Throughout the years many churches have took it upon themselves to exercise authority over their brethren. Many have based this authority on their position which they believe gives them authority over the flock of God. But there is no such thing as Church members or leaders exercising arbitrary authority in the Church of God.
Matthew 20:25-26 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. (26) But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
The Heathen have exercised dominion and authority upon the people, but Jesus said that “it shall not be so among you”. In other words this is not the way in the Church of God. Many recognize the evils of Church and State, but a principle that has been greatly overlooked is the evil of many Popes, bishops, priests, presidents, and pastors in exercising arbitrary authority over the flock.
Servants, Not Rulers, Kings or Popes
We as the Church are not rulers, kings, or popes, but rather servants. And we have nothing else to do with worldly government besides to serve them as we do not give allegiance to “the prince of this world” (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11). The Church for centuries has been seeking power through the kings of the earth, but our citizenship is not of this world. The Church is not in the world to “rule” and “reign” but rather to “serve”.
Matthew 23:8-11 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. (9) And call noman your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. (10) Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master,even Christ. (11) But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
The professed churches of God have for many centuries sought the power of human governments to silence its enemies. However, God’s Church does not trust in human power, but these Churches of men have put their trust in human power. They have even usurped authority from the head of the Church Jesus Christ and sought to enforce the law by human power contrary to Jesus words’ which read “it shall not be so among you”.
Many souls have been broken and destroyed by the methods of these men who have employed these anti-Christian methods. Some following the word of God as their conscience dictates have been ex-communicated from the brethren whom they wanted to do nothing but “serve”.
Authority of the Church Usurped From Christ
Men who had usurped the authority of Christ taking role as heads of these churches began to make up rules, doctrines, and commandments of men, they wrote new books with beliefs they considered fundamental, adding another book to God’s word as if what God had given was not complete or finished. And these men feeling that they could perfect and finish what they believed God did not, would then setup these books of fundamental doctrines as a test of fellowship.
These men who usurped authority then began to exercise authority and dominion over the Christians who did not accept the beliefs which were setup by councils of men. They began to use force to force them out of congregations and gatherings because of their failure to agree with the doctrines contained in the books of a new order.
Instead of reasoning by the word of God, they became arbitrary dictators and their beliefs were nothing but the commandments and doctrines of men. Following this, the people who did not accept this authority and instead who’s conscience was subject to the words of the almighty were cast out as heretics.
A New Organization
These Churches who had setup books of a new order containing doctrines which they considered fundamental and a test of fellowship in place of the word of God had then assumed arbitrary authority exercising dominion and headship over the Church of Christ.
But Christ is the head and according to the bible the Church is the body. Christ has said that “one is your master, even Christ”(Matthew 23:10). He didn’t teach that the body was to rule, but the head rules the body, the head is the one who can exercise authority. If we add more heads to the Church, wouldn’t we thus create a monster?
And if we have a different head than Christ, can we be the body of Christ, or the Church of Christ? Or have we made a new organization with books of a new order, a new foundation, built on sand.
Brethren and Servants Not Rulers
This is why Christ made it clear “all ye are brethren”(Matthew 23:8) and “one is your master” and none else. All that the Church is called to do is to be a “servant”. The bible tells us that “For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four whichit cannot bear:” And the first of these things is “a servant when he reigneth;”(Proverbs 30:21, 22).
For over 12 centuries during the period known to many as “the dark ages” a church which was called to be a “servant” by Christ reigned and ruled the world. And for that the earth was disquieted or troubled. This is the very first thing that God has said disquieted the earth, “a servant when he reigneth” or rules.
It is forbidden for the Church to reign and rule and use authority against those it deems heretics when Christ has said “It shall not be so among you”. The Church cannot force anyone to believe as it says or command obedience and exercise authority over any whom it does not agree with. It cannot go to State power and use the State to stop others from misusing the name “Christian” or “Catholic” or any other name.
Going to State Power is Fornication and against the Divine Law
And as we will see, God has a call for us when a professed Church has done this. God does not call us to force ourselves into an authoritative position or even seek position and usurp authority of this Church that has committed fornication with the Kings of the earth. He says “Ye are the temple of God”.
In fact God has words for Churches that do this. He calls this “fornication with the Kings of the earth” and any Church that will do this he has called his people out of. (Revelation 18:1-4)
The Papacy has done this for decades. God does not see this woman as his Church. His Church is a pure woman. But this woman is a whore, and she has many daughters who have fornicated with the governments of this world as well. None of these are Church of God, but they have taken the title “God’s Church” down from heaven and applied it to their buildings.
Revelation 17:2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
When a Church is committing fornication with the Kings of the earth, it is not at all the Church of God. It is a harlot, an “abomination” to God. It has misrepresented his Church; it is a counterfeit of his Church.
God has a Church. In the bible he calls the Church HIS PEOPLE who keep His commandments and the Faith of Jesus (Revelation 12:17, 14:12). God rebuked the Jews for thinking it was a building made with hands.
Notice the following rebuke by Stephen. He says God has a Church, but ye have not “kept his law” (commandments). In other words he is telling them that the building they attend every week is not “God’s commandment keeping Church”. It is not a building made by hammers and nails, or made by the hands of men. Christ will build his temple without hands. (Mark 14:58)
Acts 7:47-53 But Solomon built him an house. (48) Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, (49) Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? (50) Hath not my hand made all these things? (51) Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. (52) Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: (53) Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
If they “have not kept” his commandments, how can they call themselves the commandment keeping Church of God?” They thought that the house of God was the house Solomon built. But Stephen was making it clear who God’s covenant was truly with. God’s covenant was with those whose laws were written on their hearts. God was dwelling in them. His Spiritual house.(Heb 3:6).
Jeremiah 7:4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.
What is the temple of God?
2 Corinthians 6:16-18 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (18) And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
If ye are the temple of God, then God is not calling you to fellowship with churches that believe they are the authority in the Church of God. But rather God is calling you to enjoy fellowship with the living God, the Father, to come out from those churches that only claim to keep the law, but do not, who worship other gods, and who have setup for creeds doctrines of men, books of a new order.
Still Servants in Love
When called out of these earthly kingdoms this does not mean we are not to be servants of them. We are here to serve them in love.
Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
We are not to exercise authority over others who do not believe exactly as we do by suppressing their speech, burning their writings, or even excommunicating them. We are to continue to serve them and love them, and reason with them as time permits providing an answer to them in humility and with respect, not debating with them, or name calling, or striving to win an argument, nor making jests or jokes about how we think the other person may be deficient mentally. This is NOT the Spirit of Christ.
God is infallible alone, and the people who make up the body of Christ have defects. They are in agreement on the main points of faith, but they are not infallible and are not to set themselves up as infallible heads. “All ye are brethren”. And they are not to setup a counsel and a creed of beliefs by which they pronounce judgment on others. This is God’s work alone, and who are we to take His job?
Many will continue to call these organizations setup by men “The Church”. They will ignore the plain teachings of the bible which when speaking of the Church speak of it as “his house, which ye are”(Heb 3:6). The issue of the Church is broad and should by no means be ignored. Especially since there are so many earthly organizations who have blasphemed His Holy name. They have taken it in vain calling themselves “The Church”.
The Church is built on a rock, it is the people of God, the temple which ye are, it is the pillar and ground of the truth, the body of Christ, not the head. It is not a building or organization setup by men to arbitrarily rule according to a book which they have setup outside of God’s word.
The only authority that is to be exercised by the Church is that of service. We do not dictate who can speak and who cannot. We do not dictate who is a Christian and who is not. We do not dictate who is a Protestant and who is not. We cannot setup a set of rules and then enforce those rules. Yes, men will come into our midst, grievous wolves and they will setup “new organizations” drawing away many. They will usurp authority in the Church, and they will act as heads and they will rule, dictate and force others to comply. These are anti-christ and Satanic principles that the Papacy has used for hundreds of years, and she will continue to do so.
“…FORCE IS THE LAST RESORT OF EVERY FALSE RELIGION…The papacy has exercised her power to compel men to obey her, and she will continue to do so.” (SDA Bible Commentary Volume 7 976)
May Father help us all to recognize that God has a Church and I am convinced by his word that it is not the great cathedral, it is not the national establishment, it is not the denominations which have taken the term “The Church” and applied it to their manmade organizations, but I am convinced that it is THE PEOPLE who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
I am convinced that the faith of Jesus is not something we profess in word only, but is something we have accepted as a gift and lived and practiced. I am convinced that many who confess to be of his Church, and who have been baptized and profess the name Christian and are members of national establishments, great cathedrals, denominations and manmade organizations are not at all the Church despite their profession.
I am convinced that many who are members of these manmade organizations, national establishments, great cathedrals and denominations will ask “where do we go?” or “come out to what?” and will look to the very next denomination as the answer as if one of these 1000s of denominations, cathedrals or manmade earthly organizations were God’s Church. But I will suggest to all that we look a little higher.
So many have been discouraged by the apostasy and evils that are prevalent among God’s professed people. But these are God’s “professed people”. They are “Jews, who say they are and are not”(Revelation 3:9). God’s covenant was not with the seed of Abraham after the flesh. His Covenant was with those after the Spirit.
Romans 9:3-8 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: (4) Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; (5) Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. (6) Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: (7) Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. (8) That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
Isaac was a child of Abraham, and so was Ishmael. In Isaac however was Abraham’s seed to be called. What was special about Isaac? He was a child born by the Holy Spirit. He was a child that was born by a miracle, a child born of faith. And thus it is that in order to be a true Christian, or a Jew, or an Israelite, or a Seventh Day Adventist you must be born again of Spirit. Being born after the flesh, and professing to be the seed of Abraham does not make you a child of Abraham, a Christian, an Israelite, a Protestant, or a Seventh Day Adventist. The true Christian is the one born after the Spirit. That is who the covenant was and always has been with. Not with a denomination. Especially with a group of men who have usurped the headship of the Church from Christ.