WORKING WITHIN THE
ESTABLISHMENT CHURCH
OR OUTSIDE OF IT;
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

Written By S. R. Shearer

"I know thy works and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth." (Rev. 2:13)

"... that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (1 Tim. 3:15)

"Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers ... Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's (i.e., money's) sake ... They profess that they know God; but in works (i.e., doctrine) they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. " (Titus 1:9-11, 16)

"I know thy works and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth." (Rev. 2:13)

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS MORE
THAN HEARING; IT'S ALSO DOING

It is an unfortunate fact of life insofar as today's Christianity is concerned that most of us have been trained as "hearers," but not as "doers;" "observers," but not as "participants;" "pew sitters" but not as active, vibrant members of the Christian community. We have an "audience" mentality; not a "participant" mentality. We've been trained "to listen," not "to act." Indeed, the rather bizarre fact of the matter is, many of us think that by hearing and listening we have done everything that is required of us. We've come to believe that "doing" is something for the "professionals;" it has nothing to do with us. Our job is simply to act as an audience for the "professionals," and to say "amen" and shout "hallelujah" at the appropriate places. But that's not what Christianity is all about. The church belongs to all the saints. And the responsibility for the church rests on all our shoulders, not just simply on the shoulders of the "paid professionals." We've all been called as "doers." The Bible says,

"... be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22)

The priesthood which the Bible speaks of is the "priesthood of all the believers" (I Pet. 2:9) - and that includes you. You're not excused whoever you are. There is nothing which excuses you! - your age, your station in life, your sex, where you live, the amount of money you make, your career - Nothing! No one is excused!

THE TWIN PILLARS OF EARLY EVANGELICALISM

While all this might come as a surprise to many of us today, it certainly wouldn't have been a surprise to early evangelicals. Indeed, evangelicalism - the movement that most of us today claim to be a part of, whether we call ourselves "fundamentalists," "charismatics," or "pentecostals" - was based on this very notion: that the "average," "every-day" saint of God ought to be the main "doer" in the church, not the "professional clergy;" in addition, early evangelicalism was also intimately connected to a second notion: that the church ought to be centered solely on a biblically-based Christianity. These were exciting and even revolutionary concepts to early evangelicals; needless to say, however, they never much excited the professional clergy or those powers within the Western elite which hoped to harness Christianity for their own selfish (usually right-wing political and economic) purposes - a proposition which a biblically-based Christianity would never permit. As a result, evangelicalism was treated as a radical and even revolutionary movement by most mainstream Protestant leaders when it first appeared as the "Brethren Movement" in the 1830s (a movement which later manifested itself as the Welsh and Azusa Street Revivals of the turn of the century). Why? - because the mainline Protestant leadership was far too entrenched in its own self-centered conceits and greedy accommodations with the established elites to go along with such thinking.

Unfortunately, however, over the years the nature of evangelicalism has changed; to a very large extent, it has made the same comfortable accommodations with the world that mainline Protestantism made before it - and so much so that most early evangelicals (i.e., Darby, Newton, etc.) would hardly recognize what we today call "evangelicalism." Indeed, it would not be unfair to say that today's evangelicalism is "evangelicalism turned upside down" - and to such an extent that those who today demand that the teachings of people like Bennie Hinn, Kenneth Hagin, John Wimber, Paul and Jan Crouch, etc. be measured against the Bible (a proposition which all early evangelicals would have demanded not only for others, but for themselves as well) are treated as narrow-minded, mean-spirited, unloving "dogmatists." And insofar as the full participation of the laity in the church-life is concerned, this is today a concept more honored in the breach than in the keeping. The "professional clergy" is more entrenched than ever before - and so much so that in more instances than many would care to admit, the professional clergy has adopted a dictatorial and autocratic pattern of leadership more in keeping with the principles of Catholicism than those of the early evangelicals.

HYPOCRITES: SAYING ONE
THING, AND DOING ANOTHER

The sad fact of the matter is, today's evangelical church is headed up by a group of frauds - fakes who present themselves as evangelicals and as the heirs of our evangelical faith, and who trade on the godly reputation of yesterday's evangelicalism, while all the while they deny the very doctrines which empowered that church and made it what it was. It may be an indication of how close to the end we really are. The Bible says,

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils ..." (I Tim. 4:1)

The Bible solemnly warns against such people - i.e., people who label themselves one thing, but who in reality are something else altogether. It calls these kinds of persons "hypocrites" - "whited sepulchers," (Matt. 23:27) i.e., people who "... indeed appear beautiful outward(ly), but ... (are) within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness" (Matt. 23:27) - the kind of persons who can claim the heritage of evangelical / protestantism on the one hand, while cavalierly denying its very substance, on the other:

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish (i.e., decorate) the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers (i.e., poisonous snakes) ... Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar." (Matt. 23:27-35)

Of course, such warnings have little effect on many in today's evangelical leadership - they've already made up their minds! [Well does the Bible say of them, "They speak lies in hypocrisy ... (and) have had their consciences seared with a hot iron." (1 Tim. 4:2)] Today - in church after church - politics, not theology, is what counts. Winning a tight Senate race or electing a Religious Right candidate to the House of Representatives is much more important to them than winning someone to Jesus - and if they're going to win such races, they need the Catholic vote as well as the evangelical vote. Doctrinal differences can't stand in the way here! In the political arena, doctrine counts for nothing; building a religio-political alliance large enough to "take the country back from the "secular-humanists" is what's important! "Doctrine divides" is their watchword. Why? - because they need Catholics and protestant / evangelicals to "pull together" as a single community if they are to achieve their right-wing [and even, as astonishing as it might seem, fascist political goals (please see our article, "The Death Squads: Bringing In The Kingdom Of God Through Terror, Torture And Death")] - and since doctrinally evangelical / protestants and Catholics are far too removed from one another to make such an endeavor practical on theological grounds, doctrine must of necessity be de-emphasized if the two communities are to be successfully brought together; for certainly no such alliance could be promoted and justified with any chance of success on a doctrinal basis or on the bedrock of any kind of "common Christianity." Hence the necessity to disparage the importance of "sound doctrine," coupled with the concomitant requirement to belittle and ridicule those who insist on it. But such thinking is so absurd and irrational that it hardly merits the time it takes to refute it.

THE CHURCH IS THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF TRUTH

It goes without saying that the movement of evangelicalism away from a biblically-based Christianity in order to accommodate the church's involvement in the politics of the "New Right," coupled with the concomitant usurpation of the church-life by the "professional clergy" has had a very profound impact on the evangelical church: the one affects the standing of the church AS A CHURCH before God; the other affects the ability of the "average," "every-day" saints of God to influence the situation and counter the apostate path the professional clergy has set the church upon. Each condition is feeding off the other and is creating a situation which is spiraling the church ever downward towards impotence: as the professional clergy's grip on the church-life tightens, the downward path of the church accelerates, and as it accelerates, the grip of the professional clergy tightens further, rendering the "average," "everyday" saints that much more powerless to do anything about the worsening situation - until at last the Shekinah departs, and the saints are left with an empty shell which no longer possesses the Spirit of God and the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. It has at last lost its standing AS A CHURCH. This is precisely what happened to Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and to the so-called mainline churches; and now its happening to evangelicalism.

The Bible says that the church is -

"... the PILLAR and GROUND of the TRUTH" (1 Tim. 3:15)

But if the church no longer "abides in that truth" (I John 2:27) can it really be called the church any longer? The answer is obviously, No! Just because people who call themselves Christians meet together does not in itself mean that they meet as the church. The Mormons, the Moonies, the Jehovah Witnesses and countless other similar sects call themselves Christian - but does that mean that when they meet together, they meet as (or constitute) the church? - No, of course not! Why? - because they do not meet on the "ground of truth," despite the fact that they call themselves Christians. The Bible says:

"... God is a Spirit: and they that worship him MUST worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

We repeat, the church is more than the assembly of those who call themselves "Christian" - it is the assembly of those who -

  1. call themselves Christian

AND

  1. meet on the "ground of truth."

IF THE SALT LOSES ITS SAVOUR, IT'S GOOD FOR NOTHING

Take away the truth, and you destroy the church! You can't have one without the other! Jesus said,

"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." (Matt. 5:13)

- that is to say, if the Church loses its savour, [i.e., its standing insofar as the truth ("sound doctrine) is concerned], it no longer can be considered the church. It loses its standing as the church. Evangelicals like Paul and Jan Crouch, John Wimber, Chuck Colson, etc., therefore, make a big mistake in thinking that church unity can be achieved by compromising doctrine. We repeat, doctrine cannot be compromised without at the same time compromising the church's standing before God. While it may be true that those who continue to meet may not themselves lose their standing as individual Christians, if indeed they are truly "born-again," their assembly will certainly lose its standing as a church - and don't make the mistake that a church can't lose its standing as a church. Jesus specifically warned that such a thing is possible when He cautioned the Church in Ephesus,

"Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent ... or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place ..." (Rev. 2:5)

- and while this was spoken with regard to the Church in Ephesus' "first love," it would apply with equal force insofar as "sound doctrine" (i.e., truth) is concerned. Why? - because if one abandons the truth (i.e., "sound doctrine"), it's a testimony to the fact that one never really loved the Lord. The Bible says,

"... he that hath my commandments (i.e., he who abides in the truth), and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me ..." (John 14:21)

This may be a hard saying, but it's nonetheless the truth. Isn't that what these verses, when taken together, logically imply? - of course it is!

TRUTH AND SOUND DOCTRINE
ARE ONE AND THE SAME THING

These facts, of course, are so obvious that there are some who say that "truth" and "sound doctrine" are not one and the same thing - and on this basis they attempt to make a difference between the two (i.e., between "truth" and "sound doctrine") - applauding the one (i.e., truth) and demeaning the other (i.e., "doctrine") as if they were two separate and distinct things.

But such thinking is - on the face of it - farcical. Doctrine is nothing more than the way the Bible arranges or explains truth. In the original Greek, "truth" (alethes) refers to the individual facts which constitute doctrine - that is, which relate to a specific description of things. For example, in describing the individual components of a red rose, one would describe the rose as red, its stem as long and green, its leaves as moderately broad, etc. The fact that the rose is red, that its stem is long and green, etc. - these are the "facts" or "truths" (alethes) of the matter. But when these facts are written down in an orderly fashion so that they can be presented to others in a manner which can be easily understood and which accurately describes what a red rose is, that is "doctrine" (didaskalia).

Stated somewhat differently, doctrine (didaskalia) is a description of "truth" (alethes) - and it is in this way that the Bible can speak of "sound doctrine" (I Tim 3:10; 2 Tim. 4:3; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1) and "false doctrine" [Matt. 16:12 (i.e., the doctrine of the Pharisees), etc.]; or, put another way, a "good" or "honest" DESCRIPTION of the truth OR a "bad" or "false" DESCRIPTION of the truth. For example, "sound doctrine" describes our red rose as exactly that - a red rose; "false doctrine," on the other hand, might describe the rose as orange, or maybe as yellow. It's not an accurate description of the truth (alethes) - and this is exactly what people like Chuck Colson are into when they say that "sound doctrine" is not important. What they really are promoting is a description of Christianity which does not comport with the truth; it's not an accurate description of true or Biblical Christianity - and it promotes a description of Christ which is not factual.

WHOSOEVER ABIDETH NOT IN THE DOCTRINE
OF CHRIST HATH NOT GOD (2 John 1:9)

This is serious stuff! - and it's for this reason that the Bible somberly warns -

"Whosoever ... abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, HATH NOT GOD. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." (2 John 1:9)

Jesus says,

"He that hath my commandments [i.e., my word (which is to say, the truth)] , and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

"... if a man love me, he will keep my words (i.e., he will abide in the truth): and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

"He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings (i.e., refuses to abide in the truth): and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

"If ye keep my commandments (i.e., if you remain in the truth), ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

"These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.

"They shall put you out of the synagogues (i.e., the "meeting places"): 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.

"But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

"I have given them thy word (I have shown them the truth); and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 14:21, 23-24, 15:4-5, 10; 16:1-4)

DOCTRINE DESCRIBES WHO CHRIST IS

Now, it's important to remember in connection with this what doctrine is all about! - it's a description of the truth; it's a description of Christ! - it's a description of who Christ really is! To claim that one can love Christ without at the same time loving those things which make up His character is an exercise in fraud! In like fashion, to say that one loves Christ without at the same time loving "sound doctrine" (i.e., those things which accurately describe His character, His personality, etc.) is a sham! It's akin to a wife saying she loves her husband while all the while her house is decorated with the pictures of another man. One would certainly have cause to doubt her testimony. If, therefore, a church - any church - no longer accurately portrays Christ to the world, but instead portrays something (or someone) else, how can it be said that it has any longer any standing before God? Obviously, it can't.

The testimony of the church is Christ, and if that testimony (which is to say, "if that description") is no longer accurate, how can it be said that its testimony has any validity? It can't! -

"...it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." (Matt. 5:13)

THE SLIDE OF TODAY'S CHURCH AWAY FROM
ITS EARLIER GRIP ON "SOUND DOCTRINE"

And just how far has the church lost its grip on a biblically-based Christianity? Well, take Paul Crouch, for example. Crouch is president of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), one of this nation's premier evangelical Christian television networks. Crouch has said:

" ... I want to say to all you ... heresy-hunters, all of you that are going around pickin' little bits of doctrinal error out of everybody's eyes and dividin' the Body of Christ ... get out of God's way, stop blockin' God's bridges (of unity between Catholics and protestant / evangelicals), or God's goin' to shoot you if I don't ... let Him sort out all this doctrinal doodoo! ... I refuse to argue any longer with any of you out there! Don't even call me if you want to argue ... Get out of my life! I don't want to talk to you ... I don't want to see your ugly face." (Quote taken from Dave Hunt's CIB Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 7, July, 1991.)

Pretty heavy stuff - i.e., that doctrine is nothing more than sh-t (that is, after all, what "doodoo" means), and that he (i.e., Crouch) is going to shoot people who promote it; it's indicative of the ugly, malicious and very menacing attitude that countless numbers of today's Christians have adopted towards those who continue to promote "sound," "old-line" evangelical doctrine - the kind of doctrine that Dwight Moody, Harry Ironside, Donald Barnhouse and Arno Gaebelein promoted in the early part of this century.

The fact that almost the entire thrust of Roman Catholic teaching is anti-Christian in character (and denies salvation by Grace alone) doesn't seem to bother Crouch and his ilk; moreover the reality that countless numbers of our Protestant forefathers were forced to forfeit their lives to Rome (and not because they were engaged in any kind of warfare against Catholicism as such, but simply because they denied Rome's pretensions and preached salvation through Grace) - leaders like Huss (martyred by Rome), Luther, Zwingle, Calvin, Hun (martyred by Rome), Brown (martyred by Rome), Tyndale, Latimer (martyred by Rome), Ridley (martyred by Rome), Cranmer (martyred by Rome), Wesley, Whitefield, Carey, Raikes, Darby, Newton, Spurgeon, Moody, Pentecost, Walvoord and more names too numerous to mention - doesn't seem to count for much with them either.

And it's this, more than anything else, which demonstrates the kind of craven duplicity that many of our present-day leaders (people like John Wimber, Paul and Jan Crouch, and even Chuck Swindall, president of Dallas Theological Seminary, etc.) are engaged in - frauds who, as we indicated earlier, present themselves as evangelicals and as the heirs of our evangelical faith while all the while they deny the very doctrines which empowered that church and made it what it was. Crouch continues,

"... that old rotten Sanhedrin crowd (i.e., those who oppose the "unity movement" for doctrinal reasons - for instance, those who allege the incompatibility of Catholic and evangelical theology), twice dead, plucked up by the roots ... they're damned and on their way to hell and I don't think there's any redemption for them ... the hypocrites, the heresy hunters that want to find a little mote of illegal doctrine in some Christian's eyes ... when they've got a whole forest in their own lives ... I say, to hell with you! Get out of my life! Get out of the way! Quit blockin' God's bridges (of ecumenicism)! I'm tired of this! ... This is in my spirit. Oh Hallelujah ..."

"Have you ever seen the old movie, Patton? ... He's my hero, he's my hero. Old nail-chewing, tobacco-chewin', cussin' Patton - but he read the Bible every day. I have a feelin' we'll see old General George in heaven ... There's a wonderful scene in Patton ... they're tryin' to get the Third Army across the bridge in France and there's an old, dumb jackass ... right there on the bridge and it's blockin' the whole convoy of troops ... General George roars up, pulls that ivory-handled revolver out ... and shoots the donkey ...There's a spiritual application here." (Quote taken from Dave Hunt's CIB Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 7, July, 1991.)

SHADES OF CARDINAL TORQUEMADA
AND THE SPANISH INQUISITION

A spiritual application? - one can't help but think of Cardinal Juan de Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition as one ponders what Crouch means by such a statement? Is he, perhaps, thinking about the same thing that Bob Jones was contemplating when he said,

"As we see the day approaching, there's going to be cleansing ... there's going to be a purging coming forth ... and everyone's who's living under the immorality cover (and Jones describes "immorality" here as opposition to ecumenicism) ... will be brought down ... and God's new breed will come forth ..." ? (Bob Jones, Kansas City Prophets, Vineyard International)

But this isn't Biblical Christianity. This isn't Christianity at all. It's the gospel according to Paul and Jan Crouch, Bennie Hinn, Charles Colson, etc. - it's an apostate and even renegade gospel having nothing to do with the Word of God. And what was it exactly that so repelled all the old-line evangelicals with regard to Catholicism? Well, it wasn't a peripheral matter as some evangelicals allege. Put plainly, it was the fact that the Roman Church has little or nothing to do with Biblical Christianity, and is instead very much a heathen institution.

Indeed, as Hislop, Gardner, Edgar and countless other Protestant theologians have demonstrated - theologians endorsed not by the "pop" evangelists and whiz-kid luminaries of today's TV Christianity, but by such Protestant eminences as Donald Barnhouse, Arno Gaebelein, Charles Spurgeon, Dwight Moody, etc. - most of the so-called "mysteries" of the Roman Catholic Church are literally Babylonian in origin (hence, the name "old-line" evangelicals gave to the "Roman system:" "Babylonian" - the same name the Bible gives it in Revelation 17). The great crime with which the Roman Catholic Church was (is) involved is the adoption of a "grail-like" or Gnostic process of salvation by works based on mortification [often of an extreme nature leading even to self flagellation (beatings and whippings) - a practice which is going on even today in Opus Dei, the Jesuits, etc., and especially in those monastic orders dedicated to Fatima - to say nothing of ordinary parishes in the Philippines, Latin America, etc.], and a kind of fleshly piety and strict adherence to the sacraments of the Roman Church. This isn't biblical Christianity! This is babalism!

And what more can we say of the "Mary worship" of Roman Catholicism? How can evangelicals tolerate the adoration and veneration of Mary as the "Mother of God" [note: not the mother of Christ - but the "Mother of God," the subtlety here is important!] Some Romanists, of course, may affect to deny that they honor Mary with the worship due to God only, but in their books of devotion, it's quite another thing, and prayers to the "Virgin" occupy a prominent place. Consider the following prayers, and then judge for yourself whether Mary is being worshipped or not, the protestations of certain charismatic Catholics notwithstanding.

"If the winds of temptation arise, if thou run upon the rocks of tribulation, look to the star, call upon Mary. If thou art tossed on the waves of pride, of ambition, of distraction, of envy, look to the star, call upon Mary. If anger or avarice or the temptation of the flesh toss the barque of thy mind, look to Mary. If disturbed with the greatness of thy sins, troubled at the defilement of thy conscience, affrighted at the horrors of the judgment, thou beginnest to be swallowed up in the gulf of sadness, the abyss of despair, think upon Mary - in dangers, in difficulties, in doubts, think upon Mary, invoke Mary.

If this isn't worship, I don't know what is. Indeed, what it really is, is idolatry - and the Bible has some very serious things to say about idolatry:

"Cursed is the man who makes an idol ..." (Deut. 27:15 ).

One should be very careful here because the curse falls on those who even countenance such things - and isn't that what evangelicals are doing when they go along with this kind of thinking? - countenancing it?

And in the "mysteries" of the Rosary" ["Fourth Glorious Mystery" (The Assumption)], this is written:

"Hail Mary:

  1. The eternal predestination of Mary as the masterpiece of God's hands.
  2. Her Immaculate Conception, and her plenitude of grace and reason while within the womb of her mother, Saint Anne.
  3. Her nativity, which gladdened the whole universe.
  4. Her presentation and stay in the Temple.
  5. Her admirable life exempt from all sin.
  6. The fullness of her singular virtues.
  7. Her fertile virginity and painless birth.
  8. Her divine maternity and her alliance with the Most Holy Trinity [again, idolatry!]
  9. Her precious and loving death.
  10. Her resurrection and triumphant assumption."

And the "Fifth Glorious Mystery" of the Rosary ["The Coronation"]:

  1. The triple crown with which the Most Holy Trinity crowned Mary.
  2. The joy and new glory heaven received by her triumph.
  3. To recognize her as Queen of Heaven and earth, angels and man.
  4. The treasurer of the graces of God, of the merits of Jesus Christ, and of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  5. The Mediatrix and Advocate of men.
  6. The destroyer and ruin of the devil and of heresies.
  7. The secure refuge of sinners.
  8. The Mother and nurturer of Christians.
  9. The joy and sweetness of the just.
  10. The universal refuge of the living, the all-powerful consolation of the afflicted, of the dying, and of the souls in purgatory."

And again, some of her other titles and appellations:

  • Ark of the Covenant
  • Gate of Heaven
  • Morning Star
  • Refuge of Sinners
  • etc.

And then J.I. Packer and Chuck Colson - to say nothing of countless other Protestants and evangelicals throughout the country - have the titanic temerity and enormous presumption to imply that the Reformation was all just a misunderstanding! The colossal insolence and artless naiveté of such thinking is breath-taking. What are these men thinking? - and it isn't as if all these heresies are hidden away somewhere in the deeper recesses of the Catholic Church - but rather quite to the contrary: they're reiterated daily in Catholic "Masses" throughout the world in which every Catholic is expected to participate!

THE TRUE WORSHIPPERS MUST WORSHIP
GOD IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH

Paul Crouch, J.I. Packer, etc. are wrong! - "Sound Doctrine" and Christianity can't be separated! Indeed, the Bible says,

"... mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them." (Rom. 16:17)

And it goes on to say,

"If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed ..." (2 John 1:10)

And as if that isn't enough, the Bible goes even further by declaring that those who abide not in "sound doctrine" are of the devil - and, again, this isn't what we say, it's what the Bible says:

"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." (John 8:44)

And remember here, if one thinks these sayings (i.e., verses) are too harsh, his or her controversy is not with us, it's with God. The truth is, on the basis of John 8:44, one should seriously ask himself - what's this say about Paul Crouch, Bennie Hinn and Charles Colson? We repeat, Christianity and "sound doctrine" can't be separated! On the contrary, the Bible plainly teaches that "... the true worshippers MUST worship God in spirit and truth" -

"... the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.(John 4:23-24)

The reality of the matter is, God and "Truth" are synonymous - they are intrinsically one; they cannot be separated - and it is for this reason that the Bible calls the "Comforter" (i.e., the Holy Spirit) the "Spirit of Truth:"

"... when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me ..." (John 15:26)

Indeed, Jesus says,

"... I am the way, the truth, and the life ..." (John 14:6a)

And He goes on to say,

"... no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6b)

- that is to say, no man can come to the Father except through the truth. The Bible says,

"... truth is in Jesus." (Eph. 4:21)

The truth is Jesus. Jesus is the truth - they are one and the same thing!

THE BATTLE FOR THE CHURCH &
THE "GROUND OF TRUTH"

The pivot around which our struggle in these "Last Days" is centered is the church. Why? - because the church, together with Israel, is the instrumentality through which God intends to make known to the world (1) His Son, (2) salvation, and (3) His "Plan and Purpose in the Ages" during these "Last Days" (again, please see "The Two Witnesses" in the Antipas Papers). Satan, therefore, has directed all his energy in neutralizing the church and "sidelining" it in the upcoming struggle.

And how, you ask, is he doing that? - by severing the church's relationship with the "truth," that is to say, with "doctrine." As we have already indicated, the Bible says that the church is the "pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15) and if that's so, you can't have the church without truth; you can't have one without the other. By attacking the church's connection to "sound doctrine," he is attacking the church. Can't you see the subtlety here? Satan is not attacking the church directly - he's attacking the church's relationship with doctrine (i.e., truth). By killing the one, he is killing the other - and the genius of it all lies in the fact that Satan's attack on doctrine is being done in the name of God, for the sake of Christian unity, and with the goal of "returning the nation to Christ."

Brothers and sister, I tell you the truth when I say, if there is any hope for the church - and there is - that hope rests not in our establishment leaders (most of whom are by now far too compromised to be of any value in the upcoming struggle against church apostasy) but in the "little people" - people like you! After all, who were Peter, John, James, Andrew, etc. if not the "little people" of their day? None of them were a part of the religious establishment - not one of them! Indeed, the establishment figures of that day were astonished by them, perceiving that they were uneducated men of no consequence:

"Now when they (i.e., the establishment figures of the day) saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled ..." (Acts 4:13)

The Antipas Papers (which by now most of you have read) is a call TO YOU to take action; it's a book which places a demand on YOUR life. Think about it! - (1) if we really are living in the "end of days; (2) if we really are going to go through the Tribulation; (3) if the United States really is "Prophetic Babylon," and evangelicals - rather than separating themselves from it - are actually to be found promoting the church's political involvement with it; (4) if the Roman Catholic Church really is the Woman of Revelation 17 and evangelicals - rather than distancing themselves from her - are becoming ever more involved with her; (5) if we really are called to be witnesses (please see "The Two Witnesses," in the Antipas Papers) in these "last days;" etc. - why then do we not act? The fact is, we can't pretend that we don't know what's happening - we do know! - and this knowledge hangs like some kind of biblical sword of Damocles over our heads. To do nothing is to invite it to fall on us. The Bible says:

"Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:

"If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;

"Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.

"He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.

"But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." (Ezek. 33:2-6)

WE FACE A CRISIS

Obviously, we're facing a crisis. We've been called to stand for God in these "Last Days;" but should we do so from within the "system" or from outside of it? Some, of course, would say that we should stay and work to reform the "establishment church" from within. But the chances for success here are pretty slim. A very old and wise history professor of mine at the University of California, Dr. Sonntag, once told me,

"People don't change institutions, institutions change people."

What he meant was this: history teaches that the course of an institution, once it has been set, is impervious to change - despite the sometimes heroic efforts of some people, even people at the top, to force change on the institution. Bureaucracies become too entrenched to be swayed and/or uprooted, alliances with other companies and associations which are helping to propel the institution in its given direction become too powerful to break, etc.; in the end, most who try are defeated or - worse - eventually subverted.

And it's not just secular history that teaches us this, the history of the church also testifies to this fact. The examples are numerous and all too familiar - whether it was Luther working initially within the Catholic Church for reformation, Wesley in the Anglican Church, those who finally associated themselves together as the "General Association of Regular Baptists" working within the American (Northern) Baptist Association to re-orient it away from the liberal path the American Baptists had set themselves upon (to say nothing of the so-called "Conservative Baptists" who initially condemned the "Regular Baptists" for their break, but who later repented, left the American Baptist Association and started their own denomination), etc. And what could we say more of Chuck Smith, David Wilkerson, Jim Durkin, etc., etc. - all of whom were forced to leave the denominations they were originally a part of in order to answer God's call on their lives.

The sad fact is, once a denomination or church starts down the road of compromise, there is very little that can be done to change things. Apostasy, once it takes hold, is almost impossible to stop. This was the problem with the religious establishment of Christ's day. As a result, it was no accident that Jesus had to operate from a perspective which was totally outside of and at variance with the established religion of His day - so much so that the religious leaders of that day felt impelled to crucify Him in order to end the threat He seemed to constitute against their security.

The truth of the matter is, when the Spirit of God moves in a new way - as He was doing when Jesus began His ministry - He invariably has to move outside of the religious establishment, not within it. So also today! - it's futile for people to look to the evangelical establishment of today for rescue from the apostasy which is spreading throughout evangelicalism. The fact is, with each passing year the church - largely as a result of the apostasy which has seized hold upon it - is ever more becoming a part of the world that Jesus came to earth to oppose, so much so that it has even become a part of a movement to "take it over."

But its not just history as such which cautions us against trying to work within a system that has already been corrupted; the Scriptures themselves warn against such a direction - indeed, they counsel the exact opposite:

"Be ye not unequally yoked ... for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? ...

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you ..." (2 Cor. 1:14, 17)

This probably is not what most well-meaning Christians today would counsel. Undoubtedly, most would say that we should stay and work for change; that to abandon the established church is "the cowards way out" and a means through which we will only hasten the apostasy. Nevertheless, while separation may not be man's way, it surely is God's way, and it is clearly what the Bible advises in such circumstances.

Why? - because, in speaking about apostasy, we are dealing with a process which is way beyond the "ordinary;" one which is extremely relentless and terribly unbending; and one whose end is hideous and appalling in its effect on the institution it has seized upon. There's no second chance when dealing with it. Once it seizes hold of its victim, it holds on with a tenacity and obstinacy which is all but impossible to break until at last the process has run its awful course. The Bible refers to this pathology figuratively as "leavening;" in doing so it is making reference to a process in which a baker inserts a small amount of yeast into dough to make it "rise." In the imagery of the Bible, leaven is always used in connection with a contaminating influence, and a process which - once it takes hold - spreads throughout the entire loaf. There is no way for the baker to stop it once he sets the process in motion. He cannot suspend or halt it until the whole loaf has been affected or "leavened" - and it just takes a tiny bit of yeast to initiate the process. The Bible says,

"A little leaven (just a little, just a tiny bit) leaveneth the whole lump." (Gal. 5:9)

THE UNYIELDING NATURE OF LEAVEN

Indeed, it's precisely because of the unyielding nature of this process that the Bible warns us to avoid it at all cost; in doing so, it's saying that the only way we can deal with the leaven of apostasy is to prevent it from being introduced into the "lump" in the first place. Once it is introduced, there is very little then that can be done. It's too late! Hence the stern warning that God gave to the children of Israel concerning the avoidance of all "contaminating influences," especially the influence of the Canaanites. God saw such influence as "leaven" - leaven that, should it take hold, would pollute and corrupt the children of Israel and draw them away from Him.

His answer with regard to this matter was a harsh one - annihilation! The Jews were not to try to reform the Caananites, they were to exterminate them. He warned them that if they refused to do so, those who remained would - over time - exercise a debilitating and contaminating influence on the nation, and so much so that it would eventually corrupt it:

"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan;

"Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:

"And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.

"But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell." (Num. 33:51-53, 55)

- and, again, if one thinks this is too harsh, his argument is with God, not with us.

It was with this in mind that Jesus warned His disciples:

"... Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" [i.e., the "established" religious leaders of the Lord's day]. (Matt. 16:6)

In other words, get away from it; get as far away from it as possible!

"COME OUT OF HER" (Rev. 18:4)

You still doubt, do you? You say that we are being altogether too harsh? Separation! - that's such an unloving and severe answer! Well, would it surprise you if we told you that there is really no need to even speculate on this matter - the Lord is very specific as to what we, as "Last Days" Christians, are to do! [Please read our article, "Come Out Of Her."] He leaves no doubt with regard to the matter:

"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Rev. 18:4)

And be clear here - these words are spoken very specifically and precisely to those of us who are living in the "Last Days" and who are in any way associated with the "Apostate Church." And there's more! - He leaves little doubt as to the church He is referring to: the Bible calls it the "mother of harlots" and says that it sits on seven hills (Rome). [Revelation 2:18-29 and Revelation 17] And again, we need to be very clear here - the historic position of the Protestant / evangelical church is that this is a very exact and explicit depiction of the Roman Catholic Church and those "daughter churches" who are in any way associated with her:

" And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication ... And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth ... And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication ... And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration ... And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double." (Rev. 17:1-2, 44, 6; 18:4-6)

There's no hint here about working within this system for reformation. There's no equivocation here! No hesitancy about what we are to do - we are to get out! And there's no doubt concerning the consequences if we fail to do so - the clear indication here is if we fail to get out, we will be SUBVERTED!

GOD WILL HELP YOU

You say, "I've read, House Church: A New Way To Go On, but I am so weak, what can I do? I can't start a church in my home; I don't have the talent to do so," OR "I'm a woman, not a man, what can I do?" OR "I'm too young," OR "I'm too old," OR "I don't know that much about the Bible," OR - the worst excuse of all - "This is something for the paid professionals (i.e., the clergy)," etc. - to which we would say, "You'd be surprised what you can do when God is for you!" [A lot has change since this article was written, so please read the following articles on what Antipas Ministries is doing, what to do (if you live in the U.S) and how you can get involved - "A Plan of Action For Antipas Ministries," "Come Out Of Her," and "The Aliya Foundation."] The Bible says:

"My (i.e., Christ's) grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in (your) weakness ..." (2 Cor. 12:9)

and again, the Bible says,

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our ... (weaknesses): for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

"And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

"Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Rom. 8:26-32)

THE LORD IS CALLING

The Lord is calling out today to His people - to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He is asking -

"Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" (Isaiah 6:8a)

So if you hear that still, small voice calling, don't ignore it - He may be calling you just as surely as He called Isaiah under similar circumstances so many thousands of years ago - to which we hope and pray that you will answer as Isaiah did,

"Here am I: send me." (Isaiah 6:8b)

The call of God is not to the special few, it is for everyone! Whether or not we hear God's call depends upon whether or not we are in the presence of God. "Many are called but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14), that is, few prove themselves the chosen ones. The chosen ones are those who have come into the presence of God and, as a result, hear the still small voice calling all the time, "Who will go for us?" It is not a question of God singling out a strong man and saying, "Now, you go." Isaiah was in the presence of God and because of that he overheard the call, and realized that there was nothing else for him to do but to say, in conscious freedom, "Here am I, send me."

We need to get out of our minds the idea of expecting God to come with compulsions and pleadings. When our Lord called His disciples there was no irresistible compulsion from outside. The quiet passionate insistence of His, "Follow Me" (Matthew 4:19) was spoken to men and women with every power wide awake. If we let the Spirit of God bring us face to face with God, we too shall hear something akin to what Isaiah heard, the still small voice of God; and in perfect freedom will say, "Hear am I; send me."

"My eager desire and hope is that I may never feel ashamed, but that now as ever I may do honor to Christ in my own person by fearless courage - whether that means life or death, no matter!" (Phil. i, 20-21 (Moffatt)

God bless all of you.

S.R. Shearer
Antipas Ministries

We need your help to spread the word concerning Antipas Ministries and the eschatological viewpoint it represents; WE NEED YOUR HELP BECAUSE WE DO NOT "LINK" WITH OTHER SO-CALLED "CHRISTIAN" WEBSITES which are, for the most part, "in the tank" insofar as their loyalty to the United States is concerned - a loyalty that has made them partners in the BLOODY trail the American military has left in its TERROR-RIDDEN rampage throughout the world, as well as making them partners in the abject poverty that American corporations have imposed on the peoples and nations the American military machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE THAT HAS TO A LARGE DEGREE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME OF THE "PRINCE OF PEACE." [Please see our articles, "The Third World as a Model for the New World Order," Inside the American New World Order System" and "The American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary Archipelago."]

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