Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
And Now It's Time to Play the Game --
"Let's Find The REAL Christian!"
Just what is a "true Christian"? How can you really be one, and know that you are one? Does "belonging" to a particular "church" count? Will true Christians risk being thrown "out" of existing "churches"? What are the true criteria that really apply, and nothing else?
by David C. Whitaker
Within many of the smaller cult-like Christian church organizations, a true believer must seek to protect his true identity or risk being exposed as an "independent thinker" based upon his own personal knowledge of the Scriptures and experiences with YEHOVAH God!
Across our nation, ministers and deacons in churches are no longer hunting for witches and warlocks in their midst among members of their congregations. Rather, ministers and deacons are looking for lay-members who are busily studying the Holy Scriptures and actively seeking a personal relationship with YEHOVAH God irrespective of the organization or denomination attended. Within such organizations and denominations, the most important spiritual concerns, such as repentance, conversion, and receiving the holy spirit, are viewed very narrowly from the perspective of whether or not a new convert is devout and loyal to the particular organization, denomination or church group he/she is attending -- how well does he/she participate in and support the local and national church's activities, such as ball games, church socials, and all other physical aspects of the church, organization, or denomination. A "devout" lay-member is considered as one who does not "make waves," does not ask too many questions, and does not study his Bible "too much"!
Since adherence to a humanly created physical organization or denomination is based upon the essential prerequisite of anticipated levels of Scriptural ignorance and inexperience, most ministers can calculate in advance who will remain a loyal member for many years, and who will quickly develop beyond his church's sphere! Thus, ministers and their deacons tend to look for indicators in the lay-congregations -- conduct which singles out people as possible wave-makers and "independent thinkers." The list includes: studying Hebrew to better understand the Old Testament; studying Greek to better understand the New Testament; recognizing mistakes made by the minister in the Scriptural exegesis portions of his sermons; recognizing the minister's ignorance of ancient history as related to Biblical backgrounds; being "too educated for your own good"; etc., etc., etc.
Some ministers go so far as to accuse a person of being motivated by "spiritual vanity" if he expresses interest in studying Hebrew and Greek as part of his Bible study pursuits!
I remember hearing first hand that the Ambassador Colleges of the Worldwide Church of God organization in Pasadena, California, were very bad about discouraging students from using Jewish books and Jewish commentaries as Bible study helps. In a sermon which I, personally, witnessed in Big Sandy, Texas, one of the important evangelist rank ministers from Pasadena made fun of and openly ridiculed some Ambassador College students who carried volumes of the Jewish Soncino Commentary and Strong's Concordances in their briefcases for on-the-spot reference. Many years later, I was told that this certain evangelist only spent about an hour preparing each two-hour ad-lib sermon, which clearly exposes his reason for not wanting the college students to check out his lack of accurate knowledge he put into his sermons!
For all things there is a reason, and when we discover the reason, we also discover the why!
Ministers tend to use their knowledge -- and mis-knowledge -- of the Bible in order to control their congregations and maintain their own personal leadership position. I have seen this happen with my own eyes over and over again! If any lay-member begins to "learn too much" about the Bible, or begins studying the Scriptures in Hebrew and Greek, he is quickly censured, ridiculed, mocked, and discouraged! The minister does his best to "Quench the Spirit" of the zealous Bible student (cf. I Thess.5:19), and interfere with the person's active experiences with YEHOVAH God!
The concepts of "denominations" and "organizations" as applied to Christianity are some of the most destructive and debilitating concepts in action in today's world! If a person doesn't express belief in his denomination's doctrines, he is quickly labeled as "insincere," "not devout," or "unconverted" by that denomination's leadership!
We need to make a distinction between "Christian hunting" and "true believer hunting" as applied within some churches. In many churches, to be a Christian means to "conform" to the church group's teachings and doctrines, to attend services faithfully without missing an opportunity, and to attend all the church functions and social events. However, the "true believer" is the person who attends services for only one purpose -- to worship YEHOVAH God and to please YEHOVAH God! Instead of running around the countryside to church socials and basketball games, he attentively seeks to educate himself in the Scriptures and develop a true one-on-one working relationship with YEHOVAH God! To the true believer, his Christian beliefs are not a game to be played, but rather a way of life to be experienced at every level of his inner being!
To the mentality of the organization-following Christian, the true believer poses a real threat! This is why the corrupt Medieval Catholic clergy persecuted so many Bible-believing people during the Middle Ages and the Spanish Inquisition! Whenever Jews happened to convert to Catholicism, they quickly discovered they were not receiving enough spiritual food to make them grow. Thus, they would secretly study their Jewish books for the spiritual food they needed. For seeking spiritual food by which to grow spiritually, many Catholic Jews were put to death during the Spanish Inquisition:
"Contrary to a popular misconception, the Inquisition was not directed against Jews, but against all supposed heretics, particularly former Jews who had converted to Christianity. Since these Jews had generally converted under duress, either to save their lives or their livelihoods, the Church had good reason to mistrust their sincerity. Inquisition officials, aided by informers, continually and carefully scrutinized these new Christians. If any of their actions indicated that they might be secretly practicing Judaism -- perhaps they were observed never to eat pork or cook on the Sabbath -- these 'new Christians' were summoned before the Inquisition. The Inquisitors, all of whom were priests, asked the accused if they were secret Jews. If they confessed immediately, and supplied the Inquisition with the names of other secret Jews, they got off lightly: a religious ceremony at which they made a public confession, and suffered various humiliations. If they were convicted of being secret Jews and only then confessed, they were guaranteed a less painful execution: they were strangled before being burned at the stake. Those people who refused to confess even after being convicted, or who were courageous enough to acknowledge that they were still Jews, were repeatedly tortured to force them to concede the truth of Christianity. During the centuries in which the Inquisition had power, thousands of secret Jews were put on the rack, had water forced down their throats after their noses were pinched shut, or subjected to other tortures. All these actions were carried out by priests who claimed to be motivated only by love of the people they were torturing" (Jewish Literacy, by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, pp.190-191; c1991, William Morrow & Company, Inc.).
The "spirit of the Inquisition" is still partly alive in some churches today! In some denominational thinking, to disbelieve in some of their doctrines is the same as disbelieving in the Messiah himself! They say that leaving the denomination is equal to leaving the Messiah and YEHOVAH God! Although such churches do not now use physical execution and torture, they are very adept at using "psychological execution" by their practice of "disfellowshipping" and quoting such Biblical passages as Paul's words in I Corinthians 5:5 when "marking" a true believer who is progressing beyond their church's sphere.
To be a "secret Jew" is still regarded as "anathema" among the large traditional denominations of Christian Orthodoxy! To the churches in the religious mainstream, there is absolutely no spiritual relevancy between the Jew and the Christian! Christians condemn Jews for not "receiving Christ"; Jews deplore Christians who represent the anti-Semitic religion which murdered their ancestors under the sign of the cross! The Christian is presented as just and spiritually white, while the Jew is presented as unjust and spiritually black! Any Christian who seeks to understand the Jewish roots of his faith in the Messiah is many times happier keeping away from the Christian organizations and denominations of men!
If you are a true believer, you must be aware of false ministers and false brethren! If you find you cannot please both YEHOVAH God and men, then it's time to follow the advice of the apostle Paul: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you" (II Corinthians 6:17).
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
Hope of Israel Ministries
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