“Going-to-Church”

going-to-church

 

Jesus is not the founder of “going to church.”

God the Father did not send His Son into the world to start a religion and a practice of “going to church.”
“Going-to-church” is a religion and practice created by man in the name of Jesus, and is vastly different from the actual Truth that Jesus taught.

“Going to church” will always involve idols of the heart.

● It will always be involved with making a good showing in the flesh.

● It will always be examining others but rarely themselves.

● It will always be boasting in religious performance, all cloaked in the language of “being holy” and “obeying God.”

“Going to church” will always produce a “worship” that draws near with its mouth and honors with its lips; that is vain; and that teaches doctrines which are the commandments of men.

“Going to church” makes you slaves of men and of human institutions and not of Christ.

“Going to church” is the morphine that numbs the pain of spiritual weakness and fecklessness.

Jesus said that a geographical location or appointed structure is completely irrelevant as a condition to worship and that true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. John 4:19-24.

Read those verses again and again and again until it sinks through.

Jesus said, I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

Jesus said, you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Jesus said, If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Jesus said that He has come to bring the good news to the poor; to proclaim release to the captives; to give sight to the blind and to set at liberty them that are crushed.

No matter how much you try and no matter how much you parade it to be so, Jesus and “going-to-church” will never, EVER mix!

“Going To Church”

 

“The Primacy of Preaching” ??

 

 A BRIEF INTRODUCTION

In putting together this relatively brief article, one big problem you encounter is the huge brick wall that is placed at the feet of many people who are under the influence and power of deception.  Few things are sadder to see than church members and church leaders entrenched in deception.  Many are literally like brick walls that have been painstakingly baked and hardened to the point that will actually keep a person from ever seeing the truth, even though the truth may be right before their eyes!

This unfortunately, is the hallmark of deception.

I know how difficult it is for a person to comprehend a different aspect of biblical truth that they are not accustomed to.  It disturbs them at the very base of their religious life.  It is very different from the way they have been taught.  So, as a result, they turn away from truth without understanding it.  They will refuse to study or examine the matter.  This is terribly sad.  This is the “working of deception” in action and is the state of the religious world in which we live today.

So in approaching this subject, let me yet once again remind you of the following Scripture and its importance in arriving at truth and understanding:

“Now the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually examined. But he that is spiritual examines all things, and he himself is examined of no man.” 

1 Corinthians 2:14-15

As you go over this brief article, please try to lay aside your preconceived ideas and prayerfully, with the attitude and spirit of the Bereans (Acts 17:10-11), consider the Scriptures and the mind of the Spirit therein.

A VERY BRIEF HISTORY

There is absolutely nothing whatsoever revealed in God’s Word about the primacy and exaltation of a specialist who issues forth a monologue Sunday after Sunday, notwithstanding the literally myriads of messages to the contrary.  One sad example can be found here.

Even with just a very cursory study, it will become clear that the “sermon” and “preaching” concept that exists today in local institutional churches, along with its academic and professional type style, does not come from the New Testament Scriptures but rather from Greek culture itself!

As one author noted, “The sermon was the result of syncretism – the fusion of the Biblical necessity of teaching with the unbiblical Greek notion of rhetoric.  Such are the indications of the influence of Greek Rhetoric upon the early churches.  It created the Christian sermon.”

When Constantine arrived on the scene in the 4th century, it was at this time that many Greek and pagan practices were adopted into the churches mind-set and practice.  One key element that came into being was that of Greek Rhetoric.” After his “conversion, ”Constantine built many “Christian temples” and even many pagan buildings were later converted to so-called churches.

At this time also, a clear class of “church officials” had evolved and it was Constantine who encouraged the use of these buildings for the “church officials” use.  This was really the official beginning of recognizing buildings as churches as well as the beginning of institutional Christianity and the downfall of what “church” and “worship” truly means.

“With the conversions of such men as Ambrose, Tertullian, Cyprian,  and Augustine, all of whom were trained in rhetoric and were quite popular as orators within the Greco-Roman culture of their day prior to their conversion, a new style or form of communication began to occur within Christian assemblies.

This new form of speech was marked by polished rhetoric, sophisticated grammar, and an undue emphasis on eloquence.  Corporate teaching within many congregations was no longer delivered in normal or raw language, but began to take on an artistic form of expression.  In some instances, the content of the teacher’s message was less influenced by biblical truth and more by abstract Greek philosophy.

Within time, corporate teaching became more of a form, designed to entertain and display the speaker’s oratorical skill or colorful wit, rather than instruct and equip the saints for ministry.  Eventually, when the “clergy-laity” division was solidified, only those who were officially ordained and trained in the new forms of speech were allowed to address the assembly.

This did much to render the saints inactive and helped to promote the idea that only the “professionals” have anything worthy to say.”

Again, these things are undisputable historical facts and is clearly evidenced in early Christian writings.

At this point, it might be noteworthy to mention that even the apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians Chapters 1 and 2 didn’t allow the worldly, pagan concept of rhetoric that he was most assuredly surrounded with, to persuade or influence him in the least in regards to his approach in proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom.

1 Cor. 1:17: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to bring the good tidings: not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made void…” Verse 22: “Seeing that Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seek after wisdom.”

1 Cor. 2:1ff: “And I, brethren, when I came unto you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God…. And my speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power….that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

THE EFFECTS

Many professing Christians today unashamedly say that they do not consider themselves to have “attended church” until they have listened to a lengthy sermon by their pastor.  This is how the false notion of the “primacy of preaching” has so permeated the church and its adherents.

In many people’s minds, the big theologians from the past are not remembered for their character or their servanthood, but for their great oratorical ability.  Look around today and you can see that the “great ones” are those who are most eloquent and thunderous when speaking.

For some, the thing that actually keeps “churches” from splitting or dying is not a body of believers caring for one another; loving one another; serving one another, but the pastor’s ability in the pulpit!

WHAT SAITH THE SCRIPTURES

When we look into the Scriptures, we see a much different picture than what we see and hear in local institutional churches today as it relates to their posturing of “the primacy of preaching.”

The early church communicated and taught the truth concerning the kingdom of God much differently.

For example, when the apostle Paul was at Troas in Acts 20:7, the word “preached “that is used in the KJV (dialegomai) comes from a Greek word which means “to dialogue” or “carry on a discussion.” 

This clearly contradicts what many “preachers” say and do.  Take the example above where the link was given for you to peruse.

This particular preacher flatly comes right out and even coins a phrase and says, “Preaching is not a dialogue.  Preaching in monological

It is a monologue.  It’s a one-sided voice of the King.”  And he basis this, using Peter’s sermon on Pentecost in Acts Chapter 2.

Now, I’m not trying to single out this fellow as some isolated example.  He gives a good and clear presentation of what is taught and believed almost universally among professing Christians as they meander about the halls of their local church institutions.

But for the apostle Paul, it was not a one-sided type of message, wrapped in deep and profound utterances, but a TWO-WAY type of message or dialogue for the very purpose of edification and building up the saints.

A chapter earlier in Acts 19:8, we see Paul again “speaking boldly, reasoning and persuading as to the things concerning the kingdom of God.”

In 1 Corinthians 14, we see the same thing again in regards to judging prophecies and using discernment.

In Philippians 1:9-10, the apostle prays that the people may “grow in discernment that they may test the things that are better.”

In 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21, we read about proving all things and holding fast to that which is good.”

You see as well in 1 John 4:1 where the apostle John urges the people to prove the spirits.”

In Revelation 2:2, Jesus commends them for trying or testing those who called themselves apostles, and were not, and found them false.”

Plus, don’t forget the many references in Scripture to taking heed how we hear.

All of this says that some kind of dialogue and interaction was going on within the assembly. How could you “test the spirits” unless there is some opportunity during the meeting to ask questions and dialogue over the alleged teaching?

And this wasn’t done after the “meeting was dismissed” either!  This wasn’t done privately with the speaker in a corner of the room where no one else can listen!

NO,….contrary to what we’re hearing today, there is absolutely nothing monologicalgoing on here at all!

Even Paul’s acknowledgement of the necessity of “factions” among the Corinthian believers in order for “those who are approved may become evident among you” 

(1 Corinthians 11:19) clearly tells us that dialogue, discernment, and differing opinions were all in vogue when they were assembled together.

Not one believer was “sitting in their pew,” naively and quietly swallowing the words of another.

Everyone was expected to discern and evaluate whatever was spoken at the time.

Remember that the apostle even commended the Bereans when they evaluated or tested his teachings (Acts 17:11)!  This is not to suggest that Paul and the rest of the early believers never engaged in a monologue in certain cases and at certain times, but only that the Scriptural pattern is clearly one of dialogue and mutual interaction.

You can say that the early believers clearly had an “open system of communication.”  But today, what do we see?  Many prefer, and actually demand “a closed one!”

Is it any wonder today why so few professing Christians ever think for themselves and grow up spiritually?  How can they; under a one-sided, “monological” system of so-called “teaching?”

The “primacy of preaching” leaves no room for the believer to think and to participate in the process.  And so, with nothing to say, with nothing to ask, and with nothing to contribute, they are rendered uninvolved, apathetic, and poker-faced!

We find in the Scriptures that even when Paul and the others were speaking to unbelievers, there was almost always an occasion for the hearers to engage in dialogue and interaction. If this be true with unbelievers, how much more important when interacting with believers!

THE GREAT OPPORTUNITY

In the Scriptures, the word that you will find over and over and over again in regards to the early believers teaching and preaching in the synagogues is the word argue or dispute or reasoned.

In Acts 9, we find Paul in verse 29, “speaking and disputed against the Grecian Jews..”

In Acts 17:2“as his custom was, Paul went in unto them, and for three sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures”

At Athens, in Acts 17:17, Paul “disputed in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons,” 

In Acts 18:4, Paul “reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.”

In Acts 18:19, we find Paul at Ephesus entering into the synagogue, and “reasoning or discussing with the Jews.”

Here is the great lesson and example of early preaching.  The early churches preaching was not a monologue, but a dialogue!  As one commentator said, “It was not a question of one man telling a crowd of men; it was a case of a group telling it over together.”

In so-called “churches” today, the “sermon” should always involve a dialoguea discussiona two-sided communication.  This is scriptural.  This is New Testament preaching.

The Bible is very clear.  If however, you are hesitant or even unwilling to do so while “the message is still in progress,” then at least, at the conclusion, it should always be immediately followed by a general discussion, in the hearing and presence of the whole assembly, for it will be at this very point that the “teacher” has the great opportunity to communicate the message to its fullest degree!

REFORMATION?  (Don’t hold your breath)

Repeating what was just said, if pastors are unwilling to have a give-and-take; a discussion; a reasoning and a discerning amongst the brethren while the message is being spoken (just like we have seen in the Scriptures) then at least, a question and discussion period should immediately follow on what has just been taught.

Think about it.  What a great teaching moment and stimulating time that would be for questions, for comments, or even for any differing of opinions!  What better way is there in directing the assembly to remember and to learn and grow in grace and knowledge on what the pastor had just so wonderfully labored to teach?

Do you want to see progress and joy in the faith of the saints?  Philippians 1:25

Do you really want to see the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ?  Ephesians 4:12

Would you really like to present every man perfect in Christ?  Colossians 1:28

If so, why would anyone neglect, evade, or even outright reject such a Scriptural and mighty means of learning and communication?  Do pastors truly believe that “the primacy of preaching” during the Sunday worship service is to be a major part of the learning experience for building up the people of God?

Horrifically, the answer is a resounding NO, they don’t!

Many pastors will never allow this type of format because they are threatened or intimidated by any form of return dialogue within any public setting, either before, during, or after any message that has just been given!

The following are mainly five reasons why this is so.

Reason #1

Having a time for discussion and questions after a sermon will pose institutional and organizational issues because “the leadership” have deliberately set their “order of worship” in concrete, specifically designed for no participation, allowing exact time limits for everything else, with no flexibility or spontaneity within the corporate meeting.

Reason #2

Having a time for a congregational discussion, for questions, or for differing opinions is highly offensive to the man who sees himself and his opinions as above those who sit in the pews.

Reason #3

Having a time for questions and a time for dialogue either during or after the sermon may expose the speaker to the possibility of questions that he may not be able to answer.  It may also reveal that his studies and preparation were perhaps, shallow.  And it could show that he is not necessarily the Bible “authority” that he parades to be.

Reason #4

Fourthly, having a time for dialogue, questions, and a time for “give-and-take” will remove the image (albeit, false image) that is rampant in local institutional churches, that being “the centrality of the preacher.”   It will remove the spotlight; the center-stage from one man and will bring others into its realm, which can be very disconcerting to the man who has a huge ego to sustain.

Reason #5

Having discussions, dialogue, and questions is seen as disrespectful to the man who wants his congregation to be dependent upon him for all the answers.  If the people were permitted to question, to dialogue, to discuss, and even perhaps offer a better answer than he can, it will tend to remove their dependence upon his wisdom for understanding the text of Scripture, and of course, that must never happen!

CONCLUSION

The present evil abuses in today’s local institutional churches that are clearly exposed on this website have a wide range of effect in many areas of life.  This is far, far more than a personality or temperament problem.

Take the false notion of “the primacy of preaching.” Its roots run not only in a theological misunderstanding of the scriptures, but its roots run much deeper than that.  Its roots run deep into a misguided soul which inwardly craves for a rigid, self-righteous, and condemning attitude.  A soul that lusts and craves for attention; for power; for authority; for rule, and for control.

I’ve heard men who are thoroughly infected and wholly taken over with “the primacy of preaching” mentality, ridicule and mock “love” in an angry screaming voice.  Straight from their man-made soap boxes, they will also ridicule and mock sincere brethren who would dare to question or disagree with them on an issue of church doctrine or policy, labeling them as being “divisive;” “disaffected;” “rebels;” or “having a bitter spirit.”  

They behave this way because it is believed that somehow, “Divine Authority” has supposedly been bestowed upon them; that they “stand in a holy office.” They believe that their words are the “voice of the King” and you dare not question that voice, let alone, “their sermon!”

This is why men with such an attitude and false theology can very easily step in between a husband and/or wife (because one of them is disagreeing with the pastor) and deliberately destroy marriages and families and feel that God is “being glorified and His truth is being vindicated.”   

This is why men with such an attitude and false theology can “punish heresy with death” as well.

All of these things have happened before and continues to happen as we speak.

Brethren, the false notion of “the primacy of preaching” is just another example of the shady practices and exploitations that is occurring inside these institutions.  It makes“ untouchable popes” out of pastors and bobble-head dolls out of those who follow them.

Can it be any plainer than that?

It is one of the dark foundations and marks of the unbiblical local institutional church system.

It is a man-made, man-sustained philosophy that is fueled by pride, greed, lust, power, money, and control, and NOT by Scripture.  It is a philosophy which has gone far, far“ beyond the things which are written.”

“The primacy of preaching” scheme only encourages and actually keeps the saints in an infantile state and fosters an unhealthy dependence upon the preacher, exactly what it has been designed to do.  It’s not that people will never learn from a monologue sermon but only that the Scriptural pattern is clearly one of dialogue and mutual interaction.

To be never afforded the opportunity to publicly ask questions or make relevant comments during or after “the message,” clearly is NOT Scriptural.

So as a result, very little is expected of you, except of course for the strong admonitions directed in making sure that you return next week for the repeat performance!

This is the sad situation in today’s local institutional church system.  Will people ever learn?  Will people ever change?  Sadly for many, probably not, and especially in regards to the perpetrators themselves, seeing that:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Ken Cascio

www.wickedshepherds.com

Two related articles you might also be interested in:

1) “Are You A Berean?”

2)  “Cattle and Sheep”

THE NEW NORMAL

Wicked Shepherds - The New Normal

Wicked Shepherds – The New Normal

TRUTH IN A NUTSHELL

Truth In A Nutshell

truth-in-a-nutshell

When your friends tell you “how great their church is,”

how are we to respond?

By telling them the “truth in a nutshell!”

Professing Christians are confusing apples with oranges as they think they are talking about the church that is found in the Bible, when they are really talking about anunbiblicalman-mademan-controlled, and man-sustained institutional organization!

  Truth In A Nutshell

www.wickedshepherds.com

The “Early Church Fathers”

 

People always bring up the matter of theearly Church Fathers.”
 
Really?  So what’s that supposed to mean?
 
They will say, “….Look at the early church fathers.  None of them believed and taught what you teach about the church and about men not having authority over others in the church!”
 
(At this point, I could easily play along with them and bring up some of “their church fathers” who did believed these things.  But I refrain)
 
Instead, I show them the greatest of all “church fathers” who did believe and teach it.
 
1) JESUS: In Matthew. 20:25-28, Mark 10:42-44, Luke 22:24-27, Jesus is recorded saying in regards to exercising authority over God’s people: “NOT SO SHALL IT BE AMONG YOU.”  Jesus could not have been more clear on this issue.  If there is a direct command in the Scriptures, this is one of them.  The apostles followed this command.
 
2) JESUS: Matthew 23:1-12: “But you, do not be called Rabbi, for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, who is in heaven. And do not be called leaders; for One is your leader, even the Christ.” Jesus, in these few sentences, is making it very plain what the nature of leadership in His community was going to be. His leaders would NOTassume titles or positions of authority. “But you, do not be called Rabbi”! They were not to assume the title or position of Rabbi (master, teacher).
 
3)  JESUS: John 13:1-17: Jesus washes His disciples feet and then says, “…”Do you know what I have done to you?…If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them….” John 13:17.   AGAIN, we see that the model of leadership in God’s ecclesia is not the CEO Business Exec; it’s not the “Chairman/Pastor” sitting on the Board of Elders; it’s not a group of men ruling and exercising authority, barking out their demands of authority, headship, and submission to every beck and call.  No, it’s the household slave!
 
For from His knees in the upper room, Jesus said, “For I have given you an example that you also should do as I have done to you.” John 13:15
 
Yes, Jesus did leave us an example to follow – one that stands in stark and total antithesis to the current notion of “authority in the church!”
 
I also would give them examples of other church fathers, like Paul, Peter, and John. 
 
But of course, after giving them examples of these particular “church fathers,” I usually never hear back from them because this is not what they wanted to hear.
 
It’s interesting that people will disregard what Jesus says….what John, Peter, and Paul say……but as soon as a “Calvin” or other “Reformers” talk about “church authority” or “pastoral rule,” or “the office of the bishop,” they will all say, “…Look how clear this is.  Why can’t you see it?  The early church fathers believed and taught it!”
 
There is no verse in the Bible where God commands that you “must go to church,” let alone, to form some kind of an organization called “the church,” or “local church.”
 
There is not one hint from God that He requires Christians to “place membership in,” “become a member of,” “join,” “support,” and/or “attend” any one of these organizations and/or institutions.
 
There is not one hint whatsoever from God that He requires Christians to be under the pastoral rulership or the pastoral control and authority of someone who isexercising rule over you IN HIS ASSEMBLY!  NOT ONE!!
 
This whole concept is a contrivance of man, dating back many centuries. The idea behind it is, and has always been, for complete control of the masses.  I repeat, THE CONCEPT IS FROM MAN, NOT GOD!
 
If there were such Scriptures, it would be the FIRST VERSE that these people would use to defend their distortions.  But since they don’t have any Scriptures like that, they all go to the backup plan, which always includes, “…Well, the Church Fathers said and practiced….” or many times, this as well “…Well, the great creeds and Confessions of Faith say in question such and such…”
 
Really?
 
And then, to add insult to injury, they all turn around and say, “…The New Testament is our sufficient guide for the church’s faith and practice…”  and yet gather together in ways that contradict its patterns!
 
Fervent love for Jesus Christ and a desire to discern and act the mind and example of Christ in the Scriptures must flow among all of the brethren.  If it doesn’t, sorrow and heartache will always result.
 
Deep humility, along with an open and teachable spirit must also be present.  Taking up our cross daily and following Jesus is not easy, but it is the only way of true blessedness.
 
False teachings and practices have always blocked us from pursuing the gathering of saints in the naturalness and simplicity which is revealed in the New Testament.  It is very easy to be self-deceived. Genuine Christians need to be on constant guard and to stand firm because the fiercest opposition they will often encounter will come from the men who say they are “God’s chosen;” “Called by God to exercise rule over His people.”
 
The proponents of exercising authority over God’s saints will always paint their critics as either being backslidden, heretics, or miserable prodigals who live in rebellion to God’s authority.  How untrue this is!  Many believers wholeheartedly support authority, accountability, and submission but at the same time, realize that wolves inside local institutional churches actually subvert and DESTROY life giving fellowship.

If you continue to exalt that which He hasn’t, aren’t you going to be the worse for it?
 
Within His Assembly, there are no hierarchical positions of men.  There is only a hierarchy of One.  Everyone and everything is directly subordinate to Jesus Christ!“And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over all things for the Ecclesia.”  Ephesians 1:22
 
There are no managerial positions in His Assembly, for each Christian is a priest who reports directly to the Head, Jesus Christ.  Ezekiel 34:23, John 10:16, 1 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Peter 2:5; 2:9
 
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5
 
No one in the Ecclesia is required to report to any intermediate position, for each person is directly accountable to God and God alone. Matthew 12:36, Romans 14:12, 1 Corinthians 7:24, Hebrews 4:13
 
There is only one position of authority in the Church and it is held exclusively by Jesus Christ.
 
If you believe yourself to be a Christian, herein are your marching orders from your Lord and Master Himself!
 
Remember Jesus’ words, ”If you love me, keep my commandments.”
 
If you refuse to follow the directions that He has given in the passages of Scripture that have been set before you, then Jesus says, to you, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46
 
Why wouldn’t you want to devote your zeal to what He has shown us in the Scriptures?
 
Is it really beneficial for deep-rooted human traditions and other men’s fantasy’s to continue its reign over church life?
 
“If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.”  John 13:12-17
The Early Church Fathers

Profile of a Pharisee

I thank you God that I am not like other menProfile of a Pharisee

Follow ME!

Jesus said Follow Me

“THE PEARLY GATES”

Then, “the pastor” (Pastor John) died and stood before God:
 
 
 
G O D:  John, tell me why I should allow you entrance into my Kingdom.
 
 
JOHN:  Thank you Lord for giving me this opportunity to speak.  I will happily and confidently answer thusly:  First of all, by your mercy, I repented of my sins and am saved by the blood of Jesus.  Blessed be His Name!  By your grace, I pursued holiness and was a follower of the Lamb and of your Word.  After completing my ministerial and theological training, You called me into the ministry and I obeyed that clarion call to be a preacher of your Word.  I left my job and have been shepherding the church you gave me, feeding my flock the word every Lord’s Day; overseeing them and giving to them my pastoral counsel and guidance.
 
 
G O D: A “follower of the Lamb and my Word” John?  Really?   First of all, since when is My flock your flock?
 
 
JOHN: Well,……I mean uh,…….Your flock Lord.
 
 
G O D: Also, just when did I tell you to quit your job which goes against the example that was left by my servant the apostle Paul who clearly kept working night and day and did his preaching on the side?
 
 
JOHN: Well,…uh, I thought that working a day job would take away from my full time ministry.  How would I ever be effective?…..Sir.
 
 
G O D: “Your full time ministry?” Oh, I see.  I left you examples to follow but you thought better than I did!  Interesting John.
 
 
JOHN: But Lord, how was I going to support my family?  I didn’t think I had to have an outside job with all the tithes coming in.
 
 
G O D: “ALL THE TITHES COMING IN??” Really John?  You don’t want Me to go there.  Believe me!
 
 
JOHN: Ok, so I misunderstood a couple of things in Your word.  But really Lord, I was faithful in shepherding your people and I had a nice building complex to worship You in!
 
 
 
G O D: When did I ever tell you to be a shepherd of my people?  The One whom I sent is the Shepherd of My people!  Have you not read what David said: “The Lord is My Shepherd!”  There is only One Shepherd; One flock.  All others are thieves and robbers.  You do greatly err, John.
 
 
JOHN: I didn’t know Lord. This is not what I was taught.
 
 
G O D: And something else: what’s this thing about “a nice building complex?” When did I ever tell you to build church buildings?  On the contrary, I told the Samaritan woman in John 4 that true worshippers shall worship Me in spirit and in truth.  This is what I seek; not a geographical locality or appointed structure.  How many times have I said that I dwell NOT in temples made with hands and neither am I served by men’s hands, as though I needed anything!  Have you ever really tried reading My word on this, John?
 
 
JOHN: I’m so sorry Lord.  All of my teachers and counselors,…you know,…Calvin, Owen, Spurgeon, the Reformers, the Puritans, plus all of my present day teachers were all examples to me.  I followed all of their ways and teachings, especially in regards to the pastoral ministry.  I also studied and followed the great creeds and catechisms.  I thought that I was set apart; you know, something special.  I was clothed with divine authority, right?  I was called“Pastor” and “Doctor.”  I was one who exercised authority in the assembly.  All of these things I was taught to do Lord.
 
 
G O D:  John,…..John.  Yes, you’re right on that.  You were surely taught to do that, but NOT BY ME!  You’ve been duped!  But I wonder.  Were you really duped, or did you really love acting and doing the things you did.  But again John, did you ever really study My Word on your own,……….EVER??
 
 
JOHN:  Well Lord, I did have my devotions every morning and I did work at preparing my Sunday messages to some degree!
 
 
G O D: What did My Son say about “exercising authority?”  He could not have been more clearer on the issue.  In regards to exercising authority, He said clearly “NOT SO SHALL IT BE AMONG YOU!” You can clearly see that in Matthew Chapter 20; Mark 10; and Luke 22.  And it can also be clearly seen in the example of My Son throughout His entire ministry.  Why…..He even washed His disciples feet, kneeling before them one by one, until every dirty foot in the room was clean and then said, “Do you know what I have done to you?”  “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”  This is the model for leadership, John.  Not “exercising authority!” Did you ever read that portion of my Word, John?  Why do you practice just the opposite?

 
 
JOHN: I must have read it many times, but I just didn’t see it Lord.
 
 
G O D: I can see what some of your problem is John.  Did I call you to study Calvin or Owen or Spurgeon, Whitfield, Luther or any of the other theologians past or present?  Since when did I call you to study these people?  The men whose writings I called you to study were of a much simpler sort. They were tradesmen who I trusted with writing My Word as revealed by the Holy Spirit. Though they were humble men, their names are well known: Peter, James, John, Matthew, Luke, Jude, Mark and the apostle Paul, who determined to know nothing but Christ crucified and counted all previous knowledge as dung.  John, these are the men that you ought to have studied and followed and not the others.
 
 
JOHN: Hmmm!
 
 
G O D: And another thing: Where do you get the idea of having all these pompous, religious titles in front of your name as well as letters after your name?  In Matthew 23, I clearly gave the command that no one is to be walking around with titles.  In just a few sentences, I made it very plain what the nature and quality of leadership in My community was going to be.  Leaders would NOT assume titles or positions. “But you, do not be called Rabbi”! Remember that John? They were not to assume the title or position of Rabbi (master, teacher).  As if that was not basic enough, I continued in this manner by saying also, “And do not be called leaders.”
This is a division.  I commanded that there should be no divisions among you, for one is your Teacher and you are all simply brothers.  Why didn’t you follow My Word on this, John?
 
JOHN:  I’m so confused Lord.  How were the people to know that I am the pastor?
 
 
G O D: You just don’t get it, do you John?  For once in your life, search My Word, John!  There is no exalted office or position of “the pastor!”  Nowhere!  You have succumbed to the false teaching of “office;” “control;” “ministerial dignity;” “power;” and “authority” that false teachers love to shove into My Word.  These charlatans have rejected the command and example of Jesus and have done just the opposite in putting themselves on par with the elite, at the peak of the pyramid!  But John, it’s not there.  It never was and it never will be.
 
 
JOHN:  Well Lord, I was part of the eldership who had oversight over the flock and even conducted pastoral visitations with all of the members in order to check up on their spiritual state!
 
 
G O D: “Eldership” John?  Yeah, I know about that, John.  I know it all too well.  And who authorized you to do these so-called “pastoral visitations” anyway?  Me?  I don’t think so John; at least, not in the sense and fashion that YOU carried them out: Sticking your nose in my peoples’ personal affairs which is frankly none of your business; quizzing them about their “giving to the church,”as though this is commanded by Me, which it IS NOT; manipulating them with“your  directives”  which are no where found in scripture; encouraging them to spy on each other and open up every aspect of their lives to your “microscopic scrutiny?”   Is this your idea of “pastoral visitation?”  Why John?  Again I say, why John?  To foster mindless servitude amongst my people?  Is that it, John?
 
 
JOHN: But Lord, this is what other churches do!
 
 
G O D: ENOUGH JOHN!   And then, what about some of my people who dared to question you?  What is their fate, John?  What did you do to those folk, John?
 
 
JOHN: Oh NO!
 
 
G O D: Let me tell you something about that John.  So, for example, what did you do in a situation where a spouse questioned your sermon or dared to disagree?  You started to tamper with their marriage, didn’t you, John?  HOW DARE YOU TAMPER WITH THE MARRIAGE INSTITUTION!!!  For what John?  For a spouse questioning your sermon???? Is that it, John?  How dare you put asunder what I have joined together! You call yourself a Christian, John?  You call yourself a Pastor, John?  You call yourself a follower of the Lamb and of My Word, John?  I know what you have done John, along with your “fellow workers”  of iniquity across the earth; how you deliberately inserted yourself between a husband and wife and purposely pitted one against the other all because one of them dared to “step on your toes!”  Shame on you, John!  And if that was not enough, you then would“counsel” one spouse to actually separate or even divorce from their mate in order to teach them and the assembly  a lesson (the lesson being – not to question the pastor).  Right, John?  Where do you get this from My Word John?
 
 
 
JOHN: Lord, what can I say?  Lord,….uh…..I’m speechless.  I don’t know how to respond.  The mother church had done all of these things and I just went ahead and followed their example.  I don’t know what to say other than I did try to teach Your word; I remembered the Sabbath day to keep it holy; I tried to keep the church membership pure and undefiled and I did many other wonderful works in Your Name…..
 
 
G O D: None of that will wash, John!  Teaching a concocted and twisted word does not count. You still have not given Me one good reason why I should allow you to enter My Holy Kingdom,….not one.  Everything we just discussed that I commanded in My word, you have just twisted and made up something else altogether!
 
I even sent some of My true servants to warn you about all of your dastardly deeds.  But what did you do, John?  You mocked them as being irrelevant.  You slandered them.  You lied about them and then cast them out of your presence and even prevented your followers from having any dealings with them as well!
 
John, it’s sad to see what you have become.  You’ve worked almost your entire life, following the words of men; climbing the ladder of imaginary ecclesiastical positions, only to realize that there have never been any such positions in My assembly and that you have been living in total rebellion against the Truth.
 
So here’s your judgment John……….
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 The Pearly Gates
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wickedshepherds.com

Psalm 90

Psalm 90 verse 12

A few more years shall roll,
A few more seasons come,
And we shall be with those that rest
Asleep within the tomb;
Then, O my Lord, prepare
My soul for that great day.

Refrain

O wash me in Thy precious blood,
And take my sins away.

A few more storms shall beat
On this wild rocky shore,
And we shall be where tempests cease,
And surges swell no more;
Then, O my Lord, prepare
My soul for that calm day.

Refrain

O wash me in Thy precious blood,
And take my sins away.

A few more struggles here,
A few more partings o’er,
A few more toils, a few more tears,
And we shall weep no more:
Then, O my Lord, prepare
My soul for that bright day.

Refrain

O wash me in Thy precious blood,
And take my sins away.

(Horatius Bonar – 1842)

Published in: on December 29, 2015 at 10:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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CAN YOU EVEN BEGIN TO IMAGINE JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES SELLING THEIR SERMONS?

Jesus Christ would never put any of His material on sale or give His ministry a formal name or even think to register it with Caesar to receive some tax breaks. Jesus never acted as though He needed the world’s eyes or the world’s approval to carry on His ministry.

Did He “take up collections?”  No.  Did He have a certain day for “attending” Him?  No.  Did He say anything about “going to church” or anything about serving and following your “under shepherds?”  NO.

There are many professing Christians who have only seen Jesus through the distorted lens of man’s attendance-based religion, church services, money-laundering, “pastoral” control, showmanship, rituals, and empty traditions,….all embodied in a shallow, zombie-like existence.

Isn’t all of what we are witnessing today absolutely ludicrous? Think about it.

What we are witnessing in today’s local institutional churches is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of Jesus’ example!  And all of them proudly and pompously say that “the Bible is our guide for faith and practice.”

Really??

“For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites and by fair and flattering words, they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded.”  ROMANS 16:18

www.wickedshepherds.com

Published in: Uncategorized on October 18, 2015 at 7:44 pm  Leave a Comment