What You Won't Find In A Christian Bookstore

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The following article is provided courtesy of the website ChristsOwn.WordPress.com (original article published on June 3rd, 2016)…
 

This is a question that, I am sure, we have heard many people ask, and even many of us have asked from time to time. I have come across various answers to this, many of which fail to deal with the issue effectively. So, then, what is the right answer? How can we ever know, and how can we help someone else who is looking for the answer?

Buffet of Churches

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Recently, I read an article posted online that sought to appeal graciously to non-churchgoers with an attempt to woo them back into the fold. You can read the article yourself if you’re interested by clicking here. The following is my personal response to the post, which I also shared on the author’s website. Feel free to add your own comments or, better yet, visit this author’s website and share your heart there as well. I believe the author’s intention was positive, although it’s apparent that he is positively influenced by churchianic mindsets (as so many of us have been). My desire to share my thoughts with him and his readers was not to offend anyone but rather to provoke study of God’s Word and encourage a thirst for genuine Gospel liberty and deeper relationship with Christ. I sincerely would love it if this brother discovered what so many of us have also been discovering over the last several months and years concerning this wonderful life in Jesus Christ, unfettered by the chains of religion. So now, without further adieu-dieu, here is the response I shared with the author of the “Letter To A Non-Churchgoer”…
 

monk_writing_squareWow, where to begin with this one… I guess let me start by saying, I was a deeply-involved church boy for 30+ years of my life. I’ve now been out of that environment for over 15. I am still a follower of Jesus and a member of the Family of God (which, in truth, is the only “church” referenced in Scripture). I appreciate the humble tones of this letter and it appears the author is manifesting good intentions; however, he fundamentally misunderstands the non-church goer on so many levels. I’m not sure I can blame his ignorance entirely. I’ve walked in those shoes too. I meant well when I did. The author’s understanding of church has likely been drilled into him by his environment… not by the Holy Spirit, unfortunately.

To his comment:
“But, except possibly for a wedding or a funeral, we never share in the enterprise I call church.”

My Response:
The author may not even realize how accurately he indirectly described the reason why what he calls church is not what the Bible calls Church when he says, “the enterprise I call church.” The Church of Scripture is NOT an enterprise. It’s not a business. It’s not even a social club. Yet that is everything that today’s church program is… but, if someone cares about what the Bible presents, then “enterprise” is NOT it. According to Scripture, the Church is the body of Christ (the Family of God, the Spiritual nation of the Kingdom of God, the very PEOPLE who are born again and who live in Christ – regardless of whether or not they attend some man-made program we label as “church”).

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NOTE: The following article is taken from the Appendix of Peter Whyte’s book “The King and His Kingdom”, written in 1979.
 


 

While preparing the final chapter of this book I had an unusual dream, and the Lord gave me an interpretation of it.

This is the only time I have had the experience of hearing from the Lord in this manner, and the Scriptures from Proverbs, which He gave me to confirm it, were unfamiliar to me.

The following is an account of the experience, followed by the Scriptures confirming God’s interpretation.


 

I dreamed that I was in a spacious office talking to a young receptionist. She was about thirty years my junior, charming, pretty and exuding fresh innocence, and we liked each other tremendously.

As we walked to the door of the office I put my arm across her shoulders in a fatherly gesture, thinking of her affectionately like my own daughter.

After a few paces she trustingly responded by putting her arm around me.

She walked with me to the lobby, and as we left sight of those behind us in the office I bent and kissed her lips gently in farewell. She smiled back at me and we parted in a beautiful atmosphere, totally devoid of any sexual overtones.

I rode the lift to the car park, and for a split second I entertained a fleeting fantasy of a love affair with that fawn-like creature. I dismissed it as being unthinkable for an old married grandfather, and a Christian, too!

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NOTE: The following article is taken from Chapter 11 of Peter Whyte’s book “The King and His Kingdom”, written in 1979.

The followers of Jesus were known as His disciples, not as church members.

The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26). The name “Christian” means an adherent of Christ.

Today we have such muddled terminology that we apply the term to any church member, regardless of whether he or she is a dedicated follower, a disciple, of Christ.

We need to become disciples of the King and His Kingdom, and church membership can sometimes be a hindrance rather than a help. Loyalty to a man-made church will usually prevent total loyalty to the Kingdom of God. The claims of the organization usually take priority over the claims of the Kingdom when any conflict of interest arises. You cannot serve two masters.

    Becoming a disciple involves first AN ACT OF MY WILL.

    I WILL TO DO THE WILL OF GOD.

    I WILL to be a disciple of King Jesus and His Kingdom.

    Becoming a disciple means I STOP TALKING AND START DOING.

It may not be difficult for us to see the truth of the Gospel of the Kingdom, but we are an unholy nation of scribes and Pharisees. Our normal reaction, if we accept the truth, is to agree with it Then we study it for ourselves in the Bible, read books and hear teachings on the King and His Kingdom.

We then make the fatal error of talking about it, and NEVER become TOTALLY COMMITTED TO DOING IT PERSONALLY.

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NOTE: The following article is taken from Chapter 17 of Peter Whyte’s book “The King and His Kingdom”, written in 1979.

Jesus said, “I will build My Church and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matt. 16:18).

The gates of a city in Bible days were the seat of authority. The elders and rulers of the city sat in the gates, and the people came there to hear the reading of the law. The judges gave out judgments and the king’s place of audience was in the gates.

The word Hades means “not to be seen.”

The term “the gates of Hades” therefore denotes the rulers, the powers of the “not to be seen;” the spiritual powers of darkness.

Jesus was saying, “I will build My people that I have called out (My Church), and the ruling powers of the kingdom of darkness from the unseen realm (the gates of Hades) will not overpower them.”

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Article by Loren Rosser
Source: http://loreends.blogspot.com/2015/02/done-with-church.html

There is an article titled “The Rise of the ‘Done with Church’ Population” that has been sweeping across Internet. The writer simply discusses the increasing trend of people who were highly active in church, including leaders, that are exiting and not coming back. Of course, this subject matter is nothing new to me, having tackled it in the four part video series I co-produced with my friends David Fredrickson and Bob Humphrey titled Church Outside the Walls. I can’t believe it’s been eight years now since we produced the final video in that series and the topic is still completely relevant. In fact, it seems there has been a sudden resurgence of interest in this subject recently. I’d like to put in my two cents about the article.

First of all, let me say, it is well written. I appreciate the author bringing up the subject because I think it’s an important one. One thing I really don’t like is the author’s use of the word “church.” But he is not alone in his usage of the word. When the Bible speaks of church it speaks of those who are called out of this world to follow Christ, period. So how can one be “done with church” unless one is done with Christ? But today, for many, church is a building where one goes to attend meetings. Attending those meeting and being involved in activities held in those locations is viewed by many as being a requirement for those who follow Christ. This concept was completely foreign to the writers of the New Testament, but sadly it is the widely accepted definition of church in our culture today.

My family and I are some of those who could be classified as those who are “done with church.” But I can’t tell you how much I hate that phrase. It completely misrepresents the reality in which we live. We are actually not done with church, but chose to embrace it. We stopped attending because we wanted Jesus plus nothing. We grew so frustrated and tired of all the added baggage. 2 Corinthians 11:3 became so real to us. “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (NASB, emphasis added.) We wanted to be able to build genuine relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ but found it was such a challenge to do so with all the meetings and agendas. Most of the things done in those settings became distractions from loving Christ and one another, rather than motivators. We actually left not because we were done with church but because we hungered for the reality of church!

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DavidWilkersonDavid Wilkerson went home to be with Jesus in 2011. The following is a message he gave in January of 1993 about the love of God and I really like this one, so I’m passing it along. David was not like so many of the cookie-cutter variety preachers out there today. He was a man broken by God, in love with Jesus, and loved people. While so many pastors in traditional churches today are preaching about prosperity and money and serving the church program, David preached the Gospel of Jesus, the love of God, and the joy of knowing Christ as Lord. I remember one message he gave where he said the following about money:

    The Holy Spirit has laid on my heart something I need to share with you. It is a loving warning from the very heart of Jesus, who said: Take heed, and beware of covetousness (Luke 12:15)… Peter warned that false prophets would arise and through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you (2 Peter 2:3)… Peter warned us to beware of covetous ministers who would use the Word to exploit believers — greedy preachers who would develop a false doctrine of avarice and greed… God’s Word says of these rich, greedy preachers: Their judgment is near, and their destruction will not sleep (see 2 Peter 2:3). They have become blatant and arrogant in their greed. They now preach that you cannot receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit until you prosper. That’s blasphemy! Beloved, do not listen to this false gospel. It is satanic. It comes from the heart of men who are light and frivolous, jokesters, greedy for more. Isaiah the prophet has their number: Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain (Isaiah 56:11). I thank God that he has promised to supply all our needs. And I do not want any believer’s money to make me rich. We are rich when we have His peace and can live without fear all the days of our lives in holiness before the Lord! Thank you for your prayers and support for this ministry to the masses in New York City.

I just wanted to share that in preface to show the heart of this man who wrote the following article. I hope this encourages you! -Dave
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“The Man Behind The Message” is a message that Keith spoke live to a small group shortly before publishing an article called “For Prophets Only” in his newsletter at Last Days Ministries. I am not certain of the exact date of the publishing, but I believe it was sometime between 1980 and 1982 (not too long before Keith’s plane crash).

This is such an excellent examination of the prophetic gift as Scripture presents it and will help bring balance (for those that have ears to hear) to a grossly misunderstood and often abused subject. Keith offers that “if you think you’re a prophet”, please hear this message, but even if you’re not interested in the subject or don’t believe you have a prophetic gift, I encourage you to listen to this message as Keith so beautifully conveys the need for Christ’s followers to really and truly follow Him.

As Keith himself put it: “I’m not called to be a Prophet, I’m called to be a Christian – A servant of the living God! To live up to that wonderful word – That is my only goal.” However, in much of today’s church system (and even among many outside of it) a lot of so-called “prophets” fail some of the most basic qualifications of Scripture. They often lack God’s love and temperance, are overzealous, and spiritually proud. Rarely do they demonstrate true fruits of the Holy Spirit. Neither do they often demonstrate the attitude and character of Christ. Even those who have the best of intentions, may fall into error and delusion if they are not careful to keep their eyes on the Lord and allow His love, mercy and truth to transform them.
 
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by Devon Leesley

In my christian experience of many years, you have to look long and hard to find another believer you can really connect with in the Spirit. Even with those who have escaped Christendom, many of them still hold to pride and jealousy, even as in the church system they escaped. Thinking they have improved on their walk with Christ by leaving organized religion, they have taken on a new form of arrogance; that of seeing all things “church” as being hopelessly inundated by paganism… and rightly so, but their sin of pride is disgusting.

I’ve tried connecting with certain brothers on the matter of all the falsehoods only to be snubbed and rejected still. Sounds off topic but I don’t think so. It all goes back to the same old sin… the pride of life. Esteeming oneself above others. I believe in order to be part of the “remnant”, truth and true humility must go hand in hand. So easy to gain an insight and miss the ooze of self importance seeping in to your spirit.

What a battle! God has ways of keeping us small. That should be a constant prayer… if you want to belong to that remnant.

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by Johnny Johnson

JesusOnABrickWallMatthew 11:19 – “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

Jesus was called a friend of sinners because; He was! It was not meant as a compliment but as a slur. Who would say such a thing? The religious folks of His day.

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