Religious Tyranny: A Case Study—Conclusion; The Way Home
This series is the first draft. We will now begin to format the book and add endnotes. We hope to have it in print by Christmas.
True Christian fellowship is the collective effort of individual members (as in “body members”) performing their roles in the one body of Christ manifested all over the world. Local fellowships should represent the one unified body model. In the same way a body works together and is interdependent on its various parts, true Christian fellowship provides need and mutual edification accordingly.
This body, according to the Bible, only has one head like any other body. This means unity is derived by agreement on what Christ desires. There is unity in the body to the degree that members agree on truth. The Bible is clear: this is determined by individual freewill understanding. Christian fellowships should be comprised of sincere lovers of the “mind of Christ” that the Bible says all Christians possess through the new birth.
Full stop. Because of the institutional church whether Protestant or Catholic, the immeasurable treasure of Bible truth is unmined in our culture; we are enslaved to the same institutional orthodoxy that began to be formulated after the passing of the twelve apostles, particularly Paul and Peter. The assemblies of Christ that turned the world completely upside down were strictly a family affair meeting in private homes. After the passing of the apostles, theologians, some who were even disciples of the apostles, quickly moved to institutionalize Christianity to fit the authoritative Roman culture of the time.
The argument for such? Supposedly, according to apostolic theologians otherwise known as the “church fathers,” Jesus called for an apostolic succession of authority to one bishop stationed in Rome. This led to an epic contention between elder led home fellowships and the church at Rome that lasted for 200 years. The Christ intended home fellowship model was all but wiped out by the 4th century. Instead, the apostolic secessionists set up shop in Rome, the epicenter of Roman world dominance, and began competing with the pagan-state as Rome’s new mistress.
In all of these affairs, the harlot of religion seeks intercourse with the state for enforcement of her orthodoxy. Through manipulation and political intrigue, the apostolic secessionists (bishops) finally defeated the pagans in the 4th century and the rest is literally “church history.” Be sure of this: home fellowship history is of little press and distinctly different from church history which makes martyrs of political refugees and those who committed treason against various and sundry governments. Hence, church is just another chip off the historical block of religions that can’t sleep until the blood of those who dare disagree with them is completely spilled upon the ground. Americanism tempered the bloodletting, but the book of Revelation speaks of a time in the future when the church-state will return with a vengeance.
Therefore, this book, to a large degree, is not really about the ill behavior of a church located in Springboro, Ohio. To a large degree, this book is for those who know something has always been missing in American Christianity. What’s wrong with church? Church is wrong with church. Indeed, this study claims to answer the audacious questions that nag all true believers in Christ: why can’t the church seem to get it together? Where is the true radical love? Why are there so many contradictions? Why are there so many unanswered questions? Where is the power of the Spirit? Why is church so boring? Why do unbelievers seem to have it together better than God’s very own children? Why is the church so indifferent to justice? How can we obtain true revival?
The big answer follows: while America obtained freedom for humanity in the secular realm, God’s children must once again obtain freedom for God’s family in the religious realm. They must come home. They must cease in fearing man’s self-aggrandized authority and cling to the one head of the body…our glorious redeemer…our glorious brother and king…the first fruits of all those who love God. It is time to stop paying homage to those who usurp His authority and claim a crown never given. It is time to shed our coats of shame stained with the filth of blasphemers who claim co-mediation with Christ. He is the only mediator, and all authority in heaven and earth has been given to the King of kings and no one else.
That is the big answer; the finer details of how home fellowships once operated is a vast untapped knowledge hidden away by the present Protestant Dark Age. But if we would just pause and think, it is always those closest to us that come through; it is always the freedom of individuals who can act in agreement collectively when all else fails.
Have you ever thought about how God has arranged humanity? Individuals always outnumber rulers. Governments, when it gets right down to it, must convince the masses to cooperate. And in more instances than not, the collective and agreed upon efforts of individuals have to fix problems created by institutions. The greatest movement in all of human history, the American Revolution, was the collective effort of likeminded individuals and hardly sought permission or assistance from the British government.
We must remember that the collective effort of individuals can utilize organization without authority. Biblical home fellowship labels like “elder” and “deacon” are organizational gifts given by the Spirit and not authoritative. But again, it is time for God’s family to begin reconstructing our lost family culture through biblical truth and progressive application. We will stumble in the process, but with the one mind of Christ we will eventually put everything together. Ironically, the institutional church will scoff at the idea that God’s children have lost their family culture, but this is the same claim often utilized by the institutional church and the best example is the present-day New Calvinist movement.
In fact, one of the hallmarks of Protestant tradition is Semper Reformanda: “always reforming” or “reformed and always reforming.” Let’s invoke some more honesty here; this is authority’s free ticket to be wrong without being questioned. This is where family has higher standards than any institution; such logic will not fly with momma. Families live where the rubber of real life meets the road and is without an endless cash flow to pay for mistakes and intellectual musings that tickle the soul.
Furthermore, in the family of God setting, you have individuals who can’t be separated from the love of God. You can’t be unborn from your family unless you are part of an institutional family because you are only family when you are there. Remember the Olive Garden commercial? The institutional church must necessarily deny the new birth; otherwise, how do they have the authority to unborn you?
It is time to come home. The Holy Spirit only uses truth to sanctify and nothing else. It must be right motives leading to the right understanding of truth and the right application of it. This alone is what will unleash the power of the Holy Spirit. This is collective edification through individual gifts given by the Spirt through the new birth. These are gifts that only operate in a true family setting.
This book is a call to freedom in Christ through devotion to Him alone, not through permission granted by lovers of power and authority. Having begun in the Sprit, do we now seek to be led by men? Are they the ones that Christ said would lead us in all truth? Let’s keep the honesty coming; how many parishioners really know what their body function is? When it comes to every parishioner being all they can be in Christ, how often are pastors hounding them about it once past the being there every time the doors are open and faithfully paying the temple tax? And what kind of a family is it when nobody is really sure who is a true family member? And why be overly concerned with your role as a body part? You don’t even know if you are really part of the body! This organizes everything according to your perseverance in supporting the institution; this is not love nor does this focus have time to be concerned with love—the concern is appeasing an institution to earn your way into heaven.
Finally, what does coming home look like? It looks like going home to any real family. You don’t seek permission from an institution to do so. However, as the home fellowship movement accelerates, this will be the exact protest heard from the institutional church: you don’t have their permission to go home. “By what authority do you do these things? ‘Well, by our big brother Jesus, that’s what, who are you?’” Why have we made these arrogant men drunk with authority-lust the subjects of our worship rather than Christ?
We have the model for what it looks like to gather together as God’s literal family. It will look much like the so-called “last supper” Christ had with His disciples. This tradition and format was continued en masse after Pentecost. It was merely a continuation of the Judaism custom. Formal penance towards God took place at the Jewish temple while the Jews met in private homes for teaching, encouragement, and fellowship. Not long after Pentecost the Temple was destroyed by the Roman general Titus in A.D. 70 as foretold by Christ. As Christ told the woman at the well, worship is in spirit and truth, not a place.
It is interesting to note that the New Calvinist movement, which as previously stated is a return to authentic Protestantism, began instituting mid-week gatherings in homes under the supervision of “ruling elders” during the 1990’s. Why did this happen? For two reasons: to circumvent a return to home fellowships (“Oh yes, our church already does that”), and as a method for maintaining control of parishioners. Typically, these gatherings will use some book written by an orthodoxed author, or will “review” the previous Sunday morning message. This enables the “ruling elders” to keep tabs on what parishioners are thinking among themselves in private. In a home setting, people let their guard down. In fact, these gatherings are said to foster “intimacy” among the members. Indeed.
But consider; this is nothing more than a supervised “family” setting. When you have normal family gatherings apart from church who is in charge? No one really, a true family typically works together to orchestrate gatherings. This is even the case with family weddings; it’s a cooperative effort dictated by individual skills. Whoever is the best cook, cooks, whoever is the best planner, plans, whoever is the strongest moves tables into place, etc., etc., etc.
So, the institutional church, in its endeavor to control, has already demonstrated that home fellowships work. What then is the purpose of meeting weekly in a massive purpose build? Only one: to carry out the ritual of progressive justification in a temple setting. This is nothing more than a massive expenditure of money to establish authority; in essence, congregants are paying for their own slavery with hard earned money and forfeiting their “full reward.”
It’s barely less than total insanity.
This is a call to merely embrace the same model while replacing authority with organization which will flush out individual gifts. Jesus is knocking on the door, merely open it, let Jesus in, kick out the ruling elders, and replace them with elders gifted by the Spirit and not a purchased seminary degree. What is more obvious than the following? Jesus made it a point to choose apostles who were not formally educated. Jesus Himself made it a point to not be formally educated. In regard to the formally educated that He did use, the apostle Paul was examined via private interpretation of Scripture by the Bereans. When they deemed his teachings true and applied them, THEN “many believed.” The Holy Spirit only uses truth, and it’s not true just because some man, even an apostle, says it’s true. Even the apostle Paul said to only follow him “as I follow Christ.” The one mind of Christ is the ONLY standard…period! The body will be more and more unified as each member is persuaded in their own mind. Hopefully, gifted elders “apt to teach” (not rule) will aide in that persuasion.
This is the way home. This is the only way we will see the Spirit yield what we have longed to see all of our lives. This is because….
…only truth sanctifies (John 17:17).
In His love now and forever,
Paul M. Dohse Sr.