I Am Not A Leper

In days gone, societies used to banish lepers forbidding them to mix with normal society. They were to identify themselves and cry ‘unclean, unclean’ to warn people around them.

Lepers could not go to the temple, until the priest had declared them healed and the appropriate sacrifice was made.  The priest had to go outside the camp to meet with the leper and perform the sacrifice (Lev 14:2).

In other words, lepers were not welcome in the city, the temple, in fact anywhere.  People living in fear would no doubt avoid them whey heard the cry ‘unclean, unclean’.

Modern day Sadducees, Pharisees, Wouldn’t Sees and Couldn’t Sees

It has become apparent for some, that modern day Roman leaders, Sadducees and Pharisees have redefined what it means to be a leper in our modern society.

You are now declared to be unclean if you have not submitted to the modern cleansing practice of a Covid vaccine.  With this uncleanness comes all the separations of community.

It appears that you must declare your ‘uncleanness’ when entering a shop, a restaurant, any place of business and of course the institutional church.

 

A Modern Day Heresy

I am addressing this message to the institutional church and its owners because I can surely tell you that Jesus is not the owner of the institutional church. In fact, He would not be found in most today.

To call a building a ‘church’ is such a misrepresentation of what the original meaning is, it may well be a heresy!

 

Insight About The People of God

The world translated in The Scriptures as ‘church’ is the Greek word ‘ekklēsia’.  ἐκκλησία (ekklēsia), derived via ek-kaleō,  The first word is ek, a preposition which means “out of” or “out from within”

The second word is kalein, which is the infinitive form of the verb kaleō, and means “to call.”  Therefore, the noun ekklēsia is accurately translated as “the called out (ones)” or “assembly” It is not a religious term. Each Greek city had an ekklēsia or city council.

You can find the following definitions to be true:

1. a regularly summoned legislative body or assembly, a meeting of officials who were called to discuss the business or affairs of a free state.

2. a casual gathering of people, an assemblage, gathering

Once you see what Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers the following definitions can be added.

1. people with shared belief, community, congregation

2. the global community of Christians, (universal) church

1 Cor 1:2 says τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ ⸉τῇ οὔσῃ ἐν Κορίνθῳ,  or in English, To the church (the called out ones) of God which is at Corinth,…

“Called out for what?”

Without labouring on the point in this post, I will let Acts 15:14 speak:  “Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name …”

And Eph 2:10 states

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

 

Problems In The Institution

So now we have some understanding about ‘the church’ and who it truly is, we can see clearly the institution is not anywhere to be found in the New Testament. In fact, believers met in people’s homes.

I can promise you that Jesus did not die on the cross for a corporation or an institution. He died so you can/could have life and immortality with our Heavenly Father.

He didn’t come to stop people going to hell.

He came to overcome the grave and death which He did. And now we can too if we have a relationship with Our Heavenly Father through Him.

 

Submit And Obey Mean Different Things

So, in recent times I have heard of the Institutional church’s response to the unvaccinated. There are numerous solutions they have come up with. Without detailing the nuances of the following solutions, I will list the common ones.

  1. Unvaccinated are not welcome.
  2. Unvaccinated can come but you are to be separated into a special leper’s room. (sorry a special unvaccinated room, often with a screen)
  3. Unvaccinated will have a special leper’s service (sorry, unvaccinated service)

I know, I know, the government says!

The emphatic response is ‘we must do what the government says’, with reference to

Rom 13:1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

I have heard much about this in recent times as people seek to justify their decisions. It doesn’t seem to matter much about what God says, as the government has become God too many.

Well, the government also says a lot of other things.

Back in the day the German government went on a killing spree, while many citizens (many Christians among them) stood by and watched. This is Rom 13:1 in action!

Further back Herod was ticked off and started arresting people. Peter was one. He is in jail, and an Angel of The Lord visits him, breaks his chains off and kicks open the doors, and walks out the front gate with Peter in tow. Yes, I can see how that is using Rom 13:1 to live life.

Paul similarly escapes from the city governor by hiding in a basket, encouraging others to ignore Rom 13:1 and lower him to safety through a window.

Seems Peter and James belong in the group ‘do as I say, not as I do’, since they both exhorted listeners to ’submit’ to the ruling authorities.

Jesus too. He refused to submit to the questioning of Him by the state in His final days. He probably learnt that from His Mum and Joseph. They disobeyed the government and nicked off when Mary was pregnant with Jesus.

In fact, Jesus was around people who did not submit to government. Not many good role models it seems.  Look at the ‘wise’ men who disobeyed Herod, and then deceived later deceived Herod.

Jesus’ heroes behaved similarly in the old days too. Moses’ carers did the same thing. Daniel as well.

It is curious that the world for submit is used instead of obey in different places in The Scriptures. So, I won’t go into it here, but they have different outcomes.

 

I Am Not A Leper

So let me return to the reason I started this post.

I know many people who are unvaccinated. They are not infectious, They do not have a transmissible disease and they are members of God’s Kingdom. Yet they are treated like they are lepers because some bureaucrat in an office somewhere has decided they are modern day lepers. People everywhere have turned away from common-sense and have embraced this form of medical apartheid.

This is a disgrace to humanity, and a bigger disgrace to The Body of Christ.

For most of my Christian life I have argued against the whole ‘obey governments at any cost’ argument. There are people who think the law of the land is the ultimate ethical guide for life, never stopping to consider that different nations having opposing laws on the same subject, most of them in opposition to Gods’ law.

Me, I take to heart Acts 5:29 … “We must obey God rather than men.” Which appears to be a contradiction to Rom 13:1-2. I guarantee that most Christians are not even aware this is in The Bible. Maybe my version is different.

So, depending on the era, it was okay by the law

  1. to own slaves,
  2. to forcibly abort the unborn in China with their 1-child policy,
  3. to forbid black people from drinking water from the same tap as white people
  4. to use animals in grotesque experiments in the name of science,
  5. to ban The Bible
  6. to have sex with children

which is just the beginning of an even bigger list, that I am sure you would not agree with.

We do need wisdom and direction when dealing with matters of oppressive laws and unbiblical mandates.

 

Submission and Obedience

 

Acts 5:17-32 is an interesting story. It is worth a few minutes to read and take in what was happening. If you want a little more context start at v12. (Careful going back to far though, you will run into the story of Ananias and Sapphire who denied the Holy Spirit His due and were struck dead. This can cause sleepless nights that sort of stuff.)

Anyway, in a nutshell, Peter and his mates were arrested and locked in jail. They were breaking the law again! Preaching the Gospel and healing everyone from disease even with their shadows and stuff.

So, now there they are in prison, and an Angel of the Lord releases them, (I need an angel like this) and tells them to go and preach in the temple which they did.

Well, if you think the Sanhedrin was ticked off with the healings and Gospel stuff, he was confounded when he found out the guards were guarding an empty cell with a locked door. So, the captain of the guard and his officers went and got the Apostles.

But not by force. Afraid of being stoned they were.

When Peter and his mates came back with the captain, by choice, well that is submission!

So, there they are with the high priest, and he rebukes them “we strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching…” When Peter and co taught the Gospel and healed people, that was disobedience.

In fact, Peter’s response was simple enough “… we must obey God rather than men.”

So, this leads me to the conclusion.

What do you do when a government tells you that you cannot fellowship with your blood family, or spiritual family based on vaccination status? Well, the Bible is not clear on vaccination status. Nor does it need to be.

The truth is you need to find out what Father is saying to you! Not the institutions of the world, not your local institutional church leaders. What is your Heavenly Father saying? How do you respond? Most legal injustice in the world has been broken by people who did not submit to the government they were under and continued to speak out about these injustices. This is one of the missions of the ekklēsia.

To the institutional churches that have negatively treated the unvaccinated, you are shameful. To the one church that I heard bullied their people for an hour in a public meeting to get vaccinated, and would allow no response from the people there, well that is reprehensible.

There can and often will be consequences for standing against oppression, bigotry and unjust laws. This needs to be weighed up. As you consider your response.

Me, I will always make room for people who need love and kindness. I do not fear the outcomes of man, as draconian as they can be sometimes. I fear God. My desire is to be known only as a man of God who loved His Heavenly Father as His saviour and friend Jesus.

To The Separated

I want to encourage you on your journey. I look back over time, and I see many who were segregated from society and their lives were amazing. Yes, it was difficult at times, but their faith and love carried them through.

Let me finish with a story of a black man who wanted to be a preacher. He wanted to be trained to preach so went to a Bible College. They would not let him sit in the class with the white people. He begged and was told he could sit in the hallway with the door open. He did so for a season.

So, this preacher goes to Los Angeles, and preached to the congregation about the baptism of the Holy Ghost. He turns up next week to preach and finds the doors padlocked. So, he starts a bible study at a friend’s house. It grew. They moved it to another house. It grew. People started receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. People kept coming and they brought more people. So many in fact they had to move.

They ended up in a tumble-down shack, and people came from everywhere. This outpouring of God became known as The Azusa Street Revival, the birthplace of Pentecostalism.

You Are God’s Workmanship

My heart goes out to you all who have been impacted by the decisions of churches all over to separate or ban parts of their own congregations.

But I want to leave you with this – you are not a leper so let no man or woman condemn you this way. Throw off those comments and worship Him who has created us for His good purposes and pleasure. The situation may change, but what will not is the way that you were treated. You must deal with that and ask God where he wants you to plant your feet.

I personally believe the institutional church has been dying for over 20 years now. Maybe longer. Don’t be concerned though. There are more believers in the world today than at any other time in history. In fact, there may be more believers in the world today than the total of all times in history. Many of them worship and fellowship in people’s homes, breaking bread together and celebrating and worshipping God. God has got this, and He has got you.

More importantly you are not alone. Even though you are unique, there are people like you everywhere, cut from the same cloth looking to connect to what God is doing. God is doing a lot of exposing at the moment.

My question to you and your family is, are you the next William Seymour III?  Yes, that is the name of the preacher who led The Azusa Street Revival.

God has a sense of humour. He was known as Willie Seymour! Say it again slowly! Slower!

Also keep an eye out for this next article – Am I in Exile?

8 Comments

  1. Lee

    In easy times many people are happy to ignore God’s word or find it irrelevant. But in dark and stormy times such as we are currently journeying through they cast about for something stable; an anchor to help them survive and ride out the storm. That is when we find that God’s word, and only His word, will do. I dwelt on every word of your message and was much heartened by your insightful and learned application of scripture to our present dire circumstances. I also appreciated the presence of the wry Maddison humour even when dealing with such vexed issues. Please keep going Peter. We need your light and wisdom to help guide us through these evil times.

    Reply
    • Peter Maddison

      Thank you Lee for taking the time to comment. I appreciate your feedback, and your encouraging words. I will do what I can to add value to the conversation.

      Reply
  2. Troy Allan

    What a wonderful word. Thank you

    Reply
    • Peter Maddison

      Thank you Troy.

      Reply
  3. Simone

    Thanks Peter. Your words have validated the feelings I experienced when my church chose to exclude the vax free from their main service. I find it so hard to fathom the ease with which they decided this was their best option.

    Reply
    • Peter Maddison

      Hi Simone, thanks for taking the time to comment. I too have been astounded at the way this has been handled by the institutional church. Afraid they are. I am about to publish a letter from Jeremy Browne who comes from up your way. He has trumpeted a call across New Zealand to all Christians about how they should view the treatment of the Body of Christ. Thank you for connecting me to this letter.

      Reply
  4. Ian

    Beautiful words thank you peter, the timing of ure blog was wonderful for me personally, I had and I guess may be still do have lots of questions around alot of what you raised….so I was greatly encouraged indeed by what you shared and also how the message was shared… so I genuinely look forward to more thought’s and expressions of the kingdom…. In our family you are indeed known you as a man of god who loves our father and saviour, we give thanks often for the blessings he brings to us through who you are…

    Reply
    • Peter Maddison

      Thanks Ian for your kind words. Hope you guys had a great and Blessed Christmas. Stay in touch. Cheers, Peter

      Reply

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