Danny Silk’s book, Culture of Honor, is about relationships that release the life of Heaven into our churches. A “culture of honor” is probably not what you think it is. It is not about giving church leaders more control. “It is actually about getting rid of control and cultivating self-control and freedom” (p.212). It’s about receiving people in their God-given identities.
Honor is not something we talk about much in our independence-worshipping culture. Most of us are focused on our private relationships with God and have a hard time recognizing spiritual authority. The result, according to Silk, is that “we are cut off from the flow of Heaven” (p.75).
There are two signs that show we don’t get the honor-thing. (i) We build churches around teachers and pastors and (ii) we think our sin and mistakes are more powerful than God’s heart for us.
Ephesians 4:11 tells us that God has anointed some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers. Silk describes these fivefold anointings in terms of what each might do at the scene of a car accident (see pp.53-55):
The pastor applies first aid, dispenses blankets and water. He gathers vital sign information, talks to everyone about their emergency contact details and brings a sense of calm to the situation.
The teacher studies the scene to see what caused the accident and what might be done to ensure accidents like this don’t happen again. The teacher concludes that drivers would benefit from more training and continuing education requirements.
The evangelist asks everyone “If you were to die as a result of your injuries, would you go to Heaven or Hell?” He speaks to the crowd of onlookers: “There are no guarantees that you will make it home safely. Do you know where you would go?” He then leads people to Christ and trains them to lead others.
The prophet knew there was going to be an accident because he had a dream about it the previous night. He walks around the crash scene rebuking the spirit of death and calling out the destiny in various people. He discovers who’s in charge of the crash scene and discerns whether this is God’s chosen leader or not. If he finds no one in charge he will appoint a leader.
The apostle releases the healing touch of God into the scene. He tells testimonies of how he has witnessed the power of God at other accident sites. The faith of the listeners rises and they too begin to pray for healing. The apostle starts a school for those who arrive at car accident scenes and sends them all over the world to do signs and wonders.
There is a Biblical order to the fivefold ministries:
In the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. (1 Cor 12:28)
According to Silk, this order is significant. Apostles and prophets are the foundation of the church (Eph 2:20). Why? Because their anointing is focused on perceiving what is going on in Heaven and bringing that to earth. Absent apostles and prophets and you will get a church that is built on a dysfunctional earth-to-heaven model. For example, a church built on a teacher will tend to focus on what God has done in the past and miss what He is doing now. In a church built on a pastoral anointing the people and their needs will be the main priority.
In the Biblical model the priorities are apostles (heaven), prophets (spirit world), teachers (articulating the kingdom) and workers of miracles (the supernatural activity of the believers). Heaven’s design for leadership is based on a team of diverse anointings that work together in a culture of honor to release heaven on earth. The results can be seen in places like Bethel Church, when Silk pastors. There the supernatural is a normal part of every day life. In the book Silk recounts many amazing testimonies of how God has healed the sick and delivered the oppressed.
Sin and restoration
If you’ve been in a church even a little while chances are you’ve encountered a leader who fell in sin, who then repented and needed to be restored. According to Silk, much of what passes for restoration these days is nothing more than punishment; an attempt to control the offender and bring them back into a relationship with the rules. This is earthly wisdom which leads to shame which attacks our identity. Shame says, “You didn’t fail; you are a failure.”
What is true restoration?
An old meaning of the word ‘restoration’ is to find someone with a royal bloodline who has been removed from the throne and then restore the person to that throne – to a position of honor. (p.99)
Silk recounts a number of stories of restoration based on the principles of honor and love. They are essentially testimonies of Christians being reminded that they were once darkness but are now light (Eph 5:8). Restoration is about helping people clean up their messes and live as children of light. The stories of restoration in this book are mind-blowing. I have never come across anything like them before but as soon as I read them, and saw their fruit, I thought, “this is how Jesus wants it done.”
Last month Danny Silk preached at our church and he was very good. He has that special gift of making us laugh at the absurdity of our sin in wanting to control others. You come away thinking, “Now I see what I did was not only wrong but really dumb. Thank you Lord for showing me. I don’t ever want to do that again.” But my complaint then is the same one I have of this book. Tell us more! Both the sermon and the book were far too short.