From time to time I learn something. God teaches me all the time. From time to time I actually learn and do the teaching. Recently I've been struggling with the church I attend. Things are in transition to put it in the best light. I could go down the list of things that could use pruning or uprooting. I teach the Sunday School every other month. Not happy. Not the goal. But, not happy. Where to go, what to do? Then it hit me. Something my brother-in-law said some years ago. To paraphrase he said that his relationship with Jesus is not determined by the success or failure of the church he attends. Even deeper, the brethren he has fellowship with, up or down, do not determine his relationship with Jesus. At the time it seems like a lightbulb. Today the idea is like a lighthouse. This morning on the way to work I thought about the Judgment Seat of Christ. I considered what standards God would require of me. Scripturally, "not neglecting to meet together as is the habit or some..." fits here but at the judgment will God ask me about attendance? And besides attendance just good fellowship. What was Stewart's main thrust with us. For Him or against Him, in or out, right or wrong. The twist was making relationship with God equal to membership in cobu. We will stand before God as individuals. We will be judged according to what we were given and what we did with what we were given. The point that is so directly opposed to Stew and his group is that our faith is portable. "Whither shall I flee from thy presence, whither shall I go from thy spirit?" Richard Wurmbrand remained faithful with and without a church or group. Fellowship is very important but not a matter or life and death. To believe fellowship has this life or death nature is to believe that God Himself can only sustain us with the help of brethren on earth. This is not in scripture. This type of deception reminds me of a recent interview I saw. Saddam Hussein was speaking to Dan Rather or some former member of Parliment. He said something like, 'Iraq is the cradle of humanity and that, because of its 8000 year history, it is ridiculous to think that it can be wiped out by this invasion." There are at least 2 deceptions here that seem similar to ST and the cobu= "with God". Saddam is equating his regime to Iraq or Babylon. His 24 year old government is not Iraq. ST indirectly and directly made our faith and our relationship to God synonymous to being a member of cobu. Saddam and any dictator or cult leader bill themselves as indispensible. ST used to say, "Jesus doesn't need you!" Well, that's true. Of course this phrase was meant to make us feel worthless. Jesus doesn't need us but loved us so much that He died for us. Jesus doesn't need Stewart either. We never got the impression that Stewart could just fly off in one of his 5 planes and we could survive. Current members do not behave as though they can live by faith and survive anywhere in the world unless they have a cell phone and someone within eyeshot for help. The terrible thing is to try and convince current members how they actually are. They are in this cult cocoon. If you tell them that they are in a cult, they respond much the way the Iraqi leaders do when confronted with outside truth. According to the Iraqi generals, they are winning the war, beating the Allied Forces in every battle. They are either deceiving or being deceived or both. Try and get ST to look around and see what he has done, is doing, and probably will do. You cannot get him to see what affect he has had on these 45-50 year old single brothers and sisters who cannot, CANNOT, function apart from the group. This dependency is not seen in the Bible. I challenge anyone to show me this kind of fragility.
What have I learned? Yes, I need fellowship. Is it life or death? No! My God sustains me. I depend on Him. Wherever I go in this world, on this earth, He is with me. I am with Him. I am His. Soon I will find fellowship. In the meantime, I am with God. My faith is portable. My faith goes with me. It is not attached to a human or a place. This concept is incredible to cult members.