Recently I addressed in some comments this subject of who a Christian is – and who is not. As you know, we have had the tiring mantra of “we are all sinners” thrown at us as an excuse for abusers and as a club to force us to “show love and forgiveness.” We aren’t buying that line anymore. The Christian is not a sinner. We still sin, but “sinner” is no longer the title Scripture gives us. Saint, heir, child of God, beloved, holy ones – these are the terms the Bible uses.
Mat 16:22-23 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” (23) But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
It happened again recently. A survivor of domestic abuse told me that two people had approached her (one a pastor, one a “friend”) and essentially (in one case literally) said, “the Lord told me to speak to you.” They each went on with some of the usual blathering about how she needed to forgive her abuser, love her abuser, and generally have warm thoughts and feelings about her abuser.
Now, I know this lady. What she is is a justice seeker. A seeker of justice. She isn’t trying to take personal vengeance, but she wants justice. Not only for what the abuser did, but also for the additional abuse her church laid upon her.
And yet, here come these self-identifying prophets insisting that they come with a message from the Lord for her.
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!
Heb 3:18-19 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? (19) So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
You hear this all the time from pastors and professing Christians – God can save anyone. There is no one who cannot be saved.” This is an absolutely false and unbiblical statement that continues to do great harm to many. It enables evildoers. Let’s think this through.
Now, it is true that God desires all to be saved:
1Ti 2:3-4 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, (4) who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
I mean, don’t you desire all people to be saved? Of course. It should not surprise us therefore that God desires the same. But all people are not going to be saved. Many are going to hell. So why, if “God can save anyone” does hell even exist?
NOTE: This post was originally published at my Light for Dark Times blog (lightfordarktimes.com) January 11, 2019 but I am also publishing it again here to be certain all our readers see it. It is a very important subject.
I am going to make a statement here that 10 years ago I would have argued against. No way would I have agreed with it. But hard experiences and further thought on God’s Word have turned me around completely on this. And I will show you how the subject at hand relates directly to all of us, especially to victims of those wicked abusers carrying on the Unholy Charade in a church. Here it is:
Local churches are not to band together into formal associations with other local churches. They are not to form what we call denominations. There is no biblical warrant for such practices and the result is inevitably the facilitation for the more rapid spread of evil, the furtherance of bondage to self-exalting men, and more intense oppression of the innocent.
Have you ever wondered for instance, how Rome became Rome? How the Pope became the Pope even though he puts his pants on one leg at a time like everyone else (I guess he wears pants)? I can tell you. Local churches began to meet together. Their elders and pastors had “convocations.” Pretty soon the head honcho bishop of the capital city got to thinking he should be acknowledged as top dog by the other churches and he sold them on the idea. Voila! The devil’s church is formed and everyone in all the other churches had just better do what Papa says, or else. After all, he is Christ on earth. Just ask him and he will tell you.
But I am not writing this morning primarily about Rome. That is just the classic example from the history of the church. No, I am writing to you to recommend some serious thinking about the common practice of churches forming and joining formal associations with one another. Writing up a doctrinal statement that all must adhere to. In some cases (church of England) putting together a Prayer Book that regulates worship in all the churches. Merging finances to fund denominational enterprises like missions, seminaries, and so on. The Southern Baptist Convention. The Independent Fundamental Baptists (IFCA). The Conservative Baptists. The Orthodox Presbyterians. The Presbyterian Church in America. The Association of Reformed Baptist Churches in America (ARBCA) (nearly defunct now due to their cover up of the evils of one Tom Chantry). CJ Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace group. On and on the list can go.
1Co 5:11-13 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not even to eat with such a one. (12) For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? (13) God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
One of the reasons I am not very popular with the “bigger” names in the domestic abuse ministry realm is because I maintain that we are not to waste our time and energy with programs and “ministries” designed to “fix” abusers. In fact, I maintain that abusers as we have defined them here in this blog do not change. They do not repent. And, in fact, they play us for fools when we try to “save” them.
And yet this is not the message most professing Christians want to hear. They like a “they all lived happily ever after” ending to the story. That is why things like this gain popularity for their practitioners:
Rev 2:14-16 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. (15) So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. (16) Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.
How many times have you seen those church signs as you drive along?
And so it seems in most local churches, everyone is welcome. “Come on in. Feel the love.” How foolish (or just plain rebellious) can we be!
Just a few moments of serious thought about what the Lord has written in the Scriptures will show us that in fact, not everyone is welcome in the Lord Jesus Christ’s church. Certainly not by Him. Why aren’t we following His lead?