So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8
This post is a response to this article by the “The Gospel Coalition”:
Link: 4 Questions to Ask Before Joining a Church
1. Is this a Church where my family will be safe from sexual predators? Is this a Church where my family will be safe from deceptive pastors who will do anything to cover up evil in order to protect and preserve what they have worked so hard all their lives to build?
2. Is this a Church where I am convinced I will not be lied to by the endless false doctrines and traditions of American Churchianity?
3. Is this a Church where my family will experience truth and freedom and love, and not shame, bondage, lies, oppression, condemnation and shunning? (And disenfranchisement if we question anything or speak truth?) Is this a Church where the PASTORS have accountability and do not circle the wagons in “good old boy” fashion to protect their kingdoms (Churches/ministries) and reputations, fame and income, at all costs?
4. Is this a Church where I am allowed to use my gifts and serve Christ and the saints by the leading and power of the Holy Spirit, as led and directed by God, without having my work and service nullified, shamed and disallowed by the Church Clergy hierarchy? Is this a Church where I am allowed to obey Christ above the Church leadership and not submit my service to Christ, my conscience and very soul to the “Clergy”?
Important final note: You and your family must understand that it is Christ who is your Lord, not the Institutional Church, not the “Clergy” (self-appointed pastors) and not the religion and hierarchy of Roman Catholic based Hierarchical Christendom. You must understand that you are accountable to Christ Jesus who leads you by His Spirit. You must understand that you are not under the authority of “local shepherds” you are under the authority of Christ. And understand that YOU, saint, also have authority in Christ not just the “Clergy” which is a man-made construct of the Roman Catholic Church, based in ancient paganism and religious Old Testament Judaism. You have authority; you are a priest of God, yes you. This wonderful truth is brought to you by the Kingdom of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord. The Kingdom of God is within you.
You must understand this hierarchy, with men lording it over you, is not of Christ, that you are all brothers, equals in Christ and free in Him to love God and neighbor and serve according to the leading and power of the Holy Spirit. You must all submit to one another, it is not about the lowly “laity” submitting to the higher ranking “Clergy”. You must understand that men requiring you to be under them in an authoritarian hierarchy of lordship over you, is sinful and not of Christ. Watch out for men who want you to submit to their “shepherding” (control and dominance and suppression) of you.
You must understand that it is being IN Christ that makes you part of the flock, not attendance at an institutional, man created, 501c3 Church business franchise. You must understand that Jesus Christ Himself is the real Shepherd and you all are the church (ekklesia, the called out assembly) and wherever you are, with other saints, there is the church, there is the people and flock of Jesus Christ. You may meet in a dirt floor shack, a coffee shop, an empty lot, at a kitchen table, on the street corner or in a prison cell. Christ is with you and in you (Christ in you hope of glory) and there you have the church, wherever YOU are, dear saint of God. Do not let the hireling “shepherds” lord it over you, shame you or stop you from being who you are in Christ.
Do not let them lie to you and deceive you. Do not let them shame you. Do not let them turn your joy of your first love (Jesus Christ) into a lifetime of oppressive bondage to serve them and maintain the existence of their man created, business marketing managed, flesh powered organizations. Do not let them turn your first love joy and Christ Life into a lifetime of serving, slaving for and financing a “Thing” to keep it going. (The man created Church System is a “Thing”, an “it”.)
Therefore friends, do not join a “Church”, join Jesus Christ and stay joined to Him. Listen not to Churchmen who are NOT focused on Jesus Christ, they are completely focused on The Institutional Church, especially THEIR CHURCH and making it “successful”. Jesus Christ is your Shepherd and you are in His flock. He will lead, guide and teach you. HE will care for you. Listen to Jesus Christ and continue in His word. You will know the Truth, and the Truth will make you free. Peace in Christ, my beloved brothers and sisters.
Any professing Christian “leader” who tells any disciple of Jesus, that they “should not” or “must not” be obedient to Christ, evangelize, speak of Jesus, preach the gospel, proclaim the Truth, or make disciples of Jesus, (which is part of loving your neighbor as He commanded) is a false teacher and is not speaking for Jesus Christ but is very much working against Christ. Woe.
To make evangelism and proclaiming the gospel about being obsessed with sex (that is, male roles, female roles) authoritarianism, power, control and domination over women, is to create a cult.
Jesus Christ Himself is the power and the authority. His Spirit indwells the female saints as well as the male saints. HE has given His authority also to the daughters of God (the sisters in Christ) to witness and speak of Him, or read scripture, to any person, as HE leads and empowers them by the Spirit.