*1. Organized church system...
Even when many modern-day churches say that they understand that the building itself isn't the true church of God, sometimes their actions can say otherwise ... What do I mean? … The very idea of being organized doesn't imply that the literal building is the very structure of their enterprise, but it's really what that organization stands for, and of what practices they perform within the confines of their walls. The governmental systems of the modern church, as I am so calling it, is what that organization has defined as their own code and niche in the church world, of their beliefs that they have established and written down; and, of which, can neither be questioned, challenged, nor changed. Hence, they are boldly crying out that if anybody differs from their beliefs and rules, that they are not only separated from their denomination, but possibly from God Himself. If that's not true, then why become organized in the first place? Why choose a separated name to distinguish yourself from other denominations? Such a position and stance can certainly emanate arrogance, as it places a monopoly on the Gospel, seeing as they say that one must embrace their practices and beliefs in order to be saved. It was toward those kinds of thoughts that the Apostle Paul was trying to make a stand against in 1st Corinthians 1:10–13 (which verses I quote, here in chapter one), in saying that there should be no separation of God's people, and that there should be a universal brotherhood within the Christian circles ... However, and at the same time, that's not saying that there isn't a strong foundation and basis for solid Christian belief, and that any 'ol Joe Schmo should make up any doctrine for the benefit of their personal congregation. In fact, and due to the intense emergence of Christian liberalism, there was a work composed, in the early 1900's AD (in 12 volumes), called 'Fundamentals' (and, of which, was edited and released in only 4 volumes about 25 years later, by R.A. Torrey) that boldly addressed these issues; and, from its pages, folks have since gathered at least five basic Christian beliefs that should not be altered or changed. Of course, many have challenged these throughout the years; but, there is sense to its basic decree. The internet is filled with different ideas of what these basic stances are, so I thought I'd list what was shown at Wikipedia, since it's a generalized online encyclopedia:
1) The inerrancy of the Bible;
2) The literal nature of the biblical accounts, especially regarding Christ's miracles and the Creation account in Genesis;
3) The virgin birth of Christ;
4) The bodily resurrection and physical return of Christ;
5) The substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross.
Quoting a similar list (though, slightly different), the European-American Evangelistic Crusades from Sacramento, CA (www.eaec.org), in an online PDF article, called 'Five Fundamentals of the faith,' added this declaration to their creed:
"Those who disagree with any of the above doctrines are not Christians at all. Rather, they are the true heretics ... if some deny even one of the five fundamentals mentioned above, they have departed from the faith."
But, then, further down in the same document, they added this final statement to soften the blow:
"If you take offense to differences in lesser doctrines, don't think that we are condemning you as unbelievers or heretics. Nothing could be further from the truth."
Here is their own list of established doctrinal beliefs:
1). The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8-9).
2). The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27).
3). The Blood Atonement (Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-14).
4). The Bodily Resurrection (Luke 24:36-46; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 15:14-15).
5). The inerrancy of the scriptures themselves (Psalms 12:6-7; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20).
Even though I find nothing wrong with any of these five things that the European-American Evangelistic Crusades had quoted (for, I actually – and strongly – agree with all five of their doctrinal beliefs!), I cannot, however, see how a struggling Christian, who hasn't come to see things similarly, could be considered a heretic. Any Christian should really know that we learn about things slowly over time, and that we never come to pure truth overnight. However, and at the same time, many denominations think that we, as sheep, should automatically accept their established doctrines immediately without question. I actually find, though, that a person who can think for themselves (outside the box) is a better candidate to being a continuing Christian, since no denomination can claim that once a person embraces their beliefs that they are then completely immune to falling back into the ungodly world afterward ... In fact, the same Bible that they claim is inerrant (which, I completely agree with, by the way!) says that there's only one sin that cannot be forgiven (Matthew 12:31 "...blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men"; and 1st John 5:16b "...There is a sin unto death..."); but, that didn't include not being in agreeance with all five 'established' fundamental beliefs that’s forwarded by a particular church. As I mentioned already, not everybody can agree with what these five basic doctrinal beliefs even consist of ... Here's another list from www. deceptioninthechurch.com/5doctrines.html:
1). The Trinity: God is one "What" and three "Whos" with each "Who" possessing all the attributes of Deity and personality.
2). The Person of Jesus Christ: Jesus is 100% God and 100% man for all eternity.
3). The Second Coming: Jesus Christ is coming bodily to earth to rule and judge.
4). Salvation: It is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
5). The Scripture: It is entirely inerrant and sufficient for all Christian life.
And, in this last quoted list, there are a couple of things that even I disagree with! So, if everybody can't even agree with what five to push to the public forefront, then why have a list at all? ... But, like I also said, we don't want just anybody throwing just anything out there, and preaching strange doctrines in the churches of Jesus Christ. After all, there is a single truth, and God does have to personally ordain and send out ministers to preach His pure Word, and to establish that one truth ... So, for fun, I will forward my own list of requirements for any true Christian (at least, a view for what will initially establish a person into God's Kingdom to begin with):
1) God alone has the right to call and ordain ministers and stewards of His infallible Word; but, not man (2nd Timothy 1:8-9 "...Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.").
2) The Holy Ghost must speak through ministers; but, not the spirit of man (St. John 7:38 "...out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."; 16:13 "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak..."). Basically, without the Spirit of Christ dwelling within any believer, we are none of His (Romans 8:9 "...if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.").
3) Jesus is the only way to salvation; and, the only doorway to the Father. By no other name or religion can mankind be saved (Acts 4:12 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.").
4) God's Written Word is inerrant (2nd Timothy 3:16 "ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God..."; Isaiah 40:8 "...the word of our God shall stand for ever."; Matthew 4:4 "...Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."; etc.); not, however, any single translation – but, from the original languages. His Living Word leads to ultimate salvation (Ephesians 1:13 "...ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise;" and Ephesians 6:17 "...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."). And, only by the Holy Ghost can we fully understand His Word (1st Corinthians 2:12-13 "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.").
5) Only with pure Agape, Godly Love toward one another and to God can we resurrect unto eternal life (1st John 3:14 "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren..."); that is, through the instructions of the Spirit of Truth (St. John 16:13 – quoted a moment ago), as commissioned and established through the unaltered words of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:35 "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.).
All other topics, folks, are up for healthy, friendly discussions; and, they should never be a separating factor if disagreements arise. Now, it may seem a contradiction to the reader, but I am going to say further on this subject, and to declare boldly that I actually agree to the importance (and, more than anybody else's) of the European-American Evangelistic Crusades' five fundamental doctrinal beliefs; and, to say that, at the end of the day, any true Christian will ultimately see that these are concreted, established truths. My disagreement with that ministry was in saying that we cannot express boldly (because, we do not have that authority) to say that whomever we meet that disagrees with any of those five statements is a true heretic and a non-believer (that is, of course, if I understood their meaning correctly); for, the point I was trying to make was that everybody is on a different learning level, and that it may take years for somebody to come to a truth, whereas it may have taken minutes for others. God alone is the final judge on whether somebody makes it to be with Him or not ... In my many years of serving God, I have met with a lot of folks who claim to have a love for God and His Word, but not all of them agreed to every one of those five statements that I and the European-American Evangelistic Crusades agree on. It never crossed my mind, though, that because of their 'unbelief,' that they couldn't be an elect of God; but, to the contrary, that they just still had much to learn. Jesus Himself said (Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:13; and Mark 13:13) that it is to those of whom will endure until the end that will be saved – not to those who got the pure truth immediately. So, unless a person curses God to our face with malicious joy, then we need not dismiss them from our minds or our prayers (but, even if they do, we can still pray for them! For, we never know whom God has chosen). People need our help and not our unrighteous judgments (St. John 7:24 "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment"). As the Apostle Paul had so plainly said, one plants, one waters, but only God can give the increase (1st Corinthians 3:6-7). And, further, said that neither is he that plants any thing, nor he that waters; but, only God, who gives the increase. So, at the end of the day, it is God of whom will direct the steps of individuals unto salvation or unto damnation; but, we ourselves need to be careful of whom we dismiss out of the Kingdom so quickly.
Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
*2. Even when things are Godly ordained, there's still a balance of good and evil...
I had, in extensive detail, went over this position in a previous work in this 'Seeking the Everlasting Gospel Teaching Series,' in a book called: 'Blaming God! Is it really His fault?' Even if such a notion seems wrong or strange to mention, I fully believe this to be the case, and is very important in the understanding of how God's Kingdom works. I will, herein, be showing examples of how corrupted ministers have entered into the church world; and that, even though evil in nature, people still got what they needed from God – as Jesus had so curiously pointed out in Matthew 7:22-23 – in that even though they were workers of iniquity, God's children still got prophesied to by these evil men; they further casted out devils; and, even did wonderful works in the name of the Lord. Yet, they themselves never entered into the blessed Kingdom. One may curiously ask why this is so, and why God even allows such men to flourish. Well, that's another thing that we will cover within these pages – such as in the fact that people want to latch onto a fleshly king when God Himself deserves that position. I don't want to give away too much here, for this certainly will be addressed in the upcoming chapters ... Stay tuned!
*3. I want fellowship with all of them if they are willing to have it with me...
Again, I don't want to be misunderstood here. I'm not boldly declaring that we should go running into established church buildings and yell out: "Come out of her, my people, and be not partakers of her sins!" For one thing, I do not believe that just because you have a church building, or that you have an organization, that it automatically places you into sin! As I've already stressed, God Himself has ordained the church building in its present form for one of several reasons; many, of which, are good; some, of which, are bad. But, I also believe that if God places a young man or woman into the hands of a caretaker, that the caretaker should be honored for their parental role ... And, with that loaded statement should come a host of explanations. In fact, one of the many purposes of this book is to address what a proper caretaker is, of what role they are to play, and of what kind of honor they should receive; for, certainly, honor to a caretaker can either be too light, or it can certainly go too far. But, back to what I was saying – if a Godly ordained minister has care over a person whilst that attendee is in their child years (not in actual human years, but in the fact that they are still children in their understandings), then they do not need to be torn from that union prematurely; else, confusion and damage could certainly set in. Not only so, but as the Apostle Paul had suggested (concerning another man's servant), that we aren't to judge any situation incorrectly.
Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
We need not necessarily look upon this situation as the world might see it. That is, concerning a servant, in this particular passage, and comparing that to an actual bought slave – even though Paul, in other areas of his writings, does address actual slavery. There are other places, though (such as this passage), where he addresses being a servant or a slave to certain church situations – especially since he spoke of this right smack-dab in the middle of talking about church issues (please read from verse 1 down to see). Also, the Greek word used in Romans 14:4 doesn't even denote an actual 'slave,' but rather a sort of house servant. And, a church worker can certainly fall into that category.
Servant, Oiketēs, G3610, from Strong's Greek Dictionary (published 1890; public domain): From G3611; a fellow resident, that is, menial domestic: - (household) servant.
But, even if slave were meant in this passage (that is, slavery as we know it today), then it's not too far-off base to say that we can be a slave to another person if we are in servitude toward them – even in a church! In fact, being in servitude to Christ, the original Greek word, Doulos (translated as servant in the King James Version), actually refers to us being God's 'slaves,' rather than just workers in His Kingdom.
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.
Servant/Slave, Doulos, G1401, from Strong's Greek Dictionary: From G1210; a slave (literally or figuratively, involuntarily or voluntarily; frequently therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency): - bond (-man), servant.
But, again, concerning Romans 14:4, Paul, like Jesus, was always in teaching form, and loved to use parables, allegories, figures and similes throughout his letters (please see my book: 'In the Beginning: It was Spiritual from the very start' for a detailed explanation). And, here, we can see how that if a person is in servitude toward another (even in a church situation between saint and pastor), then we aren't allowed to interfere or intervene into that relationship (even if we think the person's ready to come up to a higher position), unless God tells us to, or gives us permission. Honestly, if the saint isn't ready to leave that relationship, they’ll defend it with all their might, even if they’re in a terrible situation. But, and at the same time (and, if they are even called to do so), there will be a time when God's ready for that person to move away from their current position to explore other areas of His grace and Kingdom, to get into a more advanced position – that is, if the minister or pastor in question actually allows them to grow-up, or (if they felt led) to just simply leave that church in their due season. And, when ready, they’ll know it, and you’ll know it, if everybody is working within God's Spirit; and, at that time, fellowship will be more permissible and possible ... I, personally, do not believe in proselyting another person without God's will being enforced, or without His permission being granted. God alone says when a person’s ready to advance from any given situation; and, frankly, we may not be gifted enough to determine or judge anybody else's position (Matthew 7:1-5 "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again," etc) ... But, once a person is free (if they are ever granted to be so from God), is an adult, and if they are willing, then I want healthy fellowship with them – no matter their previous or present affiliation. But, nevertheless, all fellowship must be within the confines of what has been laid out in scripture ... At the same time, though, I'm not here suggesting that it's a preferable thing for a person to be in servitude to another person; but, and as I had explained in my book 'Blaming God! Is it really His fault?', God may send us through some bad situations for our benefit, education and growth. So, the bottom line of what I'm meaning is for us not to judge unrighteously (St. John 7:24 – which I quoted earlier), and for us to be ever ready and prepared for if and when God needs us to help others to – not only come to Him to begin with – but, to plant and to water in due season so that God can give the proper increase.
*4. 'The Break of Day: The Life Story of William Sowders.' by O'Neill...
This quote was from the actual words of William Sowders: noted as the founder and apostle of the American movement called the 'School for the Prophets.' William Sowders' ministry began in AD 1914. This small, rare, yellow pamphlet has an unknown date.