Or they position themselves in “Church leadership roles”. The Bible does speak about holding the office of Deacons and Elders, and I would never condemn such offices of spiritual authority Biblically speaking. However, it is the spirit of the individual which we must examine.
The Apostle John spoke about those who did start with Christ, yet become diverted by their own need for position and status within the world. He coined the term anti-Christ’s in describing such brethren, who became cut off from God due to their own passions, and not willing to accept sound doctrines in being corrected in their personal walks by true Elders in the faith. So God gave them over to the things, which they made first within their hearts. To put this article in contexts, when I am using the term “Church”, I am speaking about the visible or world Church, not the hidden Church in Christ, who indwells every believer. These brethren are the true Church or Ecclesia, and can only be discerned by the spirit as to who they are, as found in 1John Chapter 4.
As for me personally dear brethren, have been called and chosen before the foundations of the earth to follow Christ in spirit and in truth. I personally have been shown my calling, and have walked with my Lord for over 30 years. In that time the Lord has revealed to me just how different I appear to nominal or broad road believers. I have often felt marginalized by those who claim his name, particularly within “Church leadership”. I never understood as to why I felt intimidated, out of place, and made to feel of a lesser nature, then the so called other brethren I associated with.
In my quest for acceptance, I painfully studied the scriptures’, familiarized myself with sound Biblical doctrines, and even learned theology, Church history, positioning within Ministry leadership, spiritual gifting, and then finally became ordained through the Baptist’s as an independent Minister. This is partially due of the rejection I experienced within the Presbyterian leadership, compounded by the fact that I never received a college degree, due to my struggle with learning disabilities.
After my Near Death Experience, when Christ pressed shoulder to shoulder against me; I decided to try a different “Church Order” who would accept the testimony of my calling, Biblical knowledge, and traditional view of the Bible. I got very close to being ordained as an independent Anglican Priest after writing my doctorate, and submitting it to the Church of England in North America.
I had prayed earnestly for the Lord’s leading in every undertaking which I had set my hand to, in an effort to serve him as a disciple. Then one day, out of the corner of my eye I could just make out my Lord standing opposite of my computer room, this time with some color. Normally I would not have paid attention to shadows seen from the corner of my eyes, but I had learned from my Lord to pay attention to such events: after seeing him next to me in death, and in the car the morning after my Pastoral vision, when he used a Truth for Life broadcast to explain to my intellect what my vision represented. The broadcast explained the root word for Pastor, and who was called to such a task, and who was not.
Dr. Gross, who had trained me in street ministry for six years explained to me that it was Jesus showing me to follow him alone, rather than involving myself with things of this world (specifically within the Church). This is precisely why the Apostle Paul did not entangle himself with different brethren, so he could remain free in Christ, to follow as the Holy Spirit led him.
I understand now why Jesus said that the only way to the father was in following him in spirit and in truth. This is the narrow way, and few it will be who find it! The broad road is choked full of anti-Christ’s, and would be brethren who may have started to follow our Lord, yet let the cares of the world entangle them, and would not be corrected in the wrongful desires of their hearts by the heavenly Father, who they had once set out to follow, yet soon fell into independence and chose to go their own ways.
The reformed part of the doctrine of once saved, always saved, discounts the passages of the sowers of seeds, the ten virgins whose lamps went dry, and the rich man entering the kingdom of heaven, the branches being pruned and burnt, and then even the whole bush, to name just a few. Enduring sound Bible Doctrine has little to do with intellectual understanding of the scriptures, and has everything to do with the condition of the human heart in dependency of those who choose to follow Christ in spirit and in truth.
Today alternative Christ’s (or anti-Christ’s) are wall to wall, this is partially due to the printing press in mass producing the Bible, but more importantly, delivering the Bible to people who have never known the Lord Jesus Christ personally, or they started with him and became diverted from following him alone in obedience. In short, the scriptural understanding of men, independent of God’s teaching via the Holy Spirit, has created a following which is unrecognizable to the natural mind in discerning truth from error.
It is simply amazing to me just how close people can come to the truth of God in using the Bible, yet in reality they neither listen to him, nor want him around, as it would hinder them from living as they chose, and they would experience as Christ and his Apostles did, terrible rejection in the world and that is no good for the “Church business”, or people who are only interested in being comfortable with their status, and false idols they have made for themselves.
Real followers of Christ are always hated for his name’s sake, so beware!