Saturday, September 22, 2012


3 years ago, I came across a book with a life changing message.  "Identity Theft" covered the alternative and dysfunctional ways we relate to our Father when we fail to grasp the reality of sonship.   That book was written by Wes Boldt and Kevin Avram.  

In the past week I was intrigued to receive a new work by Kevin.  The title is "Limitations", The Prism Through Which We See and Understand Church.   

This is probably the most effective publication I've read that helps us understand the distinction between "ekklesia", church and corporation.   

Though I have been walking with the Lord for 33 years, it wasn't until 3 years ago that I started to realize how I was caught in the bondage of "corporate" religion and, for too long, was unable to distinguish between His Church and a religious enterprise controlled by men.   "Limitations" further sharpens that understanding.

After providing some critical definitions, Kevin Avram goes on to discuss the implications of viewing church through a prism of corporation.  He says the consequence is " Commitment, Passion and Purpose Take the Stage".   In fact Avram argues that these are the only ways to have a relationship with a corporation.   In contrast to a relationship with God or others, which "is characterized by two-way communication and, depending on the depth of the relationship, humility, and self-disclosure (transparency).  

The case is made that a relationship with a corporation, even a church corporation is actually imaginary rather than real.   Avram gives an example of Walmart. There is no such person: 

"Likewise, no man or woman can have a personal relationship with  an actual church, for in the same way that there is no real  person named Walmart, neither is there a real person called Beacon Hills Community Church , Second Street Church, or Pine City Christian Center."  

Kevin Avram's footnote to this section is even more revealing. I'll bet many of you can relate:

"In many instances when a person ceases to work for a particular business corporation, any "relationship" he or she may have had with other individuals within the corporation will also cease.  This happens because the "glue" that holds the "relationships" together tends to be the functions of the corporation.  Once these are removed, the relationships no longer have any basis for continuing.  In essence, the perceived relationships one might have had with others were dependent on corporate functions rather than humility, communication and relational transparency.  The same thing holds true in churches that maintain a corporation-like culture.  When the functions (programs) of the church corporation are removed, the relationships implode, and in most instances, cease to exist.  This is the reason a Christian can attend a church for such a long period of time, and then seemingly see so many perceived relationships abruptly end, if that "church" ceases to exist, of if he or she moves to a different "church".  

And in another insightful section, Avram calls us to "Imagine the Response of the Pharisees If Jesus' Teaching Had Focused on Commitment":

To put the concept of commitment into a clearer context, and thereby understand why it is not a measure of spiritual virtue, imagine what would have happened if Jesus had gone about the Judean countryside telling people they needed to make a "commitment" to God, a "commitment" to attend temple, or a "commitment" to to the "principles" of Scripture.  If He had, the Pharisees would have been among his most ardent supporters.    Instead they saw Jesus as a threat.  Why? Because He ignored commitment-based religion and spoke to them about the issues of the heart - something the Pharisees couldn't even begin to understand.  Their constant attention to the self-sufficiency bred by commitment-based religion meant they couldn't even hear what Jesus was saying.  (John 9:40,41) 

This book is well worth the read.  

You can order "Limitations" at this link:


Anonymous said...

The truth that sets free! Great thoughts to ponder -- thank you!

Do you know if Kevin Avram's books are available in Kindle or other electronic format? I tried to submit a query from his Amazon author page but the link is dead and won't accept queries or any discussions.

Vince Coakley said...

You are welcome. I am not aware of any electronic format. I will ask around.