14. Eunuchs Only Need Apply
I will not walk in agreement with posers and pretenders, nor ever come under their control. And neither will Jesus. But I desire with all my heart to walk side by side with those who are real, honoring one another, yielding to one another, submitting to one another, seeking each other’s well being.
14. Eunuchs Only Need Apply
Obey those who have the rule over you . . . Hebrews 13:17
“Submit to authority” is the single most abused line in all the history of the church. It is abused in external application and inward definition. Millions of people have been murdered directly because of the “Christian” injunction to submit to authority. I know hundreds of people personally whose lives have been hurt and many shattered deeply by the mis-use of this line.
Yes, we joyfully obey those in a necessary place of authority. I do what my boss tells me; I follow the directions of a police officer directing traffic – and I always relate to anyone in authority with full respect. We do this to live peaceably with all men; we do it because it is the nature of the One who fills our hearts.
But if my boss orders me to do something immoral (and this has happened), or something that violates my person, I will not, though I suffer loss, or though I have to walk away from the job. And if the government ever orders me to murder my neighbor, I will not, though it costs me my freedom or my life. My grandfather spent time in prison under the threat of execution because he refused to murder his neighbor when the US government ordered him to do so.
It does not violate my person to do my job the way my boss tells me to do it, or to restrain myself to drive the speed limit. Neither does doing these things place a mark of “ownership” upon my heart.
We could certainly spend much time following any number of avenues of the abuse of “authority” in Christian history, but I want to bring the topic right into the gathering together of those who are in Christ, right into the little groups of local churches that the Lord intends to raise up as the actual kingdom of God, the corporate image of the Lord Jesus Christ, being birthed into the earth.
I know intimately “submit to authority” as it works inside the church, and I can detect it in any form it attempts to take. “If you do not submit to our authority, then you are in rebellion against God,” is the single most evil statement in all the history of the church. And yet I have heard it come through dear saints who loved Jesus, and who spoke under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and who did not understand the implications of what they were saying.
I am not interested in pursuing any letter-of-the-word meaning of “Obey those who have the rule over you.” I know what is the true nature of my Father inside of walking together with others. The true nature of the Father is found in these words, “Submit one to the other,” as those words are found inside the hearts of those who deeply respect and highly regard one another. This is a mutual honoring that comes from hearts of joy and faith.
You will never hear me say any form of, “Submit to my authority,” except in those minimal ways in which it is right, such as on the job or to my students. I know that I speak truthfully because the greatest losses I have suffered in life have come from my own personal heart refusal to take on the nature that demands “submit to my authority.” I cannot do it in the classroom – I do not treat my students with disrespect, but I always honor their persons. I flinch when I witness kids being treated with disrespect by “authority”; and if I mistreat a student out of frustration, I apologize personally to them. Neither can I do it in the church. I walked away from the ambition of my life in confusion and loss because I could not take on the office of treating people with disrespect.
I spent 21 years of my adult life walking inside the belief that it was God’s will for me to submit to the hierarchy of authority in the church. Although some may claim otherwise, I myself saw very little that was actually ungodly. The presence of the Lord and His honor was truly present all through that fellowship. I am convinced that 99% of any hurt that came out of that fellowship came from misguided sincerity and not from evil intent. Yet I will not gloss over anyone’s real pain that came out of real abuse.
I know what it means to walk for years in continual personal loss in a confidence of heart and faith in God inside of “submit to authority.” I know the good work that God wrought in my heart through it. I also know the tears and the violation of my own heart and person.
At this point in my walk with God and in the revelation of Jesus Christ, I will not join myself to, nor come near any “leader” in the body of Christ who exudes any form of “submit to my authority.” I will run far away; it is not Jesus.
In the 1960’s, one of the many ministries that came out of the Latter Rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit and out of George Warnock’s sounding of the feast of trumpets in the life of the church through his little book, The Feast of Tabernacles, was a brother from Missouri, Bill Britton. Now, there is much glorious truth of Christ all through Bill Britton’s writings, and I do not want to detract from that, except to say that all things in the past were only in-part and none understood Christ as He really is in us.
There was one Bill Britton booklet (among several) that circulated all through the fellowship I was a part of called “The Harness of the Lord.” In this booklet, Bill Britton shared a vision he had received from the Lord and its interpretation. This booklet guided much of the thinking in the communities in which I lived and remained current in people’s minds and hearts for many years.
God uses many things to bring us all the way into Christ. Jesus warned us always to let go of last year’s wineskin, it cannot hold this year’s Christ. In other words, the thing God uses to bring us to Christ, itself is not Christ. The saddest thing in all the history of the church is found in those who clutch tightly to the thing God used to bring them to Christ and who refuse to let go of it, that they might know Christ Himself.
Let me sum up Bill Britton’s vision. Two young horses were running free and wild through the pastures and hills. They were caught by the master to be trained for his service. One broke free and returned to the wild; the other remained and submitted to years of training and service. Then came a famine to the land. The wild horse was starving and near death. He came up to the road and saw his former friend pulling the master’s coach, well-fed by a master whose “granaries never run empty and His well never runs dry.”
The meaning was clear and convincing. When you submit to authority and all the “restrictions and inconveniences” that it brings, then you are kept by the Master. But when you run wild and free, you are in rebellion, and in time of need you will die alone.
There is a religious bent in all of us that is drawn to this argument. There is a definition of God that fits it. God said to the church in Genesis 3:16, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
But we forget that God has two writs, two covenants. The word God spoke in Genesis 3:16, the word that is used by too many to define the New Covenant, is the CURSE spoken upon sinful man. It is the vanity imposed by God in hope.
It is our calling to cast off that curse and to bring the glorious liberty of God, a liberty that never was inside that false bubble, that old writ, to all creation.
There is a definition of God found inside that curse, but our life is not found there, our life is hid with Christ in God.
And so the definition of God as He is restrained by the curse does seem to prefer the harnessed horse, the restrained and quiet horse, the horse that does not think for itself, the horse that has no personal inclinations, the horse that is dull and boring, harnessed and bitted and broken.
“The Wildness of God.” When I first saw those words in John Eldredge’s book, they took my breath away. I knew they were true.
And for the first time I began to realize that God as He truly is, the Lord Jesus Christ, would never choose the broken, harnessed horse. No. He would win the heart of the wild horse, and He would ride like the wind without restraint or holding back. He would ride, as Gandalf rode Shadowfax, without bit or spur, carried only by a bond of intense love, of deep honor, and of the highest respect one to the other. He would ride with the wind in His hair and the miles stretching beneath Him. He would ride in union with the steed He counted His equal in mind and in heart. He would ride.
There was another difference between the wild horse and the harnessed. The harnessed horse was castrated; it could never bring forth life. The wild horse could sire sons just like itself, sons who could run with the wind.
But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.” Matthew 19:11-12
“But wait a minute,” you might say, “doesn’t this statement of Jesus indicate that God prefers the harnessed, castrated horse, the horse that never brings forth its own life?”
No! Yet it remains true that, as far as the kingdom of God is concerned, leadership in the gathering together of Christ, eunuch’s only need apply.
How can both of my contentions be true?
Our problem is this, from the passing of the Apostle John until now, the church has understood neither God nor the gospel. And so, all through the history of the church, and all through the communities in which I lived, we have cut off the thing that Jesus is determined to win for Himself, and we have exalted as “God” the thing He insists we cut off.
We have had it completely backward. And I have begun to see this extraordinary contrast only as I have learned the wonderful depths of Christ living as me in this world.
But now, we must back up again and come at this truth from a third angle.
I want to share part of a conversation I had with Chris Welch in England. He was asked by the ministry in his church to produce for them a two-page paper depicting the essence of what he means by “third level,” that which I am used to calling the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles in the life of the church, or the “third feast.” Chris asked me to have a go at such a paper, a challenge I enjoy, but one that must be written entirely out of the tree of life.
However, that is not really what these church leaders want from Chris. What they really want is to see a fellowship of people moving together in the fullness of Christ, in the fullness of the third feast, in the Gathering to Life. They want, they demand proof!
All creation demands proof.
“Go and tell” has its place, but if there is no “Come and see,” there is no gospel.Where’s the proof?
• Chris: Just met with two church leaders again. They’ve asked me to do an incredibly tree of knowledge thing, and write down a two-sided paper on “What is the Third Level”. My answer is beginning to formulate. It’s a good challenge. See if you can restrict yourself to two sides... corporate and individual. But as we know the real Word is more like lightning that lays bare the roots, challenging strongholds that don’t want to be challenged.
• Daniel: I like challenges. But to be truly third level, it must be written out of the tree of life – which means it treats God in an entirely different way than so many treat Him.
The problem is this, Chris. One third of the New Testament is about the third feast – third level life and experience. Technically, the third level should be utterly familiar to Christians. But Christianity has banished from its theology any such reality and placed all of it into “heaven” after we die, or after “Jesus comes back.” Thus most any attempt to explain the third feast in the life of the church hits the massive wall of “heaven” and is thus defeated before it gets into people’s hearts.
And, of course, that is what you say, “challenging strongholds.” “Heaven” is not the only stronghold. So the trick would be to leave off the many pages required to defeat “heaven” and to speak solely out of life in such a way that the fulfillment of all that God speaks cannot be shoved off into some future “fantasy world.” To most Christians, entering life is dying and “going to” heaven. Thus heaven replaces Christ.
That is why I start where I start, placing the fullness of Christ, conformed fully into His image as the goal of the believer instead of that other non-Biblical goal that took its place in the history of the church. I am just thinking out loud – I realize that the place to start is Romans 8:29, but just the main part – conformed into the image of His dear Son – third level is His image in fullness in the church.
• Chris: Daniel, because I’m writing to prophetic people, I may include other things already written including your comment on Third Level in one sentence. “Third level is His Image in fullness in the church.” THE main stumbling block is that it begins in our believing with NOTHING to look at. They expressed their disappointment that I could only point to people on the net, but no church manifestation they could visit or look at.
• Daniel: Yes, yes. And that is what short-circuits me (and you) right now. There must be a “Come and see.” In the move, very few of the communities had a continual interwoven experience of both word and Spirit – Blueberry, where I lived for 8 1/2 years, did. Yes, it was in-part and with mixture, but it was more the full interweaving of both Word AND the demonstration of the Spirit and power than anything else I have ever known.
What you and I are doing is, because we want so much to see and to be a part of such a thing as God really intends it to be, that we are doing the only thing we can do, the only thing in hand, and that is to speak out what we see, to clarify it, to call for it, in the faith and hope that we will wake up one morning and discover that God has placed us in the full reality of such a church, birthed out of the vision of our hearts.
Here is the word of faith God gave me last Sunday, I have never been able to say this in this way before, but now it continues to be an upwelling of faith. “God will birth the community of my heart out of me.”
Not being a part of what we long for, this time of not having that “Come and see” that these brethren are asking about, is at an end. It must happen for us, but it must be the vision we carry, it must be birthed by God, and it must be birthed out of us. Excitement fills my heart that it is about to begin. Yet, when the real is birthed into this world, it must come through vessels who are channels for Him, as He is, alone, yet fully real in our own hearts and identity. Not an ounce of posing or pretending or manipulating or controlling.
I just watched Rango. What a tremendous portrayal of how LIFE is restored to the church – one of the best stories, in my opinion, Hollywood has produced – it amazes me how they teach truth through story, even though they have no idea.
But then we come to the great contradiction of our own persons. Why on earth would God put such a cry and desire inside of people like us, when He has thousands of leaders in His church who are well able to make things happen, to gather multitudes, to speak with power and certainty, to persuade people to follow? And we try a little bit and get nowhere. I feel like Tantalus, well able to see what must be, what is just ahead, and utterly unable to reach it or bring it forth. All human reasoning cries that we could not possibly be “whatever,” and we agree fully with human reasoning, but the vision and cry of our hearts just will not stop. So we feel very foolish. We are continually speaking of that which “is not,” people rightly ask, “Well show us, then,” and we cannot. But neither can we stop speaking.
I really got mad at God on Thursday because of some difficult circumstances. It was so clear to me how stupid and idiotic it has been for me to have written and sent out anything. But by evening I could not remember that at all, all I knew was Christ filling my heart with faith and peace, and that I must speak, and so I continue to do so. Then I read what I already wrote, and I see such a vision that takes my breath away. We are caught in the great contradiction of God. Seeing all fullness and being utterly incapable of producing one ounce of it. Yet, I also have this overwhelming sense, that we are about to see God carry us directly into what we ourselves cannot do. We are about to be overwhelmed and astonished with reality.
• Chris: We ARE going to be overwhelmed and astonished with this reality.
The reality of the kingdom of God birthed upon this earth, the kingdom that brings an end to all other kingdoms, the way of living and being and walking together that is the revelation of Jesus Christ in His people, must come through His elect, through an apostolic people. It comes only through eunuchs.
What is a eunuch in the kingdom of heaven? What is it that MUST BE cut out of our being?
You see, a eunuch has lost more than the ability to father life; he has lost all sense of testosterone. He is not necessarily feminine, but he is without a sense of the male drive of conquest and control.
Contrary to all Christian teaching I have known, the nature that came to us from Adam was not the nature to “sin.” It was the nature to pretend. Never was sin a problem for God. All Adam and his descendants ever had to do was simply step out into the light and say, “Here am I.” The blood flowing over our faces is always washing “sin” away; that blood was shed before Adam ever sinned. Adam preferred to pretend; he liked what fig leaves, tree trunks, and accusing others did for him far more than the light of God.
And so now I come full circle and realize that there is an “Adamic” nature that must be cut out of us, and that is the nature to pretend. And of truth, those of us who teach “Christ as us” are the only ones calling for people to step aside from that “Adamic nature” of pretending and just to be real. Christ is seen when you are seen, when you are real.
It is the pretender who controls and manipulates other people. The church of Christ, and the ministry in that church, is filled with pretenders.
During my 21 years in move community, I walked in submission under somewhere around 100 different individuals who were “over me in the Lord,” elders and apostolic ministries. Now, in that fellowship were some things that were in a proper balance, one of which was that there was no such thing as an individual pastor, but always a plurality of equals walking together in ministry. But I want to draw what God would teach me out of the experiences He took me through.
There were three individual elders in my time in Christian community who were different from most of the rest. I walked closely with these three at differing times through the years. These men were real. Not once did any shadow of “submit to my authority” ever come to me from them in any of its many forms. Not once. They were real; and they walked together with me in full honor and respect. During those times I thrived in the Lord.
In complete contrast, the majority of these 100 were insecure in their standing before God and before the people, partly by personal inadequacy and partly by false theology. And those who were most insecure pretended the most furiously. I walked away from my chance to “be an elder,” when I saw the raving madness in the eyes of the elder who was correcting me for not siding with him in bringing a non-elder, a man I loved and respected, into submission to the “elder.” When I saw that ferocious pretending, backed up by the other elders, I packed my family into our little car and drove away in icy winter.
It is one thing to submit to authority, believing that one is submitting to God by doing so. It is something else entirely to force such falseness on a fellow brother, an equal in mind and in heart.
This problem has continued with me in the schools in which I have taught, both public and Christian. Most authority structures demand that kids be treated with open disrespect. I am unable to do that, thus it just does not work out for me. And every time I have gotten close to those in “authority,” those who demanded such disrespect, whether in move fellowship, or public school, or Christian school, I realized very quickly that these authority figures succeeded precisely because of their incredible ability to pretend.
Please don’t think I’m exalting myself. I can only draw from the Lord through those things He has taken me through. I can be real only by sharing what God has made me to be.
Once, my wife and I visited a former student of ours, one whom we deeply loved. Having escaped from move community, she was living in open, abandoned sin, with the expressions of sinfulness all through her apartment. None of that mattered to us. We treated her as we always had, with honor, with respect, with the deepest love. One of this girl’s friends happened to be there when we visited. We heard later the conversation that took place after we had left.
“Wow, ____, those people are real, aren’t they?” asked the friend of our student. “Yes, they are.” was her reply.
The horse in the harness is a pretender; the horse in the wild is real.
The horse in the harness appears to be cut, yet he is well able to produce many more pretenders just like himself. The horse in the wild is fully capable of producing new life just like himself. But that new life is fully acceptable to our Master, for it is real – it is He living as us in this world.
I will not walk in agreement with posers and pretenders, nor ever come under their control. And neither will Jesus.
But I desire with all my heart to walk side by side with those who are real, honoring one another, yielding to one another, submitting to one another, seeking each other’s well being.
I am a corporate man, and I have no desire for a life pursuing my own interests. All my dreams are filled with the brethren of my heart walking together with me. Building a “place for myself” always seems so empty.
Should ten million dollars drop into my lap tomorrow (it takes property to build community and property costs money), I would stop in my tracks, I would call those whom I love, gather them together, and say, “What do we do with the money God has given to us?”
All of my life I have suffered continual personal loss for the vision that fills my heart, to know Christ as He is, revealed in a people walking together in love, in the demonstration of the Spirit and power, and in utmost kindness and respect.
In November of 1994, my wife and I were not living in community, though we were still fully in the move fellowship. We had to leave Canada and Blueberry due to immigration requirements. We spent two years in Oregon, and then returned to the Blueberry Christian Community on a teaching visa in 1995. That Thanksgiving weekend, we attended a gathering at a Christian retreat center in the foothills of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, near Silver Creek Falls. This retreat center had no association with the move.
We went there with a pastor friend whom we had met. For that weekend, the retreat center put on a “Christian community” of thanksgiving. My wife and I felt right at home. It was such life, and those who had the privilege of enjoying it were so moved by the impact that experience of Christ in His church had on their lives. Yet there were no strings attached, a feature of move community that had always felt unholy to me, even when I had moved ignorantly in it.
In the setting of a Christian retreat center with lodges and cabins scattered down a wooded slope, there was a rose garden, and near it, a small prayer chapel. This prayer chapel was made of wood, steeply A-framed. Inside was a desk and a cot, with an electric heater. A window overlooked the ravine below.
I met with God in that little prayer hut.
There He birthed in me the vision that commands my heart today. “Eunuchs Only Need Apply,” was most certainly central in that meeting with God on that wooded hillside.
You see, I had seen there in that retreat the beauty of the bride, God’s people. These were brethren from all over; this was no “sect.” I could see how much He loves her, how His bowels long over her. Yet she did not know the truth, she did not know the power and the life that was available to her.
But who would show her that which already belonged to her, that which she did not know? She is not stupid. There are ten thousand pretenders, all of whom will cry, “Look at me! I have the word; follow me!” She has a trusting heart, and that trusting heart will get her into trouble at times, yes. But her Beloved watches over her with a jealousy and a fierceness that we cannot comprehend.
In that prayer hut, in the midst of that wonderful “come and see” experience of Christ in His church, God gave me the vision of the community and ministry that has always been the anchor of my heart. And He showed me the only way it can come. Apostolic eunuchs, the same thing God has brought me to again.
And when I say “apostolic eunuchs,” I am not referring to those whom I have known as apostolic ministries, I am referring to those who were real; men and women who never once imposed any shadow of their own “religious superiority” upon me. Brethren who showed me Christ as He really is.
What does it mean to be one of those through whom Christ will come upon His beloved? It means to suffer continual personal loss, without lifting a finger to prevent it. It means losing out, it means letting go, it means never, ever allowing anyone to feel “obligated” or put upon because “I am the channel of God – which you had better recognize.” It means never pretending.
I mentioned that I got mad at God. I did. It seemed to me that my own teenage daughter was choosing the move against her dad, because the move seemed more real to her than I. And I found myself utterly unable to connect with her, to share what is truly in my heart. But I will not impose myself on her. I will not allow any shadow of my “displeasure” to come upon her. She is completely free of me in every way other than the normal father-daughter relationship. Her relationship with God is certainly not inside of that.
I am the one who sent her to move community to finish her high school, mostly because I know they have for her that which I am unable to give her. I sent her knowing that this could happen. I was not being derelict. I sent her only to a community I trust, and into the care of a man and wife whom I know and trust.
Yet this is what I am speaking of. Do I believe enough that Jesus is Savior, that my daughter belongs utterly to Him, that I will cut myself, rather than allow any shadow of my own inclination, my own “I’ve got the word,” to fall upon her?
An apostolic eunuch has one purpose in life, that is, to show you Christ as He really is in you, to join your hand to His and His to yours, and then to step back into the shadows, rejoicing in His joy and yours. And this is the model that Paul continually presents to the church all through his letters.
But here is our great problem. No one follows a eunuch. They are impressed by how “real” such people are, but they simply don’t line up to follow them. I think of brethren like myself, friends of mine, whom I know are filled with such understanding of the ways of God in meekness and tenderness. Yet no one comes to them to sit at their feet, asking them to teach concerning the ways of God.
Any poser and pretender can find hordes of Christians who will follow their every direction. All they do is to speak with an authority that is not given to them, to present an outward face that is not really real, and people run to line up.
However, we are about to see God carry us directly into what we ourselves cannot do. We are about to be overwhelmed and astonished with reality.
I know that it is so. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.