No Priest But Him

How corrupting is human power? Whenever we exalt someone to the place of leadership that Jesus wants in our lives, it not only hinders our growth, but often contributes to the downfall of those who confuse leadership with privilege and misuse their authority for their own benefit. Brad and Wayne talk about this phenomenon being as old as Israel's desire for a king, and as current as today's business, political, and ecclesiastical leaders. And yet, people are continually surprised when it does! We do not need surrogate saviors, and any time we look to another human being to be the priest that Jesus is for all of us, we set ourselves and them up for the failure that is so common in the human landscape.

Podcast Links:
The Jesus Lens
Emergency Help for Kenya,Wayne's recent blog on the need in Kenya


  1. This immediately comes to mind. History past and present seems to bare this out on about every level and ever area. Jesus refused to pick it up.

    “No matter what may be its form or level, it inevitably tends to enhance itself and to initiate a movement towards centralization. No political power will ever reduce itself or accomplish decentralization. There is a law that power will grow without limit. The only recognized limit is fact. Power will always go as far as it possibly can geographically or judicially. It ceases to expand only when it comes up against an obstacle that is more powerful than itself. Power is under the necessity of becoming absolute and totalitarian. This depends neither on the men who wield it nor on the ideology nor on the circumstances. Political power would not be power if this were not so.” Jacques Ellul

  2. Add to that the reality that character and decency are receding traits in modern times and you have a destructive toxic cocktail.

  3. The papacy, the vatican, and the catholic church disturbs me in so many ways. I was raised catholic, and have loving famliy and friends still in the catholic church, so I do not hate the people inside it. However, the history you refered to in the Podcast is one of deception, lies and blood. I dont consider the history of catholic church to be the history the Church, but rather the history of the Anti-Church.

  4. Great point Jacob but Catholics don’t own this market as all humans seem to be suckers for religion as administered through some kind of Grand Poobah. I have always wondered when Christ followers first began to go “off the rails on a clergy train” (sorry Ozzy) and shift away from the lead of the Holy Spirit. Diotrephes began to show these symptoms early on (2 John 9) and by the time of Polycarp (who knew John personally) around 110 AD it was starting to become the practice that a Bishop should be present to administer “the sacraments”. If anyone knows of any good references (I’ve read Viola’s Pagan Christianity) as to the earliest origins of the two team approach (clergy verses laity), I’d be really interested in these references. I know I’m weird.

  5. And despite all the misdirection in Catholicism, a lot of wonderful relationally in touch with the Spirit and the man Christ Jesus men and women have been formed in their ranks. Some of them even kicked out of the ranks accused of being heretics. Others have chosen to leave voluntarily not being able to do it anymore and some have chosen to remain in order to be an influence. Many of those people have influenced and encouraged and challenged me greatly.

  6. It’s like you guys read my mind! I was about to send you guys an e-mail asking your views on Church authority and poof, I didn’t have to. I love how that stuff works. Recently when dealing with certain pastors I got slapped with the “Be submissive to authority” card. This podcast was a breath of fresh air.

  7. Christ is all that and a bag of chips, we’re not, but knowing that we’re not, causes us to walk uprightly….

  8. You guys have helped me so much to become free of Religion and Church! I am getting free er and free er everyday. Especially since I am out of the Marine Corps. I have joined 12 step groups as well, they have help me to become free of addictions and to find God. God is little by little over time becoming more real to me.
    To be honest though, I am just waiting for you Guys to come out of the Closet (if you will) with the Bible, and finally just say, “this thing is too complicated, and man messed with it way to much!” Give up on the Bible already is the conversation that goes on in my head… I have stopped reading the Bible ever since my Shack reading days in 2008, and it has been glorious! I never want to touch that thing again. I just want to talk with people and find God in life more and more… Its still a struggle finding peace, but nothing like it used to be before…
    Read the Bible???? Come on! That’s is gonna mess this all up – it was one of the key contributors to my religious shackles. God is going to have to a number on me to read that thing again. The funny thing is, my friend recently turned Christian…. I so badly wanted to tell her,”to not go down that road,” as she puts twentys in the offering basket and sang to the PowerPoint presentation as “use me use me” lyrics fly down the screen. I had to witness this brainwashing torture as I nervously sweat in her support as altar calls and holy rollers exclaiming, “Jesus will change your life,” cliches rang about, AMEN!
    BLaaaaaaahhhhh, but I guess that whats working for her right now and its not my place to jump in and disrupt that. If she asks, I let her know, until then, its none of my business, right? That her journey… This is mine. Anyway thanks for all your support as I was in Iraq and other countries overseas these past 4 years, not sure if you remember, but like you said ‘PUNT’ that helped so much. Anyway I guess I was just venting here, have a glorious day.
    Take it easy freedom slingers!
    your friend in San Diego,
    Colt Gordon

  9. Just adding my voice to the conversation. Some famous author said “we’re all idol factories”. It seems that our flesh cannot bear to trust Jesus alone (rather than receiving the friends and family He gives…seems we want to put them in His place). I agree that some of the history would be very interesting in terms of when that shift began to happen. Right now I’m thankful for His work with the Father and the Spirit in sorting these relationships out. More to learn and thanks for the encouragment along this journey!

  10. I don’t know if their is anything wrong with the bible itself, but rather how people have misused it and misunderstood it when read with the wrong frame of mind. As your walk with Father grows ask Him to reveal himself in the scriptures also.
    I would liken it to having a conversation with someone who speaks another language(say french), yes there is communication and understanding, but with a english to french dictionary there will be less misunderstanding and you would have the ability to double check to see if what you were hearing was what you thought it was. Also, further along that analogy, as you learn some of the history of the french person and the french culture you would gain an understanding of his character, motives, and culture.

    Just my thoughts,

  11. Let’s see if I get in some trouble with either Colt or Jacob – I find my Bible is useful; I use it as a coaster for my beers.

  12. lol, yeah mines a dust catcher… Brad and Wayne better have some good convincing comming if they really think it necessary, but honestly theres a small side of me that still thinks the bibles facinating… we’ll see how it turns out.

  13. Jim, as long as you have enough beers to share then I will be A-OK. Seriously though, I guess I really don’t understand where you guys are coming from. I can understand people mis-teaching or mis-emphazing parts of the bible, and maybe that might turn some people off to it. But its not the bibles fault.
    I just don’t understand how when we have this incredible love letter from father, we wouldnt want to read it. Do we need it to have the relationship? ..Of course not, but it can help take us deeper into the mystery.

    Why the resentment towards the bible? How does reading it hurt your relationship with God? Just trying to understand is all.

  14. Colt and Jim, If you want a better understanding of the bible go to Lifestream, Wayne’s website and listen to the Jesus Lens it is great! I am a former pastor and understand where you are coming from about how it shackled you. I resigned almost two years ago and have not read my bible much. The reason I hear in every verse a command or a should. The Jesus lens is helping me with sorting that out so I can enjoy the story without all the religious trappings and see God more clearly.

  15. I was on here awhile go commenting on a previous God Journey about my own frustrations with the Bible and my own considerations in throwing mine out. Amazingly, in the short amount of time since then I’ve grown fond of my Bible again. In fact, I’m coming to love it.

    I’m learning that the reason I was so troubled by it was because I was lied to about it. Much in the Bible is not written “to us” but is instead is written “for us”. People have abused the Bible today by taking Scriptures out of context to control and manipulate. But in truth, the Bible teaches our glorious identity in Christ. We are saints, not sinners. We are complete, saved, sanctified, holy, and perfect in Christ. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. None. And every deception to enter the body of Christ usually begins right here by making us first doubt this. Since Eden, satan has used the same scheme: doubt what God has said and make the Saints think they need something more. The lie is that we don’t have something that we need. The truth is that in Christ we have everything that we need. This lie is most effective however when used to say that you are not something that you really are or that you are something that you are really not. To stand firm against this lie we must stand in the truth of who we are in Christ and what we have in Christ and know that we have everything we need in Christ. Knowing who we really are and the privileges that go with it is of the utmost importance to living free in our new life… and to rightly understanding the Bible.

    Any Scripture you come across that feels condemning towards you is either not meant for you or is being misunderstood. For those who are in Christ there should be no more consciousness of sins. Christ made us holy and instead of living out of a “sin consciousness” we should be living it out of a “we are righteous consciousness”. We are righteous. Christ did not die in vain, He perfected all those who would believe in Him once and for all. You’ll notice that the Apostle Paul never called the Body of Christ sinners in his letters. Paul instead explained to the Saints who they were in Christ and then simply said, “Now live as who you really are.” (not as who the devil, or your insecurities & fears, or other people, or even your experiences, try to say that you are).

    Imagine being born a child of royalty, a child of a King, but not knowing it so you instead live as a peasant your whole life. But now imagine how your life would change once you found out who you really were. Perhaps this is a bad example, but the point is that we’re children of the King. It’s knowing this that sets us free and brings us to the place that we can live enjoying the rights and privileges that are given to us as the King’s children, rather than living as the “lowly sinners” we’ve been told that we are. Also, knowing we’re children of the King is what frees us to know that we don’t need someone to mediate between us and God. We can now approach God boldly with confidence and assurance. And even better yet, as His children, He lives in us!

    Knowing this strips away all control and power that the devil tries to use against us. It’s no wonder why this truth is concealed by so many and why much of christian religion today teaches almost exactly the opposite by mixing law and grace and putting freed saints back into prison by making them think they are something that they’re not and that they don’t have privileges that Christ died to guarantee they would have. The law is done and over with and the worst thing false teachers are doing to the body of Christ is twisting the Bible to create new laws to put them under condemnation. Nothing you read in the Bible should condemn you. As a child of God you are under no condemnation, not now and not ever. If something’s condemning you it’s not God so don’t bother giving it any attention whatsoever.

    There is an enemy out there who would love us to not see this and to not see who we are as children of God, and the boldness we can approach our Heavenly Father with. This enemy is twisting and distorting the Bible to lie, steal, and destroy and to make us suffer. Anything that lies, steals, and destroys, and makes you feel condemned or depressed, etc., is not of God. You will not be judged, Saint. You are holy, righteous, and perfect before Him. You can live freely with confidence and assurance as a child of the Most High God.

    May our minds be renewed in this truth and may we be set free to live as who we truly are.

    “He has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” – Colossians 1:22

    For by that one offering of Himself, He forever made perfect those who are being made holy. And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” – Hebrews 10:14-17

    Sorry to be so long winded here. In short, what’s helped me when I’m having trouble understanding the Bible is to just focus on the promises. Who we are as children of God and what our rights and privileges are as children of God. If you can, take a highlighter and highlight every Scripture like this that you see. Those verses are what’s most relevant to us today. Most everything else has a context, that while it’s valuable and we can learn something from it, it is likely not meant to be interpreted as written directly to us today.

  16. Thanks Jacob, Colt, David and Erkki for your input. This conversation isn’t a trivial one and real discussions on this topic are much needed. When talking to agnostics/atheists one of the first questions to pop up is the Bible, and Sola Scriptura just doesn’t cut it here. That’s where I feel Wayne’s “Jesus lens” series meets a critical need in building toward a sound conversation regarding this document. I especially like his focus on the Bible as a story rather than a scriptural address book.

    I am interested in how the Bible was assembled, because it can definitely be taken as referring two different Gods (OT vs NT). I have gone through a few of F.F. Bruce’s books on its history/canonization, including F. Kenyon’s “The Story of the Bible” (written in 1936).

    I think Wayne’s approach of highlighting the parts in the OT that align with the Father that Jesus revealed is a major step forward. But I am still confused about the OT and why we even need it today. (2K years ago the OT was helpful for those people to check out the fulfillment of prophecies about Jesus since He was executed as a criminal). Some confusion was unintentionally introduced (especially OT) because the writers were human and wrote from their own brokenness/prejudices, so some stuff is distorted (yet Bible thumpers use these texts way out of context).

    Ultimately Jesus is the “Word” and the Bible is the “word”. My thoughts for Colt and others in the same boat is not to worry the least bit about putting the Bible aside for awhile because unless it helps your walk why go there for now. God living in you is the real gateway to knowing Him through the work of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) – sorry for being mystic.

    In time, through teaching series like the “Jesus lens” it may become possible for more people to derive a positive experience from reading the Bible. There will always be sections in it that we will never understand because “you had to be there” to know what really went down. I just wish that someone would do a new translation of the Bible from scratch by selecting the “God is love option” in every variant encountered. Most new translations (NIV, NLT etc.) are really not new translations but are essentially the Revised text in more contemporary language.

    Sorry for spewing my strange opinions, back to my beer.

  17. Jim, as always, I appreciate your thoughts, brother. Thanks for chatting.

    Before I say this I want to highlight that I believe there is great value in the Old Testament and in properly understanding the law for learning purposes. Lately however as I read the Bible I’m seeing that the Law and Old Testament was never given to Gentiles. In the OT Gentiles wanting to know God converted to Judaism and the same goes for in the beginning of the NT. So often when the OT and law is talked about in the NT it’s being discussed with Jews or churches where Jews and Gentiles are present. Notice though how simple Paul presents the Gospel to Gentiles when there are no Jews present (Acts 16:22-31). Much of the talk of the law and the OT in the New Testament is there because they were trying to convince Jews that Christ was the promised Messiah. This was a monumental transition from one covenant to another. For us as Gentile though it’s quite simple: believe.

    All the other stuff is good history, with the exception of the prophecies concerning judgement and the New Earth which is great news for all of God’s children, but the Old Covenant and law is irrelevant from an experiential point of view. Perhaps this is why so much confusion abounds today, much of what’s being is a bunch of Gentiles trying to apply a system to us that was never given to us and trying to make sense out of something that, as you mention, we just don’t have the experience to necessarily always fully understand.

    I mention this only because while it doesn’t make it less true it should relieve some of the pressure of trying to “get it”.

    I think the OT has a lot to offer and can build up our faith greatly when rightly understood but I agree that it can be very confusing at times (as you know from our previous discussions). Personally, I take comfort when I’m confused about it in knowing that it’s okay… I don’t really need to get it. I can go back to the simplicity that is in Christ and the very simple New Covenant. That’s what’s offered to us today.

  18. Unfortunately i have greater problem hearing and understanding this actual podcast.
    Because the sampling rate of this Audio is only 8.000 kHz. Normaly the audios are 32.000 kHz for Broadband.
    For this reason, the podcast is extremly hard to understand for not native speakers. Could you please check and correct it. Many, many thanks in advance.

  19. My eyes glazed over… You all have just proved my point. This bible thing is way to complicated! Maybe in time God will make this whole Jesus/Bible thing real to me… In the mean time I’m still having God simply make himself more real to me, let alone the Bible and Jesus, thats just a mess of interpretaions and opinions, no convincing seems to help…. Perhaps I’m a lost soul, haha. Have a glorious day everyone, and thank you for your educated and or heartfelt input.

  20. Colt, I apologize. I have a tendency to be awfully “wordy”. I believe what really matters truly is simple, it really is. That’s what I was trying to get at… apparently I failed.

    Sorry if I confused you even more. Take care.

  21. Colt, I also apologize for slinging my bush!t in your direction. I really do use my Bible to put my beers on, and yes you caught me peeking inside every once in awhile. I am still struggling on how to put it into perspective, if there is one.

    Erkki, thanks for your comments. You are right that the OT is Israel’s foreskin (oops I mean contract). Regarding the prophetic books, most were written between ~850-550 BC when Israel (North and after that South) was shipped off as slaves (the south-side shipped to probably not too far from where Colt was stationed, Iraq). I’m starting to think that much of the OT prophetic books are related to the fine print (blessing and cursing in Deut 28) in the contract that Israel signed. The negative prophecies showed them how the curses might look like in their near future if they didn’t change their hearts. The blessings prophecies were farther off for them and pointed to Christ and His work on initiating a new deal with the old fine print gone.

  22. I have no idea what the problem is on this file…. We made it like the others, but I have remade one. I hope this is better. If there’s a way to fix sample rate in GarageBand, I haven’t found it yet!

  23. Now I’m confused. Wayne most of what you write makes a lot of sense to me, but this post I am lost. I have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe I need a get some seminary training and then I will understand….lol.

  24. Oy… I really hope my comments aren’t just causing confusion. I was trying to offer some encouragement, not confusion. If that’s the case I apologize and please feel free to delete them.

  25. erkki, I am only confused about waynes post
    Wayne said:
    “I have no idea what the problem is on this file…. We made it like the others, but I have remade one. I hope this is better. If there’s a way to fix sample rate in GarageBand, I haven’t found it yet!”

    It must be something technical, about the podcast I am guessing. I was just trying to be funny.

  26. Thank you Wayne,
    the rebuild of the broadband audio was successfull …. Whatever it was
    Thank God, its now good to understand …

    And also Thanks Wayne and Brad for sharing your thoughs and
    being brothers on the journey. These podcasts are refreshing and inspiration for my journey
    Blessings from Germany …

  27. You guys crack me up, no sorrys please, haha! Just being real, we’re all on this crazy sometimes confusion yet freeing JOURNEY, glad to be apart of it. Beers and all Jim! haha, Beats anyday lost in the expectation of church and ministry. BTW it was pretty serial to be in the land of UR, Babylon, Nineveh, etc (IRAQ) as we drove up and down the Euphrates river, I think I saw the Den Daniel was thrown in! haha
    take it easy

  28. Thanks, Colt! You seem like someone I’d like to have a beer with 😉

    And yes, it is a crazy and confusing journey. Even now I’m reading back over my comment thinking how awfully “religious” I’m sounding. At the end of the day I really don’t know. One day I feel like I get it the next day I feel like I don’t. It’s good to have people we can be real with and not be judged and thank God it’s not up to us…

  29. Terri, what! no beer with me ! lol
    I have noticed in your posts on other podcasts that you like theology and thinking about things alot. I read a book “True Spirituality” by Francis Schaeffer, a while back and it is one of my fav’s, along with “He Loves Me”, by Wayne. I see a lot of similar ideas running through “True Spirituality” that I have read or heard from Wayne.
    I think Schaeffer noticed a lot of the things we see now about the institutional church over 50 years ago. I have enjoyed reading most all of his books. I am not sure if you are familar with him, but I find him very satisifying when trying to wrap my mind around some of the more difficult concepts.

  30. Beers all around! We can have a God Journey beer-fest! Drinking and discussing theology… I wonder how that one would turn out 🙂

    Jacob, thanks a lot. I still can’t figure out if thinking deeply is a blessing or a curse… it is often difficult to find answers that are satisfying to both the mind and the soul. And once a question has been asked I find it incredibly difficult to rest until a sufficient answer has been found. I have heard of Francis Schaeffer but have never actually read anything by him. Based on your recommendation I’ll definitely be looking this one up.

  31. Terri, you sound a lot like me. I also like to have answers satisfy both mind and soul.
    Funny story……Back when I was in my early 20’s my friends and I had an Ice House out on a lake and while we fished we had some brews while having bible studies/theolgical conversations. We sold our ice house to Ragnar (the Minnesota Vikings mascot that rides around on the harly dressed up like a viking). We he entered the icehouse he saw beer cans and bibles scattered throughout the house. He stood there scratching his head wondering what kind of messed up religion we were a part of. lol He went on to lecture us on holiness and such…..but he still bought the icehouse because it was a pretty cool icehouse.

    I hope you like “true spirituality”, I don’t know a single person who has ever read it besides myself, so I have noone to discuss it with. Let me know what you think…..maybe we can exchange emails or something too.

  32. jacob- That’s a pretty funny story. I can only imagine what he was thinking… ice house, beers, bibles haha! That’s great! My email is erkkigoodwin at yahoo dot com. If you wan’t to email your address there so you don’t have to post it. I might not respond quickly as I don’t check it often since there’s usually not much in there but spam. But I definitely think it’d be cool to connect. Other than the comment section here, I have virtually no conversations with anyone who’s like minded. Thanks!

  33. Loved this podcast – had trouble with the audio too (as well as lots of interruptions), so listened to it a number of times to “get it”.
    Power – why do people go after it? Why does it appear so inviting?
    I reckon it comes back to our sense of shame, and the illusion that having power or control means we can manipulate my external environment to make life comfortable or at least bearable. Like all illusions, it never satisfies the ache in our soul to be loved and cherished.
    Simple example for me was being worried about two different situations in the future. Kept reminding myself that God wasn’t in my anxious future.
    One example worked itself out as I was listening to the podcast. I caught myself worrying about what people would think of me and then playing in my head over and over excuses I could use to maintain some sense of “okayness” so others would still like me. Kept asking myself “what is it about Father’s love that I don’t know, that if I did know I wouldn’t be worried right now?” (thanks Wayne, Transitions). Felt like God said to me “I’m not ashamed of you, I cherish you.” It reminded me of God’s love and how much he’s freed me from the shame-game in recent months, made the whole worrying situation go away.
    I could then see it clearly. My sense of shame meant I was trying to work through an excuse, to ultimately control my external environment and the behavior others might have towards me. It wasn’t until I rested in God’s love that I was able to trust him to work it out.
    21 months ago I emotionally crashed, absolutely exhausted. It would be true to say I’d been in a place of power, and there was more on a platter for the taking if I wanted it. But doing it alone- staying in control of myself, family, leading others in mission work- was so exhausting. If I’d been in a similar position with plenty of money, resource and affirmations at my disposal I might never have come to know God’s love. It was only in that pit of despair, when I felt there was nothing left, that God could hold me and say “relax, I’ll do it, now is time to rest so I can love you.”
    The mission training I was a part of, used Erikson’s model of emotional development and a healthy child will usually know what it means to “trust” by the age of 2. If they haven’t learnt to trust, then they will “control”.
    Power… who wants it?
    I’ve been using this quote on the bottom of my emails lately. Reckon its pretty appropriate “God is not disillusioned with you, because he had no illusions about you in the first place.” Gerald Coates
    Thanks guys, and greetings from Tasmania, Australia!

  34. Hey Fellas,
    There is a speaker, Lance Wallnau, that talks about the seven spheres of influence with respect to society. Although I’m not sure that the IC is the biblical model of “the church”, I think his message is worth listening to. He says that the kingdom of this world are supposed to become the kingdom of our LORD and that believers are supposed to be involved in the “marketplace.”

    I can see the concerns about so called “leadership”. There are the issues of right motives and right execution (that is a servanthood style of so called “leaders”). I guess it goes back to doing what we see the Father doing. If He is in the sphere of politics in one believer’s life, who am I to say that’s wrong. Its not always what but how. Check him out. I’d like to hear what you think.

    Thanks for being you,

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