7 Life Sucking Tentacles of Old Covenant Ekklesia


These 7 things extruded from the Old Testament and imposed

on the New Testament Church can suck the life out of it.

1. Physical Structures
2. Clergy
3. Hierarchy
4. Tithes
5. Pulpits
6. Altars
7. ________________

What do think about the first 6?

What would you put in #7 

0 thoughts on “7 Life Sucking Tentacles of Old Covenant Ekklesia

  1. Greg says:

    7. The inability to envision and thereby experience God as Father.

    • Miguel says:

      Greg, If God isn’t “Father,” then what is he?

      • Greg says:

        Well of course He is Father, and I often wonder how others experience Him if they don’t primarily as Father. Father means different things to different people.
        Personally, when I counsel hurting Christians, especially leaders, I often have opportunity to ask them if they sense Him close, loving, happy with them, affirming and taking care of them, despite troubles.
        The answer is almost always no.
        Once they have been given permission to be honest, many say they feel betrayed, abandoned and even that God must be angry with them. I dont know how widespread this phenomena is but I suspect it to be fairly common.
        And often again, hurting and hurtful men especially, have poor or zero relationships with their earthly fathers, and thus have not been wrapped up in strong loving arms, told repeatedly thru their lives that they are most precious, trusted, having knitted hearts with their dads.
        I suspect this very often as I see fathers harsh or not understanding their sons.
        These missing elements seem to be a theme among church leaders, not to mention social workers and others who’s primary care is for the young and vulnerable.
        I also suspect that this is a result of institutionalizing a way of life that can only be lived relationaly especially within a family context.
        But the church(es) shrink away from close,transparent, risky church life, and I hear very few men leaders in these circles lament this, and call people back to it.
        Father figures hold less critical relevance in churches that are functioning as missions, businesses or social welfare agencies, whereas in a gathering of families who function as a larger family, missing fathers are gaping holes in their social fabric.
        Im not speaking for all, just what Ive observed

  2. Kirk Stephens says:

    Good answer Greg. I was going to put Pride/Unbelief in for number 7. I still struggle with why people don’t experience and see what I do. But it is not my call. It is His. Patience and self control are weaknesses of mine. Having a high IQ, I have always been presumptuous of others abilities and understanding. I just assumed what was normal and easy for me was the same with everyone else? My back up answer would have been unconditional, non judgmental love, which eliminates fear.

    • Greg says:

      Kirk. Its been my experience, together with a diverse group of believers, that God is naturally able to reveal Himself more fully as man, and we to experience Him more truly as God, when we lose the imbalanced expectation that salvation is a “Jesus and me” narrative. While of course salvation is individual, its worked out corporately, which is where institutions promise but fail to deliver.
      The OT is a corporate narrative, showcasing a large family on a (albeit hijacked) journey together, to Christ awareness and salvation.
      Likewise, the NT narrative is corporate in nature, and not surprisingly, even inevitably, a continuation of the OT, with the same players and same ultimate objective.
      But the NT narrative was hijacked and made ineffective for many for the same reasons the OT one was.
      This time however, God is fixing us rather than starting over with new players.
      It seems to me that the key ingredient that keeps on going missing every few generations, after a good corporate bath, is the axiomatic understanding that God will not move some of His children on into maturity, overcoming life and ruler ship with Christ, without the rest of the family, no matter how long or how childishly we resist His intimate leadership.
      As I said to start, I learned to know Jesus Christ as God/man at least as much from my brethren as I did between Him and I.
      When the church(es) finally tire of claiming Jesus as just their own personal brand, and surrenders together to Him at His feet, then we will have love and unity, and be a power to be reckoned with in our culture(s).
      Our various church governments and ecclesiastical polity’s reflect a monumental effort to resist Jesus command to just shut up, sit down at His feet, and be taught of Him, together.
      We will do anything for Him, but not each other.
      We wont move closer to one another lest we argue, which of course we will, and we wont lay down our lives for brethren who don’t respect or agree with us, but Jesus did that for us, while we were His enemies.
      Seeing and responding to God as OUR Father, rather than MY Father is the last wall the church must tear down if we really want to see Him break out of our fortresses in this lifetime. If not, He will wait for another generation to arise who may be more surrendered. There have been few in history, and we just don’t take that seriously, to our great loss and shame.
      The joke is on us as we furiously spend our lives trying to evangelize sinners when Jesus own words to us were that He came to seek and save that which was lost. Lost sheep. Those who know Him but are outside the fold, wandering, in danger, alone in the midst of a crowd.
      That’s the church.
      The world knows this and says so.
      We need to become just as honest.

  3. Carol says:

    Okay, I’m chiming in to suggest “incest” as a candidate for number 7.

    Yes, that OT “circumstance” is alive and well in today’s churches. Our incestuous over-care/concern/promotion/inclusion (or maybe exclusion)/programming/education/funding/adulation of/for those ‘within the walls’ (ahem, clergy, and other selected “chosen ones.”) What blindness results–blindness to and a shielding from the world God so loved. I believe it has stunted if not corrupted the whole concept of worship, disciple, neighbor, Holy Spirit, Kingdom of God, “qualification” or “membership,” and certainly church.

  4. Sermons/monologue as a primary teaching tool? Without space for dialogue or response. This powerfully and unintentionally communicates to God’s people that they have nothing worth sharing or listening to, and that the professionals are more important/valuable than they.

    • Miguel says:


      I was going to include that and just call it “Life Sucking Tentacles of Old Covenant Ekklesia” because octopi have 8 legs, or arms, or errr huh appendages. 🙂

    • Gary Ollett says:

      I agree, it seems to match the other entries. We need teaching at times from qualified brothers and sisters in Christ, but clerics seem to insinuate that we need the weekly sermon more than anything else, a sort of I know everything about God and you know nothing. It makes us complacent rather than motivates us to serve God together with other believers.

  5. C2 (Caudia also) says:

    Self-indulgence corporately and individually.

    • C2 says:

      More accurately I mean an “us versus them” lense in which the world is divided into the sacred and the profane with the church viewing itself as sacred and the world as profane rather than the world being sacred as originally created by God. This permits us to differentiate ourselves from the world and stand in judgment spewing condemnation rather than surrendering to the Lordship of God through his mercy and offering this “gift” to those placed by God in our sphere of influence.

  6. Tim says:

    7. Ritualized functions called worship

    I didn’t know there were pulpits in the OT.
    I see clergy and hierarchy as the same issue – NT leadership corruption
    Who has alters anymore?
    I see most perversions in majority church life as an expression of the flesh waring agains the Spirit rather than regression to the OT.

  7. Jonathan says:

    1. Physical Structures

    Ekklesia involves an assembly. As assembly will happen at a place. The problem isn’t that a place is required for assembling. The problem is when the place/physical structure becomes THE identity and a drain from the work at hand.

    2. Clergy

    Elders (and Bishops) are referenced in the NT so this is not a concept imposed by the OT.

    3. Hierarchy

    At best, this is referenced as a sideline in the OT (as in the central focus off the single temple but many synagogues. The largest increase in imposition occured long after the Scriptures had been written.

    4. Tithes

    Agreed. While the command to tithe foe the support of the priestly class did not go away, the church does not have the same structure. It is very hard to insist on a tithe as an NT command.

    5. Pulpits

    I combine this with #1 and I don’t see pulpits in the OT.

    6. Altars

    Hebrews addresses this one very well.

    7. The sin of pride. Specifically, the desire to made “church” in the image of our own preferences (either to firm up our own power or to as a way to correct the wrong that we’ve experienced.

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