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Christisking
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Joined: 2005/7/20
Posts: 671
Los Angeles, California

 The Out Of Church Christians

Here is an article great I just read. Anyone else experience anything like this?

The Out Of Church Christians

It is now over 19 years since I first left the church system and went on a seven-year 'wilderness' journey. Of course, there have been further wilderness periods since. But the key point I am trying to make is that I have been around "Out-of-church" believers now for almost 20 years.
Sometimes I get people writing to me who assume that I know very little about "truly leaving Babylon" and "resting from our own works", etc. But believe me, after 19 years of dealing with hundreds of "Out-of-church" people - and being one myself for long periods - I do have a grasp of these dogmas - and have deeply imbibed all of them for years at a time. I am thoroughly familiar with the whole thing.

Lately though, I must confess that I have become heartily sick of it all. Because as I have seen again and again, for year after year after year - it leads nowhere, it has never led anywhere, and it is never likely to lead anywhere. After 19 years, that much I can say with complete clarity.

The Wilderness is supposed to be about brokenness, testing and preparation. And yes - God has led many of us there for that exact purpose. Yet why is it that so few seem to allow themselves to be truly broken? Why are they still so willing to judge by "form and structure" instead of the 'heart'? If this thing is about "preparation", then why are so few actually PREPARED? Why do most of them NEVER DO ANYTHING AGAIN - even after years and years? (-In fact, many actually grow WORSE over time - spiritually lazy and good for nothing. I have seen it). Do you mean to tell me that perhaps in another 10 YEARS you might be ready? Ready for what? Where will this 'change' actually come from? You are more set in your ways now than you have ever been.

So many are MORE arrogant, MORE argumentative, MORE self-righteous, MORE 'judging' of things that don't matter, MORE smug and self-satisfied than they even were in church. And they are also LESS unified, LESS trusting, LESS able to be part of a 'Body', LESS able to lead or to be led (-making the Book of Acts impossible - because without LEADERS there is no way it can happen. What on earth do you think PETER, JAMES and JOHN were? Don't you know there has never been a successful Reformation in history without strong leaders?)

I can already see their eyes glazing over. They don't want to hear this stuff. They want a "NO-LEADERS" Revival. They want a "NO ACTION UNLESS LIGHTNING FROM HEAVEN" movement. They want something that never has been, and never will be, because it is diametrically opposed to the very PATTERN OF GOD. No leaders, no meetings, no faith, no DARING. And that is why nothing ever happens with these people, and nothing ever will.

They wait and they wait and they wait - world without end. Amen.

I call it the "DO NOTHING" doctrine. I have seen it now for 19 years and I know it intimately. I deeply imbibed it for YEARS at a time myself. And I will not stand by and watch it rob us of our Harvest now.

What do I mean when I say that so many are judging by "outward form and structure", instead of by the 'heart'? -I mean exactly that. Let me give you an example: Let's say that there is an inner-city church with a 'SENIOR PASTOR' that meets in a CHURCH BUILDING on SUNDAY MORNINGS - with 'PROGRAMS' and all kinds of things. Shock! Horror! The very essence of "Babylon", right?

But hang on a minute. Let's say this same group feeds the homeless every week, and preaches a piercing 'repentance' gospel and prays and prays for the lost.

Now, along comes Mr Smug 'Out-of-church' Man. He looks at this group and immediately judges them by their 'outward appearance'. They are of the "system", are they not? He immediately writes them off as just another corner of 'Babylon' - and their people as "IC drones". -Because the things he cares about are not the "heart" things at all. He is a Pharisee - pure and simple. He judges by the external appearance all the time. It is the 'outward boxes' that cry "Babylon" to him, and thus he never sees the "heart". I believe that God is a hundred times more pleased with a group like that, than with some smug "know-it-all" Pharisee who never lifts a finger to minister to the poor. So many Out-of-church people are judgmental like this. They are not 'broken' at all. They are harsh and critical and rebellious - and they badly need to REPENT. How do I know? -Because I was just like them for a very long time.

I am talking about people who know all the "right" things about church structure and so-on. They know all about 'Senior pastors' and church buildings and the way things "ought to be". But they have forgotten the "weightier matters" - mercy and justice and love. Many are 'clanging cymbals' - harsh and ugly. And everyone around them can see it.

There are praying church people - totally in the "system" - who leave us for dead in the areas that truly matter - the areas of the "heart" - our relationship with God and our love for people. Go and meet these "praying grandmas" sometime. Many of them honestly leave us for dead.

A lot of us need to shut ourselves up in a room for several days and REPENT and REPENT until all this stuff is gone. Why do a lot of us rub leaders up the wrong way? -Because we are full of REBELLION - that's why. How do I know? -Because in the "Out of church" scene I was full of Rebellion myself. Rejection, hurt and bitterness are absolutely EPIDEMIC in this movement. REPENT, before it is too late, my friends.

You ask, "Why are you being so hard on these people? Isn't the Wilderness a valid place to be?" Yes, it is valid if you are actually allowing God to break you and prepare you and take the harshness and ugliness out of you, etc. But if you are just sitting out there criticizing it is good for nothing. -In fact, it is greatly harmful.

Right now I look and I see the Harvest fields of America white unto harvest. I listen and I hear the youth of the cities crying to us for Truth. I raise my finger in the air and find that the wind has changed and a new season has begun. And then I look into the living rooms of the called-out ones and see them sitting on their fat rear-ends in their houses - WAITING FOR GOD TO DO SOMETHING. And all the while He is WAITING FOR US.

Are you Spirit-baptized? Do you speak in tongues? Yes? -Then you already have the 'equipment' that the apostles received at Pentecost. So what are you waiting for? Why are you not letting Him move through you?

The 'DO-NOTHING' doctrine is one of the most evil dogmas I have come across. It will happily sit and "fiddle while Rome burns". It is deaf to the cries of the lost and the urgency of this late hour. And it is the prime doctrine of the "Out-of-church" scene. It is one thing that could kill this Harvest dead.

If you have imbibed this 'DO NOTHING' doctrine, then you need to REPENT, my friends. -Desperately. For while you cling to it, God can do NOTHING WITH YOU.

The time has come to stand and fight, to "let those that have wives act as though they had none." -To stand and do battle for the lost of this land before the summer is past and the harvest is ended. Do not let God find you 'fiddling while Rome burns', my friends. Someone has rightly said that if the apostles had not ACTED, then there would be no "Acts of the Apostles". The time has truly come to ACT - and that with urgency.

By: Andrew Strom


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Patrick Ersig

 2005/12/27 21:56Profile
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 Re: The Out Of Church Christians

Thanks Patrick.

I appreciate Andrew Strom, even more


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Mike Balog

 2005/12/27 23:21Profile
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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Balance

The word that comes to my mind as I read this is: BALANCE. There is a tendency to overreact and turn into pendulums - swinging way off center, rather than become fixed on the Plumbline (God and his word) [url=http://www.thewayback.net/articles/pendulum.htm]The Pendulum and the Plumbline[/url]
Diane


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Diane

 2005/12/28 8:29Profile
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Balance

Hi Diane,

Read your article and well done. This jumped out as it has grabbed me as well recently, as something to dwell on;

“Why not rather be wronged?" 1 Cor. 6:7

Maybe what a large part of the problem is in the sense of forcing others into our own particular seasons, it does seem that there are extremes that do swing as was also pointed out by Solomon;

Ecc 3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:
Ecc 3:2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck up that which is planted;
Ecc 3:3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;
Ecc 3:4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
Ecc 3:5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones together; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
Ecc 3:6 A time to seek, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to cast away;
Ecc 3:7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
Ecc 3:8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time for war, And a time for peace.
Ecc 3:9 What profit has he who works in that in which he labors?
Ecc 3:10 I have seen the burden which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.
Ecc 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in their hearts, yet so that man can't find out the work that God has done from the beginning even to the end.
Ecc 3:12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice, and to do good as long as they live.
Ecc 3:13 Also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy good in all his labor, is the gift of God.
Ecc 3:14 I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; and God has done it, that men should fear before him.
Ecc 3:15 That which is has been long ago, and that which is to be has been long ago: and God seeks again that which is passed away.
Ecc 3:16 Moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice, that wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there.
Ecc 3:17 I said in my heart, "God will judge the righteous and the wicked; for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work."
Ecc 3:18 I said in my heart, "As for the sons of men, God tests them, so that they may see that they themselves are like animals.
Ecc 3:19 For that which happens to the sons of men happens to animals. Even one thing happens to them. As the one dies, so the other dies. Yes, they have all one breath; and man has no advantage over the animals: for all is vanity.
Ecc 3:20 All go to one place. All are from the dust, and all turn to dust again.
Ecc 3:21 Who knows the spirit of man, whether it goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, whether it goes downward to the earth?"
Ecc 3:22 Therefore I saw that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his works; for that is his portion: for who can bring him to see what will be after him?

So many things come to mind... One is just this. I am sick of my own opinion. But I give it anyways. The best that could be hoped for is that it is remembered for that. What seems to come up often enough is the very issues you brought out in the swinging pendulum, the 'group think' or is it the lonely 'rebel' that Strom is addressing here? It is interesting being that I am one of 'these' "out of church-er's" at this present moment and am duly aware of that snare that he is articulating here, it is a hovering sense of suspicion and that suspicion is warranted because the only man that needs to be feared is this one, myself. I wouldn't trust him to wear my socks, but he does! :-?

At the same time where he made mention of the season of brokenness, where some felt led out of the particular 'system' which is also a byproduct of the same "swing" (generalizing) it can be seemingly a disservice to not elaborate maybe a bit more there to buttress the opposite swing...

The irony personally was to find out after the fact that there was even such a thing as "out of churchers" in the parlance that we love to couch things into. I don't know any of them and most of the Christians I come into contact with have a usually skewed look when I am asked, "What Church do you go to?" and respond accordingly that I don't ... [i]at the moment[/i]. It can be difficult to even let this be known due to a wrong perception. This comes full circle back to forcing or even alluding to following someones interpretation of present circumstances and making them their own.

2Co 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

Something noticed about the Lord Jesus was in His way of making people think. Answering questions with more questions, more penetrating questions. There is a heavy dose of particular "critical" pronouncements in the book of John as example and in particular chapter 6. Some day may put it all out there for dissection of this fools opinion, but the reality is in the harshness (seemingly) of what is called for, the [i]cost[/i] of following Him and it is so dialectically opposed to so much of the human reasoning of what is being touted as "accepting Jesus".... The striking point of it all is that Jesus had no opinion about anything. What in the world did He mean when He said "I judge no one"? It certainly seems to be that same turning of the question on it's head and maybe it was expressed elsewhere this way;

Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Surely He did elaborate;

Joh 8:15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
Joh 8:16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

No opinion, just statements.

There is certainly wisdom and counsel amongst the Brethren and am just as aware of the whole "Lone Ranger" sentiment and the danger of that, the wrong headedness of it and the exact same critical spirit that was drawn out here by Mr. Strom and rightly so. The great difficulty is in surrendering everything to Gods thought, time, place and manner and it seems some need to be detached and purged in this way. It raise so many other questions, many that are still being wrestled with, many possibilities, even that sentiment extracted from the verse at the beginning here;

“Why not rather be wronged?" 1 Cor. 6:7

What if it is the Lords will that you do nothing your whole earthly life than to suffer for His sake in the core of your being and pray, nothing but prayer until He takes back the very breath He gave? Seem to recall an instance of a certain woman who did nothing but this in the temple, [i]but[/i] again, this isn't an ideal that one can just latch on to. The very possibility may be for a time, a season and then being thrust out into the streets or maybe into the pulpit.

Maybe all that I am attempting here is to just address one thing. What is it that the Lord is telling [i]you[/i]? And how will one ever truly begin to understand that without spending time in His Presence? Please, I pray that is not misunderstood. If we are honest enough, spiritually honest, we know what we ought to be doing and often that it is that we just don't know :-? and therefore ought to stay put, humble ourselves and trust God to lead us. A bunch of loose ends here, but perhaps one last thought to share, one that has been ringing much of late;

Joh 7:6 Jesus therefore said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.

It is a paradox of a question as it is a statement.


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Mike Balog

 2005/12/28 10:05Profile
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Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2749
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re: The Out Of Church Christians

What an important thread this is. Great stuff! This out-of-church, individualistic mindset is so prevalent today and I believe there is much harm in it in the sense that it limits what God intends to do through the life of believers. Just want to re-amphasize what Diane and Mike have already said here, BALANCE is so important, we surely do tend to swing to extremes, overreacting to the dilemmas of our Christian walk. WAITING ON THE LORD is the great need of our day.

I've been reading a wonderful insight into the Gospel of John written by T.A Sparks, the book is titled [i]We Beheld His Glory[/i]. There is a portion of this book that I believe is relevant to the topic of this thread, I have quoted it below;

[i]If the Holy Spirit is to be true to the Divine mind, there is bound to come a point in the history of any local company when if He is allowed to have a free way quite spontaneously things pass from what is just individual to what is corporate. It is a spontaneous and inevitable movement, because it is perfectly clear from all the Scriptures that God has purposed to realize His full design, not in separate, unrelated parts, but in a corporate whole, on the basis of life. So I repeat, if the Spirit of God is in charge, He will be consistent with the Divine mind, and, sooner or later, where He is really in charge of a company, things must inevitably pass from mere individualism to the corporate...What I am trying to emphasize and make clear at this point is that this matter is in the hands of the Holy Spirit, who is so consistent with the thought of God as to bring about quite naturally a spontaneous transition from the individual to the corporate at some point in our spiritual course. To fail to recognize that, and to fail to be in that movement of the Spirit, means to be left with just the spiritual measure that an individual can have, which is far short of what the Body can have; and I think this explains a very great deal of the limitation in literally multitudes of very devoted and earnest Christians, who are just individual Christians, living individual lives, trying to be individuals devoted to the Lord. There is limitation in that, and so, noting the movement of the Spirit of God in this matter, we should be intent upon knowing what the characteristics of that corporate life and Body are.[/i]

In Christ,

Ron


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Ron Halverson

 2005/12/28 12:23Profile
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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: Can't keep on Straddling the fault line

Mike said,

Quote:
The great difficulty is in surrendering everything to Gods thought, time, place and manner and it seems some need to be detached and purged in this way.



That’s me you are talking about! I was too hitched to the system, and needed the divine “boot” out if it before I was willing to let go of the hold it had on me. I had to learn to trust God, that he was sufficient. I had to learn to pray by myself (without an audience) Actually, I had to get out in order to find true salvation.

People are works in progress, and if they need time outside of their “Sunday-best” in order to discover their own rebelliousness, then leaving may be a good thing in the long run. Church life can hide sins by providing a nice polish, a good feeling of “righteousness”. So being left out in the cold may be just the right prescription. And, it might not look pretty. So, Andrew Strom – hang on to your judgments till the final gathering!

It is easy to see the wrongs of those on the other side of the fence, but it is much harder to see the problems on the side we happen to be on (which may be the SAME SINS).

Some indeed leave the church and also discard God. Then one has to ask, how important was he in the first place? Time and testing will tell, won’t it?
Meanwhile, it is better to be hot or cold, but not lukewarm. You just can’t keep on [url=http://www.thewayback.net/articles/straddling.htm]Straddling the Fault line[/url]


_________________
Diane

 2005/12/28 14:15Profile









 Re: The Out Of Church Christians

Andrew Strom wrote:

Quote:
Lately though, I must confess that I have become heartily sick of it all. Because as I have seen again and again, for year after year after year - it leads nowhere, it has never led anywhere, and it is never likely to lead anywhere. After 19 years, that much I can say with complete clarity.



I have been in the Church system for along time, and I can say with clarity that it has not moved forward at all. It does the same things it did when it lost the fire 25 years ago.

The same message is preached, repentance, water baptism, holy spirit, speaking in tongues, etc.. etc..no real moves of God, every once in a while someone might stumble to the alter, no one prays with him, we are all indifferent, careless.

Whether your in the system or your not, and I have been in both circles, there is really nothing different, only that your Pastor is lording over you, and you give your 10 percent, sing a few songs, hear a message and then afterwards go to the nearest smorgasborg and pig out.:-P

Nothing is new under the sun.

Karl

 2005/12/28 14:32
pshene
Member



Joined: 2005/7/10
Posts: 2
Oregon City, Oregon

 Re: "two circles"

A couple times I've seen reference to the "two circles"...i.e. in church and out of church.

I think there's more than that, to get specific. I have been in church and out. I've also been in dead church and revived church. I've been in a good place of healing, having extracted myself from an unhealthy church scenario and "working myself to death" (or working myself to self justification). I've also been in a prolonged place of becoming colder, being away from Christian fellowship for too long.

Currently I'm probably mostly in the last place, albeit largely due to a health condition. But whenever I do attend one of several local churches that I admire for teaching the Bible, I find myself missing so many simpler church services of my past, where the sermons may have been considered less "deep" and the music less professional or contemporary, but the fervent spirit was not HYPE. It was truly THE Spirit. I believe hype is one of the greatest faults of the church today. It's basically a performance and a facade, which brings it under the very definition of hypocrisy (the Greek word is also used for "play acting").
But although I do not go as "religiously" as I used to, I know the great value of a healthy fellowship and often find myself missing it greatly. But I also find myself wondering if my having grown up enough to easily spot hype and phony-ism has spoiled me from ever experiencing it again, as I once have?

I know that God endures our flaws enough to visit so many services each Sunday...but it cannot be denied His presence is more apparent and "real" at some services than others. I think it would be presumptuous to consider it otherwise.
His presence is what I miss most (obviously), but I am realistic enough to admit my absence from church often contributes to that problem.

"For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." Matt 18:20 NKJV

Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Isaiah 55:6 NKJV

 2005/12/28 16:36Profile









 Re:

According to David Wilkerson's Book the Vision, He states that the true Church (which david said would be made up of every religion) would become more and more underground.

From house to house is appealing to me, and I see more people doing this.

 2005/12/28 17:36
pshene
Member



Joined: 2005/7/10
Posts: 2
Oregon City, Oregon

 Re:

True that...

Yet, he also has for years headed a good sized church...

 2005/12/28 18:08Profile





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