I sense the Lord Jesus leading me to write an internet book called, “The Church Under Fire,” which will be written and posted one chapter at a time, so this is the first installment, and we will see how the Lord leads in this.
The Church Under Fire
May 26, 2023
We are now living in the last days before the return of Jesus Christ, and the church, the body of Christ, the universal body of followers of Jesus Christ, is under persecution. But the persecution isn’t all physical, and it isn’t all outright and obvious, but much of it is very subtle and devious. And much of the persecution is coming from within the gatherings of the church (or what is falsely being called “church”), and from others who profess faith in Jesus Christ, and even from some pastors and elders and other church leaders.
Now, I am not certain when this all began, but I think that I really began to become aware of the magnitude of this situation beginning in 1999, even though I had gone through many difficult church situations over my lifetime, so I was somewhat aware already that something was terribly wrong. And now we were in a church fellowship (me, my husband, and our four adult children, plus one son’s wife), and it had been going well for a while. But then things began to change, and our children were not happy with how things were going there. And they were expressing their feelings to us.
So, my husband and I and our four adult children began the adventure of trying to find a church gathering where we all could be ministered to, and where we could minister, which would be agreeable to all. And we landed on one that was way more modern than what some of us had ever experienced before, and it did take some getting used to. But at this time we had also begun a home Bible study for college adults, since our two oldest were both in college, and so this church gathering appealed more to their age group.
But what this change of church environment did for me was it began to open my eyes to see the spiritual condition of much (or most) of the church (or what is falsely being called “church”) here in America. And it didn’t take long before I began to see a connection between a movement, which was started by Pastor Rick Warren, and what I began to see take place, not just in this one modern-driven gathering called “church,” but in others we tried out, too. For they all seemed to be following his “Purpose Driven Church” movement.
For it didn’t matter what gathering we visited, or what church denomination it was affiliated with, they all appeared to be following that same “purpose driven church” model. But I am certain that was not the only influence, but it looked like they were all using Mr. Warren’s materials for how to grow their churches, and for how to draw in large crowds of people from the world. And we were learning new phrases all the time which we had never heard before, such as “seeker sensitive” and “stay in your own lane,” etc. For I didn’t know that this movement was going on within the gatherings of the church.
But let me stop here and say that the church is not a building called “church.” And it is not a church denomination. And it should not be a corporation under the state, but it appears most all of them are now. So, using the term “church” gets very confusing because most people now associate “church” with a building or with a church denomination or with particular religious rituals and traditions, many of which are not biblically based at all, or they are very loosely connected to the Scriptures.
But the true church, the body of Christ, is the collective body of all who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, who have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and who have been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, no longer living as slaves to sin, but now as slaves to God and to his righteousness. We should be those who are now living under the control of the Holy Spirit, who are doing the will of God, and who are serving the Lord and one another as God has called us all to do.
Nonetheless, the church has become, for the most part, businesses of men, incorporated under the state, marketing their product to the people of the world just like any other human-based business. And so marketing books and marketing training seminars are largely replacing the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit, and these marketing goals and objectives are what are driving these “churches” rather than the leading of the Holy Spirit, and rather than the call of God on all of our lives to be his possession and to do His Work.
And, if I had not ventured out and visited many different “churches” of different denominations, I probably would not have known what is really going on under the name of “church” and under the name of “Jesus Christ,” and under the name of “the gospel” and “salvation.” And my husband and I and our children were not just spectators in these “churches,” but we got involved in areas of ministry, which is how you can really learn what is going on behind the scenes. And that was, as I said, very eye opening for me.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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