A Call To The Remnant

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The Tragedy of what passes for Church

Posted by appolus on June 15, 2019

Between 1489 and 1561 there lived a dear brother in Christ called Kaspar von Schwenckfeld, he was a nobleman from the German region of Silesia. He neither joined himself to the Catholic church, the Lutheran church nor the Anabaptists. He was a man of great influence not just in his own region but far beyond. At the age of 30 it is said that he was “awakened out of his indifference,” by Martin Luther’s “Wonderful trumpet of God,” and became very influential in the reformation movement in Silesia. Now before very long there was things that he found withinn the reformation that made him greatly uncomfortable, especially in matters surrounding “communion.” Luther and his minions viciously attacked this brother. Despite this, bro Kasper always acknowledged the great debt owed to Luther, this did not stop the attacks and being labeled a heretic. He was a lover of the Word of God and never ceased to read and to study it. He says of the reading of scripture that it was “a brooding over, seeking, boring into; indeed a reading and re-reading of all, chewing, meditating, turning over and thoroughly thinking out everything,for there, undiluted treasure is revealed to the believer, pure pearls, gold and precious stones.” Listen what Broadbent in his book the Pilgrim Church says what happened to Schwenckfeld about eight years after his first revelation……..

“Eight years after his first “visitation” he had a further experience which seemed to him to affect his life even more. Up to this time he had been zealous in proclaiming the Scriptures and Lutheranism; but now what he had intellectually believed turned to an entire persuasion of the heart. He was made aware of his heavenly calling, received an overwhelming assurance of salvation, yielded himself to God as a “living sacrifice.” A deep sense of sin and appreciation of the sufficiency of the redemption wrought for us in Christ, by His death and resurrection, captured his will, transformed his mind and brought him to that obedience in which he found liberty to do the will of God. He also made the discovery that the Scriptures not only give sure guidance as to personal justification and sanctification, but that they also contain definite instruction with regard to the Church.”

Schwenckfeld writes after this “”If we would reform the Church”, he said, “we must make use of the Holy Scriptures and especially of the Acts, where it is clearly to be found how things were in the beginning, what is right and what is wrong, what is praiseworthy and acceptable to God and to the Lord Christ.” He saw that the Church in the time of the Apostles and their immediate successors, was a glorious gathering, not only in one place but in many. He asks where such assemblies are to be found to-day, for, he says, “the Scripture knows no others than those which acknowledge Christ as their Head and willingly yield themselves to be ruled by the Holy Spirit, who adorns them with spiritual gifts and knowledge.” Jesus Himself directs through the spiritual gifts which He dispenses, not only to the whole Church, but also to the separate assemblies. In these assemblies spiritual gifts are manifested for the common good; the same Spirit divides the gifts, but they are manifested in each one of the members. The Spirit has un-trammelled liberty. If one, led by the Spirit, rises, the one already speaking must cease. The churches are not perfect, it is always possible that hypocrites may creep in unobserved, but when detected they must be excluded. Schwenckfeld could not therefore recognize the Reformed religion as a Church, because the great mass of the baptized Christians were without the Spirit of Christ and took the Sacrament without the grace of God. He was willing to receive the help of missionary organizations, if they did not pretend to take the place of churches of Jesus Christ. A National Church is one, he said, that has gone back to the stage reached in the Old Testament. (The Pilgrim Church)

Listen to what Tozer says in the last piece every written by him prior to his death, entitled “The waning authority of Christ in His churches.” “In the conduct of our public worship where is the authority of Christ to be found? The truth is that today the Lord rarely controls a service, and the influence He exerts is very small. We sing of Him and preach about Him, but He must not interfere; we worship our way, and it must be right because we have always done it that way, as have the other churches in our group.” Is this not the same complaint as our brother who lived four hundred years previously? Schwenckfeld claims that the great mass of the Baptized Christians were without the Spirit of Christ and therefore could not be part of God’s Church. Whitfield, two hundred years later would make the claim that almost none of the ministers knew anything of the new birth. Wilberforce (abolisher of slavery and friend of John Newton) fifty years after that would make a similar claims in his book “True Christianity.” One thing these men had in common was that they were viciously attacked by the pastors and ministers of their day as heretics, these same pastors and ministers knowing fine well if what these men claimed were true, most of them would lose their lofty position in life.

Sad to say brothers and sisters, nothing much has changed in our day, in fact I would argue that the Lord’s influence in our modern day services is even less again than it ever was. The same charges can be made, and the same violent rhetoric would be meted out to whoever has a heart for the Word of God and His instructions to us on how we should gather. Amazing is it not just how much men love the preeminence. It really always comes down to authority. Remember what Satan wanted Jesus to do? He wanted Him to bow down to him. It always comes down to authority. Whether it was the martyrs refusing to bow down to the Roman gods, or the martyrs refusing to bow down to the popes and their bishops and priests. Or even the martyrs who refused to bow down to the reformers authority. Yet in almost every pulpit throughout the world, as Tozer stated, men have robbed God of His authority, they have usurped the Holy Spirit and His instruction in the Word in favor of their own traditions and systems. Some less than others, some more than others, but in the end Jesus Christ must be preeminent in His Church.

6 Responses to “The Tragedy of what passes for Church”

  1. Tobie said

    Wonderful, thank you.

  2. Rebecca said

    This is a sad heart wrenching truth. I sometimes feel such a need for fellowship with like kind but when I enter the ‘church’ it is as if even in community there is isolation. His Holy Spirit said “there is no repairer of the breech.” As I look around I know there is a storm brewing … it is going to be a shaking like this generation has never before seen … yet out of this the remnant of Christ will stand to not only endure but will share Christ to a trembling fearful people.
    We will willingly become a living sacrifice … but now is a time of solitude and learning for much of the remnant. As for myself I am learning obedience through suffering … this is the call of GOD on my life for now. I struggle like a butterfly in her cocoon. From this example I know if released to soon, without the stretching to strengthen her wings, the butterfly will never soar. It is the same for most of the remnant who are in solitude.
    I sometimes cry out to GOD how long …. then I am taught to look at Joseph … Esther … Moses … Joshua … Saul who became Paul … and many more. They were all placed in a time of extreme suffering … this is GOD’s plan to destroy pride … self sufficiency … idols etc. … it is a time of learning to stay focused on Christ and His Word.
    The wilderness is likened to a honey moon in scripture … I do not often see this as I fight against my own humanity. I listened to Brian Long preach about the storm ahead … He used the example of Paul and the storm on the sea. He said Paul had to go through the same storm in order to help those in it. My prayer is that the church of Jesus Christ will rise up, during the storm, to do great exploits in His name and for His glory. GOD has a plan for the remnant … this I know …
    Rebecca

    • appolus said

      Its a great point sister and well taken what bro Brian shared, we do indeed need to go through the same storm, we are all in the same boat so to speak, for when it rains it rains upon the just and the unjust. Yet no matter what the storm, we the Lord’s people hold strong within the veil, we have an anchor for our soul, a forerunner that has went before us and has Himself created a safe harbor. God bless you sister………………bro Frank

  3. Shannon said

    Thank you for your writing brother. You are an encouraging voice that confirms my standing with the Christ and HIm alone. My spirit is grieved by the empty, lifeless church that so many revel in. May the Lord continue to strengthen and inspire all of His remnant.

    • appolus said

      Amen sister, I believe that all of His remnant saints mourn and grieve over the state of the world and what passes for His church. If the Lord dismantled the temple, stone by stone, I believe He will do the same with the empty religious services that passes for worship today. The greatest judgment we could see is that He removes all of His children from Christendom, everything that calls itself by His name, and draws them to Himself. He is pronouncing Ichabod over their lintels……………………….bro Frank

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