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“Vengeance is mine saith the Lord, I will repay.” Yet, very many Christians across this land disagree with God and buy up guns and ammunition, enlist in the military, and belong to police forces. This response to God is rebellion and unbelief. They rip the reins of power and authority from the hands of the Almighty taking vengeance and justice into their own hands relegating God to nonexistence or unimportance and preach that “this is serving God.” They say they believe God but in their actions they deny Him. “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to both save and destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?…” James 4:12

Is it any mystery why Christ would say, “Will I even find faith on the earth when I return”? Is not this the epitome of good becoming evil and evil becoming good? Christians have no business in law enforcement, of any kind, when they have been freed from all law and are judged by no man. Uniforms and badges are symbols of worldly power of which the true Christian has no use or desire. Those who belong to the world gravitate toward the world and its symbols and those who belong to Christ gravitate away from the world and toward His likeness, displaying His symbol of love toward all men equally even toward those the world condemns, the enemies of society.

Christ died for all men. Who are we to decide that a man is unworthy of life? Is it our job to decide who is worthy or unworthy of life, the Gospel, or eternity with the Father? My advice to these confused Christians is no different than the advice given to the primitive Christians. Tertullian, for instance, wrote an entire treatise forbidding military service among Christians (The Crown) and such sentiment is found throughout his other writings (On Idolatry). Origen too condemned military service whenever he addressed the subject. And Lactantius agreed: “A just man may not be a soldier” (Divine Institutes, 6.20). The general attitude of the Primitive Church (from Christ to Constantine) was that Christians do not serve in any capacity of government or where harming another person is a requirement of that position.

It is only from the time of Augustine and Constantine (a time when the Church gained great power) that the institutionalized “Church” promoted killing by believers alongside unbelievers in worldly campaigns to secure the state and to enforce the peace. We should not be surprised that corruption slowly crept into the Church since it was prophesied by Christ Himself and by His Apostles. But, today it is accepted without a word of disagreement or wonder that it is the duty of all Christians to take up arms against the enemies of society. Most Christians not taking the time to investigate the history of the Church, that Christ and the Apostles founded, accept the false teaching of the corrupted aberration. It is only in spotty cells of believers that the truth is still preached without reservation against popular doctrines that have been politicized for the sake of patriotism and feel-good religion. Augustine, on several fronts, has cost the Church dearly, but none so much as his “Just War” theory. This man did Christ no favor by releasing the restraints that help keep the flesh in check. And Constantine, being a political genius (much like Trump) used religion to his own, and the state’s, benefit. Of course, the flesh, having an affinity for evil, adapted easily to this new freedom to express the very things that Christ through the Spirit came to mortify.

So, here we are at the end of the age and barely one in five hundred are aware that Christ will soon return and separate the sheep from the goats and that their lives are in peril of hearing those awful words, “Depart from Me I never knew you.”

At that time we will discover, without question, whose vengeance it really is.

yet forty days

Scripture teaches us that every time God has appeared to man it has required great sacrifice, the sacrifice of their idols. If a man is to break with the world here is where that break will happen – the times when we lust for our old prison cell and our old gods, and we long to be defeated just one more time, to be the child of irresistible desires. But radical faith places us in the position of God versus slavery. When God appears He demands the whole man and only a severe faith will suffice to break the chains and open prison doors.

I will not talk about compromise because we all know very well who the slave driver is and what holds us captive. There is no need to itemize our idols, the issues are all the same; when a man comes to Christ He bids him come and die. If a man has many idols or only one, death is all the same, death is death. So, let’s not talk of half measures or of a faith that requires nothing. The faith that defeats the world is not impotent or hollow but radical and deadly; faith demands our life and anything less is just compromise, shame, and friendship with the executioner.

But, how is this faith represented? Faith, the only kind of faith, pictured in the Bible, operates at a whole different level. First of all, it is a re-creation of man, a man without fear, whose roots share the fertile soil of past saints and a true history, freemen, capable of standing up under fire because they are motivated by a profound belief and trust having confidence in a certain future. They are not necessarily charismatic individuals but their presence is felt wherever they are regardless of how dangerous the situation may be to their own lives, and they encourage others to follow. The essential job of the faithful is to be, as Isaiah and Paul said, “Men.” Another level of faith is to acknowledge the historical occurrences when Christianity has gotten off on the wrong path going the wrong direction. Science and the intellect cannot bring us to this point. What is needed is spiritual clarity and sanity along with the courage to make aware, even though the awareness is painful and touches a raw spot. The fake history of Christianity and America, as it is spoon fed to children in both public, private, and homeschool, is unacceptable. Having the correct and inspired understanding of the New Testament puts to flight the demons of patriotism, denominationalism, and constitutionalism built on Old Testament rule of law.

Where does this kind of faith lead to? True faith leads to separation, i.e. exodus, and exile, i.e. “In the world but not of it.” Every true believer must voluntarily submit to leaving this hostile environment, i.e. Egypt, and acknowledge his position as an expatriate and alien. Our witness to the world is that we have placed ourselves in direct contradiction to its positions. While the whole world is stampeding in fear to escape death we Christians have already taken our exodus and have no part in their flight. Our exodus is our repentance from past friendship with the world and its fake history and desires. We will not follow the stampeding masses nor will we be afraid nor will we become refugees, because we are exiled refugees already who have fled to Jesus. We have no haven except that of Jesus and our exile is in the very place where our God is despised and hated, and if we are thinking of that place from which we have gone out of we will fabricate opportunities to return. True faith leads us to exodus and exile.

I have been told by past associates and family that I should settle down, but contrary to all of that “good” advice, we do not have to settle down. But, what does that look like, this settling down? What really is meant is that we should get organized in our community, our class, our political system, or the economy and affect the world by the world’s means. Isn’t the first and last act of faith to declare that we are strangers and exiles in the world and to its means. The adventure of faith may mean pulling up stakes and like Abraham abandon everything; Moses, too, left everything, country, wife, and occupation. When God calls us He will, at some point, test our allegiance and prove our beliefs. He will not call us into a fight with the world or into seclusion or a monastery but will call us into exile and prove our loyalty.

As long as we are adapted to this world, accepted by it, integrated into its activities–politics, policing, military, etc., even its holidays–we are of the world and our exodus is a sham. What does faith have to do with our professional functions, careers, social activities, things the world considers normal, conscientious, efficient and good for hard-working citizens to do? What Christian has not come head-to-head with Christ’s words, “You, come and follow Me” and had to wrestle with their faith? Levi left, abandoned his publican’s money box, his office, and pride; he doesn’t even go tell his wife or family. The instructions of Jesus is to “Let the dead bury the dead.” Isn’t Christianity just as radical today as it was then? This is exodus and separation from the world, this is following Jesus who had “Nowhere to lay His head.” But, what will become of us, those who have left everything Lord? “What is that to you, just follow Me.” Our faith is gauged on this exacting demand and no compromise is allowed. We claim we are ready to follow Jesus while keeping a little nest egg, some insurance against a “margin of error” and a few connections and bridges back to safety.

What is the faith that no one talks about? It is the faith that sheds no tears of regret that we have grown old, watched our wealth vanish, or weep over lost opportunities. Faith is watching and listening to Jesus, as He instructs His disciples while Judas leads the soldiers out to arrest Him say, “But I do as the Father has commanded Me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise and let us go.”

Faith calls upon us to leave the world and its works. If we let old age and death do the job of separating us from the world, if we just let our lives fade away with the decline of our strength and submit to mere fate, we will have thrown away all of our chances. That will be our demonstration that we were nothing more than objects in the hands of Time. Rather than giving to the world the opportunity to define who we are we must choose the time for the break, it must be our decision and the announcement made, the stakes pulled up, and no looking back at society, people, states, politics, technology, careers, or anything. We must break with these things, not necessarily because they are evil, but so that the world can hear the strange word of God spoken from the center, from one who is exiled in the world but not of the world. The point is to create a dialog with the lost and not to retire to the desert, by one who has placed their self outside of this world, being at once close-by yet at an infinite distance.

The exodus of Jonah was not his running away but rather his entering into the heart of that which was repulsive to him; his exodus was his entrance into Nineveh. There were no fancy five-point sermons, only this message, “Yet forty days . . . .” Faith has nothing further to say than to flee the wrath to come, “Yet forty days.”

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I was in the other half of the double that my aunt and uncle lived in on Keystone Avenue, in Indianapolis, and there was a doctor who lived there now. I climbed the back steps that led into the kitchen. I always thought that that side of the double was more attractive than the side that I lived and grew-up in with my mom and dad, brother and three sisters. When I entered the kitchen there was no one there but I noticed that all the walls had been stripped to the bare plaster except for some small areas where the old paper had not all come off yet. As I examined my surroundings, wondering what was going on, a young gentleman came out, about 35 years old, and I instinctive knew that he was a doctor, a surgeon of some sort. Very politely he said hello to me, as if I should know him, and I sensed that he was no ordinary doctor but special in some way. He said that he had just taken down a picture that hung over the stove and it must have been heavy because he was holding his back as if strained from leaning over the stove and lifting the picture off the wall. He had removed the picture so that the rest of the wall could be prepared for whatever he was getting ready to do, but it was obvious that everything had to be discarded and cast-out first.

In my mind, I wondered where my aunt and uncle were but did not find the answer, but felt that he had their approval and that it was not important. The doctor told me he was redoing the place where he was to live and that he wanted to show me five things that I had missed seeing during my years coming and going from visits with my aunt and uncle. We then proceeded down a staircase of which I had to duck beneath an overhang so I wouldn’t hit my head. Immediately we came to a corner about halfway down the stairway where he proceeded to show me the first of the five things I had missed. The first thing I noticed was that all of the accumulated wallpapering and paint had been removed to expose what was underneath and it amazed me. There he showed me some very intricately carved molding that edged the corner of the wall that went up to some crown molding along the ceiling that was likewise very artistically carved. I thought to myself that I had never ever noticed this before and that it was beautiful even though it had not yet been finished, stripped clean, just the bare wood showed. The doctor took my hand and made me touch the intricate design and to feel the smoothness and delicateness of its design and nature. All the roughness had been removed.

I was appalled and sickened at myself that I was not able to understand how I had missed ever seeing this before and thought that I could not notice it because I was not mentally prepared to see it or to do anything like what this talented person had done. I felt lazy and worthless. He had exposed a great hidden treasure that had been right in front of my eyes all along and that because of my state of mind was unable to see or that I even cared to see. Then I awoke.

As I lay there in bed, awake or asleep I am not quite sure, I pondered what I had just experienced and a revelation began to form in my mind. This gentle doctor was no man, He was God and He wanted me to understand something that I had missed all of my 69 years of life, and that is that God creates all things intricately as great treasures and that over many years of men treading-down the earth each successive generation has added to the accumulated covering that has hidden the truth of what He had originally intended.

My thoughts immediately went to the homeless, who wandered the streets totally ignorant of the fact that each of them was a precious and unique treasure created by this Doctor, that had allowed the debris of a lifetime to cover and hide, not only from the world but from their very self, the intricate design, and purpose He had for their lives.

Then I began to think about those who were close to me, about my wife, children, and grandchildren, and about myself. Each and every one was like that wood molding, precious in its design and purpose, intricately and precisely constructed, for a specific reason, but covered over with the debris of mindlessness and misunderstanding, and my mind went back to the homeless, alone, cold, sick, hungry, without hope.

Then I was fully awake, and afraid I would not remember what I had just received, so I hurriedly dressed and wrote down these words while still fresh in my mind, it was 4:00 AM, and I wondered what the other four things were that the Doctor wanted to show me and I felt miserable.

I then understood that I had not appreciated or discovered the hidden gift that lay hidden in each and every person and at what cost that discovery would require. I did start to see that my wife was greatly gifted with a sense of immense responsibility toward the lives of her family and that this sense or gift was given to her by the Doctor and that it needed to be nurtured and pruned to bear more fruit. I also saw that the lives of the homeless had been forgotten, that they were being given food and that many others were compelled to give money and physical support, but that they were not being given the bread of life from someone who shared in their suffering. I also was beginning to see that I could not just tell them about their hidden gift and uniqueness but that the gift must be revealed through sacrifice and selflessness, through being immersed in their world while, at the same time, staying separated from their world.

I understood that the Doctor was fully committed to a complete renewal of that old double into something glorious and unlike anything resembling its previous nature and that the debris was to be destroyed. That old double is where I have spent my life, never knowing the hidden value and preciousness buried under decades of garbage, never hearing the voice of the Doctor, the Surgeon, who renovates broken-down and humbled dwellings, who cuts away the bleeding and screaming flesh of everyone who will submit to His knife.

Separation and surgery come at a price and is not without pain and suffering. But, what is the price of a new Life? Christ endured the pain and suffering required to remove our debris and suffers still to see His finished operation, the Temple of His habitation.

Now, I will wait for four more things.

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What is generic christianity?

Def.: Adjective: Generic ju’ne-rik

1. Applicable to an entire class or group

2. Popular

Generic christianity, with a small ‘c’, is an attempt to adopt/adapt certain insights and values of the Primitive Church as a guide to the application of Scripture in the context of each succeeding generation of believers. While today’s generic christianity attempts to hold on to authentic values it, for the most part, it represents a post-Christian perspective lacking the essential Spirit.

The landscape of the world has changed over the past 2000 years. Our lives reflect a vastly different civil culture than that of our ancient forefathers. Politics, science, and technology have changed our way of understanding and interpreting the Scriptures. The strict conservative lives of those first Christians have gradually over time changed with the religious and political landscape and less, and less, resemble the Spiritually dynamic lives of the original Christians. This creeping change has introduced confusion and doubt into the claims of Christ and the Apostles. There have been periods of true Spiritual flare-ups, for example, the Anabaptist, but that too, after 500 years, has cooled because the Church chose to follow competing spirits.

Thus, not all christianity is Christianity in the foundational or initial sense. Today’s ecumenically slanted christianity is intellectually comfortable with left-leaning scholarship and resist drawing any sharp lines differentiating the two. To question the spiritual leaders or the salvation of any individual is taboo and, the one last really authentic doctrine which was validated by the cross, the doctrine of non-resistance to the evil man, is scorned, ridiculed, and rejected. But, that foundational doctrine is the one that draws the most distinct line between ancient and modern Christianity, between christianity and Christianity.

Institutionalized popular christianity of the 21st Century is Christianity without the Spirit of God. This christianity is the church reflected in the words of Jesus when He asks the question, “Will I even find faith on the earth when I return?” This is generic christianity.

The Responsibility of the Individual Christian

What is the responsibility of those who claim to be Christian? Is it to adapt a new interpretation of the Bible to the current culture? Is it to establish a new orthodox creed from the perspective of modernized christianity? Is it to create a standard theological and ethical formula to achieve uniformity among diverse cultures? Is it to hold hands with the religions of the world to promote peace? Is it to color truth with a hundred shades of gray to avoid being offensive? The answer to all of these questions is, NO!

The responsibility of the Christian is to be filled and led by the Spirit of Christ. The Governor of the Kingdom of Christ is the Spirit of Christ. If Christians confuse the Spirit and heart of Christ with something resembling the fallen nature of man then it cannot walk truly in love, mercy, justice, forgiveness, hope, and peace. All of these words have been redefined by generic christianity and adapted to the 21st Century Church. We have associated the Spirit with the flesh and feelings. All of the signs of the Spirit we look for today must be manifested in some form of emotion or feeling to be valid or legitimate. Feelings and emotions have taken the reigns out of the hands of the Spirit and put them in the hands of the flesh. The Holy Spirit demands that we see through different eyes and from a different perspective which is altogether apart from our definitions and emotions. The Spirit heals our blindness by making Jesus the eyes through which all Scripture is read, focusing our attention on the pattern and walk of Jesus’ life as the authentic example of God’s will for His sons and daughters.

Our Problem

Since the Christianity that is prevalent today is generic christianity then we can rightly assume the problem to likewise be generic, common, and popular, and applicable to an entire class of people. As Christians, we proudly claim the Bible to be the Book for the Church, but that is not a completely true statement. Without the Holy Spirit, the Bible is just another book open to numerous interpretations and opinions. Our problem is that we bring to the table a plethora of presuppositions that are faulty. A presupposition is an assumption that is taken for granted. From the time we are born our little brain starts gathering information about the world we live in and from that information we learn to formulate suppositions all based on how they affect us personally. The parent’s job is to correctly inform the child of those things that will benefit or harm them based on their idea of truth. When certain patterns or effects begin to emerge they start, unconsciously, to calculate the odds of success or failure based on their fleshly desires and perceived needs. In other words, they begin to “presuppose” certain things to be true or false, or good or bad, according to their experiences. This process of gathering and cataloging information goes on their entire life. These presuppositions become the matrix or filter through which every thought must pass and forms every conclusion which is reached. Social animals share certain generic presuppositions in common, through school, church, or culture, that influence life lived together in a social order called society. This consensus of belief is all well and good and ordained by God as a means to control and govern nonbelievers – those without Holy Spirit guidance – and to judge their actions according to accepted social norms. For very many years the Church has learned and passed along these suppositions, blended together with Biblical truth, to eager students at universities and colleges, and to families who pass along traditional values and rarely question the process. If this is true, that modern Christianity is built on this matrix of accepted presupposed values passed down from generation to generation, where is there left for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit? How can the Bible be the Book of the Church when the words of that Book are viewed through a fogged lens, producing tainted commentaries, creeds, statements of faith, rituals, denominational positions, and liturgies of mere men? If the Word of God must first pass through these finely weaved presuppositional filters, and every filter is of a differing complexity and refinement, why would we expect the Spirit of God to participate in such a scheme? The Holy Spirit will not participate in any spiritual hobby-craft of men regardless that it takes place by men of high esteem, respect, or reverence. The Church cannot and does not contribute to the canon of Scripture any authority, but rather we must recognize and accept the divine authority of the Spirit-inspired text. The Bereans of old searched Scripture for confirmation of truth, today we read the Bible and look for confirmation from the commentaries of men.

The warrant for this authority is found not so much in the text of the Bible as it is in the Spirit of the Bible and of God who initiated the writing of those words and gave it to the Church to guide it in its understanding and use. It is not the job of men to interpret the mysteries and riddles of the text, that is the job of the Spirit Himself, exclusively, He is the interpreter. Once understood it becomes the responsibility of the individual to obediently act, in faith, in the name of Christ, on the basis of trust, in that inspired text.

Listening to the Spirit

A distinguishing perspective of Born Again believers is their insistence that because the New Testament is the record of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ, it has final authority over the Old Testament. The believer’s authority is specifically that of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and revealed through His Spirit, and not Moses, the Lawgiver. The Christian’s mandate is to be filled with that Spirit and to follow Christ. Because the New Testament is the trustworthy witness it is extremely important to read and study that book. The Old Testament was a preparatory document, the historical account, and record of God’s dealing with Israel preparing the way for Christ and a New document, Jeremiah 31, which is to be written on the tablets of flesh and not on stone. The New Testament is the culmination of, fulfillment, and replacement of the Old Testament. Ultimately, this heart-document, illuminated by the Spirit which has taken residence there, is where we make our appeal for understanding.

Our Problem

Protestant leaders through the ages continue the unenlightened pattern of appealing to the Old Testament law in order to establish a socio-political-religious device within which the church should function. This, in effect, was an attempt to link the Spirit (church) to the state (secular) producing a hybrid structure for the sake of security in both worlds, a community that straddled the fence with one foot in the world and one foot in generic christianity. What they did not realize was, that the fence is wholly in the world. This fence sitting has allowed community development in which civil order is founded on the Old Testament laws. The later debates, between the Reformers, Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, merely continued the Catholic argument, from which they came, of whether the spiritual trumped the secular in authority, or visa-versa, but both agreed that the Testaments – Old and New – shared authority in the institutional church. For example, when the Reformers would issue a claim of heresy they fully expected the death sentence to be carried out by the “Christian” government. Consequently, the church today continues a similar pattern. Patriotism and Christianity have become synonymous terms and the new mandate of generic christianity is to procure a christian government which will secure all their “rights” guaranteed by a constitution based on “an eye for an eye” Old Testament rule.

Where does the Holy Spirit fit into this scenario? He does not fit at all! Faith and trust have become only words with no value like “clouds without rain.” The Holy Spirit will be our ONLY choice or He will be no choice at all because it is explicitly stated that we cannot serve two masters, and generic christianity has made its choice, and it has chosen the kingdom of this world with its governments and authorities. The institutions of these authorities have become, for these christians, the “salt and light” of God’s Kingdom on earth. Like the Reformers before them, they suppose that the implementing of Old Testament laws of government will produce good Christian civilizations. Admittedly, basing government rules on Old Testament law has proven the best way to govern sinful men, but it is not the Christ way. All human governments are of this world and are lead by equally sinful men who are citizens of this world and not of Heaven. The Holy Spirit, i.e. the Spirit of life and freedom, cannot lead when its subjects are voluntarily constrained by the laws of bondage and death. True Christians have put themselves under a new law, the Law of Christ, the Royal Law, the perfect Law of liberty, which is freedom and life in Jesus. Under this New Law Christians are free to be led by the Spirit into all righteousness. Christians are subject to the laws of this world only as visitors from another kingdom passing through a foreign country are required to obey the laws of the land as long as those laws require no acts of sedition or treason against their native country. As citizens of Heaven, we are to deliver a message from our King to a rebellious people to return home and to “flee the wrath to come.” It is the Holy Spirit’s duty to enable and remind its subjects to remain focused on their role and to not become caught up in the deceit of the Prince of this world.

Conclusion

Finally, related to everything said above is the concept of discipleship, the imitation of Christ. Discipleship is like an apprenticeship. A disciple is one who learns by following the example of the master and not by just calling him lord. The Holy Spirit is given to lead the apprentice into all the righteousness of Christ. Jesus set the pattern to follow and the Holy Spirit continuously points the disciple back to this pattern. Jesus, filled with the Spirit, endured government and social hostilities toward His message and was executed as a political and social criminal. Jesus never shrank back from crossing the lines of political, religious, personal, or social, and set that path for us to follow. To have and keep faith means to persevere in this pattern modeled by Jesus, and acting with charity, forgiveness, and peace, as we are led by His Spirit.

The goal of the Spirit is to teach a correct understanding of Scripture to the children of God. His goal is not theoretical knowledge but rather practical behavior which is “justice, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” Romans 14:17. Primitive Christians were practical in their obedience which required a participation in the life and mandate of Jesus. It is the Spirit that leads, enables, and transforms us in and through the discipline of following. This way of living is called taking up the cross and following Jesus. The Christian life is the way of the cross. This way of the cross is a summons to a life of Spirit-led non-resistance that directed Jesus to the cross.

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Luke 17:10

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We have all probably read these words and may have acknowledged that Solomon was right when he said, “Vanity of vanity all is vanity.” “There is nothing new under the sun.” In spite of the goodness and love of God toward His creation, there seems to be no lasting purpose of the things we do. Under close examination, it is hard to avoid a profound sense of the worthlessness and vanity of all our work. We try to convince ourselves of the purpose of it all, of the reason for this constant anxiety. To what end is all of these wars and states and nations, all these elections and all this fussing, and 24 hours in a day? To what end is the process of civilization and the petty progress of the Church? If we learn anything from the Bible it is that it is always and ultimately God’s will that ends the day and that it is common knowledge that the most fundamental thing of all has already been achieved and completed in Jesus Christ. In the light of this, it is easy to understand the disgraceful refusal of men, who can neither accept the uselessness of what they have accomplished nor to accept this overruling of their fate. It is easy to understand how selfish men want to declare that they are self-made and reject any outside interference. When they survey the sciences they simply cannot see or admit that it has, in an incomprehensible degree, already been accomplished before they even arrived, to do so would be to acknowledge their nothingness and pride. Vanity of vanity all is vanity!

Beginning on the sixth day of creation this vanity appears with Adam. In the Garden, Adam was asked to do what was really unnecessary because the Garden was a perfect perpetual paradise. He was asked to “till and to keep” that which was perfect. God, Himself, built perfection into this paradise, the trees already producing fruit and beautiful to look at, everything growing in abundance. The point of tilling is either that things cannot grow without Adam’s work or that the various species needed to be improved, or that poisonous weeds needed to be controlled. Where in a perfect world is the need for tilling or cultivation? And, “keeping” the Garden, what can this possibly mean? What external threat is there where no enemy exist and everything is good? There is no disorder here because God is the God of order, here is only harmony, unity, and fellowship, the entire Garden is the reflection of its Creator who is God. Tilling and keeping only make sense in a fallen world where division, corruption, and boundaries exist, and where the relationship with the Lord has been interrupted.

If we look at the Law we find the same thing. The Law is encapsulated in the Ten Commandments which describe the works we are to undertake, but to what end? The Jews understood that works were necessary for their salvation but Solomon, who typifies Christ and wisdom, described it all as vain and worthless. And, the works of faith are no different, the works of which it is said our faith is “dead” without, come up against this same vanity and uselessness. The good intentions of man and all of his efforts come up against this, that salvation is a gift involving no works at all and that all is of grace. From eternity past all has been accomplished in advance, Jesus said it is finished. It is not that we provide half and the other half is given to us, He has completed it all.

Then, we come to the privilege of prayer, to speak with God as we would speak with a friend, but what do we find? Does God need to be reminded of our needs? Then what is the purpose, it appears as useless to confide our fears and desires when God knows well in advance all those things that trouble, confuse, try, and sadden us? What good is it to pray to Him for the salvation of others when He knows in advance those who will be saved? Isn’t it even said that we don’t know what we need and that the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf with groans? God commands us to pray and yet is it not a useless faculty?

We could go on with wisdom and the correct ordering of our life, our recreation, our interaction with society, and money management, and all of that falls under the folly of man, a chasing after the wind, even the foolishness of God exceeds any of our brightest moments and brother Job declares, “Where can (true) wisdom be found?”

Preaching, it is the same. It is the Holy Spirit that does the real communicating who opens and closes doors; where do homiletics and eloquence come in? What part of all of this can communicate a little of the flame to others apart from God Himself doing it, and nothing is truthful or skillful but by the same means? Nothing will connect with your audience outside of the Spirit of God who blows where He wills. Paul understood that it is God alone who takes a man against his will and miraculously makes Himself known to him. All of our own words fall to the ground and are impotent and vain, it is God who is the conduit. Cannot God do all of these things quite well without men, yet, “How are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? God commands us to preach, why, when it is such a useless service?

Should we reject all this work? Should I be trying to convince you of this nothingness when I believe that this nothingness leads to salvation and resurrection? Should the absence of man’s understanding or of any good and purposeful work conclude that the venomous fruits of the world should necessitate their early demise? Jesus says that it is not yet time for the harvest and restrains the seventh angel, and yet to what purpose is our useless service?

Now we are at the point where we will try and unravel this mystery. Now we can come to a revelation, if God so wills. Jesus has said with perfect clarity “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” God has written a Book in which its contents command us to perform certain duties to the letter. The understanding and conviction of the futility of this work must not prevent us from doing as we are commanded. Our sense of the uselessness of what we must do is no excuse for inaction. When many of the characters of the Old Testament were warned by the Prophets of coming events their inaction, because of fear, futility, or unbelief, became contempt for God and His commands. It is at this point that discernment is needed. I am reminded of Naaman the Syrian who was a leper, (2 Kings 5), who was told by a little girl of Israel to go to Elisha the prophet for cleansing, and he went. Elisha without introduction or even leaving his room sends a mere messenger with instructions to simply dip seven times in the Jordan River. At these instructions, the great Naaman became enraged that Elisha did not recognize the gravity of the situation or his presence to even come out of his room and wave this arms and call down his god like the pagans and Naaman gets up to leave. Again, a servant requested him to do what Elisha has said, “what is the harm,” he said, and Naaman, the pagan warlord, was healed. It all seems so crazy, without reason, so vain. The idea here is that we are left with the freedom to do or not to do the seemingly futile, vain, and even silly things commanded us.

My desire is that we would call into question all of our impulsive conclusions regarding the apparent vanity of what we are commanded to do. Yes, prayer is useless as are miracles, and our theology, and our works. The healing of Naaman had no purpose that could be observed outside of the idea that Syria would know that there was a prophet in Israel, was that all? There is a concealed dimension here that is not altogether apparent to our senses. It is exactly because of the vanity of these things and that they do not carry with them a fulfillment of our own petty goals and that they many times seem ineffective that they become, on the one hand, a testimony to the unassuming grace of God and on the other an expression of our true freedom. In the world, we are focused on usefulness, value, and necessity, and the pursuit of efficiency and these are all subject to the strictest determinations of the world of which God has no use. A necessity in the world demands results. But, the want of necessity in us is to essentially not be a true witness of this grace and freedom, the free gifts of God.

If we are ready and say to ourselves that we are “unprofitable servants” then will our works truly touch on the glory of Him who freely loved us first. God loves us because He is love and not because He demands results. Fulfilling His commands are thus given a purpose and meaning other than merely achieving an objective or goal. God desires us to act out of love for having understood the blessedness of our salvation and because His Spirit willingly dwells in us, because we have received revelation, and not because we want some particular result, or even to be saved, or that others may be converted, or that America may become a Christian nation. In this way, our obedience is freed from the worry of whether or not it has been useful or effective. We “cast our bread upon the water and in many days it returns,” but it is out of our hands and the Spirit blows it where it wills, and the far future history of the world is already fulfilled while we rest, love, and obey.

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We here at IndyWatchman are celebrating the 500th year of the Radical Reformation while others are celebrating just the regular Reformation which has given us the greater part of the apostasy we are witnessing today.

While it was the Radicals who gave us “believers baptism” and “separation of Church and state” all the credit was given to Luther. After 500 years it’s time to set the record straight. Zwingli, Luther, and Calvin gave us war, theocracy, infant baptism, compromise, and yes, justification through faith alone, of which they practiced in words only. The Radicals, on the other hand, not only believed in justification by faith but lived it as many historical documents show clearly and their vast number of martyrs prove.

The Reformation of the Reformers Zwingli, Luther, and Calvin produced virtually no martyrs because their converts were not converts at all but they were rather enlisted through compulsion by the state and forced to become members of the state-controlled church. The Reformers, first of all, hid behind the state and used the state to forcibly promote their cause then created, along with the state, a theocracy which made infant baptism mandatory. They neither practiced “faith” nor “separation.” The Reformers believed as the Catholic believed, from which they came, that the Church should control the state and infants should be baptized at birth. Their Reformation was political and deliberately grabbed for the reins of power as was apparent in the lives of both Zwingli and Calvin and less so in Luther but he was nonetheless conjoined with the state to insure the success of his venture.

My question is, why all the celebration of an enterprise that failed to complete its mission, and why is not the Radical Reformation celebrated when it was they who ran and completed the race and held high the standard of Christ and refused to compromise, earning for them the badge of true faith and service?

The reason for the non-recognition of the Radical Reformation is no different now than it was then. The Church that Jesus established has never been the grand enterprise that is firmly established today and is vastly spread across the land. The real Church is small and is called a “remnant” and “the elect” of God. Anyone who creates things with cloth fabric understands that a remnant is only a small part of the whole bolt of fabric and is not fit to produce a uniform patterned work. But, the Bible informs us that the Church is made up of these supposed unfit remnants. To God, it is the poor, despised, and rejected who are the remnant and which make up the final tapestry called the Church, who are set apart for final glory. It is this small Remnant who have survived through the ages every attempt of Satan to destroy them. The world of established Christianity will not now, as it would not then, embrace the suffering that comes with true faithfulness to Christ. The Radicals understood and many paid with their lives the price demanded by the Reformers, the Catholic Church, and the state.

When Christ calls out His Ecclesia He does not call it into an organization but rather into an organism, a living breathing thing, nor does He call it into the safety of the state or any other manmade system, but rather He calls it into suffering and death. The Radicals were nonconformist and this is why they were ignored, persecuted, and murdered. Consequently, the real Church of Christ is small; there are not many who will resonate with such a calling. God elects that person whose spirit is in tune with the Holy Spirit and calls him out of this world and sets him apart as a chosen vessel and a living stone that will make up the completed Bride of Christ and the City of God.

So, yes, celebrate this great freedom we have in Christ but if you are under the delusion that what the Reformers gave us was the last word on the subject then you are living a life of Christian fantasy that has been passed down for 500 years. It was not the faith of the Reformers that should be celebrated but rather the faith the Radicals who truly picked up their cross and followed Christ and embraced His suffering, not as something to be avoided, but as the final act of love for their King.

 

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Why is it that discernment ministries are afraid to address the topic of nonresistance even though I believe that some of them are nonresistant, at least in principle?

During the Reformation there were three things that caused great distress to the Reformers Zwingli, Luther, and Calvin, and they were:

1) The separation of Church and state,

2) Believer’s baptism, and

3) Non-resistance.

Theocracy was the norm in those days as was infant baptism, even among the Protestants, but today, except if you are a Catholic, we believe that there should be a separation of Church from the state. We also generally accept Believer’s (adult) baptism, unless you are Catholic or Lutheran. But, number three causes many problems for Protestants, then, as well as today.

The odd thing about nonresistance is that in the early stages of the Reformation both Zwingli and Luther agreed with the Anabaptist that nonresistance should be practiced. Martin Luther, who is called the father of Protestantism, defended a peculiar view on this question, a view which is even today held by many Protestant theologians. He taught that a Christian is to be strictly nonresistant and that no one can as a Christian have a part in violence and bloodshed, be it in self-defense or in war. No one can do so as a Christian. But a Christian, he says, is also a “world person,” or a citizen, and as such he is under a duty to use violence in the service of the government, as a magistrate, officer, or soldier. When in such capacity he acts contrary to the precept and example of Christ, it is not a sin to him but is his duty. He does this as a citizen, not as a Christian. Luther divided the Christian into two kingdoms, the duty of the one is opposite to that of the other. The fact is that he, in theory, defended the principle of strict nonresistance of the Christian. Zwingli, who was the founder of the Reformed Church, wrote in 1522: “Considered from the Christian point of view it is by no means right to have a part in war. According to Christ’s teaching, we should pray for those who despitefully use us and persecute us, and if an aggressor smites us on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Again, in one of his largest books, published in 1523, Zwingli says: “Christ commands that we should not go to law nor engage in carnal strife, but if one takes away our coat, let him have our cloke also, and He has taught this by His own example as well. He also forbids all oaths.” Nine years after making this statement Zwingli would die with a sword in his hand. What prompted the radical change in their attitudes? After studying their history I detected in both of these men a proud and determined spirit.

With the spirit of humility and meekness comes great faith and trust in God as our strength and provider. With a faith which lacks humility and meekness comes fear, pride, and compromise. Both Zwingli and Luther produced great movements that necessitated the use of authority much like the Catholic Church they had come out of. Both of these men allowed their excessive abilities to think, reason, and self-promote take precedence over their trust in God, leading them to link arms with the state to advance their movement. God’s ways are not man’s ways and we see clearly the difference in the other Reformation initiated by the Radical Reformers Conrad Grebel, Felix Mannz, and George Blurock. These men refused to compromise and held tightly to their Lord and as a consequence was persecuted, as Jesus and the Apostles said they would be.

Today, this fear of rejection and failure, the fear of smallness, the fear of not being taken seriously, still chokes and blocks the way for nearly all Christians. To be counted as one of those weirdos who will not defend themselves, their country, or family is the last straw and they simply will not bow to this doctrine of our Lord who Himself practiced nonresistance; this doctrine has become the last stumbling stone of which many will be crushed. The Catholic Church stumbled, Zwingli stumbled, Luther stumbled, Calvin Stumbled, and those who have followed these men and their false doctrine have, and will, stumble. But, from the beginning there has existed a small, weak, persecuted flock, called the ecclesia, the called out ones, who have refused to follow the lead of men and have discovered that true peace which comes through mercy, forgiveness, and even forgiving those who would kill and torment our friends and family, and nation.

It is a sad tale that the one who started a movement, the Reformed Movement, and now has many millions of followers, who at his start firmly embraced the nonresistant doctrine, would finish his race killing and being killed. Luther and Calvin were also unashamed murderers of their supposed enemies, their brothers. Yet, these are the men who have by their deeds built mighty fortresses to their leader, the spirit of this world.

It is obvious that discernment ministries stay away from the topic of nonresistance because it cannot be found and is totally missing from any of their communications. I have to assume that they do so because of the fear of alienating their readership and audience and the risk of losing customers because of a doctrine that is controversial. If it were just controversy for controversy’s sake then I would agree with them but this issue is fundamental in our understanding the heart of our Savior, the Lamb of God. How can we follow and imitate the Lamb in His death while at the same time preparing to kill? It is impossible. We cannot bring forth both bitter and sweet water. We cannot both love our enemy and kill him. We cannot both forgive and sit in a jury box to judge, and we cannot hold a gun in one hand and an olive branch in the other. Discernment ministries stay away from this topic because it is costly, and to put your foot down in this ring will bring you only scorn, disrespect, persecution, and possibly death. But, this too is Christianity. This doctrine is not hidden in esoteric and obscure language, it is right there in the BOOK. Shame on those who are afraid to step into the ring. Christ was not afraid and neither was His Apostles, and thousands upon thousands of martyrs followed, and the trail of blood has never ceased from that time to this. The Anabaptists were a shining light that has dimmed but I can assure you that that light will burn ever so brightly one more time. Many are seeing it even now, and the voices of those saints whose souls rest beneath the altar of God can almost be heard; “How much longer Lord, how long.”

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased

to give you the kingdom.”

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What does it mean to be in the world but not of it? I know it means different things to different Christian people, and that it has become the “Get Out of Jail Free Card” for all those who love the world and use this verse of Scripture to justify all of their dirty little deeds.

It has become difficult for Christians to think Biblically concerning issues like this. Their minds are stuck in the world and therefore they see things through the lens of their former life and give meaning to spiritual things that should not be. Their vision is distorted because their pastors and teachers have skewed vision also, and so goes the tale of our generational blindness.

Let’s consider a couple of things. First of all, our humanity has a fatal flaw because of our inherited sin nature; we are all sinners, and we all live in the world. Therefore, we must give up any idea that we can completely get rid of sin in our fleshly nature by any amount of virtue. We must also give up the idea that we can improve the world or make mankind better. Secondly, we have been given a mission. As concerned Christians, we must never say, “We can’t do anything about it,” we must try and stop the suicidal bent of society. When we talk or act like we are helpless we are playing into the hands of the enemy, Satan. It would appear that the Christian, the Biblically thinking Christian, is caught between two opposing thoughts. We cannot make the world less sinful, yet, we cannot just leave it where it is, we cannot and will not accept the world as it is. If we say, “I can’t accept this line of reasoning,” then we reject the very position in which God has placed us. The tension between these two positions is not without a purpose. The involvement in this tension was the exact situation of Jesus and His incarnation. From the beginning of creation, there has been this tension between sin and grace, between two kingdoms, and between two natures. We are in the world, just as Christ was in the world, with all of the stress and tension of a spiritual tug-of-war. Our life is a life of contradicting demands, very painful, very uncomfortable, yet it is the only situation which will bear the fruit required by our Father. The field is the world and the work of the Christian is in this field, with all the poison, all the viciousness, all the falseness and lying, and all the TENSION between the two worlds. We are in the world yet we are not of this world and must keep the things of this world at arm’s length.

What are we to do? Many have chosen to retreat into the world and hide, to ease the conflict and to wait for further orders. The answer is obvious if we keep our eyes on our Commander in Chief. First, we must accept that the tension and conflict are normal for the Christ follower and in the midst of tension is where we live and where our work is done. Secondly, we must accept – in humility and repentance – that our life in this world is scandalous and shameful, how can it be otherwise? We are both sinners and saints. If we know our true position in the world and its situation then we can also see correctly the big problem the world faces. Every day we need to see with a renewed vision where we stand in relation to those in the world and live honestly with that knowledge that we are weak having been placed in the world without having recourse to its ways and means. On the other hand, we Christians need to realize that to achieve our mission our weapons are mighty for the simple reason that we are weak and harmless and that God Himself is our Savior.

It is characteristic of the world and Satan to tempt Christians to use the resources that are available to them and to discard their show of meekness and humility. Of himself, the natural man is unable to see the spiritual reality of his own struggle or the real strength of the true Christian. The man of the world only sees those things which float to the surface of life: social, political, and economic problems and his ways and means of worldly morals, machinery, and the technology of his present set of circumstances.

What part should the Christian play in the problems of the world? Firstly, it is not the Christian’s job to try and define each and every problem and communicate that to the unbeliever. Christians should not mess around with futile attempts at moral dialogue, politics, or technology which have never solved any long term problems yet. The Christian’s job is to discover the real spiritual difficulties which all of these things contain. As far as the solution is concerned it is not on the level of the rational mind at all. The solution can only occur in terms of life through the acceptance of forgiveness through Jesus Christ offered in humility and peace.

So, what have I said? Christians are not of this world although they are in this world. We are Kingdom citizens, clothed in flesh, thrust into the world, confronted with conflict and tension, weak, humiliated, forgiven, holding out an olive branch of peace to wolves, in a world of evil, governed by EVIL. It is receiving and in living out the Gospel of Peace in this environment that all political, economic, and any other questions are solved. It is the acceptance of this tension which we hold within our bodies that alone allows us to discover and realize what the true social situation really is, it is a warfare.

To embrace this tension as normal will, if we allow it, help us to respond to the conflict with the heart of Christ. The tension we experience is not an illusion, it is a real warfare, and we must acknowledge and use the weapons at our disposal, peace, forgiveness, humility, love, and sacrifice.

We must be in the world . . . but we must not represent this world.

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An idol in the Bible is always a representation of something real that people replace for God. They may offer it love, worship, prayers, and offerings; they may even pray to God in its behalf for answers to prayer for its protection. In other words, idolatry is the tendency in humanity to assign a religious, spiritual, or sacred value and power to something that is of the nature of this world.

It is not wrong to make a statue of a person or an animal any more than it is wrong to have a love for things, or for animals, or for nature. What is evil, the Bible tells us, is the confusion two different realities. Isaiah tells us that an idol is only a piece of wood. But, for the one who worships it, an idol is not valued as only wood, it is rather symbolical of a spiritual reality, of a god or power, a power that can be transferred to the worshiper.

People of today are generally of the opinion that these idolatrous pagan cults are gone from our lives. No longer do we worship animal images or wood, and in the Catholic Church, they are careful to draw a distinction (a false distinction) between what is offered to a saint or to the Virgin and the worship given to God.

Yet, without being aware of it, our highly developed world is filled to the brim with idols. They are not the same as those in, say, African religions. We have our own. A text from the Bible may be a pointer to what they are. Paul writes that covetousness is idolatry. In other words, love of money, the desire to have more and more of it, trust in money and what it can do–this is idolatry.

Ultimate Security

We need to ask some precise questions:

· In whom, or in what, do we place our trust, on what does our faith rest?

· Where do we look for peace and safety?

· Whom do we expect to guarantee our future?

· What do we think can guard our liberty?

· Whom do we believe on the subject of truth?

· How do we explain where we came from?

If we are honest we will see very quickly that, even if we are Christians, even if we pray, in reality, we are looking to other certainties and other truths, and this is where our idolatry lies.

We believe that money along with insurance is our best warranty against the future. It is this that gives us hope and the promise of a golden finale to our years.

We believe that the state is the agent of our security, and from it, we expect justice, unity, and even truthfulness.

We make an idol of science. It is here that we believe the road to truth and the future lie. We like to think that science will solve all of our problems and open up the path to the promise land. It will explain our origins and our destiny, and everything in between. This is the assertiveness of the everyday man and it replaces the love of God and of Christ.

Money, the state, and science are not evil in and of themselves any more than were the bulls of ancient idolatry. Idolatry happens in our hearts and defines how we approach those things and it forms our attitudes, and places them in direct opposition to God, and renders them profoundly evil.

Don’t think that these three stand alone, they are only chief among many other idols. People idolize race, nationalism, entertainment/entertainers, social class, abilities, and even books, even the Bible itself.

Finally, we must include some popular modern beliefs: we put faith in the guru, the psychic, the modern Christian myth-maker, all mushrooming in an amazing way. All of these are condemned as idolatry and false religion. There is no room in the human heart for both the God of Jesus Christ and for the love and adoration of any of these other influences and powers.

We are a flawed humanity and unless we continually, daily, die to the desire for any of these things we have no rights to the Kingdom promised to us by God, because God will have no rival or rebellion either now or forever. AMEN

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Some Background

I was not brought up in a Christian home. My parents did not go to Church, read the Bible, or consciously teach us children Biblical truths. They accepted Christian teachings and the Ten Commandments as generally true because those things were dominant in our culture at that time; the general consensus of America was Christian so we were Christian by default. Christianity, as I knew it, was divided primarily into Catholic and Protestant and in grade school, we were sent once a week to the local United Methodist Church for Bible training, so we were categorized as Protestant and my military dog tags said Methodist.

At the age of 26, after five years of marriage, my wife and I gave our lives to Christ. Generally speaking I was Protestant but at this point, I was not protesting anything, on the contrary, my protest and rebellion had ended, and I started consuming the mysterious book which had escaped my interest for so many years. What I read there confused me from the very beginning. The pastor of the first Church we attended, a Full Gospel Church, after several meetings in his office and many questions, frankly said that I was reading too much and that I should just relax in the Spirit and follow the lead of the others, i.e. jumping, yelling, speaking in tongues, prophesying, laying hands on the sick, etc. I am not a highly emotional person so the Full Gospel venue lost its appeal. Over the next several years, and a number of denominations, the study of this book continued to trouble me, but eventually, due to mostly canned responces, the questions lessened and we began to settle into the routine of just attending Church; this stalemate lasted many years but the unease persisted.

Being from a non-religious environment my experience was unbiased and I was free to question and discover Christian truth virtually unhindered by religious indoctrination. With my initial study of the Bible I quickly picked up the deep and disturbing dissimilarities between Protestantism and Catholicism and equally disturbing was the tension between different Protestant denominations, and it was troubling that they all professed to be the Church described in the New Testament. What I also found out was that all of these groups had established beachheads to protect their own real-estate and their own belief systems. Once again trouble lifted its head. I was beginning to vocally disagree with much of what I was witnessing and had imbibed from the Protestants I associated with that contradicted what I read.

Things You Learn From Studying History

The early reformers were all Catholics who had fled the Catholic Church because they had uncovered truth that was being purposely covered up. These Catholic expatriates were the early Protestants. Now, if I find myself in disagreement with both these groups because of other clear Biblical truths that were being held back and a different organizational system being advanced instead of New Testament truth could I rightly identify myself with that Protestant movement? For that reason I no longer called myself a Protestant; I concluded that a Protestant or Catholic is only someone who has signed onto a particular religious system created and propagated by men in the 16th century and earlier that has survived into our time.

Before there ever was a Protestant or a Catholic there existed simply Christians. Before the Catholic Church drove the actual Body of Christ underground, for more than a thousand years of darkness, there existed openly small clusters of those who understood the mind and heart of Jesus, who chose to risk life, limb, and property, rather than to blindly follow the wishes of mere men, and this is the group we read about in Scriptures as “the elect of God,” or Christ’s little flock.” These small cells went underground and were called by different names throughout history, but their common link was the fact that they desired to follow the dictates of the Bible over the mandates of men; and this commonality was also the mark and provocation that brought to their doorstep the horrendous persecutions they had to endure at the hands of the Catholics, Protestants, and the magistracy.

The Radical Reformation, so named to differentiate it from the Protestant Reformation and to focus on the extent of its goal to re-discover primitive Christianity, was the response to the gross corruption of both the Roman Catholic Church and the expanding Magisterial Protestant movement being pushed by Ulrich Zwingli, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others. Beginning in Germany and Switzerland in the early 16th century the Radical Reformation gave birth to several drastic groups throughout Europe that had a negative impact on the movement as a whole. The group I refer to are the original peaceful Anabaptist groups that sprung from the brave founders Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, and George Blaurock and not those who sought something other than the purity of following Christ.

In parts of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria there was much sympathy for the Radical Reformers despite intense persecution. While they were given some protection by the state they refused to align themselves with the state and to be brought under the state’s umbrella of protection and consequently, in many cases, the state turned on the Anabaptist because of their idea of separation.

While the magisterial reformers of the Protestant Reformation, Zwingli, and Luther, wanted to substitute their own learned elite for the learned elite of the Catholic Church, the radical reformers rejected the authority and elitism of the institutional church organization almost entirely as being unbiblical. It was unavoidable that as the search for original Christianity was carried forward the radicals would have to acknowledge that the tension between the church and the Roman Empire in the first centuries of Christianity was normal, that the church is not to pledge allegiance to any government, that a true church is always subject to be persecuted, and that the supposed conversion of politicians is, therefore, signs of apostasy that mark a departure from pure Christianity.

Reality Check

Clear prophesies from the Bible indicate that we are in the last of the last days. World events continue to point to the soon return of Christ, and there is much work to do.

Although there is the indication that some are beginning to see that there is trouble in the organized Church there is as yet no great migration or evacuation from the leading Christian institutions.

Many within the Protestant Church see the Catholic Church as the Harlot who rides the Beast in chapters 17 and 18 of the book of Revelations, I am more inclined to see that Harlot as the mixture, ecumenism, or unification, of both the Catholic and Protestant Churches, and possibly all religions. After all, the Harlot is called the “mother of harlots” and the Protestant Church was birthed from the Catholic Church, was she not? If that is the case then we need to heed the instructions of Christ to “Come out of her, my people,’ so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4. The Anabaptist radicals who were the true reformers were rejected, property and goods taken away, and hunted down and killed just as the New Testament said it would be. The Church is in a miserable condition and we need, again, a movement of radicals who will stand on Biblical truth, live pure and holy lives, be unafraid to confront the darkness that plagues those trapped in the institutional quagmire of Americanized Christianity, and to suffer persecution.

There are many who have declared that they know the truth and that except this truth be interpreted or explained by them it cannot be understood. It is not true! The truth was delivered to us in the form of a person. Jesus, says of Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6. That truth is available to every living person and understood through the revelation of the Spirit to the heart of man. John 7:17; Hebrews 1:1; 2 Timothy 3:16; John 8:32, et al. When a person or group makes the declaration that the Bible cannot be understood apart from their secret fallaciousness or esoteric obscurities you can be assured you are being conned. The Holy Spirit is the key to making all the pieces of the spiritual puzzle fit.

Human weakness is such that to have access to someone or something with the claim of inside information, through mysticism, esoteric knowledge, new age spirit guide, or the like, gives a sense of personal power and inclusion into the secrets of life. It is this weakness that is exploited by all kinds of men seeking power. To harvest this crop of the need for inclusiveness and personal power is the goal of every marketer, salesman, conman, Hollywood director, and religious organization built by men. The minds and hearts of men are the true trophies of those seeking power, fame, and money. Every salesman (and most priest and pastors) know that the true value of their product means little or nothing; it is the perceived value they focus on. It is the emotional commitment to their product that is important and not the true value.

Lost in the Deep Dark Woods

True truth in a world saturated with lies, subterfuge, stratagem, innuendos, insinuations, ploys, schemes, and fifty shades of gray is harder to find than a needle in a hay stack. Is it any wonder that all men are declared to be blind and deaf and in need of a savior? Most of us have felt it at one time or another, lost in the deep dark woods of life where evil lurks around every corner, vulnerable, alone, weak, and facedown against misfortune. All the positive thinking and mysticism in the world cannot save us; we are hopeless. With these varieties of typical life experiences, people become, for the religious huckster, marketer, or the salesman, targets of opportunity. People want to be helped, they are predisposed to deception, they only want to add to their life the perception of safety or salvation. It is the feeling that many get by owning a gun or having their house wired with cameras and alarms. The military gives the nation this sense of security. Neighborhoods get angry because they feel they have no safety from the police while the other side is angry because that perception is discredited and weakened.

When Truth stepped onto the stage there were no bells, no whistles, no flowing gowns and revered titles, no steeples or stained-glass windows, no bands or beautiful voices, no glossy covers or bill-boards, no far-out promises of big buildings and assurances of wealth. Truth says simply, Follow Me. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Many things like this Jesus has spoken, but we listen to salesmen instead with their worldly wares offering the safety of organizations, systems, governments, denominations, parties, machines, weapons, alarms, gases, etc. All the devises offered by the world, including the religious world, are but the wares and merchandise of men buying and selling the souls of men.

This is why truth is so hard to find.

This is why the old lies of the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Church need to be exposed.

This is why the wizard behind the curtain of deception who uses all of his ancient tricks of vanity, pride, and filthiness needs to be brought into the daylight.

And, this is why Christ, the Apostles, the Martyrs of antiquity, the Donatist, the Waldenses, the Anabaptist, and sheep from every period of Church history were persecuted, because they were the,

“City on a hill that cannot be hidden.”

Dead to this World but Alive in the Next

Finding Christ in Christianity was like finding a great treasure hidden in plain sight or like stumbling over a box of precious jewels. I think we will all have a similar experience where “truth” flashes upon us and we get a momentary glance behind the veil. For me, it was a light that revealed a narrow path in a world of highways and personal struggles encouraging me to step across a threshold, guarded on the one side by sirens and devils and on the other by angels with flaming swords spinning. In the midst of the clamoring devils, all of them threatening and warning of foulness and a tyrannical Prince, and the temptress with her seductive lures, the bright preciousness of the Treasure compelled me to cross over. With Satan’s last warning still ringing in my ears the bond was severed and I embraced death.

Just as religion was the great deceiver of the Jews when Jesus arrived so it is today that religion is again deceiving those who seek only to experience religion. Christianity is still a little flock. It is the Christian professionals who dictate what it is that Christ demands, the same as it has always been, but, it is the few who find Christ, or rather are found by Him doing the work of the Kingdom, serving in the trenches, binding up the wounded soul, feeding the hungry, forgiving, showing mercy, and choosing to die rather than doing harm.

Finding Christ in Christianity is the new birth, it is seeing persecution where others see peace and safety, it is a sorrowing heart when others sing loudly, and it is embracing death when the others beg for their lives. The question is, “Do you really want to find Christ?” then you need to look outside what Christianity has become. Christ is still the great Treasure hidden in plain sight.

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