I am With You in Spirit – Biblical Justification for a Virtual Church in These Times

We also published this post at Light for Dark Times this morning because we want everyone to see it.

1Co 5:3-4 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. (4) When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,

2Co 10:10-11 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” (11) Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present.

Col 2:5 For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

Ok, I know full well that you and I as well are going to get the “hey, you are forsaking the gathering together of the saints” by doing this online church thing!”

Well, let me answer these kind.

  • First, what is healthy about gathering together under a false teacher and with anti-saints? In these dark days the condition of most local churches is not “hey, no church is perfect,” but “are there any real believers there at all and is the Word preached at all?”  Where in the Bible are we commanded to gather together in a counterfeit church?
  • Second, as you see in the verses above, we certainly can gather together in real fellowship even if it is not possible to be present physically. Paul did it! And this was no supposed “apostolic miracle” by which he somehow tele-transported his soul over to Corinth!  No. He was present by saying Amen to their obedience and real worship and praying for them.

There ARE circumstances which prohibit Christ’s people from being physically present and thus physically gathered together. Some people are shut ins due to health issues. Others have been so traumatized by the wicked wolves parading in wool that they literally cannot go to a church building. Others have been cast our of a local church for divorcing an abuser. And many others simply cannot find a genuine church and pastor even though they have searched and searched.

Paul couldn’t be at Corinth because he was far away. He couldn’t be at Colossae because he was in prison. Nevertheless he said he WAS present with them in spirit.

And thus we maintain that there is indeed biblical basis and justification for establishing a “virtual church” using the modern tools the Lord has blessed us with.

So don’t you arrogant types out there be trying to lay Hebrews 10:25ff on us and accusing us of disobeying the Lord. It might just be that we are obeying Him and YOU aren’t!

5 thoughts on “I am With You in Spirit – Biblical Justification for a Virtual Church in These Times

  1. Stephanie

    Pastor Jeff, I have a question for you.

    When was the change in you to believe in the victims and their stories and what they were sharing was the truth, regardless if there was ” no proof in their stories”? What made you come to the conclusion that they needed your help?

    And I would love a signed copy of one of your books? As of now my husband has been served and has attorney. We have a hearing date. Praying that all this goes by quick and smoothly. And that God would minister to my husband to get his life in order.You’re blogs are so encouraging  and along with “Cry for Justice” have been such an encouragement and spirit lifter for me, that I am NOT ALONE in dealing with all of this!Thank you,May God continue to Bless your ministry,

    In Christ,Stephanie

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jeff Crippen

      Stephanie – The change in me came as a result of 25 years of being abused as a pastor by people in the churches that I served in. These people lusted for power and control and shared almost all the same characteristics as domestic abusers have. They weren’t just “christians with difficult personalities,” but were in fact wicked, unsaved, narcissists who chose local churches as their venue of operation. They targeted me as the pastor because they knew if they controlled me, they could control the church. I had no training or understanding of what they really were or how they operated and it caused me all kinds of misery and discouragement. Not a day went by in those years when I didn’t want to be totally done with church and pastoring, and the whole business. But the Lord sustained me and kept me there.

      About ten years ago, after a 15 year old in our church (son of key people who were our friends, we thought) molested a 5 year old girl from another family in our church, things came to a head. I reported the perpetrator to the police and over time our “friends” rejected us and left. Of course numbers of other people left as always happens.

      I began to read up on this whole business of sexual predators and abusers who hide in churches behind a “Christian” facade and in the first book I read I discovered that sexual abusers and domestic abusers share many of the same traits and mindset. As I read about them, the lights came on. I realized that all these abusers over the years who had targeted me were the very same kind as the author was talking about (this was a secular book by the way). And we still had a couple of people in our church at that time who were these very kind of abusers and who had targeted me for years and years. I saw them for what they were – unsaved wicked people craving power and control with no conscience – and I told our elders that I needed to preach a sermon series on this enemy tactic of planting abusers in the church. All approved whole-heartedly except one – the one who had been targeting me all those years. He threw an angry fit and ultimately he was put out of our church.

      That’s the long answer. The short one is – I was a target of abusers myself and ultimately was enabled to understand what was going on. And by that time I WANTED to understand it and put an end to it by exposing the evil for what it was. When the dust cleared, we had about 30 people left in the church, and that is our size even today. There is peace and unity and the Lord is blessing our ministry.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. justsaltwriter

        As a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, as well as a survivor of domestic abuse in my childhood home, I have noticed the same thing — that both types of abusers share many similar traits. That is why following blogs, like yours, which speak out on domestic abuse has been healing for me both from that aspect of my childhood as well as seeing parallels to the sexual abuses.
        Thank you for your work.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Anonymous

        I’m assuming your position required you to report the 15 year old, but if it was freely done by you, thank goodness. Usually it’s ‘oh, our poor, poor son’ as though males’ lives are only of value and whatever boys do is simply to be expected or otherwise pitied and excused. And that 5 year old girl, as well as her family, needed someone on their side. Even at 5 years of age, girls will be blamed, as though they brought it on themselves, they seduced the boy, or whatever other common lies I’m forgetting. I’ve read about a few 40 year old (or older) men argue as to the supposed seduction powers that were wielded over them by a 5 year old little girl (or thereabouts in age).

        I really do believe that a person has to be victimized themselves in order for them to get it. And even firsthand victimization doesn’t always lead to the victim understanding (‘getting it’) because of all the incessant victim-blaming, victim-shaming, abuser apologists, and misinformation (and disinformation). But for those who are taken to the brink, and end up researching this stuff because their life has been shattered, eventually, it seems, a person starts to get it.

        Kind of like predators and con artists say that “it takes one to know one” I think you have to be a fellow victim to really understand what another victim is going through and facing along the way.

        There are secular sources that taught me so much — eye-opening stuff. Many Christians are warned not to delve into secular materials but I found such to be enlightening. Thankfully now there are things from Pastor Crippen and other Christians who do get it.

        Liked by 2 people

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