Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More Discussion Regarding Those Without A "Church".

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

I put "a Church" in apostrophes, because the Christian is never without "the church" or better said ekkelsia. We are always members of the church that matters: the body of Jesus Christ. This is in reference to those without an 'official or unofficial" assembly of believers, be that an established home church outside of your own family, or church to attend such as a good IFB.

I believe our numbers are growing, there is a small remnant of Christians faithful to God, whether they are fortunate enough to be in a church that preaches the truth or whether they are having to worship at home. Online I meet other folks from a variety of states and areas who tell me how they wish they had a body of believers to assemble with, pray and worship God with, but have not been able to find a church that teaches the truth, or that is NOT part of the ecumenical world system.

Some elsewhere online have claimed I am against churches, I am not. When I was coming out of Calvary Chapel, some said that I wanted to be in a church of 2 or 3 people and used the numbers game against me, often that is one way, that some will indoctrinate you to be in a false church and sit there in a pew taking in false things. It is natural for human beings to want to be with the group but obedience to God is to come first. One thing I am noticing is having talked to many in the pews, there are some there, who know the church has "gone wrong" but who stay for other reasons.

A good church is a very worthwhile thing. There is joy in having a wonderful church family that can't be matched by much else. I believe if a Christian can find a good church to attend, they should assemble with fellow believers as much as what is possible.

But as we get into the great falling away warned of in scripture:

2 Thessalonians 2:3

Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Finding a church body that teaches the truth is going to get harder and harder. In fact web wide, I am encountering MANY Christians who tell me, we cannot find a decent church that teaches the truth.

Some of my efforts here to find a church, have been kind of funny when I think back on it, scouring through the phone book, through a variety of websites, looking up fundamentalist church organizations, doing searches on home church websites, and trying to find church listings, calling a home school organization to ask for information, and other ways and means of even trying to find an active home church. I looked into churches even into a 30-40 mile radius away. One contender came up, but I listened to online sermons and realized they were full blown into Dominionism not just dancing around it.

Around here and probably many other areas, there is a huge mix of Rick Warren directed and influenced churches, liturgicals, ecumenical, Calvary Chapel, church of God, SDA, you name it, it's here, but the number of fundamentalist churches in this particular area is very low. That said, that doesn't guarantee a church will be true, as many of the fundamentalist churches are being led astray too, as I talk about here.

The Bible verse says do not forsake assembling together, I do think it is important for the "lone Christian" to make sure they do assemble with other Christians for edification, bible reading and prayer. This is something you should maintain to the best of your ability if you are "outside" a regular church. I think as things develop this probably will be the place many faithful Christians will find themselves. For some people this may mean a home Bible reading and prayer sessions and still for others, having Bible study or over the phone time with a good Christian friends or establishing their own home church and worship time.

I recently visited another church, discussed here and realized I could not stay even for a Bible study. Ironically while there was some decent teachings at the studies, there were too many red flags. Even recently a second bulletin I saw contained the odd advice, "to focus on Jesus and not on offenses or problems in the church" which seems to be another false message, I've seen repeated on message boards usually by nominal evangelicals telling others warning of the truth, to seek to shame and silence them. Sadly many pastors probably are even influenced via their media outlets to tell their church members these very things.

Sometimes it can be very sad, to visit a new place that has some assets only to see that Rick Warren and the like have already gotten their claws in. I do not expect perfection of any human organization, but there are things that God has led me not to associate with and as people can tell one of the biggies for me, is not associating with any church that is part of the ecumenical or "world christian" movement. That wipes out at least 99% of the churches out there.

There was one time, I got the notion, maybe I could help influence things or meet a few like-minded people: join a Bible study even if I would not attend the services and help bring some truth, a couple times I did that, and I always ended up leaving by the second day, it just never worked well. With the recent place, I thought the people were very nice, there was heartache in having to depart from a place yet again, but the pastor, I had serious concerns about, and when I realized the messages being taught were so false coupled with the showing of the Passion movie and repeated Rick Warren writings and exhortations, I knew to stay even just to attend a Bible study even with no services would mean being unequally yoked. Even there, my ears could not stand the various versions of false watered down Bibles being read. [They allowed different versions, but no one had a KJV but me.]

One conversation I had was with one church member, where I gently broached some subjects, and well there was no meeting of the minds whatsoever. A Christian can tell. Perhaps some of you have been in that place. With one man, I asked "What do you think of those who say the churches are falling away?" and he responded, "They are troublemakers!".

To many out there, the church system is everything, and even bringing up mild questions is not an easy thing to do. I am sure some here can relate. David Cloud has some suggestions for those who ask "What If There is NO Sound Church?"

Some of his advice is good, and he means well, but I do think the advice to attend a church you do not agree with on everything, one needs to be very careful, I'm not so on spot with that one but I am sure he would agree. Since this was written some years ago [2002], things have only gotten far worse in the churches. That said, you do not want to be in a church that has joined with the world system or has a false preacher.

One thing pray and ask God in terms of this decision. I believe God has His reasons for having me where I am at, in this point of life. The last years even without a church family, I have been shown and learned many things. When I was newly saved, God answered my prayer right away, in terms of showing me where he wanted me to be as a new Christian. I have considered that in general that Christians are being called out of most of the churches. As I have said elsewhere on this blog-- "Come out of her" doesn't just apply to the Roman Catholic church.

Jhn 4:20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

Jhn 4:21 Jesus saith unto her,
Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

Jhn 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

Jhn 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

So if you are like me and not in an "official" church body, realize you are in the "church" that counts the Body of Jesus Christ, the real church is not a building or an human organization, read the scripture above too, we are to worship the Father in spirit and in truth, no matter what.

In other parts of the world people are leaving the churches too, I found this report from Africa interesting on that note.

Below is a report published in Uganda's Weekly, The Sunday Vision, documenting the current exodus of Christians out of organized Churches in Uganda. This phenomenon is no longer sanctioned to the Church in the West as documented by the Barna Research Group, now this phenomenon has hit Uganda; because of the current departure from New Testament Christianity by many Organized Churches, Christians are leaving too.
Kato Mivule


Anonymous said...

This article you wrote is so needed, to read it made me cry and I knew God inspired you to tell us this. I too believed we are the church, spread out amongst the world, and I do not feel so alone when I know there are others like us.

God Bless you and keep you!
God Bless and keep and keep us all!

Anonymous said...

Amen, BB! That is the very same position I have been in for years. I too agree that it would be a blessing to be gathered together in a congregation. But in this time of apostasy, that is a very difficult thing to do.

But that verse quoted at the top really is not a command to gather together in general. That verse is probably one of the most taken-out-of-context verses in Scripture! The context of Hebrews was an apology against Jews of the concision. These were "believing" Jews who wanted Gentiles to be circumcised or they wouldn't eat the Supper with them--which is another related subject--the fact that they viewed the Supper as a "mini-passover" revealing that they did not in fact really understand the Gospel--which catholics do in a similar fashion. By separating from their Gentile uncircumcised brethren and gathering in their own circles, they were showing they did not understand the Gospel of Grace, but were following another "gospel" of works--that circumcision was being taught as being a necessary component to being "saved" or counted as a citizen of that Heavenly Jerusalem. If we recall, the Passover was not allowed to be eaten by uncircumcised individual. Only a circumcised individual--a citizen of Israel--could eat it. The concision Jews viewed the Supper in this similar fashion, but the Supper is most certainly not a "mini-passover", for that would mean that the sacrifice for sin continues, and this denies the Gospel. Paul even alluded to that in Hebrews when he was speaking of those that trampled the blood of Christ, and by holding Him up as that continual sin offering in open shame. That is why Paul also said in Hebrews that there is no more offering for sin because sin is remitted. The Supper is a thanksgiving offering, which under the law, was only allowed to be offered after the finishing of the sin offering. The sin offering was never offered with leaven. The thanksgiving offering was accompanied by a leavened loaf of bread. It therefore could never be at the same time as the Passover, for all leaven was to be cleansed out of Israel during the week feast of Unleavened Bread. A thanksgiving offering included a leavened loaf and is therefore not related to the Passover feast. The Supper in Scripture is always connected to a "loaf", and clearly is speaking of a leavened loaf of bread. In fact, the word "eucharist" means "thanksgiving".

We remember that Peter was swayed by the concision party to eat separately from the Gentiles at Antioch. This "eating" was in fact referring to the very Supper itself which occurs when believers are gathered together. This persuasion of concision Jews is what motivated Paul to write the letter to the Hebrews. He therefore, said that neglecting gathering together was not right, but in the context of the reason the concision Jews were doing it, AND NOT IN A GENERAL SENSE WHICH IS OFTEN USED TODAY.

This in no way applies to the way this verse is being used today. 1) Using it this way shows that many pastors who use this verse for the wrong reason are grossly ignorant of the historical context of Scripture and of Hebrews, and have no right being pastors, and are still babes feeding on milk. 2) because it is used out of context, it becomes dishonest usage, and more of a tool of manipulation.

Now it is most certainly a blessing to gather together, but under no circumstances is it a law, for as Paul said, many would be falling away, and they would be following many teachers to satisfy their itching ears. We are to be vigilant, and if that means that we have no local congregation that is not leavened by these various teachers and their teachings, then we must stay separate. Our loyalty is first to the Word. Anon. #1

Anonymous said...

If my post is on here twice, I'm sorry. I posted it at first, then when I went back, it wasn't there. So I reposted it. Anon. #1

Bible Believer said...

Thanks so much anon, God bless you too, :). I know there others like us out there, spread out amongst the world, definitely, it helps me too not feel so alone out there as well. Trust me, there are many discerning Christians in this boat now, more then we probably know. To me, refusing to compromise is beyond worth it even in terms of my own relationship with God.

Bible Believer said...

Yes there are many people in our position, right now I have given up the "church search" unless God wills a future move or sends me elsewhere. I know for some people the time has been much longer then what I have faced. To be honest while you may meet some very nice people in false churches, there is too much heartache in hearing the false preaching and or teachings.
Many churches have been trained to follow the pastor unquestioningly, I believe we are instructed to separate irregardless. You are right our first loyalty is to the Word.

Looking at Hebrews 10:25, more and more, I do not believe that is a commandment to make sure you show up at a church building or an "official" church organization as so many of the false pastors and nominal evangelicals intrepret it but to seek fellowship and "assembly" with fellow born again Christians. Many who have left the churches have been told, you are sinning to be outside of a church, no it is a greater sin to be yoked to false teachings and false leaders. I find your interpetation of this meaning that Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians should join together an interesting one. Yes definitely this is one verse that is misused. I do believe some who have turned church attendance into another "law" are following too much the example of the harlot. I had too many years where I was told to miss Mass, meant I would be supposedly going to hell.


Anonymous said...

I remember when they said missing R.C.mass was a mortal sin then they changed it to a venial sin-whatever that is. I left the Roman Catholic church in my teens and was married in the Baptist church. I travel to go to church. We've visited churches that are closer but with the price of fuel rising I may have to consider staying home.

Bible Believer said...

Yes they did change that, now I do not think its considered a mortal sin anymore either. I am glad you left the RCC. Yes for some there may be the option of traveling to church, but with the cost of gas [now predicted to hit $5 dollars by the summer] this is going to be prevented for many.

austin said...

Hello BB - I am in the same situatin as many others. I have had several stints outside of the 'system' and until 18 months ago was able to move on and find somewhere else to fellowship. I am of Pentecostal persuasions, but I hold no truck with LRM, NAR, Dominionism/Reconstructionism, Emergent, New Age (might as well say Laodicean) churches, as none of them are of God.

I detest the likes of Benny Hinn, Copeland, Joyce Myers, Joseph Prince and many more as they are all antichrist inspired deceivers. You are right, dear sister of mine, in outing all of the "goat's pens" that claim to be churches - they are not!

Jesus Christ came to make the way for men to repent and have fellowship with God - He did not die to make people healthy, wealthy and (worldly) wise. He called sinners to repent and come into the Kingdom of God - He did not call false preachers to build their own kingdoms in His name, but that's what's been happening for at least 50 years or more.

Here in Australia we have the lkes of Hill$ong 'church', who rakes in $70 + each year, where leaders live lavish lifestyles and the poor in the community go without. I'm praying that God's judgement will fall on it and all others like it, as this one 'church' alone has pushed people away from the things of God, with its nonsense.

It's getting too hard nowadays to find a decent local 'corner shop' church, because Hill$ond and those of its ilk have either stolen all of the young people and taught them their wicked ways, or local churches have cloned themselves after the Hill$ong model, just to keep their people. Either way, the churches Downunder are in a right old mess...

Meeting together as you have suggested, to seek the Lord in prayer and Bible study seems to be the way out of Babylon and into the real Kingdom of God. There's nothing wrong with "2 or 3 meeting in His name" - the house churches in China have been doing that for decades, so that may well be our future.

I pray God's protection over you and all of yours, as you take your stand against the falsehoods of our day, and also agree with you that the Lord will move you to a safer and more suitable place...

Austin Hellier
Downunder 30-10-2015

sam moland said...

The Bible teaches Us to Not be Unequally Yolked with Non Believers; That applies to ALL Unbelievers,including those that Claim They are Christians, but Water down the Gospel SO BAD,it gives a HEART ATTACK to a FLOOD!! When a church hires somepne to Tickle Their Ears, they will ONLY Listen to what they WANT to Hear and REFUSE to Listen to the TRUTH! As a Result, The Lord VOMITED THEM OUT OF HIS MOUTH, so They are PERMANANTLY STUCK ON STUPID!! Their 'gospel' is what Suits THEM! The belief system they go by is designed to be an easy lifestyle not requiring any Sacrafice, or Commitment to Our Creator! They are Constantly doing Their Best to Shut GOD up and His REAL Servants because 'They Don't Want To Hear it!' Their,"Talk to the Hand" Attitude is COSTING THEM!! The LIES They teach, Spills into a Good Church and Corrupts Them Too! Lies like a Pre Trib Rapture! Spending Eternity in Heaven! The Prosperity Fiasco! Once Saved Always Saved Fractured Fairy Tale.The God told me to tell You that You need to give me Your Last Penny satanic pig troff pig slop glutton fib..and, The 100 Fold Return Regurgitated Fables!! God saw what the Prosperity Pimps were going to do, so He Brought a NEW REMNANT Bunch of Christians Together to do His Work on the Earth during the Great Tribulation and be an EXTREMELY POWERFUL ARMY OF GOD!!