Opinions on faith and life

The Least of These

2009-06-14

I think the most telling sign of whether or not a person is truly saved is how they treat those under their power or control. Jesus made it clear in many statements that God values the weak and oppressed, and it is they He came to rescue.

Can a real Christian think any others are beneath them in any way? Can they consider their friends, spouse, or children as mere appendages that exist only to serve their master? Is a good parent a selfish despot? Is a good spouse a self-centered baby?

The Biblical model is leading by example, to “practice what we preach”. If humility is a Christian virtue, then the leader must exhibit this humble life at all times. People will follow such a person because they are producing the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23). But anyone who is lacking such fruit yet demanding to be followed is a liar and conceited, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a fake and a usurper.

There are men who mock and belittle women, “pastors” who call it sin for anyone to question them, “scholars” who are not above altering scripture itself to suit them, and women who embrace this opportunity to shirk personal accountability to God, to the point of devouring their own sisters like cannibals. There are too many “good ole boys” and the women who love them, too many “Caesars” demanding that the sheep support the shepherd.

I wish such people were in the minority but they have infested the entire Christian community. The dross always rises to the surface, but there is little left of the pure. The seminaries and bookstores are saturated with prideful, flesh-based teachings that dissect the Body of Christ. The blogs and message boards are like open sewers spewing their toxic stench into every Christian church and home. As I wrote earlier, they send their assassins out to hunt down and destroy all dissent. And they think themselves pure and Christlike!

Out of a scene from Lord of the Rings, we might be tempted to say “Let [them] rot!”, but we should instead strike at the heart of the enemy and destroy it. The enemy I speak of is what I wrote about in my Nicolaitan book: hierarchy, the desire to control, no matter which form it takes, and no matter how benevolent it may claim to be. Pride is never benevolent; conceit is never kind and godly.

This is no time for reform or revival, but revolution. We can no longer afford to sacrifice so many precious souls on the altar of compromise, in the name of a false “peace”, by remaining silent or “agree to disagree”. Light and darkness can never coexist. Domination in any form is evil and must be strongly opposed. I don’t care how long this sin has been practiced, or how deeply embedded it is, or who will take offense. It is time to stand up in the “churches” and say “Enough!”

The truly humble, those who actually are serving and not bossing, will have no objection to giving up the titles, offices, privileges, and paychecks. The truly gifted will not demand others follow their “vision” or intimidate people into fearing the flames of hell should they stop blindly following them. The truly Christlike will not whine about lost book sales or prestige, or call their jets and buildings “God’s work”.

Who will stand?

13 Comments

Lin

"The Biblical model is leading by example, to “practice what we preach”. If humility is a Christian virtue, then the leader must exhibit this humble life at all times. People will follow such a person because they are producing the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23). But anyone who is lacking such fruit yet demanding to be followed is a liar and conceited, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a fake and a usurper."

At this point, I believe that few professing Christians understand what Christianity is really about and how the truth of the Gospel manifests itself in the life of a Christian. If they knew, they would recognize the wolves.

Of course, it took a lot of study ALONE for me to recognize it.

I cringe when I hear folks talk about church history to prove a theory of doctrine. Church history is littered with tears and blood. It did not take long for Christianity to be melded with pagan temple rites and legally become a part of the state. This was true of the reformation, too which was supposed to free folks. It was a step closer but note they kept the ’chain of command’ and the church/state hierarchal and command model. What we have done in America is make it into a business model since the church/state model is not viable here.

Not even Matthew 18 can be practiced in such a model of hierarchies. The leaders are protected from such things and yet all we hear about these days is church discipline. This is scary because who disciplines the discipliners?

The point I am making is that man always finds a way to elevate himself over others. And because of this, most of us have never seen a true Body of Christ function.

Paula Fether

All true, Lin. But there’s always a remnant. And that in itself is a good object lesson, the continual cycle of the nation of Israel. They would start out okay, then degrade, then get punished, then a remnant would return and start over. Likewise with the "church"; the "narrow way" is only ever traveled by a few.

truthseeker

Power and control are such tempting bait, aren’t they?!!! Lin and Paula, your comments are so true. What does true humility and fellowship really look like and where do we find it?

Greg Anderson

Paula and Lin,

I too have seen this happen in organized religion. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mainline denomination or one of the independent evangelical fellowships (although they try to make the claim that they’re not a religion).

I am free of all that right now, and it’s like being loosed from jail cell. I honestly don’t know how I survived it for all those years.

Religion is hard, Micah 6:8 is not.

Paula Fether

Yeah, I’ve heard countless times "It isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship" said during a religious service in a "temple". How did we all swallow that sort of thing for so long? "If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck..."

People like to belong to clubs. They provide the sense of community missing from modern society. But for most of them, to ask them to leave is like asking them if they’d like to drift alone in outer space. And sometimes that’s what it feels like. But then you notice that you’ve "drifted" from a cramped, airless capsule to a whole planet of light and freedom. Tough journey, great destination.

truthseeker

Paula, great description in your last paragraph. People do like clubs and our society is deficient in community so one is hugely adrift if he or she leaves ’the club’. Yet, as you have so aptly put it, once you’re out, you are in a place of greater light and freedom. The freedom does at times contain the pain of lost relationships but life is not without pain, so we choose our ’pains’. We also come to enjoy new relationships developed with fellow ’drifters’.

Paula Fether

Glad to help, TS :-)

And so true... we do choose our pains. We also choose our blessings.

Lin

"People like to belong to clubs. They provide the sense of community missing from modern society. But for most of them, to ask them to leave is like asking them if they’d like to drift alone in outer space."

Oh Brother is this ever true! I know for a fact it is true. The key to this is getting folks involved in a ’small group’ quickly that becomes their entire social life. They are reluctant to disagree or dissent for hurting their friends feelings. they also find it impossible to leave. Who will their kids play with? What about all those fellowships that are so wonderful?

This is actually a strategy that is employed by many mega churches. They know if they can get you connected and promote horizontal relationships, they have you.

I know many folks who do not agree with what is taught or done in these churches but overlook it because of ’relationships’. They do not realize they are treating it like a club.

Paula Fether

And of course, clubs are fine. The problem comes when they replace the Body and become a religion.

Greg Anderson

I like the last comment about nothing wrong with clubs.

We humans are created to be wanted and to want others in our spheres.

But like you’ve said, when it starts to replace the simplicity of believers as a body, it has to go.

When the fulcrum point gets altered, it throws everything out of whack.

Paula Fether

Tanx Kay! :-)

Kay

My sentiments as well - I’d say that I enjoyed reading your post and the comments, but the truth of it made me want to cry. So, enjoy may not be the best choice of words.

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