Pastor/hirelings teaching presumption or twisted scriptures rule churches

2Ti 4:1  I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

As some of you know I have moved and I am now on a quest to find a new church. It is a very frustrating experience in the Ozarks. I am in a low population area so finding a suitable Christian fellowship within an hour drive of my place can be a challenge.

From what I see, I think the time mention in the passage above has arrived. Pastor/hirelings are teaching presumption, tales, (made up or real) psychological theory, packaged programs, mysticism and twisted scriptures instead of teaching sound doctrine in their churches. That apparently is what the churches that hire these people want or these hirelings would not be there.

I call them hirelings because they are not from the local churches and most of these hirelings would not be there if they could find a better job. Hirelings jump ship every few years for more wages and they prove the point. Many do not have the nature of a shepherd so I do not know why they pretend to be one.

Most churches in this rural area have 10 to 150 attendees. The smaller ones have a part-time pastor. Most of these part-time pastors are under-educated. They teach presumption or twisted scriptures as the gospel truth because they did not learn the truth. They have little understanding of scripture. They heard it on “Christian” TV or read it in a book so now they will repeat it in their own words.

Nobody wants to really study the scripture to show themselves approved anymore. They just take a verse and run with it down any path that is long enough to allow for 20 or 30 minutes of preaching. They will even claim the Holy Spirit gave them new illumination. However, the end result is twisted scriptures.

Most churches near me are denominational churches. The hireling leaders just copy the programs of larger churches in their domination and their pastors give messages about anything their congregation might like. Their teaching generally does not show sound exegesis from the scriptures.

All the denominations have some strange make up doctrines. Wolves in sheep clothing always creep in and confuse sound doctrine in any denomination. Any careful reading of scripture does not support some major points in all denominations.

For this reason, when searching for a church, I have to rule out most of the denominational churches located around here right off the bat. For example:

  • Catholic doctrine is not based on biblical Christianity, it is full of paganism, ritualism and clergy-made traditions. They use common words that Christians use such as grace and faith, but they put their own meanings on the words. Salvation is something you must earn in Catholicism.
  • Church of Christ thinks water baptism and certain words saves people and they believe that others that are not baptized their way are not saved. Among other legalisms, they also do allow musical instruments in the worship service.
  • Seventh Day Adventists believe Ellen White was the prophet to their church and they generally follow her presumptions and twisted scriptures as being directly inspired by God. They generally also think one has to keep the many laws of the Old Testament to stay saved. Some are a cult.
  • The Methodists have a social gospel and have many women pastors, they discount sinful lifestyles and put such people in leadership. They twist the scriptures by demoting or redefining scriptures that they do not like. Most Methodists have joined with the world.
  • Some Presbyterians also often have a social gospel. They use twisted scriptures to teach Replacement Theology. Most also add extreme Calvinism and they deny millennial theology about the Lord’s coming Kingdom on earth.
  • Lutherans believe in a formal clergy of hirelings and believe infants are regenerated as Christians through water baptism. Only twisted scriptures gets you there.
  • Assembly of God, Foursquare and others believe that the new birth and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are two separate experiences. They say getting saved by trusting in Jesus does not mean that you ever got the Holy Spirit. They teach that you have to do something to get the Holy Spirit and you must speak in tongues as the evidence that you received the Holy Spirit. They think Christians can lose their salvation if they do not measure up.
  • Word of Faith churches are popular around here, just about every small town has one. They are all clones of each other. Their name it and claim it presumptions and twisted scriptures are copied from notorious wealthy TV hucksters. The churches are attended by delusional people who never find the prosperity or the healing that they think they can get by conjuring up enough faith to believe that they have received it. The control freak hireling/pastors of Word of Faith just love to Lord over others using twisted scriptures!
  • Oneness Pentecostals such as United Pentecostals are also big around here. They deny the Trinity. They deny that people baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Christians. They are very legalistic. They really are a theological and sociological cult.

The denominations listed above are most of the denominations around here that are not Baptists. Baptist churches are probably about 80 percent of the churches around here. There are a few other denominational churches in the general area but they are rare, have very small congregations, and they have serious issues of their own. There also are a number of small community churches where the members don’t agree on much of anything.

I believe the Bible is the only infallible authority for Church doctrine and practice so it should not surprise anyone that the “people of the Book” (Baptists) would be the main churches that I would be checking out.

One major problem I have with the Baptists is their stupid church covenant. Almost all of them have this covenant hanging on the wall as if it were the ten commandments. Since I will not keep their church covenant, I will not join the formal membership of any church that has it in their constitution and bylaws. Most of them do.

Some Baptist churches will not tell you about their covenant even if you ask. I was deceived more than once. That is because the pastors and many of the members do not agree with or abide by the covenant themselves but they do not want to risk a church split to remove it. Yet, they do want new members.

For example, the covenant does not allow alcohol use or the sale of it in any way, shape, or form but most of the members use it or are associated with some business that sells it. I think prohibition is not the law of the land anymore and it never was the law of the Church. But, the sad thing is that people agree to the covenant to become members knowing that they do not intend to abide by the covenant. People have no integrity. They become hypocrites to join a local church membership. If they did not go along with this man-made nonsense, the churches would have to change.

Even so, because I will not attend the other denominational churches for the reasons I give above, I am pretty much left with the Baptists around here. Southern Baptists are the churches I usually attend but they generally do have that covenant. If they do, I will not join their local membership.

Besides the Southern Baptists, around here you also have the General Baptists, the Free Will Baptists and the independent Baptists. The General Baptists and the Free will Baptists are Arminian in belief. They believe Jesus died to save all (no predestined elect) and you can lose your salvation if you do not live like they say a Christian must.

I avoid such churches, but in desperation I checked out the Facebook page of the General Baptist in the nearest town. The pastor had a LinkedIn picture of Rick Warren. He was the only link on the page. Barf!! I am not going to any seeker sensitive purpose driven church. Why would any sound teacher link to Rick Warren?

I also checked out the website of a big General Baptist in a small city about an hour from here. It was obvious from the website that they were just a seeker sensitive entertainment center.

I have visited Free Will in the past by invite of friends. The Free Will Baptists are a legalistic bunch and they tend to have not very well-educated part-time leadership. It seems that everyone is watching everyone else to make sure they meet up to their Christians standards. If they don’t, they are ostracized until they get saved again. I knew one person that had been made pastor, demoted, disfellowshipped, restored in membership, made pastor again, and disfellowshipped again within a two-year period. I also am not into foot washing rituals. That is a big thing in Free Will churches.

The Independent Baptists may be of that denomination (Independent fundamental Baptists) or they may be unaligned but around here they all seem to be KJV only. If Pastors will tell you what Bible version is the only inerrant word, they will also tell you many other things that God has not revealed. These churches are very legalistic and they are not my cup of tea. If I really wanted a control freak for a pastor, I could go to any Word of Faith church. They control people with a smile and lying promises. These fellows control with the threat of eternal damnation.

We checked out the First Southern Baptist Church in the nearest town. I could not believe it. The youths were running the service that week and they had no message other than they went on a trip to the beach. They finished with a 5 minute line dance to rap music. In desperation I thought I would check this church out again online and listen to the latest sermon of the pastor.

It started off good, the man could speak and he talked about 9/11, and he told us to turn to a Bible passage. It soon went downhill. The Pastor was just making things up from Old Testament scripture as he went along. He used eisegesis to make the passage say what he wanted it to say. He made the seven-day march around Jericho some Christian application for living today without any regard to proper context or correct exegesis. He even brought in 2 Ch 7:14 as if the Church is the blame for what happens in America.

We checked out the First Southern Baptist Church in the seconded nearest town twice. I cannot remember what the sermons were about. That probably is because the Pastor said nothing much worth remembering. On the second visit we first went to Sunday School. That was a total disaster. The leader of the class is also the worship leader at that church of about 125 attendees. So he probably is the second most influential person in the church.

In Sunday school held in the auditorium he just read from some commentary on John as if he were reading the whole thing from the Bible. He did not even come up for air so you could tell when his Bible reading stopped and the commentary on the passage began. At the end, he did mention that we should ask ourselves what would Jesus do and he did say that something he read reminds him of something in the Heaven is for Real”. Movie. Are you kidding me!

We checked out a small community church twice that is about a dozen miles away. The second time de-iced the cake. The pastor did not show up. I guess that Saturday he asked his second in charge to give the message. The second in charge admitted he decided not to prepare any message. Instead he just babbled about something that nobody remembers. I guess the few people who attend there go there because they live in that neck of the woods and they want to know others living in that woods. I don’t live in that woods so I will not be attending there.

We tried another community church almost an hour away. I got the impression that they were just playing Baptist Church. I never get a good impression of a church when they start off the service with who had a birthday or anniversary this week. What are we here for? It was another backwoods community church where the people did not live in my neck of the woods. I should drive an hour for this?

I am almost getting desperate now, so on the Internet I check out all the churches within a city of about 20,000 people. That city is about an hour away. Thus far I cannot find anything that is worth the travel time. I cannot even find one non-denominational Bible church. There is a big First Baptist in town. However, the pastor is retiring next month. The town gossip site suggests that he is retiring because he is fed up with certain people in that church. It also says the church has lost a lot of members for the same reason. I might still check it out but I certainly do not have high hopes.

Now don’t tell me to start my own church. Watchmen are not pastor/politicians. Maybe I could solve the dilemma by just asking, what would Jesus do? What I do know is that it is much easier to find a biblical church in the Southwest. How about some Calvary Chapel setting up a fellowship around here?? What do you think?

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About Don Koenig

Don Koenig is the founder of ThePropheticYears website. He has been publishing articles on the Internet on Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and Christian worldviews since 1999.

You can find well over a thousand articles and thousands of comments written by Don from the homepage of this website.


Comments

Pastor/hirelings teaching presumption or twisted scriptures rule churches — 38 Comments

  1. 20 years ago I would have had no idea of what you were talking about with all these denominations… “don’t we all just Love God” is where I was back in those days. Since then, I’ve toured through a handful of those churches you’ve mentioned… where there was always an element of truth missing that I wasn’t quite able to put my finger upon. I’m currently church less myself since January of this year having attended an SBC church for about 3 years that avoided Prophecy and leaned Reformed. I was actually out in your neck of the woodsfor the first time over the Labor Day weekend in Branson for a Bible Retreat Conference. Wow, you have some beautiful country out there in those Ozarks! I’ve been listening to an online church now for about a year where we’re Blessed with roughly about 5 hours of solid teaching each week. I miss the real live people interactions… but I can’t trade the “truth” for that people interaction comfort. I sure do appreciate your archives and solid teaching. Thank You! I pray you’ll find a place where the Truth is preached and where you will also be able to contribute. Regardless, the Lord must certainly be pleased with your passion and pursuit of His Word. God Bless!

  2. Don, sorry to hear of the state of the Church. I grew in Eastern OK, just south of your Ozark Mountains. My mom “religiously” took us as children to Assembly of God churches. You are correct in that there is much bad teaching, at least as I read the Bible. As a teenager, a student from one of their two colleges was a guest teacher one Sunday. We were taught that Jesus did not change water into wine but into grape juice. The ancients apparently drank grape juice and not fermented grape juice (wine) to make the scripture fit their anti-alcohol teachings. Since we lived on a farm, I knew about yeast and fermentation and knew that Louis Pasteur had not lived in Roman times.

    The point being that you are correct, I suspect that I am not as I have given up churches about 30 years ago. The gathering together is important. I joined the navy out of college and with post navy jobs and such had moved at least 20 times in the 10 years out of college. I finally gave up on finding a church every few months. However, the Bible is true, God is good, and Jesus was always with me (even under the Pacific Ocean on a submarine). If one keeps scripture as the focus, I have found some very useful teaching ministries online (Jack Kelly at Gracethrufaith is one example I like). The key is to ensure that any teaching is from the Bible and NOT from some blowhard preacher;s ego.

    BTW, thank you for restarting your blog. I had not checked in on your site for a long time and last week saw that you had restarted. I find your teaching to be based on the Bible, the Revelation commentary is one I found instructive.

    Phil

  3. Thanks Phil,

    I probably have moved almost 50 times in my life for various reason. Some years I moved twice. There were times and places when I just gave up looking for a fellowship. There were a few times when I was in the same city for a couple of years. That is when I sometimes found suitable fellowship.

  4. All I can do, is just, sadly shake my head in knowing sympathy. I live in the suburbs just outside a major city, and there are all the churches you mentioned within walking distance. My first experience came from a Independent Fundamental Baptist Church, associated with the larger national group. It was almost two years before I learned enough to know they were legalistic, twisting scripture to their own intentions. I made the fatal mistake in questioning leadership, and for that, I was summarily ” un-Churched” and the pastor was kind enough to write my resignation letter, AND accept it on my behalf, in absentia. Never mind that the precious “Church Covenant” was broken in several places. So, because I was enrolled in Bible school, I needed another church to attend.At that point, I knocked the dust off my sandals, as it were, and moved on to more of the same, after visiting the many other imitations, I found another, less strict, “sister church”.

    Three years and out, I’m done looking. I spent those early years, reading and studying the Bible, commentaries, church history, and denominations. I even have a Bible certificate in New Testament, Old Testament, and theology. I had planned on starting a prison ministry, but, not having a sending church, presents a problem, and those legalistic pariahs were not content to just let me go peacefully. Oh no, they were hard at work spreading the word of what a bad egg I was. They have some rather cult like attitudes about former members, and I was not going to go back and bow to Bael. So, I visited some more churches, and finally gave up. The problems for those who know the Word, it’s almost impossible to find a church with leaders who know as much or more in order to teach properly.

  5. Hi David,

    From your comments on my blogs I knew you were a very well informed Christian that understood scripture and now I understand why. I do hope that you can find Christian fellowship.

    One does not need to attend a church for that to happen. However, outside of the churches the opportunities to meet Christians with knowledge and understanding of the scriptures is difficult. Come to think of it finding such people in the churches is not likely either. And finding someone that will discuss the Bible outside of the church building is near impossible. That includes pastors.

    Not long ago I met a local Christian guy that knew what he was talking about but he would not attend church for good reason. I regret that the couples health problems and my wife’s priorities let our fellowship die. Now we have moved away from the area and it is no longer feasible. He was one of the only local people that I knew that used to read all of my posts and consider what I said. I hope he still does. As far as I know he never did comment on the blogs.

    I guess my point is that spending time with even one local Christian that does not play church, but properly discerns scripture showing understanding is more valuable than the chatter of a whole assembly of people playing church on Sunday morning and sometimes on Wednesday. One is real Christian fellowship the other is a counterfeit.

  6. Yep, looks like we have similar problems, I lost the one true Christian friend to cancer several months ago. I met him at the sister church. He was an elder, and founding member, and was largely responsible for my attending there. But, politics happened, and he found himself on the outside looking in. His group were all getting older and diminished in numbers, and as in typical “hireling” fashion, the pastor, and assorted allies, staged a coup. The pastor was looking to feather his nest for retirement in the not too distant future. You see, this pastor put down roots and bought a home. In order to protect his investment, he needed longevity. Marlin was a threat to that, and like I did, he spoke out about things that were wrong. That’s when he found out just who were his brothers in Christ really were. And most were pretenders, or worse, cowards.

    As you well know, it takes a huge effort to find
    a decent church, let alone a Biblicly sound one. And it’s only getting harder. I guess you could go to one enough to see if there are any relationships worth forming, and spending time to develop. Fortunately, we do have family, that are all Baptist , mostly the independent kind, and my step son went to Bob Jones University where he met his wife. But, I do miss Marlin. We had some great talks.

  7. I see that after following your blog for @8-9 years, nothing has changed in the difficulty we all seem to be having finding a church to call home. Honestly, it has gotten worse. Mind you, I live in Chicago, not some small town, and there are more churches here and in NW Indiana than you can shake a stick at. Don, it is funny you said within an hour away from home, because that’s about the limit I chose as well. More than that, and attendance or participation would be minimal at best. It is depressing, because I actually long to be in a body of like-minded believers, not just for me but for my family as well. But it seems like the more I look, the less I find. It’s really a lonely feeling, and I find myself asking myself if the problem is me. But it’s kind of like Neo taking the red pill in The Matrix. Once your eyes are opened up, there’s no going back. I can’t see the point in playing church just to play church. One more reason why I hope The Rapture won’t be much longer. No, it’s not “The Great Escape”…it’s going home. And I am really homesick.

  8. Once in awhile I feel guilty because I’ve stopped going to church and stopped looking for one. I’m limited in distance because I’m loosing my eyesight and only drive short distances to familiar places.

    I talk to other Christians in my groups on social media. Not the best deal. A couple are KJV only and others promote 2 Ch: 7, 14 or anything they think is Christian, i.e “Heaven is for real,” Obama is the anti Christ, the Bible says our last sitting President will be a businessman (really) and one woman’s language would make a sailor blush.

    I used to try to tactfully correct the misapplications but I can’t keep up with all of them so I quit. I’m about ready to give up on talking to them altogether. I guess my point is I’m having the same problems finding someone to talk to as I had in finding a Biblical Church. I love talking Bible and one person is enough for me because I’m basically anti social anyway.

    So good luck in your search, Don.

  9. Why do you have to physically attend a church? In the internet age you can watch your favorite sermons anywhere in the U.S.. Some church websites also have Skype and live chat.

  10. I haven’t found a church myself either. It’s bothersome because I want fellowship with Christian’s who know their Bibles. Thankfully, for me, my brother-in-law went to Bible school. But, I see him maybe 5 time a year at most. So, I study a lot on my own and come to websites like this to talk about Jesus. It’s disheartening honestly.

  11. Well,we are to forsake not the assembling of ourselves together..i miss singing praising and praying with others.because I am leery if churches..that’s a long story no need to go there..every time I hit one of these false teachings I can’t stay.my daughter is now involved with a lovely little church..primitive Baptist? And you can understand the hymns,the pastor preaches straight out of the Bible and you are expected to follow along, wonderful kids programs.Jackson goes to.nursery..as he cannot talk.it is welcome to find a group that can handle that.no,he is not autistic.anyway,I find it hard to connect but I am trying to be obedient.I have wondered if the media reported nones are as many of us..aware Christians who see the brokenness and emptiness,as well as those who want any idea of the word Christian removed from their records.they love the idea of nones you know.in the media.so if we without church homes can still.study and privately pray,what can we say about all this? The great falling away is happening.spread the gospel while you still can remember we are one body,in my case I try to find legitimate groups that help the persecuted church.think churches are bad? Many non profits are shills,you have to get in and read financial.statements..but don’t give up.I feel the loss keenly .I am constantly reminded of my Jewish friend’s attitude..she has passed now..but she never attended the same synagogue twice. She skipped around so they wouldn’t drag her into whatever projects they had going on..cmon its funny. So continue to support things like this blog and each other while we look for the almost hidden correct gospel and not accept another..As Paul.said.

  12. Don, thanks for the great recap of the various denominational beliefs. I think I will copy it and carry it around with me. One you didn’t address is the Christian (Disciples of Christ) church. That was the church I was baptized in 57 years ago. I’ve always been a little resentful of that church because they did little to encourage me to read and study the bible (at age 16 I wasn’t that curious about it anyway). Off and on during my adult life I looked for a church I was comfortable in, but never found it. So, consequently up until approximately 2011, I didn’t go to church much. BUT…..I had somewhat of a spiritual re-awakening and started to read the Bible on my own. Well, lo and behold, the more I read, the more I wanted to know, and I just went from there.

    I ended up going to a nice little SBC just four minutes from my house, and praise the Lord, I found a wonderful church family where nearly everyone is a Bible expert in their own right, since all of us range in age from 70 to 90 and most have been studying the Bible since they were very young. We have a few “youngsters” but not many. You are right about the “Covenant.” When I first started attending this church, they had the Covenant hanging on the sanctuary wall. I actually took a digital picture of it and stored it, and I’m glad I did, because somewhere down the line it was taken off the wall and has not reappeared. Interesting. I may ask the Pastor about it out of curiosity. All in all though, I am extremely content and satisfied with my church family. There’s a lot of love, really minimal problems, and much cooperation and support from most all members. Our pastor preaches strictly from the Bible, and that’s what I was looking for.

    I also do a lot of reading online and as Phil above said, Jack Kelley’s (may he rest in peace) Grace Through Faith website has been a major factor in my understanding of of the Bible. He has so many Bible studies that are so easily read and understood. I would recommend him to anyone. And, I have really enjoyed your studies also. I’m in the process of going through your Revelation study right now, since our pastor has started preaching from Revelation now and I know he intends to go through the whole Book. Thanks for a great blog, Don. It’s become a significant part of my day now.

  13. Church is not just about teaching or collective worship. It is about Christian fellowship and using your God given gifts for others. Especially for those in the Body of Christ.

  14. There are a lot of denominations that I did not mention because they do not have a big presence in this part of the Ozarks. Disciples of Christ have their own unique issues. They generally are amillennial or panmillennial, liturgical and ritualistic and they tend toward a social gospel. They actually do not have any strong biblical based doctrine. Each member does what they think is right in their own eyes. There are true Christians among them but for many going to church is more of a Sunday tradition.

  15. I agree that it is hard to find a church that sticks with true bible teaching. I did find 4 churches that
    teach the true rightly dividing the word of God. They are all an hour away. The closest one does
    teach water baptism as a tribute to God which I do not think is necessary. My problem is I really need a close church that I can get my family involved in. We did give this closer church a try. I was happy to see a few young adults heavily involved but the pastor seemed to only focus on them – constantly asking them to quote a scripture. He didn’t seem to care about the congregation or teaching anyone else. If he would save their teaching for bible class and focus on a Sunday sermon I might go back. I guess my point is a good church not only teaches true doctrine but is not just for the already saved.

  16. Don, thanks for a good recap of different denominations and error. We definitely are living in and near the time that the Bible spends so much time speaking of.
    I went to a Catholic grade school for 8 years but never became a Christian until I was 26. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior from an altar call at a non denominational church that also was a Bible college. I ended up going to 4 years of Bible college and learned mostly truth although there were many errors as I look back. I left the church after 11 years when the pastor starting severely departing from the scripture and encouraging “spiritual encounters” with other members of the body.

    Looking back the major errors included that they leaned strongly to the “oneness” teaching, rejecting the 3 persons of the Trinity. They also were of the Armenian persuasion. Another teaching that I believe was a major error as well was that they taught the “daughters of Seth” theory.

    I learned a lot over the following years by listening to Bible commentary from Chuck Missler, who used to teach Bible studies at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and then started Koinonia House ministries. Chuck got me straightened out on the Trinity (Thank the Lord!) Also, when he taught about the Nephilim in Genesis, it was a significant moment for me and really opened up the scriptures to my understanding. It made so many areas come together and provided answers as to why God did what he did in so many instances.
    I have never really been able to pin down what Chuck believes about whether or not you can lose your salvation. He kind of rides the fence on that one. I remember him saying “Abide in Me and I will abide in you” as his answer, but he also spoke of a believer being in the Father’s hand and Jesus’ hand (as in closed upon each other’s hands so there is no exit).
    One of my favorite teachers who I look forward to meeting in the New Jerusalem as well as Chuck, is the dearly departed Jack Kelly. He had a gift of exposing the scriptures in a way that I have greatly learned from and I am with him with regards to his OSAS position.

    I love how he taught Matthew 24 where Jesus was asked by the disciples 1) When will the temple be destroyed? 2) what will be the sign of your coming? 3)What will be the sign of the coming of the end of the age?
    Jesus was speaking to Jews, the church had not started yet. He came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. His answers were to the Jews, and I don’t believe they were directly for the church that was to come.
    When he gave them the parable of the 10 virgins, Jack showed how it was all connected to the disciples questions to Jesus. This “event” of the 10 virgins happens after the church is raptured out and this parable relates to the Jewish people who will be once again living under the law. The age of Grace will have ended as will the OSAS which was a special gift for the church.
    I had always previously struggled with this parable since it appeared to show the possibility of “losing your salvation”. But since it does not apply to the church, the scriptures come together again!

    One last thing I will say with regard to attending churches that have error is that the Lord has consistently seen me through the errors and taught me Truth from His word. It is a hard way to learn, but He is Faithful! And His Word is Truth!

  17. Don, what are your thoughts/concerns on Mid-Acts Dispensationalism? I’m not referring to the ultra or hyper varieties where the “church” age is considered to start out near the end of Acts. I’m curious about the Mid-Acts teachers who lean towards the church starting with the Apostle Paul somewhere around Acts 9 (and not where it is generally taught to begin by many in Acts 2 at Pentecost)?

  18. Life got much better for me when I stopped going altogether.

    The politics in my car club where there are no saved members is much more bearable than the politics in a church where there are, supposedly, saved people.

  19. That is kind of off topic for this tread. And when a few think the New Covenant Church started is really not something worth losing sleep over. I do not know how we can have a God inspired book of Acts of the Church if the Church was not yet in existence half way through the book.

    New theories are like butt holes. Everyone has one but the exhibitionists are compelled to display it to others.

  20. I guess I have been blessed beyond measure…

    My wife of 48 years is as, if not more knowledgeable of the Scriptures than I am and we are able to have wonderful fellowship (no we do not agree on everything). My two ‘stay at home’ adult children have also progressed to maturity under the same audio teaching ministries; so in my family I have a church living in my home.

    I can’t imagine life without them so though I sympathise I can’t really enter too far into your collective experiences.

    There have been churches in my life but they were a mirror to all that everyone has said…

    The foundation of any good church is its teaching so if that is not there it cannot (IMO) be a good church.

  21. I have been attending an Assemblies of God church near to where I live and I have noticed references to works here and there. Enough to where I had to talk about it with my parents who were also in attendance.

    I have come to the conclusion that most churches today are strictly businesses. Everywhere I look I see churches going up along with their satellites in nearby communities. Now to the outside that looks great, but I cannot help but wonder if it’s just all about the money. Maybe I am being to judgmental or cynical.

    Anyway, Don I hope you find exactly what you’re looking for. You will be a great asset to whatever church you attend.

  22. Hi Faith, and all,

    For me, and multitudes of others who have studied this one verse, Hebrews 10:25, we have come to believe it is one of the most abused, twisted scripture the “Church” uses against the unsuspecting.

    Hebrews 10:25New King James Version (NKJV)

    25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

    I do believe we are to assemble, and exhort one another, but there are myriad ways of doing so, and in groups as small as just two people.

  23. David L,

    I took out the link and the quotes. Although I might agree with much of what was said in what you quoted, I am not going to knowingly allow links to a website (actually they have a whole series of websites) that do nothing but attack other Christian ministries as if they are the only ones that know truth.

  24. Don,

    That’s fine. It’s a sore subject, that still gets me. I did navigation through the site, but it was rushed. I was just looking to grab a quote, being lazy. Sorry.

  25. Yeah, I have done that myself. They are a strange group of websites. It it is hard to figure out where they are coming from. Off the top of my head I would say they might be some kind of sect that descended from Armstrongism.

  26. Yep, you nailed it. I should have remembered, that COG, UCG, & COGWA are all prolific writers for starters. Secondly, they never name themselves. Thirdly, and you touched on this, they are the only “true church” and all others need not apply.

    I went back, and found the bulk of links I missed earlier. In regards to how woman dress, and a strictly Patriarchal leadership, putting generously, they fit the profile. There are many splinter groups out there, and on there site I saw listed several different house church groups in different states. They do not have anything to do with Christmas except avoiding it, and shun family and friends who do not belong to their groups. I could go on, but, that’s enough for me to be embarrassed.

  27. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I’m sure many of us can relate.

    I attended a local non-denominal church and ‘tolerated’ many annoyances because I liked the preacher. I put up with the rock and roll “worship” music, as well as a few doctrinal differences.

    Eventually however, the pastor’s sermons became so sugary, I suffered from spiritual malnourishment. Then, one day, it occurred to me, the Holy Spirit was gone. “Where’s the Holy Spirit in this place”?

    It became more and more obvious that the church leadership was operating in their CARNAL flesh nature, and not operating under the power of the Holy Ghost.

    That’s was too big a problem to ‘tolerate’ any longer, so we left.

    I started tuning into various youtube Ministry channels and Christian alternative radio shows. I’ve grown so much in the Lord since I stopped attending ‘church’ and started learning the Word of truth, by anointed men of God, who didn’t have an ego to support.

    People need WAY MORE bible education than what they are receiving from apostate churches.

    There’s a myriad of unconventional ways to grow in faith, find fellowship, and serve God, without ever having to compromise our principles. It’s not easy, but it CAN be done.

    I’ve made a few Christians friends in different states, and have found fellowship online, on the phone, and in chat groups.

    Yes, it’s a very lonely time to be a faithful Christian. Just knowing that there is a remnant of Christians still out there, who are not willing to “tolerate” the twisting of scripture, by apostate Christianity, makes it worth it.

    It just takes a willingness to step outside the conventional way of thinking about going to church. That old song, “this is the way we go to church, go to church, go to church”…

    Things have changed. Sometimes, it’s no longer Spiritually feasible to compromise truth just for the sake of desiring to ‘belong’ to an assembly of fellow believers.

    Many sincere believers are not attending formalized church services anymore… They’re leaving the Church.

    If you can tolerate apostasy, then attend a formal Church. If you can find a good church then by all means attend and get involved, BUT as long as we’re seeking to know God on a deeper level, serving him for his glory, and praying about the desire to connect with other brothers and sisters, we’re doing well.

    He knows we need fellowship, and a place to worship, and grow and serve. We’re not breaking a bible command by not coming together under an apostate roof. He knows our hearts. He understands the agony of our desire to find a decent home Church. He knows the inner conflict of our commitment not to sell out to the end times apostasy. But he also knows that his Holy Spirit does not dwell in brick and mortar buildings.

    Follow the leadership and authority of the Holy Spirit in whatever form he takes. He may require some folks to LEAVE their 501c3 corporate communities.

    It’s not going to get any easier. Obama signed an executive order to hand over internet authority to the U.N. this October 2, 2016. Christian Ministries will soon be censored and potentially banned. Internet preachers and bible teachers will soon be considered distributors of Hate speech.

    That’s a whole other can of worms.

  28. This scripture comes to mind……..”Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD. “People will stagger from sea to sea And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, But they will not find it. “In that day the beautiful virgins And the young men will faint from thirst.…Amos 8:11-13

  29. Thanks, I was looking for that verse but I did not find it. They will censor God’s word! I think that will be fulfilled in the next decade or two.

  30. Hi Don. This is Kevin in Costa Rica. I’m originally from Canada and I was introduced as a reader of your blog some months ago. You had me on the edge of my seat with the search for a church! I kept hoping for a good ending. Even though I live in a beach community (with many N. Americans), it can still be a challenge to find a suitable church, even here on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. One suggestion (which you may have considered) is to just start with a home Bible study. Seek out like-minded people and go through a book at a time. Just make it clear that the study is about what the verses actually say – not what Joel Osteen or Beth Moore “feel” that it’s saying! Perhaps God will cause the group to grow and you can add a prayer time and a few songs. Eventually, a few men will be seen as leaders and you can rotate with a Bible teaching time amongst you and a few other men. Before you know it, you have a church! Just a thought. I enjoy your dispensational website as I’m surrounded by amillenialists here! God bless, Kevin

  31. You’re assuming that there are a few people available that are interested in a home Bible study. I don’t think that really is the case. I have been that route before around here with neighbors in the next county that largely attended a non denominational community church. The commitment to the home group was about 1/2 inch deep. By the time you got through a few months you were mostly talking to yourself.

    That is not true in some places out west where I have been. I know of home fellowships that have gone on for well over a decade but they were on the same theological page. We do need to keep in mind that churches are larger out west and the population density near the cites is much higher then in the Ozarks woods.

    Like I have said many times. It really is not about the Bible study. Anybody can do Bible study on their own these days. I know more christian doctrine and have better biblical discernment than most pastors so I do not expect to learn from any group. There are endless profound teachings on the Internet.

    For me the main point for wanting to establishing Christian fellowship is finding people near where I live that have a Christian worldview that I can talk to and spend time with. I can’t do that with people that have not learned to properly handle scripture and are ridged and unteachable.

    Here people are so split up over so many different churches and church types that it is about impossible to not offend people when you present a view that there church does not teach. Family tradition is king around here and two or three large families control each church. That is why every baptist church in every town over a few hundred people have split more than once. It is no different with the Pentecostals.

  32. Thanks for your thoughtful response, Don. I see your situation much clearer now. It seems that “church slitting” is a Christian hobby all over the Western World! How sad,right? I also appreciated TheGoldenRule’s take and assessment of our (Bible Christians) present situation – I think it put things in perspective for many of your readers.
    If I may say, on a more personal note, it was interesting to learn that you’re originally from Buffalo – I was born and raised just 150 miles to your west – in London, Ontario. We can reach you at your personal email, correct? Much thanks, Kevin

  33. Hi Don,

    This article escaped me been taking the time to read thru it including the church covenant article attached. I can so relate to everyone here about finding a church or talking to anyone about biblical things (in person) it’s hard to find.

    I’ll attend a church occasionally just for the fellowship & singing but not for the meat although I’ll digest the protein that’s digestible seeing I’ve already gotten my meat from TV preachers like Charles Stanley, I enjoy Michael Youssef & David Jerimiah about a 3 hour series combined.

    I get satisfaction thru out the week by watching most mornings Ligonier Ministries Dr. R.C. Sproul & I do a lot of reading scriptures thru out the morning in between working AND I must add also from this blog.

    Great article I enjoyed it.

  34. The reason for small Baptist churches splitting is the same reason as larger Baptist churches split, power plays. I’ve seen pastors who were behind it, but in the case of the 25 members or less there’s usually a woman behind it because there are very few men in the church. One woman managed to get her son installed as pastor. He had no training whatsoever but she convinced enough people that the Holy Spirit would give him the words to speak. Most of us left after two or three of the “Holy Spirits” sermons.

    I tried to start a small prayer group in the apartment complex I lived in last year. I just wanted a couple of known Christian women to pray with so I invited two others to start with. My hope was it would grow. One woman said she prayed about it but God was telling her no so she declined the invitation. I suspect she thought I was too weird to pray with. The other woman was a good friend but very unreliable. Half the time she never showed up. I finally said ‘forget it.’

    I want to let Don know that even though I’m just a commentator on his blog I’ve been teachable. I’ve learned more here than in all the sermons I’ve ever heard put together and I pass it on to others. You never know when it might have an impact or on whom. God’s word doesn’t return empty to Him.

  35. On the rapture ready web site, an article written by Gene Lawley on the seven seals continues to taught, dogmatically, that the wrath of God and the last week of Daniel starts at the opening of the first seal.

    I wrote an e-mail to the address provided, but it was quickly “bounced” on some other back-end e-mail server. I’ll presume it got through, only to be deleted by the author or ignored, since my admonishment to actually read what the scripture says is not in keeping with their own misleadings.

    Many of these “VIP” people are stuck, sort of like the “infallibility of the pope” nonsense, because they won’t admit they are wrong/amiss about anything.

  36. Change your prospective. Try viewing from the standpoint of what can you as a biblical Christian do for this church, not what it does for you. How can God use you in that church. I know of Christians who purposefully go to churches that are not even biblical. They go to reach the unsaved.

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