Aboutthechurchbody

topics of interest


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Character Deficiencies Within and Without the Church

We are seeing something today in the church and in our society at large that I have not previously witnessed to this extent in my lifetime. Deficiency in the character of people. Personality disorders are increasing in the general population. One of the main personality disorders arising in our time is narcissism. This occurrence is having a very adverse effect in our world and in the church. People with functional narcissism often seek positions of power and influence. They are found in greater numbers among CEO s, politicians, ministers of religion, and in other positions of decision making and authority. Scripture says that in the last days people will be given over to a reprobate mind because they will not accept the truth but prefer to believe a lie. I think that we are into those days now.
Narcissism is filtering down to the average person in our day from upper echelons. People are engrossing themselves in the culture and the often perverted teachings coming from places of higher authority in our lives. People do this seemingly unquestioning, even in the church. Christians are accepting of any book, any new thought, any teaching, as long as it has the ‘christian’ label.

People having narcissism personality disorder are looking for power, control, and ‘food’ to feed their need. This requires that they put on a false personality before others. What you see is not them. You see the false person. This person does not have normal human emotions. They mimic emotions that they have seen on other people’s faces for particular circumstances in their own lives. This narcissistic condition emerges in their very young years. Emotionally they remain very young and self-centered throughout their lives. They make extremely poor marriage partners because whoever marries them marries an emotional child. They can make the ‘hard’ decisions because they do not feel guilt or remorse for their actions. They cannot love as a normal person can. The main emotions that are real for them is anger and rage.
When we think of this type of person being a pastor, a government leader in a position of trust, a company manager or owner making decisions that affect hundreds maybe thousands of lives, we get a picture of the devastation that this personality disordered person makes on society. Church leaders with this condition are no exception. Many other church leaders are following them because these people may be successful by worldly standards.  Pastors who are their followers then lead their own flocks into error and possible destruction.
We are currently living in extremely precarious times as Christians. We are going to have to exercise judgment and discernment within and without the church. We have the authority to do so according to scripture. We must judge the spirits. We must look at the fruit. We must analyze the lives of our leaders to see if they are being true. To not do this is foolhardy in our day and time.


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The Modern Church and It’s Structure

In reading about the apostles and prophets in the New Testament,and how they taught about Jesus after his ascension, we see that they went to the synagogues outside of Jerusalem and initially to the temple itself in Jerusalem to proclaim their message and teach their understanding about Jesus. I think of Paul on his missionary journeys entering into the synagogues, standing up by invitation from the synagogue ruler, to speak openly to the assembly if he had something that he wanted to say. This custom or system provided a way for Paul and for others to speak to the Jewish people in the synagogues.

Our modern church does not have a good system or custom for those attending congregations (never mind visiting guests) to set forth their understanding of scripture openly to people, or to challenge leadership concerning their teaching. Today’s church leaders think of this provision as rebellion and division against them and against their organizations. We have very controlled religious establishments in North America today. Church is a highly structured and controlled event on Sundays and leaders are not open to having anyone other than select and chosen persons minister. The average believer cannot exercise their Holy Spirit gift under this kind of system.

Believers are truly under the control of these religious leaders whether they are good or bad. The system we have for churches in North America is a protective womb for cultist like errors and false teaching. People are now questioning more and more about how much ‘truth’ is actually being taught in our churches today.


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Two Covenants meaning Hagar and Sarah

Galatians 4:21 begins a teaching about the two sons of Abraham. The story in the OT of the two sons named Ishmael and Isaac tells of how Ishmael and his mother Hagar were sent away by Abraham. In Galatians the apostle Paul says that we can look figuratively at the mothers of Abraham’s sons as representing two covenants, one of the natural, and one of the promise through the power of the Spirit. Paul clearly teaches that the present Jerusalem is of Hagar. She will not share in the inheritance of God. Paul declares that there is a Jerusalem that is above and that she is the mother of those who are in Christ.
Today we have many teachers and preachers who make errors in dividing the word of truth. They teach one part of the Bible as full and complete truth, but when other parts of the Bible are read their teaching is contradicted by other Scriptures. This means there is error in what they are teaching.
The present church system that we know of in North America does not have checks and balances. There is alot of control implemented in the majority of churches. We can be certain that this type of control of people and of what we are being taught is not of God. We seem to have a mishmash of teachings related to both Hagar and Sarah. On the one hand we have freedom in Christ, on the other hand we are subjects and children to these church systems. The Hagars of our day.


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Can a Believer’s Faith be ruined or lost?

We are living in challenging times as Christians. Our faith is being undermined by  wayward Christian teachers and prophets in our day. How does this happen? I Timothy and II Timothy give some explanation as to how this occurs. Teachers start to wander off the path of truth and are in a position to ruin the faith of others.  For some teachers it is their desire to be preeminent among others.  For  other teachers they have accepted and confessed  beliefs in a worldly knowledge.  These causes are based in inward personality faults that have not been overcome or resisted by someone who is  teaching God’s word.  Through their influence they can shipwreck the godly faith of other Christians.   God’s word says that those who teach will receive the greater condemnation in a judgment if they get it wrong.  We have some Christian teachers in our day that have really gone out on a limb teaching that godliness in conduct and behavior is not needed in the life of a believer.  Others teach that financial gain is what Christianity is all about.   Still others teach mystical, spiritualistic practices interspersed with the Word of God.

The names of some of these men are given in I and II Timothy. Hymanaeus, Philetus, and Alexander are specifically identified by Paul.  To have lived in that day teaching believers and then to find your name written in the Bible as a faith-wrecker would be devastating.  We need to be careful as teachers and as receivers of ‘christian’ teaching.  Many popular teachers of our day teach half-truths or even less godly content in their teaching about the Christian life.  We cannot be enamored with the ‘popular’ at the expense of our faith and eternal life. Paul exhorted Timothy to hold onto his faith and his good conscience.  Contrary to much of the Christian teaching today our conscience means something to us.  If we are feeling guilty, confused or uncomfortable then we need to pay attention to the Holy Spirit and examine ourselves by  the Word of God and what the Bible Scriptures teach.

 


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Ministry to Saints

There is a complaint by the saints in the church today of being fed a plenteous  diet of pablum and milk by church leaders.  They want to hear the word of God.  They want to hear the exhortation and challenge needed in our times.  They want to know where they are in relation to God’s instruction and what they need to be working on.

Church leaders, on the other hand, are concerned about building bigger congregations.  Leaders are looking to appeal to a broad range of people so that all kinds of people will be comfortable in attending their church.  The church has become shallow in its’ depths and broad in its’ ways.  It wants to be seen as welcoming to all and diligently endeavors not to offend anyone who crosses its’ thresholds.

This is a distinctively different kind of church than we read about in the scriptures.  The church we see in these writings exhorts the believers to get their lives free from sin.  To choose paths of righteousness and to turn from evil.  To be good and kind and generous to one another, to help one another.   Believers who rejected God’s counsel were disciplined by putting them out of the church until they repented.  These were accepted back into the church through the permission of the affected congregation.

The Bible states that ‘narrow is the gate (or way) that leads to life and few there be that find it’.  This is contrary to what the church is teaching believers today.