A process is rigged when it is tampered with and manipulated in order to replace the normal outcome with a desired result. For example, Donald Trump is making unsubstantiated claims that the American presidential election process is rigged against him.
Rigging an election takes away the voice of the voters and replaces it with the desire of the rigger(s). Election rigging is common in some countries, but has been very rare in American elections.
Perhaps we should turn our attention to another kind of rigging and ask: “Can church services be rigged?”
What is the normal outcome of a meeting of Christ-followers? Jesus said: “Where two or three gather in My name, there am I with them.” Jesus was not talking about a theological concept. The real, actual presence of the living, resurrected Jesus is the normal outcome of a gathering of Christ-followers. According to the New Testament, Jesus is not only present in a gathering of Christ-followers, He is also supposed to be the Head of the meeting (the actual leader, personally controlling the gathering).
Paul of Tarsus instructed Christ-followers: “Do not quench the Spirit.” In other words, we are being told not to rig a church service (or our daily lives) by hindering the living Jesus from working through the Spirit.
In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul taught that the Spirit is supposed to be actively working in a meeting through various people. In verse 26 he wrote: “When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.”
When church goes against that verse and doesn’t allow people to speak out in a meeting, doesn’t it takes away the voice of those present? When ordinary Christ-followers are required to be silent in a meeting, could that be a form of rigging a church service?
Perhaps it is time to go beyond church as usual and back to 1 Corinthians 14:26.