|Reasonable Issues Some May Have with the Premise of this Website
I've tried to compile the most comprehensive list of items thoughtful individuals may indeed consider against all of this. They are objections I've heard or I think some may have. I've worked to be as gracious as I can in accurately articulating them, and offer a brief response to each. I don't by any means presume to know or fully understand the nature of them all, which is why I keep my email available for anyone's elaboration of his or her concerns. To review, a thumbnail sketch of this website's premise is provided in a text box at the end of this page.
This is indeed one of the most difficult problems I face in laying out my case. I do know many good, kind, thoughtful individuals who are in state-churches. Some are my good friends and I am genuinely grateful they are my friends. Couldn't it just be the case that these people are there because God wants them there to do His will and share His love in whatever place they are? Does God really give a darn about whatever obscure contracts we have, if we're just following Him? I have indeed seriously considered these questions.
I will say that what I think about this is merely what I read in Scripture. And I read about a God who does care about who we give our devotion to. It is so prevalent in the Bible that the reader can't miss it, unless, of course, he's beholden to another lord.
Does God reject them? I can't say whether or not any one Christian is saved. I'm not God. All I say here is that God loves him so much, and He has all the power to do wonderful things in his life, if the Christian would just let Him. The extent to which one fearfully signs on with the World System is the extent to which God sees that he doesn't want Him to care for him. Whatever blessing God offers to the individual is up to him. It is just that I read in Scripture about a God who passionately loves His own as much as a man loves his wife, and He does feel it (to say the least) when she runs off and becomes a prostitute. This is not me saying this. Read His own word, His heart is there throughout, it cannot be missed.
I will say that I believe there are many people who love God and genuinely want to please Him even as they are in the deepest depths of service in Babylon, much because they just haven't known any better. I don't for two seconds think that God isn't loving and gracious enough to honestly consider that. But again, I don't for two nanoseconds presume to be God — only He knows the heart of each individual. (More on this at 501c3 Q&A)
I can't deny at all that God does amazing things for people who call on His name, where ever they are. I believe God is bigger and greater than our weaknesses or predicaments, and most would agree with this. I can't make a definitive statement, however, on any particular item of God's working unless I know of the item, and even then it is very difficult to presume how God worked in what way. One fine apologist put it this way, "I don't exegete experience, I exegete Scripture." I may not know your exact circumstance, but I can know what God's word says.
Another problem is that too many make their entire theology out of the axiom "God is greater than ___." Think about how it would sound if we used it for other things: "God is bigger than my adulterous relationship with this other person — He'll still bless me." "God is greater than my habitual lying and cheating other people — He'll understand." As I've contrasted what I've seen in the church today and what I've read in Scripture, I am fully convinced that 501c3 engagement is nothing less than adultery with the World.
Now what about those genuinely fine things happening in churches? Let me ask this: What if you were in the middle of the desert for days with nothing, and I went out in my airplane to where you were and I dropped you a small bottle of water as I flew by? Yes, that'd be great. But wouldn't it be better for you to be in an oasis with flowing springs of fresh water? I don't mean to make light of those good things in churches. But cynical me, they are piddle compared to what we'd have if we'd just do what God asked. Furthermore, why do you stay in these things knowing what you know now about how they compromise your commitment to Him? Would there be any less saving healing touching and changing lives if we just became ungrafted to the World as we should?
This is a terrific point, because I acknowledge that I personally know of Jesus through the industrious efforts of those so devoted to Him that they kept the flame of His word alit through history. Praise Him for His work through those missionaries!
The fact is that many of those Christians weren't grafted to the Agency of Cain the way we are today. Look at your history. Better, read the Bible. What was the commitment of the apostles as they shared the message with others? Indeed, what were Jesus' explicit instructions to his followers in Matthew 10? Why don't we do those things? Today we could do those things and rejoice doing them because God would give us the power we'd need — it'd be amazingly easy, actually! (Some will say those instructions in Matthew 10 only apply to the apostles for that particular mission. This is a cop out. The core message of being single-minded and carrying His name and reputation with you still very much applies.)
In more recent history, there was indeed a time before 501c3 when state-churches did operate fully contracted with Caesar, even using tax revenue to do their noble work. One might add the questions: "Are we to dismiss their efforts in furthering the gospel? And if their work was so instrumental, why can't our work today in so-called 'state-churches' be just as instrumental?" The answer is that whatever one does to further the gospel should indeed be honored by God. Now, I don't know what it is in particular that any given instance, program, or even entire movement was about unless we look at it. I'm sure God is pleased with a glass of water offered to a thirsty person. He said He is! That's fine. But I also know that a glass of water offered to make any individual more of a son or daughter of hell is worse than having a temporal thirst quenched. God also made that perfectly clear.
I very much take this concern to heart. It is often expressed, though, by those so entrenched in the idea that there is truth in numbers, with its specious but very popular axiom "If enough people say its a duck, it's a duck." Those who know a bit about logic can easily see that the argumentum ad populum is not very strong, but it does seduce many in a "democratic" society .
I don't want to dismiss the concern, however. Faced with what may be considered a novel idea, it is perfectly understandable for one to ask, "Who else knows about this? Who are those who know about it? And what do they know?"
For one, it doesn't matter how many others know of it, it just matters what God says. If I am off anywhere here, then please let me know where I'm off — I'd love to hear of it because I want to get it right. Two, there are many others who see what I'm seeing. Read Scripture with your mind, heart, and soul truly open to finding out what God thinks and feels. He worked in and spoke through many diverse individuals in the exposition of reality that is the Bible. Take a look at what contemporary thinkers are saying, people who read and honor His word and insightfully examine history and current events. One articulately incisive work is Tupper Saussy's Rulers of Evil. Do some searches on some of these concepts and find other webzines and blogs of people who are concerned about the very same things.
Finally, most powerful leaders in society have a vested interest in staying with Cain — it is very lucrative! Pastors have virtually their entire tax bill wiped out with the deductions they are allowed by heading state-church affiliates. Christian non-profit organizations can get loads of taxpayer funding for their programs. In this light none of them have yet made a cogent argument against the core premise. It doesn't mean they can't, I just haven't heard it yet. I honestly don't think they can, but I'm open to hear their take. Indeed I very much want to hear it! As it has been so far, their best is the set of objections I'm addressing here, and I do sincerely hope I am considering them with respect. Their worst is that they shrug it off as "frivolous" and continue the racket by keeping people afraid and paying "protection" fees. ("Cain" is defined at FAQ)
Some may have the question still gnawing at them, "How come so many don't believe what you're saying?" I think the simplest answer is the exact same one that any follower of Christ acknowledges is the real reason people don't have an interest in accepting Jesus as their Lord: They just don't want to have their little status quo apple cart upset. The sinner likes to sin, and faced with a choice of Jesus — a straw-man character, by the way, who'd force him to read religious books and go to bed early ("Drag...") — and partying and copulating indiscriminately every other night ("Fun!"), what do you expect him to do? By the same token, those in an incorporated entity like the World's goodies: the tax breaks, the nodding approval, the stamp of legitimacy and all the rest of it. As long as they too believe in their straw-man Jesus, what do you expect them to do?
First, what exact policy or activity are you speaking of? Some things are designed specifically for government to do, and Scripture tells us to offer respect and even extend proper tribute to it for those things. Other things are merely codependent activities we've enlisted government to provide simply because we've been too lazy and too fearful to gratefully accept God's abundant provision and use that bounty to provide for all in community. Economically speaking this is perfectly reasonable — if you want to purchase an item, why shouldn't you, even if from government? Followers of Christ living in authentic caring community can build roads and plan cities and do it better because they love.
Whatever the case, city government is authorized to carry out such duties, exact the appropriate payment, and everyone does benefit. Some federal items are required, but things like prisons and armies are around only because Cain does require them as instruments of justice against sinners. As long as sinners rebel and Cain wanders among them, then seven-fold vengeance in the form of armies and prisons will be utilized in their fullest capacity. As much as sinners come to Christ and live as if He were their Lord, they'd understand the contrast between the World and the Kingdom and revel in reconciling people to Him, leaving the ministry of condemnation to do its thing as it does. (More on contracts with the World at In But Not Of...)
In this site I've laid out a bit of what that perfect community is — hey, it's right there in Scripture anyway, but so many people have been sold the World's idea of what that is. Christ very clearly says we can have it, if we just believe in Him — that means no contracts with the World System. Let me ask you this: What are you using as an excuse not to be perfect in Him, not to be richly living among others in vibrant fellowship? This does not mean we don't have our idiosyncratic personalities or that we don't do the marvelously inventive things we all do anyway. When I say here that I want perfect community, it does mean something very specific, described in the Bible, and it is not "heaven on earth." It is, however, the Kingdom on earth, which is what Jesus clearly told us to live out as He amply provides! The issue is not that He doesn't give it to us, the issue is that we don't take it!
Some may even object by citing the passage about laying up treasures in heaven. Let's be honest, many use this as an excuse to shrug off the horrible things people do to one another here on earth. Jesus doesn't want us worrying about "pie in the sky" or "pie on earth"! But He does want us to experience His bounty and His joy right here and now as much as it will be in heaven. Yes yes yes, it will be different in heaven, I know, but the key is that all people want three things now or nothing we say will convince them to trust in Christ. Those things are to belong, to contribute, and to experience, and the World's offerings in these areas are woefully deficient. We can only effectively extend an invitation to the alternative when we clearly see God generously giving them to us now, and that's tough with the impediments of the World in our faces.
Sometimes contracts are perfectly fine things, simply because we are prone to forget the terms of our agreements, and having them written down can be a very good thing. The essential question here is, what precisely are the terms of any given contract? Just because a given contract may be necessary does not mean all contracts are profitable.
The key question for the avowed follower of Christ is this: Who exactly is the one who makes you "legitimate"? If the answer is Jesus, where exactly does He tell you to enter into formal contracts with Caesar? Is your answer "Render unto Caesar"?
First of all, many Christians never consider all of that passage. It is mostly about how much we do what Caesar wants when we should be doing much more of what the Lord wants. It is shameful how so many use three words of Scripture to rationalize these agreements, and they dismiss the full breadth of admonition against it. Are you so eager to be a friend of the World at the risk of making yourself an enemy of God? Really ask yourself, in your heart, what exactly are you getting by being in those obligations? Again, if you are a nominal "follower" of Christ still living by the letter of the law, then you need them — please do render unto Caesar. In fact, when Jesus says "Render unto Caesar" He is insisting you do that! But you are making Caesar your lord and not Him. ("Caesar" is defined at FAQ)
But what if you are a truly sold-out disciple? What if you've made Jesus your Lord no matter what the cost? What if you are someone who so manifestly exercises real love that another knows you can do nothing to hurt him and therefore doesn't need such "laws" and "contracts" to be seen as "respected" and "reputable"? Think long and hard and prayerfully about the answers to these questions. And then think about what people would really think of you if you did them. Paul writes in Romans 13 that even the potentate would commend you!
Price? Didn't Christ pay the full price? If He wants people to hear and respond to His word and you are the instrument of that activity, don't you think He'll get you there? And don't you think your submission to ungodly agreements demonstrates your fear and short-circuits the very gospel you want to share? So then, what is it that you fear? Do you fear your own inability (when God would make you wholly able), your weakness (when God would impute to you great strength from that), or worse, your proclivity to be unfaithful that convinces you to fall back on the law-government contract?
If you were a true genuine follower of Christ and not a mere God club tourist, you'd know that God would fully endow you to love and to never not-love, and as such the government (whichever one it is) would have nothing to worry about regarding anything you do! In other words, can't you just tell whatever governing entity you are addressing that you won't do anything they would have to fear, that you flatly won't sin in anything you do that would require them to use the force of law against you, and mean it?
I can't help but think that if it is indeed "no big deal," then why do so many churches and non-profit ministries insist on keeping it, much more defending it tooth-and-nail?
This concern is usually based on some discomfort that what I'm saying is too harsh or unfeeling. I can't deny that I do take this personally. The absolute only thing I want to do is tell the truth, and share that Jesus offers grace that frees one from the harrowing nature of his condition. I don't condemn anyone — I can't. Only the Law can do that. Whatever issue you have is with that.
Many times this objection is accompanied by rationalizations like, "We've been doing fine this way for so long," or "This practice meets the standards of the historical church." The fact is, if you are grafted to the World and at the same time you say you belong to the Jesus Christ of the Bible, then you are being double-minded and trying to serve two masters. I don't dare to proclaim this myself, it is just right there in His own words. I've devoted an entire page to some of those very plain, clear words. That page is here.
Here's the real crux of the matter: The World has told you to sign on to the law and its power over you, and you've believed it. Now, that may be good! If you're living by the law, you could still be a sinner having no real faith in God. That's what Scripture clearly says. Again, are you a "law-abiding citizen"? That's good! The tricky thing is that God wants us to be Christ-following disciples. As such God never said don't be accountable, don't be transparent, don't write everything down. He just said live with Me in Truth and Grace, not under the World in the Law. (More on this at Passages about the Law Versus Truth and Grace)
I should add again that the way to challenge this premise is to offer a reasoned response. Not just for my sake but for yours. To say, "Oh, those passages don't say that" or "God didn't really mean it that way," or, as many so blithely say, "That's just wrong," is worthless. Do you really know Him — do you really trust fully in what He says? As I've said before, His words, His ways, His love may be complex, but they are not unfathomable — a child can understand them.
And I must then emphasize that it takes the power of the God of the universe to get us out. I also believe that it takes lots of people joining together, encouraging one another, sharing our concerns and feelings, and above all worshipping Him and praying together like we mean it.
Once again, 501c3 contracts are required for people who need their sin managed. Please don't think that I question or challenge in any way the legitimate duties of the Agency of Cain to do its job. If you feel you still need them, then please stay in them. But if you really truly authentically want to say to Jesus, "We're totally sold-out to you," then seriously consider actually demonstrating that. This is precisely why this site is dedicated to moving people into Scripture to find The One who'd go bananas blessing those who do this, and who'd give us every tool and ounce of strength to accomplish it and rejoice in it. I don't deny that this may require a lot of people lifting one another up under His love and provision to make this happen, but that is indeed my prayer all the time.
I have seen book after book after book (evangelical Christians like to read books) that say "Here's what it's really all about," and those things are real concerns — they really are, and many people are addressing them with fortitude and wisdom. Those books even have lots of pithy things to think and rigorous things to do. "Let's get back to really loving people" or "Let's get back into the word," fine wonderful Let's really try a lot harder, people! kinds of things.
But all of that is just miserable drudgery without The One who'll actually make them happen. When we graft into the World, we say to Him "We don't have enough faith in you, Lord, to do away with these infections." Once again, when you are 501c3 incorporated, you are by contract a subdivision of the Roman Catholic Church, which by its own idolatry is hopelessly infected.
The only solution is to get out of that and into the Kingdom. That means assembling together, all with one singular focus: Having community ungrafted to the World. That means no incorporations, no W-4 liabilities, no Social Security accounts. If you must still live by the law to crack down on your sin then by all means don't get rid of them! But if you want the joy that comes from being sin-free and authentically loving others by The Living Word, then tell Him you want that. This is the choicest bread, and He won't give you a stone!
Good point, the observation that ruling out some characteristics of a thing goes a long way to defining the thing. My purpose is merely to bring up many of the kinds of Jesuses people think they believe in when that Jesus may not actually be Him. Is there a "David Beck Jesus"? Sure. Could that Jesus have parts that are not really Him? Of course. But in doing this I want to get it right. I'm good with rejecting a misconception that isn't Him to know Him better.
I'm also good with the idea that Jesus wants us to have a relationship that is ongoing. If I already knew everything about Him, then what? What do we do in our interaction with one another then? I truly think that what we have left to discover about Jesus is light years beyond our understanding in this temporal perspective, and it is a lot of stuff! That is actually wonderful, really. (And it is a key theme, I might add, in my favorite Psalm: the one that is numbered 131.)
Also in this, however, is the fact that there are some things Jesus wants us to know about Him right now. He tells us those things most plainly (indeed, some more plainly than others), and wants us to give intellectual assent to them — not to mention emotional and spiritual assent as well. Sure there are many things I don't know about Him, and I will get to spend eternity finding out more of those things (wonderful!). There are many things I can know about Him now that make our relationship vibrant and meaningful (also wonderful!)
A key to this is my invitation: I'd love to know what you think! If you see a "Jesus" that is unfairly depicted as a straw-man one, let me know! I'd love to hear what you have to say about it. If you have any to add, let me know that too! All in all I don't think considering all the things Jesus isn't is necessarily a bad thing, because, let's be honest, we do our thinking in this way all the time.
A lot of their animosity stems from their insecurity about the association they still have with Catholicism. Merely look at a typical Episcopal or Lutheran service and you may scarce note any difference. Yet I agree, I hear some of the most venomous scorn directed at all things Catholic from very strident Protestants.
Think of the World System as one big club. This club is run by those who feel they must mitigate the evildoing of its members, that is certainly what Cain was charged with doing in Genesis 4. If the Roman Catholic Church is indeed the ecclesiastical force of that system, then it makes perfect sense that faced with so many sinners trying to get out of the "club," they'd find ways to keep them in the fold that aren't as readily noticed. Check out the history of the Jesuits and what they've done to accomplish this, you'll see it. There is no question they have done a masterful job.
The extirpation of Protestantism does not happen by wiping out the effects of the Reformation, it happens when Catholic militant operatives use the best Sun-Tzuan techniques to fool people into believing they're outside of the System when they're still in it. Protestants' documented incorporations and tax liabilities are physical proof that they are. If you are serious about not being bound to Rome, it is not "Reformation" that does it but complete relinquishment of those associations. This can only edify if one is fully abandoned to Christ and His Kingdom. If not, then one should maintain the associations, and by default his allegiance to Roman authority that checks his behavior.
I've never said doing Christ's work was a bad thing wherever it is done. Jesus even responded to His disciples' questions about other people who were doing things in His name by encouraging them to continue doing so. Many church and ministry activities should be done — in and of themselves, I have no objection whatsoever to those things!
My case is against the condition that many of those great things are done and seen on the outside as spectacular and wonderful, while what is happening on the inside critically belies them. Jesus said categorically what is in the heart is what matters — don't be a whitewashed tomb! A church may say it lives by Truth and Grace until it is blue in the face, but if still signed on to the Law its core conduct will be always be about trying to work around keeping sin at bay, instead of living out the righteousness of Christ. That is quite a difference!
I must say I do consider the merits of the proposition that there can be no physical building where an ungrafted church can ever be located. The Church, as in the totality of believers who actually live out the purity of life in Christ, may indeed need to be spread throughout the world. As much as Jesuitized agents infiltrate churches to keep them corrupted, Kingdom workers should be visible in 501c3's as well to draw people from that corrupted entity into vibrant relationship with Him. This is a conception about which I am still in deep prayerful contemplation.
So? Really, so what? I'm sure this contention is raised to somehow discredit the idea that we should really be setting ourselves apart for God because past attempts have been considered failures. For one thing, most of these movements were vitally instrumental in forming key components of healthy non-Roman-Catholic worship assemblies. Many "mainstream" churches even today pride themselves on sustaining some of those things!
The main point is there is no reason worship assemblies devoted to Christ today can't exercise the very best of these groups' aims in a contemporary setting and be ungrafted today. Were there odd unscriptural things some of them added to the mix of their devotion? Yes! I don't see why we couldn't distinguish that which was destructive and that which was inspired by God as they laboriously worked to be wholly and completely His.
Sadly one of the critical things that derailed them was that instead of truly setting themselves apart from Rome, far too often they went after Rome to try to change it, upset it, improve it, or anything with it. They never realized that Rome was instituted by God Himself in the fourth chapter of Genesis to crack heads and that the best thing the follower of Christ can do is leave it alone. Don't join up with it, don't make an alliance with it, don't give it lip service, don't protest against it, don't try to blow it up — don't do any of that. Just understand it. And then be His.
I'd like to add a note about the idea that "extremism" is bad. Whenever anyone says that, I always ask, "Do you believe that, extremely?" The fact is, everyone is an extremist about their view. Even if they claim to be the most neutral moderate centrist there is, they are still extremely in that place. Or of course they could change their views all the time, then they'd simply be extremely wishy-washy. No, extremism is not bad, only bad extremism is bad.
Once again, what precisely are the things we should be doing by God's word to follow God's word and ultimately be God's word to a dying world? If we don't know what those things are, let's talk about them, and if a group of people four-hundred years ago discovered really good things in His word we've missed and they got out there and did those things really well, why not replicate them now?
The tax issue is indeed one of the more troubling things anyone can truly wrap their mind around. I cannot emphasize this enough: all I want to do is honor my Lord Jesus. I simply want to listen to His words and do them. In the simplest sense then, anything that is money is a reflection of value, and what I do with that is merely something I want to reflect the value that God puts on things. I must say, however, that this is indeed one of those areas that World operatives have taken and manipulated so heavily that most people are completely in the dark about the whole concept of taxation. I truly believe that a very high percentage of people have a substantially inadequate understanding of it all (and I confess I'm still one of them!)
What's worse is that just as many of the powerful and influential people in our society base their material livelihood on that misunderstanding. I am presently working on a webpage for this site in which I lay out precisely what I see is the issue with taxes. This is definitely a work-in-progress, much because all the tax information I've looked at so far — in hundreds of different sources — is filled with perverse complexities and confusing double-talk. This is the case even in the sources that confidently proclaim, "Here's what it is really all about in the simplest terms."
It is this way very deliberately, because the World System depends on sinners putting their faith in it, and that requires great casuistry about taxation. This means that you can never get a true understanding of taxes from any World operative because it is made to be that way. Those operatives are not just the high-level covert and extremely dutiful minions of the System — ranging from the militant Catholic educator to the entrenched Federal bureaucrat — but those who work in offices around the corner from your home: the tax accountant, the tax lawyer, the non-profit specialist, even the banker and the businessman and the clergyman who heads a 501c3 church! All are sworn to extract value through the legitimate offices of the Agency of Cain.
So then, what is the truth about taxes? First of all, it must be emphasized at no point in this entire endeavor do I ever say, "Don't pay taxes." I just want to do that which is fully truthful and expressively gracious. It really isn't much more complicated than that. All the things I'm doing from my desire to learn are things you may do too.
The most important thing is to be in prayer and in Scripture. Certainly be out there sharpening your blade with thoughtful, godly people who can look critically at what the World does. One thing to ponder deeply is the entire aspect of value. Take time to think seriously about the answer to this question: What is it that is truly valuable? It must be pointed out here, briefly, that whenever people say "Oh taxes has nothing to do with anything — just pay 'em and be on your way," they don't truly understand value, and this sweeping neglect means nothing other than dismissing what God finds genuinely valuable. I am presently compiling observations and considerations about the principle of value as well, only because I see such crazy notions and at least I want clarity for myself.
One thing I do know for sure, and that is something very basic: There is a World, and there is a Kingdom. The World feeds on fear, and it gets a whole lot of people to pay big bucks to keep them feeling a bit less fearful. The Kingdom thrives on love, and when people love, the World doesn't need to collect a dime from them. If you don't have Christ, you're going to do a lot of the World stuff, sinning and paying for the mitigation of your sin. It's a good thing, actually, for the System to do its thing — and collect its cut — so some people won't completely destroy themselves and others, at least for now.
But if you're covered in the blood of Jesus, aren't you free from that body of death? Aren't you living in His righteousness, lifting others up, joining with them and their phenomenal gifts to build vibrant communities? Using all those resources to sow great things rather than hand over everything to the Caesar? To see more about what I mean by this, check out the difference between The Acts 2 Church and The 501c3 Church.
I agree! It is nearly impossible! This is just a clear evidence of how wide is the road to destruction and how many people are on it — people devoted to the rule of law in their lives. It is an indictment of those not displaying the fruit of the Spirit "against which there is no law," as it says in the fifth chapter of Galatians. It is their own signed affirmation that "the law is made for... the ungodly and sinful" as it says in the first chapter of the first letter to Timothy.
Again, as this website constantly attests, this is the way it should be for those committed to being sinners. And it must also be emphasized: for those who live in Christ's righteousness, World devotion in any form is an idol.
So what do we do? I simply ask this question, isn't it possible, by the power of God to do anything phenomenally wonderful for those who simply ask Him, isn't is just possible that there could actually be a sizeable number of people who stand up and live out, "My seal is Jesus Christ, and as such I cannot sin and I cannot refuse to love you in every way and in every moment"? Then out of that we do all the great things we would normally do as we move through the course of our lives? Great things that would actually be even greater as God blows us away with how much He heals and assures and provides?
Yes, that does very much mean no W-4 paperwork, and no handing over the fruit of our labor to Caesar when he does not require it — indeed by law he doesn't require it! That does mean, however, that we do what Jesus said to do. Do you know what that is? It is nothing less than loving another and using the abundant gifts He gave us to do that.
So yes, if we won't do that, then of course: It is indeed fully impossible to avoid being W-4 bound. We must gird our liability to Caesar because we need the force of law to constrain our evildoing. That is indeed terribly, terribly sad. (More on the W-4 contract is here.)
As it is, I must close with this critical aspect in this. The question is indeed a legitimate one, a question that has been brought up already on this page. What if a Christian is already immersed in World obligation, much of which includes an entrenched W-4 commitment? That individual may wonder how much agony must he expect to endure to get out, particularly when it seems so few are ungrafted to the World themselves? If it is indeed too excruciating, wouldn't that keep him in his oppression however reluctant he is to stay? The more fundamental way all this can be asked is this: To what extent does God bless us in spite of our disobedience or unfaithfulness?
This question is impossible to answer in any general sense. There are just too many facets of this issue to cover here, but we can know some things for certain by looking at God's words. The Bible is full of examples of God intervening mercifully in the lives of those wholly given over to their destruction, and there are just as many of His judgment against those exhibiting great pretense of righteousness.
What this means then is this: Only God knows what the situation is between Him and each individual — and I'm convinced the given individual knows it too. An intractable devotee of the World is cognizant of his condition, even if his deception is quite engulfing. If one genuinely follows Christ, then he hears His voice whatever the World does to him, and he knows that He understands and by His power we can indeed do what He wants us to do. If that means properly ending a World contract, then He'll make that happen. That's His faithfulness at work, and it is glorious.
(For an assembly of those truly desiring to worship God in Spirit and in Truth, here are some thoughts about what it takes to be ungrafted to the World System.)
I must say, if I do so boldly, that while this may sound like the most reasonable endorsement of an avowed World association by a Christian, it is actually the most unbiblical, even demonic assertion among all that are on this page. Where in Scripture does God ever say it is okay to sin and as such the force of the law is a good thing to have? In fact, the entire letter to the Romans refutes this very thing!
Let me make clear — actually, I don't have to make it clear because it is already so in His word: The law is good. It is very good, perfect as it is from God to demonstrate the ways we should be living to enjoy life rapturously. But it is just as clear that the law can never justify; that is, it can't make us accepted by God. Only Christ's blood can do that. The law is good in that it condemns, and as such moves us to see that we need God's provision of grace if we are to have any hope.
I should add that the law is good for another thing, and that is to mitigate the evildoing of a populace that refuses to come to Him and live by His holiness. The Agency of Cain was given the task to do this in the World — for its inhabitants and out of God's presence. The issuing authority of 501c3 is Caesar, responsible for enforcement of law that is brutal, terrifying, and merciless. He completely embodies the abject reality of judgment.
Is it then impossible to be free from that and return to Him? Impossible to live under His righteousness? Impossible to be cleansed by Him and made pure, holy, blameless? Is it just impossible? If we trust what the Bible says, the answer is an unequivocal no, it is not impossible! But, yes, the knights of Babylon have persuaded so many, quite a few in churches even, that to be humble we must always go around vowing that we are sinners. It is particularly insidious when used to stridently rationalize a 501c3 commitment.
Really, it comes down to this: Is God so impotent that He can't actually make us truly, fully good? Does He ever say, "Oh well, they're just human, they can be just a little evil." Ahem, up to what point is it okay with God for us to sin and get away with it? What is the meaning of Christ doing what He did? Does His love — to actually do the thing that would fully liberate us — mean anything when we can still continue to bite and gnaw at one another no matter how miniscule it may be? What a harrowing nightmare!
Regarding how so many Christians have been led away from the simplest truths, I think of these words from the 85th Psalm: "I will listen to what God will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints — but let them not return to folly." (Emphasis by editor)
Oh no! I very much know there are followers of Christ who are in ungrafted assemblies and thrive being deliberately unattached to the law-prosecutors through those World contracts. To the depths of their souls they do live and breathe and revel in God's joy and beauty. Much of this entire website is about my own call to those people because I so long to interact with them.
Sadly, I just don't think there are very many of them. I hope I am wrong, very wrong, I really do. My desire to be with them in vibrant fellowship also does not disqualify in any way God's desire that I engage those still smothered by the World. But then, this is precisely why I do this webzine, for the expressed purpose of saying what I can to those who may actually move on being ungrafted so there are more full-on reconcilers flourishing in the Kingdom.
About those who look pretty happy but are still committed to Catholicist dogma? I think many good churchgoing people do comprehend some measure of God's authentic joy, but as you've seen from this entire premise, I am also convinced they will never experience all that they think that can by being so stubbornly suckled by the World.
Please finish! Do let me know! Fill in the ellipses there! I'm happy to hear any fact, principle, anecdote, condition, situation, absolutely anything a thoughtful individual may share in challenging anything in this website. Once again, here is my email, let's join together to tell lost and dying people about a Savior who loves them! Let me add the awesome things you have to say to the truth and grace I want to shine brightly in this endeavor!
But I cannot help but still ask, what veritable justification is there for those who say Jesus is their king to make Caesar their king? What excuses Christian leaders who say they fully trust in the Jesus Christ of Scripture to sign any contract that makes them beholden to another lord, particularly the one that is the very legacy of Cain? What rationale makes it acceptable for those completely freed to love with God's love to go back to the old "wineskins" of the law?
Quite frankly, this objection is disingenuous because any statement is some claim to know something, including the criticism of a knowledge statement. How then is the speaker exempt from "know-it-all-ness"? Because I have already addressed this incoherency at another place on my site (the Frequently Asked Questions page), I'll take the highest road here and simply share why I've included this page.
It is here exclusively to expose the fact that I do not know it all. I've never claimed that I do. There is vastly more that God has done and is doing than I could ever comprehend in the here and now. But I'll say again, this does not mean we cannot know some things. In fact, you know some things. Everyone does. I'd even venture to say that most times a thing said by someone is pretty relevant. Why aren't the things I share given the same consideration as any other individual's claim to know something?
Vastly more significant than anything I say is what is being done with God's word. Ultimately — and this is why this particular concern is actually so meaningless — my words are completely worthless unless it is built on The Foundation. If you chafe at what I say or reject it outright, fine! Let it go, even with the most sweeping dismissal. The only thing that has meaning is His word. It is quite perilous, however, to dismiss that.
Here on this page is where I hope to be most transparent and gracious. Every objection listed above is a fine, understandable concern. I include them here because in many ways I desire the give 'n take from those who challenge what I say. That's awesome. I will give the highest honor to truth, as I trust you do too. My invitation is always there: Give me the best, most rigorous challenge you have about any part of this. I'd love to know it! I want nothing less, because if my faith is to be solid, I want it to be tested by the most scorching fire.
I can only conclude with the words from Peter and John that appear in the fourth chapter of the book of Acts. The authorities had told them to stop speaking of that Jesus fellow, the One who was stirring things up a bit too much — oh my, that He'd actually stir things up and do physical healings and give people real hope, using our hands, today. Here is what they said, there in verses 19 and 20:
"Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."
This page was originally posted by David Beck at yourownjesus.net on August 3, 2006