John G. Lake, born in the 1800’s, was a believer in Jesus who was deeply impacted by his relationship with Christ. He believed in the healing power of God and witnessed many lives touched. In fact, so many thousands of people were healed by God through his ministry, more than through the local physicians, that the people in his congregation started to call him Dr. Lake.
John founded a lot of institutional churches along the way (including his own “Healing Rooms” ministry), which, oddly enough, all closed down shortly after he would leave to move to another place. Every time he’d start up another church, he’d see successes, only to find the church close it’s doors (and in one case, completely burn to the ground) after he’d move on. I think there is a message in this…
Most fans of Lake don’t make note of this detail but I find it interesting. It seems clear that a lot of his “ministry” succeeded on the merits of his own popularity, perhaps like the many people who followed Jesus just because of the miracles, not because they were really interested in His truth (re: Book of John, chapter 6).
Lake was a sincere man of God, but continued to try and make organized religion a central part of his ministry and I think this is where he missed it… The encouraging news is that Lake appeared to eventually get the message. Much later in his life and a few years before his death he said the following about organized religion in comparison with the organic Christian life:
“…there has come an expanding vision and a profound conviction that somehow, if this is real Pentecost, there must come out of it eventually the thing that Pentecost produced in the early church and that was the real body of Jesus Christ. Not a church but the Church; not an organization, but the real organism that we have always recognized; not an ecclesiasticism, nor a dictatorship, nor a bureaucracy; but a group of Holy Ghost-baptized souls in which dwells and through which is manifest, the life of the Lord.“ -John G. Lake (March 24, 1927)
May all those who have devoted their life to the advancement of religion, have their eyes opened to this truth and see the true Church of God for what it really is (a SPIRITUAL house of LIVING stones) and stop trying to build temples made with hands. Even a guy like John G. Lake finally came around to the truth.
Sadly, people are still following in his institutional mindset and trying to build on a pattern of his rather than simply following the Lord in their own day-to-day lives. Many continue to think that “if we build it, God will come,” rather than just resting confident in the reality that He is already present within each of His own. The family of God does not need temples and organization to thrive. We simply need to acknowledge one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, and one Body! The real Christian life is not a religion and neither did Jesus come to found one… We, together, are His body – His hands and feet. It’s really that simple. I pray that more and more and people will leave religion to the so-call experts and be content as simple followers of One Master; Jesus.
God bless you all! 🙂