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Sunday I presented to the fellowship my study on the Ministry of Freedom, a core value. Since freedom is such an important value in the Christian and the American life I felt that this follow-up was necessary. I am looking at freedom from a strictly Christian viewpoint, which is, in actuality, the only viewpoint.

If you are a Christian what more needs to be said? Why is it found necessary for worldly or theological representatives to propose to him certain rules of conduct or values to live by? Are not these rules actually threats to his genuine liberty acquired through grace?

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Gal. 5:1

Isn’t this the apparent paradox of the Christian life? Free but not free! This is the tension between salvation by grace (as a gift) and the working out of that salvation with fear and trembling. The traditional way is for the theologian to step in and explain, adapt, coordinate, and systemize, to hide the paradox behind the veil of words. But, this is a lost cause because the paradox is in our inability to reason correctly and not in the actual living out of our life of grace. The explanations of man stifle life and truth; free man is free, he is free because he has been freed by God. If you are a Christian what more needs to be said?

Theological discussion is trespassing when it tries to mediate in this unique heavenly relationship. “Free” man is given a gift by God, “be free,” act free, “stand firm” in this freedom as a free man; ethical philosophic discussions only destroy this freedom by trying to establish what the limits of this freedom are. The questions men want to know are just how free they are and where does this freedom end and where are the boundaries? Yet, these definitions only serve to bind so many of us Christians. Even very serious Christians need to be constantly reminded of what they are, they are FREE.

As I have tried to explain at other times, it is necessary to establish where we are at on the timeline of our journey since the creation of Adam and Eve. We are no longer in the Garden of Eden, we are on the other side of the swirling angelic swords guarding against our re-entrance to Paradise. We are now in the garden of fallen angels, the garden of evil and the world of confusion. The movie “The Matrix” exemplified these parallel situations nicely.

True meanings are important because in this world we now have things defined by different sets of competing criteria. Freedom defined by God is not the same as freedom defined by the world. What was once defined according to the Garden environment of “good” is now defined in an environment of both good and evil. What was easy before has now become complicated. What we once knew intuitively now involves many choices. In the world, outside the Garden of God, the “freedom of choice” has now become the new freedom. Choice is the result of our confused ability to reason correctly and confusion is the primary element employed by the prince of this world to govern his slaves and keep them in compliance. In a world of darkness we do not know how to distinguish between good and evil. Freedom, as viewed by the Christian, is the invasion of something new (not really new but eternally old) into the world of darkness. That “something new” is light and understanding which was given to us in (3) ways, Christ, the written word, and the Spirit. Christ is the Light, the living Word, our example, the correct understanding of life. The Bible is God’s written instruction book and reference book for all things relating to making correct choices in a foreign land, this world. The Holy Spirit is the indwelling presence of Christ to illuminate and differentiate between good and evil and to help us.

It shouldn’t be necessary to point out the fact that the Church has been an opponent to real freedom with its propagation of politics, patriotism, ecclesiology, and theology. All of these are the attempt to translate simple spiritual freedom, the freedom of Eden, into terms of this world, associated with power, confusion, and choices. Whenever the Church has been in a position of power it has regarded real freedom as an enemy, e.g. primitive Christians and the Anabaptist. Freedom as defined by God and correctly understood is incompatible with power.

As citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, living in a foreign land, we do not nullify or weaken the freedom given us by our Father country although we do obey the laws of the foreign country to the extent that we do not disobey the spiritual nature of the freedom we hold supreme. Our only citizenship is to Heaven. To the extent that we get involved with the processes and the confusion of choices inherent in the nature of a darkened world, we discount the validity of true freedom showing ourselves to still be in darkness, and choose the world over heaven and the prince of darkness over the Prince of Light. “We cannot serve two masters.”

Our duty and our right is to fully affirm in our freedom the truth of the glory of God to those who live in darkness, and that there exist an exit from the confusion of darkness into the Light of truth, and also that darkness and confusion are products of wrath which will soon be manifested in a coming judgment.

Now is the time for salvation. Freed men and women are free.

By Leo Tolstoy

“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be

made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered

in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body

but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul

and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:26-28)

“Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!’”

(Acts 5:29)

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So here you are a soldier, you have been trained to obey without question, to shoot, stab, march, read manuals on weapons, survival, and have been through military exercises and paraded before dignitaries by those who have been through wars before you. It probably did not even enter your mind to ask yourself whether what you were doing was good or bad.

Now imagine, without notice, the command comes to your company or squadron to prepare for action using live ammunition. You travel, without knowing where you are being taken. You are delivered to a town or school, and you see from a distance that a crowd of local people are in an open square – factory workers, students, men, women with children, old men and women. The governor and other civil authorities, accompanied by policemen, are talking to the crowd and the people about something. The crowd is at first silent, then the people begin to cry out louder and louder, and protest placards are raised, and the officials step back and separate from the crowd. You see that these common people, students, and factory workers are riotous and that you have been brought there to pacify them. The officials walk up to the people and walk away again, but the shouts grow louder and louder. The officials talk among themselves, and you are commanded to load your weapon with live ammunition. You see before you regular people, the same as you used to be: men in suit coats, blue-jeans, and tennis shoes; women in scarfs and jackets, the kind of clothing that your mom, dad, and wife or sister might wear. You are ordered to fire the first shot over their heads, but the people do not disperse and the shouts get louder than before. Then you are given the order to shoot, not over their heads, but straight into the crowd.

You have been taught that you are to obey without thought and that you, in concert with others, are not responsible for the results of your firing, but you know that the man who, wallowing in blood, fell down from your bullet and was killed by you and no one else; and you know that if you would not have shot, the person would not have been killed.

What are you to do in this situation?

It is not enough for you to lay down your weapon and refuse to kill your brothers. Tomorrow the same could be repeated across county, state or international lines, and so, whether you wish it or not, you must consider the situation and ask yourself what this calling of a soldier really is, which has brought you to such a state that you are commanded to shoot at unarmed civilians.

What does the Gospel say? It says that we must not only not kill our brothers, but also that we must not do what leads to murder, i.e., that we must not be angry with our brothers, and that we must love our enemies instead of hating them. In the Law of Moses, it says distinctly, “Thou shalt not kill,” without any explanations as to who may be killed and who may not. But, in the rules that you have been taught, it says that a soldier must obey any command of his superior. In the official explanation, given by the Church and the state, of the sixth commandment, they are told that, though the commandment forbids killing, he who kills in war does not sin against God. On the contrary, you are told that you must kill because you have taken the oath, and are led to believe that the leaders, and not you, are responsible for your actions. But before you swore an oath, before you made a promise to mere men to do their will, you were, even without an oath, under orders to do the will of God, of Him who gave men life – God has commanded us not to kill.

Thus it was wrong of you to swear that you would do everything demanded of you by men. For this reason, it says directly in the Gospel (Matthew 5:34), “Do not swear at all… Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No.’ Anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” And the same is said in James 5:12: “Above all, my brothers, do not swear – not by heaven or by earth or by anything else.” Thus the oath itself is a sin. And when they lead you to believe that not you, but the authorities, will be responsible for your acts, it is a lie.

Can your conscience be in the sergeant, captain, colonel, president or anybody else, and not in yourself? Nobody can decide for you what you can and must do, and what you cannot and must not do. A man is always responsible for what he does. Adam, so the Bible tells, sinned against God and then said that his wife had told him to eat the forbidden fruit and that the devil had tempted her. God justified neither Adam nor Eve and told them that Adam would be punished for having listened to the voice of his wife and that his wife would be likewise punished for having obeyed the serpent. He did not free them but punished them. Will not God say the same to you, when you kill a man and say that your captain commanded you to do so? Thus, by killing on the command of your superiors, you are as much a murderer as the robber who kills a merchant in order to buy drugs. The robber is tempted by the money, and soldiers are tempted by the desire to win medals or the praise of patriotism. A man himself will always answer for his acts before God. No power on earth can make of you, a living man, a puppet that can be handled by others. Christ taught men that they are sons of God, and so a Christian cannot make his conscience subject to the power of another man, no matter what his title might be.

The simple fact is that these men, who have taken charge of you, are cheats, and that therefore, you must not obey them. More shameful than the harlot, whose master controls her body, is the soldier whose master commands him to commit murder.

Consequently, the Christian who wants to live a Godly life must give up the disgraceful and the godless calling of a soldier.

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There is a characteristic of this church age that can only be classified as a new theology, but has its true origin in the brother of Abel. It cannot be denied that all we see today – the death of God, the elevation of the love of humanity over faith in God, the separation of truth from reality, violence as a distinctive of God, psychologizing as a cure for the ills of man, and religiosity as a means to an end – were all formulated and revealed eons ago by Cain. All of the modern findings are again calling into question God’s plan for man and His revelation of truth, leaving man absolute and in-charge.

It is not a stretch to see that the world’s effort to modify the Bible so that it can better communicate with modern man is no new endeavor. Even before science, we find it being practiced with the same spirit and for the same reasons, to elevate man’s “reason” above the will of God. Examples of this spirit are scattered throughout history and legitimized and Christianized and accepted in place of the Gospel. New theological affirmations are always the renewed protest by man against God’s sovereignty. Cain’s desire for concessions from God to accept his approach is nothing but the root of modern theology in all of its varied forms.

In the narrative of Cain and Abel, we see that Cain is irritated by what appears to be God’s arbitrary choice of Abel, and this is not at all satisfactory with Cain. This action of God was not a rejection of Cain but rather an opportunity for Cain to make a choice; the word of God is always a Gospel, a good word. The command put on Cain is the same command put on all of God’s children, to get mastery over sin.

At this command, we can sense a pause as if Cain was weighing his options, and he says nothing to God. This silence, we can conclude, is a rejection of the vertical relationship with his Creator and the only relationship which remains is the man-to-man horizontal relationship of which his ability to either out-wit or destroy his brother become viable options. This breaking of the vertical relationship is Cain’s new form of freedom, a freedom to now use all the resources of this world and the inner reasoning of a corrupted mind. In his use of “reason,” along with his new found freedom, he falsely concludes that the God of Abel has victimized him and is unjust and that He would have to be banned. And, from that time on he knew Abel would have to die; Abel stood as the proof (in his own mind) that he was despised and rejected by God. The only person he now had to satisfy was himself. It is significant to recognize that this justification turns in the same circle that the death of God, the science of man, the theology of violence, the study of mental awareness and astrology are expounded and developed.

This new study or knowledge has been lately termed as a, “coming of age.” Appeals to a primitive deity as a Father is hedged around and prayed to on the level of esoteric and occultic apparatuses to expand personal abilities and awareness. Mankind is now writing his own story and history. Cain has now reached his summit and formulated his own religion by rejecting outright or supplementing what remains of past revelatory knowledge, which the Bible exposes as an illusion. In Cain’s mind, he believes he can now lead history in a positive way and provide and assure, by his own means, what God had proposed, i.e. to protect him. We have now arrived at man’s efficacy for self-protection, self-awareness, self-fulfillment, etc. with not only receiving God’s promise to avenge Cain “seven times” if he is attacked but of Lemach’s success in avenging himself “seventy-seven” times. His vengeance is much better, much more efficacious than God’s, and here man’s enterprise and self-sufficiency blooms and takes shape. What purpose is there now for a direct appeal to God in a society where man is successful without God? Of course, God did provide some good ideas initially, which needed only a few enhancements to adapt to Cain’s present situation. Cain is now a modern theologian.

Many are quite aware (maybe unconsciously) of this theology of Cain becoming “of age” and applaud it as a great advancement in thinking and in reality, it is nothing but the applaud of the fall of Adam. In this sense, the fall of Adam was a positive thing and thanks to it man has won his freedom and great initiative.

This places us in a very comfortable situation. We can proclaim that we are in an altogether different situation now with the advent of adulthood. Modernity, secularism, rationality, science, etc., is a situation worlds apart from Biblical myth. As a consequence, we find it necessary to extricate ourselves from the old formulas and theologies so that we can communicate man-to-man as adults. The comfort of this position has promoted our blindness and disability, and disallows any communication with an unseen reality and it is in this regard that Solomon declares, “Vanity of vanities . . . there is nothing new under the sun.”

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God intervenes radically only in response to a radical attitude on the part of the believer—radical not in regard to political means but in regard to faith; and the believer who is radical in his faith has rejected all means other than those of faith. The appeal to and use of violence in Christian action increase in exact proportion to the decrease in faith…Unbelief is the true root of the Christian championship of violence.

Jacques Ellul


The issue of whether Jesus teaches by word and deed the Way of Nonviolent Love toward friends and enemies is settled. He does! All attempts today to justify violence from the life of Jesus or His teachings are devoid of spiritual and intellectual merit. That is not opinion, that is fact.

Deliberate Neglect

Happily, many spiritual leaders have all but ceased the ridiculous notion of trying to morally justify the violence of Christians by reference to Jesus and His teachings. Today, the method of choice is deliberate neglect of the nonviolent nature of Jesus and of the love that He taught to His disciples as being the divine way of the Kingdom. Many Christian Churches try to explain away Jesus’ teaching of nonviolent love by demanding that He did not really mean what He said, others just ignore it or replace it with some philosophical blather which they then raise to an equivalent status to the teaching of Jesus, e.g.,

“It is a God-given natural right to kill those who are trying to kill you. Killing other human beings is a tragic necessity in the present state of a fallen humanity with its immoral societies. To do what is natural or necessary cannot be sinful when done in good Christian conscience!”

With this strategy Jesus’ teaching does not even get a hearing, except to be pridefully dismissed as simplistic or stupid. He is allowed to be considered only after the decision to kill has been well implanted and accepted.

If we assume that most religious leaders are not just CEOs running multi-million dollar corporations or their affiliates, but are men and women who believe in Jesus and want to teach what Jesus taught then why are they not doing it where homicidal violence and hostility are concerned? There are three primary reasons:

1. Either they are unaware that Jesus does teaches nonviolent love, or

2. They know it but have no idea how to teach it without creating moral and spiritual chaos for their fellow Christians—and themselves.

3. Fear of retaliation or removal. The Church as a business cannot afford to have a large percentage of donors leave nor can it afford to have a CEO who causes division.

Flying Under the Radar

The vast majority of seminaries do not offer a course in the history, theology, or spirituality of Christian nonviolence, it is predictable that most men and women being ordained from these seminaries will know little to nothing of the subject, will not have had it integrated into the rest of their formal theological education, and will therefore not stress in their ministry what was not stressed in their formal training. The run-of-the-mill bishop, minister, and priest is as non-informed or misinformed on this subject as the common Christian. There may be an occasional mention of Gandhi’s or Martin Luther King, Jr’s nonviolent civil disobedience, i.e. pacifism, within the context of a Peace and Justice course, or a momentary tip of the hat to the Anabaptist within the context of a Church History course, but this is the only contact with the subject that seminaries normally have available to their students, and you will hear absolutely nothing about the non-resistance of Charles Spurgeon or D. L. Moody.

The question is, why do Christian learning institutions throughout the world persist in their evasion of the nonviolent Jesus and His teaching of nonviolent love? However, the consequence of this evasion is that for the majority of ministers and laity Jesus’ teaching on nonviolence is deliberately discounted and overlooked. This allows ministers to promote following Christ while at the same time promoting the un-Christ-like acts that all wars demand of their participants.

But ignorance is not the only reason. What of those pastors and religious leaders who are aware that Jesus taught nonviolent love of enemies, yet still do not teach it? To pick up an M-16 and to randomly fire into a crowd of those who have been labeled “the enemy” is not a true picture of Christ-likeness regardless that you wear a uniform aligning you with a military outfit. What about those leaders who oversee the spiritual and moral health of our Christian communities, who understand that in order to present the bad news of the gun you must first put down the Good News of the Gospel, yet, remain silent on the issue? They freely use the Just war argument yet know that no such thing exist. When has there ever been a just war? There never has been, but we mustn’t tell this to the people. The most informed conclusion is that this man is a hypocrite, pretending to be an authority of the Gospel, when in fact he is intentionally withholding information critical to salvation. But, when viewed from a distance he appears intelligent, Christ-like, and of more than ordinary compassion. He simply cannot fathom how he could teach that Christians are not following Jesus if they participate in the organized homicide of a military action without having his Church business implode and his congregation turn on him like enraged beasts. This is not a far-fetched argument.

The statements of Jesus concerning the rejection of violence as a means of dealing with other people is clear enough. Christians do not question either that Jesus said it or that it needs qualification. Christians have simply decided they cannot live according to these sayings of Jesus. To put it more bluntly, they have decided that they do not wish to live according to these sayings. If the Protestant Church were to decide to join the Mennonites in refusing violence, I doubt whether the Churches pleasant relations with the government would endure a day after that decision.

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The warnings are clear to our young people against going to dens of iniquity, even out of curiosity, because no one knows what might happen. And, just as terrible, however, is the danger of going along with the crowd. In truth, there is no place where a human being is more easily corrupted – than in a crowd.

Even though every one of these individuals may possess the truth when he gets together in a crowd the truth will be diminished instantly, because the crowd is the essence of untruth. It either produces selfishness, stubbornness, and irresponsibility or it weakens the individual’s alertness and responsibility by placing the person as just one among many. For example, imagine an individual walking up to Christ and spitting on him. No human being would ever have the courage or the audacity to do that. But as part of a crowd, they somehow gain the “courage” to do it. Or, imagine a person deliberately pointing a gun at another person and pulling the trigger. Only the most wicked person could do that. Yet, as part of the crowd, who all possess guns, the crime is diminished and even applauded.

The crowd spirit is indeed the essence untruth. Christ was crucified because he would have nothing to do with the crowd (even though he addressed himself to all). He did not want to form a new political party, a special interest group, a mass movement, but only wanted to be what he was, the truth, which is related, not to a crowd, but to the single individual. Therefore, everyone who will genuinely acknowledge and serve the truth is by that very fact a martyr. To win a crowd is no great feat; to do that only salesmanship, untruth, nonsense, and a knowledge of human appetite is needed. But no witness to the truth will dare get involved with the crowd.

His work is to be involved with all people, if possible, but always individually, speaking with people on the sidewalk and on the streets – in order to split apart and to separate them from the lie, the crowd. He avoids the crowd, especially when it is treated as authoritative in matters of the truth like on an internet blog. He avoids the crowd with its herd mentality just as a decent young girl would avoid bars and nightclubs. Those who speak endearingly to the crowd, desiring its approval, those who submissively bow before it must be regarded as being no better than prostitutes. They are instruments of untruth.

For this reason, I could weep, even want to leave this place, when I think about how the public, with its daily press, internet, and anonymity, make things so insane. That an anonymous person, by means of the press, day in and day out can say whatever he wants to say, what he would likely never have the courage to say face-to-face as an individual to another individual, and can get a crowd to repeat it, is nothing less than a crime – and no one takes responsibility! What untruth! Such is the way of a gang and a mob and such is the way of the crowd.

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Professed Christians have not only made war on each other, but have attempted to sanctify all the horrors and crimes of war by religious ceremonies. Not, indeed, the ceremonies of the bloody and revengeful religion of pagans, but the ceremonies of the benign and peaceful religion of Jesus
Christ. – *Noah Worcester.

In guns we trust, in technology we trust, in the military we trust, in money and power we trust, but in God we don’t really trust at all. When trouble is at the door Christians are the first to stockpile guns, ammo, and food, and then they sit in their little groups and talk about love, peace, and charity. What hypocrisy!!

On the 4th of July Christians everywhere will celebrate the killing of their enemies. The killing of those enemies are the direct result of either believing the false gospel of Patriotism or a lack of faith in the One they say they follow. Christians have been lied to by those who pretend to be their shepherds. They have been fed the national lie for so long that they will completely ignore the plain and simple New Testament passages that expose the falsehood and swallow the lie without shame.

True peacemakers – Christians – do not put their trust in an arm of flesh, i.e. attempts and alliances for self-preservation. God has promised to care for them, and in Him they trust as the Bible states – “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord.” They do not simply profess to believe that God will protect them from suffering, but that He is really able to do so, if it is His will; and if it is not His will then man cannot prevent it. If God wills it, He has a purpose in it, and we should pray to the Lord that His purpose may be accomplished in us, and that we may be made worthy to suffer for His name and not to do anything impulsive whereby God may be dishonored. Mindful Christians know that “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong;” they glory neither in their wisdom, in their might, nor in their riches; but they glory in this, that they know the Lord, who exercises loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. Their life, liberty, and worldly goods are in the hands of the Lord; He gave them and He has many ways by which to take them away again. Christian concern is not so much how they may preserve these, as it is to preserve the life that is begotten in the soul by the power of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God. Christians look upon the upheavals in the world as being in the hand of the Lord, who controls them according to His good pleasure. The interest they might take in those events, or the ineffectual efforts they make to control them can have no effect except the effect it will have on their own hearts, to draw their minds and affections away from the more important objects of love and trust, as the Bible states.

On this day of great celebration I challenge my Christian brothers and sisters to examine carefully the fact that the liberty we so enjoy (and that I am thankful for) was accomplished and maintained, not by the arm of flesh but by the living God.

Some Thoughts on the Changing Church

 

 

 

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In the preface to his book The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer says the reason for writing the book was “called forth by a condition which has existed in the Church for some years and is steadily growing worse.” “Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appreciate or experience the life in the spirit.” “…The churches are more prosperous than at any time within the past several hundred years. But the alarming thing is that our gains are mostly external and our losses wholly internal; and since it is the quality of our religion that is affected by internal conditions, it may be that our supposed gains are but losses spread over a wider field.”

Is there any question that the state of the body of Christ is in a state of disrepair? While we have given much attention to our outward appearance, making a show for the world and avoiding confrontation, we are a people in captivity. The walls are all torn down, the city looted, and all the temple treasures carried off.

“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’ How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy” Ps. 137:1-6.

Some ask, “What are you talking about, we are free, we are not in captivity, this is our home, we have no recollection of anything else?” “If I forget you, O Jerusalem….” The church has been in its current condition for so long that it cannot even conceive what Eph. 3:8-21 means. We read it then leave it. They’re beautiful words only, poetry, and wishful thinking, that’s all. This should force us to question our current condition and our commitment.

Eph. 3:8-21 “Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.”

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

 

When the church, as a body, as one, weeps at the thought of what it left behind, what it only has a vague remote memory of through ancient writings; when no conceivable joy (T. V., computers, houses, cars, clothe, box office smash hits, jobs, education, sex, or family or anything) can make it glad, besides a passionate desire to occupy the Kingdom, its “highest joy,” then it will hear from heaven. “Seek ye first the Kingdom….”

If we are to have a correct understanding of the church we must understand that it is in captivity and is in pathetic shape and denial. How can we sing songs of joy? In our congregation sit adulterers, pornographers, greedy and contentious persons, slanderers, unforgiving people, homosexuals, egoist, and worshipers of all kinds of idols. This is a disgusting abomination to the Lord. We are commanded to dis-associate ourselves from these kinds of people.

1 Cor 5:6-6:1 “Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new unleavened batch, as indeed you are. For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old yeast or with the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. I did not mean the immoral people of this world or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters; otherwise you would have to leave the world. But actually, I wrote you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister and is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Don’t you judge those who are inside? God judges outsiders. Remove the evil person from among you. And, if any of you has a dispute against another, how dare you take it to court before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?”

As a shadow, in Ex. 13:1-10 the Israelites are commanded to keep the feast of unleavened bread. Before the Passover feast the Jews were to remove (cast out) all leaven and bread with leaven from their homes; burn it, bury it, or break it up small and cast it to the wind. Verse 7 states just how strict the rule was. Not only were they not to eat leaven, they were not even to look at it; it must not even be seen. They were to search every corner with candles to be sure nothing remained. So, when we remember Jesus, the Passover Lamb, and where He has brought us out from (Egypt/captivity) we should exam ourselves individually and as a body to be sure there is no leaven (sin) hiding in some corner. This shadow of purification of the church body is not taken seriously today, no effort is even attempted.

Should we show the representatives of Babylon (unbelievers) all of our vast treasures? Should we be casting our precious pearls before swine?

2 Kings 20:12-19

“At that time Merodach-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of Hezekiah’s illness. Hezekiah received the messengers and showed them all that was in his storehouses — the silver, the gold, the spices and the fine oil — his armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.”

 

“Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, ‘What did those men say, and where did they come from?’”

 

“From a distant land,’ Hezekiah replied. ‘They came from Babylon.’”

 

“The prophet asked, ‘What did they see in your palace?’”

 

“They saw everything in my palace,’ Hezekiah said. ‘There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.’”

 

“Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the LORD: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood, that will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”

 

“The word of the LORD you have spoken is good,’ Hezekiah replied. For he thought, ‘Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?’”

Where is our proclamation of, “I hate what God hates, and love what God loves…?” It’s come to the point that we dare not even dislike such things in our gatherings, less we offend some sensitive pagan. I think Paul may be right, “your meetings do more harm than good” 1 Cor. 11:17. At least there is “peace and security in my lifetime.”

Are not our songs acknowledgement that we are reconciled to our bondage, a concession that we are pleased with our captivity? Is worship and holy songs something we enter into with pagans? NO! We cannot profane God’s holy ordinances by using them to entertain unbelievers “If I forget you O, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill”.

“OH! Jerusalem, Jerusalem…” we remember you, and your divine ordinances, and especially thy King and our God, whose indignation we must bear, because we have sinned against You.

“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he comes. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, (get the leaven out, Judas was purged from the batch before the Passover meal was taken) and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” 1 Cor 11:23-12:1.

For seventeen hundred years the commercial church has been demanding that God provide us with Kings (pastors, ministers, elders, deacons, etc.) to do the work of the Body and He has given us what we asked for. These managers, leaders, Doctors of theology, educators, and teachers, have all but decapitated the Body of Christ. They have replaced the Head of the Body, who is Christ, with all their choreography, marketing plans, programs, pre-planned worship services, counseling sessions, cell groups, five point sermons, and study groups. “Watch how you build…” 1 Cor 3:10. Even Moses was told to be careful how he built the Tabernacle, a mere shadow of the body of Christ, “according to the pattern” which God himself showed to him on the mount (Ex 25:9; Heb 8:5). It is called “the tabernacle of the congregation,” where God promised to meet with Israel (Ex 29:42).

The message that the living Body of Christ needs to hear will probably not come from the pulpit. The pulpit, unfortunately, has a vested interest in keeping things the way they are. This is not to say that all preachers are evil. It is only to say that the organized church is following a pattern that has been laid down over a very long period of time and is not likely to change. All or most preachers follow their denominational pattern. There paid position and job is to satisfy there congregation who demand more and better non-judgmental services. After all, all the best training in the world isn’t worth anything if you don’t have a job; preachers have to eat too.

The congregation has for the most part given up on the return of Jesus, since He has delayed His coming and preachers have accommodated them by backing off of the powerful messages of Hell and Holiness and the cost of each. Today it is slick marketing, large mortgages, management, and methodology. When the message comes, to return to Zion, it will not be welcomed. Remember! It was organized religion who led the killing of Messiah. They read it, studied it, memorized it, and was sure they were right, and yet they were totally wrong. “You’ve hidden these, father, from those who are proud, and revealed them to little children.” To the scripture experts Jesus said, “You are in error because you don’t know the scriptures.” These guys ate, drank, and slept, the Scriptures, but they were blind to what those scriptures wanted to reveal. They “could not hear the voice of the prophets that were read every Sabbath.” “Unless the Lord builds the house, it is built in vain…”

Starting at the very beginning of the Bible you can see pieces of the puzzle being revealed to humanity: A serpent strikes a heel, the head being crushed, and a man shall leave his father and mother; a seed of corn must fall to ground and die. These are all glimpses of the scroll being unrolled, but it is still a mystery. The scroll has been slowly unrolled as the Father has seen fit to give us Grace.

Have you ever had that little light of “revelation” come on when your reading scriptures and you start shouting, “this is awesome, this is huge, I finally understand, this is going to change everything?” Then there are those other things that remain riddles, and you just can’t dig out the meaning. “Teach them to obey everything I command you…” was one of those for me. I realized that we have not been doing that. It doesn’t say, “Teach them everything I taught you.” It says “Teach them to obey everything I commanded you.” For seventeen hundred years they have missed it.

Now the trouble starts. What are we going to do about it? Call a committee meeting? Assign accountability partners? We’ll just set-up a whole system of accountability and everybody will be obeying this. We just can’t keep our grubby little finger off this supernatural revelation. We want to turn it into a program.

So many of our brothers down through history have had a little piece of the puzzle and have moved the kingdom forward, but for seventeen hundred years they have missed this. “Teach them to obey everything I commanded you.” We have grafted the good teachings of these great men into our lives, and tossed out the parts that weren’t any good. Men like Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Finney, Tozer, and others have contributed to the building of the kingdom. A lot of what they gave us was very good, but some wasn’t any good, so we just threw it away and kept the good. They weren’t given full revelation, only as far as the scroll was unrolled. These men lived by the light they had, but the scroll has unrolled a little farther today. A. W. Tozer said many amazing things and threw firebombs at the denominational system, but remained a part of it. Luther admitted that he could not get together enough true believers to have a Bible study. Calvin wanted to continue the theocracy of the Catholics, and Zwingli died with a sword in his hand.

You say, “Where is the revelation and to whom is it given?” It is all around us, in our very midst. I hear it everywhere. The Body of Christ crying out. They don’t want an organization, they want an organism. They are crying out for spiritual food and are offered a sign-up sheet to join some program on spiritual growth. Our children and marriages are on a runaway freight train going downhill and we’re given a pillow and made comfortable because the church doesn’t have any answers. But, even with the pillow and even a good dose of religion to make us sleep, we can’t sleep any more. The scroll is unrolling and now we can see what is necessary, “Teach them to OBEY EVERYTHING that I have COMMANDED you.” A Body is what we want, “joined and knit together,” “contending as one man for the Faith,” “bearing one another’s burdens,” “confessing sins one-to-another,” Life giving, gates-of-hell busting, organic, meeting daily. I hear it everywhere. The true Body does not want something to join or attend. They want a “…hundred, mothers, brothers, sister…” living as one in the Kingdom of God, NOW and FOREVERMORE.

Revelation is unrolling. The Great Commission doesn’t say to go teach people what Jesus taught. It doesn’t say that! “Go and teach them to OBEY ALL that I have commanded.”

Words.!?#

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Words.!?# I could write a hundred books and still be misunderstood. Even a poet only scratches the surface of full disclosure. Empires have crumbled because their words were taken the wrong way. Yet, God has chosen words, His words, to be recorded for all posterity and His own Son bore the title of Logos, the Word made flesh.

There is a mysterious key that opens every door to all worthwhile communication, and it is this; the truth of the matter must come through revelation. There is a spirit of revelation and understanding. A man and a woman who truly know each other possess this key that makes them a single individual, they are two in a mysterious relationship of oneness.

The ages have watched as mankind wrestled with the “Word” never knowing but being known. They intently look into the words of God and try to open the door without the key. Revelation is the key that opens the door from the inside by the spirit who fashioned the lock. It is a relationship where 1 + 1= 1 and without that relationship, the two remain separated; it is the miracle of the word becoming flesh, in our flesh and it is the only way to understand the Word of God; He must live within us and reveal Himself to us through His Spirit. This is the story of Scripture.

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This controversy did not start here and will no doubt end only at the coming of the Lord. Having said that, there are some points that need to be considered. The first major error is to use the O.T. to interpret the N.T. and the second mistake is to follow conventional wisdom.

Conventional wisdom will always win approval due to its popularity and powerful influence over those who tend to follow rather than lead. Conventional wisdom is bred into an individual from birth and can be easily observed in families who all believe the same thing with only slight variations. Ninety percent of what we believe has been programmed into our database through associations in family, culture, and national presuppositions from birth. We believe certain things to be true because of our families, Church, ethnicity, social status, and nationality; this is not conjecture, it is a fact and can be proven easily. These characteristics and circumstances are our world and they dictate strongly what we are to believe and how we are to respond to any given set of external circumstances. When the Bible instructs us to not “Judge” it is primarily concerned with acts of pre-judging those who do not align with our particular set of things which we suppose to be true about life. The Bible instructs us to “judge” correctly and this word is more properly translated to “discern” correctly. These two words have to do with understanding, comprehending, and correct decision making based on “truth.” Conventional wisdom will surmise that “The Old Testament is full of cases of war and killing, and self-defense seems so normal and even good, and since God hasn’t changed then non-resistance is obviously wrong.” This argument makes sense to the majority of Christians who live under the umbrella of conventional wisdom. But . . . . . . . ?

When doing proper Biblical exegesis the first thing necessary is to throw presupposition and conventional wisdom out the window and let the Bible speak for itself; presupposed conclusions are not allowed. We must understand the O.T through the N.T. and not visa-versa.

Here are some N.T. Scriptures that show us how to view the Old Testament.

In the past, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word . . . .” Hebrews 1:1-3.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, ‘Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.’” Hebrews 8:7-9

“Therefore, He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance, because a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. Where a will (i.e. last will and testament) exists, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will is valid only when people die, since it is never in effect while the one who made it is living.”  Hebrews 9:15-17.

Jesus says five times, “You have heard that it was said . . . .”  “But I tell you . . . .” Matthew 5:27,28a; 31,32a; 33,34a; 38, 39a; 43, 44a. Where were these things “heard . . . said”? Of course, the answer is in the Old Testament Law of Moses, but with an authoritative move Jesus re-writes His will and closes the door on anyone wanting to use the old document to prove a point. With the declaration of “But I tell you . . .” He established Himself as the sole authority, maker of the will, and interpreter of everything that has come before Him. No other person has any right to overrule anything that has been spoken by Jesus or to build any other structure on the foundation of His sure words. When the Father’s Son speaks He leaves no room for presumption or creative thinking; His plain and simple words carry the weight of God the Father Himself; and the Father says, “Listen to Him.”

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” John 18:36.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19-21.

Charles Spurgeon a non-resistant Christian says,

“The church, we affirm, can neither be preserved nor can its interests be promoted by human armies.”

“For this I will assert, and prove too, that the progress of the arms of a Christian nation is not the progress of Christianity, and that the spread of our empire, so far from being advantageous to the Gospel, I will hold, and this day proclaim, hath been hostile to it.”

“All swords that have ever flashed from scabbards have not aided Christ a single grain. Mahommedans’ religion might be sustained by scimitars, but Christians’ religion must be sustained by love. The great crime of war can never promote the religion of peace. The battle, and the garment rolled in blood, are not a fitting prelude to “peace on earth, goodwill to men.” And I do firmly hold, that the slaughter of men, that bayonets, and swords, and guns, have never yet been, and never can be, promoters of the gospel. The gospel will proceed without them, but never through them. ‘Not by might.’

“Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you.” The Christian soldier hath no gun and no sword, for he fighteth not with men. It is with “spiritual wickedness in high places” that he fights, and with other principalities and powers than with those that sit on thrones and hold sceptres in their hands. I have marked, however, that some Christian men – and it is a feeling to which all of us are prone – are very apt to make Christ’s war a war of flesh and blood, instead of a war with wrong and spiritual wickedness.”

“Woe, woe, to the Christian who forgets this sacred canon of warfare. Touch not the persons of men, but smite their sin with a stout heart and with strong arm. Slay both the little ones and the great; let nothing be spared that is against God and his truth; but we have no war with the persons of poor mistaken men.”

No argument from the O.T. is allowed in the formulation of a person’s quest to justify war or violence. What I find mostly is that those who have never experienced war see it through the eyes of Hollywood make-believe. The VA Hospital can attest to the fact that killing is a very dirty business and that PTSD is the demon of those who have lived through it. For Christians to link arms with the Devil to extinguish the life of their brother when Jesus showed them by word and example that killing is not a Heavenly profession, and to ignore the examples of His Apostles and likeminded saints for nearly 300 years is to snub their noses at the truth of God and the truth of history. Not a single one can show by the life of those who gave their testimony, signed with their own blood, acts of non-resistance performed and recorded for our instruction in righteousness. All who endorse killing build their testimony on assumptions of confused text or examples gleaned from the O.T., but never from Christ, His Apostles, or the primitive Church. Christ came as a non-violent, non-resistant, and peaceful sacrificial Lamb and said follow Me. In what duplicity are we to presuppose that underlying the tame and harmless nature of the Lamb exist a nature of selfish spitefulness and revenge? And, in what disloyalty are we to suggest that we should follow a different path than the one in which that Lamb walked?

There is no question that one side or the other of this argument is wrong, we cannot have it both ways. We can follow the broad way of conformity, but the “way is narrow.” We can take the easy way with no controversy or conflict, but the “gate is difficult and strait.” We can place our bets with the fast and the strong, but the “meek will inherit the earth.” All the advantage is with the majority, but “very few will enter in.” We can appeal to the celebrities of the Reformation: Zwingli, Luther, and Calvin or we can search-out those who refused to defend themselves who held on tight to that scarlet thread weaving its way through blood, suffering, persecution, and loneliness, from Calvary to our doorstep and bids us come and die. Yes, one of us is wrong. If non-resistant Christians are wrong they have lost nothing by living a sacrificial life, if popular Christianity is wrong??????????. The first coming of our Lord was like a defenseless Lamb and it is that Lamb that we are to imitate while fulfilling His mission and not the Lion of His second coming.

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Christians must show that war and violence of any kind are wrong, totally wrong. We must show that war and violence is essentially a state of wickedness and hatred and that it can not exist without malice any more than hell can exist without evil. We must show that Jesus Christ, our Master, forbids it; that Christians will not fight in Heaven; and that what will be right in Heaven, is also right now, and is the most effective and Christian mode of action; “On earth, as it is in Heaven.”

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