Why that which is crooked cannot be made straight
My heart towards all those who read this essay is that they be edified and built up in their faith. Coming into restored truth is not easy due to the social and financial costs involved if you accept progressive revelation. Many people find that the persecutions they face from their current church leadership and Christian friends are hotter than they ever thought possible. So, as one who has lived through such fires and has come out the other end the better for it, I want to offer you some advice borne of experience.
Every church is built upon some sort of theological foundation. Unfortunately, the foundation stones of many churches in our age are laid incorrectly and therefore the structures built upon them are shaky at best. Moreover, the people that benefit from these structures that have been built upon such faulty foundations fiercely defend them because they derive personal benefit. The leadership of such churches gain financial reward and also personal power and prestige from maintaining the status quo.
Unfortunately, no matter how much the pastors and teachers of a church may say they want the truth in reality many only accept new truth in so far at it does not threaten their economic position and personal reputation. I am talking in a general sense, of course, for there are some who truly desire the favor of God more than the favor of men and do what is right regardless of the cost.
When God restores a truth such as salvation by faith, baptism by immersion, or the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, the religious establishment usually reacts with persecution. Restored truth threatens the false portions of the foundation upon which the power and livelihood of the leadership is based. These leaders who hold power in churches built upon faulty foundations correctly realize that if the theology upon which their power rests is replaced by a correctly laid foundation they will suffer loss. Here is a truth,
“A church structure built upon a foundation of error cannot stand upon a foundation of restored truth.”
All that is built upon a false doctrine must be dismantled if a true structure is to replace it. These are the reasons that otherwise well-meaning pastors, elders, and teachers become persecutors of the brethren when they are faced with fundamental doctrinal changes.
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”
Historically, our Father commanded the Children of Israel to come out of Egypt and journey into a promised land. God did not allow the sons and daughters of Israel to stay in Egypt and try to reform the system. In fact, when Israel came to the Promised Land they were instructed to either kill or drive out all the other nations before them so that they would not be snared by idol worship. God wanted them to be separated from the world and its false systems of worship so that they would be free to listen only to Him.
Breaking away from false foundations is the norm of the Christian experience as illustrated by God’s people having to leave Egypt in order to worship Him correctly. Likewise, our spiritual journey out of Egypt is continuing today as we come out from among churches that teach and hold false doctrine. Those who come into new truth should not stay within a crooked system thinking they will change it for the better because that is almost never successful. Sometimes it is necessary to pull down the image of Baal and cut down the groves of Ashtaroth in order to re-establish true worship. Even Paul, arguably the greatest apostle of the New Testament, finally got fed up with the stiff-necked attitude of the Jews and said,
“Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles”
Here is a truth:
“Unless you have a specific calling and anointing to stay in a church that does not accept the restoration of the truth you have been shown it is to your spiritual detriment to stay and try to change the system. You will waste your time, talents and will exhaust yourself mentally, spiritually, and physically with a people that do not have ears to hear or the will to obey what the Spirit is saying.”
Recently, I was involved in a situation with a couple that had come into a restored truth. They were a very godly couple, full of integrity, and were seeking the will of God for their lives with much prayer. They belonged to an established church and were part of the leadership structure. God showed this couple a restored truth that has been lost to the church for many centuries and they embraced it wholly. I saw a lot of faith in their actions but at the same time I also saw that they had very high hopes that their church leadership would accept them if they came out publicly in favor of this doctrine. I could understand their optimism for while personally visiting this church I saw that outwardly it was the model of acceptance and grace.
However, when this couple started to speak about this restored truth people around them panicked and went straight to the senior pastor. To the surprise and dismay of this couple the leadership of the church came down upon them very hard and would not even consider their position or the leading of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This shocked the couple so much that they buckled and gave up on what God showed them in the Spirit.
While I can understand why the couple did submit to the intense pressure, I truly believe that they have been damaged spiritually by that experience. In effect, because they faced shunning by their church they denied the leading of the Holy Spirit saying that they were never entirely sure that they were hearing correctly. They came face to face with the spirit of anti-Christ that resides within the church and withered under its fierce persecution. I sincerely hope that, after the shock wears off, they will come to their spiritual senses and confront those who caused them to deny the Holy Spirit and say to them that they must obey God rather than man. I am concerned that unless they face the leadership of the church and stand up for what they know to be true that this couples spiritual journey in God will be arrested and they will progress no further.
In essence, by denying the Holy Spirit, they have chosen the comfort of this present world to the glories of the world to come. Remember, the Israelites were delivered out of Egypt but when they refused to enter into the Promised Land, the way God purposed, they bleached their bones in the wilderness.
The leadership of the church reacted to this couples leading towards this restored truth with predictable harshness. Their church is large and wealthy and those in leadership command much respect and prestige among the congregation and in the surrounding community. Accepting such a restored doctrine into their midst and setting this particular foundation stone right, however true it might be, threatened all that they had built. Therefore, even if God Himself had come to them with this truth (which He did in the guise of His two servants) they would have rejected it and called it of Beelzebub.
Truly, the spirit of Antichrist inhabits the church today. We respect the Father and we honor the Son but resist His Holy Spirit; therefore, we do not the will of our Father. This church claimed to want God and they said they were open to whatever God had for them but in reality they rejected His will by rejecting his servants. The Holy Spirit came to them in the form of this couple and they persecuted the Holy Ghost just like the Jews rejected God when they persecuted, beat, and sometimes killed the prophets of old. You cannot divide God up, He is one. If you reject one part of God then you reject all of God. We say we honor our Father of the Old Testament. We say we obey Jesus who sits in heaven at His right hand. However, we all too often reject and persecute the Holy Spirit who presently dwells with us and in us.
“These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.”
Unfortunately, the truth is this:
“While the church likes what Jesus does they do not like who Jesus is.”
Jesus in us comes to the church and the church rejects both, casting us out for His names sake. We must be wise and prepared to stand for truth All who seek to challenge the status quo in our churches will face persecution. We must realize that coming out of our churches is the natural and spiritual consequence of following Jesus into restored truth. I know that it is very difficult for people to realize that following Jesus may mean leaving your present church, but know that Jesus does not usually close a door without opening a window of opportunity in your life. The Israelites left the leaks and garlic’s of Egypt only to be blessed by a land flowing with milk and honey.
Lastly, fight for your spirituality in Jesus. Don’t let others ever take away the truth that you have been shown by the Holy Spirit. People often hedge their bets by saying that they were not one hundred percent sure that God was leading them. This is a trap of the Devil; ninety eight percent sure is good enough. We must learn to trust God and not demand one hundred percent surety from Him, else, where would a walk of faith enter in?