Charles Stanley..Saved as by Fire?

As a dedicated Once Saved Always Saved, “Eternal Security” false teacher, of the Southern Baptist variety of false teachers of false doctrines and lies, I wonder how many “rewards” he will loose as he tries to force his way into the Marriage Supper of the LAMB? Or, will he be told to depart, that workers of iniquity, false teachers of doctrines of demons, will not be welcomed in and embraced?

Long ago, as a new spirit filled believer, I watched on TV as Charles Stanley tried to explain the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. He appeared to be confused, and as if he didn’t really understand what he was attempting to explain. This is not surprising since Baptists believe that “you get all the Holy Spirit you’re ever going to get when you get saved”. And this is exactly what he was saying, as he muddled on. Unfortunately, this is a terrible misconception and misapplication of what the scriptures actually say.

You see, Baptists seem to have their own play book when teaching doctrine. They generally believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are “not for today”, that someway or another, they were left behind when Jesus ascended, and the Apostles were martyred. In order to do this, they have to deny what’s in the plain text of scripture.

Why do they do this? Personally, I feel it’s because they DON’T HAVE the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and so somehow have to explain away or excuse the embarrassing FACT, that they don’t have the gifts of the Spirit operational in their own lives due to having listened to and believed the false “man made doctrines and traditions of men that make the Word of God ineffectual”.

It is indeed a crying shame that man can’t seem to take God at His Word and simply believe and trust in what the scriptures say, and apply them to their own lives without rearranging, negating, removing, folding, spindling or mutilating the Word of God instead of adhering to some dead, denominational “form” of religion.

Starting a Church?

worship canceled

Webmaster note: Many professing Christians today claim that God has charged them to form themselves into “local churches” with certain duties that only it can do. They also claim that disciples cannot do these “certain duties” except through the “local church.” You never read anywhere in the New Testament about this, but yet this is what many assume!

They assume that we must start so-called “churches” in order for us to carry out God’s purposes in the world. They say that first, you must realize that Christ was forming your little group into a “church”. Next, there must be a commitment to “public worship”; and after that, a commitment to the Bible’s order of so-called “church government.”

Then, we must “recognize a man or some men as elders and/or pastors;” “constitute ourselves;” “sign a covenant;” “adopt a confession of faith” and “ipso facto, abracadabra,” we now have a real church that has just been born! None of these things, mind you, is even alluded to by any stretch of the imagination in the Scriptures! In fact, the early Christians in the New Testament era would not have tolerated for one minute, such blatant violations of clear Scriptural teachings. But then again, since when does the Church need Scripture to support ANYTHING they teach?

The following article reveals the absolute absurdity of such half-witted reasoning’s, and exposes the length’s to which professing Christians will go in following their man-made, long-established traditions.
http://www.wickedshepherds.com/StartingAChurch.html

Without controversy, the most controversial subject in the Bible is “the church.” This is what most of the fussing is about both between “us” and the denominationalists, and between us and us. In one way or another everybody argues over the Church; not Christ, but the Church. But the longer I linger around Church-anity the more I come to realize that much of this controversy is based on incorrect or unclear concepts.

As I perceive the situation, there are two basic “Church” concepts loose in the land. First, is the popular concept, the one traditionally accepted by the majority of people. It is the notion that “the Church” of the Bible is a religious institution, albeit a divine one. Whether you talk to Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, Baptists, or “Christians only” in the Christian Church, this is their mental picture of “the Church.” When they use the word “Church” they are referring to the religious organization with which they are affiliated. Naturally they believe their Church is holy, a divine institution set up or established by Almighty God Himself, therefore one to which all Christians should belong.

Then there is a not-so popular concept of the church that is revealed in the New Testament and slowly being recognized by more and more thoughtful readers. According to this view, the “church” is a New Testament term describing people, particularly God’s people. By definition “ecclesia” (the Greek word found where the English word Church appears in most versions) denotes a “called out” group of people.

These two views are diverse. On one side, the “Church” is always thought of as if it were an entity separate and apart from the Christians who belong to it, preach it, promote it, support it, love it, etc. On the other hand, the “church” is simply thought of as people related to one another in Christ. The church is the body of Christ which we (if we are Christians) ARE! (1 Cor. 12:27).

My purpose here is not to explore all the differences between these two concepts. This would require a book I do not have time to write. All I want to do is make us aware that the traditional concept has some frightful holes in it. In an effort to make this clear, I want to ask you to do a little “supposing” with me. Briefly, I want us to suppose that we are about to “start a Church.” For the purposes at hand, “starting a Church” is a good place to start doing some real thinking on this subject.

When we speak of “starting a Church” what do we mean, ordinarily?

We do not mean what a young couple means when they speak of “starting a family.” We understand that a family is started when little babies are born. But a Church is “started” when newborn babes in Christ are born. No, no! Starting a Church in a community and starting the family of God are two entirely different processes. For, according to popular understanding and usage, a large number of God’s children can live in a place, yet “the Church” not be there at all! In fact, it is God’s born again children who supposedly are obligated to get together and start the Church!

So (and we all understand the terminology perfectly well) when we today speak of “starting a Church,” what we mean is that the Christians who live in an area should get together and form a religious organization that bears the official title of “Church.” Keep in mind that the “Church” that these Christians will “form” is not the church they already are, but is one that they will somehow create. This “Church” is perceived to be an institution that has to be “set up” before it can exist; an organization that must be organized before it can operate.

It is not a matter of disciples living together in a community, or even assembling together in the name of the Lord, for that matter. In our day, it takes MORE than this to make a bona fida “Church.” In order for a Church “as such” to exist, it is simply imperative – someone has to “start it.”

Right here is the first surprise. Believe it or not, the New Testament does not anywhere, in any way, discuss the procedure or practice of “starting a Church.” This seems a little odd, since we talk about it all the time. If there is not a “Church” in a certain city we say, “….someone should go there and start one!” If a lot of Christians live on the north side of town we say, “…that would be a good place to start a Church.”

If a new church shows up in town we are immediately curious to find out “who started it.” While such talk is familiar to us, it is foreign to the Scriptures. The nearest thing in the New Testament I can find to this kind of terminology is in Acts 16:5 where it says, “So were the churches established in the Faith, and increased in number daily.”

Notice however, that this passage does not speak of “establishing churches” It speaks only of establishing (strengthening) them in the faith. Can you think off-hand (or on-hand either) of ANY instruction in the New Testament on the proper program for starting a Church? Can you think of any historical instance where Christians went through the process of “starting” one? Before you answer, remember, preaching the gospel in a community and baptizing those who believe is NOT the same thing as “starting a Church” there. A Church, according to the popular concept, is something that those who have heard and obeyed the gospel will need to “start” later on, as soon as they can. And this involves more than just meeting together, or assembling the first time. As we shall see, again according to traditional teaching, the Christians in a community can assemble with one another for an extended period of time without “starting a Church.” Now if none of the problems are showing up in your mind yet, then maybe it is time for us to start supposing.

Let us suppose that I, my wife, and my son John; you, your wife and your son John, along with two other couples have just been transferred to a strange town where the gospel has never been preached. We are all baptized believers, brothers and sisters in the family of God, members of the body of Christ. We are all Christians. We have all arrived in town. But according to the popular concept of what a Church is, the “Church of the Lord” has not arrived yet. For as yet, no local “Church” has been “set up.” Therefore at this time, the community is thought still to be un-Churched. Alas, there is “no Church anywhere in town.”

So you and I and our Christian associates need to get together and discuss this situation. Suppose we do this. We get together and talk about how important the Church is, how every community needs one; how if we Christians don’t start one perhaps no one ever will. We discuss the feasibility of starting a Church, the probability of success, the possibility of failure, etc.

Now for some reason we do not discuss this situation in terms of “starting a family of God” in our new-found town; nor do we talk about the need to “start the body of Christ” there. We speak only in terms of “starting a Church.” Strangely enough, we somehow understand that God’s family and Christ’s body are already represented in our community. The town just does not have “the Lord’s Church” yet. And it will NEVER have “the Lord’s Church,” we think, unless someone like us starts one. So we feel the need to “get a Church started right away.”

Please bear in mind that in our discussion we are contemplating much more than the practice of assembling together with one another as fellow Christians. As a matter of fact, the little group is assembled at the very moment of the discussion, as we will be later on. But starting to assemble does not start a Church, whether or not to “start a Church” is the very item under consideration. We are already assembling, you see, but we may or may not “start a Church.”

In any event, after lengthy discussion we agree. Yes, that’s what we should do, “Let’s start a Church.” But right off, there are several questions that come up, in my mind at least. Let me put them in yours.

First, WHAT is this that we are about to start? From what I know, all the spiritual relationships mentioned in the New Testament already exist between us. We are already members of Christ. We are already members of the body of Christ. We are already members one of another. We are already holy brethren, part of the same brotherhood of believers. We are already meeting with one another in Jesus’ name. So what exactly are we getting ready to start? What is going to exist once we get through?

According to the contemporary way of looking at this matter, the thing that will exist once we complete our plans is a divine, “blood-bought INSTITUTION” that Jesus died for! Evidently, THIS is what we think we are about to produce. But wait just a minute. I thought Jesus built the Church. But Jesus is not building this one. We; you; and I and our Christian friends are going to bring this one into being. We are the ones, literally, who will cause it to exist as an independent entity. We are arranging for its formation and formalization. Yes, Jesus Christ is responsible for us and our faith, and in this sense we are the church that He built. But “the local institution” is something that WE are going to erect. Undoubtedly this is a different sort of Church. We are already members of the “church” that Jesus built, are we not? But we are not yet members of the Church we are about to build. It does not exist yet. Once it exists, after we “start it,” we will, I presume, be members of TWO Churches. This is all very interesting.

The second question is: WHY are we going to set up this institution later to be christened a “Church?” Did Jesus tell us to do this? Did He tell anyone to do such a thing? In the Great Commission, He told the apostles to go into all the world and “make disciples” of all nations. Is this enough? Or do we need to go into all the world and “form Churches” also? Remember, according to popular preaching, we can “make disciples” all day long in a community yet “the Church” (as such) will NEVER BE THERE until someone decides to start one.

Let me repeat the question. Why should you and I undertake to do this? The answer usually given is that you and I as Christians cannot please God outside a local religious organization. We cannot serve God without a local Church “through which” to function. Although, admittedly, we Christians are indeed “the church” in some sense, we are not the Church in the required way to do what God wants done.

But, let us suppose a little further. Suppose after talking it over, we Christians decide to postpone for a month or two the decision to “start a Church.” (We may get transferred again in a few weeks and would not want to start a Church and then go off and leave it unattended.) Are we now “Church-less?” Are we helpless, unable to serve the Lord? What is it the Lord would have us do in the community where we have moved that we, as disciples and because we are disciples, cannot do in the meantime, before we get around to forming an official Church?

Can we do good to all men? Yes. Can we let our little light shine? Yes. Can we teach our new neighbors the gospel? Yes. Can we baptize them? Yes. Can we continue to glorify God in word and deed? Yes. Can we gather together in my living room (or yours) in the name of the Lord? Yes. Can we have a prayer together? Yes. Can we sing hymns together? Yes. Can we put some money together to help a brother who has come down with a case of bad luck? Yes. We can, I suppose, do all these things without the benefit of the yet-to-be-formed Church.

On the Lord’s Day can we remember the Lord’s death by eating bread and drinking fruit of the vine? Uh, oh. Here we have hit a stump. “Wait a minute,” someone says, “we cannot commune apart from a Church.” This is “one of the main reasons” the Church needs to be established here; so we can eat the Lord’s Supper. Think about this seriously. Did the first Christians on Pentecost, somewhere between Acts 2:41 and 2:42, have to stop and start a local Church before they could “continue in the apostle’s doctrine” by breaking bread? Is this what we really believe? Are we actually prepared to say that Christians who find themselves outside the precincts of a religious institution cannot remember the Lord’s death on the Lord’s Day? What about those Christians who, like Paul much of his life, spend their life on the run? Do they take “the Church” with them wherever they go? Do they quickly form a new one at each stop? Or do they forget about communion altogether?

Also, consider this. Jesus gave his disciples two great “ordinances”: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Why is it that we Christians, before we “start a Church” and therefore in the absence of one, can practice baptism to our heart’s content, but without the presence of a “local Church,” we cannot practice communion, not even once? Why is one “ordinance” different from the other? Does “the local Church” have custody of communion but not baptism? All this is very strange to me. So I ask again, why are we required to “start a Church” in the first place? What is it (make a list) that we as fellow disciples of Christ cannot do in the absence of one?

But all the above questions are easy compared to the last one. Suppose that after a month or two we have another meeting and decide to go through with the proposal to start a Church. Now the question is: HOW do we go about doing this? Some may think this is easy. If we want to start a scriptural Church all we have to do is appoint some elders, ordain some deacons and hire a preacher. Presto! The organization is now organized; the “Church” is now formed; it now exists. But once more let us do some supposing.

Suppose there are none in our group “qualified” to be Elders; none willing to serve as Deacons; and no one wants to be the Minister? What then? We still want to start a Church. But how are we going to do it? Some kind of action must be taken that will make a “Church” among us where heretofore there has been no “Church.” Here is the intriguing part. Everybody who is anybody agrees that a legitimate institutional Church (one recognized by the Lord himself as being “HIS divine institution,” authorized to do “the work of the Church”) can indeed exist and operate as the approved “functional entity” WITHOUT having a staff of Elders and Deacons. This is known as being “scripturally unorganized” as opposed to being “scripturally organized” or “unscripturally organized.”

Let us look at this supposed situation very, very carefully. It is not an unheard of situation at all. Here we are a group of Christians intent on starting a Church, yet in the beginning we are not going to have ANY biblical officers; no Elders or Deacons. We are not going to have an Eldership or Deaconhood. Then HOW, pray tell, are we going to “form” this Church entity? We have decided to start the proposed Church, but how shall we proceed? This is the question.

Suppose we have one more meeting, say on Wednesday night, and decide that Sunday is the day. We will start “the Church” this coming Lord’s Day. This means two things: there will be no Church in town till Sunday, but there will be one after that. Fine. But the question lingers. Come Sunday, how, oh how are we going to pull off this feat? Sunday arrives and we all show up at the place where we have agreed to meet. There is no Church there, unless one has miraculously materialized since Wednesday night when we had our last planning session. So here we are, a group of disciples gathered together, but as yet no “Church” is present. We have a brief prayer together; but still there is no “Church” among us. We sing a few hymns together; but we don’t have a “Church” yet. We have a Bible lesson; still no “Church.” Now we are in trouble. We are getting perilously close to the Lord’s Supper time, and without the presence of “the Church” we dare not, as mere disciples, commune. Somehow we need to bring “the Church” into existence before the time to commune. Can it be done? How shall we accomplish this? Does some brother at some point in the proceedings merely arise and ANNOUNCE the “Church” into being? Does someone make the pronouncement, “NOW there is a divine institution in this good town!” So a moment ago there was just a group of Christians present. Now we have a scriptural Church! Hallelujah! A moment ago we, the Lord’s disciples, were assembled here, but without a “Church.” We are all still present, but now a “Church” is here also, one that we are henceforth obligated to sustain and support.

In the beginning God said “let there be light” and there was. Is this how it is done? Is the Church of the Lord (in an institutional sense) merely SPOKEN into existence? This must be how it is done. For in our supposed situation “the Church” certainly was not “organized” into existence, because it was not given ANY kind of organized structure. The Church we have started evidently exists only because someone has SAID it exists. Can just anybody announce one of these “divine institutions” into existence; or does it require special credentials and/or authorization? We need to know all this in case we really want to “start a Church” some day.

To come to the bottom of all this supposing, let me ask one more question. Once we have finished the task of starting this new Church (however we managed to accomplish it), what do we have? It looks to me like we have a very, very, very mysterious “Church.” We are told these days that the disciples in a community do not, in and of themselves, constitute the Lord’s church. The Church is something ELSE, besides them; something they form or create. What is this entity? Of what does it consist? In the case described above, where there are no Elders, Deacons, or Preachers, the Church seems to exist only in our minds. It is an organization, but without any officers or agents It is an institution, but without any institutional framework. It is a corporate body, but without any corporate structure. What we have is a group of disciples who are meeting together, PLUS something else. Because we have “started a Church” everyone seems to think there is also hovering around the premises a divine (functional) entity, complete with a set of assigned duties or works that the aforementioned disciples could not in its absence perform. Again I ask, of what does this mythical “Church” consist? Apparently we have successfully completed our mission of “starting a Church.” But, what do we have that we did not have before we started it? Before we started our Church all we had was a group of Christians, brothers and sisters in the family of God. Now that we have established a “Church,” all we have is the same group of Christians. Of WHAT, then, does this mysterious “local Church” consist? It does not consist solely of the Christians. We had them before we started it. It does not consist of Church officers. We don’t have any, scriptural or otherwise. It does not consist of a church building. We do not have one of these yet. This Church does not appear to consist of anything you can lay your hand or mind on. Frankly, I am at a loss. I fear that “the Church” we have started may be a figment of our imagination.

To some readers perhaps all of these questions will seem too silly to ask. To me, they serve to raise some serious doubts about the traditional concept, the institutional Church. In fact, the whole Church system as it is presently preached and practiced generates confusion and controversy. This itself ought to raise our eyebrows if not our curiosity. Is it just possible, do you think, that we may have a few chinks in our “Church” concept? Frankly, I believe it is time for all Christians to look again at the ecclesia of the New Testament, and see it in a more scriptural and simple light. Hopefully this article will encourage efforts in this direction

Written by Gaylon Embrey

“…For there are indeed many unruly men, empty talkers and mind-deluders; who overturn whole houses,

teaching things which they ought not.” Titus 1:10

THE OFFICIAL SITE webmaster@wickedshepherds.com

Church-a Den of Hirelings, Apostates and Robbers

Make no mistake about it…The organized “church” can’t be reformed, only abandoned. However, even if you leave, you should not rush into the arms of the so-called Internet Ministries, no matter how desperate you are for fellowship. Most of these are simply traps that Satan has set up to snare those coming out of it. “C-H-U-R-C-H”…”C-H-U-R-C-H”… AND MORE “C-H-U-R-C-H”

So far we have looked at only a fraction of the history that so many Christians are unaware of. There is so much about this issue that could be said. Does it bother anyone (considering the resources of information, concerning history and the original writings of Scripture we have available at our very fingertips) that we are still to this day using a term (i.e. church) not actually found in Scripture; a term that has been “translated” from a Greek word that is not even used once in all of Scripture?

I can hear some die-hard detractors saying: “Does all of this really matter?”

They will say, …..”that was then and this is now.”

“You can’t expect the church to be perfect with imperfect people.”

“Why do you hate the people in the institutional church.”

“Your’ re making a mountain out of a mole hill.”

“Of course we know that ‘church’ is not a building.”

“We know that it refers to a congregation, or an assembly, or whatever. We know that! And this is what we try to teach to our people.”

“You are the one who is distorting and deforming the issue! Its been done this way for centuries. It must be right.”

Oh really? Obviously, you have not been listening (reading) very well, have you?

Again, let me repeat…..it is very important for us to understand that the Holy Spirit, working through the Biblical writers, did not supply them with the word “church.”

This is an historical fact and can easily be checked out.

The Holy Spirit chose the word ecclesia to describe the people who have been called out of a world of sin and who are the “assembly of God.” Simply put, ecclesia means a called out “gathering” or “community.” Ecclesia, by stark contrast, bears no connotation whatsoever to an earthy building, temple, shrine, institution or anything of the sort!

Does all of this really matter? The fact is, it only matters if you are interested in Biblical Christianity. It only matters if doing things the way Jesus intended is important to you.

No, I don’t expect the so-called “church” to be composed of perfect people; I just expect it to be biblical. And no, I don’t hate the people in the ecclesiastical system. I hate the system that has ensnared them; that has placed them behind bars; sometimes through no fault of their own.

This is a matter of one thing and one thing only. These are the words and commands of Scripture!

The prevailing view today goes totally against the teaching of the Spirit and the NT. The Holy Spirit gave particular words and particular ways of doing things. A “congregation,” an “assembly,” a “community,” is either based on these words and ways or on something else. And if it is based on something else, then it equates to but one thing: the words and traditions of mere men!

And if that is the case, then such so-called institutions simply cannot be said to be “biblical.” They are unbiblical; indeed, anti-biblical, going totally contrary to the teaching of Scripture!

Until we all realize that the Scriptures which God has given are not optional; that they are not to be tampered with; then you are doomed to defeat. The pain and misery of good people trying to make their Christianity work in a system that won’t let them be what Jesus called them to be will continue. And it needs to stop.

Why do we build a material building and hang out a sign that announces to the whole world that this is a Baptist Church, or a Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Reformed, or Mormon Church? Why? Surely we say that we know that such a building is NOT the Lord’s ecclesia. We say we believe that the Church is people, but we aren’t willing to let go of the idea as well as the practice, that “church” is also the place we attend each week!

But, “ACCORDING TO WHAT?” There is no other “church” in the Bible than the people of God. There is never a place; there is never a building called by this name. Why do we insist it exists and that it is an absolute requirement that it exists? When will the leaders have the faith, courage and will to correct their practice and their speech that promotes so much error and misunderstanding? My prediction: THEY WILL NEVER DO SO!

Remember that one of the major reasons that churches exists today is that the works of men may be seen and carried out. As someone so aptly said,

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something

when his livelihood and salary depends upon his NOT understanding it.”

Is it no wonder that when you read the New Testament, you will find absolutely nothing that resembles the so-called “church” of today?

You will find NO Christian religious church buildings to house passive pew potatoes; NO church budgets; NO salaried clergy; NO clergy period. You will find NO religious furniture pointing all the “laity” in the direction of the “clergy,” putting on his one-man show, paid to perform week in and week out; NO “church leaders” meetings held apart from the rest of the congregation, where decisions are handed down to the rest of the brethren who don’t know what’s really going on. You will find NO solemn, dark communion services where the communicants sip little shot glasses of grape juice, and eat soda crackers; NO big tongue up front on an elevated platform wagging for a bunch of little ears in an audience.

No, despite what any detractors deceive themselves (and others) into saying, the church building model, accompanied by its institutional system of leaders lording it over others, is alive and well.

What do many Christians today talk about? “Placing membership in” and “belonging to,” some kind of an organization! Expressions like “being in the church,” “going to church,” “getting ready for church,” “having church,” “wearing church clothes,” “giving to the church,” and “being faithful to the church,” demonstrate the effect that such absurdities has had on our understanding, or lack of it, concerning the ecclesia.

It is indeed treated and looked upon purely as an institution or social organization with its various social functions. We cannot deny it; our speech and our actions betrays us.

All the talk about “the church on the corner,” “cleaning the church,” “painting the church,” etc. Will anyone deny this? And again, it’s not enough to say, “We know better,” or “You know what I mean.” People are deceived. They are being deceived not only by the god of this world but also by the “church leaders” in whom many trust.

Look at more of the confusion and deception that the word and concept of “church” causes. Who are you trying to fool?

Just what, for example, does the word “church” refer to in the following statements?

– “He left the church years ago.” – “It’s my month to lock up the church.” – “The First Baptist Church, Inc. was formed in 1971.”

– “After church let’s eat at Applebee’s.” – “The Bible speaks very clearly about the necessity of church membership.”

– “Mary is always late for church.” – “Do you want to join the Smith’s and the Wagner’s in starting a new church?”

– “That is a conservative church.” – “He who refuses to have the church as his mother, most likely does not have God as his Father.”

– “We are building an addition to our church.” – “You are expected to attend all of the stated meetings of the church unless providentially hindered.”

– “Some of the members filed a lawsuit against the Emmanuel Bible Church.” – “Take your hat off and don’t talk loudly. Remember, you are in church.”

– “One cannot be a faithful Christian without being a member of a faithful church.” – “Our church recently had a split and another church started as a result.'”

– “How many attended church today?” – “Worship will begin at our church at 9:30.” – “We would love for you to consider applying for membership at our church.”

– “Our church recently installed a new Minister of Visitation.” – “If you are looking for a church home, we invite you to consider our church.”

– “Let’s meet at the church to discuss plans for our church softball team.” – “Were you in church today?”

– “Prayer meeting is on Wednesdays @ 7:00pm at the church.” – “Trinity Church was defeated 10 to 1 by the First Baptist Church.”

– “I recently ordered some more church literature for the classes.” – “God intends for every believer to contribute to the mission of the church.”

– “If you are a visitor and live in our city, we hope you will consider making our church your church home.”

– “Devotion to your church is the same as devotion to Jesus Christ.” – “You should make conscience of giving one-tenth of your income to the work of the church.”

Carefully check back through these statements and see how ridiculous and untrue are the words of both “clergy and laity” alike when they say: “Oh, we believe and know that the church is people and not a building!”

I am sure that the devil heartily approves of such a concept that has brought so much confusion, bitterness, and enmity among men. When we look to God’s Word for instructions on how to operate a so-called “church” and then find out that there are no such instructions, what do you do? I’ll tell you what people do. Some people are so sure that God wants them to have a church that they force ideas into Scriptures that were never intended. It is no wonder everything is distorted and deformed.

As said earlier, one will be hard pressed to find the structure of a typical modern church in the New Testament, but then again, that is the point. These structures, images, concepts, doctrines, are not in the Bible, but when we have been programmed to accept all these things as Christianity, our minds cannot see what is plainly written. We see through all these filters and so see “through the glass darkly.” As a result, we see a very dark “God.” And when “God” becomes dark, mysterious, hard to figure out and easy to cross, we need someone to speak to Him for us lest we be consumed by His wrath. We then become like Israel who said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” (Exodus 20:19)

Perhaps the greatest evil ever perpetuated upon the people of God is the institutional church; a human organization that makes all the decisions for you and controls all of your religious activities, yea, even your life! This is the most wretched deception of all.

Many people convince their minds that this nicely ordered routine equals “spirituality” and now, this makes them feel righteous before God. In this state they are easily pacified, distracted from biblical reality, controlled by their leaders and easily manipulated by heretical teachings.

So the charade continues despite the fact that in the New Testament, there is “no requirement (pattern) from God” whatsoever that the disciples “form or constitute themselves into an organic institutional body called the local church.”

Where is that requirement? Where is that pattern? Where is the record or teaching which proves that disciples were divided into independent, autonomous organizations that we call “the local church” corporation? There is no Scriptural proof for such! People have to assume it and then assert such to be true.

We have assumed that what we have today is exactly what they had then. After all, we boldly claim that we follow the pattern! We follow God’s word! Therefore, we are the true church! Since we are a “pattern people,” it must follow that what we have today must certainly be what they had then! It must be what the Lord set up!

This is our way of reasoning in justifying everything we want to do in our day; from the “professional windbag preacher” to “the local church corporation.” For our “idols” we will find justification – in our own mind. We want something we can see and someone to represent us… something physical. Whether we are building a building to reach the sky as the tower of Babel or an edifice to hold our pastor’s meetings on Sunday… we want our own building and God will allow us to see and believe what our hearts are set upon. (Ezekiel 14)

In Acts 7:48, Stephen angered the Pharisees by saying that God “dwells not in temples made with hands” (Acts 7:48). Such a statement and change would abolish everyone from the gatekeeper to the high priest who served the old system of the temple. What Stephen’s statement said back then would be just as offensive to our spending of billions of dollars of God’s money on “church buildings” today.

What he said then is just as offensive today as it was to those Pharisees: God does not dwell in “Churches” or any other building. Our focus is not to be distracted on the material but on the temple of the Holy Spirit. That departure of emphasis has permitted the enemy to come in our midst and pick us off one at a time.

Dear reader, the Truth is at stake here, and perhaps for some, your life is at stake too. What is being said here is either the Truth or it is dangerous error! If you think it is the latter, then prove (test) it for yourself by God’s word. Search for the justification for the “church institution” in the Scripture. Look for the authorization for such in all of its parts and pieces. See if you can find a “church member” referred to in Scripture. Seek the instruction from the Lord for having a building or sanctuary as the place of worship.

Search for the Lord’s authorization for a church organization to hire a “Professional Minister” (a church employee) at a high salary and excellent “compensation package” to be the Chief Pastor and manager of the corporate Church.

Rest assured though that if you run to your “pastor” or to the “eldership,” what do you think that they will tell you? You know what answer they will give. It will be the same one the Pope would give, if he was willing to give any at all.

Unfortunately, for many in positions of church leadership, they feel that they have invested too much money, time, and education in doing it wrong, to now turn and walk away to do it right. It’s easier to justify or ignore your conscience in regards to the Truth of the matter. After all, what will they do with all these buildings?

Remember that without a building, the so-called clergy would lose their power over the people. Without a building, the clergy system would fall. This whole system of clergy/laity with its dominance of “power and authority over the people,” head-quartered in a building called an institutional church was totally foreign to the vocabulary and the life of the disciples of Jesus.

But, “it’s too late now to change, isn’t it?”

It all depends on how serious your love and commitment is to Christ and His Word.

Ecclesia ! What Has Happened?

The fact of the matter still remains that in the time of the apostles, they did not have institutions, organizations, or corporate structures known as “churches” such as abound in our day. The saints did not “belong to a church” for no such thing existed in that day. They belonged only to Jesus Christ who redeemed and “purchased” them with His own blood.

MEN, in their wisdom, build churches and every one of them, regardless of the brand or kind, are the creations of men! If YOU are a member of some church, whatever the brand or kind, you are a member of something in which Jesus has no part nor lot in!

Today, millions of people around the world actually think that they are just like those early disciples. Just because they make the effort to get out of bed, get the family ready, and arrive at a “church building” with a nice warm pew every Saturday or Sunday morning, many are convinced that they have performed their duty that they think God requires of them; especially the oft misinterpreted verse: “…forsake not the assembling of yourselves together…”

Yes, they “go to church” each week and spend a maximum of about two to four hours together. They stand when they are told to stand. They sit when they are told to sit. They speak when they are told to speak. Someone leads them in prayer. Someone leads them in music. They hear some announcements. Someone passes a collection plate so they can “offer to the Lord their tithes and offerings.” Someone teaches them in a class. Then they hear a one hour monologue from someone standing behind a wooden soapbox. Occasionally, they eat the Lord’s Supper; one little bread crumb and a shot glass of grape juice. They call it “partaking of the Supper,” which has now become a ceremony, separate from anything else they do. Occasionally, they might schedule some other “fellowship,” but in reality, they share little in common. But yet…BUT YET, they are convinced that they are “the church.”

All of these elements of “the service” deceive people to think that they are fulfilling the Lord’s desires by cramming all of these things into a church service each week. People instinctively get themselves into a mode that “if I just do this faithfully every week, it covers all the bases; God is pleased; I’m doing my duty; I am assembling as the Bible says, and I’m growing spiritually.”

This is now the “church service” or the “church meeting.” And to top it off, the “church authorities” have now made this a mandatory meeting where not only is attendance strictly recorded but where also the peculiar doctrines held by the church are now repeated numerous times over and over again, week in and week out; year in and year out, until your brain is numb with boredom and you are thoroughly convinced that there can be no other truth. To now miss one of these meetings is a grave sin and indicates that you may be “apostate”. You have now begun to lose the ability to think for yourself.

It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking our righteousness is based on and maintained by works and things like church attendance. That is why organized and institutionalized Christianity is so dangerously deceptive. The same was true in the first century. The Apostle Paul was stunned that these believers who had experienced such great freedom and joy in Christ, were now turning back to religious practices. They still believed in Jesus. They still wanted to follow God, but they had allowed themselves to move away from the simplicity of their devotion to Christ and were replacing it, little by little, with religious observation.

Writing to the Galatians, Paul expressed surprise and shock that Christians gave up the “grace of Christ” to return “to the weak and beggarly rudiments… to be in bondage over again” (Gal. 1:6; 4:9). What were they doing to bring on these critical comments by the apostle? They were allowing religious leaders to dictate their man-made rules and regulations that they said had to be obeyed in order for them to be right with God. They were told that they had to be circumcised, to remember to keep certain days holy, to make various sacrifices to God and man, etc., etc. Paul said that if they gave in to these requirements, they would lose their blessings. “Christ will profit you nothing.” (5:2).

Men may claim to be led and moved by the Spirit of God, but in reality are simply led and moved with human motivation, human greed and scare tactics. The Holy Spirit could be withdrawn completely from the earth, and most “church services” would continue without knowing anything had happened!

God has never, ever placed the Master role on the Pope of Rome. Neither did He place that role and responsibility upon any other man nor any group or body of men, even if they do claim that the Eldership has such authority and control. It is another big lie, like the claim of the Pope. Jesus Christ is the One and only Master and Lord.

In spite of this, church members, as well as all churched people, are constantly being told by their “church leaders” that you ought to be devoted to your local church to the same degree that you are devoted to the Lord Himself; that the local church is a “blood bought institution” implying that our Savior shed His blood on the cruel cross to buy an institution…….something other than people. Can you imagine this?

And speaking of buying and selling, what does an institution; what does an organization; what does a corporation require in order to operate effectively? Why, none other than paid professionals! So now, arriving on the scene is the paid Pastor, the paid Preacher, the paid Elder, the full-time professional paid clergy!

Never mind what Jesus said: that all that came before Him, and many who have come after are the same as thieves and robbers. Never mind what the apostle Paul and others had to say.

I thought we believed that the gospel is God’s free gift? How do you think the Lord sees the events of today where we have the paid professionals; the “pastors,” the “teaching elders” turning around and selling the gift so freely given them – a gift that cost the life of God’s Son to acquire? All of these “church leaders” have taken what was freely given them, slapped a price tag on it, and sell it week after week…….. for a pay check!

These people are nothing but hireling’s ( to use Jesus’ own words) pure and simple! The Apostle Peter condemned one who tried to buy it (Acts 8:18-24); how much more those who sell it week after week!

The Apostle Paul, in epistle after epistle, condemned over and over again, the one who is making a living off of the gospel. And again, just like with the issue of “c-h-u-r-c-h,” I can already hear some of my die-hard “institutional church people” saying, “Oh no! Not our “pastor.”

Our ‘pastor’ isn’t in it for the money! Our ‘pastor’ is so humble; he’s so godly; he just looooves the Lord!”

Wherein, I again reply, “Oh really?”

Let’s try this experiment. Here is the hireling’s test. lf he can pass it, you may know that he is not a hireling.

Stop paying him. That’s right. Stop paying your “pastor.” Let him “care for the sheep” at no expense to the sheep. Don’t receive a wage. Avoid the appearance of being a hireling. Do it for nothing!

Not only that, let him serve at his own expense!

Do this for three and a half years and he will have passed the hireling’s test. He will be walking in the footsteps of Greatness; the footsteps of the One that came to serve, and lay down His life for His sheep.

See how long he remains being unpaid like the Apostle Paul!!

See how much he “looooooves the Lord” when he isn’t getting paid to “love the Lord!”

Tell him he can still minister the word week after week, but also, he will have to get a real job like the Apostle Paul did, “working night and day.”

I guarantee you, him, along with 99% of all other so-called “pastors” will be out of there, searching for a new pulpit to fill. It’s that weekly paycheck that he loves, and if the church won’t pay him, he’ll pack his bags and sell himself off to some other church that will! Guaranteed !!!

Rest assured, every single so-called “man in the ministry” today lives according to this principle: “No Pay, No Play.”

Yes, that’s right. There are no exceptions. Every single “person in the ministry” receiving an income from preaching the gospel is a thief; a robber; and a hireling!

The Apostle Paul, over and over again, condemns those who have turned “the ministry of the word” into a full-time paid job. He condemns those that have made a living out of it. He condemns those that have turned the gospel into “a means of GAIN”. In short, he condemns EVERY SINGLE PAID pastor/elder THAT EXISTS TODAY. (See, Should Pastor’s Be Cared For?)

Why haven’t you heard this before? Why hasn’t this teaching of the Apostle Paul been “broadcast” widely and proclaimed from pulpits across this land? Why is it that the “institutional church” along with the “church leadership” has consistently avoided teaching and preaching on verses like these?

Well, to even ask such questions is to answer such questions. The reason why the “church” and its “leadership” keep quiet on this issue is because they themselves are the target of Paul’s wrath.

They are the ones guilty of having turned “the ministry of the word,” i.e. preaching, into a full-time job.

For them to preach this from their pulpits would be the end of their livelihood. They have been forced to choose between God, and mammon – and guess what? They’ve chosen mammon. They have been faced with the choice of picking what they love more – their salaries, or the truth; and truth has lost out.

The very people who are in the best position to inform their congregations of the truth of this matter, turn out to be the same people who have a “vested interest” in keeping quiet.

Indeed, the wolves have been placed in charge of the hen house, and are doing their best to keep the hens ignorant of the slaughter of truth going on. These people are only motivated by private ambition, greed, and a lust for power and authority. The money is good. They love the recognition. They love the feeling of power and control. They love the sheep pen, but they do not love the sheep.

Jude warned, “These are hidden rocky reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you, shepherds who without fear feed themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn leaves without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots” (Jude 1:12). They are hirelings, self-proclaimed shepherds feeding themselves. They flee when the sacrifice becomes too great, or most assuredly, when the money runs out!

Give your so-called pastor the hireling’s test, and see for yourself!

This whole arrangement; this whole man-made cacophony of an institutional church system run by a self-serving hierarchical team of spiritual monsters is a great deception and a horrible error!

There are no words too strong to demonstrate this deception and shift. In fact, the words that come to mind are: abomination, heresy, and blasphemy. There is no other way to explain the devastation and damage of distorting and deforming Christ and His body.

This anti-scriptural buffoonery has deceived millions of unknowing, often unthinking people into actually believing that there really is an institutional church in the Bible.

Men have usurped the authority of Christ as Head and have built around denominational titles and names separating His body into corporations and institutions of men. We no longer gather around the name of Jesus, but the name of a building or a pastor or a board of elders. We have literally robbed Christ of his rightful place and therefore His glory in His body has departed. Because of this we are not, and have never been equipped to build a Glorious body without wrinkle and spot! We have replaced the ministry of the Holy Spirit with the works of men. We have replaced first love (a true love and obedience toward Jesus) with the works of men.

What is being done might look good and professional, but it is not God. These things indeed, though they have an appearance of wisdom in self-devised religious observance and lowliness of mind and ill-treatment of body are not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh. Col. 2:23

This dastardly system only serves to further dividing the body and isolating the laity.

An Ecclesia Indeed

The Holy Spirit was ever present and worked with those early believers; those first disciples. They had a supernatural foundation (Jesus) and a supernatural builder (Jesus and the Holy Spirit). The early believers came out of the kingdom of this world and became a part of the kingdom of God. They understood the kingdom concept taught by Jesus. They were Jews who understood a kingdom and a king.

To the Jews, they were now a part of a new kingdom and Jesus was their king. Israel with its kings and high priest was a thing of the past. Their building was now made of living stones and Jesus was building them together. In Scripture, believers were likened to a body, a temple, a house, a bride, etc. Jesus was the foundation of His building and He was the Head of His body and the Husband to His bride. The early believers had no clergy and laity. As believers they were “called out” indeed of the world into the kingdom of God. They were truly the called out ones.

It has all been so simple. It began with Jesus. Then, His disciples. They believed in Jesus. They followed Jesus. They lived like Jesus. His Spirit permeated them. They told everyone they met how knowing Jesus had changed them from the inside out.

They spent as much time together as possible. Every day, they congregated from one home to another. They shared stories about what had happened to each of them. They prayed together. They helped each other to become stronger, by teaching and encouraging each other. They ate a full meal together, pausing during each meal to remember Jesus by eating unleavened bread and drinking wine, as he had shown them. When one had a need, the others supplied it out of what they had. When needed, they even sold what they had to help others.

They shared all things in common. They were a community of believers.

And blessed be God that Christ has never stopped building His true ecclesia, nor has He needed man to restore His works. No “organization” or “institution” rests upon Him. Nothing is substituted for His ecclesia. He is our only foundation, our Savior, our all.

The ecclesia of Christ describes the most beautiful relationship known to man. The word was chosen by the Savior and man certainly cannot express it better. When Jesus said “I will build my ecclesia”, He was not talking about an institution or a corporation or a bunch of local bodies. What He promised to build was His assembly, His group, His gathering, or His people. It is a collective term that applies to all those who make Christ first and serve Him with their life.

In Acts 15 at what is called the Jerusalem Council, James said: “Simon has declared how God at first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name.” (V.14). This is the meaning of ecclesia.

1 Peter 2:9-10 says “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”

That is the meaning of ecclesia! Notice all of the descriptive terms used in this passage, each one emphasizing a different facet of this ecclesia. How can we fail to understand?

Jesus came to this earth to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Was He talking about a lost institution? No, He came to save man who was and is lost in sin. “For the son of man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” (Luke 9:56).

Doesn’t that tell us something about the ecclesia? The ecclesia refers to those who are being saved, that is, people.

We are a blood bought PEOPLE, not a blood bought institution!

In the same manner we might consider the redeemed which is another term that is interchangeable with the ecclesia. It is not a synonym but a term referring to the same group. Redeem means to buy back. What was bought back? You and l! People! Institutions don’t sin and institutions are not accountable to God. People are lost in sin and people are accountable to God.

Who are the ecclesia? Those people who realized they were in sin and were helpless to do anything to save themselves; who heard the story of Jesus and His redeeming blood and have responded with love and obedience born of that love; who put Him first in their life; who, because of their mutual love for Christ, have a love and concern for one another to the point that it is an identifying characteristic that “ye may know them”; who follow the lead of and imitate the life of the older and more experienced of their number, as they lead with love and an exemplary life.

Simply, they are God’s people, the followers of Christ. He is their High Priest and nothing or no one stands between them and their Savior. They are not “devoted” to nor serve institutions, organizations, or men who love to label themselves as “duly authorized,” but they serve their God and their fellow man through love.

It is an Ecclesia whose existence does not depend on forms, services, ceremonies, clergy, churches, pulpits, pews, vestments, organs, endowments, money, kings, governments, or any act of favor whatsoever from the hand of man. It has lived on and continued when all these things have been taken from it. It has often been driven into the wilderness, or into dens and caves of the earth, by those who ought to have been its friends. Its existence depends on nothing but the presence of Christ and His Spirit; and they being ever with it. This Ecclesia cannot die.

This is the only Ecclesia of which no one member can perish. Once enrolled in the lists of this Ecclesia, sinners are safe for eternity: They are never cast away. Not one bone of Christ’s mystical body shall ever be broken. Not one lamb of Christ’s flock shall ever be plucked out of His hand.

This is the Ecclesia which does the work of Christ upon earth. Its members are a little flock, and few in number, compared with the children of the world. One or two here, and two or three there; a few in this community and a few more in the next.

These are they who shake the universe; these are they who change the fortunes of kingdoms by their prayers; these are they who are the active workers for spreading the knowledge of pure religion and undefiled; these are the life-blood of a country, the shield, the defense, the stay, and the support of any nation in which they are passing through.

Why would anyone want to clutter that picture with institutions or organizations?

Community:

Probably the best description of ecclesia would be a called out “community.” This is because a community can exist without reference to organization of any formal kind and without reference to meetings at set times and places. It refers simply to people who live in a common area or who are united by a common bond or in a common purpose. This is parallel to the Christian meaning of ecclesia: the people who live in Christ, who are united by their faith in the gospel of Christ and in relationships of Christian love. The community of God in Christ is a community of faith working through love. All distinctions of the flesh, whether racial, ethnic, sexual, economic, political or religious, disappear in the Christian community.

But what do we have today? In this day, “church” and community are different.

Church is a building. But a community is a body of people.

A church is a place you visit occasionally. A community is something you are.

A church has an installation service and selects and appoints men to be “elders” and “deacons.” A community already has their old men ensconced; living amongst the people as fathers with their families.

A church is used only on special occasions of religious significance. A community is people whose religion lives with them every day in all occasions of life.

A church follows the patterns and ways of the world in putting men into “offices” or “positions” or “places” of authority over others. A community follows the patterns and ways of Jesus in His instructions: “NOT SO SHALL IT BE AMONG YOU!”

A church is created to be special. It is created to appeal to the senses. It is created to attract some sort of divine atmosphere of reverence, with stained glass, attractive pews and religious music. A community lives in the din and discord of the world.

A church is served by a clergyman who says prayers, performs duties, presides over our religious gatherings, calls on the ill and bereaved, gives sermons and accompanies our children on summer outings.

A community is served by a leader who lives with his people as counselor, friend, and comforter. He abides in them, and is a steady source of strength and peace.

A church is made of lifeless stone and wood. A community is made of living, active believers in Christ.

A church is constructed by men to serve their purposes. A community is established by Christ to do His will.

A church is known by its facility, doctrine, and pastors ability to preach or lead. A community is known by its love.

A church building must be maintained against deterioration by the labor of men. A community is sustained and renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the body.

A church is sustained by the monetary support of its attendees. A community is sustained by the living Christ who will never leave or forsake them.

A church will eventually crumble to ruin. The Body of Christ, the community, will be lifted up to Him forever.

Ken Cascio
http://www.wickedshepherds.com/ChapterIII.html

Is “Church” a building?

http://www.wickedshepherds.com/ChapterI.html Do Christians “go to church”, or are they the Church? They can’t have it both ways. In this age of the Internet and the increase of knowledge and access to godly teachings which have been perverted by the organized, institutional so-called church, there can be little excuse for remaining in or under the control of the man-made Nicolaitan tradition that Jesus said He hated! For if a man is TRULY seeking the Truth of God in utter and earnest sincerity, as the Word of God and Jesus commands, then the Holy Spirit will work with that person in enlightening his understanding to know the Truth that sets free that Jesus proclaimed is in His Word.

House Churches-Leaving the False Organized Church

 

Back in the day, as a new spirit filled believer, and eagerly studying the Word of God, I first “joined” up with “church” as we have come to know it. This particular church seemed to be the closest model of what the early church was…except, as I began to find out not too long after joining….that it wasn’t. Many things began to trouble me, and I questioned the LORD why this church and others wasn’t like the one He set up in the book of Acts, and the rest of the New Testament. I tried to pass my concerns off as a cultural issue, but couldn’t get away from the burning question in my heart, “Who gave man the right to change God’s order for church?”

 

Gradually, the Lord began to open my eyes more and more to the fact, that no one did, least of all Him! It was man’s doing! The entire man-made system was upside down from the top to the bottom. But yet, looking across the broad landscape of organized institutional churches, I could see this man-made form of an intellectual, back-slidden “church” had become the norm, not only across my city and state, but across America and most part of what we call the West. There wasn’t one single assembly that practiced the scriptural model of the assembly of believers anywhere in sight as far as I could see, except for some isolated underground churches in countries where Christians were persecuted.

 

I use the word “church” here loosely, because actually, the real meaning of church is not a building. The accurate definition is the assembly of the called out ones. In other words, the “CHURCH” is the Body of Christ, the believers, not a building or an organization. 

 

The final upshot of these things the LORD showed me, was that He wanted me out of it.  And out of it I went, because to me, I had no other choice than to obey Him. The rest is history, and I’m not going to go into all of it here, as this is not the place. The question is to those believers who are still in bondage to the man-made system, are you willing to open your eyes to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and “come out of her”?

 

What I have found, as I’ve tried to explain to those still in bondage to the church system, is that they look at me in shocked disbelief and simply shut their eyes and minds to ANYTHING, even Truth, that doesn’t fit into the narrow paradigm of what they’ve been taught, come to believe and indoctrinated in, no matter how off, un-scriptural or downright wrong it is. This simple fact explains WHY there are so many different denominations and versions of “church” practice. And why, even early on, the Apostle Paul asked the piercing questions to the believers in Galatians in Chapter 3″1O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

 

Not that today’s Christians may be practicing the Law, or parts of it, but that they , having begun in the Spirit, but are now practicing the works of the flesh in these man-made doctrines and traditions of men that make the Word of God of no effect. What do Christians think these words and others mean if not what God intended them to mean? Clearly, not what they have been and are being taught in apostate, fallen away churches across the land.

But read on, within the pages of these links and the series of videos and begin to question, who are you going to obey, man or God? Be willing to be taught by the Holy Spirit, and compare notes within your own frame of reference, if what you are practicing really and truly lines up with the practice of church in the early church.

http://www.housechurchresource.org/index.html

 

 

 

Rick Joyner-Todd Bentley-Birds of a Feather-Beware of Them!

In this video, Joyner compares Todd Bentley with King David, and tries to convince his gullible audience that Todd “just made a mistake”. Maybe he’s also trying to cover up his own tracks for having promoted Bentley in the first place. It’s telling that he continually uses the word, “restore” claiming Todd Bentley is being “restored”. I think the word repentance would be more in order, if indeed he had repented, but I see no broken and contrite heart evident in Todd Bentley OR Rick Joyner. Rather, from Joyner ones sees more of an arrogance and boasting about how wonderful his work in “restoring” Todd Bentley is and how that makes him such a loving and forgiving fellow…er, false prophet.  Frankly, I’m amazed that either one of these wolves have the audacity to get up in front of the public and lie in their teeth the way they do.

These two birds are in reality vultures who will pick the church clean if allowed to do so! It’s amazing to me that anyone claiming the name of Christian would fall for any of this false, smarmy, side-show trash anyway. Where is the discernment? We must truly be in the age of apostasy, the great “falling away” (from the faith), the bible speaks about.

Rick Joyner himself is a disgrace to the church with his Kundalini drum beat New Age teachings and lying signs and wonders leading thousands of victims down the primrose path to destruction.

Wake up people! Do not trust, follow, or believe either one of these false prophets who’s only purpose is to merchandise the church and deceive them.

 

Bentley here, trying to explain away his sin and snow people into believing he and his now ex-wife….you know…the one he cheated on in an adulterous relationship with another woman, are now the best of buddies since their divorce. And oh yeah, what a “good daddy” he is.

Note from Scarlett:

Mishel McCumber has written a new book on her deliverance From Joyner’s false teachings:https://www.amazon.com/View-Beneath-Womans-Deliverance-Luciferian/dp/0995060703/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476326891&sr=8-1&keywords=the+view+beneath

Here is the foreward from Mishel, and I feel it’s very important for those Christians who are still following Rich Joyner to give earnest heed to:

“What if everything you believed to be true, everything you had built your life upon, was a lie? What if discovering the truth and turning from error cost you everything? The View Beneath is the true story of one woman’s journey into religious deception through the teachings of Rick Joyner, a spiritually dangerous leader that many consider a true prophet. After moving to North Carolina to attend his ministry school, she began her descent into a dark, deceptive movement that took her away from Biblical Christianity and immersed her in another gospel. Part testimony, part expose, The View Beneath is an inside look at the growing invasion of dangerous false doctrine. Mishel investigates deep beneath the surface of MorningStar Ministries and the Dominionist Movement at large. She candidly shares her journey as she discovers that beneath the double speak, the Christian-sounding terms, beneath the claims of trips to heaven and divine revelation, beneath the prophecy and claims of a Kingdom ruled by men, what is really being taught is the occult.”

 

Why Did Jesus Hate the Doctrines and Deeds of the Nicolaitanes?

 

 

Why did Jesus say He HATED the Doctrines and the Deeds of the Nicolaitans? Do you think it just possibly might be due to just some of the men, and their deeds included in this video? Read on in Rory Moore’s fine article below to understand just what, and who, the Nicolaitans were, and are, in today’s churches, and why Jesus HATES IT! And by the way, Nicolaitans don’t have to be TV evangelists that live better than most kings; they can operate out of dinky little street corner churches, main stream organized church denominations,in store fronts. OR, even on the INTERNET..!! It’s the way they operate, lording over the LORD’S flock in an authoritarian manner, rather than as a humble, loving servant shepherd that marks them as a Nicolaitan.

 

Preparinghisway

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Nicolaitane Errors as Their Mystery is Revealed

Overcoming The End-Time Nicolaitanes
“neither as lords over God’s heritage” ???

disclaimer: At times it may sound as if I am anti-pastor. This is not so, I am a teacher-pastor.
We love the overseers whom God has graciously put in our lives.
The truth is for exposing the harlot system and her institutions, and not at any individual.

JESUS said:
“But this thou hast, that thou hatest the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate
So hast thou also some that hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans in like manner.
Repent therefore; or else I come to thee quickly, and I will make war against them with
the sword of my mouth.

VERY few Christians recognize the Nicolaitane error and fewer “hate” that which they do not understand.
Not only are the Nicolaitanes singled out in that passage, but upon examination we can find them
throughout the scriptures!

Revelation 2: (To the church at Ephesus)
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate;
15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Here is the truth:
What He detests happens to be the most common form of church government .

“Nicolaitane” is from two Greek words “Nike” and Laos”, and means:
The word “nike” means “to conquer”…to dominate/ intimidate/ manipulate.
The word “laos” means “the people”, the laity.

Therefore hidden within the word itself is the answer.
By definition the deeds and teaching are of those who conquer, dominate, manipulate, and “lord it” over the people.
Today they are known as “Reverend”, “Bishop”, “Pastor”, “Apostle”, etc., (note the Capitalized Titles) because they are part of an institutional church system God never created.

The difficulty in identifying the Nicolaitane error is because the labels have changed,
thus the illusion that something is not what it is.
Most of us who were part of that system had no clue as we followed the church culture.

Why does Jesus “HATE” their deeds and doctrines?

Simply put, when men take authority by means of a Title, hierling, or Bible College Degree, they often take the place of God, through the process known as “having respect of persons”, in which a mans titled position elevates him as a “lord over God’s heritage”.
This has become modern idolatry in the New Testament. (see Two Ways to Answer God’s Call )

Clergy over the laity virtually guarantees the majority of God’s people never mature into faith as Christians and walk in the steps of Jesus or do what His disciples did in the book of Acts.

People follow their “leadership”, rather than Jesus Christ, as men make “disciples after themselves” as Paul warned in Acts 20: 30
-In other words, the local church is conformed to the man with the title, who usually gets his position from his denomination or group.

The church or ministry is then conformed to that mans image, which is an incomplete image of Christ.

Denominational, factious, competitive Christianity has given the church a hierarchial, professionalized, titled,
church governmental system foreign to scripture, i.e., “the error of the Nicolaitanes”. For example:

There is no senior pastor, pope, cardinal, Arch Bishop, General Superintendent, priest, or denominational structure in scripture
There is no scripture giving any pastor-priest sole rulership, headship, or authority over God’s people.
There are no formal titles or labels attached to any New Testament disciples including the obvious ones like the apostles.
There are no church boards, assistant pastors, co-pastor, associate pastors, or senior officials.

There are no presidents, superintendents, youth pastors ; there are no capitalized Apostles, Prophets, Bishops, Pastors, deacons, Elders. Anyone wearing a formal title is well on the way to becoming a Nicolaitane.
The word “pastor” is used only once in the New Testament, and not even one Titled pastor is named!

. The practice of one man being used in all of the 5 fold offices is unbiblical and a way to avoid accounability to scripture.

-How easy it is for a leader to use a hierarchial structure and authority against people,
but how hard it is for the people to use it with a leader.
Jesus said He hates the Nicolaitane error and the Nicolaitane error usually prevents leaders from being held accountable for either sin or error.

Overcoming the Nicolaitane error and deeds

In Revelation 2, this is for the people of God who have “eyes” and “ears” to overcome.
To him that overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it.

-that mysterious verse is understood by those that DO overcome and are taught of the Lord Himself, which is the Spirit-revealed truth of the Word.
As opposed to those that only learn to repeat what they hear in church from the doctrines of men, especially the teaching (doctrines) of the Nicolaitans .

Several strong admonitions are given in scripture in regard to what Jesus said was the relationship among the brethren and what correct church government is: (we have a series on this http://www.preparehisway.com)

Here is what Peter said in 1Peter 5:
1 The elders (plural) among you (the church) I exhort, who am a fellow-elder, and a witness of the
sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2 Tend (feed) the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint (force) ,
but willingly, according to the will of God; nor yet for filthy lucre (not for reward) ,but of a ready mind;
3 neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves ensamples to the flock.

In this passage, note the elders (plural) are among us, Peter includes himself as an elder, and there is no specific mention of “pastors”.
Why not? Because God gave elders to have oversight and “tend” the flock. The “elders” were to do so not from duty, obligation, or money.
– “neither as lording…”?
“neither”: “as in not even, no, not once”.
Lording is “to control, subjugate: – exercise dominion over (lordship), be lord over, overcome”

But this is exactly what the Nicolaitane error does and Peter said not even once was the flock to be carnally subjugated, controlled, or have someone exercise dominion over the flock. When the Christian sees the truth of scripture, he will need to realign his thinking in terms of what the New Testament ministry truly is, not from what we have seen all around us.

1Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ;
(not a pastor, Bishop, apostle, or Senior Church official)

The ministry is given to serve, edify, and stewardship the faith.
They are to comfort, correct, and contend for the faith. The faith they are to condend for is THE faith of scripture, not the fragmented, conflicting, sectarian confusion of faith found in the church world.

The ministry is not to become the head of every man and woman. There is no “spiritual covering” as such, in scripture.
Friends, Jesus gave, taught, and lived THE FAITH to His disciples, who in turn gave the same gospel and the same faith to the churches they established.

The Bible record bears no resemblance whatsoever to the practices and structure of the modern church and one-man ministries around us.
No pews, pulpits, choirs, worship leaders, assistant pastors, co-pastors, boards, orchestrated services, voted-in or hired pastors, etc… see what the Nicolaitanes have wrought: “NOT in Scripture?”

Part 2

1 Cor 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, *governments, diversities of tongues.
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
*governments”?, The word “governments” means: “pilotage, directorship, steerage”.

Do we need to correct ourselves here?
Should we put the hired flock tenders, tithe collectors, hierarchial leaderership, titled clergy, robed or Gucci suited, camera focused, accent lighted, big screen, weekly orators back on their platforms so we can devour their words, visions, and fund their programs?

Let’s look at the verse again and run for the shelter of scripture.
1Corinthians 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, *governments, diversities of tongues.

1. NOTICE the order “God hath set in the church… governments “,
if the pastor is the primary governmental “director, pilot, and steerage” of the body, then he is way, way
down on the list behind the prophets, teachers, miracle workers, and healers.
2. Where in the verse does it say the word “pastor” in terms of “governments”?
3. IF pastors are the head of local church governments, where is that in the verse?

4. If pastors are “governments”, then why are the helps, healings, miracles,
AHEAD of the directorage-pilotage-steerage?
5. If pastors are “governments” then why are teachers, prophets, and apostles ahead of the directorage-
pilotage-steerage?
6. If pastors are “governments” should they not do what Jesus said “them that believe” would do in Mark 16?

17 And these signs shall accompany them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed. Amen.

In Matthew 10, Jesus said:
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons: freely ye received, freely give.

I have been to far too many Christian funerals for those who died young and were never healed according to the Word. And that freely give part? ….. well, you can figure out what free means without me.

The pastors of scripture were the “no-name” laborers of their day, “among the people”, serving, supporting, and sharing their substance with the believers as the apostle Paul was “careful to do” and as he told the bishops of Ephesus to do likewise in Acts 20:35.
The same went for the prophets, apostles, teachers, and evangelists, who all served Christ without expectation of fame or fortune. They were the elders, overseers, deacons, teachers, and ministers of the faith who did so without a smidgen of self-promotion or lording any carnal authority over the people God gave them to serve. (Except the wolves like Diotrephes in 3rd John)

These actions were NORMAL for the Christians and pastors of scripture, but they are rare today.
Many pastors compare themselves to Moses who led the people of God to the “Promised Land”.

The idea there must be a solo leader-centered administration of a church body over the folks in the pew is 100% Nicolaitane.

As the Nicolaitanes John wrote about in 90 a.d, . imposed their error and deeds upon the church, the pastor-priest became the preeminent personage; i.e., the directorage-pilotage-steerage.
It was never meant to be.

Who gave the pastor-priest preeminence over the rest of the five-fold ministry and the false hierarchial system of “accountability”?
It was the Nicolaitanes.
And as many of us finally realize, this is the most common form of church government around us. .

Before the end of the kingdom of ancient Israel, (the last days of Israel), the Lord was manifested in flesh and called His people to come out of the harlot, the apostate church of His day which was ruled by the Nicolaitanes. History now repeats, the same pattern is being played out in the last days of the church.

How do you “overcome” the Nicolaitanes?
For most, it means walking out the “church” doors, going home, and asking God Himself to take their error and deeds out of your hearts. It means leaving the deceiving comfort and false assurance of a fallen church system you cannot find in God’s Word.

The Lord said “come out of her MY people…”

By Rory Moore
http://preparinghisway.blogspot.com/2011/03/nicolaitane-errors-as-their-mystery-is.html

 

Don’t Just Go to Church-BE the CHURCH!

 

 
And we wonder why we don’t grow, why we don’t get healed, why we don’t get delivered from addictions and life controlling bondages. We know the mainstream church is apostate and “off track”, yet we slough off doing anything else about it—- taking any personal responsibility or accountability. There can be no other answer than what Ian has on his blog, and this cuts to the core of everything I’ve ever seen out there in “church land”.

The answer is NOT to “sit there alone if you have to, for the rest of your life to avoid the boogie man {{{{{{{{{church}}}}}}}}}} with all those scary “shadow people ” in it, like one online guy is suggesting. HE clearly doesn’t have the answer or even the right doctrine!
Because,  how can you have the right doctrine that  he and other “mystery meat teachers” claim to have without a spirit-filled fellowship without the presence of the Holy Spirit in manifestation and the flowing of the Holy Spirit corporately as a unit, (which is what the body is supposed to be). It’s like a leg trying to walk by itself, or an eye trying to speak. IOW, dysfunctional.

The Word of knowledge, the Word of Wisdom, or prophecy and interpretation will not be in operation where it’s not allowed, where it’s not believed, where it’s despised.!  So, how can these pseudo churches expect to be a united Body of Christ, the Ekklesia, when the Holy Spirit is not in charge? When instead, He is being restrained, grieved, resisted, and quenched?

Brethren, I am so hungry for more of the LORD, I’m bordering on breaking out into righteous indignation and a “money changer moment” on this issue, not like Jesus did, but I think you know what I mean. If I caught someone whipping my child, or stealing from him,…. I’d react, wouldn’t you? Yet, these apostate teachers are mistreating the Lord’s sheep everyday, stealing the pure word of the Lord from them by feeding them bad sheep chow, and getting paid for it, usually A LOT OF MONEY!!! And the sheep are not looking so good because they’re on a bad diet from what these hirelings are spoon feeding them.

There is an entire generation of both adults and youth that are being deceived and cheated, yes, cheated, out of the most glorious life in the spirit because they are not being taught by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God as we are told to do. And we are being herded into situations where we find it impossible to locate a church that actually obey the gospels and the New Testament teachings as in the book of Acts!!

What a load of absolute rubbish  I heard recently, that it would be better to JUST SIT THERE ALONE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE THAN GO TO AN APOSTATE ORGANIZED CHURCH! Where does it teach THAT GARBAGE in the bible?  It DOESN’T! It says WE ARE TO BE THE CHURCH!

The answer obviously, is right in the book of ACTS. We are to BE THE CHURCH, BE THE EKKLESIA….. right in our own HOMES!! IN ONE ANOTHERS homes, breaking bread together, and I dare say that meant sharing the Word of God together as well as physical food. The early primitive church did it that way, and that was the most pure, holy church, the most spirit filled church in the ENTIRE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH!

 If you are serious about Jesus, if you want to grow, be healed, be delivered, or even saved, you will have to have an active FAITH and actually DO something about it yourself in obedience to Jesus. He did SAY to follow Him, not just sit there and do nothing.  Faith worketh by love! An active faith that works by love  involves action, participation!  Not just sitting there listening to false teachers complain about the apostate church. They are part of the apostate church. Didn’t you know you can be just as apostate sitting outside one of these churches as you can on the inside? Ian’s not complaining, he is one of the few that is accurately speaking about the solution TO the problem, not just the problem without offering a solution.  

Brothers and sisters, let’s bone up on the Word, especially the NT, lets first of all pray, pray, pray until we hear from the Lord on this, do some fasting….. however your health allows….. maybe it will be a Daniel type fast. Then,…….. no more excuses….let’s pick our shoes up off the living room floor, and buy an extra chicken or two, or even make a pot of chili or soup, and then invite a few Christians for bible study and fellowship. And please know that by doing these simple things that are for our example in the Word of God does not mean “works” that are going to negate the “grace of God”. No, in fact it is grace in action. Praise God!

 

Don’t forget to pray before you are to  gather together to honor the LORD, and then just see what happens! I did say “Christians”. You want to worship the Lord, have prayer, flow in unity as the Body of Christ, and have communion, fellowship, love and accountability for one another. This is not to be an “outreach” or a hospital for sinners. In fact, let’s stop right here a minute and allow me to stress, even though you aren’t going to bully your guests, you will still have to be careful about others trying to co-opt your gathering and hijack it. Don’t let that happen. Nothing will mess up a fellowship and shipwreck it any faster than that, or allowing outright unsaved people living in sin, into your fellowship. Be very careful about that, especially if you are not a very seasoned Christian yourself. Let the Spirit guide you in this as in all things.

Ok, if you say you just can’t do all that…well, then I guess it’s pretty much like IAN said in another post, it looks like you’re just not serious enough about your walk with the LORD, and it’s going to show up in your life and become evident. There are no two ways about it. Once you have been shown a truth, you will be accountable to obey it. No if’s ands or buts. I don’t know about you but I am excited! And I am not just going to sit here and do nothing while the house burns down.

http://ianvincent.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/why-we-dont-see-a-nt-church-today 

 

Spiritual Abuse! The Churches Dirty Little Secret!

Just because it bears the name “church”, does not mean it’s safe. Sometimes churches can be the most dangerous place to be, and should offer disclosure statements or a label such as “Attending this church could be harmful to your spiritual health”.

Well, at least it’s been the “Churches dirty little secret” until the advent of the Internet when people like this woman “Brittany”, began gathering courage and coming forward with their stories of being abused in the organized church. Now, praise God, we are finding other blogs and websites devoted to exposing this horrible cancer of spiritual abuse that has existed inside the organized church, and helping people to receive comfort, fellowship and healing from Jesus and one another.

“Back in the day”, many of us, like me, for example, felt like we were the only ones who had ever gone through being betrayed and abused by the church, and didn’t know where to go or what to do. I thank Jesus He has made provision, through other believers online, and that is where I found answers and spiritual fortification after coming out of the Nicolaitan Institutional church.

However, I am aware there are some church folks that would like to cover up and keep their dirty laundry in the closet rather than cleaning up their acts and doing right, smugly inviting innocent people to come into their church version of Hotel California. Then, there are others who’ve contacted me recently who passively-aggressively suggest that I am using this blog to vent my own unresolved spiritual abuse issues. Whatever! They don’t know my heart! Nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is, that I have been betrayed, used and abused, by church people in and out of church just about every which way you can! I shouldn’t be surprised by now that the enemy can even use those who come to you as Christians. I’m getting older and wiser because of these “learning experiences” but I have to admit I’m getting more than a little tired of it. The time is short and I don’t have time for game playing.

When the Lord turns the light on and you then find the wolves in sheep’s duds attacking you, (which they will when the evil spirits in them begin detecting the light in you), and so the Spirit leads you out…you want to do everything you can to reach out to the hurting and disenfranchised. This is the main reason for this blog, and for those like Brittany, below. And also to inform these abusive churches, their game is up. And for the garden variety church goer that seems to believe that spiritual abuse doesn’t exist, or isn’t important…. that the Lord will take their blinders off to the terrible crisis that exists in the modern mainstream organized church, as well as in the little para church groups scattered all over the US, Canada and the Western cultures. It does exist, and it’s dirt ugly!

The following is “Brittany’s Story”. If you have a personal story, you are welcome to tell it here. It is very healing and cathartic to journal or talk about the spiritual abuse we’ve gone through whether it was in the home, the church or both.

 

” Hi there!
My name is “Brittany” and I stumbled across your blog quite by accident but I am glad I did. I have a story to share with you and your readers. I am keeping this post anonymous and have changed my name because I am afraid of being discovered with my story.
For seven years I was an active member of a small non-denominational church in the Northern United States. While I noticed some controlling behavior, it didn’t bother me because I came from a broken home and loved the idea of being accepted into a family. Aside from Sunday services, I also went to church meetings and functions throughout the week and I was well liked within the congregation. One summer, I was offered a chance to be a missionary to Haiti with an outside church group. I jumped at the chance and my church family seemed to be behind me as it was a longtime dream. The only real trouble I noticed was that my church leaders seemed to have much more communication with the people I was travelling to Haiti with than I did. I also found that they were warning this group that I was ‘immature’. (I am a professional adult with a good, stable life and they had nothing to base their accusations).
I went to Haiti and felt VERY controlled by the group that I was with. I told my home church about what was going on and they urged me to come home, so I did. When I got home, they were eager to pick me up and get me feeling better. Unfortunately, all I wanted to do was be alone and process things. They did not like that. I noticed things started to get really tense with my church. They stopped inviting me to functions and started to hold their gatherings in secret. I was promised to be included on certain activities but then they held them without me. People started blocking me from their phones and once great friends would no longer speak to me. Saddened and confused, I asked the pastor to arrange a meeting with myself and one of my church friends to get to the bottom of this excommunication. He agreed and I was relieved that this was all going to be settled. I arrived at the meeting expecting things to be worked out–but instead I was verbally assaulted and abused. Vile, horrible untruths were spoken about me; the pastor pointed his finger at me and spewed so much unholy anger. We didn’t pray, we didn’t try to reconcile, it was an all-out attack.
I have a medical illness that the church group knew about. When the stress of the situation started to put me in serious medical danger, they laughed at me and ignored my cries for help. I used my cell phone to make calls to people from the church that I knew. No one offered support for me. In fact, in the coming days no one would even confront the pastor about his behavior for fear that he would exile them as well.
During that meeting, several elders walked in unannounced and continued the ambush. I now believe that it was planned.
Aside from the PFA I obtained, there is nothing the police will do to shut this church down because of the separation of church and state laws in the United States. To this day I am haunted by nightmares and I always fear running into a church member when I am out and about. I know that they have tarnished my name in the town where I grew up and attended that church.
I would do just about anything to shut them down so that no one else has to go through what I went through. Physically, it took me 20 months to recover fully from their neglect of my medical condition. Spiritually, I am forever changed. I no longer support organized religion of any sort and have made it a priority to tell my story so that other people do not become spiritually abused.”
 

Don’t give up! Keep seeking God. The Spirit will lead and guide you to the truth as you persevere. I’m not endorsing the church that made these videos. I am endorcing Jesus and His Word. Seek Him in that!

Spiritual Abuse in Church? Moving Out & Moving on

If you’ve been victimized by an abusive pastor or church, I think you’ll find this article very helpful. From the title you may think I am suggesting just to “move out and move on”. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. There are those that have told me to “just get over it”, that if I were mature enough in Christ that I should be able to do just that. I feel I have…since the time I left the abusive church, or should I say, the abusive people in those churches, but this article isn’t for me, it’s for others who may still be in bondage in such churches and perhaps confused, hurt, in fear, and unsure about whether to leave or not. 

When I left the abusive apostate church I was in, I was literally crushed in my spirit. I felt I had been betrayed by people I thought I could trust. No, let me rephrase that. I had been betrayed.

I was confused and hurting. At that time there was no one I could turn to that would understand. After all, all my friends were in “church”, and wasn’t “church” where you were supposed to meet God, and wasn’t it ordained that one should not forsake the assembling together with the brethren?

I thought to myself, what brethren? They were all locked into the system, and the system I thought I could trust, the one I’d believed in was a sham, corrupt.

God had been good to me since my conversion, or I should say since my baptism in the Spirit. I had grown in the Word, and the LORD had blessed me in so many ways.

It took a lot of disappointments and more growth in the Word before I began to get my eyes opened to the things in the several churches I’ve been devoted to, that just plain were not of God.

It took months to even begin to recover physically and emotionally from the trauma I’d suffered from the years in church. But spiritually, I was devastated, and had to “rethink” my entire belief about “church” and what it was supposed to be scripturally. What I found was that it had no resemlance to the early church…and the way the LORD set it up.

I’ve learned later that many people who leave an abusive church walk away from God altogether and just try to get on with their lives as best they can. But for me, I had some serious issues that I needed to work out spiritually and wasn’t satisfied with walking away from God, because I knew he was real, and my experience was real, and like Peter, I felt, “Where would I go LORD? Only you have the words of truth”.

About that time I had been wishing I had a computer. Then, by the grace of God I received one as a gift. It was then I began searching for what others had experienced and found that the doctrines I’d been taught in the churches I’d attended were wrong….what the LORD had been telling me in my spirit all along.

I also found others like myself who were leaving the apostate organized churches for the same reasons. They weren’t “backslidders”. In fact, they were people who were devoted to God and completely serious in their walk. But they had also eventually seen the abuses and wrong doctrines, and controlling natures of the bird cages they’d been in bondage to.

After you come out of an abusive church or spiritual situation, expect to have some emotional healing to go through. It’s not pleasant to be sure, but it’s normal. You may look at it as a blessing in disguise because once you’re out, you’re no longer being under the control and expectations of others to conform to their ways and doctrines. You will not have the liberty in the Spirit to come to know Jesus according to the Word of God in a personal and living way. The Apostle Paul spent much time alone with the Lord after his Damascus Road experience, learning from Him directly before he ever made contact with the other Apostles and brethren.

This time alone with the Lord, for me, became a time of refreshing, reorganizing my spiritual thoughts…and a time of  healing eventually.

In a way, it was the biggest weight off my shoulders I’ve ever felt, even if at the time it felt beyond strange, with Satan laying a guilt trip on me that it was somehow my fault. No, it was not and I’ve come to accept that. For where the Spirit is there is liberty.

And God bless you as you continue your spiritual journey of healing and on to maturity in Christ.