THE ORGANIZED CHURCH AND THE END OF DAYS

July 24, 1999
by: S.R. Shearer

"... Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
"But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister (i.e., servant);
"And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant (i.e., slave):
"Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matt. 20:25-30)


"... where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Cor. 3:17)

INTRODUCTION

Every so-called "Christian" in "Western Christendom" has historically had two loyalties: one to the "spiritual" church and one to the "temporal" state, i.e., those twin powers of Regnum and Sacerdotium that govern the lives of "Western Man." This was especially true in the Middle Ages, but also - more than secularists would care to admit - it's true even today: to the caesars of the state must be given one kind of devotion; to the church of God must be rendered another kind.

Hildebrand [Gregory VII (pope from 1073 to 1085), perhaps the Roman Catholic Church's greatest pope] put it this way:

"... the spiritual (i.e., churchly) and temporal (i.e., civil) powers are entrusted to two different orders, each drawing its authority from God, each supreme in its own sphere, and independent, within its own sphere, of the other ... the king is subject to the bishop in spiritual matters, the bishop is to the king in temporal matters."

This doctrine became known as the "Doctrine of the Two Swords" (i.e., the "temporal sword" and the "spiritual sword"). Ultimately, however, the spiritual power was held to be supreme.

The church insisted that there could be no end to the validity of God's law, and where conflict arose between the power of the state over and against the power of the church, the state must give way. Why? - because the church held that spiritual laws were fixed and immutable, and as a result -

"All customs and all written laws (i.e., all man-made precepts and customs) which were adverse to natural (i.e., spiritual) law were to be accounted null and void."

There was to be no gainsaying the voice of the church: Si Roma locuta sit, cause finita sit.

Secularists tend to believe that such thinking is dead and gone - but for them to think so is very naive. Indeed, most sincere Christians - even today - if given the choice between obeying the "Law of God" (i.e., the church) as opposed to the "Law of Man" (i.e., the state) would not hesitate to choose the "Law of God" (i.e., the church).

One has only to look at the Culture War which is raging in the United States for confirmation of this fact - especially insofar as it pertains to abortion and homosexuality. Indeed, secularists are making a big mistake in underestimating the power of the "spiritual sword" - i.e., the primacy of "God's Law" over and against "Man's Law" - in most people today; in doing so, they may be digging their own graves in the ever intensifying Culture War.

SUCH THINKING IS UNBIBLICAL

But while all this might lend hope and even historical credence to those who support the entrance of the church into the political arena to "set society aright" - there is, nevertheless, nothing Biblical about this kind of thinking - and it is precisely this type of reasoning that will lead to the DISASTER of the "end of days." It's not so much that one shouldn't place the interests of the church above the interests of the state - indeed, one should - as it is that what Hildebrand was asserting (and, indeed, what the Religious Right is alleging even today) was much more than that; specifically, that there exists a bona fide and even symbiotic RELATIONSHIP between the church and the state, and that this relationship should be fostered and promoted. But the fact is, no literal reading of the Scriptures can support such a relationship - even when the church is apparently held to be supreme. Jesus said:

"My kingdom is not of this world ... my kingdom ... (comes) not from hence." (John 18:36)

And the Apostle John warns,

"The whole world (Kosmos) lieth in the evil one." (I John 5:19)

If, therefore, His kingdom is not of this world, how is it possible for it (i.e., Christ's kingdom) to have a relationship with the world? - especially when the Scriptures contend that the world "lieth in the evil one." It's not possible, of course! - and those who maintain that it is are called "adulterers" and "adulteresses" by the Bible:

"...Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." (James 4:4)

[And it should be noted in this connection that an adulterer is one who has spurned a legitimate relationship with his or her spouse for an illegitimate relationship with someone else - which is exactly the way the Bible pictures those Christians who desire a relationship with the world.]

How, then, is it possible for so many evangelicals - including a vast portion of our leadership - to sanction the kind of unlawful relationship between the church and the state that Hildebrand and much of today's Religious Right call for? The answer is apostasy!

APOSTASY

Apostasy means to "fall away." The Bible says:

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (i.e., the day of the rapture and resurrection) shall not come, except there come a falling away (i.e., apostasy) first ..." (2 Thess. 2:3)

A "falling away?" A "falling away" from what to what? - from the heavens to the world; from the spiritual to the carnal - and that's important to grasp. Apostasy is not necessarily false doctrine and/or sin - though it can be this, and there can be no question that these things inevitably follow in the wake of apostasy - but rather it is, in the first instance, the "falling away" of Christians from a view of themselves as citizens of Christ's heavenly kingdom to a view of themselves as citizens of the kingdom of this world, which kingdom is under the control (dominion) of Satan (cf, John 14:30, I John 5:19, etc.).

Apostasy is that condition of thinking which blinds us to the transitory nature of our connection to this world and leads us to perceive ourselves (if not overtly, than covertly) more as citizens of this world than of heaven. It takes root in us when our attachment to the things or "treasures" of this life - our cars, our houses, our careers, etc. - overwhelm us and cause us to think of ourselves not as aliens to this world, but as "permanent residents." Believe us when we at Antipas say that Paul wasn't just kidding around when He said,

"For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
"And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
"For they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (II Tim. 6:7-10)

Once we as Christians have acquiesced in an attachment with the "things of this world," we have created the conditions necessary to open us up to Satanic Deception - i.e., to the belief that the church can enter into a successful relationship with the world. But such thinking is nonsense! If we truly are aliens to this world, as the Scriptures so plainly declare we are (Heb. 11:13), what should we have to do with its politics? - nothing of course! Why should we as aliens seek to involve our-selves in the politics of a foreign country? - which is exactly the way the world should appear to us after we have been born again. Indeed, because we have been born again, the Bible says:

"... therefore the world hateth you." (John 15:19b)

To get involved politically in a world that hates us reveals us as frauds - people who don't really put much stock in the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We say again, there exists no biblical relationship between the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of this World - and those who promote such a relationship - even for the best of reasons - will inevitably find themselves at war with Christ.

THE "WOMAN ON THE BEAST:" THE UNLAWFUL RELATIONSHIP
OF THE CHURCH WITH THE STATE IN THE "END OF DAYS"

Indeed, it is exactly this relationship between the state (Regnum) and the church (Sacerdotium) that the Bible portrays as a woman riding a beast! Specifically, the Bible says:

"So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
"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 upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
"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." (Rev. 17:3-6)

Now pay attention here: it is not by accident that the Bible refers to her as a "whore" and the "mother of harlots" - because that is what she is: someone who has left the one to whom she was legally betrothed and who has illegitimately taken another man for her husband.

Expanding on this theme, Dwight Pentecost of Dallas Theological Seminary writes:

"... (in the end of days) we see the whole stage (i.e., the world) filled with two personalities only: a 'Beast' and a 'Woman' ..."

What Pentecost is asserting here is that in the "end of days" a situation shall arise in which the whole world will be subjugated by a kind of theocracy not unlike that which Hildebrand promoted: the beast answering to the civil authority; and the woman answering to the religious authority. In a crude sort of way, it will approximate what happened in Iran in 1979 - only here the picture depicts the Christian world rather than the Islamic world, and the "players" are not the "mosque and the state," but the "church and the state!"

Now, understand here, we're not talking about some strange "New Age" religion, but one which is clearly characterized as "Christian" (an apostatized form of Christianity, no doubt, but "Christian" as the world counts "Christian," nonetheless) - and to this, most evangelicals - from Barnhouse to Gaebelein, from Chafer to Pentecost, from Ironside to Ryrie - agree.

While it's not the purpose of this article to dwell on those forces which are already working to bring about the marriage of the church with the state in the Western World (we will do that at greater length in future articles), suffice it to say that this process is far advanced. For now, we have a different purpose in mind, and that is to assume that all this will most assuredly come to pass, and in the light of that assumption to ask ourselves the question, What then should we do?

COME OUT OF HER

The Bible is very clear on what we are to do! - we are to get out: we are to:

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

Does this mean that we should give up on the church? - that we should retreat into isolation, detachment, and solitude?

By no means! The church is God's testimony in the earth, and to give up on the church is to relinquish that testimony. But what it probably does mean is that eventually we will have to leave the "Organized Church."

By "Organized Church" we have particular reference to those churches which have become so large and cumbersome that they have come more to resemble a social organization than anything else - an institution which relies on committees, subcommittees, boards, councils, staffs, groups, cell groups, programs of all types, agendas of all sorts, timetables, and the other accouterments of modern bureaucracies and hierarchies to make it work. This is the direction that the churches in America are headed - from small to big! From unaffected and plain to involved and perplexing! It's the direction of the age! The fact is, pastors today are deemed failures if they preside over a church of less than a hundred people.

Sadly, the church today is a place where "big" means success and "small" means failure; where numbers count, and simplicity is depreciated. In such systems, people "go along to get along," and conformity is the order of the day.

In these kinds of churches, those who refuse to conform - who deem principle to be more worthy than accommodating oneself to the current of the age - it's not so much a question that they will have to decide to leave, as it is that if they try to remain faithful to their persuasions and refuse to be silent about them, they will be "invited" to leave - and, as time goes on, maybe much worse. Indeed, the Bible warns that there will come a time when -

"They shall put you out of the ... (churches): yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." (John 16:2)

THE SAME PROCESS THAT IS AT WORK IN
THE WORLD IS AT WORK IN THE CHURCH

Why is this so? - because the present-day "Organized Church" is caught up in the same process of "globalization" as is today's political and economic world. And why is that? - because it is today so much a part of this world. The fact of the matter is, the church has married the world, and if that's so, is it then so surprising to find that the same forces that are at work in the world are at work in the church? Of course not! The process is inexorable and those who oppose it will be ruined; indeed, one has about the same kind of chance of successfully resisting this process in today's "Organized Church" as the owner of a small, neighborhood hardware store has in successfully opposing or competing with Wallmart. The process is the same; the end result is the same.

The truth is, EVERYTHING IS MOVING IN THIS DIRECTION!! - our business corporations; our politics; our nations, our cultures and now even our churches. It's a direction which leads to a place where "Group Speak" and "Consensus" are the watchwords of the day; where "ACCOUNTABILITY" (i.e., "group accountability) and HIERARCHY are practiced in an overbearing and even despotic manner (as for example in the churches of Jack Hayford, D. James Kennedy, the late John Wimber, etc.). These are places where parishioners are told that they do not possess the spiritual wherewithal to understand the Scriptures themselves and that, therefore, their job is simply to obey their leaders and shut up. Isn't that what Bill McCartney, President of the Promise Keepers, is teaching when he says:

"We (i.e., the laity) cannot rightly divide the word of truth. We need you (i.e., "our pastors and priests") to teach us"?

Surely it is! Isn't that what Rick Joyner, one of today's so-called "Prophets," is teaching when he admonishes "renegade" pastors to "get with the program," and warns those who fail to do so that "action will be taken against them:"

"Some pastors and leaders who continue to resist the tide of unity (i.e., accountability in a rigid, hierarchical scheme of things where each pastor is placed under other pastors, who in turn are placed under others still, etc.) will be REMOVED from their place."

And again, isn't this what Francis Frangipane, another popular, "grassroots" evangelical leader - who, like Rick Joyner, also adorns himself with the "mantle" of "Prophet" - means when he writes ominously,

"... there will be many stumbling blocks (i.e., dissidents) circulating in the church ... Those serving in leadership must trust their discernment and REMOVE the 'stumbling blocks."

IT'S EVERYWHERE TODAY

This kind of thinking is everywhere today. Indeed - when even people like Willard and Joe Aldrich of Multnomah School of the Bible can preach this kind of thing [in "Baptist-speak," of course (as opposed to "Pentecostal" or "Charismatic-speak")] in their new teaching of "one church, one city" [where all the pastors of one city are encouraged to form "accountability groups" among themselves in which hierarchy is the guiding principle (though subtly so)] - one can safely say it permeates the church!

From small to big; from local to national; from national to international; from definite to indefinite; from simple to complex; from pure to mixed; from the individual to the group - this is the process that is at work in the church today. And again we say, there is very little to differentiate this process from the process that is at work in the economic and political world.

It is this process that the Bible warns us to get away from - and it admonishes us that if we fail to do so, we will become "... partakers of her (i.e., the "whore" of Revelation 17) sins ..." and that we will "... receive ... of her plagues." (Rev. 18:4)

WHY DO WE HESITATE TO LEAVE?

Still, most Christians hesitate from taking the plunge. After all, there are so very few churches out there any more holding fast to the faith; so very few pastors who are willing to resist the flow of the age. And if one can't find such churches and such pastors, what is one to do? There will be no one to teach them. There will be no one to protect them from false doctrine.

Besides, the "Organized Church" is such a comfortable thing. It's a place where just about everything is done for us; to leave it is tantamount to leaving "order" for "anarchy" - and that's the point: the "Organized Church," despite all its flaws, provides a system of things which makes the Christian life intelligible to countless numbers of ordinary Christians. The bureaucratic and hierarchical arrangements that characterize it - while stultifying in some respects - are at least comforting and safe. The hierarchy and bureaucracy that distinguish it lend order and arrangement to the functions of the church and the lives of ordinary Christians. They provide the "structure" around which the "Christian life" can be organized. They "fit us into" a "fixed" place in the "scheme of things."

The problem with all this, however, is that the hierarchy and bureaucracy that typify the "Organized Church" are all too often more characteristic of a business organization and the structures that exemplify today's corporate world than they are of the "body life" the Bible speaks of - and it's here that we should perhaps pause and re-examine some concepts that we have grown up with. There is a great difference between the hierarchy and bureaucracy that typify the business world and the kind of "body-life" the Bible talks about. The former is characteristic of the institutions of man; the latter is particular only to God; the former is characteristic of deadness; the latter is distinctive of life; both bring "order" and "arrangement" - only in the former case, it's the "order" and "arrangement" of the world, while in the latter it is the order and arrangement of God's kingdom.

BUREAUCRACIES AND HIERARCHIES ARE
CHARACTERISTIC OF MAN, NOT OF GOD

Man is a finite being; he can only be in one place at one time. He is, therefore, encompassed about by restrictions which are not only intellectual, but which are epochal. As a result, he must resort to the use of corporate or institutional authority (i.e., bureaucracies and hierarchies) in order to exercise his control over these two dimensions (i.e., time and space).

Corporate authority (as it is understood in the business and political worlds) is the application of order and discipline on an institution in a TOP TO BOTTOM flow of control through an orderly system (or sequence) of intermediaries in a "LORD TO MINION type of arrangement in which prestige and power are measured by how high up one is in the organization. Conceptually, the whole arrangement approximates in appearance a pyramid in which authority flows downward to the people (and prestige flows upward to the leaders), and as it (authority) passes downward to the base (i.e., to where the people are), it expands over time and space - and, in a crude sense, defies both. 1

Nonetheless, the organization produced is one which is extremely rigid, indifferent, impersonal, and uncaring of those who work for it or are a part of it. There is no possible way for those who are near the bottom of the organizational pyramid to contact or elicit any kind of attention from the organization's CEO beyond an occasional nod or hello. At best, the only people one can ever really hope to contact in such organizations are those who immediately surround him or who exist one or, at most, two levels above him (or below him) in the hierarchy. [How unlike all this is Gods rule, where ... (not one sparrow shall fall on the ground without your Father (knowing about it). (Matt. 10:29)]

THE PERNICIOUS CHARACTER OF INSTITUTIONAL POWER

Now it's important to realize that insofar as these structures are concerned, the authority extended to people in it is not extended on a personal basis, but on an institutional basis; the power does not become inherent in the person to whom it is given; it's inherent in the POSITION the person occupies within the institution in which he or she is a member. The fact is, in today's world (and, ipso facto, today's church) one borrows the prestige and power one holds from the institution one is a member of. If one is separated from that position, one loses the power (and prestige) one holds - and this goes a long way in explaining the hold such institutions have over people, especially people "on the make."

It also goes a long way in explaining why these institutions are such hotbeds of jealousy and strife; there is nothing particularly "friendly" or "informal" or "family-like" about them. Because power and prestige are measured by how high up one has managed to scramble in the pyramid, there is a kind of never ending, "Hobbesian," "King of the Hill" struggle "by all against all" as people try to claw their way up the pyramid - and the road up is littered with broken friendships, heartache, and the bodies of those who have fallen by the wayside or who have been "stabbed in the back" by erstwhile "friends." Needless to say, it's a world filled with intrigue, back-biting, jealousy, and envy - staffed by people who, by training and position, slavishly and fawningly defer to those above them, and who in turn rule over those below them with a ruthlessness that is oftentimes hard to imagine.

And the bigger such institutions are, the worse the malice and rancor; the anonymity of "bigness" gives license to malevolence. The loyalty of those who have sold themselves to such institutions becomes over time a loyalty only to themselves and to their personal aggrandizement; their methodology is CO-OPTATION - i.e., the process of ingratiating one's self (usually as a sycophant or flunky) to those above him in order to get ahead; the process of "fitting into the mold;" of saying the right things and "brown-nosing" the right people; of appearing to be what one is not.

The late Professor C. Wright Mills of Columbia University writes:

"As we trace the career of ... (those who are trying to claw their way up such institutions), we are also tracing the history of his loyalties, for the first and overshadowing fact about ... (such people), from the standpoint of what it takes to succeed within ... (the modern-day corporation), is that ... (success is) based upon self co-optation ... (The ways of virtue and high-mindedness) have given way to 'the most important single factor, the effective personality', 'which commands attention by charm', and 'radiates self-confidence'.

"In this 'new way of life', one must smile often and be a good listener, talk in terms of the other man's interests and make the other feel important - and one must do all this sincerely. Personal relations, in short, have become part of 'public relations', a sacrifice of ... (one's personhood and private convictions) on a personality market, to the sole end of individual success in the corporate way of life. Being justified not by superior merit and hard work, but being founded on co-optation by a clique, often on quite other grounds, the elite careerist must continually persuade others and himself as well that he is the opposite of what he actually is." 2

[And while Mills is here describing people "on the make" in the business world, it certainly describes what is going on in much of today's church where pastors are judged not so much by the principles they hold, as they are by the "effectiveness of their personalities" and by their ability to be a "good listener."]

The fact is, the very nature of these institutions has been so structured as to practically guarantee that duplicity, deception, and the very worst in people will eventually manifest themselves. A shark-like atmosphere has been created in which only the treacherous and vicious can survive and prosper; an atmosphere where, as Mills says,

"... men easily become ... ruthless ..."

The truth is, no one can have the kind of "organized deference group" below him and possess such powers of command as is possible in today's modern-day corporate pyramids (and institutional churches, for that matter) without also acquiring the inner corruption of character which usually accompanies the kind of cringing adulation that inevitably attaches itself to "organized deference." Indeed, today's corporations (including many of today's churches and denominations) are places where one is able to take the full measure of Jeremiah 17:9:

"The heart (of man) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

HIERARCHY: MANS WAY, NOT GODS WAY

It is precisely this scheme of authority - the kind that depends on the use of hierarchy [again, "the exercise of 'order' and 'discipline' on an institution in a TOP TO BOTTOM flow of authority in a 'LORD TO MINION' type of arrangement] and "organized deference" - against which the Lord spoke in Mark 10:42:

"... it shall not be so among you

...

Jesus said:

"... Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
"But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister (i.e., servant);
"And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant (i.e., slave):
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matt. 20:25-30)

Instead of exalting Himself, the Bible says that Jesus -

"... made himself of no reputation ... "(Phil. 2:7)

and

"... humbled himself ... and became obedient ... "(Phil. 2:8)

How totally foreign to the thinking of this world (and today's church) where those in authority elevate themselves above those who surround them and mercilessly and even ruthlessly lord it over those whom they exercise authority. Again, hierarchy - or the use of institutional power - is the way the world operates; it's not the way God's kingdom functions (or for that matter, the way the church is supposed to function). To think otherwise is worldly in the worst meaning of that word.

GOD HAS NO NEED FOR INTERMEDIARIES

God has no need to "connect" with His universe (His creation and/or His church) through the use of intermediaries (i.e., bureaucracies and hierarchies); He is not restricted by time and space; He is capable of being everywhere at once. Indeed, the fact of the matter is, there is nowhere in the universe where He is not present - and more, there is nowhere in time where His Being is not there. God transcends both time and space. The Bible says of God:

"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
"For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. (Ps. 90:2,4)

And -

"Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
"If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
"Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
"If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
"Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
"For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mothers womb.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
"My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
"Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
"How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. (Psalms 139:7-18)

But of man, the Bible says:

"... what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!
"Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away. " (Ps. 144:3-4)

And -

"Thou carriest them (i.e., men) away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.
In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.
"The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. " (Ps. 90:5-6, 10)

THE RELATIONSHIP OF
CHRIST TO US AS INDIVIDUALS

And this at last brings us to a very important matter: the relationship of Christ to the church, and specifically, to each individual member of the church. In every other religion of man, it is necessary to approach God through the use of an intermediary - through a "holy man," a priest, etc. - someone who is presumed to have an intimate relationship with God; who is, in one way or another, presumed to be "closer" to God than we are; and normally, this "someone" is under someone else who is closer still, who in turn is under someone else, who is under someone else, and so one ad infinitum. And all these "someones" are arranged in a pyramid-like structure which climbs ever upward to a point where at last divinity is reached at the apex of the pyramid. Hence, one's relationship with God is not a direct one, but one which is dependent on intermediaries.

But, take a close look at this arrangement. Doesn't it resemble what we've been talking about? Doesn't it look like the kind of structure which pertains to and characterizes this FINITE world? The kind which resembles a pyramid? The kind that depends on the use of hierarchy? The kind in which there is a never ending, "Hobbesian," "King of the Hill" struggle "by all against all" as people try to scratch their way up the pyramid? The kind that is characterized by heartache, intrigue, back-biting, and envy? Does not this kind of relationship resemble the pyramid-like structures common to man and those creatures who are compassed about by restrictions insofar as time and space are concerned? Of course it does! It may be enveloped by an atmosphere of religiosity and its harsh, austere outline hidden behind a pretense of meekness and modesty, where knives are concealed under the cloak of piety and charm, but it's there - and people know it!

But, as we suggested earlier, such structures are not necessary to God! - and, as a result, it gives the lie to these religions. And more than even that, you can be sure that wherever such organizational structures predominate in Christianity, there is more of man in them than there is of God. There is more of the kingdom of this world in such organizations than there is of the Kingdom of heaven. And if that's the case, they are all headed in the same direction the world is headed, whether they call themselves "Christian" or not.

WE ARE NOW AT THE "END OF THE AGE"

We are now at the "End of the Age." The world is heading inexorably towards a single conclusion - the creation, as it were, of one giant pyramid-like structure in which all of mankind, all of his organizations (including his churches), all of his corporations, all the nations of the earth, all the cultures of this world, etc. will be incorporated; one vast pyramid-like system in which all of mankind will be subsumed and contained; which will produce the "character" or "image" of the Beast:

"And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
"And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
"And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
"And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
"And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
"And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." (Rev. 13:11-17)

Now in this connection, it's important to understand that the image of the Beast is not some giant statue, as some theologians naively suggest: it's us (as mankind)! We are that image. As we (including our churches and religious organizations) are inexorably drawn into and subsumed into this world structure or order of things, we come ever more to mirror the character of the Beast; as such, we become his image. The "New World Order" towards which man is pressing will be a place in which hierarchy predominates, jealousy and envy are ever present, back-biting and hatred pass as the normal course of things, etc.

And what will be the "marker" of this image? its fingerprint, so to speak? -HIERARCHY. Wherever hierarchy predominates, the image of the Beast is there (or is in the process of being produced). And be sure of this, it matters little whether or not that organization or institution bears the name "Christian" or not; names mean nothing. It's substance that counts. The Moonies claim to be Christian, but that doesn't make them Christian. Be clear here - if hierarchy predominates in your church, then Satan is close by! Again, ask yourself the question, Who needs hierarchies to rule? - the question answers itself: the world system of man.

BUT JESUS TAUGHT NO SUCH THING

But Jesus didn't teach hierarchy insofar as the church is concerned - He taught the exact opposite! Again, we implore you to carefully examine Matt. 20:25-30:

"... Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
"But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister (i.e., servant);
"And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant (i.e., slave):
"Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matt. 20:25-30)

Where is there any room for hierarchy here? - there is none! Instead, He compared our relationship with Himself to the relationship of a vine with its branches. Jesus said,

"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." (John 15:5)

Now in this connection, it is important to note that a vine is not like a tree or, for that matter, any other form of vegetation. It is unique in the fact that it has only one stem, and all the leaves of that vine are connected directly to that one stem. In effect, the leaves are the branches. This is what differentiates a vine from almost every other form of vegetation. There are no intervening branches, connected to other branches, linked to others still which eventually unite to the trunk. All the leaves in a vine are connected DIRECTLY into the one stem. This is what John 15: 5 teaches: that as branches (leaves) of the One true Vine (Christ), we are all DIRECTLY connected to Christ. Jesus said,

"Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
"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." (John 15:3-4)

The unity that Christ gives is a unity which flows out of a shared life - the life of Christ. Because we all share this life, we are one. It's not something which must be forced upon us from the outside (as is the case in a man-made institution or organization), but something which comes to us as naturally as breathing. This means that to the extent that we are obedient to the Word and to Christ, so we will be one with our brothers and sisters.

OUR MEANS OF ESCAPE

Now all this is extremely important because in this secret lies our means of escape insofar as the world-system of man is concerned; insofar as our being subsumed in the "Image of the Beast." Hierarchy is what makes the world-system work; it's what gives it its force, energy, and direction. And this is true not only insofar as man's business and political institutions are concerned, but his religious institutions as well. But if we can free ourselves from hierarchy, and embrace the reality that is inherent in Christ, than we ipso facto are set free from its (i.e., the beast's) power.

Now, we are not advocating anarchy here. There is authority in the Body of Christ! There is authority in the church! There is submission in God's family! But it is not the kind of submission that flows out of outward compulsion and the regulatory force of an uncaring institution, but the kind of submission which flows out of the life of Christ, a life which we all share equally in - men and women, bond and free, black and white, it doesn't matter. How do we know this? - Jesus said so. Isn't this what the Scriptures say? Isn't this what Jesus promised? -

"I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he (i.e., the "Comforter") may abide with you for ever;
"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he DWELLETH WITH YOU, AND SHALL BE IN YOU.
"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
"Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
"At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." John 14:16-20)

So important was this "indwelling," that Jesus actually said -

"... I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." (John 16:7)

And He went on to say,

"... 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)

And -

"... he (i.e., the "Comforter") shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:26)

THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
AND ITS IMPACT ON THE CHURCH-LIFE

There you have it! - "the Comforter shall teach you all things." We have no need of a priestly class. We have the Comforter. Again, this is what differentiates Christianity from all the other religions of man: the ministry of the Holy Spirit to all who believe - to both male and female, slave and master, American and Indonesian, rich and poor; there is no difference. We all have equal access to this ministry. There is no intermediary that stands in the way. Where is there any need for a hierarchy here? Where is there any need for a bureaucracy here? There is none!

And because we all share equally in the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, we all share equally in the priesthood. The Bible says:

"Ye also, as lively (i.e., living) stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." (1 Pet. 2:5)

And again, the Scripture says:

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light ..." (1 Pet. 2:9)

Now what does all this mean to us insofar as the "end of days" are concerned. It means this: even if we are expelled (or otherwise forced to leave) the "Organized Church," we can survive. We can carry on. We have the Holy Spirit; and if we have the Holy Spirit, than we have the church-life. Because we no longer have access to the "Organized Church" does not mean that we are bereft of the church.

We do not need the cold, dead hand of bureaucracy and hierarchy to guide and coordinate us insofar as the church is concerned - WE HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE WORD OF GOD (i.e., the Bible). What more do we need? If we, as so-called lay-people, would simply arouse ourselves, grab hold of the plain teachings of the Scripture, and begin humbly taking responsibility for the church-life ourselves, we would discover what a wonderful provision God has made for us - indeed, for all Christians: a provision which allows us - the "average," "every-day" saints of God - to carry on insofar as the church is concerned without the help of intermediaries and a priestly class. The Bible says:

"Now YE are the body of Christ, and members in particular." (1 Cor. 12:27)

Oh, that God would give us a vision of the church-life; as Paul said -

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
"The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
"And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
"Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
"... to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
"To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by (i.e., through) the church the manifold wisdom of God,
"According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: "(Eph. 1:17-19; 3:7-11)

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS NOT A LIFE
CALCULATED TO GAIN US MUCH POPULARITY

No doubt, taking such a course for one's life will put a person in the minority and will cause him to be the subject of an awful lot of "evil speculation." But then, isn't this what the Bible says is our lot:

"Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets ..." ? (Luke 6:26)

Certainly it is! The Christian life is not calculated to gain us much popularity. Jesus said:

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it ..." ? (Matt. 7:13-14)

And what more can be said of Paul when he wrote of the lamentation of Elias in Romans 11:3-6:

"Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left ALONE, and they seek my life ..." ? (Romans 11:3)

And the answer the Lord gave to Elias did not necessarily contradict Elias' complaint - i.e., that not many of God's people were listening to him, or else why did Paul refer to "a remnant" when he spoke of the "seven thousand" who had not bowed their knees to Baal? -

"But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal."
"Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace." (Romans 11:4-5)

Obviously, the great mass of God's people had fallen away! The truth of the matter is, when the Spirit of God moves, He invariably has to move outside the great majority of those who call themselves "God's people" - i.e., the religious establishment. Its no accident that in His day, Jesus operated 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 compelled to crucify Him.

So also today! Its futile for people to believe that if they persist with God and obey His Word their friends and loved ones will appreciate what they are doing and join themselves to them. The fact is, to choose God is to choose to be misunderstood and even hated. Indeed, it is this very hatred that Jesus indicates is the badge of recognition for all those who choose to follow Him:

"Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake." (Luke 6:22)

A LONELY ROAD

The path that leads to God is a lonely one. This is what Jesus meant when He said,

"... narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it ..." ? (Matt. 7:14)

And what Paul meant when he wrote,

"We are fools for Christ's sake ... we are weak ... we are despised.
"Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
"And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
"Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. (I Cor. 4:10-13)

[And remember, Paul's complaint here was not directed against unbelievers, but believers - i.e., the great mass of people who at that time called themselves "God's people" - and not just Jews, but Christians as well! (After all, Paul was writing to the Church in Corinth: the full text of verse ten reads: "We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye {i.e., the Christians at Corinth} are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.")]

For those who are looking for "popularity" and "acceptance" - it's best for them not to go this way; because "popularity" and "acceptance" are not to be found here. I have been young, and now I am old - and in all this time, one of the most heart-rending things I have had to watch is seeing this great truth "played out" in someone else's life - someone who wants to go on with the Lord; when he or she comes to realize once and for all that if they decide to go "This Way" (2 Peter 2:2), they are going to lose everything - popularity, acceptance, understanding, family, friends - EVERYTHING!

It's a great test! - a trial (tribulation) through which every servant of God must someday pass. It's not something others can do for you - it's not even something that a person can do in the company of others. It's a test which every servant of God must face alone. This is what Jacob faced in the wilderness at Peniel:

"And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
"And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
"And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
"And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
"And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed." (Gen. 32:24-28)

We must all come to the place where we hear God's voice - "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" - and are irresistibly drawn to answer: "Here am I; send me." (Is. 6:). When the Lord called His disciples, there was no compelling outside force which constrained them to answer Him. It was an inner compulsion which forced them to answer. As Oswald Chambers has written, "... the quiet, passionate insistence of His Follow Me ..." proved irresistible.

PRESENTING YOURSELF A LIVING SACRIFICE

This then brings us finally to the matter of practicality. The Holy Spirit is given for the purpose of producing the church. If all our striving does not produce the church, then our striving is in vain. Paul says:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Rom. 12:1)

Present your bodies to what? - to the church!

Note that Paul talks about our bodies - presenting our bodies. Why? - because there is a real-life practicality to what Paul is saying. If he had said, I beseech you brethren to present your souls a living sacrifice ..., then it might be possible for someone to conceive the idea that what Paul is talking about here is largely a mental or spiritual procedure which we can accomplish through prayer from the comfort of our homes. But Paul talks about bodies - flesh and blood bodies - which of necessity requires physical contact. To be sure our souls and spirits are also involved, but as Christians, wherever our bodies are, there will our souls and spirits be too.

No doubt, the church has a spiritual dimension, but it has a physical dimension also. Paul does not want us to miss this point, because it's here - in the physical realm - that the rubber meets the road and we are forced to convert our dreams into reality, the same dreams which are common to men and women everywhere; of having long-lasting, loving relationships with other people - relationships which for most people remain vapors which all too often disappear when we reach out to grasp them.

Its easy for us to dream airily about developing relationships with other Christians - but so long as we avoid dealing with them on a physical level, thats all these relationships will remain - dreams!

But the church is not a dream. Its real and alive, and if we are going to involve ourselves with the church, then we must do so on a "flesh and blood basis. And isnt that what we really want? - genuine, long-lasting, loving relationships with other people. Yes, of course it is!

PUTTING THE NEEDS OF OTHERS FIRST

Paul continues:

"For as we have many (individual) members in one body ...
"So we, being many (individual members), are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. " (Rom 12:3-5)

Whats Paul saying here? - he's saying essentially that what each and everyone of us needs to do if we are to get involved with the church on a real-life basis - is to get our eyes off ourselves as individuals and to begin taking the needs of others (i.e., the body) into account. Its not that God doesnt prize us as individuals - of course He does (so much so that if you had been the only person on earth, He still would have died for you) - its just that in the past we have been so used to focusing our thoughts and attention on our own personal needs that we find it difficult now to focus on the needs of others.

Focusing on the needs of others, rather than on our own! - this is, of course, what being a servant is all about - and it's on this basis that we have been called into the church! Unless we are willing to see ourselves as servants, we will never be able to "make it" in the church-life. This is what Paul meant when he wrote:

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
"Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God (i.e., thought it not inappropriate to think of himself as equal to the Father):
"But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. " (Phil. 2:4-8)

This is the beginning of the body-life and developing living, loving relationships with others: to put away pride and any thought of being better" than others.

LET LOVE HAVE ITS OWN WAY

Paul continues:

"And be not conformed to this world (where people are used to putting their needs ahead of the needs of others - where self is exalted and everyone else is debased); but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
"Let love be without dissimulation (i.e., without dishonesty and hypocrisy). Abhor that which is evil (because evil - which in the end is predicated on selfishness - destroys relationships]; cleave to that which is good.
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love ... " (Rom. 12:2-3; 9-10)

Let our love for the brothers and sisters be without hypocrisy and dishonesty; in other words, let it be genuine - let it be extended to others without any thought that we will necessarily receive something in return. Jesus said,

"... Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
"That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
"For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
"And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?" (Matt. 5:44-47)

Does he have reference here only to our enemies. No! Of course not. Hes making a point - that we need to love others expecting nothing in return. This is the love that Christ gave to us [But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us ..." (Rom. 5:8) ], and this is the love we need to give to others if we want to build the church. The Bible says,

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love), I am nothing.
"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity (love), it profiteth me nothing.
"Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity (love) envieth not; charity (love) vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
"Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
"Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
"Charity (love) never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." (I Cor. 13:1-8)

Love isnt concerned for itself; it doesnt envy the "gifts" and "callings" of the other brothers and sisters, it isnt selfish and self-centered; it bears all things and is not concerned when its love from time to time isnt returned by the other brothers and sisters in the church; it believes the best of everyone and it doesnt poke into the affairs of others for the purpose of finding fault; it hopes the best for everybody; it endures the slights and rebuffs of others; it doesnt collapse in the face of pressure and hate! This is the basis of the church-life! This is the basis of the body-life!

Love is the foundation of the work of God. Without love, our works will fail, our gifts will fail, and the church-life will fail. The Bible says:

"And now abideth faith, hope, charity (love), these three; but the greatest of these is charity (love)." (I Cor. 13:13)

DON'T BE A "LIVING ROOM RADICAL"

Again we say, if all our striving does not produce the church, then our striving is in vain. [We urge you to read Dene McGriff's material on the church-life which can be accessed by pressing here.] God's testimony in this life and in this world is the church - and this is true whether or not we have been kicked out of the "Organized Church." The fact that we have been expelled from the "Organized Church" does not relieve us from the duty of "producing the church."

As we said in our last article, "The American Empire and the New Global Elite," God help us all if all we do is gather information on what's happening, only to sit on it. God help us if all we can do is talk a good game from the safety of our living rooms, but nothing more.


A WORD TO THE PASTORS

There's no doubt that making a move away from the "Organized Church" is fraught with danger, and pastors shouldn't be blamed for hesitating to lead their churches out of it. The opprobrium, "dishonor," and even invective with which they will have to deal from their fellow pastors is probably beyond the imagining of most so-called "lay people." And not only that, the Christian community is filled with "flockless shepherds" wandering about with false teachings seeking groups they can take over, and pastors have a legitimate right to be fearful of the possibilities that their congregations could fall victim to such people. The Bible warns about them:

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matt. 7:15)

And -

"For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock." (Acts 20:29)

But there comes a point where we must "let go" and trust the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Pastors are given to the church to "build the church up," and to lead the saints into "maturity" where they can take care of themselves. Isn't this what the Bible teaches? -

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
"For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
"From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. " (Eph. 4:11-16)

Why did Christ give apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers? - for the "PERFECTING" OF THE "SAINTS" (i.e., the "average," "every-day" people of God). And why were the saints to be perfected? - so that they might grow up "... unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," and so that they would "... henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they (i.e., the "flockless shepherds") lie in wait to deceive ..."

Yes, pastors must learn to let go! (By that I mean, they must learn not to hold on to the saints so tightly.) They must learn to bring their flock to maturity, and then let go! That doesn't mean that they should ever be out of work; nor does it mean that they shouldn't carry on as "full-time" workers; nor does it relieve the saints of God from providing financially for them. By no means! But what it does mean is that they must not hold on so tightly. Someday, they will have to let go anyway; the situation of the times will demand it. They had better get the saints ready for that day now, while there is still time - this is the best thing that they can do for them! The best!

This is what happened in China - and the magnification of the work of the church there has been without precedent anywhere in the world! And why is that? - because all the saints, including the women, have been brought into maturity in Christ. And concerning the women, would it surprise you to learn that almost half the "house churches" in China are led by women? Does this mean that where men are available to lead, they shouldn't have the lead? No, of course not. But where mature men are not available (either because of the exigencies of their jobs, or because they simply are not that mature in the Lord, or because they are not willing) does that mean that there should be no church-life? - no! That's silly. Men, I must tell you the truth; some of the most courageous people I have ever met, the most learned, and - yes - some of the best leaders (taking the lead when most men withdrew in fear) , have been women - Constance Cumbey, Jewel Van der Merwe, Pauline MacPherson - to name only a few of the ones I have known personally. These are true heros of the faith, and we would all do well to learn from their example!

I remember once in Vietnam (1969), I was at a "fire base" near the Cambodian border when we were attacked by the NVA. We were being overwhelmed and the situation became so desperate that it looked like we would be over run. At that time, we ordered everyone to "the line" (i.e., the perimeter) to defend the base. EVERYONE!! The cooks, the medical personnel (which to a certain extent was "illegal"), supply personnel, "visitors," everyone, whether that was their job normally or not. It was an emergency! So also today. We are in the "End of Days!" We are in an emergency situation! Everyone has to get up to "the line!" No one is excused! Sisters should not hide behind their sex, men should not hide behind their careers - no one is exempt! All the saints - not just the "chosen few" - have been made "fully functioning members" of the body of Christ - i.e., the church! It's time for all of us to "get up to the line."

God bless you all

S.R. Shearer
Antipas Ministries

FOOTNOTES

  1. Interestingly, this kind of authority structure is not only characteristic of man, it is also characteristic of Satan. Why? - because Satan, after all, is merely another creature (i.e., a created being) - an extremely exalted, powerful and even majestic one, no doubt, but a creature nonetheless. Satan - contrary to what many ill-informed people believe - is neither omniscient nor omnipresent; and, therefore, like man (and all created beings), he too must rely on the use of hierarchies in order to exercise authority. As a result, the kind of control which pertains to and characterizes this world (i.e., the dominion over which he rules) resembles a structure which is restricted (narrow) at its top and broad at its base, and where coordination and authority flow from the top to the bottom; and - as we indicated above - as it descends and passes to its substructure, it extends over space (and even time) by means of hierarchies and bureaucracies.
  2. The Power Elite, pg. 348.

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