On Forsaking the Body of Christ…church

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.(hebrews 10:24-25)

One trend I have been noticing lately with a good many of those who would consider themselves Evangelicals, Pentecostals and Charismatics, is that many are dismissing the importance of commitment to a local church, or in some cases they have just left off going to church.

I know many longtime Christians, who have given up on the church. They are confessing Christians who believe, but for various reasons, they no longer support any local congregation.

Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it…”. There is no “plan B”. For we who live in the end of the Age, participation in the church, the body of Christ, and “Pillar and ground of the Truth” is the means of grace and flourishing spiritually.

Why is this generation so lax about church? How is it that people who have previously been converted and once burned with Spiritual fire,  frequenting fellowship and worship/teachings as often as possible, are now so blasé about church, they no longer see the need to support one?

I think there are obviously a number of factors, some understandable and others inexcusable. Many people have had experiences in which their church leaders allowed the church to change, lowering the standard of teaching, even bringing in heresy, and false practices such as Charismatic nonsense(Toronto,Brownsville). Others have gotten offended and couldn’t be bothered to humble themselves to work things out with their brethren.In some cases Spiritual abuse by the leadership was perhaps a factor.

Like it or not, the Church is still important to God’s purposes, and is indeed the “body of the Messiah”.It is easy to miss all of that in the day to day mundane aspect of learning to love and worship with people of all walks of life, and to allow others to wash your feet as you wash others. God’s plan hasn’t changed, It is still true, that “Wherever two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them….”.

Like the description of Jesus himself, it is also true of the church that “…(S)he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him…(Isaiah 53:2) We too, (the church) are “despised and rejected of men” and have little outward attractiveness to draw the World in.

All we have is the Love of Jesus and the Truth of the Word.

There are a good many Churches who have sought to remedy the problem of outward attractiveness, having received professional training from the marketing world and the church growth industry.

No money is spared to purchase the finest buildings, the” hippest pastors” , studio quality music, they have remade once staid and plain Evangelical churches(Whose emphasis was at one time the Word of God), into worship centers,complete with coffee shops ,gyms and game rooms.They now seek to attract the unchurched. No longer can anyone say of these church ” there is no beauty that we should desire them…”.

It works, as far as drawing in large crowds. Everyone wants to be part of something successful, Hip and growing.

When I was young , going to mass meant coming into a fantastically decorated, otherworldly building, with beautiful and in some cases awe-inspiring statues of Angels, Jesus, His mother, and stain glassed beauty. The Priests dressed in august robes, stoles and embroidered cowls. To walk into Mass on a Sunday morning in the early 1960s was a sensual experience, one smelled incense, saw the colors and felt as close to heaven as it was possible. Even the language seemed Ancient, ethereal, and otherworldly (Latin).

But we never found God there. I never heard the Word of God. No one there could tell me how to be saved…

One day I walked into an Assembly of God church in Ames Iowa. The building was plain and unadorned, no statues, pictures, candles or bells. A small group of people were praying and worshipping, lifting hands to God, tears streaming down many of there faces. At first I thought it phony, I despised it, “This couldn’t be church!” (the minister had no sacred clothes, just a bad polyester suit).

But I saw people of all walks of life; here a businessman, there a washerwoman, with closed eyes, weeping and I can only describe it as Adoring God and Jesus Christ.

The very secrets of my heart were revealed,(I thought the preacher was speaking directly to me in all of my sin and filth).

I had stumbled into the church.

I had never seen it before…the body of Christ…small, marginalized, despised by this world, but lifting up Jesus (as though he was real to them!).

Many years have passed since that day, and I have since been saved and allowed the church to shape me, and to disciple and indoctrinate me, (I knew I needed it). I love this body that Jesus made…He is there wherever they are!

There is no question one can be hurt in church, for all God has to work with are sinners. People will hurt us and we will no doubt hurt others, in the course of time. This is one of the ways God sanctifies and shapes us, chipping away the old man and bringing forth the new.

But too many of us up and leave a church, just at that point the LORD had been bringing them to where they would have had to deal with others and themselves.

One thing people do not understand is that church isn’t a consumer good, like a restaurant, or a health club. The question isn’t “what can I and mine get out of this church?” There will always be a “better church” with more programs and ‘benefits’. This is merely the consumer mindset brought into the Church.

A “mega Church” then does to countless little local churches what a Walmart does to the old storefront shopping districts in little towns. It wipes them out, by offering the “Customer” more and better, and even prettier. I have actually had people explain to me, “We had to leave because we can’t worship to the old Hymn style, we need the Music of the CWHN(Church of whats happening now).

This betrays a lack of understanding of the church, its function and what a spiritual approach to Church would look like. Christians are not ‘religious shoppers’, consumers looking for the best deal. We are all witnesses to our generation of the reality of God.What counts is what God wants of you and what He can offer the church through you.Where does He want you?

Don’t get me wrong , I am not one who believes that everyone in my town should go to our church, we are blessed with a number of valid evangelical gospel preaching churches. Nor do I object if a cult or heretical church goes out of business.Jesus himself warned he would take our Lamp stands out, if we remain apostate.

I happen to believe that many of God’s people have become tired of the whole subject, they have supported churches which changed radically without their agreement, or they have participated in things because their church joined a fad or false revival, or they have had a sour experience here or there with the brethren, and they just don’t think they need church.

So they take themselves out, when the true church needs them more now than ever. It is always worth while to keep seeking fellowship, and to make it a priority, and if you are a parent to make sure your children love church and revolve their life around worship in the body. Don’t model to them that it is unimportant, you will rue the day you did. We need each other!

No Cd or television preacher can take the place of a human being handing you a piece of bread and saying “This is my body broken for you…” .

This is particularly true at the end.

 

 

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29 Responses to On Forsaking the Body of Christ…church

  1. Amber simpson says:

    Love your heart pastor Bill. The three churches I looked around here in Orange County Ca. Were involved in Alpha Course, and replacement theology. Ugh! At the present I have to drive an hour away, and impossible be apart of body cuz so far. 😪 And your right, I need God’s people!
    Thank you, friend.

  2. Susan says:

    I came from a Catholic background and left that church for the evangelical church movement which my family was a,part of for years. God finally opened my blind eyes to the new age mysticism in the Evangelical church. The kandelini spirit, Sozo, fire tunnels, laying on hands, speaking in tongues, drunk in the spirit. I saw it all and experienced it. We basically went from one cult to another. I have experienced that “spirit” it is a,sensual, dark spirit that God has put on his,church for the end time apostasy. I sat for 23 years in that church. I was on my knees for the first time in years. I prayed and fasted for weeks. God opened my eyes to his word and I understand it now. He is faithful. We sat in the mega churches to find sanctuary from what we came out of. Still didn’t feel right with me. I dumped a whole garbage of false teachers, prophets, tapes, CDs, books. The only thing I kept were my bibles. I have searched for churches in my area and can’t seem to find one. The churches are just an arm of a business. Our family spends its,Sunday’s listening to the word of God.

    I have tried Baptist churches, bible churches . We are still looking for churches. But personally Jesus just wants,us to repent daily for our sins, read his,word, feed the poor, help the widow. He is coming back for his remenent. Narrow is the way, few will find it.

  3. standingfirm says:

    Wonderful article Pastor Bill. I am in my fifties now and the past twenty years have been heart breaking. I once had a bible preaching only church, and then after 2002 they brought in Rick Joyner teachings. Many at my Assembly of God church would go up Rick Joyner’s Morningstar star church every chance they got. They were always seeking a mystical experience. After trying to warn everyone (and no one would listen) God called me out of my church. I then spent the next year going a fifty mile radius around my city looking for any church that just preached the word of God without false prophets, false signs & wonders, purpose driven, emergent church etc. To no avail. I even went to a Baptist church and when I said “praise the Lord” everyone turned around and looked at me like I had three eyes! I would love more than anything to be with “like minded believers” but I can’t compromise truth for fellowship. I am waiting for the final trumpet to blow and then will always be with my fellow brethren. God bless you always.

    • I completely agree with you – I am now 80 years old and have not left the Church for any of the carnal reasons that Bill suggests …. it has been for conscience sake and my spiritual welfare that I have had to leave various churches over the years. I would love nothing better than to belong to a true Bible- based Church, especially as I live alone.
      I keep in touch with Christian things now via on-line means such as Bill’s articles and with Christian friends – not ideal I know, but the best I can manage under the circumstances. My Bible and prayers keep me going and my dependence on the Lord grows ever stronger …. He knows me better than I know myself! Come quickly Lord Jesus!

      • Ann Hansom says:

        Hello Eileen

        Your post echoes my own heart and experience and that of many others in my area.
        My heart has ached and longed for a true church to belong to especially after my husbands prolonged illness then death. Its tough to hold on to the truth that we have sometimes. Those of us outside are not always shallow and carnal but deeply committed.
        Its sad that this can be misunderstood.

      • billrandles says:

        Please see my comments to Elizabeth, I think they apply to you also dear sister. I do not think anyone carnal or shallow, when they leave heretical churches. I have spent thirty years counseling many to do so. This is part of a larger series, please hang in there with me! I think it loyalty to Jesus to leave heretical bodies.

      • billrandles says:

        Eileeen please se the replies I gave to Elizabeth, they apply to you also. This is the first of a series, I hope it will help.Love and grace-pbr

  4. mellany E McKenzie says:

    Hello
    Wht I miss mostly is Sunday evening testimony nite.
    Prayer when it was just that – prayer –
    But I do not miss the rest.
    The precious Holy Spirit (unpaid comforter and counselor) has led me to online teaching that has so set me free.
    We have tried different churches – one for 5 years – never got to know a living soul except Walter – he gave out the bulletins.
    Then made a lot of coffee.
    Tried to join things – we just were not the right kind of people –
    Other churches reeling from splits and how to pay their bills.
    It was a mess.
    Churches w/o pastors for over 10 years
    Churches stating all they needed to have were elders.
    The precious Holy Spirit has led me to Pastor Mike Warren
    My husband likes him and actually takes notes.
    To so many others
    I like listening daily to Dr. Vernon McGee.
    I like making my blankets

    do I pray for all the churches
    absolutely

    U know when I knew that I had to stop attending church
    When I came home in tears one day after being mocked yet again
    I went on my knees and just kept saying to God
    I am so bad, so bad, over and over again
    I do not want to be in that place again.
    Not healthy.

    So I listen to God’s word,
    Pray for others
    Make my blankets
    Reach out when I can
    Most if not all of my family is not saved.

    I look up for my redemption draweth nigh
    I look to the author and finisher of my faith.
    Not to other people or buildings that need upkeep.

    Not trying to sound pious, hypocritical or anything at all.
    Just wondering if God thru the Holy Spirit is providing me all the spiritual meat that I need right now.

    I have noticed in the secular realm and in churches – such mocking –
    Not violence yet but I believe it will be one day.
    If the LORD tarries.

    I want to be a disciple of Christ
    Not a victim nor a hypocrite.

    I have discovered lots of people ask for prayer
    From Lisa to the Fulani people in Niger
    to the middle east update
    To Friends of Israel
    To the governments
    To the family I know and love and so long for to come to Christ, before the Rapture
    Perfect strangers b/c God knows their name
    To almost all ministrys
    Dr. McGee has one
    It was a privilege and a delight to pray for a 80 year old security guard in Somalia
    or the seniors citizen home in Russia -thought they were all washed up but God didn’t –

    Do I love Jesus
    Absolutely!
    I know He promised that He would neither leave me nor forsake me.

    I am not sure what is at fault
    Pride, leadership, satan, r flesh, the world, lack of obeying biblical principles,
    not sure anymore but I sure know that i look forward to seeing Jesus.

    I liked wht Billy Graham said
    It is not about Capitalism or Communism (or any other ism) it is about Christ and when He returns He will straighten the whole mess out.

    I remember just before the whole Arab spring all the Coptic Christians gathered together in a cave and they prayed.
    In 2011
    It was beautiful (it was on you tube for awhile)
    They knew that the Moslem Brotherhood was going to come in.
    They knew and understood persecution
    It is coming if the LORD tarries and I do not believe any of us r ready
    Sisi of course disposed him but they knew ahead of time
    The Christians did
    Simply
    To pray
    Do we?

    In the last few days they arrested a man in Mississauga Ontario ( he is trying to understand the craziness of the Moslem immigration in Canada and has spoken out)
    Not a Christian – I am noticing that – that more and more non- Christians speak out with moral clarity – more than Christians do.
    Anyhow….the RCMP came to his home, arrested him, handcuffed him and took him in a RCMP squad car to book him for a hate crime.
    Pls. keep him in your prayers
    Canada for that matter

    Crazy times in which we live
    Not cliches
    I am asking God what book or letter of encouragement to send him
    First his salvation, then the rest will follow
    I am praying that a pastor in the area will visit him and pray with him and share the gospel b/c he needs Jesus more that ever
    Him and his family.

    Marantha!

    One more day closer to the Rapture
    One day closer to the one I love

    In Christ
    Mellany

  5. The difference between the marketing and evangelism is that one gets people into your church and the other gets people into THE Church.

  6. patricia edward says:

    Wholeheartedly agree with you. My problem is that i cannot find a church i am physically able to get to where the pastor is pro Isreal & nor ” replacement theology” os something similar.

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

  7. Ryan Parker says:

    Amen Bill. I grew up in the old (original) assemblies with head coverings and mostly people from the poor end of town, and it has always somehow stuck with me as model for a genuine church. I was only a boy back then, but I knew that God was present. Without false pretense, without fancy decor, without professional music and without professional pastors. The people genuinely loved one another, and the scriptures were taught faithfully every week. As I drifted into my teen years I became ensnared in the hype and flashing lights of the prosperity movement, and thankfully, the Lord took me out. Now, after years of sandpapering (ongoing) I’ve come full circle, and I appreciate the simple again. I see that in your ministry and I identify with it. Bless you and all those like you.

    Ryan

  8. Pauline Jennions says:

    Thank you again for your wise words
    I have spent so much time repenting for allowing myself to be deceived by false teachers and Prophets
    I heard for the first time the gospel preached in simplicity , I had never heard the gospel preached before in the uk , this was in S Africa , i had been to church and Sunday school as a child but no one told me I could receive Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour in the UK
    It was that I needed to be , born again , water baptised and filled with The Holy Spirit read the Bible and pray , in my bedroom after five weeks of going forward in the church to confess Jesus as my saviour , I read Eph Ch 2 V 8-9 and I started to cry because I was filled with a love for Jesus , I knew as ‘ a good person ‘ I would if I had died, have gone to hell ,no one could believe that but it was true .
    I wanted to spend every moment in church listening to the sound preaching , I told all the Lord led me to about what Jesus had done for them and I’m forever grateful that my parents and sister were saved , my dad three months before he died .
    Then everything changed in the church , it was name it and claim it , the prosperity message , people giving away cars and houses , I left .
    I was in a good church with sound teaching , until I was at a house meeting and Ruth Heflin layed hands on me, I manifested the shaking and laughing , I thought it was the Holy Spirit , I layed hands on people in the small church I was attending with the permission of the pastor and we then had nightly meetings of the so called ,Toronto Blessing ,
    This went on for nearly twenty years I then felt God calling me back to the uk , I started to feel uncomfortable about healing rooms , fire walks ,etc and I read a book ,All Roads Lead to Rome ? and ‘ The Fleecing of Christianity’ , I also met Christians who had disernment about what was happening in the churches ,so I repented and asked The Lord for forgiveness, that was about ten years ago , I’m involved with a prison ministry and small fellowships , I try to go as many times as I can to a small church about an hours drive away , that is sound ,but it is not always possible as my husband is not well ,I attended a big church in this small town but it has changed its doctrine and myself and others left .
    I want to know because I’m racked with shame for what I was involved with and I spend hours crying because of how I behaved ., I know 1John 1-9 but as I mocked The Holy Spirit by my behaviour , I awoke the spirit of leviathan , it gave me pride and I’m so ashamed , I want that first love back with the purity and love that I had , as you described , the tears use to pour down my face as I worshipped The Lord , I was so in love with Jesus I didn’t care if I died I just wanted to be with Him and do everything He wanted me to do , I use to hear so clearly His voice in my heart and I spent hours in the mornings praying and reading Gods Word .
    My concern is , has The Holy Spirit left me when I allowed the false spirit to manifest , was one in the flesh?
    I’m sorry to have written so much but your word this morning has spoken to me and I need to know am I still saved ? I love Jesus I just want back what I lost through my blindness in accepting what happened to me , I have had no manifestation since I repented in my body .
    I believe in the gifts but I’m extremely cautious about what is of God and what isn’t
    There must be others out there that feel the same as I do .

    • billrandles says:

      I must reply to you dear Pauline. The very fact that you are concerned about your soul is proof of the work of the real Holy Ghost in your life. Conviction of sin and longing to be restored come from the Holy Spirit, you have not been abandoned by the Spirit of the LORD. Your sin of apostasy has been forgiven as have mine…Jesus loves you, please know that.

  9. Elizabeth Walker says:

    Pastor Bill, although I do understand what you are saying, please bear in mind that some of us have HAD to leave our churches because of the apostasy that has come upon them. There are no other churches to go to here locally that are sound (unless you can accept homosexuality in the ministry, a watering-down of the Gospel, ecumenism and contemplative practices). We try to get to a church in the next county whenever we can (we are elderly women widowed and alone and all over the age of 65 and our travelling capabilities are now limited). It is very easy for pastors of sound churches to say the things said above without bearing this in mind. What you have written is of course not wrong but please spare an understanding thought for those of us that have had absolutely no alternative but to withdraw and who also live in very lonely spiritual circumstances. We are very grateful for a live webcast of Sunday services and a mid-week Bible study however and do have fellowship together with a few others. Sometimes there comes a time when you just have to leave and your beliefs are not wanted anyway, so please don’t inadvertently add to our condemnation . May the Lord bless you and your faithful church.

    • billrandles says:

      thanks Elizabeth, I agree with everything you are saying and am painfully aware and broken hearted about the problem. I have sought for twenty years to warn Pastors and leaders that they were putting the flock in a terrible position. In this particular series of articles I will offer what remedies to this problem I know of from scripture and hopefully elicit a genuine conversation also- keep looking up dear, the Bishop and Shepherd of your soul draws nigh…

    • billrandles says:

      Elizabeth, and a lot of you others, I am sorry. Why? because I didn’t intend to write an article castigating people or leaving church, accusing them of being spiritually lazy and bashing them mercilessly for not supporting the local church. I must not be on my game of clearly expressing myself. What I did intend to say was the following- *Not gathering in fellowship is a last days problem warned about in Hebrews
      * There are many valid reasons why people have left church…false prophets, money preachers, Wolves in Sheepes clothing
      * There are some carnal reasons some have left perfectly fine churches…(got out of the habit, unable to see the sanctifying value of committing to other people, etc)

      This is a multipart series of articles on this subject, I intend to address in greater detail the issues you have raised, and possible solutions to the problem. I don’t blame you for getting out of the fake church, I would too.I have warned a good many to stop supporting wolves, even so much as by continued attendance. Know that my heart breaks for the very situation you describe, and hopefully this cn spark some kind of a solution. Woe to the Shepherds who scatter the flock!!!

      • Elizabeth Walker says:

        Thank you, dear Pastor Bill, for your humility and kind and loving response. It is a comfort in these very difficult times.

  10. We attend a small church, and really like the fellowship of the people, the closeness. Then my heart literally cracked, on Easter Sunday the message was “Jesus fulfilled His Purpose” sounds good , almost solid…….until the “pastor” held up his copy of “A Purpose Driven Life” and proclaimed it as a great book. One we should all read. And Rick Warren is awesome…..We still go there, because I feel The Lord may want someone to speak real truth to this congregation and it’s pastor. If He uses me I do not want to cut and run if that is the case. I just listen to every word from this misguided man’s pulpit. And I pray for him daily to find spiritual clarity.

    Pastor Bill, I was ready to give up on church about two years ago and we almost did. The Moriel network of solid bible based teaching convicted me so intensely that I had to seek out a fellowship.
    Have you ever thought of moving to Salem Ohio, it is really nice over here…..(kidding) God Bless you brother.

    • 1blandina says:

      I’m assuming you meant ‘he said’ that “and rick warren is awesome”
      because the only thing about that is that he is an awesome wolf, leading the sheep astray brilliantly. I would approach the pastor about this and not extend a right hand of fellowship in any way over there.

      • I am currently working out what God wishes for me to do in prayer. So far I have deduced that MANY preachers are not very mature in their spiritual walk. warren is a wolf, no doubt on that. My intention at this point is to follow up with this pastor and present a case that is done in patience, peace and temperance.
        To act in a spirit that refuses any fellowship is not how we should react. God places those of us that have knowledge in places to be used to His Glory.

    • Chris Smith says:

      Hostile Takeover: a generally reviled tactic in the business world of taking control of a company for personal advantage and divesting its assets without regard for that companies management, board of directors, shareholders, or workers.

      Unfortunately, the Hostile Takeover has a counterpart in the evangelical world. Consider how Rick Warren has disenfranchised those who have labored a lifetime in their local assemblies:

      Be willing to let people leave the church. And I told you earlier the fact that people are gonna leave the church no matter what you do. But when you define the vision, you’re choosing who leaves. You say, “But Rick, yes, they’re the pillars of the church.” Now, you know what pillars are. Pillars are people who hold things up … And in your church, you may have to have some blessed subtractions before you have any real additions.

      Rick, through his books, conferences, and simulcasts, has encouraged churches around the world to trash the gospel “once delivered” for his “new improved version” or as he calls it “vision.” And for those of us who oppose this gospel alien to His Word, he has a solution: make the place where we once worshipped our risen Lord so abominable that the Spirit within us will demand we leave.

      A Rick Warren Takeover: what used to be a reviled tactic in the evangelical world of taking control of a local assembly for personal advantage and divesting its assets without regard for that church’s Lord, board of elders, shareholders in His Holiness, or fellow workers in the Truth.

      Why does the world recognizes a “hostile takeover” when they see it, but so many in the church do not?

      “…for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light” (Luke 16:8).

  11. Jeff says:

    Who left the door open and let the devil in to the fellowship of Christ ? It’s a byproduct of a mistake in how the meetings are structured . I consider it a deception of the enemy that has slipped in , but the problem comes from always trying to do these two things at the same time. The first thing is the meeting together of those that love and obey Jesus, the second is the activity or activities of taking the word to people who don’t live according to the word.

    Now the written word clearly says to meet together as believers and there are also clear instructions to bring His word to people who don’t live by His word, but it has to be done at two separate times. What happens when you try to do both at the same meeting is that the way you go about doing each individual thing has to be changed so that you can also do the other thing at the same time. In fact the changes to each is so different from what the word defines them as ,you lose both in the attempt to do both , rather than just do only one of them at one meeting and the other at a separate time.
    A few examples of how bad it is, a meeting together of the believers should be led by the Holy Spirit and can be because everyone there is in submission to Christ. In other words Jesus runs things. But if you are also trying to take the word to people who don’t live according to the word at the same time , there are people there who won’t do what Jesus tells them to do, so a human worldly authority has to replace the Holy Spirit as leader . The meeting together of believers is no longer defined as a group that is in agreement to do whatever Jesus wants them to do as individuals and as a group, because you invite people that wont do what Jesus says. In fact what you have is a group that agrees that , no one who is here has to do what The Lord tells them to do, a disaster if you are doing those things that are only appropriately done at a meeting of JUST believers.

    The group prayer becomes, we will call Him “Lord” but no one has to do what He says , a lie that God hates. The worship is altered so that people who actually despise God’s written word are invited to worship Him, not true worship . This way of having church causes endless confusion when trying to discern if what goes on is right before God.
    So either meet together with only people who will do everything Jesus tells them to do , or take the word to those who refuse to live according to God’s word , but NEVER try to do both at the same time.

  12. Rita Lindhag says:

    Hard to go to Church sometimes when the Pastor questions your Salvation because you don’t believe “once saved always saved”. Don’t feel like we can join in because they don’t exactly believe we are Saved. It’s like they are always trying to get us Saved and do not treat us as credible Christians

  13. John Hayworth says:

    We gave up on “Church Going” several years ago; partly because there is complete apostasy in them (Ecumenism, Spiritually void Pentecostalism, WO(L)F/Prosperity) and because “Church Going” is not a Biblical concept. Church is what we are supposed to be as believers in Christ and not somewhere we go!

    We now home church.

    Also our stance on Evangelism as opposed to the notion of Evangelisation that is promoted and organised in England, by Lambeth (the Church of England) and the Vatican, has made us unwelcome in most churches in our area.

    People can, and should, leave such apostate churches; however they ought not to give up on fellowshipping.

  14. Dmarie says:

    Bill, I so appreciate this CRITICAL topic as the last days are upon us!!
    We NEED to discuss this and help/encourage each other!
    And, amen to above:
    “Church Going” is not a Biblical concept. Church is what we are supposed to be as believers in Christ and not somewhere we go!”
    It is always awkward for me when others ask: “where do you go to church?”
    Yes, I love Jesus – therefore, I am a living stone in ‘The Church” of which Jesus is The Cornerstone – which cannot be ‘attended’… And THAT is what the gates of hell cannot prevail against; praise the LORD!!
    I will spare you all very gory details of a ‘place’ of ‘worship’ we used to ‘attend’… I know we all have gone through similar experiences, for there is nothing new under the sun. Anyway, a ‘place’ that I thought was “all about Jesus” turned out to be all about furthering it’s own kingdom… at the expense of souls along the way. When we tried to bring forth our heart-felt concerns we were literally forced out of there – which was actually very helpful because we didn’t have to wonder if we should leave/stay. I knew then that the LORD showed me it was NOT about a ‘place’, and that I would never sign on to a man-made ‘membership’ list again (at least for church).
    Since then (12 years) we have wandered around and tried to visit one apostate church after another. All the errors you have listed have also prevailed in our area.
    “Church”, as ‘we’ have made it in current times, is nothing that resembles what is written in the book of Acts. One person, who is a ‘designated speaker’ for the ‘service’… this is just the tip of the iceberg of the problem.
    There is nothing wrong with a designated time for BELIEVERS to gather – at a home, park, building, etc. But, why are SO FEW desiring to allow the LORD to direct those times of fellowship? When the 2nd one has something to say, the 1st one sits down, and the rest: test every word according to the Word of God? Gifts of the Spirit being allowed to WORK they way they are designed… this is what I long for, and cannot find anywhere. The Holy Spirit is being QUENCHED! While the anti-christ spirit is having a hey-day.
    I hate ‘settling’ for what I KNOW is so much LESS that what He longs to give to us NOW… but I find myself showing up on most Sundays at a Baptist church (I am not baptist, or any other), only because I know many people there, and desire my young sons to hear a godly man preach and not just their mother. I feel like I am compromising though, on what the LORD showed me – I am so torn! If we stay at home, then nothing happens. I have no one else around me to ‘gather with’ who desires to FOCUS on Jesus… at least no men.
    As I have traveled around and visited various ‘churches’ I have been ‘fishing’ for like-hearted others with whom I can possibly share true fellowship. Then, as I find them, our relationships are about JESUS and not a ‘place’. (Again, I will never again ‘join’ a place.)
    Some people perceive this to be arrogance (I think I’m too good for most others)… but that really isn’t the case. I look for others who TRULY LOVE Jesus – those are the people I want to KNOW and have FELLOWSHIP (share life) with. All others who do not TRULY LOVE Jesus need to be witnessed to, not made to feel as though they are part of His Body… as they are placed on the ‘membership list’ of a place.
    Again, “church”, as we know it today, is NOTHING like what is intended and DESIRED for us by our LORD (at least not anywhere that I have ever seen).
    Friends, we need to repent and start over – back to the BASICS – not try to compromise or put temporary bandaids on this.
    I hope that this discussion will open the doors for this to happen, as we are in such desperate need!
    Especially as the time draws near – we NEED “THE CHURCH” and TRUE, God-designed fellowship.
    Again, thank you Bill for raising this topic; it will surely get lots of feedback as so many of us are in the same boat.
    “THEN THOSE WHO FEARED THE LORD SPOKE TO ONE ANOTHER, AND THE LORD GAVE ATTENTION AND HEARD IT, AND A BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE WAS WRITTEN BEFORE HIM FOR THOSE WHO FEAR THE LORD AND WHO ESTEEM HIS NAME. “THEY WILL BE MINE,” SAYS THE LORD OF HOSTS, “ON THE DAY THAT I PREPARE MY OWN POSSESSION, AND I WILL SPARE THEM AS A MAN SPARES HIS OWN SON WHO SERVES HIM.” SO YOU WILL AGAIN DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED, BETWEEN ONE WHO SERVES GOD AND ONE WHO DOES NOT SERVE HIM.” MALACHI 3:16-18

  15. 1blandina says:

    To chime in…

    I agree with the comments and that is the boat we are all in.
    The ‘church’ is in apostasy due to worldly culture, sin, emergent deception, falsehoods, heresies, dominionism, contemplative mysticism, purpose driven, seeker sensitive/friendly harlotry, ecumenism and even interfaith, uniting with the RCC, eastern religion and yoga, the shack and pantheism, and a host of other ailments.

    Not only can we not fellowship there because there is no unity, but we are called to warn against these things. (2 John 1; 10) That is about the only ministry we have there. When we do warn, we are usually shown the cold shoulder and the door, and that ends any good intention we may have entertained. If one remains, they risk the danger of becoming slowly corrupted by the apostasy and its seducing spirits of deception, like the frog in the water that boiled him slowly.

    As for definitions, WE are THE church. We technically can’t even leave church unless we forsook the Lord. Fellowship among the brethren is GREAT and definitely what the Lord intended. BUT, we can’t go to a false church any more than a cult because there is no fellowship between light and darkness.

    Many of us are in that predicament and desperately crave and seek this fellowship, but we are too few and far between. When there are a few, the thing to do is form a home church. That IS the church, there is nothing lacking. This is what the early church did and nothing was better. What does ‘the church’ do? We worship the Lord in song, the Holy Spirit leads, the Lord is the Head of the church, we pray and exercise gifts (from the Spirit, not the occult), we read and study the Bible, a male may lead the teaching in a mixed gender group of men and women, if only women it may be a female then, and we take communion. We fellowship, engage in good deeds, edify one another, and ‘love one another’ as Jesus would have us do. A roof even is not essential, but surely someone can open their home for a church group meeting.

    If you are one of the lucky ones that has found a biblical church, PRAISE THE LORD! By all means, go there!

    But a word of comfort to those of us who are alone. I know, I have been there and it hurts. It is part of our cross to bear these days and is not without pain. Remember; Jesus is our Good Shepherd and He will not leave us alone. We have fellowship with Him and He comforts us in our loneliness. Go to Him and He will fill all your needs. The Bible says we have the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. Read your bible daily, pray, worship the Lord in song. There are many of us like you, you truly are not alone. May you find comfort in the verse below:

    “‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them.”‘” For thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. “As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.” Ezekiel 34; 10-12 (Yes, this totally applies to us today; His people the church, His chosen bride.)

    And, in all cases we are called to evangelize! This may bring like minded Christians together as well as save the lost and even end up in the formation of a home church group! I did this and ended up meeting other evangelists and Christians and now we share the gospel together, so there is hope.

    What I did:
    Get a big sign from a place like Walmart and post some bible verses about the gospel, have a title like ‘Jesus saves’ or something obvious. You can get fancy with a tent and table with chairs, or just a prop stand and stool. Have tracts, you can either make or purchase these, Bibles (I got some at the 99 cent store for a dollar and gave them out), and even some good discernment materials about what is happening in the churches, and an email sign up sheet for fellowship if you run into Christians. This can lead into various ministries depending on the responses. I suggest go to a public park and camp out there for a few hours on a Saturday morning or afternoon (near a restroom and bring some water, at least an umbrella) where there is a lot of foot traffic.

    If you are the shy type like me, this can make you nervous but it gets better and is truly a blessing. Remember, Jesus calls us to go out and be ‘fishers of men’! Here is my tract information which you can use freely:

    Tract and/or large sign or banner content below…

    Everlasting Life in Heaven (Title it anything you like)
    “…for all have sinned…” Romans 3; 23
    “For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6; 23a
    “But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5; 8
    “He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours alone, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2; 2
    “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3; 16
    “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6; 23b
    “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” 1 Corinthians 5; 3-4
    “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness…” 1 Peter 2; 24
    Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” John 3; 3
    From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4; 17
    “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7; 13-14
    So He said to them again, “Truly, truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before Me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved.” John 10; 7-9
    “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2; 8-9
    “And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45; 21-22, see also John 14; 6, Acts 4; 12, 1 Timothy 2; 5
    “…to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those sanctified by faith in Me.’ [Jesus] Acts 26; 18
    And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16; 15
    “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with Me.” [Jesus] Revelation 3; 20
    Repent and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation and forgiveness of sins today!

    Use bible verses like this, the whole gospel is in there!
    God bless you as you serve Him!
    ( :

  16. Dmarie says:

    THANK YOU, for your encouragement to “cast our nets”!! 🙂
    Jesus has called us to be fishers of men… and He didn’t ask us to use “programs”, enticing music, feel-good messages, fancy buildings, coffee/food, etc. to do it.
    Stick with The Word (as you have shown), and we will have the people that HE brings…
    which may be few, but unless the LORD builds the house, we labor in vain who build.
    (Also, maybe we would list our area below our comments?)
    Buffalo, NY

  17. Chris Smith says:

    I took my father for a drive one evening not so long ago. Over old country roads that were once so familiar. Latent memories brightened his face at every turn: “I used to plow that field for Jake, or plant that one for Dave, or combine that for Marlon.” Returning from the war, he and his often envied Oliver 70, purchased for two hundred dollars and two mules, not only tended his land but that of a multitude of others, land he knew as intimately as his own.

    Suddenly, pointing toward the fading sun, he became disturbed: “There used to be a church there and a graveyard.” But I saw nothing but the silhouette of a fencerow entwined with reeds and vines. Yes, there had been a church, and perhaps as many as a dozen other one room sanctuaries scattered along that dusty meandering road, but like this one, little or nothing now remains. “The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride” are forever silent.

    These forgotten churches of fair meadows and vale are so unlike those of today: No satellite receiver affixed to a steeple. No sermons to “spiritually” download or hymns with copyright code. No worship bands to rival a night club or bar. No messages patterned after some Hollywood movie or star. No popular book studies other then the King James. No “Lights, Action, Camera” directing performers to take the stage. And sometimes not even a pastor. But “they continued steadfastly in the apostles teaching and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” in a time when apostasy could travel little faster than an occasional circuit rider, in a time when Satan could deceive but one church at a time.

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