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Todd writes: "The average, well meaning, and even devout Christian in America has no idea of what Chan speaketh because they have never seen it nor do they have any understanding of how a church could function without the ministry cages he describes.
The only way they will ever understand is if someone shows them in detail how a “cageless” church would function and look like.
It does no good to point out problems without at the same time proposing or explaining the solution IN DETAIL. I am not saying Chan is doing this, but you can’t just tell American Christians their method of church stinks without demonstrating a compelling alternative."
It is suggested that scripture is the answer and who would disagree with that? No one, except everyone.
The paradigm that Chan speaks of is not one that he lives in, Francis, lives in the 'un-persecuted' section of town.
I realize what has been said by Frank, Blaine, Mike, Fletcher, Todd and Travis have excellent insights and sound wisdom, I also realize all of them and no doubt many others want to pattern their lives after godly men attempting to break free from 'cages' where Jesus is not permitted to live out through them what he truly is. I think its also true that any of these men are examples to others where they are known face to face.
Yet, there is something terribly skewed in presenting a 'persecuted church' as a model to American Christians who have at best read about them, but in their lives have no familiarity with the persecution these believers face.
Persecution is no doubt on the horizon and I for one would consider it a miracle if I dont spend the remainder of my years in prison.
Yet, the 'persecution model' if I can call it that is not God's ultimate intention for the Church. I've never seen so much as a hint of such at thing in scripture.
A non-persecuted, free to evangelize, worship and congregate group of believers was the intention of the founders of this nation. I believe this more exactly represents God's will for his people. We all admire with the deepest admiration and respect the faith of those in China, Pakistan, Iran, Nepal etc who suffer for Christ knowing their children my never live into adulthood. I do not believe God's purpose and plan for his people is death, imprisonment or torture.
It also bears discussing just what constitutes a 'cage' over against what constitutes divine order, Church government and five-fold ministry roles.
There is nothing convincing me that once persecution starts and finishes in America ( if the Lord tarries) that our leaders at that time will not pick up right where we left off before death and imprisonment came.
The term "caged" is Francis Chan's characterization, but is 'caged' representative of congregations and leaders nationwide? Or is it representative of various Churches attempting to serve God but hindered by various Church government or eschatological viewpoints.
A theological paradigm shift that permits a free flow of body ministry is the paramount concern of some, but for others theirs will be the complete absence of 'gifting's which they regard as false and empty. In short, beatings and torture do not equate to revelation of scripture.
When listening to various ministers on SI. those like Jackie pulliger teach and train the converts straight up charismatic/pentacostalism. Others like Paul Washer accentuate holiness and devotion, yet with Brother Paul body ministry is left out entirely.
These two wonderful and godly ministers are the antithesis of each other...there is nothing telling us that things will be different in the midst of persecution.
I agree scripture is the foundation for our faith and practice. Yet, it's filtered through you and I and that filtering will not disappear in hardship. In fact, in hardship is the place where habits and what we truly believe are brought to the forefront.
Scripture is the right answer, but its also the wrong answer. "lived out scripture" will be the epistles that are read and known.
I don't see persecution as the 'fix-it' for eschatological differences, nor do I see imprisonment a remedy for the lack of body ministry, I do see persecution as the removal of what makes us secure as Christians in our nation and safe among our neighbors.
Security in this world being removed by persecution and hardship is not obtained by giftings or by a seminary study on cessationism. Security is had through faith in a very personal and up close Jesus. It is that kind of security that frees men from their cages whether its steel bars or restrictive doctrines of men.
Persecution is coming I believe, but its an agent of cause, its not the ultimate transformer of character and desire for holiness of life.
| 2018/1/5 15:59||Profile|
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Bro Marvin writes.........
" I also realize all of them and no doubt many others want to pattern their lives after godly men attempting to break free from 'cages' where Jesus is not permitted to live out through them what he truly is."
I cannot speak for the others Marvin, but I do not want to pattern my life after any man, accept the man Jesus.Every single priest and priestess is unique. It would be a mistake, in my opinion, to try and live your life patterned after a mere mortal man. Marvin writes............
"A non-persecuted, free to evangelize, worship and congregate group of believers was the intention of the founders of this nation. I believe this more exactly represents God's will for his people."
We can agree to disagree on what the end time Church will look like. If you believe it will not be a persecuted Church because that is not what the founding fathers of America envisioned then we do have quite a stark disagreement on that point which is fine. We agree on much brother and of course we disagree on this point. Good men can disagree with each other............bro Frank
| 2018/1/5 16:45|
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My post was rather long so stuff can get skipped. I mentioned in my last post that I fully believe persecution is coming and now is being carefully legislated, this is not what our founding Fathers envisioned, nor does God require such a thing. Nevertheless what is God's will for his people optimally and what God does because of the spiritual condition of his people and the incessant blasphemies arising every moment...God's correction is coming.
Jer 31:20 Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the LORD.
Jer 31:21 "Set up road markers for yourself; make yourself guideposts; consider well the highway, the road by which you went. Return, O virgin Israel, return to these your cities.
God's heart was not to punish Ephraim, but that He (Israel) would truly repent. So I believe God's heart towards his people in America is one of love and tender mercies nevertheless...
Jer 7:3 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place.
Jer 7:4 Do not trust in these deceptive words: 'This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.'
Jer 7:5 "For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another,
Jer 7:6 if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm,
Jer 7:7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.
Jer 7:8 "Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail.
Jer 7:9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known,
Jer 7:10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, 'We are delivered!'—only to go on doing all these abominations?
Because of texts like these which I see directly apply to our current condition, I believe though God's heart is for mercy, his glory and his Name will be honored in a greater measure as we are chastened of the Lord. I do not believe this strange work is God's first choice, but it seems an inevitable one.
| 2018/1/5 20:48||Profile|
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I realize this thread is way above my head, but how can we know what’s coming? Doesn’t the word say, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. If this is true, how can we possibly know what’s coming to the church, we can’t unless we’re on the same thought level as God. So are we just assuming here what’s coming, or is some folks capable of knowing what God’s thoughts are on the future of the church? I know we all do a lot of kicking around of scripture here, but I like facts, and my guess is only God has the real facts.
| 2018/1/5 22:21||Profile|
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I hope I can articulate this the way it is in my heart.
We know that the Bible tells us that those that live righteously in this world will suffer persecution. We can see from prophecy in scripture that great persecution comes upon the church in the last days. We can see from the current climate of the world and the ever changing climate of the USA that persecution on a level that most Americans have never experienced or considered is likely right around the corner.
The problem is that the gospel has been presented in America, by and large, in a way that is self-serving and "culturally relevant". (I say it that way because it has not really been relevant to the needs of the culture, but has been designed in large part to be appealing and attractive to the culture in the flesh.) We have said, "Hell is bad and you don't want to go there. Jesus paid this awful price for you. So you need to feel bad for the wrong you have done and what it has cost Jesus. You need to say this prayer, and you will be forgiven and have heaven in the bag. Besides, He will help you to be happy, healthy, prosperous, and live a really good life here on Earth." While there is an element of truth in these words, they are far, far from the essence of the gospel, and present it as a way to assuage guilt, assure heaven, and usher in happiness and a good life.
To a great degree, people in our American churches do not experience the true life transformation of rebirth, but instead add God to the rest of their life. The result is either, at best, a person who is born again but remains a spiritual babe for the rest of his life, or at worst a person who is not really born again and lives a self-centered life, all the while deceived into believing he is good to go. Our churches then develop a great number of programs to try to minister to people. Not that programs are bad, but often we are doing this as a way to attract more people to our particular brand so we can grow our organization. Our focus is on numbers and decisions. But this is not the focus of the gospel. Jesus said, "Go and make disciples."
When persecution comes, those who are not rooted and grounded in Christ and in His word for themselves will be offended and turn back. This is the message Jesus gives in the parable of the sower. When real persecution comes, those who do not have root in themselves will give it up.
Our focus cannot be on having a great number of conversions. Our focus must be on bringing sons to maturity. Birth is just the first step in this process. We tend to get very excited when a person is born again, and rightly so, but why are we not equally excited as we look forward to the process of bringing that person to spiritual maturity so they will be rock solid, immoveable, and able to reproduce themselves by bringing others to the Lord and discipling them to maturity.
| 2018/1/6 10:02||Profile|
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Very well said bro Travis. In essence the question becomes, and has been a question asked down through the centuries, what is real Christianity, what is the Gospel, who are the saints. William Wilberforce was famous for his friendship with John Newton who wrote Amazing Grace and of course for being responsible for slavery being banned in the British empire. He and Newton and others like them were despised by most of the "Sunday go to church," crowd. They referred to Newton and Wilberforce and others as "enthusiasts."
It was not a term of endearment, it was a hateful term. What Wilberforce is less famous for is the book he wrote entitled "Real Christianity." I guarantee that if Wilberforce were alive today and wrote that book today, he would not be invited to speak at most of our modern day western church. He speaks against self serving and culturally relevant churches, in the language of the day of course. He speaks against the fact that most who call themselves Christians had not actually experienced the new birth, had not actually been regenerated rather they were Christian in name only and by accident of birth. Their Christianity was, he says, a cultural one, a mere adornment to their lives and not a life changing regeneration.
Before him Whitfield had made the exact same assertion and Wesley preached all over the country to people who were already supposedly Christians but were merely professors. Unfortunately today we suffer from the absence of people like Wilberforce, Wesley and Whitfield who were not afraid to look at the so called "Christian community" and tell them plainly that they knew nothing of the new birth. In Wilberforce's book he prophesies what would happen to Britain and its empire if its people did not come to a true knowledge of the Living God. It has absolutely come to pass. In more recent times we have had men like Tozer and Ravenhill who preached a similar message and many of their own "prophecies," have come to pass. Who has ears to hear what these men,and others sent from God, were saying to their generation and to the generations soon to come.
We are living in the days that they foretold. It cannot be business as usual, Christianity is in major crisis and has all but collapsed in Europe and the major denominations that are left, for the most part, have been ravaged by its own worldliness and taken over by a cultural elite who aim to please the world and please men rather than fear God. This is why the refiners fire soon to come is a great mercy............bro Frank
| 2018/1/6 10:58|
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What many are missing is, if you open your eyes and ears, the church is already being persecuted, and has been for many years, where have you been? Persecuted, is very vague, my question is to what extent is it to be persecuted? I know I'm a very simple minded soul, and I ask very simple questions, but if God meant for the word to only be understood by only the greatest theologians, us simple minded folks would have never been born. I know many here don't like simple, they sometimes like talking over the simple minds to make their opinions look greater or more sand in their words. I sure worrying about the coming persecuted church "that's already here" doesn't make God very happy, didn't he mention something in his word about worry? When we set here and post things that I would call scare tactics, it really only confuses the unlearned, and we all know where confusion comes from, right?
I like what God said here.
God said, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” Isaiah 43:2
Edit: You know what bothers me most about the persecution threads we have here, most seem to come across as being judgmental in their opinions, this is the way they come across to me.Jesus said Christians should be known for how deeply we love, in the eyes of many non-Christians, we’re known for how deeply we judge, not for how deeply we love. The presence of judgment almost always guarantees an absence of love, ever notice that people who judge, almost never help and people who help almost never judge? That’s because I personally believe judgment creates a line, the line is labeled “better than” or “smarter than” or “more righteous than” the person who needs help. I think the best way to judge, is to judge ourselves, and make sure we’re walking completely upright, and if we are, fire away at judging others.
| 2018/1/6 11:53||Profile|
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Hi Brother Bill:
I don't see what you re claiming in this thread. I don't see judgmental-ism nor do I see "better than" "smarter than" or "more righteous than". What I do see are men who recognize the errors and problems facing the body of Christ and those same problems and sins directly affect us all.
Because of what they see and discern as a spiritual truth, they and myself record it here as a witness against the false-gospel so often delivered on a Sunday Morning, there is a witness here of people naming the name of Christ that in fact make Jesus an "add-on" rather than the ultimate.
If the Nation of Israel's actions through out the Law and Prophets displayed, they displayed what happened when they compromised with sin, idolatry, false teachings and false prophets. In short they were deceived about themselves, God and their true spiritual condition. This deception was not permitted by God to continue unabated. God intervened. In doing so, his intervention started with the "prophets warning the people". I consider what Blaine, Travis, Fletcher, Mike, Frank and other do on this website as like-kind warning; there are others no doubt who are in full agreement yet do not post for one reason or another.
I have been accused since my early years as a street witness, that I was being judgmental. At that time and now, I say, no. I am declaring sin to be sin as God has judged it. I am declaring righteousness to be righteousness as God has declared it.
Over the decades I have preached and taught everywhere from Pastors conferences to men's rehabilitation centers. I have been with false pastors, greedy ministers, con-men, liars, men seeking Christian women to bed-down, perverts, thieves.
In all this, my heart has been given the same message as I preach and believe. "This is what sin does to a man...if you do this same thing you too will fall". "If you live according to the Spirit of holiness and honor God, God equips you to serve him in a wide variety of places". In no place is my life exonerated from the judgments I declare to be God's, In no place is my life exonerated from the promises I declare to be God's. I will speak personally a little more on this and stop lest it appear as some self-justification. I am justified in declaring the truth because I am born of the truth and love the truth. Truth and love are not enemies to one another in God's kingdom. The love of God in me is not to keep silent but to speak...this has been my calling all of my Christian life.
Isa_62:1 For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.
God's love in me does not direct anger or judgment towards men. What the man does, what he says, what he wills, falls under the categories that God has declared in his gospel.
When I see idolatry attempting to gain hold in my own life, I am quick to condemn it and repent. Because of this, I am no hypocrite to condemn it as a sin done by others without falling under the condemnation of Jesus in Mat 7:5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
I know what it is to fail God and I know what it is to be given grace and kindness. But without God's gift of repentance and belief that he means what he says, I would have remained in failure. The last thing I desire, and if I may speak so boldly so do all those here, they want the people of God to honor God, live holy and love the Lord and one another.
| 2018/1/6 14:47||Profile|
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Bro Marvin writes...........
"I don't see what you re claiming in this thread. I don't see judgmental-ism nor do I see "better than" "smarter than" or "more righteous than". What I do see are men who recognize the errors and problems facing the body of Christ and those same problems and sins directly affect us all." Amen ...bro Frank
| 2018/1/6 15:10|
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No worries, it's probably just my lack of understanding, sorry.
| 2018/1/6 17:22||Profile|