| Re: Individual Church Visions and the Bible...your thoughts.|
I would guess if you spent some time volunteering at a Crises Pregnancy Center you would find out how bad the modern-social-club many call 'church' really is. And you would feel much more discouraged then you already are because there are too many in church leadership who are fornicating. And their youth - oh my! so dreadful. Moral purity appears to be exception, not the rule.
Sorry, I can not be more optimistic of the modern-social-club some call church. (I am reluctant to call this social club 'Church' after hearing Paul Washer's take on 'church'. Ever listened to it? It just might encourage you...)
Blunt, there is something else I am seeing which may encourage you. And that is the exposure of sin in Believers. It used to be people could participate in sin privately and it would not be found out for years, if then. But no more: it is being exposed. As I see it, God is doing this to make people aware of their need to get right with God quickly because His son will return soon and it is essential to be ready for this event.
My opinion for whatever it is worth...
| 2009/1/5 1:54||Profile|
| Re: |
[b]It is better to stay at home and read God's Word[/b]
[i](Arthur Pink, "A Call to Separation")[/i]
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and the Devil? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?" 2 Corinthians 6:14-16
This command is so plain, that it requires no interpreter.
Christ--and the Devil;
God's temple--and idols.
What do they have in common?
This is a call to godly separation. This passage gives utterance to a Divine exhortation for those belonging to Christ--to hold aloof from all intimate associations with the ungodly. It expressly forbids them entering into alliances with the unconverted. It definitely prohibits the children of God walking arm-in-arm with worldlings. It is an admonition applying to every phase and department of our lives--religious, domestic, social, commercial. And never, perhaps, was there a time when it more needed pressing on Christians, than now. The days in which we are living are marked by the spirit of compromise. On every side we behold unholy mixtures, ungodly alliances, and unequal yokes. Many professing Christians appear to be trying how near to the world they may walk--and yet go to Heaven!
To Israel, God said, "So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life. You must obey all My regulations and be careful to keep My laws, for I, the Lord, am your God!" (Leviticus 18:3-4) And again, "Do not live by the customs of the people whom I will expel before you. It is because they do these terrible things--that I detest them so much!" (Leviticus 20:23) It was for their disregard of these very prohibitions, that Israel brought down upon themselves such severe chastisements.
God's call to His people in Babylon is, "Come out of her, My people! Do not take part in her sins!" (Revelation 18:4) No one can be a whole-hearted follower of the Lord Jesus who is, in any way, "yoked" to His enemies!
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers." This applies first to our religious connections. How many Christians are members of so-called "churches," where much is going on which they know is at direct variance with the Word of God--either the teaching from the pulpit, the worldly attractions used to draw the ungodly, and the worldly methods employed to finance it, or the constant receiving into its membership of those who give no evidence of having been born again. Believers in Christ who remain in such "churches" are dishonoring their Lord. Should they answer: "Practically all the churches are the same, and were we to resign, what would we do? We must go somewhere on Sundays!" Such language would show they are putting their own interests, before the glory of Christ. It is better to stay at home and read God's Word--than fellowship with that which His Word condemns!
| 2009/1/5 11:13||Profile|
| Re: |
What about the Catholic church? They claim to be Christians, will you decide that they are not, will you say to Catholics who discover Jesus to "buck up little camper," and stay where you are?
Comparing the Roman Catholic church to lukewarm evangelicals isn't exactly comparing like with like. When I talk about somebody who is a Christian, or when I talk about a church, I have in mind any brother who knows what the reality of Christ living inside of them actually is. To talk about Roman Catholicism is to talk about another religion altogether. In my opinion, to compare them even to the most immature Christians is to slander immature Christians. For there is a Reality and Life that separates the two entirely. For all the problems of the church, with all its immaturity and all its carnality, the living One abides and lives in it just as He does the rest of the church. If Jesus lives in them, no matter how pathetic that Life may manifest itself in somebody, then there can be no justification for separation.
Do you know what Corinth was? It was a city, with perhaps 500,000 people. The church was one entity, with many gatherings. If you left one gathering and fellowshipped in another, you would still be part of the Corinthian church. You are using a modern model to apply to Scripture.
This is true. The Scriptures seem to only recognize one church per town/city.
I think that sentence is extremly condecending, as though many good Christians make the descision to leave a church lightly. This is not a conversation about church-hoppers, its about a genuine struggle where people, at their wits ends, after years of struggling , and hearing from the Lord, decide to leave.....brother Frank
Many good Christians leave their whatever church they are a part of for many different reasons. Some good, and some bad. It is a struggle, and one I have dealt with thoroughly in my life. I have suffered a lot of abuse within the church, especially at the hands of pastors who were upset with me tipping the proverbial apple cart, and reminding them that the church they pastor is not their own little kingdom that they can see fit to build anyway they want. Many are threatened with the practical ramifications of just what it would look like if a church were to submit itself to the headship of Jesus Christ. It is something many would like to just shelve as good theology at best, but a practical impossibility.
But with all this said, so far the Lord has had me bear the hardship of it all. I know what it is to sob deeply over the present state of the church, especially the institutional variety. I know what it is to be blacklisted by state level overseers as trouble. I know what it is to be forced to "take a sabbatical" (or shut down). I know what it is like to want to run away from all the troubles and woes, and to start up another work somewhere in town. I know what it is like to lose a fiance to the institutional church, who felt like she must stay there the rest of her life, so she left me in order to pursue her ministry there. I also know what it is like to be restrained of the Lord, and told "blossom where you are planted... be patient... be quiet... wait for Me." And I'm sure you can relate on many levels with what I say, and perhaps understand where I am coming from.
I hope to inject no confusion with anybody. If you are apart from any institutional fellowship right now, that is wonderful. Stay wherever you are. Blossom where the Lord has planted you. But I hope in all this, if nothing more I trouble you a little bit. I am not anybody's enemy here, I am a friend and concerned brother in the Lord. I am jealous for God's sake that we can maintain unity of fellowship with one another, especially those within the institutional church.
They are our brothers, and we must not forsake fellowshiping with them, no matter how spiritually retarded their models of ministry may be, or how earthly they are in their living. So long as Christ lives in them, we should be inclusive of them should we find ourselves in their midst. That doesn't mean we go along with them in all the things we do. But that doesn't mean we stand up in their midst and cry for them to come out.
| 2009/1/5 12:12||Profile|
| Re: |
God bless you guys. The modern day church bears no resemblence at all to what we see in Scripture. The Lord will lead and guide you guys, of that I have no doubt....brother Frank
Blessings to you too. But this is not at all an accurate statement. It is theological wrong on so many levels. It smacks of romanticism. The chief thing that the present day church resembles that the church of the Scriptures reflect is the living reality of Christ in them. So long as there are people who are saved in the church, then today's church resembles the early church in many ways. Yes, there are great departures from the ancient church to today. But, with Christ living in them today just as He did yesterday, there is a much greater resemblance than one presently sees or confesses.
Such a statement is a horrible slap in the face to our brethren and Lord. He lives in them after all.
| 2009/1/5 12:17||Profile|
This world is not my home anymore.
| Re: |
White Stone wrote:
Your arguments do not hold water.
Can you show me Scriptural justification for refusing to fellowship with other believers on the grounds that they are not Spirit-filled enough in their church services? Remember, Paul said some in Corinth were dividing on grounds that they were of Cephas, Barnabas, Paul... and then there were those who were saying they were dividing on grounds that they were "...of Christ!" Paul condemned all as a fit of carnality and immaturity. That includes those who said they were the sect of Jesus!
"We gather around the headship of Jesus Christ alone!" I submit to you in all humility and brotherly love that this is a lie from hell. It's just as divisive as those who say they are of Cephas, Barnabas, Paul, the Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians or whoever. The believer who is truly spiritual, those who Paul calls "the approved among you," are those who can gather together with any group of brethren, no matter their denominational affiliation and no matter their state of spiritual maturity. It is the spiritually immature who pull away from genuine fellowship with other believers simply because they don't quite add up to the stature they think somebody should i.e. Ravenhill's.
If there is total starvation for the Spirit of God how can you prove we must stay or justify the statement below?
Wherever two or three are gathered, He is there. Just because the movement of the Spirit tends to be on the stagnant side when believers gather doesn't mean He's not there. Biblically speaking, He's ALWAYS there so long as His people are. He's just as much there in an out of control Corinthian gathering where the gifts are abused as He is in a church where there is no demonstration of the gifts. Both churches are just as immature spiritually, though perhaps the stagnant church where there is no one-anothering is more fit, because at least they aren't being competitive and rude with the usage of their gifts, and stepping on one anothers toes in order to display their gift.
Wherever the Lord is, the Spirit is. If there are any who are saved at any gathering, then His presence is definitely there. Whether it be in an institutional setting or a house church setting. His presence is there just the same. This is truth. And if Jesus can fellowship with the people in the stagnant church, and still live inside of them, immature as they are, then there is no reason you should ever leave them. Indeed, it is your duty rather as a Christian to stay, and to strengthen the hands of the weak.
Oh, no doubt, your staying and doing things that are unconventional even as they persist in the status quo will probably bother them, and possibly create some conflicts within that church. But such is a cross one must bear. Simply withdrawing from fellowship is nothing more than cross avoidance. It's a cowardly thing to do. And there can be no Pentecost without going through the cross.
I've left two churches in the last ten years because the pastor's lied and manipulated the sheep; well, the first kinda kicked me out because I upset the apple cart as well.
I do know, from personal experience, if you do not go where the Lord can pour out of you, then you are useless to God because we become a stagnant pond. It isn't just about "getting fed" but feeding! And there are many ways to feed. And you don't have to be a seasoned mature Christian to feed either!
I know in the beginning we go to get fed but then we grow from milk to the meat of the word. I essentially get fed by the Spirit at home, I've stopped trying to find a church that feds me. I'm not a baby anymore. I go to share with my fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord.
I don't know what the answer is White Stone and King Jimmy but I know that 1 Corinthians 13 holds the answer... LOVE!! If one side (or person) is NOT doing anything wrong (in our eyes), then why in the world do we need the gift of love? THAT is exactly when we need love.
Jimmy is offering the 1 Cor way. I'm not saying that all churches are run correctly - most are not. But there are souls in them that need help that they may not be getting from the leadership. I'm currently in the same position, asking God about leaving a church but I look at the people who are hungry (to me 'lost sheep') and if God can use me to help them know more of Christ, I want to be there. So I'll wait until the Holy Spirit tells me "move."
Love (beyond what we want) is the answer!
PS: This is what I'm praying about now: We really need to make sure that it is the Lord moving us because I really don't want to stand before Christ and find out God had a plan for me there but I let my pride and fleshly arrogance move me before I knew. This is what I'm dealing with. If everyone else knows that it was God, then that is wonderful.
Love is the answer. Love beyond our understanding.
| 2009/1/5 13:08||Profile|