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 Against Denominations (i beg you all, please reason with me)

God knows i'm true when i say i don't set this post up as a strawman argument, and just by my saying, on an internet forum, "Against Denominations" really doesn't matter in the whole of God's Economy.

God put this leading in my heart a few years back, but i was sitting this morning, having a wee bit of coffee, and just flitting thru the Word.

i say flittling because i always try to go sequentially for a purpose, which is "reveal Your Son to me and in me", but this morning i felt a leading to read the first chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, and i had previously underlined this passage: verse 10, 1st chapter

"I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment." here's the Scriptural reference in KJV, as i quoted ESV 1 Corinthian:10

"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment"

i had spent a week up in the "driftless region" of Wisconsin, thats the SW portion untouched by the glaciers that flattened out the productive farmlands of Minn, Iowa, Illinois, etc, and its this portion that was untouched.

i was staying with friends, they don't know God, i love them though, and maybe i'm a poor witness, but i would engage in my morning devotional reading of Scripture, and i would hear this, "if it works for you"....and in the background i would hear the "clip clop" of a pair of Amish riding in a buggy, and i would feel a Godly envy....they are a community rooted in Christ. ( i care not to 'argue' their doctrine with any of ya'll, coz i dont know their particular doctrinal differences) i just brought it up, because my heart does leap whenever i see them.....don't know why.

let me cut to the chase, i went up there to do some secular writing, which is my tentmaking, but i was also looking at a small farm for sale, beautiful little farm. i dont have the down yet, but God provides, and i drove thru a town i know well, population of 137 souls.

thats right, 137 souls. Now this town is named after an Old Testament figure...ohhhh, i'll tell you all, its called Boaz, and it's dying, no industry nearby, no way outside of dairy, or farming to make a living, in fact what made Boaz so popular back in the day, was that the town of Richland Center, the county seat, 5114 souls used to be "dry", but Boaz was not, get the picture?

Richland Center isnt dry anymore, but the only business's in Boaz(outside the kwik-stop gas station on the main highway) are three really sad looking bars. i didnt go in, but you look at them, and they're dirty buildings, one is an old pre-fab, rusty pick-ups parked outside, you get the picture

BUT......right in the middle of this tiny town, is the most beautiful red brick, simple Church building, must of been built sometime between 1890-1925, but it looked as dead as pharoah's mummy. Not a sign outside, no shades on the windows, only a limestone sign built into the overhead lintel, and it said "Evangelical Lutheran", this limestone sign was old.

There was nothing, PHYSICAL, of this world, to indicate that there was anything going on in this building, but in this dirty poor lil hamlet, this building was the only thing of solid construction, and if you go into the realm of the Holy Spirit, there is a Godly metaphor...BUILT on the Foundation of Jesus, and i sat in my truck, just looking at that dear building, thinking, praying, and i said "Lord God, if you give me the funds, or the permission from whoever holds the deed, Revival starts here", and when i said to that God, He said, "let Revival start in your heart, start to burn".

just sitting out there, maybe i was waiting for a soul to come by, and ask what the story about that old Church was, and i KNEW right then, the "Sign" i would put over the limestone sign that read "evangelical lutheran" and you know what that wooden sign bolted into the brick would read?


No other sign in the yard, announcing this service, that service, no pithy quotes, just The Name, above all names,


no 501c3 non for profit formed, no professional pastor, no typical Sunday "service", stand up, sing a few songs, pass the offering plate, sit down, hear a "perfect" 3 point lecture, sermon lasting 25 to 45 minutes on the dot, prepared by a professionally seminary trained "pastor", once thats done, he might give an altar call, and start trafficking in "decisions", and heaven forbid, this "church" be without some "denominational covering".none of that. A place to pray, to tesify, to pray somemore, to weep, to pray some more, doors never locked, always open. different, but something like what used to be, as i read of in the Bible.

as i was sitting there, and as i sit here now, my soul and heart give witness to what happened in the Hebridean Islands of Scotland and how God used two old half blind widows, who exhorted the pastor MacKay, to gather the praying men of the community to cry out in the night watches, and then God tugged at the heart of dear Duncan Campbell, who had the good sense to listen to the Holy Ghost and make way for these lonely islands,and witness what happened then!

"When God Stepped Down From Heaven"---Duncan Campbell

(note to Greg, if you read this, the "CD quality" links to this appear to be broken...i'll pm you also)

if you stayed with me this far, please allow me to continue: in north america, this denomination thing isnt working, these doctrinal arguments we have arent working, our mega churches arent working, our cut and dried Sunday mornings arent working, all of our man centered religious enterprises arent do i know this, the same reason, you all, dear beloved ones know this, look at the signs around you.....

pull open the secular newspapers, turn on that hideous box the TV and listen to what passes for news, everything is crumbling around us, all the man centered institutions of polis, of mercantilism, of money, they are collapsing, we have a hole in the ocean spewing out what was used by the merchants of the world AND us, to drink of the cup of luxuries. the opinionators of the day, all falling over themselves with the pointing finger, and the shrillness of their blame game, while the very world itself is set to light itself on fire, i could engage in a jeremiad, but to what point?

i sat in that truck, and prayed. I drove back to the city and talked to the Lord, i said to Jesus, "Lord, you know my sins, i cant conquer them in my power, i have no power, i need Your Power Jesus, i need the Comforter to make me as holy as a saved sinner can be"....and Praise Him, He talked to me, i'm thankful He even deigned to talk to a wretch like me. He told me what to do on my own perosnal sin issues.....and lets be real with each other, we all have them, sanctfication is an ongoing process.

So what about this lonely church building? who am i? i'm just a worm, and that aint just me engaging in faux humility, i know my place, but just one other brother and me, maybe a married couple, and a another brother and God in His Mercy, gives forth that humble building, what then?

post signs all about the county?



we get on our faces, thru the night watches, and weep between the "porch and the altar" and beg God to pour down His Living Waters on a dry and thirsty ground.....we get desperate in our prayers, because we are desperate for God.

revival is not something man-made, we have ample evidence of that, God is Sovereign in Revival.

i bless and pray for the effort in Victoria, may God pour down Living Waters there!!!!

i just cant get my heart and my soul off that lil dead dry Church in Boaz, Wisconsin that should have a Sign that reads "Jesus" above the lintel.

which brings me back to the point of denominations, how has it gotten to this point?

so hopelessly divided, so impotent, yet so vociferously potent in all the intercine divisions, and the doctrinal divisons, incessant arguing over the letter of the law, i know it has to tear you all apart, it tears me apart, and heaven forbid, somebody should proclaim this backslidden state, because then they get tarred with that word, "ecumenical"'s just words, wielded like swords, when Jesus Himself recognized dear Peter in that first Messianic Matthew 16:13-20

He didnt recognize Peter, per se, it was this Confession of Peter's:
"He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

then Jesus replied this:

"And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

permit me to say, as the Spirit leads, the "Rock" is that Confession, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God", and that Confession is the Rock, the Foundation that HE, JESUS said "I will build MY CHURCH"

Singular. Jesus didnt say "Church'ssssss" He said, "Church", and yet what have we and our forefathers done? How many denominations? How many divisions? how many "creeds", or 'confessions", or extra-canonical "traditions"?

and what did Jesus finish that CENTRAL Holy Premise off with?

"and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Jesus said "It", singular, meaning the Church. "It" and ever since 315 AD when the devil realized he couldnt squash the Church by rank murder and persecution, he figured out a new more devious strategy, "i'll join it, then i'll divide it", which is EXACTLY where we are today.

but i tell you this, that foul accuser, that enemy of all that is Good and Righteous has NOT "prevailed" against the Church.

God's watching us, Jesus is praying for us, so what do we do now?, and the only thing my heart testifies is this, individually we have to clean up our own acts, believe me, God knows how dark and craven my own heart is, i aint pointing any fingers, God forbid, and maybe we should GO BACK to that Original Confession of Peters,

"You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God"

and let That be the Spine of our Faith, and away with all the stuff that divides us, and then maybe we have to get very Godly intense on two Things,

A. radical travailing prayer to God to bring a true Holy Ghost Revival rooted in Messiah Jesus and the Blood that cleanses all sin.

B. radical love rooted in Messiah Jesus, that enables us to love with abandon even the most rank and foul God denying sinner that walked the face of this earth, coz the reality is, we aint too far behind them, if not even stevens, its just that God, not flesh and blood called us IN Christ, and we should be like those who just bolted out a burning barn, breathless and thanking God, not pounding our breasts and thanking God we arent like that sinner over there, as a certain Pharisee did when praying.

Radical Love, Radical Prayer, One Confession, One Church;

Oh Lord, please have mercy on us, we who have been given so much. Please Lord, pour down Your rain upon this dry and thirsty ground, and i beg you Lord, dont let these pitiful words of mine cast out in cyber space fall on deaf ears, and i implore you, help me to be as holy as possible while in this tent, in Jesus' Name, amen

 2010/6/6 12:09

Joined: 2009/3/13
Posts: 55



 2010/6/6 12:26Profile


"Hey brother, what makes a man a perfect man?"

The Ressurected Messiah's attoning Sacrificial Blood and the Indwelling Holy Spirit that leads us into all Truth.

That makes us "right" before God...perfect, i think not...come on, talk to me...dont worry, i didnt spill my heart to start a fight.

 2010/6/6 12:50

Joined: 2006/7/31
Posts: 3057

 Re: Against Denominations (i beg you all, please reason with me)

no 501c3 non for profit formed, no professional pastor, no typical Sunday "service", stand up, sing a few songs, pass the offering plate, sit down, hear a "perfect" 3 point lecture, sermon lasting 25 to 45 minutes on the dot, prepared by a professionally seminary trained "pastor", once thats done, he might give an altar call, and start trafficking in "decisions", and heaven forbid, this "church" be without some "denominational covering".none of that. A place to pray, to tesify, to pray somemore, to weep, to pray some more, doors never locked, always open. different, but something like what used to be, as i read of in the Bible.


Dear Neil

I did not get to read past this point because I just felt the Lord lead me to stop and write this off to you in response to this portion of what you shared...

Yes brother none of that stuff you mentioned, just the living breathing body of Jesus own followers daily reaching out to one another, loving and caring for each other. Being servants to one another now that is church and one I would so long to be apart of! That is what we are called to be a family and Christ is the HEAD!!

I will read the rest of what you shared and come back to post as the Lord leads me.

God bless

 2010/6/6 14:19Profile

Joined: 2007/6/27
Posts: 1573
Omaha, NE


The LORD'S earnest prayer and desire while
HE prayed for His disciples and followers
was that they be one in heart, mind, purpose,
and in the Spirit!! This is still His
desire for His Body!!

Martin G. Smith

 2010/6/6 14:56Profile

Joined: 2006/6/12
Posts: 524

 Re: Against Denominations (i beg you all, please reason with me)

Neil, reason with you? No need, your post reveals, I'm sure, what is and has been on many of God's childrens' hearts.

Christendom, in whatever form (denominations, mega "churches" the like), is the way it is and has been, and will be, because God allows it to be. "Be not deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever one sows, that shall he also reap." Goats play church (behind or below pulpits),sheep become confused, but perfectly fits into God's prophecy!

Though some may disagree, let me borrow the precept from Revelation 2:9 (as an admonition/exhortation a bit)
"I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews (Christians too? perhaps?), and are not, but are the synagogue (churches? perhaps?) of Satan."

As much as Christendom pretends to echo "God is in control", it still likes to think that it is!

Yes, let's worship more , rejoice more and praise Him even more, fervently, on our own two feet, wait upon Him.

Neil, it's a tremendous joy to watch you and many here growing in His grace and knowledge year after year. :)


 2010/6/6 15:14Profile

Joined: 2008/10/21
Posts: 56
Maryland, USA

 Re: Against Denominations (i beg you all, please reason with me)

Thank you so much for posting that, Natan4Jesus (Neil?).

I feel GOD is saying these things, but I always try to sift. Seems like in the last 4-5 years I've been living in this realm of "How can this be??"

The name JESUS SHOULD be on the churches, but instead its Such and Such Lutheran Church. I think God wants HIS name on His people and that's it. I think what we are doing is sinful in God's eyes. I think men unknowingly have put THEIR names on towers that are being built up to heaven.

I also have come to think that these denominations are a sin. I know it must sound strange to some for me to say that.

God HAS allowed it, as someone said. That's why when i look at the rise of this disobedience I think "God allowed all this. What does it mean that God has allowed all this?" I think God has allowed us to follow the gods that we have made and we must turn now immediately and start following Him. I NOW see that scripture is already fulfilled. People have already crept in, they are not only NOW creeping in. All those years ago it started and we have what we have today. We have assembled teachers us to tell us things that tickle our ears (Baptist/Pentecostal, etc.). There are many faiths and not only one faith in this denominational system. There are many gods and these gods expect different things, but all of the flavor of WORKS.

BUT for those who are seeking GOD HIMSELF (and not only teaching/doctrine/church activity), God does seem to be doing the exact same things. Something along the lines of
It's JESUS' name that matters, I no longer live for myself, and there only ONE FAITH and ONE GOD.

Those who are seeking God are finding the same things. Oh, what a sign that is.

I know what you mean by 315 AD. I know the significance of that date. I can hardly fathom that the disobedience has been going on for that long. But I now believe THAT is a very significant date. And it is so hard to believe that God could have allowed things to be this way. In who i used to think God was, the God I used to think I knew wouldn't have done such a thing, but I now know differently.

This post came as such a refreshing thing. Yesterday I heard some preacher man tell all these souls about the horrors of hell, but he said nothing of repentance only "accept Jesus into your heart." I had to really contain myself to not stand up and shout that this man was lying to them. Fear of hell is no reason to run to the front!

Can it be that all this muck is a terrible lie? That's what i mean by "how can this be?"


Tracy Hofmann

 2010/6/7 8:52Profile

Joined: 2008/10/21
Posts: 56
Maryland, USA

 Re: Against Denominations (i beg you all, please reason with me)

Oh, this too. Those who are true believers in the midst of all this APPEAR to me to be coming into agreement on so many things. They are being fashioned by God Himself almost as some TESTIMONY. I describe it to myself this way, "GOD IS FORGING HIS TESTIMONY." IT's GOD's testimony.

So very many of us sound the same. Shouldn't we always have sounded the same? I mean, it's the SAME SPIRIT in all and THROUGH ALL. (Of true believers that is.) But until now, there's been nothing but a cacophony of half truths, because of the mixture of believers and non believers in churches.

Therefore, against this backdrop of division, I found this amazing scripture: 1 Cor 11:18-19.

18For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. 19For there must also be factions among you, SO THAT THOSE WHO ARE APPROVED MAY BECOME EVIDENT AMONG YOU.

Truly, against this backdrop, the approved workers are becoming apparent, because they are starting to sound the same. It's the same spirit, the HOLY SPIRIT, saying these things as we seek Him.

Tracy Hofmann

 2010/6/7 9:06Profile

Joined: 2009/12/4
Posts: 1860

 Re: Against Denominations (i beg you all, please reason with me)

Amen Brother Neil,

I have been studing my bible a lot lately and I have been asking myself the question "What does this look like?" Seeing things in churches that just seem silly and unbiblical or at least can be vaguely backed up with scripture. I have started to view the bible through Exogesis (straight from the Word) rather than Isogesis(going to the Word to back up my argument) What would an Exogesis Church look like? I have also found that its so much easier to read the Bible and much more difficult to Live it we truly need Christ Jesus for everything. I have told my head pastor that has a youth pastor I don't pledge my allegiance to any man, doctrine, denomination, Idea, government, or any thing that would require allegiance I pledge my allegiance to Christ Jesus Alone. I enjoyed reading your article this issue has also been on my heart.

God Bless,

Matthew Guldner

 2010/6/7 10:24Profile

 brothers and sisters Matthew, Tracy, "mamaluk", "sojourner" MJ and...

....and anyone that blessed me by even reading the words that God Almighty laid on my heart in the depths of my anquish, all i can say is "wow".......

and please forgive such an intellectually barren response as "wow", thats just the first word that came into my heart coz i thought i was going to get nailed.

thats why i prefaced the whole thing by saying i wasnt setting up a strawman argument...i wasnt, God forbid, i wasnt, i was just literally screaming in my heart what the Lord laid in it.

and while i'm reading, here's what my soul's mind turned to; there's still the "7,000"...and i beg ya'll, dont misinterpet that...within any church, any denomination there are dear precious souls who yearn for Jesus, love Jesus, love God....

i just thought of beautiful Elijah, scared and in flight, thinking he was all alone, hungry, hiding in the Kerith ravine, ravens feeding him, and believe me this pitiful poster thats writing to you is no Elijah, far from it......TOO far from it, coz i got some confessions.

recognizing this is a public forum, i'll try to dance around specifics, but let me say this, (and i will come back to this, coz i'm not going to let this thread go, its a Lifeline to me, and your encouragement is a blessing i can never repay this side of Heaven, may Jesus Name be praised!)

but right after i wrote this, yesterday, Lord's day, the spiritual warfare started, the devil was vexing me like the foul denom he is.

here's my sin, my thorn, among many; i smoke cigarettes.

and the saturday before, as i was driving BACK to Chicago, from Boaz, Jesus was merciful enough to speak with me in the Holy Ghost, you all know what i speak of, and He said "neil, you have to quit"...i said, "Yes Lord, but i have no power, i need Your Power".

so Sunday, i started chewing the nicotine gum and just praying, and nicotine is a terrible addictive thing, but i just kept praying.

You see in May 2002, when Jesus came to me and rescued me from the pit and the mire, within one week, i quit, and stayed quit until i came back to Chicago in 2006, after 4 months here, being back to the "old crew" (it aint their fault, its mine, i'm a weak vessel) but i went BACK to the old "dog's vomit"...and its killing me....LITERALLY, but thats the devils game, kill and destroy.

forgive me fot this "me me me" business, i just got to testify, i got to confess, i got to be real, no more games, Jesus knows i'm a man after His Own Heart, but i'm so weak and miserable, hell would be too good for me.

thats not just some pious platitude, thats the truth.

so anyway, as i was chewing the gum, during the day, and praying, reading the Word, i looked up, WHO this lil church in Boaz BELONGS to, and get this.....there's an Evan Luth church in Richland Center, who has the same phone number on that bldg, so i called, and i get this answering machine...hang up. apparently its just "shuttered property"....nobody uses it as God's House...nobody...there is no interest....its the sweetest most stout brick bldg you have ever seen....and as night came, my body started to shake, and the floodgates of hell opened upon me, i got up, walked to the 7-11, and bought a pack of cigarettes, and thats where we are now.

i woke, got in the Word, and God forgive me, burning cigarette in hand, read thru the mid section of 1st Corinthians, under terrible conviction, turned the computer on and read your blessed encouragements, your hearts, your forthtelling....and realized WITH HORROR, what a failure i am in Christ.

I KNOW that was a Word from God i recieved, both Jesus telling me to start cutting the sin outta my life, and my unpacking ON THIS FORUM about what lay in my heart about a small corner of our country, and then to have that Word buttressed by the saints on SI, confirmed and buttressed, to see for my eyes that my heart cry is not alone...and then what do i do?

i do the sin i do not want to do.

i gotta close this up, because God in His Mercy has allowed me to do a "mitzvah" (Hebrew for good thing) for a dear elderly widow who has been like a mother to me since i was a wee lad, i dont say that to boast, i say in thankfulness to Jesus, that maybe today i can bless ONE person, to LOVE ONE PERSON, with no agenda, but at the same time, i lay under such conviction of my barren state.

but i keep hearing the word, "Boaz, Boaz, Boaz"...oh how i wish i could be like the boy priest Samuel, who said, "Yes Lord" in the night watches, and i can only cry out to God, "i'm so weak, please please God help me"

Forgive me for faltering, please Jesus, guide me, help me, i want to be in Your Service, not just some sin soaked dog licking vomit and unprofitable.

if you read this far, my brothers and sisters, i can only Thank God for your love, neil, brokened.

 2010/6/7 12:45

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