A NEW PARADIGM
I have been hearing much lately about the need for the church to have a "new paradigm". As I understand the term, it simply means a new way of seeing and understanding our role as the "Body of Christ" here and now on planet earth! We have operated for years under an old paradigm, and now must leave the old behind, in favor of the new. Something similar to the "New Covenant", which replaced the "Old Covenant". Our Bibles are clearly divided into these two parts that we call the Old Testament and the New Testament, with John the Baptist being the dividing line between them. (Matt 11:11) One thing that has helped to shape our old paradigm was the introduction by Dr Scofield of what he called the seven "dispensations" of history, instead of two! His teaching is known as "Dispensationalism", and has greatly affected the church in the last century. A more important thing that has shaped the old paradigm has been the church "structure" introduced by Constantine back in the fourth century. We see God's plan for church structure in the NT writings, especially the book of Acts, and Paul's letters. And a big part of the new paradigm for the church will simply be getting back to the original model set up by Jesus! There have been many restoration movements in the history of the church that have brought changes to doctrine, but not to this old structure of how we "do church"!
One big problem as I see it, is our understanding of heaven being our "goal". Everybody wants to get to heaven as soon as possible, to escape the wickedness in the world we are called to live in. That has never been God's intention for His children, in spite of what we have been told. Bob Mumford stated recently in a teaching given at Elim Bible Institute, "Heaven is not the goal!", the goal is found in (Rom 8:18-25), and in (Eph 4:11-13), and would seem to be that we are to become the "mature children", who can properly demonstrate to the world what God's Kingdom is all about! The world has never really seen that in the church, which has always been focused on getting to heaven and avoiding hell. The world around us needs to see Jesus in all His Fullness and Beauty! That's why God left us here on planet earth after He redeemed us, to be "shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people" (Phil 2:15)!!
Dave Jamer 20/03/12