A Call To The Remnant

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The very system of our churches is flawed

Posted by appolus on February 23, 2015

The title of this piece is very controversial. I have lost friends over this subject. I do not take it lightly. It is quite an audacious thing to say that the very system that most of Christendom labors under is un-biblical and flawed but there it is, that is what I believe. The mere fact that it has existed in some form or fashion for countless centuries in no way legitimizes it.  If it did, then the Catholic church would be the most legitimate church out there. It seems plain enough that in Scripture, Christians met in their homes and their very homes became places of worship, houses of prayer if you like. The outside world saw life in these people, saw love in these people and God Himself added to them daily. Think about all the church programs that are designed to ” get,” new members or to somehow stop the ” revolving door,” and keep the folks who come and visit. Yet the early believers had no such programs.

What led people to the truth was the very life in those who represented it. A burning love and passion for Jesus.  They had no desire to bring folks to their particular house, or tell people that they must hear their particular teacher or pastor, no their singular obsession and passion was for the one who radically transformed their lives and it was now no longer them that lived but Christ lived in them. Therefore they were not afraid to die for Jesus , in fact, the early Church counted it as a great honor and thanked God that they were counted worthy to suffer for Him. This was the life of Christ burning in their bones, coursing through their veins, it completely dominated their whole lives, their life was about His life in them and this drew others to Jesus. God Himself was given all the honor and the glory for the drawing of others to Himself as of course it should be. Consider the words of T.A.Sparks……………………………

The Lord has not called upon us to form churches. That is not our business. Would to God men had recognized the fact! A very different situation would obtain today from what exists, if that had been recognized. It is the Lord Who expands His Church, Who governs its growth. What we have to do is to live in the place of His appointment in the power of His resurrection. If, in the midst of others, the Lord can get but two of His children, in whom His Life is full and free, to live on the basis of that Life, and not to seek to gather others to themselves or to get them to congregate together on the basis of their acceptance of certain truths or teaching, but simply to witness to what Christ means and is to them, then He has an open way….

The Church is not increased by your going and taking a building and trying to get people to come to it, and to your meetings, and then forming them, by a church roll, into a local church. That is not the way. Growth is by Life, and this, to begin with, may be by the entering into Life of but one soul, and then after a long waiting time of another; or it may be more rapid. But the point is that it is increase because of Life. That is the growth of the Church. For the growth of His Church, the Lord must have Life channels, Life centers. I believe that, given a Life center, sooner or later one of two things will happen, that it will be abundantly manifest that Christ is fully and finally rejected there, or else there will be an adding, a growth. There is tremendous power in Life, and the Life of the Lord either kills or quickens. It depends on the attitude taken toward it. He is a savor of Life unto Life, or of death unto death. Things can never remain neutral. (T.A.Sparks)

You see brothers and sisters, life attracts life. And it is these life’s that form the Body of Christ. It is not our religious clubs or denominations that form the Body of Christ, it is the life of Christ in His own that constitute the Body. The Body is scattered throughout Christendom and for the most is to be found in the religious clubs and denominations that make up Christendom today. Yet it was not always that way and it will not always be that way, indeed, with Christ at the door, there is a calling by God on His people to come out. In all the lost centuries of Catholic domination by denomination, rightly called the dark ages, there was a Pilgrim church, operating outside of the authority of the ruling religious establishment. This is what kept the light burning in the world through the dark ages, this was the Body of Christ. All attempts at keeping any kind of fire burning within religious establishments always failed in the end. Ultimately religion must have the authority and for Christ’s own, there is one head of the Church and that is Christ. Listen to what Broadbent says in the book ” The Pilgrim Church.” ……………………………..

” The histories of the monks and the friars shows that if a spiritual movement can be kept within the confines of the Roman Catholic Church or any similar system, it is doomed and must be dragged down to the level of that which it sought originally to reform.It purchases exemption from persecution at the cost of its life. Francis of Assisi and Peter Waldo were both laid hold of by the same teaching of the Lord and yielded themselves to Him with uttermost devotion. In each case the example set and the teaching given gained the hearts of large numbers and affected their whole manner of life. The likeness turned to contrast when the one was accepted and the other rejected by the organized religion of Rome. The inward relation to the Lord may have remained the same, but the working out of the two lives differed widely. The Franciscans being absorbed into the Roman system, helped to blind men to it, while Waldo and his band of preachers directed multitudes of souls to the Scriptures, where they learned to draw for themselves fresh )and inexhaustible supplies from the ” wells of salvation.” (The Pilgrim Church, pg 117)

You see brothers and sisters, those outside of the religious structures were able to draw ” inexhaustible supplies from the wells of salvation.” It may have looked to the world that these groups of pilgrim gatherings that had taken themselves outside of the religious system would flounder due to lack of leadership and authority and resources that the Catholic church brought to bear, but the truth was quite the opposite. God is well able to look after His children wherever they may be and He can produce springs in the desert and cause manna to fall from the heavens as the saints make their way home to the promised land, to that new Heavenly Jerusalem. It is a narrow and difficult path of course and we can wonder oftentimes why the wicked seem to prosper and live lives of relative ease and comfort, but it is the necessary way home. We may not have ease and comfort in this world and those of the religious persuasion may sometimes seem to have many comforts here, but our journey is an eternal one, our Kingdom is not of this world. We are merely passing through, sojourners and gypsies to the world, yet God’s ambassadors, pilgrims in a foreign land, looking to journey home. The travails of the road may seem very difficult sometimes, very lonely and difficult, but this will only make our arrival home all the sweeter.

Listen to what Tozer says as he cries out for forgiveness for his own participation in a religious system that has ” robbed ” Christ of any true authority in the churches and has relegated Him to but a mere figurehead, a name to rubber-stamp man-made programs………………

“If I know my own heart it is love alone that moves me to write this. What I write here is not the sour ferment of a mind agitated by contentions with my fellow Christians. There have been no such contentions. I have not been abused, mistreated or attacked by anyone. Nor have these observations grown out of any unpleasant experiences that I have had in my association with others. My relations with my own church as well as with Christians of other denominations have been friendly, courteous and pleasant. My grief is simply the result of a condition which I believe to be almost universally prevalent among the churches.

I think also that I should acknowledge that I am myself very much involved in the situation I here deplore. As Ezra in his mighty prayer of intercession included himself among the wrongdoers, so do I. “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens” (9:6). Any hard word spoken here against others must in simple honesty return upon my own head. I too have been guilty. This is written with the hope that we all may turn unto the Lord our God and sin no more against Him.

Let me state the cause of my burden. It is this: Jesus Christ has today almost no authority at all among the groups that call themselves by His name. By these I mean not the Roman Catholics, nor the liberals, nor the various quasi-Christian cults. I do mean Protestant churches generally, and I include those that protest the loudest that they are in spiritual descent from our Lord and His apostles, namely the evangelicals.” (Tozer)

He takes no time to discount the Catholics and the liberals, Jehovahs and Mormons, for it should be apparent to all that they do not have Christ as their authority, no he takes direct aim at Protestant churches in general and evangelicals in particular. Their system of churches is such that the life of Christ must be snuffed out in favor of the traditions and doctrines of men. Again, saints are scattered throughout all of these churches, good men and woman laboring under an un-biblical system that always snuffs out the life of Christ, the authority of Christ, the preeminence of Christ. In the end it is done in favor of their own authority, their own traditions and their own survival. Notice that in most non-denominational churches, the preeminence passes from Christ to the preacher/teacher/pastor. We are living in the days of the personality cult where the man or the woman is lifted up as they rob and steal from the Word of God for their own fame and enrichment.

Now the coming of the end of ages is upon us brothers and sisters. Christ is at the door. Great darkness has covered the land and gross darkness is almost upon us. There is a gathering storm that is brewing and the likes of it has never been seen before. Great persecution has come against Gods people in many parts of the world and shall now come against the saints in the west who have been living in relative peace and safety for some time. We have been living at ease in Babylon but Babylon will take back what it has given. Saints in the west will lose everything in the coming persecution prior to Christ returning.

Those of the religious system whose hearts truly belong to the world and not to Christ will turn upon the saints as the saints begin to draw back from gross worldliness. The saints will be compelled to leave their comfort behind in a system that has done all of their studying for them, their worshipping for them, a system where they were only truly compelled to give their tithes and offerings and then sit silent as spectators while they were taught and entertained by paid professionals. This may seem like a disaster but it will be the finest thing that ever happened to the Body of Christ. Their unity, prophesied by Jesus in John 17, will finally begin to materialize and it will be forged in the fires of blood and persecution. Ungodly, un-biblical denominational divisions will begin to evaporate for the saints as they come together and glorify Christ and witness to the world. Listen to what Spurgeon says of his own Baptist denomination back in the 1850s as he looks forward to such a time………………………….

 “I say of the Baptist name, let it perish, but let Christ’s name last forever. I look forward with pleasure to the day when there will not be a Baptist living. I hope they will soon be gone. You will say, Why? …………. But, I say, let even England’s name perish; let her be merged in one great brotherhood; let us have no England, and no France, and no Russia, and no Turkey, but let us have Christendom; and I say heartily from my soul, let nations and national distinctions perish, but let Christ’s name last for ever.” (C.H. Spurgeon, The Eternal Name, Sermon, May 27th, 1855).

John Wesley said, “Would to God that all party names, and unscriptural phrases and forms which have divided the Christian world, were forgot… I should rejoice if the very name (Methodist) might never be mentioned more, but be buried in eternal oblivion” (The Works of John Wesley).

Frank Bartleman said this of the pentecostal move of the early 1900’s: “The truth must be told. Azusa began to fail the Lord also, early in her history. God showed me one day that they were going to organize… He had me get up and warn them against making a party spirit of the Pentecostal work. The baptized saints were to remain one body… Surely a party spirit cannot be Pentecostal. There can be no divisions in a true Pentecost. To formulate a separate body is but to advertise our failure, as people of God. It proves to the world that we cannot get along together, rather than causing them to believe in our salvation. ‘…That they all may be one… that the world may believe…’ (Jn. 17.21)” (Frank Bartleman, Azusa Street).

In the Spurgeon quote, he uses his beloved England as an analogy of all the various sects and denominations of Christianity. He would see them all swallowed up for the glory of Christ’s name and that name alone lifted up. All other names will fail in the coming persecution. It is only by being identified by Christ and Christ alone that one will stand in the evil day. For in that evil day only those churches and denominations who have acquiesced to the evil authorities will be able to exist. My own prayer would be that all would stand for Christ in that day and be willing to suffer and count it a worthy thing to suffer for the name of Jesus and for that and under that name alone. The sad truth is that already so many churches and denominations have fallen at the first hurdle and yet we are merely in the birth pang stages. As the intensity increases, more and more will fall away from the truth. Yet the Body of Christ, the true Church of Christ will come forward and be counted. They will stand in unity under that name which is above every name. Their light will shine greatly as the greatest darkness the world has ever known engulfs the world in gross wickedness and violence. Like gold in the hottest fire, it will simply purify the saints.

19 Responses to “The very system of our churches is flawed”

  1. ‘What led people to the truth was the very life in those who represented it” (Him). That’s an awesome quote and so very true. Almost as good as this one you write later on in relation to the escalation of the compromise of churches and their eventual collapse:

    “This may seem like a disaster but it will be the finest thing that ever happened to the Body of Christ”

    Our Father knows exactly what He is doing and will call His own “out” and “home” in due season. There were those who counted the cost before me and I’m grateful for their example of perseverance despite the difficulties. Now it is my time, your time and a few others to count that same cost that others might follow our example as well- follow us as we follow Christ.

    This world is not our home and we owe no allegiance to it or some particular country for that matter. Let the world and its people do their worst- I too look forward to “the last days testimony” for Jesus that will result- small as it may be.

    • appolus said

      Michael writes…………….”Our Father knows exactly what He is doing and will call His own “out” and “home” in due season. There were those who counted the cost before me and I’m grateful for their example of perseverance despite the difficulties. Now it is my time, your time and a few others to count that same cost that others might follow our example as well- follow us as we follow Christ.” I could not agree more………………bro Frank

  2. Afchief said

    “Notice that in most non-denominational churches, the preeminence passes from Christ to the preacher/teacher/pastor. We are living in the days of the personality cult where the man or the woman is lifted up as they rob and steal from the Word of God for their own fame and enrichment.”

    Well said brother! My wife and I were in 4-wall churches for the past 32 years. We left our last church 2 years ago to start a home church. Myself and the other elder in our church had enough of the pride and the “my way or the highway attitude” in the pastor. So we left to start our home fellowship and have NOT looked back. At first we were not sure what to do i.e. have a leader, bible study every time we met, etc. Finally we just prayed asked God what to do and instead of making it like a mini 4-wall church in our homes God led us to make it “relational” and to listen to one another (fellowship) and pray if there is a need. We no leader but Jesus. We are all equal. When we meet we have NO agenda but to be relational and listen to each other and the Holy Spirit. After doing this for two years we all have stated we will never go back into a 4-wall building unless we clearly hear from God to do so. We are only 4 families now and do not desire to get any bigger unless God leads. We have developed relationships that would have NEVER happened in a 4-wall church. Other families have visited with us, but do not know how to handle the freedom and lack of structure.

    It truly takes God to break this mindset of having to have a pastor (authority) over you and structure based programs. Jesus is the head of the Body and no man has authority over another. The arm has no authority over the leg and vice-versa. We see a lot of Christians today who have been hurt by and fed up with the 4-wall church and are looking for something more. Home church is the way to go.

    • appolus said

      Unless Christ is firmly established as preeminent in any gathering and has the authority, then there can be no legitimate human authority. How would one know? The Word of God and the Spirit of God. Each of us will give an account to the Lord for our own actions, not the actions of others. God bless you brother as you take that road less traveled , the narrow path that leads to life. …………………bro Frank

    • Tom said

      “4-wall churches.” Afchief used the phrase four times in a paragraph. That’s part of the problem. We make up catchy phrases that take on meaning and get repeated over and over, becoming part of our collective conscience. We hear someone say it and adopt it as an apt description of what we’re thinking.
      This isn’t by accident. Part of human psychology. ‘Us’ and ‘them’ – we need to belong even while we reject, and this is how we manifest it. Mostly unintentionally and unthinkingly, but sometimes a pointedly employed tactic for justification of behaviour and choices.

      Try not to use phrases as a shortcut. Practice listening for this. Hear one’s self doing it. Thoughtfully and deliberately use real language.

      “…the 4-wall church…” What church, where? Is that a specific land-based church somewhere, or an ecclesiastic governing body? Do you mean the concept of religious institutions in general?

  3. rksjames said

    Thank you for this post, there is much I would like to write about the materials you cited as I did a study on many of these just yesterday but it will suffice to say Glory Hallelujah!! Presently God is moving me out of my prison/desert experience (both metaphorical) and in this process has given me a glimpse of what He wants me to do. I will be happy to share the specifics once I know all of them or if you are interested in generalities I can share those as well. I am filled at once with excitation and trembling. Would you be kind enough to pray for me and a fellow traveler that God has provided? This journey starts in two weeks and there is much covering needed.

    Thank you again for speaking/writing the truth, these have been such an encouragement for me, knowing I wasn’t the only one. I look forward to your next post! All blessings in Christ!

    • appolus said

      Dear sister, please feel free to share whatever the Lord would lay upon your heart and God bless you in the journey…………..bro Frank

  4. sharon said

    Refreshing and so good to hear this truth.
    Buildings are outdated, homes will always be the best.

    • appolus said

      And Sharon, there is coming a time soon when homes will be the only place we can meet anyway and those meetings will probably be in secret………………….bro Frank

  5. Reblogged this on Seated At The Master's Feet.

  6. Becky Johnson said

    I’m new here. Don’t recall how I came across your blog, but the depth & richness is immense and I appreciate it. I ran from church as a young girl from a broken Christian family where my dad was a pastor. I ran for nearly 25 years. Jesus relentlessly pursued me during my darkest days and is loving me whole. In these last 7+ years I’ve never felt the pull to go to church outside of guilt by those around me who couldn’t lay there bats down log enough to see my perspective. He has drawn me close and is doing a good work in this ol’ heart of mine. And so your post here, specifically, breathes fresh air into my world and lifts burdens Christ Himself never laid on me. Thank you. I look forward to more.

    • Hi Becky. What the owner of this blog and many others have discovered is simply what has always been in the heart of God from the beginning of time- a simple reliance upon Him and a loving relationship between members of a spiritual family known as the Body Of Christ. If you were to strip modern day religion of everything earthly in nature you would be left with simply Jesus, one another and the Bible. Despite what modern day “Christianity has always tried to tell us or mandate, the gospel of God is actually so simple a child can understand it. It’s the “wise men” of religion that so often struggle with the simple truth of God and the practical application thereof.

      I’m glad you are finding some nourishment and rest here upon Franks site. There are many other people walking along these lines around the globe and our aim is to keep Jesus central in our hearts and lives. I know you will find many friends here that will help you “adjust” from the bondage of religion to true freedom in Christ if you’re looking for that. Welcome home.

    • appolus said

      HI Becky, I am so blessed that you have found depth and richness here. I am also glad that you are not laboring under a weight of bondage. He who the Son set free is free indeed. It is good to hear that the Lord has drawn you deeper into the Father’s heart………………….bro Frank

      • Becky Johnson said

        Thanks, Frank. A bondage of religion was never anything I was interested in. I have often said of my prodigal youth that I ran for the sake of freedom and wound up in chains. But not religious chains, the world’s. And so it has been with great grace I have been saved from both, but out of the world.

        I am coming to learn what the real Body of Christ is and am thrilled to know it isn’t in a building. 🙂

  7. Only Me said

    What if… all the churches and denominations in America liquidated all of their buildings, all their schools, all their real estate, all their TV and media assets, all their publishing houses, and all of their investment holdings, then went out into the street with all that money and fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless, comforted the needy, clothed the naked, propped up all the hurting families who just need a leg up?

    What if… every American missionary sent abroad was brought home, and we simply prayed for the Lord to bring His Life and His Love to the poor and needy in this world?

    What if all of the parasites and leaches who make a living off of the name of our Lord were exposed, dragged out into the courtyard, and told to “leave and never come back, just leave and never come back”?

    What if …. every named “Christian” group was surreptitiously dissolved, and all badges and labels that divide us were no longer? What if every sign was toppled and stamped into the dust?

    What if… we stopped judging sinners and simply started loving and serving them?

    What if… the sheep would rise up and turn the tables over, then take back all that was stolen from them in the name of God for over 2,000 years?

    What if… if there were no more preachers and priests, no special chairs, no private rooms, no privileged status among God’s little ones?

    What if …men and thieves were to stop making merchandise of the things of our Lord, and simply worshiped Him in Spirit and in Truth?

    What if… there were no more high places, no Jerusalem and Rome, only a hillside, and a place where we go to meet the Lord wherever He may be?

    What if… the world saw something it has never truly seen before, and experienced a truth borne out of love, and enlightenment borne out of real grace?

    What if… we finally realized that the One Narrow Way is a Person – not a religion, not a group, not a system, not a book nor a building?

    What if… we rendered to Caesar the things that are his, and we rendered to the Lord everything else? What if every Christian and every group employing Jesus’ Name severed all reciprocal political and business ties? What if the singular ideology and imperative remaining was to simply serve the Lord?

    What if Christians stopped pretending, stopped lying to themselves, stopped serving two gods, stopped raising themselves above the rest of humanity, stopped taking up arms to shed the blood of God’s children, stopped playing the harlot with the world?

    What if…?

    “Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,… (Matt 23)

  8. Tim Shey said

    Praise the Lord! This post must be God’s perfect timing. A couple of days ago, I read this by William Law:

    “It is very observable, that there is not one command in all the Gospel for public worship; and perhaps it is a duty that is least insisted upon in Scripture of any other. The frequent attendance at it is never so much as mentioned in all the New Testament. Whereas that religion or devotion which is to govern the ordinary actions of our life is to be found in almost every verse of Scripture. Our blessed Saviour and His Apostles are wholly taken up in doctrines that relate to common life. They call us to renounce the world, and differ in every temper and way of life, from the spirit and the way of the world: to renounce all its goods, to fear none of its evils, to reject its joys, and have no value for its happiness: to be as new-born babes, that are born into a new state of things: to live as pilgrims in spiritual watching, in holy fear, and heavenly aspiring after another life: to take up our daily cross, to deny ourselves, to profess the blessedness of mourning, to seek the blessedness of poverty of spirit: to forsake the pride and vanity of riches, to take no thought for the morrow, to live in the profoundest state of humility, to rejoice in worldly sufferings: to reject the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life: to bear injuries, to forgive and bless our enemies, and to love mankind as God loveth them: to give up our whole hearts and affections to God, and strive to enter through the strait gate into a life of eternal glory.”


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