A Call To The Remnant

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The narrow gate (part 2) Martin J Collison

Posted by appolus on September 21, 2013

THE CURRENT “INSTITUTIONALISED” EXPRESSIONS OF CHRISTIANITY

Therefore, to start at the “top” so to speak, the current church “institutions” within the Evangelical / Pentecostal / Charismatic systems are “led” by a group of humans, just as you and I are. Entirely susceptible to being taken captive by error. Capable of “cherry-picking” when it comes to truth. In addition, as human beings we are all entirely susceptible to patterns of behaviour which are not necessarily inspired by the Holy Spirit or ordained by God. Even if the claim is made that they are this is not necessarily the case.

Much of the “follow the group” behaviour and succumbing to desires to “fit in” are entirely human traits. In this I mean they derive from the flesh. Any secular psychologist or sociologist would identify these traits as being prevalent in any group of humans. The fact that we may call ourselves a “church” does not alter these human characteristics. It is the flesh again. We certainly cannot claim that we have arrived at being “the church” or Jesus would have returned by now.

At worst, I have seen behaviours within many gatherings which comprise much of the life of these institutions that really borders on the outright delusional. Actually, a mass delusion at that. As a point of separate note along these lines, Christianity was never intended to be centred on meetings. It is a lifestyle of following Christ. For instance, some seem to think they are going to somehow change the kingdoms of this world through their presence and “influence” within them. They pump each other up in their gatherings. Motivate one another. For a while I fell for this. Such false teaching would be called “dominion” theology. It is rife in this day and highly dangerous. Folks wear themselves out with wrong intentions guided by wrong theology.

This is delusion of the worst kind. The systems of this world will never be changed. The Kingdom of God is an entirely separate entity. For me personally, I eventually began to distrust the system. I wanted something more. Now I see this as a yearning to truly follow Christ. I want God Himself and I believe in myself that I desire whatever that entails. In addition, as highlighted in the book “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, there are always those who move their way to the top of the system and the church is no different. The empire building spirit is very much alive and well in the church. Most seem only to be building modern day Towers of Babel.

I visited one of these modern day empires whilst in Kansas last year, although to my regret I have actually been part of smaller versions of the same type and form. They are everywhere. The same template is used over and over. Control and command structures abound. Even when they say the structures are aimed at “releasing” folks into their gifting, ministries and destinies, the test in their eyes is always based on how willing you are to submit to their systems. Your submission to Christ is therefore measured on your submission to fallen men and women. Those who show willingness to surrender to the system and the “leaders” will be in line for promotion. Just like in the world, those popular with the boss are the favoured ones and will perhaps one day get their own place on the platform and reserved parking space in the church car park.

Do they mark you higher for humility or sacrificial love? No. For looking after the widows or the orphans? Feeding the homeless? Visiting the sick or vulnerable in their hour of need? No. These church clubs don`t run along those lines. You don`t need their approval anyway. Yet again, I found the Lord actually drew me away. I hopped out the doors of this Kansas church “institution” conceding that at least prayer was going on. Even in the so-called atmosphere of prayer, the most sacred of things, it was sad to see those still seeking attention in a worldly way and those visibly vying to appear more holy than the rest. If this is being a “mover and shaker” in the current church age then I would rather stay out of it. Nothing has radically changed within these manufactured institutions, even within the relatively short passage of my lifetime so far. The “broad way” is all around.

It doesn`t matter whether its in Redding (yes I did say that and I will not die for it), Toronto, Kansas or wherever. The brand carries all the same hallmarks. “Leaders” sit at the top surrounded by a clique who everyone else talks of in hushed tones. Dare not criticise in any way. Messiahs in their own right. They have their own books, CD and teaching sets, their own reserved parking spaces and seats at the front of the hall. Off the production line come more celebrity worship leaders that others seem to aspire to emulate. Not the worst role models in the world but somehow still part of a “system”.

Is the system making us more like Jesus though? These church systems will become increasingly irrelevant to the disciple of Christ who seeks to yield to following the Master in a quiet and humble manner. If I were advising a new Christian, I would categorically advise they steer clear. All the desires of the world are played out in the false church arena. Ambition, striving for success and recognition. Jealousy. Rivalry. Love of image. Seeking the acceptance of man, including that of the appointed “leaders”, or, managers within the “franchised offshoots” as I sometimes call them. Some are utterly tired of these things. Even those churches which are supposed to be free of the denominational systems and are “independent” have often become empires in their own right. A paradox all of its own.

8 Responses to “The narrow gate (part 2) Martin J Collison”

  1. Great post. The problem we find in our churches is manyfold. However, the greatest problem is a lack of foundational understanding of the spiritual world; its ideas, concepts and mysteries.

    What I am about to write may come as a shock. However, please continue reading and I think you will see my point. (Also, please excuse the bad grammar and spelling)

    I have found MUCH more spiritual understanding in the many trips I have undertaken in Asia, including India, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar (Burma). I am in no way condoning the belief system. What I deeply admire is the concept of a spiritual worldview that those societies are built upon, and NOT the worldview itself.

    In Bhutan, the tiny kingdom is built on the principles of Buddhism. Everything hinges on that belief. Countless monasteries are hidden in the deep layers of the Himalayas. Shrines and temples are commonplace on practically every road. Prayer flags spread across the plains, valleys and mountain ranges like stars in the sky; there is no end to them. Every decision, greeting and belief is based upon the teachings of Tantric Buddhism. That same spiritual depth continues throughout Myanmar, and Hinduism reaches just as deeply into the societies opf Nepal and India.

    What I do so deeply admire as that the people are bound together by their common belief in the religion. Yes, it is not of Christ. However, I have to say I envy the “mystery” and “depth”. I sincerely wish we were as unified and understanding in our faith in Christ as the average Hindu and Buddhist are to their religion. Are they completely united? Of course not. Simply look at the news in those countires and you will find war, rape, hatred and envy. But the desire for depth is astounding.

    In the western world? All we have are the TV preacher, end-times and church buildings on every corner selling the same shallow message. Finding the deep truths of Christ are extremely difficult to find. They only come with extreme searching and a desire for truth.

    My point? Let us be unified in the mysteries and faith found in Christ. We need to always remember those people who are leaving “Christianity” because they find it to be shallow. And, they are correct: the teaching they are receiving is extremely shallow. Let us be the ones to teach them the great truth of Christ.

    I have great hope in what is about to come to our country. Soon, and very soon, the western church will crumble. What will emerge are small groups of people desperate for the truth. They will learn to surrender and exchange their desires for God’s desires. And the people to help deliver it to them will consist of some on this very board.

    God is truly an awesome God who works in his timing.

    • appolus said

      “Soon, and very soon, the western church will crumble.’ It’s already crumbled brother. Out of this great falling way remains a remnant. God has spirited them away into the wilderness and there He has and is teaching them to rely and be completely dependent upon Him. When we can find life and joy in a place of death, then God can finally use us……………bro Frank

      • Appolus. I never really seriously considered the possibility of it having already crumbled away. However, I am beginning to think you just might be correct on this.

        Our famiy has been looking for a place to be a part of for some time, only to find we just do not fit anywhere. We just don’t seem to belong; kind of like the oddballs in the crowd. It has been a frustrating experience for us and have made us wonder if there is something seriously wrong with us. We have prayed and cried out to God to show us what we are doing that is so wrong that it would cause this kind of separation. So far, the answers have been “keep on the course and do not swerve to the left or the right”.

        Our greatest joy has been those fellowships we have with one other family we meet with for a Bible study and meal. We have some very encouraging discussions and great timei of bringing our prayers to God.

        Your response has made me have to stop and really think about the probablitiy that today’s church is no longer very relevant. It sure would explain quite a bit of the difficuties we are encountering.

        Blessings.
        MWS

        • Allan Halton said

          “Our greatest joy has been those fellowships we have with one other family we meet with for a Bible study and meal. We have some very encouraging discussions and great time of bringing our prayers to God.” You are speaking out of my own mouth, MWS.

        • appolus said

          “Our greatest joy has been those fellowships we have with one other family we meet with for a Bible study and meal. We have some very encouraging discussions and great timei of bringing our prayers to God.” This is Church brother. Just because it has been wrongly defined over centuries does not make a difference to the actual truth ” where two or three are gathered,” our Lord Jesus is in the midst of that………….bro Frank

  2. Allan Halton said

    “For instance, some seem to think they are going to somehow change the kingdoms of this world through their presence and “influence” within them. They pump each other up in their gatherings. Motivate one another. For a while I fell for this. Such false teaching would be called “dominion” theology. It is rife in this day and highly dangerous. Folks wear themselves out with wrong intentions guided by wrong theology. This is delusion of the worst kind. The systems of this world will never be changed. The Kingdom of God is an entirely separate entity.”

    This is a very important observation– that the kingdom of God is an entirely different and separate entity.

    • appolus said

      Dominionism is another world viewpoint wrapped up in spirituality. Men will have their kingdoms and build their kingdoms and fight for their kingdoms. God’s servants have no kingdom here on earth, they are simply already walking the journey back to the heart of the Father. We are pilgrims in this world, sojourners, passing through. Our foundation rests solely on Jesus and our Kingdom is the journey itself in the Spirit. To walk in the Spirit is to see with Spirit’s eye and hear with the Holy Spirit’s ear the things that God says to us and shows us. Most are so blinded by this world and their place in this world, including the church world, that they cannot see and they cannot hear the things of the Kingdom.

      Most men worship a God who will prosper them, save them from diseases, give them influence in this world, its a god of their own making. The question becomes, will men worship the God that bids them to die? Not too many can say ” even if He kills me, yet will I trust Him.’ Not too many people are like the Hebrew children who refused to bow down to the gods of this world, who would rather face the fire and have faith that God would deliver them, but even if He did not ( their faith was not based upon their lives being saved or not) “we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” God is raising up a generation of saints who care nothing for fame or influence over men or their systems , nor do they ” love their lives unto death.” This is the saint who can worship God even when He calls them to martyrdom……………….bro Frank

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