Have you read 1 Corinthians, chapters 12 and 14? I mean, have you REALLY READ THEM? God opened my spiritual eyes to them in November,2003. It was a Revelation of the Word of God for today. When I was born again in my apartment, in September, 1980, I looked up to heaven and repeated over and over, saying, "Jesus is the Word". I understood what John 1:1 & 14 says: the Word was God and the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us. Everything we are is in the Word (we were made by Him) everything we need is in the Word (He is our Jehovah Jireh). We are to be loyal and obedient to Him and not man, tradition or vain philosophies.
My mistake (and yet a road I had to travel) was in leaving my apartment and finding a local "church". This began a series of journeys from one "church" to another trying to find one that lined up to the Word. I started out at a Presbyterian "church" because that was my background before I was born again. I then visited the Pentecostal fellowships, saw they were more scriptural and I joined in. The Lord would put favor in the pastors heart for me and I would be taken out to eat or similiar setting and he would pour out his heart telling me all the problems he had, mainly with the people. This happened over and over and I finally settled in to one fellowship for a time.
This one was a large Pentecostal "church". The "church" was led, not by the Word of God only but also by messages in tongues and interpretations and of course, the pastor. At one time, the organist was a homosexual. At one time, the choir leader was having an affair with a married woman in the choir. The pastor had no discernment in these things. Discernment is a prophetic gift and the pastor was not about to admit that there could be someone else with this prophetic gift. As a matter of fact, the pastor once said that if a man came in the door and said he was a prophet he would be escorted out. All the messages in tongues were positive, saying that God loved us and great things were ahead for us (nothing about the sins that some knew about but no one talked about).
It was also operated according to tradition: everyone would file in at the proper hour and take a seat, the choir would sing, the members and visitors would stand up and sing, the offering would be taken, the sermon would be preached, the choir would sing again (and here would be the only difference from the main line protestants - the pastor would ask if anyone would like to be saved or receive healing. If so, then they would file down and be prayed for by the pastor, assistant pastor and/or elders}. Many members would (with exceptions of God's intervention and mercy) go away feeling empty or at least lacking.
In 1987, I was ordained in the United Christian Church, Cleveland, Tennessee, a Pentecostal Fellowship. That's when I decided on a home fellowship. That's when I decided that I couldn't take it anymore. I had truely felt like I was going crazy down here. That's when I CAME OUT of the traditional, institutional church.
Do you know how Martin Luther must have felt when he listed the unscriptural traditions of the catholic church and their justification of salvation by works and wrote that scripture says that we are justified by faith in God's Grace - the finished work at Calvary by Jesus Christ and Him alone? How did he feel as he walked up to the church and nailed his Treatis to the door? He must have felt great! How did he feel when the feedback started coming in? I can hear it now: this is the way my father did it, this is the way my grandfather did it, my great grandfather started this "church". But God was in it and he started a Reformation!
The church (NOT a building - we have to start thinking of this word scriptually) needs a fresh look at their Savior. He is STILL the same, yesterday, today and forever. His Word is settled in heaven. He will not change. He can not change. So we must change. We must line back up to the Word of God. We must COME OUT of the traditional teachings of the system that has us enslaved. We must RISE UP and TAKE OUR PLACE in the body of Christ. We must be patient and teach others who are like children raised in the public school system. They only know what they have been taught. We must pray that the Lord will open their spiritual eyes and reveal His Word to them.
We need to take copies of 1 Corinthians, chapters 12 and 14 and nail them to the door of the churches across Amerca. With one question at the bottom: Why aren't we operating like this? They are still teaching traditions instead of the Word of God. And while we're at it, we need to nail some copies to the doors of the Seminaries across the land.
But it won't work. I knew it wouldn't work long ago. I have never tried to explain it to any pastor either because I knew that if they began to set their people in order, God would start using His people in their gifts and Jesus would be lifted up by their testimonies and the pastor would lose control. And it IS about CONTROL. Their whole kingdom was built upon this tradition, handed down with their diploma and enforced by their hierarchy. They would have to "come out" and that was not going to happen.
And you have to understand how God works. Martin Luther had to "come out" and because of him, because God was anointing this movement, the church (believers, NOT a building) was reestablished and life came back into the body and many, many souls have been birthed into the Kingdom of God. And at the turn of the century, when tradition again had a stranglehold on the body, Pentecost was born in a stable on Azuza Street and other places and the baptism of the Holy Spirit was poured out again and the gifts of the Spirit were understood to be Scriptural and real and for today. Now, here we are a hundred years later and tradition has once again put its chokehold on the body of Christ. Pentecostal churches look and operate pretty similar to the mainline denominations now. The only diffence is they have alter calls in some and people are asked to receive Jesus as their Savior in some. And they believe healing is for today in some. And that's a good thing! And the gifts are recognized as for today even as the church is still out of order.
I believe God is getting us ready, all around the world, for a quick work...........and when our obedience is fulfilled (2 Corinthians 10:6), and we come into the unity of the faith (Ephesians 4:13), He will come for us. He will come for us, NOT buildings full of people.
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ