A Matter of Extremes
"Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son" [2 John 1:9]
The verse above denotes two very primary things we must be careful to recognize. First, their is such a thing as "the teaching of Christ" which is the totality of what Jesus came to both teach and exhibit before His disciples- what John mentions several times in verse one and again in verse four as "the truth." It is clear in the above verse that their were in his day either individuals or groups of people that were straying from this truth or even bringing forth other teachings that opposed what Jesus said was the truth. It is only those who abide within the parameters of what Jesus says is the truth that are the true children of God.
We can see that these teachings (doctrines) of Jesus Christ Himself are learned progressively over time by the verse that precedes it:
"Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, (or what we have worked for) but that you may receive a full reward" [2 John 1:8] John is obviously not talking about specific behaviors but beliefs- for beliefs separate who really is of Christ and those who carry about deception and the spirit of antichrist. There was to be an ongoing revelation of the truth in Jesus Christ that was to be accepted and lived out (abiding in the teaching) before God and men. There is a similar admonition in Philippians 3 that gives us a specific example of abiding in one of these teachings here:
…and may be found in Him (in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ), not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith…
Paul the apostle is of course talking about an individual being justified by faith in Jesus Christ. Then he describes the reason why we were justified…that I may know Him…and the manner through which we can know Him…through the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. In other words, we press on in order to practically live out what Jesus Christ has accomplished through His finished work…but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. It is a daily process of being conformed to Jesus through death, a process even Paul was in:
"Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind (his own past efforts in trying to be made righteous by the law (his own efforts) and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." He goes on to say in relation to those who are mature; "Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude (those who are less mature) God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that standard to which we have attained." [Philippians 3:9-16]
Of first importance, their is a standard from God
I marvel everytime I hear someone make a statement that appears to minimize, trivialize or plain reject what God has made clear in His inspired Word. This isn't just confined to those who are not Christians, it extends to many who say they are believers in Jesus Christ. What many of these people fail to understand is to believe in Jesus one must believe in the truth for Jesus says about Himself, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" [John 14:6]
Christians would not be suprised that unbelievers would reject Jesus being the only way for an individual to have a relationship with God. To them, that's plain unfair and intolerant to the views of other people and other people's religions. Christians know these people are deceived, they are stuck in their own thinking which blinds them from seeing with spiritual eyes the standard of exclusiveness in and through Jesus Christ. It is impossible for them to find the way to God, discover His truth and receive the life God offers to them. Until they are born-again spiritually, they will never discover and live out God's one standard.
For some reason, many of those professing a faith in Jesus Christ also seem to think that God has never had any universal standard which applies to mankind. We only need to look back in our Bibles to see that surely at one point in history God's Law was a standard that all Israel was commanded to uphold and live out. Within the framework of this standard, their were blessings for those who kept the standard and there were consequences for those who didn't. In the end, we do now realize it was impossible for them to keep such a standard- the very thing they promised God they would do.
Looking ahead to our day, we know that through our union with Christ in regeneration, we have been crucified to the law and been re-created anew where that law can have no claims upon us. These people rightfully see that God's law was not able to make a man perfect and that God in His providence chose to supersede that Law with a new law- the law of life in Christ Jesus;
"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do (make us perfect) weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." [Romans 8:1-4]
The above is an awesome promise and much encouragement can be drawn from it. Jesus has accomplished something for us we could have never done and God's true sons and daughters are the receipients of such grace toward them. Amen.
If we continue along in this very chapter in Romans, we see clearly that those having received this Spirit of life in Christ Jesus are those who walk by the Spirit. Among other things, the Spirit of God is able to:
- Give life to our mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in us [Romans 8:11]
- Aid us in putting to death the fleshly deeds of the body [Romans 8:13]
- Lead us [Romans 8:14]
- Testifies with our human spirit we are children of God [Romans 8:16]
- Leads us into suffering with Christ [Romans 8:17, 18]
- Helps our weaknesses, such as in prayer [Romans 8:26, 27]
It goes without saying that within this book of Romans and many others the Law of God and the Law of the Spirit (Law of Love) are contrasted. This is especially noted in the book of Hebrews where it shows the law of God through the Old Covenant to be obsolete for Christians and soon to disappear entirely:
When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. [Hebrews 8:13] We know that God has provided a new, bettter and living way through the New Covenant in Jesus and through His blood.
The reason I'm writing about this contrast is simple: Many Christians believe that because we are no longer under the law (true), and no longer live by the law (also true) that God no longer has any universal standards that govern His people. In other words, the people of God's sole responsibility is to "walk and live by the Spirit" and any written rules that might govern our actions will breed death. This extreme error stems partially from this verese below where Paul talks about his adequacy being in God Himself;
….who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. [2 Corinthians 3:6]
Recently someone I know attempted to equate "the letter" as "the Bible" which is not true. Such a statement would make the apostle's words to say, "The Bible kills," meaning any literal obedience to a standard that the Bible itself calls "truth" will kill a Christian's spiritual life. Certainly, any standard without the enlightening and empowering abilities of the Spirit would prove to be a vain cause for all. It would just amount to more dead orthodoxy and would never produce the fruit of the Spirit in anyone.
The letter that kills
"Or do you not know, brethren, that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?" and then verse 4: "Therefore my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God"
The sin that originated in our sinful nature and taking opportunity through the law sentenced us to death. This is the letter that killed us (past tense) – made us guilty before God and sentenced us to death. The question now is this: Is a Christian still subject to this letter of the law or not? Answer: Of course not, that's what the verse above states, that we have died in the Person of Jesus Christ (Crucified with Him) brought beyond the realm of Adam where we were subject to the letter of the Law. That letter which kills has no reach nor claim upon one who has been re-created in Christ. In other words, their is no letter that can kill a Christian! Therefore, the Bible cannot be the letter that kills, that is, unless one is an unbeliever still in their sins.
What is God's standard?
In the first century, the twelve apostles Jesus' chose were meant to be the standard truth bearers before those who would come into the kingdom. It is true that the Spirit was poured out upon an assembly of one hundred and twenty and yet we find in Acts 2:42 these words:
"They (the brethren) were continually devoting themselves to the apostle's teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" The fact that these twelve had walked with Jesus Himself allowed them a special authority and privilege others do not possess today. They were given the task of formulating the foundations of the New Testament Ekklesia and what we know today as the Bible via direct revelation from God as the Spirit of God moved upon them. So special were these twelve that their names will be permanantly inscribed for eternity upon the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem. Wow!
"And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." [Revelation 21:14] That should bring new insight to the words, "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, no?"
In those times, it was absolutely necessary for the Holy Spirit to give these men the ability to say and write exactly what was necessary and true for all time. The apostle Paul in defending his apostleship said;
"For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from a man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ" [Galatians 1:11, 12] and
"Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations , for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me- to keep me from exalting myself!" [2 Corinthians 12:7]
In a similar manner Paul says;
"But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter has been to the circumcised…..(for He who effectively worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectively worked for me also to the Gentiles) [Galatians 2:7, 8]
These were special men, used in special circumstances and with a special responsibility and authority that will never be replicated again- live with it. You really don't want to suffer that much anyway do you?
God's means of revelation
"For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him." [Ephesians 1:15-17]
In our day, there are two opposing sides to this issue of revelation and where it originates and how it is learned. This subject matter is little different than many other issues concerning Christians with one similarity- both sides have a tendency toward extremes in their positions. Before we continue, listed below are a few other extreme positions people have taken and used to justify their choice to separate from other professing Christians:
- One "Christian" denomination claiming authority over all of the rest. Catholicism claims to be the only true expression of Christianity upon the earth. In reality though, no denomination nor "Christian" religion has any authority from God whatsoever over anything or anybody.
- Because of the many errors within Catholicism, a new movement arose to challenge the claims of Catholic doctrine. Initially this was a noble endeavor by individual men until a new denomination called Protestantism was established which adopted many of the Catholic errors. No matter what you call it, Christianity cannot be highjacked nor contained within an institutional shell. Any such form or name amounts to sectarianism which God condemns for His people.
- One system of belief over another. Whether it's called Calvanism, Arminianism, Reformed etc is irrelevant. All such titles and systems that attempt to draw a line or box around God's truths are man-made in nature and set men one against the other.
- The claim that some of the spiritual gifts listed in the Bible have ceased and no longer operate in this age- cessationism. This extreme arose because of both faulty exegesis as well as the many claims of these gifts which are proven to be false in nature.
- Counting the obvious excessive and chaotic experiences of some people as spiritual gifts instead of what they really are- fleshly and demonic manifestations.
- Taking Jesus' command to "call no one your leader, teacher, father" etc to mean not allowing anyone to lead, teach or act in a fatherly manner one to another. The prohibition is against naming someone any of the above because that clouds the equality all Christians share- not carrying out the functions themselves.
- Those who complain about Christians who judge the actions and words of other professing believers. Not only is opposition to this extreme, it is actually commanded for Christians to judge the actions and beliefs of other believers.
- Labeling someone who is mistaken about a truth, doctrine or practice a heretic. Most of us are way too quick to label other professing believers who disagree with us. They may be, but a thorough investigation would be helpful first.
- An attempt to erase the roles God gave to men and women since creation in the name of "equality." Men and women are equal in Christ although that does not include the sharing of specific roles God has given to each.
- Using the fact that many "professional ministers" receive salaries to condemn any christians from receiving monies from believers. If any believer so desires, it is never wrong to give financial compensation to someone you believe is helping you spiritually or performing a service you believe is valuable to the body of Christ.
- Promoting love to such an extent that sin doesn't get judged properly or adequately. Love and justice are two sides of a coin. They must work together for either to be fully appreciated.
- Creating and promoting what has been termed "Christian psychology." Any form of so-called psychology that uses or combines any secular materials or theories from this world is not Christian. It must be rejected outright for a believer.
- Allowing elders in a fellowship to make command decisions without notifying the saints and involving them. Elders are supposed to oversee others, not lord it over others. There is a difference.
- So-called leaders equating or comparing the authority they have through a church with Jesus' authority. These are by no means the same thing. A churches authority is given by men, God's authority by him alone. The first is recognized by title and position, the latter by faithfulness before God.
- Individuals or groups starting their own "ministries" separate from and isolated from a local ekklesia that is overseen by elders. This detracts from all service stemming from a local ekklesia and further divides the local character of ekklesias in specific geographical locations.
- Those claiming that only the King James version of the Bible to be authorative. Like other versions, the KJ is not a perfect translation and has errors in translation that are easily proven. That doesn't make the original wording as revealed by the Holy Spirit any less authorative.
- Claiming that because the Bible shows the typical fellowship to be an open interactive group of believers, this negates the need for any didactic teaching. God gave both the function and spiritual gift of teaching for a reason.
- The failure of modern day churches and the Biblical presence of house churches mandates the need and command to fellowship in homes. This may be a good idea although where the saints gather for fellowship isn't really the primary issue.
- An attempt to show "living by the Bible" as opposed to "living by the Spirit." They are not in opposition but in perfect harmony when the word is rightly divided and practiced in obedience.
- Replacing the proclamation of the gospel with good works or humanitarian aid. It's good to help other with service projects, but never at the expense of the gospel or making it secondary to anything else.
How far is too far?
Just how do we decide which of the issues above, if any, give us a warrant to separate from others who claim to be Christians?
Regardless if an individual or group of believers fall into or embrace one of the extremes above or a hundred others, these extremes are dangerous and highly deceptive. When we look over the thousands upon thousands of various denominations these days, it becomes obvious that our adversary the devil has been highly successful and not only keeping Christians from each other, but worse, opposed to one another. It should always be our desire to embrace all who name the name of Christ provided they truly have been recreated by God and have the Spirit of God living within them. The only real Christian fellowship can be among actual Christians and not merely those who may name or claim to be such.
It begins with a standard
Above, one of the extremes I listed was this: An attempt to show that living by the Spirit is opposed to living by an authorative Bible. This refrain, or one similar to it has become very common in these days among many who call themselves Christians. They are under the impression that the Bible just fills people's heads with a bunch of intellectual words and knowledge that end up making people prideful and opposed to one another. They make it a regular habit of demeaning the Scriptures, the very Scriptures Jesus and His apostles often quoted and pointed people towards. They have come to believe that their is a better way to live out their Christianity that they claim is more in line with the Spirit of God. In most cases, this so-called better spiritual way involves various subjective experiences, most of which neither resemble God's ways, nor are they proven authentic through Scripture. In most cases, if someone claims to have a revelation from God it is simply believed as the truth. It or they are rarely ever tested as God commands to make sure the origin of their words or actions are truly from God. In most of these cases, the individuals who claim these revelations (direct words from God) present themselves as leaders who are different from other believers because they have special knowledge from God that others don't. Therefore, they regularly discount not only the Bible itself but those who still claim it as their authority and standard for living as a Christian.
In reality, living and walking by the Spirit is no more opposed to the Bible than it is to knowledge or reason. One cannot even be saved without the knowledge of the Holy One and what He requires. It is man's reasoning of the facts of God's Word (the truth) combined by the leading and convicting power of the Holy Spirit that brings men to salvation. By no means are they in opposition.
Most Christians would agree that in order for anyone to properly understand the true spirit in the Scriptures they must possess the Holy Spirit. This is why an unbeliever cannot discern th Bible as a believer can- "for to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God" [1 Corinthians 2:10] which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words"
No one reading the Scriptures rightly will question our need to be continually walking by the Spirit of God- that is a command. [Romans 8:14] [Galatians 5:16] The debate rests upon how we go about practicing doing that. For those who discount the Scriptures, there answer to this is found within either special revelatory or spiritual experiences they say are from God. Needless to say, this is both cavalier and dangerous. How can I know what someone else "hears" or "experiences" is from God? Even if they are convinced, how can they convince others of the same- exactly, they can't, and why would they believe them? Just because they say so or claim so?
I believe God anticipated this very problem which is why tongues had to be interpreted and prophesy was to be judged by others. This is made clear in 1 Corinthians 14:27-29. It was never to be assumed that what was spoken was truly from God.
In complete contrast to this is the objective command of God: "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if their is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things" Then this summation verse which is a much better answer to how to walk by the Spirit of God;
"The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace shall be with you" [Philippians 4:8, 9]
It goes without saying that learning, receiving and hearing are steps in obedience. They are in no way contrary to being led of the Spirit and in fact coincide directly with the Spirit. Even seeing (through other's godly examples) is a matter in which Paul combines with walking by the Spirit. How can this be?
Christians are indwelt by the very Spirit of God. They don't read the Bible from the vantage point or position of one under the law (or letter) because by their very nature they are "born of the Spirit." Therefore walking by the Spirit is simply what results when we obey the words of God, words that through this very Spirit are what?
"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words I have spoken to you are spirit and life" [John 6:63]
"However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you" [Romans 8:9]
The very words we find in the Bible are spirit and life to a Christian. All Scripture is inspired and profitable for whom? In this verse the man of God. But not only as the Scriptures states;
"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart" [Hebrews 4:12] I discovered the above the day I was born again!
Any attempt to separate Jesus' authority outside of the word with Jesus' authority through His very words are not wise. Just because the Bible isn't Jesus Himself, nor the faithful man of God exercising Jesus' authority Jesus either, does not negate Jesus' authority through the Bible nor through the man of God. Where the Spirit is present and working there is the potential for Jesus' authority to be exercised.
God's standards are plainly written in His inerrant and infallible words within this book we call the Bible. Due to being indwelt by the Spirit of God who is always willing, we are capable of fulfilling all of God's requirements from day to day as we simply abide and cultivate our relationship with Him. These requirements, rightly understood within their proper frameworks and contexts (rightly divided) are the absolute and universal will of God for all Christians. We do not obey these standards to merit anything as Jesus has already fulfilled the requirement of the law for us- we're merely carrying out the practical living out in the Spirit what He has already finished. Ultimately He will conform our humble state of imperfection into the state of His perfection by the power He has in Himself. [Philippians 3:20, 21]
Some thoughts to consider
- God had Moses write a book to the people of Israel. It was for the purpose of reminding them of God and the manner He commanded them to live.
- They were to obey exactly what was written in the book.
- The book was equated as God's very words to them and therefore authorative.
- Jesus had many of those He chose write letters to Christians in various locales after His resurrection.
- The contents of these letters were to be considered authorative as well and were not to be questioned. Paul specifically said his revelations were not from men, but from God Himself.
- God has His own books from which the names of His children and their works are written.
The notes above are not meant to be a defense of the Bible. That is not the purpose of this writing. It should be noted that God has specifically used books and letters to teach His people many things, but primarily to reveal the very person of His Son throughout the history of men on earth.
The revelation of Jesus Christ in the Bible
Although some would simply use the Bible as a means for how to live as a Christian, it is actually so much more. The Bible allows us to see Jesus in his acts of creation, the beauty and intricacy of humanity and nature, His heart in choosing the lowly Israel and His power in sustaining them. It reveals to us His choice in laying aside His divine perogatives to become a human being, to live and die an acceptable sacrifice for a dying race, and in doing so prove His triumph over sin and the grave. It reveals the divine favor being wound up in service and self-denial, and allows the weakest of all who carry a cross to experience His life in resurrection- individual men as His apostles, prophets and even the lowliest servants as ambassadors throughout the earth. It reveals our Lord as a friend, as a brother, a provider and defender, a trustworthy Savior, worthy of our allegiance and obedience.
In all, it reveals Him as one who knows the end from the beginning, who's ultimate mission was carrying out the will of His Father for all to see. This and a thousand other things, from the natural to the infinite, these describe the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible, Him who was, who is, and who is to come.
Those who refuse to recognize God's standard are not recognized
The apostle Paul made very clear that God's will for His children in the New Covenant was one he received by revelation and that is was to be lived in a consistent manner amongst all believers. This is found in many places to include these here:
"For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every ekklesia" [1 Corinthians 4:17]
"Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you" [1 Corinthians 11:2]
In regard to head coverings: "But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the ekklesias of God" [1 Corinthins 11:16] Note: My use of this verse is not meant to be for or against head coverings but to show a consistent pattern in every ekklesia.
…..as in all the ekklesias of the saints [1 Corinthians 14:33
"If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, (a reference to maturity) let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment." [1 Corinthians 14:37]
Now note this next verse carefully (which could be considered a summation of the verses above since this theme is reiterated so many times in this book):
"But if anyone does not recognize this (that what he is teaching are the Lord's commandments) he is not to be recognized" [1 Corinthians 14:38]
Note that sandwiched among the verses are these here in 1 Corinthians 11:17-19:
"But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as an ekklesia, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. For their must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may be evident among you."
Earlier in this book in 1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul shares his heart for those in Corinth- that they all be agreed and have no divisions among them. Despite this, divisions did exist and why, so those who God approved as leaders could become evident, as well as those who claimed to be leaders having their supposed authority "not recognized" anymore by the local saints. The divisions (factions) disclosed just who was teaching Paul's ways among the ekklesia and who was not or who had strayed from those ways which he says are in Christ.
Not for the better, but for the worse
One thing we know about religious extremes is this- those extremes never make anything better but only worse. I challenge you to look over the extremes I listed earlier and see if this is true. In every one of those extremes, the result has not ended up in the body of Christ being unified, more pwerful or more effective as a witness. The exact opposite has resulted instead.
My ways are not your ways
Since the very beginning man has relied wrongly upon his own ingenuity and wisdom in his attempts to serve God. Denominations, churches, "ministries," positional and titled leadership, hierarchies, clergy/laity distinctions, programs and a thousand other things all stem from man's imaginations and make things worse, not better. Let's look at a specific example.
Most of the so-called "Christian" populous in America sees that they are losing what used to be "their" country or so they thought. Sin is running rampant through the streets, abortion, crime, poverty and suicide are ever increasing by the day. So what might we do to fix such a problem? What do the experts say?
The experts, who include the likes of James Dobson, James Robison and David Barton would have us unite with anyone at any cost to fight the culture war they are obsessed with. The prominence of the gospel message and the manner in which is to be proclaimed has long been abandoned by these men if they ever even practiced it at all. In the place of truth (once again, what Paul calls his ways which are in Christ) are these men and their man made plans and objectives. They prey upon the fears of the naiive who see these adverse trends and attempt to recruit them into their own unscriptural plans and intentions, the biggest of which is fighting a culture war in America for the purpose of saving this country. In their desperation to do so, any allegiance has now become acceptable (to them, not to God) such as working with the secular government, Mormons celebrities such as Glen Beck and the entire hierarchy of the Catholic Church which was proven apostate long ago. Add to this the leaders in organizations (religious institutions are manmade) such as the New Apostolic Reformation and Word Faith and what could possibly go wrong? Spice that up with power hitters such as Rick Perry and Sarah Palin (both with NAR roots) and how can they fail? I think I know why.
"Why are the nations in an uproar and the people's devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers counsel together, against the Lord and against His annointed, "Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!" [Psalms 2:2]
"Hold them guilty, O' God; by their own devices let them fall! In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out, for they are rebellious against You" [Psalms 5:10]
"A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing His own mind" [Proverbs 18:3]
When men abandon the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures, they will automatically default to reliance upon their own carnal minds and solutions. This is exactly what we're witnessing within the ecumenical movement and in hundreds of "christian" organizations and churches worldwide. Not only will these extreme measures not ever work, by their very compromising nature they are opposed to God Himself despite their continually beseeching Him for favor upon their own plans. If He does answer them, it will only lead them further down the road where their affections really reside.
A Hiding Place
The only safe place for any Christian in these trying times is in an intimate and growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Herein will the saints of God remain within the framework of God's revelation to His people.
There are many people claiming to know God who refuse to abide by what Paul claims are "his ways in Christ." We do not need a new revelation to know what these ways are. We simply need to pick up our Bible and by the power of the Holy Spirit and prayer accept and obey what our Father would reveal to us about His Son and how we would interact with Him and one another.
Beware of those who would minimize Paul's ways for their own ways, his revelation in Christ with their own so-called revelations. Remember, it is only those who remain within the teaching of Christ that are proven over time to be Jesus' disciples and the instruments of His favor and grace. Be sure you're among them.
"Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you."
"Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you." [2 Peter 1:10-12]
What we practice is what we believe. Does that line up with Paul's ways, or our own ways?