(Picture from here)
I’ve begun to despise the elitist mentality more and more.
What I mean by this is not so much when someone says, “my theology is right” but moreso when someone says, “we’re special and you’re not.”
An example might serve my purposes here. As you can see in this article, one man says this: “As a member of the church, you’re not following the true doctrine.”
Yes, I believe some doctrine has no merit and others have more merit. Heck, some doctrine I would even call ‘right’. But this isn’t really an issue of doctrine here, I think, this is more an issue of membership. See what the guy is saying? “As a member of the church, you’re not following the true doctrine.” He is basically saying that they (the article will explain who) are members of something that does follow the true doctrine. The heart of it isn’t so much the doctrine (which I would call ‘wrong’ in this context, by the way) but who’s in and who’s out. Or who’s more special, better, than the rest.
The disciples had a similar argument in Luke 9:46 – 50, about who amongst them is the greatest. This argument is still going on today, and Jesus’ response is always poignant. “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me,” “He who is least among you, he is the greatest”, and “for whoever is not against you is for you.”
I’ve heard this ‘who is the greatest’ argument from numerous fronts lately. Some in the house church movement, for example, claim that they’re the greatest, believing they have hit the jackpot in terms of how God wants us to do church, with some going so far as to claim that God has left the other churches and now the Spirit is moving only with them.
See what I mean? It’s an issue of who’s more special than the other, overall. These have perhaps lost focus that no model of church will save us, but only Christ Himself.
Others claim that apostolic government is the jackpot, with some going so far as to say that if the church (or even the world, mind you) doesn’t humble itself under apostolic authority (and perhaps they have particular apostles in mind, too) God will ‘strike the land with a curse’. Again, the issue here is ‘we are the greatest, we are the super-apostles.’
I believe in apostolic government in the church, but not of an elitist kind. I also believe that salvation is in no other name except Jesus. But I don’t see that as elitist, as it’s not an argument around who is the greatest or who is loved more, but rather who is saved. (This would require a whole new discussion though.)
Everytime I read about someone else claiming that the church this and the church that and they have discovered some new shining model or belief that shows why they’re the greatest, I switch off (after getting a little angry). Get over yourself and stop your pride man! For the last shall be first!