A Body Called to Christ, Not to a Church-Part 1

Old Anderson Chapel - 2Tim4.2-4

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

As a true Believer and disciple of Christ, one is called to live out His short but impactful ministry, according to what is written in the Holy Bible. Not only are we called to love and care for others, we are to be obedient to God’s Word. Jesus told his intimate circle of disciples times would be tough if one is truly walking out life in the power of the Holy Spirit. Not only would a disciple’s faith be tested but they were (are) to also test the spirits operating in others. God wants Western Christians to be reminded that we are called to Christ, not a church. 

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1 John 4:1-3)

Warnings

God spoke many tangible warnings in the Bible (Old and New Testaments) about not abiding in the LORD GOD, instead creating false idols. In fact, in the Old Testament, God used those called into great acts of faith as leaders and prophets to uncover such things amongst His chosen people. In the New Testament, John the Baptist opened eyes, ears and hearts to the ONE who would truly set the captives free (aka sinners, aka mankind). After Jesus ascended to heaven, his disciples took over as his ministers and witnesses. Jesus’ humility and strength wasn’t of this world and that is what drew people to him. Yet, despite society’s portrayal of him as “weak at the knees with love” – the Western “church” fails at times to portray the power of God in Him. He is overtly humanized as soft. Jesus was a lot of things but being a pushover was not amongst his traits.

God’s Word, or Man’s?

Often, as I follow and interact with pastors, ministry leaders and the like on social media, I find myself wishing I weren’t so connected. Some of what fellow Believers proclaim makes me wonder which version/translation of the Bible they read!

Why? Their theology, hermeneutics and exegesis are often very loose versions of what the very traditional translations of the Bible contain. Loose (modern) translations of the Holy Bible are part of the very problem described herein, not part of any solution. They often mislead people and lighten the truths of the word of God. Softening the message of the Gospel was never part of God’s plan for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, or his resurrection.

Today’s consumer, money driven, Christian market is over saturated with many works of literature on faith, spirituality and people’s interpretations and perspectives on Christianity. Disciples of Christ were never meant to be elevated above Christ, yet people are making a lot of money off of their personal brand of His message. A perfect example of this is given in an article posted on the website Christian Leaders, “A Trojan Horse in Women’s Ministry: Confronting a False Gospel Message”, By Jen Oshman.

This quote from the author, in regard to yet another “Christian women’s conference”, puts what God is leading me to share in this piece, into perspective:

“Somewhere along the way the church started outsourcing discipleship. Personal relationships were replaced with big programs. Celebrity Bible teachers were picked over ordinary gospel-formed women that sit to our left and to our right. And what’s more, these famous Christian teachers are influencing our flocks, but they are not accountable to us. They’re simply taking advantage of a moment made available to them by you and me.”

I wrote this post prior to finding the article. It is pretty heavy handed concerning the reality of an ungodly path Jesus’ flock is being led to. As a church, due mostly to so much media, we are being fed not by our elders, not by our local pastors and most definitely not by the actual Word of God, nor are we seeing Jesus for whom he truly is: non-conforming! Those with a strong gift of discernment need to step up and start being the Watchmen they are called to be and stop letting their knees buckle from fear of a backlash. God forewarned of a time such as this. He has prepared some with this powerful gift, also with a prophetic gift, enabling them to foresee and foretell. As the body of Christ, we must learn to separate the wolves from the sheep, or at least lend ear to those who do so.

Be Not Deceived

Just as Paul and Barnabas experienced in Antioch from those who denied the truth of the Gospels, so too should those with the correct lens of discernment call out false teachers using Jesus as their propaganda to sell to the masses (and i’m only using these verses as example, not saying anything against Jewish people):

“And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 13:49-52 KJV)

Be not deceived! Brethren, do not allow temptation or ear tickling to lead you toward a false gospel, one far from that contained in the Holy Bible. Every day witnesses relay the twisting of the Word of God because the enemy is a liar. These deceived souls believe they are walking in God’s truth. Yet, in reality they are living without God’s guidance system firmly in place. Do not fall for those Simon the Sorcerer’s amongst you! (Acts 8) Do not think a new translation of the Bible contains the whole truth just because it is easier to understand, or a book not written distinctly in Biblical context is truth just because the author is “popular” amongst the masses. Try every spirit brothers and sisters, without fear!

 

5 thoughts on “A Body Called to Christ, Not to a Church-Part 1

  1. Karen Michaelle says:

    Bravo! Breathe out, dear sister. This is spot on. As a minister to women, my heart is increasingly grieved by the mass flocking and adoration of many of the so called female Christian leaders of the day. Saying anything to caution discretion often results in disdain and even hysterics. The most alarming examples to me come from women I dearly love and know have studied the Bible for years, yet stand in defense of some of the worst offenders who are twisting God’s word to remain palatable to the masses.

    I reluctantly attended one of the recent mass events. I was reluctant precisely because of the headliners. Within minutes, I was grieved by what wasn’t be shared from the stage—Jesus—oh yeah, Him—and witnessing so many women filled up with substance that would soon leave them lacking. The marketing of items from those on stage was ludicrous.

    While I wanted to leave, what attending the event did do was strengthen my resolve and commitment to being one of the watchmen to God’s precious daughters. I’m focused intently on those he’s placed directly in my path—though I’ve also been blessed with an international platform. Regardless of my audience, every single message I share includes caution about today’s popular headliners and the reminder of the importance of knowing God’s word for ourselves so that we’re not lead astray.

    Thanks for your bold standing up for truth, fellow watchmen. Pressing on to His glory.

  2. Diane De Han says:

    I like what Karen Michele said above, she’s in the thick of Christian Women’s movement, and I just see the same problems everywhere, men and women. Irks me alot! Thanks for your clarity on this,really appreciate your choice of scripture.

  3. John Miller says:

    I hear your heart come through this loud and clear! Discipleship is certainly necessary and often overlooked for hype, popularity and consumerism-Christianity. We need to do away with that.

    I would push back on your jabs against weak translations. I may not know which translations you’re speaking of, but things like the NLT, NIV, ESV are strong- formed by brilliant Greek and Hebrew scholars. It’s possible that we’re thinking about different versions though (I’d love to hear your perspective).

    We are called to Christ. Christ formed the Church and it’s time we start acting like the Church and life one another up as disciples! Kudos on the message.

    http://www.johnthemiller.com

    • StaceyLouiso says:

      Hey John,
      Thanks for the comment! I was mostly thinking The Message and other versions that have been introduced into the marketplace that paraphrase and leave out a lot. I will add that the NIV version is missing some key verses compared to other versions traditional versions. 🙂

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