Well there are a couple of things before I dive into how we got our Western mindset that are important: 1st, Early Saints had an illiteracy rate of 95% among the Jews and even worse among the Gentiles: 98%! This is historical FACT. They did not bring their Bibles to "church" with them! (if they had they would have had to employ a wheel barrow because of the actual size of the scrolls in those days!!) There were no Bibles as we know them. Maybe there was in most cases one copy of OT scriptures in synagogues. Secondly, what we do today is totally different than what they did then and how we justify our present practices and say we are doing things according to the scriptures is the most amazing miracle that's .... well .... simply NOT! Vice-versa. THEY were Christ centered, NOT scripture centered and THAT is scriptural not vice versa!
The last things written in the chapter on "footwashing" was about apostles LEAVING. THAT'S what Jesus did!! He LEFT! He left them on their own. Eventually that's what Paul did when he raised up an assembly. IT'S PART OF THE WAYS OF GOD. We say we follow the Lamb. But can we give so much of Christ that we can with confidence walk out on a people without leaving them with ANY elders, preachers, buildings, Sunday Schools or Bible??? If they had scriptures, they would not know how to read them. Who has THAT kind of powerful gospel today? And you got to do it all in four months and walk out on them and not see them again for two whole years!!!!! When you go back IF there's someone (someone at all??!!) mature enough to "ordain" as an elder then maybe you can. By the way, I just summarized Acts 14. They ordained elders in each city where they had raised up an (only one in each city!) assembly about two years in each of the four assemblies they had raised! We dare do things different than these crazy, insane madmen did it. Either they were wrong or we are. Of course I'm talking about the snowy, cold province of Galatia! THAT'S how it was done! Paul of Tarsus, I think you just need a Bible School education cause you missed it, buddy! Anyway ...... it's much worse how far away we've come than you could believe or even conceive of. So what did Paul leave them with? JESUS! Just Jesus! He immersed them into the very Being of God and taught them by example how to breath, drink and eat Him so they could live by Him.
So what is our most basic intrinsic DEEP problem as to why we are so far off? Simple. It goes back further than Constantine, or Judaism, religion, tradition or Catholicism. It goes waaay back to Eden and the 2 trees. The first tree is "The Tree of Life" ..... simple. Just Christ, not complicated --- no added elements--- just ONE ELEMENT: LIFE! We eat Him, take Him in and live by His life. The principle? Dependence. "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil"?? Leading to death or separation. The principle? Independence. It has 4 elements: Knowledge, good, evil and death. It is profound. It is complicated. We in Adam ate that tree took it in..... and ..... it got into man and its been growing in man for 6000 years!!! Well Satan got himself into man along with it and spoiled the old creation. What? You didn't know that doing good can be just as much of an open door to old slewfoot as doing evil?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????? Maybe you need to be slapped to wake you up or some good coffee or something!! What about the new creation? Could Satan mess with that? Well not the pure seed part of it. But there is the SEED and intrinsic DNA part of God's kingdom which is totally organic and there is the outer appearance and trappings of the kingdom that have developed and just hung around through the centeries. Unfortunately he got that same tree (KOGE) into the kingdom of God ------- not the pure life seed part of that kingdom but the outward practical expression was ..... well, spoiled. Of course, no one wants to hear about anything how Satan was successful in any of his schemes towards the children of God! But let's face it. Truth is truth and facts are facts and we have GOT to face them sooner or later. It is your destiny! I would rather not find out at the great judgement. I would rather find out now. Have you heard of the woman who put leaven in the three-fold meal? This was one of the parables hidden in a shroud of mystery which our Lord did not explain, partly because it did not pertain to their day, it pertained to the distant future and to our day. Now it's a reality. However, when He said "the kingdom of God is like" in that parable He was not talking about the intrinsic pure seed of life within us which is only and purely Jesus Christ Himself, Him crucified, released and lived out, but rather the outward appearance of the kingdom and shape things had taken after awhile. So what's good meal? What's bad meal? Well, to ask this question is the most important question because YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT! Or should I say WHO? Are you a good guy? Is that all? Good has one too many "o"s. Do you trust your goodness or God's goodness? Now, what was the FIRST thing of importance God spoke to man about???? Man's diet!!!! The most important thing is how you eat! You are what you eat. By the way "good" is on the same tree as evil. Sometimes there's a book (actually many!) about the "war" between good and evil and how good can win out. Hmmm ... this is what most all of the movies are based on. hmmmmm ...... Really? How can good win out? There IS no war between good and evil! They are on the same tree and grew out of the same seed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! INDEPENDENCE FROM GOD!!!!!! DOING THINGS ON OUR OWN!!! Whether its good or evil did you do it out of self or out of Christ? Was it flesh or was it the Spirit? Maybe God did task me with something but did I then go out and try to do it on my own or did I do it by and according to and in concert with and through the Spirit?
When a preacher preaches on how evil high heels are (ha, what a laugh!! This really happened!), or something ridiculous like that he has proven that he doesn't have much revelation of the glorious unsearchably rich Christ, does he? He is on the wrong tree ministering condemnation and from then on it becomes a bunch of rules, (by the way the poor sisters in that church were very upset and taken away from Christ by the whole thing, not brought towards Him): the law, not that I disagree with the law but it is something Paul told Timothy was for conversion of a bunch of sinners (see Tim 1) not for saints of God. Or from God .... or IN God! It does have use for us now, however: it is a schoolmaster to show us whether we are abiding in Christ or not. We MUST not be lawless! In fact there are many aspects of the law true men of God are finding out about today and seeing wherein we fall short. These MUST be addressed! But, like I said, this only goes to show how far we have fallen short from grace. Paul did not only write "all have sinned", he went on to write "and fallen short of the glory of God" and this means we are not really living out Jesus Christ! We need both sides of truth, folks, in order to really get it! What a dark dark age we are in! Folks are surely not ready for the DAY of the LORD that is about to dawn!!!! The LIGHT is gonna hurt their eyes severely and there is gonna be a lot of weeping and wailing! Why? Cause the overcomers are gonna resurrect when He arrives and most Christians are not going to. (The previous link is about the truth concerning the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in glory! DO you already share that glory with Him??? You MUST ALREADY share that glory inorder to qualify for the 1st resurrection!!!!!! WHAT A SHOCK IT WILL BE!!!!!).
A brother named Steve Bender and I went to "the oldest church in America" (it was in historic downtown and it was Episcopalian ) for a visit one Sunday in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. There were two pillars with winding stair cases inside them up front on both sides. Actually the one from which the sermon was preached was in the middle. Before the sermon on one side the ... who ever ........ went up ( way up ) above the congregation into one of them to read the scripture verses then later the preacher with a backward collar and long choir robe went to the other later on to give the sermon. This started with the pagan Greek orators of the past. They would go to a lectern on one side of the room to read their text from Homer or Aristotle or whomever and then go to another lectern and spellbind those people. I heard there was a little boy once that when he saw this old somber white haired man go so high up into that pillar where the pulpit was he asked his mom in awe "mommy, is that God???!" Well to us its kind of cute and funny but can't we see there's an obvious problem??? Of course! Why is this guy above his brethren? Hey! Even if you get on a platform one inch above your brothers it's still wrong! Whether a man steals 10K from a bank or an apple from an old lady, it's still stealing. What happened here?????? A guy......enter one: Chrystotem ......... named Chrystotem ( meaning golden mouth ) got saved in the fourth century and brought his "talent" into the "church" ... huh? He was a Greek Orator. (who, by the way were soaked in the Greek philosophy of Aristotle, Plato and Socrates ) They were "IT" in those days like the movie stars in our day. People went to hear them speak to be entertained. THEY performed the first funerals etc. Well, they would have a ambo (our pulpit or lectern today came from the ambo) and they would take a text from Homer or what ever writing and read from it saying just like this real loud: "I'm reading from Homer chapter so and so, verse so and so (or maybe another would read it) and then he would "orate" from that text and literally spell bind those people for an hour with the homiletic "art" of rhetoric and oratory. THIS IS WHERE WE GOT OUR MODERN DAY SERMON! It's not what Paul did when he went all night. The problem was this was his natural talent from his natural life not a "charis" or grace talent through the fruit and gifts of the Spirit of God: even THOSE TALENTS, HOWEVER NEED TO BE FILTERED by the cross and Spirit of God to be purified so we must be careful.The Greek word for what he did WITH those believers is translated discourse. A discourse is back and forth conversation at least somewhat. And it wasn't a performed ritual. Back in that 4th century time their poetic works were divided into chapter and verse for the sake of the orators who would use the writings to do their orations or debates. Guess how our Bible got that way? You got it!! The Greek Orators. Who originated this? The Greek Philosophers starting with Aristotle and Plato etc etc. started this whole oratory thing. It is something of the world and tree of the knowledge of good and evil, not OF God. So this is how Satan got the knowledge tree into the faith!! Not so fast! (And THAT'S MY MAIN POINT: NOT SO FAST: SATAN KNOWS HE'S GOT TIME TO WORK WITH :MAYBE CENTURIES SO HE DOES A LITTLE HERE AND THERE A LITTLE MORE THERE AND HERE AND HE'S GOT MOST OF US DUPED!!! DUPED SOLID AS A ROCK!!! If you put a frog on a pan of heat, he'll jump off. If you try to put him in a boiling pot, he'll jump out, but if you put a frog on a board and put it over gradual heat, he'll become accustomed to it and get warmed up, then sluggish and finally numbed with his senses deadened and soon HIM dead! So…… not so fast (!!!!!!!!) ….. There were many prerequisites to pave the way for this development. There were four centuries before this and it was bit by bit by bit by bit by bit by well I think you get the idea (I HOPE -or maybe you're too dead to get it????) ---it was Satan's idea and he still got most of us saints of God duped today as to what he's done throughout the centuries. Good night man, I got enough problems today than to think about all this, you know what I mean? And the enemy is sure to keep people occupied with their problems instead of finding out the truth. Are you beginning to see how difficult it is to become an overcomer? Satan HATES guys like me who can pull the sheets off his centuries and centuries "buildup operation!!" So why am I or most of us going to be concerned about the centuries???? It's only when it pertains to your life that you'll be likely to care. Most of us don't even care about our neighbor (Hmmm, I wonder why? Was it different when assembly was house to house?) much less the generations to come or what the generations of the past did to help us or hurt us. BUT, our lives have been PROFOUNDLY INFLUENCED by past generations! We have GOT to overcome the "law of the generations" - it is IN you, you know. It is part of the old tree tht has been growing in mankind. Now God is GOING TO ROOT IT OUT! It is NOT going to be easy, but THERE IS NOTHING IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!!!!!!
So: back to ORATORY............ what has all this addicting sermonizing (and since you add the anointed scriptures [please see my link and other related articles on this subject of the Word of God] to oratory: (BOY!! Is it ever addicting! ) done for us? Well it encouraged us that we can do it! So we think "we can serve God" ( cough!! cough!!! ) we just know we can do it! Oooops! Wrong tree! There's that independence again. But wait!! When was it again? It was Before Christ. We have a "western mindset" its our matrix. In other words the channel of birth with which we are surrounded in coming into life is a good definition of "matrix." Our surrounding thought process or matrix we are literally saturated with (this thought process or surrounding lifestyle etc. is what is meant by "mindset") by the way is profoundly influenced by superstition, philosophy and witchcraft! Big time! How to get away from it? Have your kids be born in the hills of China somewhere where they grow up with an "Eastern" mindset! By the way Christianity is NOT a Western religion it is EASTERN!! Like it or not that's where it originated. In the East is where Christ was born, like it or not. So what happened before Christ? Hold on to your seat. Before Christ in Greece there were two schools of thought fighting for supremacy ( survival of the fittest, you know ). One was the "Pythagorean School" , the other was the "Ionian School" of thought. The Pythagorean was "thinking thinking thinking" (like today's Christianity: if I hear enough sermons, read enough books and think, meditate etc. etc. enough THEN I'll figure out how to be a good Christian! But it does not work! Why? NONE of this will EVER change our "be," our very being; only spiritual transformation INSIDE will change you!) and that all problems were basically mathematical and could be solved by formulas or analyzation and even men thought you could use chemistry and if you get the right formula you could even turn lead to gold!! Well THAT theory died with the atomic bomb of course! But this IS where the roots of modern day chemistry DID start so there is some validity to it. Anyway it started out a little more scientific but then it shifted and became "learn to think" NOT experiment. In other words you might as well shut your eyes, go in a closet and learn to think and you do that enough you can solve anything! On the other hand the Ionian school was based on hands on experimentation and this is where we get our word "IMPERICAL," or the practical hands on experimentation. THIS is one of the saddest saddest facts of ALL the history of the world that has happened but it is a very little known fact. I'll bet you never heard this in Bible school or any school. So what's the fact? That the Pythagorean school of Platonic philosophy won out over the Ionian school. This is a BIG tragedy. How big? Dark Dark Ages, buddy. THAT'S where the Dark Ages came from. Of course this had already taken course even before our Lord was born on this planet and before the dark ages set in. EXAMPLE: During those dark ages they made it against the law to cut open a human body. You couldn't experiment! BUT that's the scriptural way of operating on people: to cut them open! You'd have been burned at the stake for it! Only if someone had an accident and bled could they even find out which way the blood flowed in the human body! Great advance for science!! C"MON GUYS!!!!!!!! Give us a break here!!! So, instead of advancing, men were ever learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth just as Paul had said and had prophesied that it would be so and they Philosophized and philosophized and got these profound thoughts and exchanged God for bugs (grrreat intelligence! Whoa! Horse! Where's it going???) and idols also and by the way ---- you can even do this with scripture ..... wind it up baby!! You can get into the word so big time with so much study and theology until you get into this kind of a high and it is not the human spirit contacting the living God in the Word but it is the mind!! Well those guys in Plato's days got into such a high they got conceited but it was not contact with God. But because you could not experiment science died. THAT's why science is now the enemy of religion (!!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!) because back then if you question the "thinkers" which by this middle aged Catholic time were mostly "the church" and this philosophy held sway for a thousand years till even now today Eastern Europe's economy is STILL suffering as a result!! YOU are still suffering as a result!! The Western world suffered INTENSELY because of this. By the way, how does the world rotate around the sun or is it vice versa? You can take 2 sticks and experiment with them and figure it out! It's that easy!! But poor Gallileo: (who proposed that the earth actually went around the sun instead of vice versa) MAN did they ever persecute that poor guy! CONSIDER THIS FACT: If the Ionian school had won out over the Pythagorean, we would have had a man on the moon by 600 A. D. and cars on major highways way back then!!!!!! That's right! How can this be proven? Because 600 years ago the 2 Bacons: Francis Bacon and Robert Bacon brought the practical and empirical back to our world again and things have been clicking ever since!!!!!!!!!!! Hey! Now we can write on e-mail! Do you think God knew about that when He created earth?? Sure He did! But we poor humans have only known about electricity less than what? Only 200 years? What other realities exist in our universe that we have not yet discovered????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????? I don't know. But I would think we should have discovered them long before we did. Yes, I know God is and has been control of all this and all times .... stilll t'would have been nice. So these Bacons re-introduced the Ionian way of doing things and took things apart and put them back together. And from that day to the day Neil Anderson stepped on the moon was 600 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE SHOULD HAVE HAD A MAN ON THE MOON IN 600 A. D. !!!!!!!! Or SOONER! WHO DID THIS TERRIBLE THING TO US???? 1st: Socrates, 2nd: Plato his student: 3rd: Aristotle, Plato's favorite student. They taught An introduction a main point and a conclusion after that(HMMM..... sounds life a sermon!) and figure out, figure out, and then figure out. School taught you this! The church took this over. They still teach you this by the way things are done!!!! Constantine of course helped with that because he made the church the political favorite and married the Christians to the world system. He did another thing too. He invented Theology!! That's right! When there were problems in beliefs between Christians it was he who brought together opposing doctrinal sides together in an attempt to unite believers under what he invented that day : a Creed!!! Good night, wasn't the Bible enough of a creed for our beliefs. What was the result of his effort to unite the believers? Theology! What was the result of theology? Nothing has caused more division in the Body of Christ than trying to systematize doctrines together and taking a verse from here and a verse from there to do it!! When you have to read a book or a letter of Paul in its historical context without chapters and verses (they should be done away with!! Of course here's another thing: the devil waited only about a hundred and sixty two years: actually in 462 by Euthalius who divided it into lines but as yet they were not numbered. Numbering of the "stichoi" or lines did not occur till 1560 in Geneva: however alphabetical letters were used or other punctuation type markings.) on that one after Constantine and he got chapters and verses into holy writ!! Yes! I said the devil!!! He's the culprit that did this! And with far more intelligence and superior thought and scheming than YOU got or even dreamed of having cause HE'S smarter than you!!! But not wiser. These horrible people (Aristotle and clan mentioned above) stole the ability to be practical from us!!!! From US! As a result the empire fell. There was no exchange of ideas. Trade stopped as a result of the lack of travel. Thieves took over the roads and there was not much transportation except the monks because the thieves were afraid of hurting monks because superstition reigned over their minds. The R.C.C. (Roman Catholic church) ruled! Commerce stopped, travel stopped, money flow stopped, fresh ideas stopped, trade stopped. Things got dark dark dark and the only real business much had to do with monasteries or certain associated governments-------- these dark ages lasted 1000 years! And you thought this "Ionian-Pythagorean" thing had nothing to do with your life!!! Have we been hurt? You bet! The Catholic Church writers inseminated the neo-platonic writings into their theology. (Also into YOUR university training!) Ever hear of Thomas Aquinas? They say he baptized Aristotle. That's because in his spiritual writings he included the big "A" 's ideas into his theology. So did St. Augustine. Other names were Tertullian, Origen etc. but those names are not as important. Today Eastern European countries are still in poverty because of the influence of the dark ages. The worst damage was on the deep things of God. The philosophical ideas so inseminated themselves into the ideas of those who were truly deep in Christ that later on their ideas were rejected altogether which has caused a great loss. And this was one reason why Martin Luther rejected contemplative prayer and so did Calvin. By the way even though Luther restored just a few things of the New Testament that had been previously lost, remember that even he was a student of Augustine! THAT's why he put the NT books in the order he did!! (thinking as he did that doctrine is the most important thing in Christian life. What happened to JESUS being ALL in ALL!!) HE made up the order of the list of our books! And we followed it ever since cause THAT's gospel, man! NOT!!! It's just not so! Martin Luther is not my God. By the way, brother, Martin had just 1% of the education you have got! You see ? This was not just lightly pawned off on us ---it took years of developments, slow and easy. The enemy would make a move, wait a century or so and make another move, etc. : What a sly dog !!!! I mean this has been dirty dirty play throwing out the rules as if he ever had any. He thinks he's so slick! The problem is he IS slick! The only restriction on this guy is what the Almighty Himself imposes on him. so what was the plan? Satan's plan was to slowly slowly slowly but surely work the tree of the knowledge of good and evil into mankind to make us more and more fallen. I read an article by Witness Lee years ago how Satan won over the people of God. People do not want to hear it but he defeated the Body of Christ (which Body he fears the most because eventually THAT BODY will kick his butt out and finally defeat this foe!! Amen!!!) over a period of time he disengaged christ's Body. How??? 1st He cut the Head off by replacing Christ with law, philosophy, good works, even the gifts of the Spirit, etc. etc. etc. so folks were being being distracted with the gifts instead of the Giver. #2 He disfunctioned many members of the Body with his clergy-laity system getting the one man show going on the platform. #3 then he divided the Body cutting it into pieces with division after division and denominations. He was successful. folks do not want to hear this. He got started in the 1st centry but has not quit. He is relentless. The ONLY thing that will defeat him is the MORE relentless God Who lives in you and me but is poewerful when we come back to the BODY!! The creep in this case used the Bible itself to bring the death tree of knowledge that is already within man to the forefront, to accomplish so many of these things and to put veils upon our minds to separate us from God and one another. He couldn't succeed at destroying the scriptures (although he tried and was partially sucessful for many centuries) so he did his best to USE IT to make it so mysterious through being out of context and in the wrong order (not to mention we are not in the condition of real Body life which would put us in a position to understand by experience what the New Testament was so obviously expressing) we can hardly get at it in its real meaning. And then we just accept things as they are without questioning it. So how has this affected us? We try to find a set answer in the Bible for everything instead of turning to God for a fresh Word from Him. Of course we need to test that experience by the SCRIPTURES SO THE SCRIPTURES WILL BECOME THE WORD OF GOD TO US BUT how do you do that IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND IT TO BEGIN WITH?? Oooops! We got a bigger problem!! We geniuses (I'm not casting blame on Christians today. Most do not know any better) think that we DO understand the Bible!! O. K. so besides what happened through Martin Luther (so IS there an advantage of being more educated today than Martin Luther? Maybe. It could do us even more harm if we blindly accept his ways!! But if you get educated about the real facts as I'm presenting here …… hmmmn , who knows?) what has been the damage of dividing the Bible into chapters and verses? This is easy to see. Anyone can take a verse from here, a verse from there as proof texts from different parts of the Bible. ( The computer makes it even more easy!! ) In this way you can prove anything. So? ..... the multiplication of denominations, sects and even cults is the result. And they all got their "proof texts" not to mention the dividing doctrines of the denominations. The damages have been endless. So now here we are in the year 2013 (I originally wrote this in 2000 but the light has increased since that time). The new creation species from another planet have been in this world for two millenniums! Here's a question: What has this havoc wrought for us in the last 100 years? (from 2000) Well, in what year did D.L. Moody die? ( I know you really think and believe he's got nothing to do with your life ) In 1901. What about Charles Spurgeon? He also died in 1901. Because of what these 2 men did to us this has been the century where nothing has happened. Got to go back in history to explain. 1st I'll take a minute to say what the roots of the Protestant (of course there are many more Catholic traditional roots than Protestant but consider some of the Protestant traditions are Catholic crossovers so Protestants retain Catholic entities) traditions are (these traditions ALLLL come out of the clergy-laity abomination by the way):
1. Pulpits -- called an ambo from pagan idol worship temples and Greek orator ancient theaters.
2. Church buildings -- the invention of Constantine in 324 A. D. There is no Archeological proof before THAT date -- they do not come from Jewish synagogues!! On the other hand Archeology DOES prove there were homes that believers met in before that date and also proves there were no such buildings before that Emperor. The Catholics according to their concepts and prejudices wrote the lies about so-called church history. (whether intentional or not) The archives of these documents are buried in the catacomb vaults of the Vatican with no proof other than those original writings!! (which were invented after 324).
3. Pastors -- no one was called a pastor until after Martin Luther invented the "Protestant Priest" (which was a crossover from the Catholic Church and changed the 7 pastoral duties of the clergy or "Protestant Priest" as started by Pope Gregory (who was superstitious it was spooky!) the great as duties for Catholic priests. Martin Luther changed the 7 pastoral duties. One that he changed was the preaching of sermons.
4. Pews -- an invention of the Reformation -- just a long chair, but hey!…how boring! If it were not for the one man-speaking, the rest listening paradigm it would have never been invented!
5. The sermon -- yes! Now there is something scriptural! Don't be so sure! In the Word you see preaching to the lost only (out doors!) and to the believers at certain times only to meet emergent needs and discussion type teaching towards believers but Sunday morning sermons were a transplant of Greek Platonic oratory from the 4th century and it damages the functioning of the members of the Body as far as the functioning of their gifts. I Cor. 14:26 says : "every one of you has ………. " and then mentions various gifts that anyone can have as a believer according to scripture.
6. Stained glass window -- invented by Abbott Sujay in 1400 based on the neo-platonic concept of God being "The All" and too awesome to approach. The buildings were built to inspire awe and produce intimidation of noise from Christians who should "worship in silence!" Well, silence before the Lord is great but, if , according to Pau,l the unknown tongues (without an interpretation of course) not communicating understanding to the gatherers is useless (unless God brings a meeting to silence to manifest his presence for a little while as He did in Qualer meetings in the past) to edify and build the Organism of God, how much more is deathly silence killing of the functioning of the members -- too much death here. Steeples -- same thing.
7. "Sunday morning order of worship" --- John Calvin's boring invention from the 1500's . What a curse! Talk about putting God in a box! Poor God!! He's so constricted by our way of doing things that He can't move through any member He wants! Hmmm ... too many times He can't even move in members outside of church cause He's imprisoned deep within their human spirit anyway as He has not been allowed to make His home in their heart.
8. Sunday morning worship service being at 11:00 virtually every place the whole wide world! -- this one's funny! It's ALL because Martin Luther used to get drunk on Saturday night and the original "Protestant Mass," as it was originally called, and which was at 5:00 in the morning moved later and later to accommodate Luther's hangovers on Sunday morning so he could get sober enough to preach! He liked his late Sat nitey talks and German beer.
Now here I'm going to take a little time to mention a few more things about pastors because this is one of the most killing things in the Body of Christ today! Show me him in the Bible!!! You just can't do it! OK, maybe just (really just one) one guy is called a pastor in the NT. JESUS is called the Shepherd and Bishop of souls. He is the ONLY pastor mentioned in scripture, the one and only Head and only CEO anywhere and that's how it should be today, but we are like the children of Israel who said to God "give us a king" when GOD was their King! They missed it sooo bad and things got messed up as a result.
The word pastor is found in the New Testament ONCE! (once only : there is more evidence for the word priest) So, does that mean the present day pastor is scriptural?? Well, the word priest is found in the New Testament also. Does that mean today's Catholic preists are scriptural? Of course not! And that "priest" word is found even more often but that does not mean the Catholic tradition is OK! Jesus Himself said "call no man father, OR lord, OR Rabbi!!!!!! Sounds like the Lord is not too much into titles! Hmmmn!! Now what about those 7 pastoral duties Martin Luther re-hashed for the former Catholic preists who came over or converted to Martin's group over from the Catholic Church and still wanted a "clergy" (a word that comes straight from idolatrous paganism by the way) "job"? OK then:Show me a man in the NT that dedicates babies!
You will not find THAT MAN!!! Because that man is NOT in the New Testament!! There was no such animal (please excuse the expression) in even ANY first century writings, much less the NT. So where did that man come from if he did not come from the New Testament time? He certainly did not come from Jesus Christ! Neither from His era, His generation or His time-frame! And for a fact I know for SURE he didn't come from Christ's eternity-frame !!!! No Way !! The modern pastor came from the Reformation time frame which was when he was invented. Now, where did that man come from? He came from the evolution of the Catholic Church to the Protestant. When the Protestant Church was born: pioneered by a former Nicene monk in Wittenburg, Germany, he took the former priests that converted over and said "OK now we need to change some things" For one thing he dropped the word "priest" because he believed in the scriptural truth (YES!! At least he did restore some things) of the priesthood of all believers. Also he changed or altered some of the "seven pastoral duties" of a priest which was invented by Pope Gregory the Great who was a very superstitious, medieval type of guy. Some of these duties were to bless civic events (pray over a football game or a presidential inauguration? Maybe? ), also baptize the dead, hear confessions, etc. So one of the ones Luther replaced was that of hearing confessions to preaching sermons. Now guess what this "not priest anymore guy" was called? Not right away of course. But eventually …… the pastor. And he became the center of events and functions, so forth. He became the center of the what was called (and still is called )the "service" or church service. So then. How did Martin get rid of the mass, the Catholic mass? He got rid of the altar and replaced it with the pulpit (this is a man doing this folks, not God). Then he got rid of the Eucharist and replaced that with the sermon. And the priest was no longer the priest, he was the pastor. The point is very little changed and much of Catholicism remained in this scenario. Especially the clergy-laity system remains, which is what REALLY still undermines the true functioning of the priesthood of all believers. It was the same drama on a different stage. It was still something born of the traditions of men and so there is a killing element in it still. SO .... the SERMON is the CENTER of the Protestant Christian meeting today instead of CHRIST being the CENTER! What tree is this????????????????????????????? And this is today's Christians definition of being fed?????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????????????????????????????? No wonder we're in such a mess!!
Today the pastor is the equivalent of the local church. If you remove the pastor from Protestant Christianity then Protestant Christianity collapses. Kapoof!! It stands or falls with the pastor. And that is a contradiction to the NT because the real "pastors" (I have met only TWO in my whole life!!!!) then played a low-key role and when Paul wrote he hardly mentioned the leaders. There are books where they were written to assemblies with HEAVY problems and any kind of leaders were NEVER mentioned such as I Corinthians!!!! WOW folks WOW!!!!! Of course the name pastor is never spoken as a title of any person in the NT except Jesus! BUT TODAY???? The pastor is the center of the local church. So if the pastor was not the exhorting factor and not center stage for taking care of affairs etc, then what was? Well in Paul's writings there is a term used over and over "Eleeron" or something like that and it means "one another" they were to exhort one another, love one another, admonish one another etc. etc. etc. It was written over and over. Also his letters were written to the "assembly in Corinth or Ephesus, etc. It was those who were the "church" or Ekklesia, who did things, took charge or dealt with the situation. Clergy laity relationships were unheard of back then!!
There are probably more traditions through the centuries but you get an idea. So in the 17th century as a result of all of this clergy laity death of the reality of the BODY there was little concern by the ministers of that day about the "assembly life" -- they cared only about saving sinners --- they thought "church" was boring and so it was and that's why if you wanted to be ( it's still like this in too too many circles ) a functioning member of Christ and loved the Lord you would "go to work for Him" ---- they simply had no concept of the corporate expression of Christ as a shining lampstand, Body or Dwelling for his glory -- a Temple built together with living stones. If you wanted excitement for the Lord and of the Lord you need to be in the work of the Lord. This is why so many men today who feel a call to serve the Lord don't know what to do so they become a pastor because they don't know or can't find any other pathway to do this. So to be a functioning one enjoying the moving of the Spirit through you there seems to be only 2 options: a "pastor" or an evangelist.
Such a one was George Whitfield. What an anointing on that man! Thousands were saved but no building ….. just a gathering of materials into .... piles?? That man had NO concept of the assembly. He had an orphanage where he kept lots of kids. ( yes I know George Mueller did the same thing in the 1800's a hundred years later and had a much bigger and more famous orphanage with lots of prayer miracles documented but Whitefield was first at it ) He would get his kids in front of his audiences and they would cry crocodile tears and tell the stories of God's miracles in providing for the orphanage etc. and the money just rolled in! THIS was the catalyst for our American Christianity and our countless para-church organizations! We send our young people for summer before college to a mission organization like YWAM etc. overseas then bring them to denomination church services back home to tell their stories and the better stories that are told (there's that platform again! Let's burn the stupid thing down!!! ) the more the money flows. And the more the money flows the more young people are encouraged to go back and get more stories. What mankind forgot was that the ecclesia was doing a FAR BETTER job of this in 1st century.
The weird but not so weird thing about all this is that an actual taste of what some outside the organized church call "church-life" or Body-life occurs as a result of young people spending time together in prayer and fellowship and the flowing of the Spirit between them as they are together a lot in their mission with other young people etc. Well this started with George and now it goes through billions of dollars and they drain people for these things that have nothing to do with the assembling of God's building ( His rib! ) so they can go back and get more stories (good ones too! But then isn't good the biggest distraction from God? Isn;t it a distraction from the tree of life to the tree of knowledge? Well maybe. It can be.), go out and "do a work" and yes! I'm sure things are done to save people and cure some sick ones and feed some hungry children etc. BUT ...... ( I'll comment on that a little later ) .....gathering stones without building them??? Generally speaking this was the majority result.
Next? Enter: in the 1800's D.L. Moody who actually made George Whitefield's way of doing things to be set in stone. He invented the para-church organization. The name of the first para-church organization was the YMCA: Young Men's Christian Association. These are organizations that are like a vaccination barring people from real assembly life which I've experienced by the way and real assembly life is like rivers of living water, not just flowing in you individually but through many people corporately, deeply and connectedly! THIS IS THE FULL BLESSING OF ETERNAL LIFE. A vaccination is enough of the virus to keep you from the real thing but young people trip into real assembly life experience in communing together on the beach, in the dorm etc. and trip into it but then trip out just as easy and don't know how it happened or why it slipped away so easy. Therein is its appeal and its testimony. There are thousands of these organizations today. People have NO IDEA how AWFUL this is to the heart of God!!!!!!!!!! Unknowingly they have replaced the assembly ( Ekklesia ) of Christ. There are literally thousands of so-called ministries that are like my pencil scratching the back (see my footwashing article) to "do what the church has failed to do." So why did George Whitefield and Moody etc. do this? I don't really blame them. It was because they were bored with church! And they were looking for something exciting to do! So they "did the work of God" so they could get excited! But there is something more exciting!!!!!!!! AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It has been mentioned that Moody died in 1901 and so did Spurgeon the great expositor. Dwight L. Moody gave us the para-church organization. Charles Spurgeon gave us the expository sermon and since then nothing has happened. Oh there was this great great revival in the early 1900's especially 1904 but there was no leak free container or wineskin to contain and keep that new wine and most of places where the revivals took place though they were turned upside down and in some cases the whole nation would be turned to God. …. But …..TEN YEARS LATER THEY WERE JUST THE SAME AS THEY HAD BEEN BEFORE THE REVIVAL. Why? That's easy. There were births but no growths, just births, births, births. how can fish survive out of their natural habitat of water and how can we survive outside of being built together with others as God's Habitat where His table and his food and tender nurturing and all his thousand other riches for our growth in the DNA of God to make us exactly like His Son through feeding, transformation and conformation? So then there were deaths deaths deaths.
Now …. in THIS last century things have REALLY been done black blindness. This time by someone outside the organized church!!! (they can still be under the Western Mindset influence ) John Nelson Darby who was big in the beginnings of the Plymouth Brethren. But the things he did that took such root in the 20th century were things he did in the 19th century cause that's when he lived. He had true assembly-life among the Plymouth Brethren but held to some doctrines that (having come from the Episcopalian church as a background) perpetuated the clergy-laity system somewhat. Also he stressed Bible study. Believe me when I say this but the world has been so illiterate for 19 centuries (of course THAT boosted the clergy laity situation too I'll have to admit, because emphasis or importance was put on those who "know doctrine" and who had the "best theology" and THIS was another thing Constantine had done by making the "Counsels' for inventing the creeds, i.e. The Nicene Creed, etc. It gave Christians the attitude: you got good doctrine "God likes you", but if you don't "God doesn't like you" and this is how many still think! Because the platonic theory is if you can read and think and you're smarter you're a first class Christian and maybe better than the other "non-thinker" because you got "theology.") that this (this Bible study thing) could not have got to us before this more literate (Bible study could never have happened before literacy became widespread because it COULD NOT have happened) century which has just passed away 6 days ago. (Remember I first wrote this in the year 2000 on January the 6th) It's the thing now that has happened to us within these last hundred years: "you need to get in the Word." This thing of "getting into the Word" (which I've proved since is not REALLY the Word of God but merely the letters of the scriptures is) not even 100 years old, but it is put out as the answer to life !!! People now actually believe that in the written scriptures is actually the answer for your life! What has that old knowledge tree done to us!!! We are being eaten alive by it! Or is it eaten dead? Darby along with John R. Mott invented the home Bible Study! Now, you're going to say "don't tell me you're gonna knock the home Bible study? C'mon, brother!" Well, yep!! I don't even have to think twice about knocking it cause the book of Acts never even mentions such a thing. You won't find it there because those dear brothers gathered around the Person, the dear dear Person of Christ not the book! The answer is not in the book !!!! The book points you TO the Answer Who is Jesus! So what did they do now? They took a verse from here and a verse from there ( from different books of the NT of course ) and proved, mind you,that ( by this method you can prove ANYTHING ! ) the most important thing in there is twofold: #1: you got to get saved ( a man centered gospel of course ); and #2: after you get saved the most important thing is to get others saved. And now we have a Bible that says exactly that and that is what has been drummed into our heads through proof texts by taking a verse from here and a verse from there, etc. You have been made to feel guilty and bear the weight of the salvation of the whole world upon your shoulders! It also seems like its so hard to get people saved and somehow its my fault as if Jesus was not still a mighty Savior Who can save people at the flip of a dime and THAT's the truth!!!!! He is still AN ALMIGHTY ALL POWERFUL AWESOME SAVIOR and NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM! HALLELUJAH !!!!!!!! BUT THAT IS NOT THE MAIN SUBJECT OF THE SCRIPTURES: IT IS CHRIST AND THE ECCLESIA AND THE FINAL GOAL IS THE LAMB'S MARRIAGE TO HIS SWEET BRIDE, WHICH IS US!!!! THE FINAL 2 CHAPTERS IN THE BIBLE ARE ABOUT THE FINAL GOAL OF THE BIBLE AND THAT IS US THE NEW JERUSALEM, THE WIFE OF THE LAMB !!!!! Get THAT channel , get THAT kind of assembly back and you got a Body once again walking upon this earth that will do what Jesus did through us in the first century when men said "they that have turned the world upside down have come here!" He'll be able to once more shake the earth and defeat His enemy under foot!!!! And we'll see men with greater anointing than John Wesley or even George Whitefield had! OUR TOO MUCH EMPHASIS ON EVANGELISM BECAUSE OF OUR WESTERN EVANGELICAL MINDSET IS WHY THE WORLD IS NOT EVANGELIZED. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Put the ecclesia 1st by putting love for Jesus Christ corporately first and you'll see BOTH the building up of God's House with His living stones AND the evangelization of this earth happen through every member of his Body! Today's ways of evangelism are a hindrance to the gospel of Christ!!!!!!!!! I said a HINDRANCE!!!!! He wants to do things through His Body not us trying to accomplish what flesh and blood can merely do for Him as mere individuals. So ...... whew! Wipe the sweat off, man! Even before I wrote this I felt as if what I wrote here was just to give the Lord a small chance to put a hairline crack if possible ( for Him it is but I don't know if I even got a crack half that big in my own thickly veiled Western Evangelical mind!! ) in your Western mindset so he can pour in light. My brothers and sisters, whoever of you may read this: please come back to the Tree of Life!! But I don't feel that what I wrote is really what is needed for bringing in enough light. Rather I would point you to brother Gene Edwards from whom I have learned most of these things. Why? Because there's an article he wrote where he talks about the problems and heartaches of his past as a young pastor and why he's quit that and went on to become a departing church planter. It's in an article called "A Plea for Church Life." (Now here is another fact about Gene Edwards: There are some hurts that modern day people have found through practical ministry errors. My DISCLAIMER concerning him can be found on my article NOTHouseChurch.html.) Another site which will soon point to the best on these particular topics is on one of Frank Viola's sites at http://frankviola.org/church/ There is now a book by printed by him that is described (called "Pagan Christianity?") on that site which has for the first time actually provided references to the historical facts of some or most of the things I'm writing about here. Hopefully this will be major breakthrough for the truth and the kingdom of God on this earth!!!
Addendum 1 Addendum 3
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