“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” Eph. 4:15
If you have lived in the western hemisphere for any length of time you will likely have learned of a group called the ACLU, or the American Civil Liberties Union. This group of lawyers ostensibly hold up the rights of the American civilian and desire to appear as the champion against tyranny, public or private. However, nothing could be further from the truth. This group is quite possibly more Marxist-Socialist leaning and anti-Christ than any legal entity in the history of the USA. To review, employing Marx’s ten planks of The Communist Manifesto, the end goal of Marxist-Socialism and, ultimately, Communism is to make all people equal under one common plan. Some may want to call it the New World Order, but fundamentally, the Socialist’s goal is nothing more or less than to overthrow God from every facet of society and to place man upon His throne. The final end of this worldview will see a fulfilment of prophecy as written by the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos, the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, that is, the prophecy of the coming of the son of perdition otherwise known as the Antichrist.
The ACLU has successfully attacked, injured, and destroyed many individuals and businesses under the guise of so-called defense of the individual’s American constitutional rights. You may have heard of various lawsuits filed by this group against those such as retailer, Hobby Lobby, or small businesses such as Blaine Adamson’s, “Hands on Originals” print shop in Lexington, Kentucky, “Sweet Cakes by Melissa”, a bakery catering to weddings, and, “Arlene’s Flowers”, and many others, who, after taking a stand for their businesses based on their own personal beliefs based on the Bible, refused to provide their services. Bakers, florists, photographers and others are among those being forced to choose between their livelihoods and their beliefs, all based on the premise that one should not have the right to actively believe in anything that infringes upon another individual’s contrary beliefs. Under this quiet revolution, neither individual wins and both of the individual’s end up handing over their power to the faceless system called, “the State”. The system wins and the individuals’ God-given blessing of freedom is eroded away. The ACLU also have a history of attacking symbols of religion such as crosses and images, like the Ten Commandments, particularly those on public property. They argue these are unconstitutional and an offense to certain individuals and have many pending cases suing to have them removed. If they would have their way, they would have God completely removed from memory in the shortest possible time frame. Those of our churches might say, “ok, but that is ‘out there’. We don’t have to worry about that, ‘in here’.” Do we?
I wish that were true so we could forget the whole impending mess, but is it true? Is it only out there? Could this worldview be seeping into our churches today? If so, what are the symptoms that we need to recognize? How can we be safe from this type of coercion? How can we fight against it and what is the end result if we just ignore it? I submit to you that this venom has already entered into the churches and we need to take definitive steps to identify and eradicate the poison before the local church body is destroyed entirely. Success in this matter will require some very discerning decisions from the local body of the church.
The ‘Judge Not’ Philosophy
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:24
Everywhere we look we see churches closing their doors forever. I have heard it is something to the order of 7000 churches per year. It has been said that, not many decades ago, more than half the population of America went to church and now less than 20% attend regularly. I have seen old church buildings turn into night clubs, restaurants, and other venues, even a toy store. Many of the other remaining churches, feeling as if they are hanging from a thread, are witnessing this and they are getting very nervous. For many existing in a carnal state of mind, the kneejerk reaction is quite simply to look at church from a business standpoint and try to assess the reasons why people are either leaving and why they are not coming in. Instead of going to the altar, the church leadership has gone to their boardroom tables. Charts and graphs are created and they return from their meetings with a presentation that ‘church’ needs to change or they will lose everyone and everything. In this carnal state of mind, many have forgotten whose church it is and to pray and wait. Ones, such as Bill Hybels, decided to go door knocking and ask the lost folks what they wanted to see in church with the full intention to implement what they heard. Naturally, they answered wanting what they already had available to them in society. After the world was implemented in the church, these guests found no difference between the two and the project would ultimately fail. Some churches decided they should have entertainment and different worldly social programs, such as Yoga, personal counselling and coffee houses, but found humanism took over and it became the only reason people attended. After a poll was conducted, the churches found that most people did not want to hear preaching so they advertised that preaching would be replaced with more entertaining programs, interactive worship teams and music concerts. The people spoke again and the music became louder and raunchier and eventually the world was successfully cemented in based on their influences. The church inside looked exactly like the world looked outside and once the world was in, it took ownership and refused to leave. In fact, in time, those guests would eventually become the leadership and finally make the decision to kick out the old pastor, the old Book, the old hymns, and the old path. They replaced it all and invited in the, “Idol Shepherd”.
“For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.” Zech. 10:2;
“Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.” Zech.11.17
At this point you might say you are not part of those falling or apostate churches. You may be part of another, more conservative church. You may be reading from the King James Bible and still singing those old hymns, but, could it be that the grievous wolves have already crept into your church unawares? Would you be able to recognize it if had? The devil is most subtle and to those who are merely filling a seat, beware!
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” I Cor. 10:12
Look again. There is an infiltration of a ‘judge not’ philosophy in our churches, because that is how it got in, by a lack of sound, biblical judgment. The whole time through this process of entrusting the church to self rather than praying and entrusting it to God, there were still a few speaking out, including that old preacher with his dog-eared Bible. They were kicked out because they dared to openly state: “I cannot agree with this. This is wrong.”, and, “we need to talk about this, we should not be inviting the world in. We should not be borrowing from the world to entice people to come in”, and, “why don’t we pray about it some more?” What was the response to this from the more ‘intellectual’ liberal-minded ones in the church? The same as the ACLU: how dare you judge for yourself against these poor people! You must be silenced!
They range from feigned pacification to outright personal attacks and false accusations: beginning with, “let’s agree to disagree”. We just need to love them, not judge them. This conversation is over. You are disgraceful. You are mean and hateful. Have you no love? Alternatively, some will stop talking to you, ostracize you, marginalize you, pass you over, and strip you down behind your back. It is not at all funny how all of that is ok, but approaching a person with a view to talk to one another, to reconcile one on one, is unacceptable and motivated by hate. I submit to you it is the non-judgmental attitude that is wrecking the church. The paradigm that you ‘cannot openly disagree with another’ is not encouraging healthy conversation and people who do not communicate have no relationship. The Bible says it is good to talk. God likes to talk to His people and wants us to talk with Him and have fellowship with His saints. Consider these verses:
“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the counteance of his friend.” Prov. 27:17
“Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” Prov.9:8
“Open rebuke is better than secret love.” Prov. 27:5
“This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;” Titus 1:13
“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” Eph. 4:15
If the Bible teaches us that to share together and that even a sound rebuke to each other is healthy, then why is the method of silencing being applied so often in the church? I submit to you that is the enemy’s strategy that the church has adopted and the result is very predictable. Those who once stood up to speak by the lead of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word are now sitting down, tired of being mercilessly mistreated through the common responses. Ones who were once openly energetic and zealous are now sitting quietly, not appearing to identify one way or the other for fear of offence. We must identify these characteristics in the church beginning with ourselves. We must ask ourselves, have we ever been guilty of attacking a brother who brings up an opposing position against something that was taught or spoken of in the church? Should there not be the freedom and encouragement for that person to discuss the issue at question like a good Berean, one on one? Should we not be able to approach someone with confidence knowing that person is not carnal-minded and has been taught how to handle an opposing question with grace? Have we forgotten how share the scriptures together and leave the conversation peacefully, vowing to pray for each other and for God to provide the answer? Instead, have we become so carnal to ever entertain gossip from people in the church against others who may not agree with us? Are we seeing divisions and cliques forming; seeing visibly colder fellowship or outright hatred from some? Is there a refusal of church leadership to bring folks together with a view to reconciliation, even when one or even both parties are reluctant to do so. These are some of the issues we need to address.
“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:10
We could call it stomping out ‘small fires’ that will engender peace and clear away strife. This will draw the church together rather than keep division alive and fomenting strife and division. Our enemy loves division and strife so we need to all pull together with the power of Jesus and do all we can and fight against it.
Finally, worldly mentalities have crept into the church and it would seem that not many of the dear brethren are good at recognizing them or, if they are, they are afraid to say anything. The ‘judge not’ mentality is very prevalent in the church, even the conservative ones. Sound judgment is being replaced with, ‘all you need is love’ and true love is being redefined as, “Notallowedtodisagreeism”. Not being allowed to disagree, when the Bible says it is healthy when done scripturally, comes from a worldly philosophy called, Socialism. I can tell you, personally, that some of my strongest relationships, ones that are almost as close as family, began with a scrape somewhere along the line. I would not even remember what it was about, but we did not employ a worldly solution of silence. We dealt with it. There was humility, communication and forgiveness. It took fruit of the Spirit and, in some cases, much time to accomplish that peaceable outcome, but it did come and now we are healed and at peace. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing. There is something wrong with handling it the wrong way. There is great benefit from talking things out and the church should be the first place to actively employ it. Our dear pastors should work tirelessly to bring broken relationships together, not let them fester to the degree that one or the other finally leave the body of believers. It is no wonder the church has such a terrible reputation of being some of the greatest haters from those who swear they will never return to darken the door. How could this have happened? Can anything be done? Absolutely. We can get back to our Bible. Study it and know it well so we have something good to talk about with each other. We must have the compassion and commitment to pray for each other. Do you feel like you have an enemy in the church? What does the Bible say?
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Matt. 5:43-44
The world’s definition of love is not the answer, because the worlds definition of love is not love. That love is one of deceit and secrecy. We must go to God’s Word to find the definition of God’s love, that fervent, sacrificial love that covers a multitude of sins. We need to talk together. Let us get back together and talk and work it out by whatever means; have charity and do whatever it takes! ~R.
“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” 1 Pet.4:8
© 2015 Remi Fernhout