The Life of a Pilgrim, Part 2
Part 2 of Wayne's conversation with Jack Gray, a Scottsman who has resided in New Zealand for almost 50 years. They continue their discussion from last week on the life of the church and Jack's journey to find the church Jesus is building, rather than the one man is building. They talk about a Swiss theologian from the mid 1900s who pointed out that when the love and power of the Spirit faded in the early church, we replaced him with dogma, doctrine, and institutionalism. They talk about Jack's rich experiences with church life as a relational reality and how people cannot resist the desire to put things into a box, rather than continue to embrace the unfolding work of the Spirit.
The Misunderstanding of the Church by Emil Brunner
Jack Gray's website: The Pilgrim Path
Great Joy in Kenya
Wayne's resources available in Australia at livingloved.com.au
Mr. Jack is also one who God has brought into our lives–through his website and through his willingness to encourage those around the world. It is so great to share these lessons learned through searching out God! It is so good to know that religion will never meet the need of true believers. God is always at work–even today! So exciting to watch as eyes and hearts open up to all that He has for us! God bless you, Mr. Jack! Thanks, Wayne, for sharing your conversation with us! I would love the idea of doing some type of video conferencing with some of those that you consider “elders.”
There’s a verse that came to my mind while listening to this. 1 Kings 6:7 says: “And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built.”
I wonder if that is not what we are experiencing… we are each personally being chiseled and fit into the dimensions He wants, and then when He determines… He will bring us together, jointly fit. I know it will be a work of great beauty, and it will look like a bride, adorned for our Beloved.
May God bless you richly, Jack Gray! You are already a beautiful and lively “stone”.
Thank you for the podcast with Jack Gray. He is a testimony to the fact that you can survive, even thrive, without the benefit (or detriment) of the institutional church. Part of my recent journey involves having to process a long-term relationship that has abruptly ended simply because ‘I didn’t want to go to (C)hurch anymore.’ I am still in the process of learning not to put my faith in people or things, because they will always fail me, but instead put my faith in a God who never does.
It’s a big blessing to share in other people’s journeys. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve heard or experienced the same thing, there’s always something new, encouraging, strengthening, enlightening, something … that get’s transmitted somehow when I listen to others sharing their hearts. Maybe like good cooking from various loving cooks … each dish always tastes special and has its own unique flavor and enjoyment. What a joy!
Just thought to mention, after looking on Amazon.com for a copy of Mr. Brunner’s book, that there are many other used book sellers online. Just google used books and you’ll find many. I got one for $7 instead of the price Amazon was asking … which was over $30.
I so love gleaning from “seasoned saints!” Especially in matters regarding “walking with God,” “Body life,” and also, an area you two touched on in this conversation, and about which I often contemplate: “the hereafter!” Thank you both for sharing with us!!!!!
Hey guys, great conversation. Hope I can add something with my journal entry for today. The church (the “body” of Jesus) is being built of free-thinking souls, one at a time,not by congregations. Denominationalism always leads to bylaws and restricts the worth of an individual’s personal-free-willed-intimate relationship with their Creator. Those who revel in “religion” wallow in the tyranny of their own do-goodism! Even the idea of a physical “community” of fellow “believers” leaves a foul odor in the nostrils of our Creator. The “community” becomes a go-between that wedges itself into our intimate relationship with God and acts as the bucket of cold water that douses the glow of the Holy Spirit. Gman.
I thought the sweetest moment was when Jack received an encouragement from his younger brother Wayne. How wonderful for a man of almost 90 to find out his life (viewed from one perspective looks like its not having Kingdom impact) is having great influence for authentic agape body life. What a sweet fragrance to the Lord. Wayne you are such a blessed brother in Christ. Thanks for sharing the blessing.
I was so blessed with your interview with Jack Gray. It brought some confirmation to what God was already speaking to me. I especially appreciated his remarks about getting to know God the Father through His word and also to rest in the Lord and let Him build His church without trying to start something. Thank you for bringing this sweet seasoned fellow believer to our attention.
This second interview with Jack Gray was so deep. I played the quotes from Emil Brunner over and over. I wonder how Brunner was accepted in his day or whether he was considered an outcast. I will have to explore his wit and wisdom. It is heart warming to learn these concepts of Jesus building His church and life of fellowship among believers is not new.
How I have enjoyed Parts 1 & 2 of your conversation with Jack Gray. His website is one of the first I discovered after departing from the institution. It was so encouraging to learn that God was calling out others all over the world. I have ordered the Emil Bruner book. Can’t wait to “soak” in his insight. It has been 5 years now, and I have such peace and joy. Never has life been so good. If God can do this in the hearts of people, building His church is not challenging Him!!! 🙂
Thank you brothers! Loved the Q&A speaking of genuine community/ecclesia.
Wayne, “How do these things start?”
Jack, “Well, one of the things that God said to me very clearly near the beginning was, don’t ever try to start anything.”
And from an online description of Bruner‘s “The Misunderstanding of the Church“. Short description: What is wrong with the Churches? Brunner finds an answer in the contrast between the virile Spirit-filled fellowship of the New Testament and the institutions which are now called “churches.”
So, where do we go from here? God knows! “Unless the Lord builds the house. . .”
I had exactly the same question as Nomad Dave…but doesn’t someone have to say “Hey let’s get together” ??? What is the distinction between “don’t ever start something” and something happening. My experience over the past couple of years is if no one says hey why don’t you come over, nothing happens. Brunner must have a deeper meaning about not starting something.
Could it be not starting a “formal” gathering?
I also reflect back on the beauty of Bo’s Cafe and how people gathered weekly at Bo’s…but no set agenda, and people came and went as their schedules allowed. My wife and I have thought of hosting a Sundy Brunch and just leave it open to whomever comes for food and fellowship.
Hi Barry. I really enjoyed Bo’s Cafe. These 5 related articles have been a big blessing for me from Wayne’s Lifestream Ministry. There is a wonderful (Hebrews 10:25) article by Jack Gray too! 🙂
“The Spirit of Family” by Wayne Jacobsen:
“Friends and Friends of Friends” by Wayne Jacobsen:
“The Danger of Meetings” by Alan Richardson:
“Meeting Together” (Hebrews 10:25) by Jack Gray:
“The Jetty And The Raft”:by John Beaumont:
Thank you so much for this interview. My favorite Podcast to date.
I was really touched by our brothers journey. Jack is a Biblical elder, in the truest sense. Helping to lead others in spirit life in a real way! Not by vote, not by decisions of men, but by living the journey of Jesus!
I have had a heart for deeper community for years. His revelations of what community and ecclesia are truly a blessing!
Thanks so very much!
Initiating fellowship with others and hanging out together is not “starting something.” Starting something means you give it a label—house church, home fellowship, new fellowship—often a name and begin to set up a means to function like regular meetings, offerings, and leadership. If people can avoid starting ministries like this and instead just become each other’s friends, then real community has a chance to happen. I wouldn’t discourage any group of people who wanted to get together and share their journeys, even if somewhat regularly. It’s when it takes on any other agenda that you are starting a “thing” rather than celebrating what it means to be his family….
> Wayne: Amen!
Years after we left the box, I used to have a desire for what has become known as “intentional Community” (not realizing that it is just another man made version of “Church”). The more my wife and I tried to find a community or start community, the more we failed.
Years later, we were doing mission work, living at a campground, sharing Jesus, really, just living Jesus, meeting new friends and loving others. We met a wonderful dear couple who were part of a community that “just sort of happened”, twenty years earlier. Exactly as you have described here Wayne.
I spoke to Mary about my desire for community and she helped me realize that we already had it! Not the way we wanted, or expected, but the way God set it up. Now we realize that we are part of a community and fellowship that sometimes is meeting with others but many times is just talking on the phone or computer to fellow travelers. Although sometimes we desire something more, we are both learning to be happy in the relationships that God has set up, even if it is not what we had envisioned, and it is a blessing.
Now we are living (not seeking) unintentional community! We have truly left the building, and became the church.
I’ve listened to Parts 1 & 2 of the interview with Jack Gray. His experiences and mine are remarkably similar and have been a great encouragement to me.
Both of us are 89, I was engaged in medical work in Hong Kong and also had serious depression. Like Jack, I was an elder in a Brethren Assembly in Hong Kong and then in Sydney, Australia. When I was baptised in the Spirit, I was thrown out of eldership and out of the Brethren.
A few of us in the 1960’s in Hong Kong knew God had something better, but we did not find it.
Later, a few others visited Israel and heard a message on unity and joined a Fellowship that seemed to be promoting unity, but we were sadly disillusioned.
Like Jack, I ‘lost’ my wife of nearly 61 years just a few months ago. She is with the Lord – perhaps she has already met Jack’s wife!
Now, a few of us are on the outer and searching for the next step. Francis Viola’s book ‘Reimaging Church’ has been a tremendous help, but I wondered how do I see this thing develoop. Jack Gray has wonderfully answered my quesstion – don’t do anything; let God to it. Thank you, Jack.
thank you for sharing this conversation. there is a simplicity, a purity, a realness within the walk you guys are undertaking. i want this, too! recently, my family and i have been disillusioned by the american model of “church” – and this is after my being a “professional” staffer and leader.
for the past 18 months we have struggled with our place within Christ’s community and our identities as Christ-followers. how can a family place ourselves in the institutional structure when our hearts and consciences aren’t clear?
i appreciate the opportunity to peek into the lives of others who are on the same journey. i know the LORD freeing me from my expectations as a child of His – my expectations within roles, relationships, and responsibilities.
Thank you, Father!
In His Care,
It’s been many years since we’ve run into one another. Steve Martin is my name & you may remember me from Cross Bearer days, also you officiated at my wedding which was held at Samford many years ago?!
I was so sad to hear of Barbara’s passing & that you are ‘on the outer & searching for the next step.’ I was sad to know that you were displaced, for want of a better word, from the people you had fellowshipped with for so long. I am also in that boat after a series of incidents took place a number of years ago. I like your last comment about church….’Don’t do anything, let God do it!!’
Raymond, I’d love to be back in contact at some stage of the game if that’s possible.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
with much love