The forgotten Christian of New Testament Christianity (aka…rebel, radical, lone ranger, weirdo etc)
It is with some degree of hesitation that I write this particular article. For the most part I have attempted to remain positive throughout this site and focus upon what Jesus has done as the basis of what God calls us to do. It is my primary calling to aid in establishing others in the faith and encourage them to do likewise.
When an individual looks over what is being called "Christian" these days they can hardly escape becoming confused. Their are so many options or so it seems that just about anything can become part of an individual's belief system. Just as in many other time periods throughout history, "things are a changin" once again.
Many people who claim the title of "Christian" or some similar term would convince us that these changes are necessary if we are to reach the culture of our day. I am writing this article to show just how false this premise is and what results when man believes he or she is wiser than God.
The title of this article is characteristic of a select group of believers who over the centuries have been labeled a variety of derogatory terms as a result of their refusal to compromise God's truths. Although not every one of these individuals will share all of the convictions herein, nonetheless, they will share many of them, and doubtless have suffered in their determination to promote and retain them and others in the minds of men. It is the hope of all of those contributing to the preservation of the truths herein, to encourage all of those so-labeled to continue to stand upon what the Spirit of God has revealed to them regardless of the cost. We stand with you.
Below I will list numerous attempts man has made to either add or subtract from what God Himself has declared to be true and labeled them "Christian." Besides these I share God's truth in opposition to what man has done (attempting to be relevant) and the result of rejecting what God has said.
THE CHURCH [of worldly wisdom and man's tradition]
|What man has done||What God has said||The Result of men|
|Constructed buildings and called them "churches." Some yoke with local governments as 5013C tax exempt organizations which allow them a "business" bank account.||First, the word "church" was never used by Jesus nor His disciples. The word they used was "ekklesia" which does not mean church. Ekklesia is a spiritual organism/it is heavenly and built through spiritual means. As such, it cannot, nor could not have earthly affiliations whatsoever.||Man misrepresents God's Word and His Ekklesia not simply by building them, but also through advertising. Each church claims to be doing God's business in the "name" of "their" particular church. /01|
|Created religious organizations to meet certain needs and combat earthly problems. Many are tied to governments.||All Christian service is an outflow of a local ekklesia. There is no such thing as a Christian organization or "ministry" that God sanctions.||Man attempts to build his or her spiritual "empire" and use it as an earthly force for "good." Even where man's intentions are sincere, that sincerity still divides the One Body dynamic. /02|
|Name "their" churches and organizations however they choose- often after themselves.||No ekklesias were ever named. They were simply referenced by the locale where they resided.||Emphasis taken away from what God established and placed upon "what we do." /03|
|Create an earthly hierarchy within these organizations. Man either copies the world system or attempts to follow Old Covenant practices superseded in Christ.||God condems a hierarchal system of authority for His children- regardless of where they meet or serve. Those organizations God doesn't sanction "require" such a hierarchy.||Some of God's children "rule" others. Men destroy the equality Christ created amongst His saints by giving prominence to some believers "over" others. "We're all brothers" quickly abandoned. /04|
|Pleads for resources to support these earthly organizations and their massive overhead and ever expanding outreaches.||Saints originally met in homes which removed most expenses. More resources were freed up to meet the real needs of the household of faith and our neighbors.||There is never enough as both are ever expanding. Instead of small local ekklesias reaching their neighbors, massive "churches" and organizations each attempt to influence the world. /05|
Note 1: The primary difference between what man has done and what God has done is this: All of men's intentions and actions above are earthly in nature. What God has said and done is all heavenly and spiritual in nature. If this is so, what should we think of this verse in John 3 verse 6?
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
Although this verse is in the context of being born again spiritually, the principle is still valid as it relates to our work in the Lord. There are things which "we do" that have a heavenly origin and others with an earthly origin. The origins are opposites: flesh and spirit. Even a cursory reading of the Bible shows that God is opposed to all fleshly efforts- anything that derives from our old nature HAS BEEN CONDEMNED by Him through the cross of Christ. It is therefore unacceptable.
Now consider how these things of man have over the years of constant change become culturally acceptable despite each of them originating in the flesh. (above and below).
|What man has done||What God has said||The Result of men|
|Created the false designations of "clergy" and "laity" which separates God's children into two classes.||All Christians are equal before God despite having differing gifts and functions.||The clergy "rule" over the laity…they make the rules and the laity must obey them- not necessarily God. /06|
|Earthly organizations grant earthly titles that are earned through earthly effort. This earthly title affords that individual an earthly position within another earthly organization.||There is no such thing as a religious title for a man or woman to assume among their brethren. These titles exalt men and diminish Christ's preeminence.||
Those who are given such titles assume the authority they now possess in an organization is equivalent with God's authority before their brothers. IT IS NOT. It is the authority of the organization itself. /07
|Establishes religious positions within their own organizations and what they call "church"||There is no such thing as a religious position for a Christian in Christ's Ekklesia. Neither are the functions of apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd or teacher positions, nor do the gifts of prophesy, teaching or evangelism permit anyone to utilize one. Jesus plainly condemned doing so as only He can be our Leader.||In the least this copies the authority model of this world system which we are called to be separate from. Moreover, it exalts some believers above others as more spiritual or important and focus' the majority of ministry work upon those people. At its worst, those with religious positions abuse the sheep, steal from them and lead them astray. /08|
|Has added to the falsehood and sacredness of a "church" building by naming it a "temple" and reminding people that their attendance and participation equates to faithfulness before God.||The focus must remain upon what God is building (His Ekklesia) and not what man is building (His Church). God's Ekklesia is not a building but rather the called out assembly of saints for mutual edification and worship of God. It has nothing to do with any particular place where the saints choose to meet.||The saints are led away from the truth that THEY ARE the temple of God both individually and corporately as the Holy Spirit lives in them. They are led further into deception through their participation in inviting others to church (a falsehood) instead of BEING THE EKKLESIA to people in need. /09|
|Continues to support the false practice of "tithing" which has nothing to do with Christians in this dispensation.||Israel gave tithes as it was mandated by God for them- and for specific reasons. Those in the Body of Christ don't tithe but rather freely give as they are increased. We are commanded to support the saints needs but ONLY to do that voluntarily and not under compulsion.||Hirelings falsely promote tithes and often designate the amounts, often make those amounts public and even threaten the saints- all for their own selfish gain. This is one result of building "churches," "salaried leaders" and "titles and positions" within "religious organizations"- none of which God has EVER SANCTIONED, NOR WILL HE. /10|
|The purpose of the Ekklesia has been largely ignored and misrepresented due to the emphasis upon "church."||Man wasn't created for the Church (Ekklesia) any more than man was made for the Sabbath. Both were made for men- and the Ekklesia is being made for Christ as His bride.||The primary purpose of the saints becomes keeping the machinery moving. All human contributions are to this end- to grow the size and influence of the organization- JESUS HIMSELF being reduced to the means to that end. /11|
|Man has misrepresented who comprises God's Ekklesia. Inviting unbelievers among (not into as they say) the fellowship of the saints is one way. Another is the false statement outside some buildings which says, "Everyone Welcome" which is plainly not true among the saints. In an organization, you are part of it as soon as you join it.||Only born again believers are part of God's Ekklesia- the universal Body of Christ. Faith in God and repentance toward the Lord Jesus Christ bring an individual into Christ's spiritual body. Joining man's "church" equates to an act of man whereas spiritual membership in God's Ekklesia is initiated by God Himself.||Because the number of people attending clearly affects all facets of institutionalized church, the leaders can ill afford to be entirely Biblically guided or Christ centered. They often allow and even structure the meetings toward unbelievers' needs. This saturates what should be a solemn assembly into a lukewarm and leaven filled group of people in search of spirituality- because the real saints have left, been thrown out or will be shortly. /12|
|Man attempts to involve anyone who would contribute (volunteer) to their "church"- again falsely representing who and what comprises God's Ekklesia.||Only tested born again Christians should and can contribute. Fleshly men are not part of God's Ekklesia nor will God accept even their "best" of intentions. God says, "Be ye reconciled."||Individuals become deceived into thinking their participation in a "church" and all things "Christian" is synonymous with salvation. /13|
|Man attempts to reproduce other men into the particular "churches" image. The agenda becomes reproducing similar "churches" in other cities and even countries.||Those with apostolic functions convert souls to Christ in specific locales. These people become part of the ekklesia in that locale. These gifted men are "sent" on behalf of the entire Body of Christ, not just a segment of it.||Missionaries sent out from man-made organizations with earthly names. They are sent to establish similar types of earthly organizations in other places. /14|
Appointed for themselves teachers in accord with their own desires. Demand a king just like Israel did.
|Plurality of elders guide God's children. No one central figure allowed to rule. Ever.||Attention and ministry revolves around this one man. Christ's preeminence and control usurped. /15|
|Men have appointed themselves leaders in what he or she calls "church."||Only One is your Leader and His name is Jesus. He alone is Head of His Ekklesia. Follow Him.||These leaders expect the laity to follow them and often their "vision" for the future of their organization. /16|
|Primary leader chooses elders or board members. They are usually friends or professionals like themselves- often from the business community.||Elders and deacons must meet certain criteria and be tested before they can serve. The decision to allow someone to serve is decided through mutual decision making among the elders AND the local assembly as a whole.||The average saint has little or no idea how this process works for it is usually unseen. Elders must meet the primary leaders requirements for he or she is paid to run the organization and tow the party line. /17|
|Decision making is primarily the leaders and those he chooses to rule with him.||Decisions are made by consensus. The entire assembly should be agreed and likeminded.||Average saint is kept in the dark about problems and other decisions that affect them. There may be a business meeting although ultimately the leaders alone make the decisions. /18|
|Man assumes he or she has earned the right to lead by obtaining an education.||The apostle Paul said of his education, "I consider it dung" when compared to the value of KNOWING CHRIST. Trust and dependence upon God can't be learned in college but over time in the school of life.||Those leading these "churches" encourage others who want to serve God full time to "get" an education. This may be the way man does church but by no means is it a prerequisite of God. It only results in knowledge which alone creates pride in one's accomplishments. /19|
|Consider themselves "professional" ministers after finishing college.||He chooses the weak, the foolish and those willing to be dependent upon Him. Why? So they have NOTHING to boast about except knowing Him. God is strongly opposed to one particular type of person: anyone who thinks they have earned anything at all by their own efforts and strength.||Man assumes because he or she is educated that they know better or are smarter or wiser than the average believer. Furthermore, these people believe that when they are hired by a "church" that they alone are the main player in that fellowship. As such, this church revolves around their leadership, teaching and other abilities. This exalted view of oneself is evident in the manner in which these people advertise themselves- in newspapers, on "church" signs and by emphasizing their credentials (MD etc) behind their names- as if the latter had anything to do with one's ability to preach and teach with power. /20|
|Men have devised all manner of of titles to clarify who "they think they are" within the organization. Pastor with a capital "P" is no longer good enough. Now it's Senior Pastor etc or Prophet or Apostle such and such. In some cases it's even a CEO or President of a particular "Christian" organization. In one case it's actually a Pope!||Any spiritual or religious title exalts men as above their brothers and sisters. Nowhere are titles such as Pasor, Priest, Rabbi, Minister, Reverend, Apostle, Prophet, Bishop, Cardinal or even Teacher ever sanctioned by God within the Body of Christ. Having a particular spiritual gift or function within the body DOES NOT necessitate a religious title or designation- unless of course a religious hierarchy is utilized in direct opposition to what God commands.||
In a religious organization it is necessary to know who is in charge. Titles are used for this very reason to denote a hierarchal system of authority that echoes this world system. Try as they might, NOT ONE of these men or woman can justify using them. Such an example is sadly pathetic for those claiming to be leaders- something God Himself doesn't even recognize about them. /21
|Man appointed leaders misrepresent the Great Commission.||Go therefore (go out into the world) and make disciples.||Man invites sinners to "church" to be converted. /22|
|Most professionally recognized "ministers" receive perks from both the hiring organization as well as the world.||God does not recognize professional ministers. The two words together actually mean "professional servant." I wonder which religious professional would appreciate being called that, let alone living like that.||Man is honored for what? Man is bankrupt without Christ and should readily admit that before others. Accepting perks places these people in a compromising position- one which again places them in prominence among the brethren. /23|
|Men wrongly assume that having a prominent role in a "church" or "ministry" is synonymous with having Christ's authority OVER others in the faith.||No Christian has authority OVER another Christian. No believer can command or demand a believer to act in any particular way.||Church leaders attempt to control what happens in "their church" with "their flock." If they cannot control them they will attempt to silence them with terms like "rebel," "lone ranger" etc or excommunicate them for unjustifiable reasons. /24|
|These men consider the sheep in the fold as "theirs"||The sheep are God's and His alone. That is why we must follow ONLY HIS VOICE.||The saints are hindered in their ability to serve and speak for their actions are controlled and limited. /25|
|These men think they have authority based upon their position and title in the organization. THIS IS TRUE- IN AND THROUGH THE ORGANIZATION. This authority is granted by those who hired them and is a worldly authority.||Jesus says, "All authority has been given to Me." All Christians within each local assembly have the right to exercise God's authority in given situations through their gifts as the Spirit leads them. They do not need permission.||The saints often suffer the blunt of a leader's authority for no reason at all- except that the individual is becoming a nuisance by disagreeing with them. Saints hesitate to share truth that differs from the leaders to others for fear of repercussion. /26|
|The functions of the men and woman in the Ekklesia are confused. The roles and headship God established at creation are abandoned.||Men assume the leadership functions and the women support the men. Women wear head coverings to show submission to the men, angels and before God.||Excuses are levied against God's plain truth and the women justify themselves. Cultural reasoning is the men's and women's favorite excuse. /27|
|Women are assuming prominent roles within the body of Christ and men are often allowing or even promoting it.||Women are not even allowed to speak when the entire local assembly gathers together. Women can and do have the gift of teaching but are prohibited from teaching the assembly as a whole or when men are present.||All deviation from the Scriptures has consequences. Regardless of appearances, desires women say they have or societal changes, rebellion against God is never a good thing. Repent. /28|
|Primarily as a result of the growth of "their" ministries or influential contacts they have known, these men and women have become very well known, some of them throughout the world. One of their biggest goals is to recruit others into promoting what they believe by using various methodologies and marketing strategies and written and audio resources. These leaders ALWAYS HAVE secular contacts in and through worldly organizations including various governments that they work with to achieve mutual goals.||Although God does exalt and raise up certain individuals for His purposes, rarely is it wise to attract this kind of attention to oneself. Considering the false methodologies that usually bring rise to these individual's notoriety (self-proclaimed and self-titled ministries) it is far from likely God was ever behind them. Furthermore, the saints are called to operate separately from this world and are forewarned about any allegiances with this world and its princes. THEY ARE STRICTLY FORBIDDEN and unnecessary as they undermine one's dependence upon God alone. Neither are they necessary to to achieve God's purposes for His own people and Ekklesia.||
First, Christians far too often equate these people's notoriety with successful ministry.THAT IS UNWISE as many popular religious outreaches are false.
Secondly, Christians are hesitant to question what one of these people share as the truth. They are given guru status as if they could do no wrong. Had men remained humble and out of the spotlight many a scandal would have been kept below the world's radar and possibly even prevented. Men blaspheme God due to man's refusal to stay where God places him.
Lastly, these men attract huge followings despite much falsehood in relation to what they believe and teach. Their faithful followers (not Christ's alone) are often deceived by false doctrines they teach and promote. They in turn promote these very errors and lies to others. /29
|Today's "church leaders" are the largest influence of false doctrine that is infiltrating God's Ekklesia.||We have been forewarned about these very people who will introduce falsehoods among God's people. They claim to know God but by their deeds they deny Him.||Millions of people are trusting in a warped understanding of the gospel promoted by these liars. Millions more, many the sons and daughters of God are being deceived and actually helping to promote these very lies. The few faithful are attempting to curb this assault against the truth with limited success. /30|
Church leaders have introduced or resurrected the following falsehoods into "their" churches and even into God's Ekklesia:
12 Step Programs
Purpose Driven Life
Mega Church Trends
Word Faith Doctrines
New Age Thought
…and much more
All of the falsehoods that ever existed or will are all opposed to denying oneself through God's command for EVERY individual to die to his own interests by EMBRACING THE CROSS OF CHRIST. NONE
of the lies to the left promote this, nor do any of the individuals involved in them. They are
man's fleshly efforts that will lead to a utopia upon this earth- a utopia that will be judged by none other than my
Lord Jesus Christ
upon His literal return to this earth.
is faithful, and therefore will grant what people desire and afterwards, the due penalty of their errors (left)
Mass deception leading to the
or falling away from
This will usher in a
NEW WORLD ORDER
where all major facets of society will be combined (governments, businesses and religions) under the leadership of a false Christ- like figure the Bible calls the
(meaning opposed and in the place of Christ)
Upon his being revealed, a time of horrendous suffering will ensue like has never been seen, nor ever will again. The primary instruments of this suffering will be those who claim to know God
-those who have exchanged the truth [Jesus and Him Crucified] for a lie or lies (left)- the real Jesus for one of their own making and imagination. /31