I have written a lot about the Christian’s view of war and violence, and how modern views are a rejection of the truth; but really the issue of war is only a single false position the Church takes that is based on presumption and tradition.
Nearly the whole known Christian world now preaches in favor of war, so when we undertake to disagree we would guess that there is a well-established argument from many different authors supporting their position; it is not so. Although virtually everyone supports war: past, present, or future, they produce little valid Biblical evidence to fortify their position; and the evidence they do give is questionable. What you do find is that the whole structure is supported by tradition and strengthened by our carnal passions.
Those who teach truth, over-shadowed by traditions, for the most part, come from men who have attained high rank in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and who possess a lot of self-assurance that no one will dare question their authority; and if anyone does, they are ignored. Beginning from their position of high status the traditions are disseminated downward through all levels of the body. Once the tradition is established it gains a life of its own, can progress unnoticed, unquestioned, and unopposed; and such is the truth in the modern Church today. This fact is so unashamedly obvious in the Catholic and Orthodox Church that it hardly needs mentioning, but the Protestant Church is no different.
My wife and I have run a small commercial refrigeration business for the last thirty years and have enjoyed a moderate level of success. Monetarily we probably would not be considered successful, but we have never wanted for a continuous flow of customers to serve. We operate on integrity, and not on the principle of cash flow; the company is run by us, not by our accountant. Our operation is based on two simple rules:
1. Integrity of life, and
2. Integrity of equipment.
First, let’s define integrity. Integrity, according to Wikipedia, “Is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy, in that integrity regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.” I will also add that integrity of equipment incorporates the above values in the design and production of a mechanical system with the final result of soundness, safety, and quality for the end user.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27.
The integrity of life, which includes the integrity of business (the two cannot be separated, as some imagine. There is no distinction made for business that allows something less than total truth and honesty) is simple to discover; it is based on the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles.
The integrity of equipment means this; a manufacturer has employed engineers to design and test a system (in my case it would be a refrigeration system), which they in turn sell to refrigeration contractors. This could be a self-contained unit that requires only an electrical outlet to make it work; or it could be a modular system composed of multiple components located throughout a store, with interconnecting refrigeration lines and electrical controls. The engineers provide a set of “specs” for the contractor to follow when assembling the system, which they promise will work if followed correctly. The integrity of the finished unit is only as good as the contractor’s ability to understand the “specs” and what the designer had in mind for the product’s operation.
Problems of integrity, of life or equipment, can arise for example, if the contractor attempts to re-engineer the project to cut down overhead due to greed or his inability to calculated cost properly, causing the equipment to not operate correctly. If the manufacturer warrants his design to be without defects in the engineering process, and the equipment does not work properly, then the search begins for a defect in the integrity of a component or in the installation. Regardless of where the problem exists, it is always a problem of integrity, either of life, or of equipment.
The problem of integrity also comes into play when we consider the future maintenance and repair of a once properly operating system.
I love trying to figure out how things work, so it was kind of a joke with my former employer and technicians that I carried a virtual library in my truck. When I was asked why I had all the books, the answer was always the same, “You don’t have to know all the answers in your head, but you do need to know where to go to get the answers.” Integrity of life and equipment is very important; and knowing where to go to find answers is of utmost importance, if proper operation is a critical matter.
Troubleshooting any kind of problem requires integrity; you must first recognize, and admit, that there is a problem. Many times problems do not readily appear and the system seems to look fine and operate perfectly when checked, but later goes down. To all appearances and initial analysis everything is doing what it is supposed to be doing, but the problem persists. Even if the problem isn’t apparent, evidence to the contrary proves otherwise, e.g. in the case of refrigeration systems, product loss is good evidence; In the case of the Church: tall spires, stain-glass windows, gowns, candles, incense, CEO speeches once a week, contamination, corruption, perversions, gross ignorance of Scripture, divorce, carnal lust, hatred, war, teen suicide, etc., etc.
Next you have to acknowledge that something has changed. If the system operated for a long time without issues, but is now having problems, the question has to be asked, “What has changed to cause the problem?” A company run with integrity will demand that the designer’s specs be investigated and followed. If our company goes into a new account to troubleshoot a problem, the first thing we do is try and find out how many other hands have been working on the equipment; then we start the process of getting the system back to design specs. Nearly always we discover that over a process of time the designer’s specifications were either not known, or just ignored; and little changes, here and there, were introduced, till no one realized that the only thing that remained of the original equipment was the name tag on the front; underneath the “hood” nothing even resembled the architect’s original design. Technicians over a long period of time can re-engineer the equipment to run the way they think it should run, with no regard for the truth. How easy it is for a tech, regardless of how much experience he has, to think he is smarter than the engineer who designed the equipment in the first place. What has changed in the equipment to make it NOT run is the integrity of the ones who keep putting their hands on a good system and changing it. They think that with their own limited intelligence they can improve on the original.
How does this relate to the Church’s rejection of the truth; it relates in very concrete ways. The Church has the fingerprints of men all over it.
“. . . You nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men’.” Matthew 15:6-9
The Lord is the Engineer who designed a perfect system by which Christians are to govern their lives, but it has had many hands under the hood, and today all we are left with is a name, CHRISTIAN, but the equipment only appears to be operating; because the glitter hides the awful truth. But, even a casual non-Christian observer can see that the system does not function properly; it is dysfunctional. Too many religious technicians have tried to fix it, but it is still broke. All their efforts have only been placebos, illusions, programs of deceit, or impostures and pacifiers.
I used to own a 1958 Chevrolet, it was my second car, it had a big engine, a four speed Hurst transmission, big tires, and boy did it shine. I loved to shine that car; and it was pretty. It would cruise just fine as long as you went slowly, and I loved to show it off; but it was broke. It was all for show. I could never get that car to run worth a dime. The more money I put into it the worse it would run. It finally ended up on the scrap heap. Later, in 1968, I bought a brand new Plymouth Road Runner, right off the showroom floor. I didn’t have to do a thing to that car; right out of the box it would run with amazing speed and agility. All I had to do was drive it the way it was made to be driven, and it worked perfectly. The engineers really knew what they were doing, and as long as everything was kept to “specs” it continued to work. The Church today is like that 1958 Chevrolet; it is broke; but it sure does look good.
If we acknowledge that there is a problem with the Church – and that is a big “If,” because most people inside the organizational Church don’t have a clue that there is a problem and really don’t care – that is a good first step. Then if we ask, “What has changed” to cause the problem, we start on the road to an amazing discovery. Just like a refrigeration system; to find out what has changed we must become familiar with the design specs. We must identify what a properly functioning Church looks like to begin with, and then return the unit back to the original model. If in the process we detect that there are many additions and misapplications then we can be assured that our work will be difficult, but very rewarding.
I like definitions. Many times just to define a word or a term is enough to spark a change of direction; and definitions are definitely part of the integrity of life and equipment. Many times a wrong definition lies at the core of serious problems; and to assume a definition that has been accepted by generations before you, without ever knowing or searching it out for yourself, is the worst kind of ignorance. Self-induced ignorance due to laziness, apathy, or habitual practice, in any area of life spells almost certain doom in this life, but in the area of the soul it extends into eternity. In the refrigeration business I come across circumstances occasionally where the equipment is so old that there are no manuals or schematics to define a properly operating system, but sometimes the manuals are available, and the parts to repair the equipment are not, so upgrades have to be made. We do not have that excuse when it comes to the Church. The manual and the measures necessary to affect the repair are all available.
It may surprise some of you to hear what the definition of the “Church” really is. The popular definitions are:
1. A Christian house of worship; a building where religious services take place.
2. A Christian religious organization, local or general.
3. Religious service held at a church.
4. A group of people who follow the same Christian religious beliefs, local or general.
The word “Church” is translated from the Greek word “ecclesia.” This word is the exclusive word used in the New Testament of which the word “Church” is translated. It means a “calling out.” The word Church is never used of any other purpose than to signify the “called out” ones. I guess a good question to ask now is, what does it mean to be called out?
“Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart (consecrated) as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2: 20, 21
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present (devote) your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed (distinguishing character) by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1,2
“Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate (isolated) from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you” 2 Corinthians 6:17
“Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her (obedience), my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;” Revelation 18:4
Although definition #4 comes closest to a Biblical meaning of “Church” it misses it by a country mile. Just to do a study of the word “Church” should be enough to open some eyes. If the above verses exhibit characteristics of the Church as defined by God, can you find any apparent incongruities, conflicts, or inconsistencies with what is passed off for Church today? There are many, Many, MANY, inconsistencies. I could do a long series of articles on all the discrepancies that have crept into the Church that not only conflict with the true definition, but are totally inappropriate and satanic in their origin. Where do we find in the modern Church anything that distinguishes and separates today’s Christians from the world?
God is the engineer, He designed the system to work in only one way; and He says when the system breaks down, check the specs, there has been a failure of integrity somewhere. He has given His specs to us in the form of His written word. The integrity of His system is without question the best there is; it is perfect in every detail. We are the contractors and technicians commissioned to operate and administer the structure. If the system isn’t working properly we must look for a breakdown in integrity, not in the design, but in the application, operation, and administration.
Two thousand years of technicians who thought they were engineers, have totally re-designed a structure that was initially perfect, and today, what is truly Christian in Christianity is to them heresy.
Underneath all the rubbish of re-designed Christian Church lies a remnant of a perfectly faultless system of life for all human beings, but especially Christians. Those who haven’t accepted Christ and His plan of existence are destined for a very large landfill, a junkyard of discarded human souls, unless someone is able to troubleshoot the system, and convince mankind to return to its source, and begin all over again. If we look to a failed system for help, we are in very serious trouble; we will only find broken promises, failed programs, and faltering lives, backed-up by good marketing and big pretty buildings.
The Lord will return to this Orchard He has planted someday, looking for fruit, and when He finds none, it will be too late to check the specs. Look at your life and the lives of those around you, and compare that with what the Bible presents; are those lives a true Christian reflection, or does what you see even make any sense; and if you can honestly say that the system appears to be in good operating condition, it may be later than you think.
“Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: ‘How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you . . .’” Proverbs 1:20-23
“For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird . . . '” Proverbs 1:17