Report From The Tower
"It is true we need to get back to our basics of Scripture in the Bible. We need to realize that compassion speaks louder than just words. I have personally received a lot of compassion for my country church here. And remember church is only the people that are in it. And may I have as much compassion and help has been shown to me in the past. Because I believe that's what God wants us to do. I think we need to look past our individual Personalities. And remember we're all God's children. May God's peace and Jesus love be with all of you this Christmas time. Be safe and kind to each other."
Many of you may feel just the same way as this member, who has had an experience with a "country church". I have experience with country churches. I know somewhat of what the member speaks. With most of them, it does not matter what the denominational name is on the door: they pretty much all work the same. They have a single pastor, with maybe an assistant pastor. They have 50 to 100 members. They mostly meet on Sunday morning only. Some may add Sunday night. A few still add Wednesday night. They are usually populated by people who live close by in a country neighborhood. They can be very clannish, having one or two main families that dominate and so, what these one or two main families want is usually what is done in such a country church. They usually begin with "Sunday School" at 10am, where there is usually an opportunity for everyone to participate in some bible study. Then, there will be a "Service" at 11am. That service may occasionally stretch beyond 12 noon, but if it does too many times, the pastor is going to hear about it, because meal plans have already been made immediately after church. These country churches can be filled, many times, with simple country people who may be inclined to give considerable help in the name of the Lord. And so, one who receives such help may feel as though they owe a debt of loyalty, even though the Holy Spirit may be tugging at the edges of the conscience, reminding the believer that spiritual gifts seem to be absent, or discussions about prophetic things are ignored, or that Salvation is presented as a once saved/always saved proposition. This can make it hard for such a one to hear clearly from the Lord. The result will, in many cases, be compromise. The believer will remain in place and the Holy Spirit will be quenched.
I would only vehemently disagree with the WPA member in one respect: true assembly is supposed to be SO MUCH MORE than the people who are in it. Church, many times, is not! True assembly is supposed to be comprised of those people, gathered together, PLUS the glory and presence of God Those people are each, individually, the temple of the Lord, if indeed, Christ indwells them through His Holy Spirit. However, the Body of Christ, properly organized and constituted, is also designed to be a many membered temple of the Lord. We must not enter into any haphazard assumption that a gathering of believers into a "church", organized in a way not according to the specifications of the Master, will in any way approach becoming a "temple of the Living God". When we may wonder why our gatherings seem devoid of God's presence and totally absent of His glory, we should be diligently seeking God to know the reason why. I also disagree in another respect: all church members ARE NOT God's children. You must be born of the Spirit of God AND you must be led by His Spirit to be his son: one of His children. Those who are led of the Spirit, these are the sons of God!
Compassion is quite an interesting subject all on its' own. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have a tremendous reputation of helping their own. They teach one another how to build a revolving food pantry. They tremendously assist the poor members and I say, with personal knowledge, that in this respect, they put most of the so called "Christian Churches" to shame. However, we must realize that their doctrine lacks one essential element: salvation. There is and can be absolutely no salvation in a place where believers are taught that Jesus Christ is "a god" and that Elohim is the higher God. I am quite sure that poor members of the LDS, The Mormons, feel quite a debt of gratitude toward the church for the help they have received during their down times. However, is that any reason to counsel them that they are to remain attached to a church that promotes a doctrine that will not lead the adherent to heaven?
Compassion is also quite a hallmark of Catholic charities. Mother Theresa is reputedly up for consideration for sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church. Which of us has matched her works in helping and serving the poor? Certainly, Catholic charities does many good works. I do not really, honestly believe that I can fault their compassion. How then are we to counsel the Roman Catholic? The church presents correct doctrine about the identity of the Son of God, but then joins faith in Him with certain other requirements, the seven sacraments, that are deemed absolutely necessary for the adherent to receive salvation. No one failing to perform the sacraments is deemed to be saved under RCC doctrine. You and I, dear brethren, are not deemed to be saved under their doctrine. Are we to counsel such a one that this faith in Jesus PLUS doctrine is acceptable?
Should I stay or should I go: that is the question? It can be a very difficult question to answer! I know: I have struggled with it myself for years. The real believer in Jesus Christ has a life that is controlled by the Holy Spirit and dominated by love. Compassion will be the natural outworking of that true, unselfish love. The problem I have faced many times is that I knew, full well, that the churches I served in had various areas where their structure or their teachings did not line up with scripture. BUT, the people were there, and I had my place of ministry among the people. I had compassion for those people that I would leave behind if I chose to leave that place. I would always present my pro and con "T account" before the Lord in trying to make my decision. There were those problems and they were blocking the glory and offending the Holy Spirit: sometimes grieving the Holy Spirit. But, I knew that if I left, those people in that place were not going to be hearing from me any more and that concerned me too. Even now, I have an association with a large group of prophetic minded churches. I could move to any one of them, and through my previous work as a leader, and my references, I could become a prophetic trainer in any of hundreds of them across the nation. Yet, I feel that I cannot do it and please the Lord.
We find an interesting story when we look to the scriptures.
Jesus spoke to seven churches in Revelation 2-3. Five of those churches had serious problems. Two of those five were in danger of being blotted out and losing their lampstands, but Jesus never told any member of those seven churches to leave. In fact, the members of Sardis were told merely to overcome. Somehow, they had not defiled their garments even though other members had works that caused our Lord to regard the church as dead in reality, even though in name, they had a reputation for being alive.
Paul wrote thirteen epistle letter to various churches and never told a member of any of them to leave their church.
John wrote three epistles and even encountered a forerunner of our modern Senior Pastor by the name of Diotrephes, who John's third letter said that he loved to have the preeminence. John did not counsel Gaius, the recipient of his third letter, to leave the church. So, those of you who belong to churches that have problems have many scriptures to consider with regard to your actions and you may be led to stick it out. However, there are some situations that are arising as we have entered into the present age that are quite new. These will probably lead you to come out and separate yourself from the accursed thing.
First, regarding compassion, we are to consider the words of Jude, as he is quoted in verse 22 and 23 as saying:
"...of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire: hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."
So, compassion then is limited where the person is in such a position that our helping them places us at risk of personal defilement. I testify to you personally that the Holy Spirit will speak to you and tell you to get out of any church where a pastor is secretly committing adultery or fornication. You will be spiritually defiled if you fail to heed that warning and leave that church. The reason: we are partakers of the good and the bad in an assembly. A little leaven spoils the whole lump. So, defiling sin among the elders and leadership is one situation where you may have to leave. You must hate the garment spotted by the flesh. Tithing, offering and first-fruit giving that is pressured through coercion, even tantamount to a law for the Christian can result in similar defilement. In fact, any idolatry that becomes corporately sanctioned by a church body results in the defilement of all members through the cup of communion. This defilement issue is growing larger over time as the society we live in has been exerting pressure on the church to openly and joyously accept the practicing homosexual. This has been followed by legislation in Canada and England. Preaching certain scriptures has been criminalized in those lands. Can we in America be far behind? Staying behind in such a spiritually defiled situation will mean that whatever ministry you perform will be accompanied by an ever decreasing presence of God, until such time as God decides to depart from you and from that ministry entirely. You cannot do any good, lasting work of God without His presence. You can have none of His glory while you embrace defilement. You must separate yourselves from all such filth and stench.
Another reason is that as we near the time of the double judgements, more and more Senior Pastor controlled churches are going to fall. God has used many of these in the past, but now, the Holy Spirit is following orders from Jesus. Jesus is going to beat all of them to dust. We must get out of His way. The Holy Spirit may be insisting that you leave simply because your Senior Pastor resembles Napoleon more than Jesus Christ. You cannot Lord over God's people like a king and expect that you will long walk free of recriminations.
We find one type of church in scripture that is absolutely doomed for destruction. Any church that matches the description of Mystery Babylon, the mother of harlots, is going to be burned in a day. We are clearly told in Revelation 18:4 that we must "come out of her". This is not optional. I find, as I look at her, that she is proud, but foolishly so: she says in Chapter 18:7 that she will see no sorrow. Apparently, she has heard the warnings from prophets like me and she scoffs at them. One thing to note: she is drunken with the blood of the saints: she is a destroyer of saints in the physical and she is a destroyer, a ship-wrecker of the spiritual lives of the saints. She is an abortionist of ministries and callings. So, as we examine our very own churches and their leaders, which in many cases today is handled by one solitary man, you have to ask: does he have blood of the saints on his hands? If so, you have to get out of that place!
I see that Paul saw this day coming in Acts 20, when he was meeting with the Ephesian elders. He told them that he saw that after he left, savage wolves would come in and would arise from their very own number, who would rip and tear the flock. Have you ever seen that done? I have seen a pastor do it. I have had Senior Pastors rip and tear me before in private, and I am an elder. If they had taken those actions against a newcomer to the faith, I have no doubt that the new believer might have fallen away. You have to get out of such a place if that pastor is not willing to repent and to immediately step down for the purposes of receiving ministry and deliverance. Have I ever seen a wolf pastor repent? No, I have not. Such a wolf pastor is a kissing cousin of the harlot of Mystery Babylon: both have the blood of the saints on their hands. You cannot remain in such a place and partake of the communion cup of the body and blood of our Lord: their will be death in that cup! People will be sickly. Others will die young. Others will suddenly lose their jobs or their businesses will fail. Prosperity in such a place will flee away, and you will all be wondering why? There was death in that cup you drank from! You have to get out of there!
So, I hope that I may have helped some of you in the making of what has been, for me, several very hard decisions. Leaving a church is not a light thing: you have to be certain about it. You have to know you are following the leading of the Lord. I would advise you to fast and pray about it if you are not absolutely sure. Nevertheless, once you are certain that you know what is right, you must do it. Failure to obey can have disastrous consequences.
Stephen L. Bening
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