 50 people, plus workers. For more info on where you can join one of these services click here.

Under Green Light our church services and gatherings will NOT require vaccine passes and will be limited to groups of 100, plus workers.

On the reformed side, some churches have folded, others are open to all. The same thing is happening with the Catholics: some of whom are putting people at risk of mortal sin by banning them from mass because of their vaccine status.

Some churches are putting people at the very back of the hall, or in the naughty room. This all fits into the narrative of the communist tyrant running the nation, who wants the church, divided, broken and defeated. For she sees herself as alike to God, and is jealous of our adoration.

If you agree with the lead pastor of City Impact, as I do, you then have some options. This is what I’m doing, and what I suggest.

  1. Stop supporting them. They are preaching falsehood. You don’t support apostasy. Stop your automatic tithing.
  2. Write to the eldership. The question here is not us taking offence but a scandal. A scandal is when the behaviour or the leadership is not building up the faith of the struggling, but destroying it. Explain why you are disagreeing with the stance they are taking. Send it to your local elder, priest or pastor and copy it one step up the hierarchy. Be prepared to meet. There is a chance they are correct and you are in error.
  3. Find a group to meet with. If only for a season. You need to meet, even one family with only another family. You need the support of your brothers and sisters.
  4. Write an open letter. You have addressed the issues privately, and perhaps a a couple of families. The church remains in error. Write a letter that is public, and confronts the error. This could get you kicked out of the church, and you could lose all status there. But you don’t want status in what has become a synagogue of Satan.
  5. Get to somewhere faithful. This could cost you. The faithful may be underground. You may need to drive a considerable distance to find them. Your tithes and offerings may not be seen as charitable donations.

There is going to be far more in common between the faithful than the denominational labels we have and the liturgical and theological divisions that have historically divided us. For we belong to Christ.

And he will correct our errors, as he also dries our tears.

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Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago

This post brings to mind the sons of Samuel and the punishment they received.

From the beginning of the hullabaloo, when our church went to online only for a while, we switched to a church that did not enforce any restrictions. When we moved this year, we found another small church that did likewise.
It is not worth forsaking assembly for political reasons.