One of the reasons I read Alan Knox's blog site
In a response to his very pertinent contribution prompted by noticing mistletoe growing on oak trees, I was reminded of Jesus comments regarding the tares in the parable of the Wheat and the Tares.
One of the important lessons of this parable is often missed: The tares are confidently identified as being a common weed grass (darnel, of the genus Lolium), which, to a casual observer looks like wheat.
It is not until the weed actually bears fruit that the wheat and the weed are easily distinguished. The weed seed is very different from the wheat and is actually very poisonous. The amazing thing about this is that the tare's poisonous capacity is caused by a parasitic fungus on the seed.
I just know you are going to tell me that the tares isn't a parasite living off the actual wheat plant, as does the mistletoe which draws its nutrients out of the tree. You are right! Even though not doing it in exactly the same way, the tares competes with the wheat for everything the wheat needs for life and reproduction, as does the mistletoe.
That is exactly why Alan's comments are pertinent to many of the problems found in todays "church". During my many years in "church" life numbers has been the major thrust of "church" leaders, numbers of "converts", numbers of "baptisms", numbers of dollars (especially dollars in some groups), numbers attending meetings, all of which were the commonly predominant matters of discussion at gatherings of leaders etc.
When "numbers" is the focus, especially in "churches" which are literally ruled by numbers conscious leaders, what should we expect?
It is my contention that it is this "numbers" emphasis, has weakened the institutional "church" and not only encouraged the proliferation of "tares", "church members" who look exactly like genuine Christians, who have responded to a numbers oriented gospel, which allows them to attach themselves to a "church", which gives them a ticket to "heaven" and all the perks of being a "Christian". Having said "The Sinner's Prayer" does not qualify people for baptism and membership in the congregation of God's redeemed people!
What is the answer? The tares cannot be removed from the "church" because we cannot positively know which they are, although maybe, having some idea. Only a genuine sovereign move of God in Holy Spirit revival will fill the bill, awakening the genuine Christians, and hopefully converting the predominant "pseudo-Christians".
Otherwise, a new start, a new reformation, if you like, with new expressions of Christ's Body assembled, who look to the Scriptures taught by the Holy Spirit, who have ONE SHEPHERD, the Lord Jesus Christ, amongst whom leaders are raised up, who are recognized by their ministry and life amongst the Body, not the recommendations of academic qualification (not that these cannot be used to God's glory), nor external leaders who may, or may not, be amongst the tares.
All of this raises a lot of questions. Let's look to the one source we have for the answers, the Scriptures!