MANIPULATION, DECEPTION AND CONTROL ARE FED AND SUSTAINED BY LIES, SUBTLE LIES BUT LIES NONETHELESS – PART 1

PART 1

The following devotional written by a very well known church leader was forwarded to me this morning.  I am not one to take on personal attacks. I believe God’s truth is powerful enough to vindicate me, but I also know God has put a fire in my heart to stand up and be counted for what is truth. I am also not one to witness outright lies about something as important as what defines the authenticity of a Christian, and remain silent or do absolutely nothing. There is a fine line between Christ’s teaching to turn the other cheek and the lukewarmness which allows deception to take root and strangle and snuff out the LIFE that the Spirit of the Living God brings, for if we do nothing in the face of darkness and bondage we only serve to condone and perpetuate it.

Please read the article below which is offensive and insulting to me and so many thousands of Christians out there who are not part of a church and/or church family (another conveniently made up term that serves to make the yoke of legalism even heavier).

The devotional reads as follows:

A Church Family Identifies You as a Believer

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35 NLT)

The Bible says a Christian without a church home is like an organ without a body, a sheep without a flock, or a child without a family. It is an unnatural state. Ephesians 2:19 says, “You belong in God’s household with every other Christian” (LB).

Today’s culture of independent individualism has created many spiritual orphans – “bunny believers” who hop around from one church to another without any identity, accountability, or commitment. Many believe it is possible to be a “good Christian” without joining (or even attending) a local church, but God would strongly disagree.

The church is so significant that Jesus died on the cross for it: “Christ loved the church and gave his life for it” (Ephesians 5:25bGW).

Except for a few important exceptions referring to all believers throughout history, almost every time the word “church” is used in the Bible it refers to a local, visible congregation. The New Testament assumes membership in a local congregation.

A church family identifies you as a genuine believer. You can’t claim to follow Christ if you’re not committed to any specific group of disciples. Jesus said “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35 NLT).

When we come together in love as a church family from different backgrounds, races and social statuses, it is also a witness to the world (Galatians 3:28).

___________________________________________________

 

Deception begins from the very title of this “Devotional”, for a Church Family is not what identifies us as believers, at least it is not what identifies me. What should identify us is our love for God above all things and our love for one another, our acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, repentance of our sins and a desire to become more like Christ, to honour, praise and worship Him in everything we think, say and do.

I would be failing my calling to follow Christ, and I would be falling way too short of that calling, if people said of me that what identifies me as a believer is belonging to a Church Family. What a pathetic state of affairs that would be, personally and for the whole of Christendom. There is no biblical foundation to support such a statement made on the title of this devotional. Period!

Paragraph 1. Where in the bible does it say that a Christian without a church home is like an organ without a body, a sheep without a flock or a child without a family and that it is an unnatural state? Do you see with what subtlety someone’s words and conclusions can put chains on people where Jesus meant to use us to bring freedom to them, freedom from the religious legalistic spirit that the Pharisees displayed in abundance just as so many Christian leaders display today? Then the author of this devotional goes on to quote Ephesians 2:19 as saying: “you belong in God’s household with every other Christian” (LB). My Bible actually says: “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with CHRIST JESUS HIMSELF AS THE CORNERSTONE” (Emphasis is mine). From where in that Scripture can we conclude that a Christian without a church is incomplete, lost, without guidance or not cared for? Last time I checked, Jesus said to me: “My sheep know MY voice”. It is therefore the Shepherd’s voice and guidance which make me HIS, it is my obedience to Him that define me as His and not the being part of a flock, as nice and comforting as that may be.

It all comes down to the ongoing debate about what constitutes The Church: is it a physical building, a concrete gathering of believers or rather a SPIRITUAL body made of hearts and souls which are sold out for Christ?

To be continued in Part 2

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10 thoughts on “MANIPULATION, DECEPTION AND CONTROL ARE FED AND SUSTAINED BY LIES, SUBTLE LIES BUT LIES NONETHELESS – PART 1

  1. So much wrong with this devotion. Things like this used to drive me crazy; now I just shake my head and walk away. When you’re a pastor who sees their source of sustenance being threatened, yiu have to do just what this person did; take scripture out of context and draw false conclusions about what it is saying. I can’t make them not fear what they fear, all I can do is pray that they would see Father leading them and find their security in Him, then come alongside those who are finding their freedom from such legalistic thinking and ncourage them on their journey. Let the Spirit flow and go where He goes.

    • 2trakmind,

      Thank you for visiting this site and thank you for your comment. As much as I would like to,I can’t just walk away from “things like this” as you say, just as I cannot comprehend how so many Christian leaders in such privileged and strategic positions can dismiss such a large chunk of the Body of Christ as lacking in authenticity or being wrong or lost simply because they are not part of a Church Family.

  2. The manipulation of which you speak is called witchcraft and it is prevalent in many churches. I have heard more that one pastor say “the Lord told me you are supposed to be here” or ” the Lord told me you are not supposed to leave”. It is sad what has happened to the body of Christ but He is in the process of making things right.

    • Hi Tony,

      Thank you for your comment. I believe you are right. The Lord is in the process of making things right. The deception and bondage suffered by so many Christians at the hands of those in authoritative roles within the Leadership of the Body of Christ is about to be blasted out of existence and those responsible will have to answer to the only real authority there is and ever was both in Heaven and on earth: God himself.

      • According to the church statistician, George Barna there are 57,000 people a week leaving church. So I believe that the exodus has begun.

  3. With such attitudes as reflected on this devotional which are so judgemental, self-righteous and utterly controlling, it is baffling those statistics are not a lot higher, but as you say the exodus is taking place, and no clever marketing or the smartest of corporate-like growth study or agenda can’t stop the tidal wave that is coming. Its effects will be such that the new landscape will have no echoes of what was there before.

  4. God job on this! As you know I encourage church attendance, but ONLY if one finds a church where Jesus is truly Lord over that church, where there are no personal agendas and where the church is led by the Holy Spirit and not the spirit of the flesh. However, I have friends that do not attend church who love the Lord very much. In fact they love Jesus more than a lot of people who do attend church. Even though they don’t go to church they are very much a part of the body of Christ. I have been in church leadership for many years, but I also find that article to be very abrasive.

  5. Hi Mark,

    It is so refreshing and encouraging to see that there are people out there like yourself who do go to church but are able to see beyond the prescribed ways and methods of what some Christian Leaders say a genuine Christian should behave and be like. Right now, this Christian leader is one of the most influential people amongst church-going Christians in America, at least in the eyes of the world he is, and to me his words are not just abrasive but utter lies that need to be flipped over and shown for what they are and what they seek to achieve: manipulation and control.

  6. The scholars that translated the King James Version of the Bible in 1602 were given a list of instructions. One of the instructions directed the scholars to translate the Greek work “ekklesia” into the English word “church,” even though the true translation would have been “assembly of the called out or separated ones.” The reasoning behind the instruction was to adhere to the religious structures already set in place and its traditions.

    Four hundred years later, we are still following traditions set by men, but thank God, the stone has been rolled away from the tomb and thousands are being set free by new revelations from the throne. Jesus said, “I will build My church…”

    • Thank you Larry for that bit of history which is absolutely essential in order to understand how far removed from Jesus’ words and The Word in general is what is regarded and imposed by so many as Ekklesia today.

      Unfortunately history is not one of my strengths and neither is good memory. I read a lot but retain little. However and in contrast, every time I feel the Lord speaking to me through his Word, it always sticks, not so much the words themselves, but the sense they carry and the purpose they carry. History is important but Revelation is vital.

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