Making Peace — Words To Wake Up The 21st Century Church

I was given a book, Making Peace, (published by Moody Publishers) by my leaders in The Salvation Army.  Once I started reading the book, I couldn’t put it down and read through it at one time.

The book is bold, shocking, challenging, and prophetic.  The author, Jim Van Yperen, is scheduled to speak several times to the leaders in the Kentucky/Tennessee Division of The Salvation Army in January 2014.  Buckle your seat belt.  Here are some quotations from Jim’s book:

“Many Western churches look and act more like the contemporary culture than the kingdom of Christ.”

“Our churches grow and suffer in direct proportion to the strengths and weaknesses of one person.  These leaders model autonomy, not community.”

“Many of our churches are sick and dying because they are pretending to be the church.”

“We rarely expose our sin in the church because most of us are self-protecting and self-governing.  To protect feelings we keep sin in the dark.  Rather than submit to a redemptive process of open confession and restoration, we cling to our rights and reputations.  In raw terms, we lack spiritual integrity.”

“True Christian community uncovers the sin in our lives.”

“Our character is shaped as we submit our lives in common life and confession . . . We are changed–transformed–as we submit to one another under the lordship of Jesus Christ.”

“Gods Word, His Spirit, and His people combine to form and transform us.”

“The church is a cruciformed people (that is, formed and transformed by the Cross) who gather together in mutual submission to celebrate, proclaim, and practice the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. . . The church is not something we can manufacture or control.  It is a body; more than that, it is Christ’s body.”

“In Christ’s body there is no room for self.  Jesus Christ is the subject and object of all things.”

“A Spirit-formed community is formed by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, not the personality or gifts of a man or a woman.  When a church gathers around a central figure who leads out of his or her knowledge, experience, or gifts alone, the church’s identity is inevitably tied to the ego and self-esteem of the leader. . . Few pastors would admit that the identity of their church is tied to their ego or is being formed in their image.  But many churches are being shaped this way with at least the passive permission of their pastors.”

“Instead of gathering around the personality and gifts of a central leader . . . I gather with brothers and sisters in mutual submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ.  We meet one another at the foot of the Cross, becoming the body of Christ.”

“In biblical community, believers grow up together as all submit to the truth of Scripture and to the operation of God’s Spirit to and through one another.”

“The Bible outlines a body diversely gifted and empowered, working collaboratively.”

“When the church becomes a platform for supersaints, it becomes a theater, not a church.”

“Paul uses the phrase one another repeatedly to describe the church as a people who are intimately connected as members of Christ’s body.  To be a follower of Jesus is to belong to others. . . As a church learns to practice and to embody the one-another commands, character is transformed.”

“The principle of Scripture is that wisdom and strength are formed in interdependence, mutual submission, and common purpose–in teamwork. . . We equip individuals, not teams; teach monologue, not dialogue; focus on knowledge, not character; measure performance, not faithfulness.  Churches formed around the personality and skills of a pastor set up our churches and our pastors for failure.  It is madness.”

“The power of the Spirit comes through spiritual gifts and spiritual fruit of brothers and sisters in whose company we mutually submit to declare the lordship of Christ over sinful desires.  As we walk in and by the Spirit together, we are forgiven, changed, renewed, and transformed.”

“Spiritual anointing is about God, not man; not about experience, personality, talents, or even ordination.  A gifting is not an innate ‘ability’ but a divine enabling.  A person is anointed when the Holy Spirit is operating through the person.  There is no authority or anointing in a person or position apart from the Holy Spirit.”

“Point to Jesus and get out of the way.”

“We are a people who are called to mutual love, to live and learn with one another, and to lift the name of Christ together.”

“The church is a place where believers are called to continually expose sin in themselves and in one another.”

“Our churches neither nurture nor practice genuine biblical community–actively living into and intentionally being transformed by the light.  We lack the vibrant life of a people joined, heart and mind, under the lordship of Christ.  We have forgotten, or never experienced, the fruit of a normal, Spirit-filled church.”

“The church must practice authentic community.  Authentic community requires authentic communication.”

“When a brother or sister claims that ‘God told me’ something, we must treat the statement with the utmost respect and caution.  respect, because God can and does speak through His people.  Caution, because our hearts are so self-deceiving that we often cannot distinguish what is of God and what is of ourselves.  Truth must always be tested, always brought into the light.”

“We adopt the habits of our culture rather than apply the values of the Cross.”

“When the members of a local church submit and confess in mutuality under the lordship of Jesus Christ, a bond of unity, trust, and love is formed and the body is built up.  As we’re confessing–speaking the truth in love–‘we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ’ (Ephesians 4:15).”

“The church must become a redemptive community where God inhabits His people; where God works in spatial ways to love, heal, forgive, encourage, and grow a community of believers.  The church is the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit guiding a people to be the active, present witness of a future reality.”

“We call the church to revive, exercise, and affirm the authority of spiritual gifts, every member serving by the gifting of the Holy Spirit according to his ‘measure of faith.’  We affirm the church as the body of Christ, with all members called and gifted to serve.”

“By confessing sin, the truthfulness of forgiveness becomes manifest.”

“We call the church to redefine the role of leadership according to the Spirit’s call, gifting, and authority, affirmed by the body rather than achieved by vocation, education, or election.  We call the church . . . to encourage service by spiritual gifting and interdependent, collaborative teams, rather than autocratic fiat or democratic autonomy.”

“Each member may contribute and speak freely.  Be sensitive.  Speak out of a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in accordance with the faith measured out to you by the Holy Spirit.  Take risks.  Test out your intuition.”

You can experience the realities of these quotes for yourself as we seek to put them into practice at The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., Nashville, TN, 37207 on Sunday mornings at 10:45.  Come see what God is doing as ordinary people, led by the Spirit, show and tell what God has done.


About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @
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3 Responses to Making Peace — Words To Wake Up The 21st Century Church

  1. Pingback: Can You Handle These Quotes About Church? | Free Gas For Your Think Tank (Steve Simms Blogs From Nashville)

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  3. Pingback: Tell it! Boldly Tell The Good News About Jesus Christ! | Free Gas For Your Think Tank (Steve Simms Blogs From Nashville)

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