Monday, March 23, 2015

Battle of Wills

John 7:14-17, "Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. 15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never leaned? 16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."

Acts 4:5-6, 13, "And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,
 6 And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."

1Corinthians 1:26-31, "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."

1Corinthians 7:20-23, "Let everyman abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called of the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. 23 Ye are bought with a price, be not ye the servants of men."

John 15:12-17, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17 These things I command you, that ye love one another."

James 1:26-27, "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

Note: When the author renders the word 'Church' as shown here, he is referring to man's business entity, organizational, main stream, Institutional 'Church' system. When he renders the word church in all lower case lettering, he is referring to Christ's Authentic, Biblical House church, which He created and continues to build. 

Just after the American Civil War, African Americans were decreed free men. News of this new social order moved slowly throughout the war torn south. Many of the blacks couldn't read, and a newspaper periodical rarely found itself around the plantation. Most slaves were prohibited from learning how to read and write back then. Their owners thought they might get "uppity." Even if they could read and write, they didn't have instagram or messenger like we do today. In fact, many days would pass before any word was given to slave masters as to public affairs. When questioned by their slaves, not every plantation owner told the whole truth about their slaves newly found freedom. They would say, "That's just for the slaves in the northern states. Get back to work!" The slave would believe their master and resume his duties. But, after awhile, more and more word trickled down that the blacks were indeed free men. After realizing what this meant, many dropped their hoes in the field and walked off. Others were too afraid to make a new life for themselves. After all, the plantation was their home. That's where their food, beds and family were. They had no provisions of their own to speak of. What would they do if they left? 

The fact is, all American slaves were made free by a proclamation from Abraham Lincoln. The instant that proclamation was made public, all slaves were deemed "free men." But, in most cases, slaves didn't hear of their new found freedom until months or even a year or more later. Even though they were free men, they didn't know they were free men. Again, they were made free the instant the proclamation was made.

I'm drawing a parallel to illustrate that born-again believers in our day and age have been made free from man's religious bondage. When did this happen? When Christ died on the cross. But, do they know they're free? No. Do most Christians exercise the freedom Christ provided for them? No. Instead, they cling to the bondage of the world's religious establishment like they're hooked-up to an intravenous line. They never realize that Jesus died not just for our salvation, but so that we would be made free from man's religious machine. They don't realize that this religious I.V. has very distinct drawbacks. It limits our mobility. We carry our corporate 'Church's' name everywhere we go constantly promoting "our Church." This I.V. beeps at the worst of times; usually when one is trying to get some sleep. Beep! Beep! Beep! "Another board of trustees meeting is scheduled. Another Missions Conference is coming up! Start praying about how much you'll commit to Faith Promise Missions giving! We have another building fund drive around the corner!" One must push, pull and hear this business entity 'Church' I.V. wherever they go. It becomes a fifth limb to them, and it's annoying. But, patients put up with it because they feel that its something we must do to survive. Just like a medical patient, a 'Church'-going Christian surmises that if they don't go to 'Church' how will they survive in today's world? It's what the doctors and pastors prescribes, isn't it? It must be correct; right? Medically, and depending on the circumstances, yes, an I.V. is necessary. But, in all cases in the religious money siphoning industry, it isn't.

Many pastors are becoming savvy to the growing awareness of their members. When their parishioners begin to question things like tithing, the pastor changes doctrinal terminology. Instead of paying tithes, they say we are to "give". Give, give, give! They'll say, "God wants more than ten percent of our income, so we should cheerfully give to the overhead of the 'Church', it's staff., it's programs and God will pour you out a blessing we couldn't contain." Then they send the congregant a brand new box full of offering envelopes in the mail. Can God bless us immeasurably? Sure! But, not because our pastors say He will [IF] we give this or that. 

Over in Europe, back before the printing press was invented, the "Mother Church" would actually tax their parishes. They didn't even try to hide it. After the Scriptures were put in print, more and more people became aware of what God's Word really said about giving. The clergy were shaking in their boots, so they decided to do a little damage control. When the Pilgrims who sought after God's Word and wanted to escape the 'Church's tyranny left Europe for America, the Puritans followed shortly after. The Puritans were the ones who oppressed the Pilgrims by taxing them to death back in Europe. The Puritan religious establishment brought with them their blood-sucking brand of Institutional 'Church.' I'll give you three guesses how they planned on funding these new enterprises. They'd tax everyone in their congregation as they did back home; only this time they changed the name from "taxes" to "assessments." All they did was change the terminology. If a family didn't "give" their assessments to the local 'Church' (and the clergy), they were physically punished and their belongings were plundered. Sometimes they were banished or put in jail. Sounds just like the I.R.S., doesn't it? 

After the Bills of Rights became the law of the land, the clergy couldn't extort funds and property from their parishioners any longer. Why? Because the Bill of Rights had an important clause written into it. No Taxation Without Representation. They just couldn't tax and assess people whenever they felt like it as they did before. If people were going to be taxed, there was to be a vote by the masses. So, what did the clergy do? Simple: They changed terminology again. Instead of calling these taxes, assessments, they called it a "tithe." The extortion came when they wrested Malachi 3:8-12. They claimed that if one didn't tithe, God would be most displeased. No one wants God mad at them, so what did the parishioners do? They complied and gave ten percent of whatever they produced on their farms or money they received while working a trade.

This is why it's so important to read the Scriptures for ourselves. If we go back and read  Malachi chapters 1 through 3, we'd see that the Lord's displeasure was directed towards the Levitical priesthood because of the poor quality of the tithes (animals) they were offering. I don't believe these verses apply to us since we don't know any Levitical priests who still offer up blood sacrifices at an altar within the boundaries of Israel. It also doesn't apply because tithing was a Mosaic Ceremonial law meant just for the Hebrew and was to be applied during a specific tithe cycle that God prescribed. No one in America tithes the way He commanded in Deuteronomy 14:22-29 and Deuteronomy 26:12-13. Why? Because believers today get their theology from their masters, er, I mean, pastors

This type of flim-flamming has occurred throughout history. For the most part, it's our own fault for not reading and studying the Scriptures for ourselves. Instead, we listen to men of the cloth. And don't forget; men of the cloth are taught by men of the cloth. Is there any doubt as to what doctrines are going to come out of their mouths? These guys are so subtle, we don't realize we're being duped. Sometimes when they counsel us, they give us the two pats and a slap routine. They tell us a few nice things to look forward to, and then hit us with the bad news. "God loves you and He has many blessings in store for you, but, we must give our ten percent, or He'll withhold His blessings." That's where the extortion makes it's grand entrance. But, do we notice? No. Why? Because it's delivered gently and with a Father Flanagan all knowing smile. I'm going to be blunt; when trends change, tactics change. Those who want things to stay the same, simply change the playing conditions. Can't we see the deception? Is it not right in front of us? How have we become so blind? It's because we've become so accustomed to going to clergy for our inspiration, we forget that Jesus is our inspiration.

Let's get back to our fifth appendage for a moment. Wouldn't it be great if I.V. lugging patients could have a visit from a doctor who said that we didn't need to be attached to that 'thing' any longer? Those of us who've been in the hospital know exactly what I'm talking about. As soon as that I.V. is removed, we gleefully exclaim within ourselves, "Hallelujah!"  Well, in case you haven't caught on, Jesus is The Doctor and we're the patients married to the I.V. Dr. Jesus comes in and says, "You don't need this anymore. In fact; you've never needed it. It was prescribed by a different doctor. I would have never put that in you. You don't need to be attached to an I.V. What you need is a potent relationship with me. So, unhook yourself. You're free!" But, what do most of us do? We stick that needle right back in our arm and tug that grating 'beep machine' around. We think it's going to actually do us some good when all the while it's limiting our freedom of motion, and in some cases it's dripping poison into our veins. 

It's the same with Institutional 'Church.' Many worship the ground their pastors' walk on and do whatever they say. Some 'Church' members put too much stock in him, just like they do with their doctors. I've got news for us: They're NOT miracle workers; Benny Hinn notwithstanding. The 'Miracle Worker' title belongs to only One person. So, maybe we should put a lot less stock in what our Institutional pastor says and put a whole lot more stock in what Jesus says.

We wonder; "I've been studying the Scriptures, and I get the feeling that the Institutional 'Church' model isn't what Christ had in mind when He created His assembly. I'll ask my pastor about it and see what he thinks." After confronting the pastor, the Reverend might say something like, "Don't listen to people in this 'house church movement.' They're all wrong. Now, get back to your pew or I'll make you go on a bus route!" I'd like to ask, why are we going to see the minister? Don't we already know the answer he's going to give? He's gonna tell us to stay put. Kind've sounds like that plantation owner, doesn't it? We should be going to Jesus and His Word for the answers, not somebody who is looking out for their own best interests.

Why don't most in our religious establishment know they're free from being attached to the religious system we call 'Church'? Its the same reason the slaves didn't know. They were brought up to know one way of life; slavery. That's right; I said, "slavery.'" The slaves down south had a place to sleep, food, water and in some cases, family. This way of life had become part of their fabric. They didn't know any other way because they didn't believe that the opportunities the whites had could be theirs as well. Some slaves considered it a bonus if they were 'owned' by a benevolent 'master' who treated them reasonably well. Sounds like they had it pretty good. They had everything they needed, so why rock the boat? The same can be said for those today in a 'Church' organization. They have everything they need as well, right? They have their pastor, buildings, programs, jobs, teaching, song, theatrics and a sense of belonging. Sounds like a great packaged deal, doesn't it? 

I've got news for us; as soon as one begins to question the structure they're in is when that sense of belonging begins to dissolve. Questions begin to surface like, "Should we really be tithing? After studying the tithe in the O.T., I find that the tithe was never money. What changed?" And, "Should pastors be paid a wage from a congregation since they're stationary and can get a job or create a business outside of the 'Church?' From what I read in the Bible, each church was held in houses and had a plurality of elders in it. After reading Scripture, it doesn't seem that there was ever a clergy-laity divide. How did a ministry become a paid profession?" There are more questions I can raise, but these are good enough for now. When we start asking questions like these, all of a sudden we're marked men. The love stops and our sense of belonging is shattered. Most within the Institutional 'Church' system would rather avoid these issues and comply to the status quot. Again, they don't want to disturb the delicate balance of their religious ecosystem.

Today, many within the Institutional system are afraid to step away from Institutionalism. Why? Either they don't know they're free, or they've come accustomed to receiving Institutional 'perks' such as a benevolent 'master' (senior pastor), the "privilege" of tithing, and the friendships and contacts they built. They even get to maintain and work around the Institutional walls of their buildings for free. What a deal! Where do I sign up? Just think: where will their spiritual provisions come from if they were to leave these comfy surroundings? Won't they be considered outcasts? Been there. Done that.

Jesus says in verse 21, Art thou a servant (slave)? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, USE IT RATHER." In other words, He says, "Are you a slave? Don't get attached to the idea. If something happens and you're made free, use it. Don't remain a slave just because that's all you know! I made you free and I've got A LOT of neat things planned for you. I just need you to move off of the plantations and be guided by my Spirit. Don't worry about provisions. I'll provide!"

22 For he that is called of the Lord, being A SERVANT (SLAVE) IS the Lord's FREEMAN: likewise also he that is called, being free, IS Christ's SERVANT (SLAVE). 23 Ye are bought with a price, BE NOT YE THE SERVANTS (SLAVES) OF MEN."

Allow that to sink in. "Be NOT ye the servants of men" and "Ye ARE BOUGHT with a price." First off, Jesus commands that we are to be made free, not to serve other gods or religious systems. 'Bought' means, purchased. We're either man's property, or God's property. If we're bound to Christ, we're free. If we're bound to the Institution, we're slaves. Jesus says, if you were a slave and were made free, get out from under the bondage and live as a free man. A servant cannot have two masters. It never works out for the greater good. In our case, saved people are the servants of Christ. Better yet, as Jesus describes, we're greater than His servants. We're His friends! He chose us, not the other way around. Friendships don't just happen. One party or the other makes the decision to want to be our friend. Jesus made the decision to be our friends a long time ago. John 15:16, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."

"Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."~John 15:14-15. We are not to be the servants of man's religious Institutional system. We're either going to be loyal to Jesus Christ our God, as His friends or our Institutional system run by our clergyman master-pastor. Remember, we can't have it both ways. One master, not two. Some, however will never leave the Institute. Why? Because its comfortable. They think that all of their provisions are met there. They can't see beyond their own shadow.

Most in the Institute would say, "Of course there are some negative things about our 'Church' system. I don't deny that. But, it's a good trade-off. The music, the singing, the preaching, the programs and the structure. That's worth 10 % of our incomes and giving of my time and talents to an Institution. It seems to make my wife happy; until...." That's when the beeping of the I.V. starts to go off. This is when we notice the lording over, the extra-marital affairs, grafting, politics, child abuse and scandals. Tell me; is this really a good trade-off? It's all included as part of the 'Institutional experience,' so shouldn't we stay on board? This is where the battle lines are drawn within each 'Church' member''s mind. This is where the battle of wills begins. In any event, sooner or later, these things will rear their ugly heads. What should we do when we find corruption among our 'Church' organization? The fastest solution seems to be to start 'Church'-hopping. I've found this to be a knee-jerk reaction to a problem that won't go away. Still, it'll take a few hops before it sinks in that these problems exist in almost every Institutional 'Church.' The real answer is that we should not be in this position to begin with. If this isn't Christ's system, why are we in it?

How did the slaves from the Civil War finally realize that they were free? Did the slave masters tell them? No. The master wanted as much free labor as he cold get before legal action was taken to enforce the new decree. The slave probably heard from a former slave that they are no longer property to be owned. Then more and more freed slaves came walking by asking those in the fields, "Why are you working like this?" Don't you know that you're free men now?" Of course, some slave owners might be listening and run the new comer off his land to keep his labour force in place a little longer. The slave owner would say, "Don't listen to HIM! He's just a lowly slave like you! He has no credibility! He's just trying to get you to be a run-a-way slave like him. Get back to work or I'll give you something to be sorry about!" But, the more freed slaves realized their status as free men, the more others started to follow their lead. Tell me; how many African Americans do we see as owned slaves today? None? Well, wadda-ya-know!?

When I'm confronted by a senior pastor of an Institutional 'Church', he tries to shoo me away before I let his parishioners know that they're free from his tyrannical system. The members need to realize that their Master is Christ, not Reverend Mega Degree. Christ is the One who purchased us with His blood, isn't He? If He bought us, He owns us. A senior pastor doesn't own us. If Christ has provided salvation for us, He will provide everything that we'd miss back inside the Institute (providing it is His will). Our needs will be met by Him. If you don't doubt Him for your salvation, why doubt Him here?

In many respects, I hope this piece will be the first my future visitors will read. Its because I'd like to share with you a picture of what my intentions have been all along. I'd like to assure the reader that my intentions are not hostile, nor antagonistic, but from a point of view I hope reflects what my Saviour has shown me through His Word and Spirit. My single goal is to shine the Lord's light upon those brothers and sisters in Christ who have lingered behind inside an Institutional format. I only want them to realize that the organization they are currently in, is of men. I believe that their hearts are in the right place. I also believe that most truly seek after God. Even though their initial intentions towards God may be pure, there usually comes a time when they will draw a line in the sand against God. Why? Because they are committed to a brand, not a Saviour. They'll say, "I belong to Building Blocks Universal Church", as if the name carries some degree of clout. If we are born again believers, shouldn't we say, "I belong to Christ?" Forget about the brand name. He didn't die for an organizational business entity. He died for us! His church is a living organism. It's local and physical. It's not universal and invisible.

People who initially read portions of my blog may assume that I've had a proverbial axe to grind with those within the Institutional model of 'Church.' Inwardly, they may have asked themselves, "What right does he have to say this or that about my denomination or system? He's so against Institutions in general that he is biased towards anyone who is a member of a 'Church'. He's trying to undermine my foundational beliefs with his talk about abstaining from income tithing and finding or starting a house church. Where is his doctorate? How many Master's degrees has he earned to come off as such a know-it-all?" 

These are fair questions. Actually, when I was an Institutional man, I thought the same things. I thought that house church was just another "movement'" to deceive good honest, hard working 'Church'-goers. No, I have no axes to grind. And I don't approve of "movements" anymore than most do. I only want to reveal the truth to those who haven't seen it quite this way before. Just like that former slave who let's bond slaves know they are no longer bound. To those who are teetering on the fence on leaving the Institute, I have a question. Are you experiencing a battle of wills right now? Is God's Spirit tugging you out of the Institutional door, while the siren songs of the Institutional 'Church' lure you to stay inside? Who's 'will' prevails? God's, or ours?

Isn't it interesting how this attitude is prominently on display in John 7 and Acts 4? A blog like this tends to cause suspicions with Institutional clergy. Their ears perk up when they hear that I'm teaching against income tithing and pastoral preistcraft. Suspicion ran high towards Jesus, John, Peter and Paul as well. This seems to be a constant when it comes to forming an opinion regarding something foreign to us. Isn't it fascinating how it contrasts with how we actually feel in our spirit when we see Jesus, John, Peter and Paul tie the tails of these so-called, "wise men" without even trying? Personally, I think Paul had a little fun with it, as I try to. But, he did so from a unique perspective. He was once one of the religious elite. He was a Pharisee of the Pharisees. Me? I'm just an average Joe. Those in the religious elite may view someone like me as a jester. They'd never take someone like me seriously, would they? If I'm a jester for Christ, that's okay by me. I know He uses the simple things to confound the wise.

Paul had a religious pedigree. When he spoke as a Pharisee, people who took stock in what the religious crowd said, took notice. He was well known among them. He was held in high esteem. Jesus, John and Peter? Not so much. In the elders' eyes, Jesus, John and Peter had no such pedigree. The priests didn't think Jesus could read, let alone speak on matters of God. Didn't these priests and scribes received their degrees the hard way and earn the reverence of their peers? Cannot we see in these verses that at their heart, that they were proud of their accomplishments? As they cast a narrow eye on our Lord and His apostles, we see a comedy of errors, do we not? Aren't we amused to see that these Jews didn't realize who they were dealing with? They think Jesus, John and Peter to be ignorant and unlearned fools; until they became a threat to their way of life. Then it became serious business to get rid of these guys. They even plotted murder against them. It didn't even dawn on them that the Jesus they were plotting against created the universe. I'm just pointing out the juxtaposition of the two points of view. When it suits us, we agree with what Christ and His followers did. When it goes against our grain, we are on the defensive. Religious people are a most fickle species.

Within today's Institutional model for 'Church', there seems to be an ebb and flow of contrasting prejudices when it comes to these verses. They'll champion Jesus, John, Peter and Paul, but when it comes down to practicing the essence of what's being taught in these passages, they debate, argue and create dividing lines. They devour each other as to who has the correct slant on things. If a Bible scholar teaches on them, we are more likely to accept what he says, as opposed to a member of the 'great unwashed', like me. Inside the Institute, do we not tend to accept whosoever has more sheep material hanging on their wall? After listening to two sides of an argument, one might easily choose the man who is called, "Doctor". Why? Because it is ingrained in us. Institutional 'Church' has become a den of hero-worshipers. We've all had to endure what "the experts" have to say about a doctrinal matter, haven't we? And, we buy into what they say all the time.

Some of us have even jumped on the band wagon to spread false teaching just because we are following a man. Why do we sometimes allow ourselves to do this after accepting Christ as our personal Saviour? It's because we ARE the 'sheep-skin.' It's our nature to follow someone over something we know little about. We figure that if they showed us Jesus the first time, they'll deliver the goods in other doctrinal areas as well. Once we're indoctrinated, we comply with the program; just like sheep. After we're saved, we're told where to go to 'Church', what type of preaching and music to listen to, when to sit, stand, and what to do with our money. We build our prejudices based upon what others tell us instead of reading what God's Word has to say about the matter. Someone has got to say it, so it might as well be me: We've become lazy believers! There, I said it. We rely on the word of the religious professional rather than the Professing Word. Shame on us!

Why do we do this? It's because it's hard work discerning what is phony and what is real. We rely on other voices to form our own opinions rather than base them on Scripture. It's difficult making a choice when we ignore what God has to say on a matter. Am I knocking those with an education? Of course not. I'm pointing out that a lot of times, in the religious arena, those who have opinions stray away from God's opinions. And, they're constantly influencing many towards their school of thought rather than His. It's become a battle of wills. 

I was speaking with a woman today about what the word church means. Immediately she said, "I'm gonna have to disagree with you on this one, Bobby..." I realized that the only definition she's known for what a church (assembly) is, is what she's been taught. When I brought up that the Greek word 'ekklesia' in the New Testament simply means "a called out assembly that had convened and does convene", she was adamantly opposed that a church meant a local, physical body that meets regularly. Actually, the word church doesn't even have to imply a religious-type of a gathering. In the Book of Acts, the same Greek word is used to describe the local town counsel. But, does she know this? No. Her doctrine was forged long ago by those she sat under. 

Doctrine means 'teaching.' What she thinks is what she was taught. Paul ran across men in a local assembly that thought themselves as being master theologians. He told them that they needed to be "taught again." Heb 5:12, "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat." Can anyone tell me this hasn't happened to them? Many of us need to be taught again because we often spew out theological nonsense to others without searching the Scriptures first. Think for a moment: How many times have you had to recant of some false doctrine that you taught someone else? Did you mean to teach it? No. You just repeated what someone else taught you. This is the most common way false doctrine is spread.

Jesus said, "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." This whole business of accepting and teaching doctrine apart from the Word of God has become a 'Battle of wills.' The saddest thing of all is that they're doing this in the name of God. The elders and priests in Jesus' day did the same thing. It's no different today. We all love to argue, don't we? We just add a little extra spice into it when we mention God. For some of us, there's nothing like a good tug of war. We all have them, but to what end? I say that in the realm of exchanging doctrine, the end result is usually frustration. In the arena of Bible doctrine, I've found that those who boast of their pedigree or educational prowess have missed the same boat that those "wise men" who are highlighted in the above verses. The religious crowd seem to look upon an unlearned man (although equal to the task) with a contemptible glare. They question whether or not he is worthy of even opening up his mouth. This is what we see in John 7 and Acts 4.

There are many who read this blog who have taken to heart what I've tried to show them. God bless them. But, its not because I'm 'me'. God forbid! It's because they are able to discern what the religious big wigs perceived about John and Peter in Acts 4. It's that they understand that I had been with Jesus. No, not physically, but spiritually. As the Jews we're told by Jesus that His doctrine was not His, but of Him that sent Him in John 7, the religious crowd in Acts 4 KNEW John and Peter had been WITH Jesus. Why? Because they emulated Him in what they said and did. The Jews recognized the influence and earmarks of the Saviour on these men. They realized that John and Peter had Christ's Spirit. Wow! What a testimony! So, just like Paul labored to show the people in the synagogues at Ephesus, I try and do my small part here. I hope that someday, some one would just know that I had been with Jesus too. It would be my honor.

"And he (Paul) went into the synagogue (religious establishment), and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. 11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:" ~ Acts 19:8-11

I don't claim that God wrought special miracles by my hands. I am saying that God has changed lives for the better because He allowed people far and wide to read and understand what this blog's message is all about. I'm just a freed slave who's been trying to spread the word of freedom to those who may nor realize they have it. The truth is, they didn't become free men because I told them. They were already freed by Christ long ago. Just like the slaves in the Civil War who kept working long after the emancipation proclamation was given, people today in Institutional 'Church's' across America, Europe and Asia just haven't realized it yet. So, they keep labouring, and paying and end up being disappointed and heartbroken.

People who are still within the Institute really need to see that they are locked in a battle of wills. Is their will to push a program or pay a tithe more important than if God says to do otherwise? Because if it is, we are in a battle of wills with Jesus Himself. Often I say, "the Lord's will be done,..." But, I never really grasped the concept of this when I was inside of the Institute's walls. Back then, what I really was saying seemed to be, "Give us a new building, more buses, more members, a bigger choir, a Youth pastor, a piano; may the Lord's will be done. Amen." I'd like to ask, 'If the Institutional business model for 'Church' was not created by His hand, why do we expect Him to provide for it?' 

Is it God's will that we get a Bible college degree? Is it God's will that we tithe ten percent of our income to pay for our 'Church's' overhead? Is it God's will that we go wandering around looking for the perfect 'Church' to attend? Is it God's will that we seek gainful employment through a 'Church' organization? Is it God's will that we link up with the government to dictate 'Church' policy by riding the exempt tax status gravy train? We believe it's God's will, but in everyone of these cases, it isn't. So why are we kidding ourselves asking for God's will to be done when we know deep inside, all we want is our will to be done?

So, what is God's will? That we treat others the way we would treat Christ. His will is not for us to establish a business entity in His name. His will isn't for us to be a 'Church' Professional for pay. His will isn't to tour the country as a Christian vocal singer. It is not His will to be part of a Missions Board. None of these things are of Him, so why do we insist on asking for His will to be done in these things? If we want to do His will, we should read and obey what His will is. Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Visit the widow. Help the poor. Raise your family, and be a free man living a life serving Him. Seek His face and ask His Spirit to guide you. Am I a weak vessel to be used for God's will and glory? I can only hope. If I am, I count myself blessed, for I know He uses those things to get His point across. 

A battle of wills with my Saviour is not my idea of a good time. If you're teetering on the fence on whether or not to leave the building and grasp hold of the freedom that is in serving Christ alone, I assure you that He will provide all of the empty things we thought couldn't be replaced. Drop your hoes in the dirt and walk away. We're made free. Christ's Spirit will lead us into a wonderful fellowship of like-minded believers if we'll only ask. If Jesus is by our sides, how can we lose? The next time a person tries to tell us that he's found something that the Lord wants for us, and we perceive that he has been with Jesus, we might want to give him (or her) a listen. But, be discerning. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you. His Spirit will communicate with your spirit what is sound doctrine and what isn't. It may set you, a free man, free from your religious I.V. BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!... Annoying, isn't it? May the LORD'S will be done. God's Blessings.


  1. Wow! Thank you for this post, Mr. Kmiec. I 've thought many times that something is terribly wrong with the "institutional" church model; your thorough explanation just makes me more determined to leave. I'm out & praying that the Lord will bless us with a real fellowship of L-M believers. God bless!

  2. I appreciate your comment, Anonymous. I pray that you'll seek other worthwhile posts in this blog to give you the resolve you'll need if you decide to step outside of the Matrix of Institutional 'Church' system. The people in it are true friends and honest patrons, but keep an eye out for those who treat you differently because you left. I know that your intent is probably the same as mine. You want to remain friends and brothers in Christ, but some will view your walk to freedom as a traitorous act. They will despise you. Very few will remain loyal and kind. Brace yourself.

  3. Thank you. I'm already looking into other posts on your blog and they are very helpful and answer a lot of questions. It is as you say, many will despise me (they already are!), but the Lord knows my intentions and that I'm only seeking His will and His truth in my life. Blessings, dear brother!