The Truth About Corporate Religion

You are not your own, you are bought with a price… you are not to "sell out"  or bind yourself to men or organizations.
(1 Corinthians 6:19, 7:23)
 
What is written here is mainly about the corporate institutions of religion. Of course there are a few people within these institutions who are exceptions to what is described here. Exceptional people can sometimes rise above whatever challenges and circumstances which impede them and their calling.
 
God calls people, men and women, for service within the body of Christ. Organizations are not and cannot be called of God.
 
When examining the religious organizational structure and practices, it is most illuminating to examine their ordination documents; in particular, any documentation which relate to covenants between the organization and its officers and ministers. It is within these covenants that any discrepancy (if any) between appearances and the real relationships with the institution can be found.
 
Ask any church attending Christian about the status and position of a typical denominational "pastor" or "minister". Does the "pastor" represent and work for God? The typical answer would usually be "Yes, of course!". Is this answer really true? Who or what does the denominational pastor or minister really represent?
 
There are ordination documents that are freely available on the internet from at least one of the major denominations. Among these documents is one regarding the "Ordination Covenant" which defines the covenant and ethics of anyone ordained by that denomination. (A covenant is a binding agreement by two or more parties.)
 
One short paragraph of this document is dedicated to the covenant between God and the pastor. The remainder of the document is dedicated to the covenant between the pastor and the denomination. There is no word of advice regarding the handling of any conflicts between the two covenants.
So, right from the start, the applicant for ordination is expected to execute two separate covenants!
 
Basically, the ordination covenant is a binding agreement to completely "sell-out" or to sell and bind oneself to the corporate organization, its rules, policies, procedures, and ruling council. The document is organized and worded such that the second covenant with man appears to be in agreement with and a fulfillment of the covenant with God. This deception is reminiscent of 1 Corinthians 12:2

You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led.

 

The answer to the previous question regarding the status of the denominational "pastor" is "NO". The denominational pastor does not represent God; it is the denomination that the person represents. The organization has become the "mute idol", the god of the denominational pastor or minister.

 
The primary unstated mission of every organization is "self preservation". All other considerations, including truth, are secondary to this primary mission. The very existence of a corporate organization indicates that it is an entity which is regulated by the state. Thus, the separation of church and state is a myth. As an agent of the corporate organization, the "pastor" or "minister" owes first allegiance to the organization. It is the organization which authorizes and empowers the ordained individual, not God.
 
The power and authority of the corporate religious institution is so limited that it has little to offer for deliverance. It offers and promotes a form of godliness but rejects and denies the exercised power and strength of the living God. These organizations have little ability to meed the spiritual needs of anyone. Do not search for an abundance of the exercised power of God in those places where it is rejected and stifled. 
 
Whenever or wherever there is a conflict between Truth and the organization, the organization wins. Whenever there is a conflict between a Godly functioning individual and the organization, the organization wins. There is little room in any corporate religious organization for God, Truth, Christ Jesus, or any genuine, functioning minister of God.
 
No one can serve two masters – one will be hated and the other loved.
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2012 Keith S. Radcliffe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Hebrew Legacy

Examination of our Hebrew legacy will confront and correct much of the error which has been called "Christianity" for centuries. This examination is not all that difficult. What is difficult is confronting the closely held, ancient traditions, doctrines and practices of institutionalized error.  

Let's examine Ephesians 4 [ESV], starting in verse 4:
There is one body and one spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-
 
The "ONE body" in this context refers to one body of Hebrews and Gentiles. See Ephesians 2:11-22. Galatians 3:28 offers more details; in this one body, there is no race, gender, or social status. This means that in Christ, there is no spiritual significance to race, gender or social status.
There is just ONE Body. There are no divisions, no denominations, no distinctions between people in different geographic locations; there is ONE Body. 
If, physically and culturally, you state that you are a Methodist male from the U.K., you may be accurately stating the facts. However, in Christ, there is no spiritual significance to these facts.
 
ONE spirit – there is but one gift of holy spirit given to each and every believer. This was made completely plain in Acts chapters 10 and 11. There is no difference between the gift of holy spirit that you received when you were born from above and the gift of holy spirit which was given to the Apostle Paul, Peter, or any other believer.
 
The "ONE hope" is really amazing compared to much of the systematic error which has been taught concerning the "Christian Hope". Some teach that the Christian Hope is different from the Hope of the Hebrews. This teaching is nothing more than systematic theological error. The Apostle Paul reveled more details of the "One Hope", but he did  not teach that there was another hope. For both the Hebrew and Gentile, there is ONE Hope! This is important, as will be seen. Ephesians 4:6:
one Lord, one faith, one baptism 
 
Now, note carefully that Paul states, by revelation, that there is ONE Lord. This refers to Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Elsewhere, Paul notes that others promote another jesus. There are many people and institutions who would usurp the Lordship of Jesus Christ and attempt to replace his authority in your life.
 
ONE Faith; people talk a lot about the Methodist faith, the Baptist faith, the Jewish faith and etc. We have ONE Faith, between the Christian Hebrews and Gentiles. Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of faith. Spiritually speaking, there is no other faith. (Please refer to the previous posting "…By Believing…"). It is because of the ONE spirit and ONE Lord that we have access to the ONE Faith.
In these things, ONE spirit, ONE Hope, ONE Lord, ONE Faith we are tied into our Hebrew roots, our Hebrew Legacy. Read Romans 4. Abraham looked forward to the fulfillment of God's promise after the resurrection. The resurrection would be made possible because of the accomplishments of the messiah. Abraham was enabled to have this ONE faith and have this ONE hope because of the ONE spirit which was upon him.
 
ONE baptism – there is only ONE baptism for both the Hebrew and Gentile as instituted and announced by Jesus Christ in Acts 1. This is a spiritual baptism which has absolutely nothing to do with water! With just this one announcement, the reader can understand that most all of the doctrines about baptism instituted since the 1st century are pure bunk.
Ephesians 4:6
one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
 
ONE God – this is a significant part of our Hebrew Legacy. There is but ONE GOD! There is no triune, 3-in-one monstrosity. The trinity doctrine is an ancient pagan one. However the truth of ONE GOD predates all other doctrines. The deception and error of the trinity was incorporated into doctrine and practice after the Apostles had died. The correct belief and doctrine of the Apostles and the believers in the first century was ONE GOD. The correct belief and doctrine of Abraham was ONE GOD.
 
This is some of our Hebrew Legacy.
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2013 Keith S. Radcliffe

 

 

 

The “Primitive” Church

Among other things, the term "primitive" refers to "belonging to the first or beginning; original" or it can refer to "…an early state, especially in being crude or uncivilized." The term "Primitive Church" is a scholarly term which generally refers to the Christian church from the day of Pentecost in the first century, until the first council of Nicaea in the fourth century.
Although "Primitive Church" is not regarded as a pejorative term, almost no one really promotes a return to the practices of this earlier age. In fact, Wikipedia notes that:

 

 Early Christians demonstrated a wide range of beliefs and practices, many of which were later rejected as heretical
 
It could be said that these practices are still rejected as heretical.
 
In the same article, it is estimated that the numbers of Christians grew by approximately 40% per decade during the 1st and 2nd centuries. What religious organization can boast such a phenomenal rate of growth today?
 
Conversations, studies and projects regarding replicating the success of the early church seem to center on the practices of the early church. Attempts have been made to incorporate some of these practices into the institutional setting, with erratic results. 
 
Although a full-fledged biblical study is beyond the scope of this short essay, a study of the first persecution of the church, by Saul of Tarsus brings to light several useful truths.
 
The first century church was organized, but its organizational structure was very difficult to comprehend and access by the governmental and religious authorities. Their efforts to obstruct the growth and spread of the church had the opposite effect. For all practical purposes, from the point of view of the world, the organizational structure of this new sect was non-existent and ephemeral. To this day, the internal workings and organizational structure of the early church remain elusive and invisible.
 
Regardless of the response to the truths just listed, one truth remains. The results of the early church were accomplished without the "benefit" of any modern denominational structure or hierarchical leadership system. The word of God prevailed in a pagan society without the initiation, sanctioning, promotion or resources of any denomination (note that the new testament bible did not exist either). This one truth automatically eliminates from serious consideration the practical application of anything developed and practiced by the early church. Thus the Godly, powerful results are thrust away by the scholar, deacon, bishop, paster, corporate officers, board members and others within the current religious realm.
 
Ultimately, the term "Primitive Church" actually is a pejorative term. It signifies a rejection of all that was accomplished by God and the believers of the first century. That church was anything but primitive. It was the most advanced, effective and influential church that has ever existed. It's inner workings and accomplishments have yet to be discovered and repeated. 
 
Why not remove the corporate religious blinders? Reread "The Acts of the Holy Spirit" without your religious glasses on. What could be accomplished if the organization and "leadership approval" were no longer a consideration?
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2013 Keith S. Radcliffe

Understanding Our Hebrew Roots, Part 2

Part 1 explained that

"Understanding the cultural context of the Bible can restore the deep understanding of the spiritual truths that are contained in the scriptures.

 
Although accurate, this statement does not quite capture the enormity of what needs to be expressed. While working on a related idea, I came across another quote to share, which is a more effective expression. It is from an essay by John Brown. The essay is "Hebrew Roots of Christianity: Problems and Solutions". It can be accessed Here.
 
"However, and this is huge!, the mindset of the Hebrews was still retained in the Universal Christian Faith. Jesus' followers were still Hebrews … thought like Hebrews and talked like Hebrews, wrote like Hebrews. This mindset is not be contained in the daily ritualized habits of the Jews nor celebrating Jewish holidays nor using Hebrew words in Christian services. The Hebrew mindset is actually universal. The Hebrew mindset is the pattern and description of spiritual reality. This pattern can be adopted and restated in any language, in any culture. That does not mean that the Hebrew mindset is totally compatible with pagan cultures either, it is not, but the Hebrew mindset was the foundation of Christianity at Pentecost and has been ever since. This fact is the foundation for studying the Hebrew Roots of Christianity."
 
The emphasis in the quote above is mine. In the essay, it says: "Hebrew Mindset is a term used to include both the Hebrew worldview and belief structure". Note that understanding our Hebrew roots and the Hebrew mindset does not include or require the adoption of the Jewish culture (modern or ancient)!
 
Because of our Western cultural background it can be quite difficult to accurately understand spiritual matters. For example, what is "holy spirit"? In his essay "Ambassador Authority and Power", John states:
 
"The second principle which must be learned, is that holy spirit is not The God or even A God from a Hebrew perspective, the overall context of all of Scripture. In the Old Testament, spirit from God is an expression meaning the presence and power of God, His breath, (by which God's Words were spoken) not YAHWEH Himself. Holy spirit is no more God Himself than is an angel God Himself. But angels delivered His messages, they spoke for God as His Agents – often using the first person as though they were the Creator. With spirit UPON the prophets, they also spoke for God as Agents delivering divine messages. With spirit IN the believer, they also speak for God as Agents of the Most High. God's spirit is the key to representing and speaking for God."

 

How simple is that? Holy spirit is the presence and power of God in the believer. With this simplicity, the Greek and Roman theologians and philosophers are no longer needed!

Thus, with this understanding of holy spirit and Christian service, Acts 17:24, 25 becomes clearer:
 
ESV: Acts 17:25, 25 
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,
nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 
 

The Living God has given to us everything we need in order to serve him, including the gift of holy spirit. This has been made available to us, not because we are so good, or through our own efforts, but through the accomplishments of his son Jesus Christ.

 
Yes, we can grow in our understanding of spiritual reality. Studying to understand our Hebrew Roots is relevant and profitable to us and our service to God. It is well worth the effort! 
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2013 Keith S. Radcliffe