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Edwin Christiaan
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Come away from delusional false prophesies that never happen!

AN INDICTMENT AGAINST THE CHURCH

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 1. Timothy 2:1-2 NLT

The Church, or the Body of Christ if you will, is supposed to have the power through prayer to be able to change the spiritual condition of this nation, or any nation for that matter. The frequently quoted scripture, where God says: If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. (2. Chronicles 7:14 NLT) has not had an impact on this land of America at all!

The Church has been praying for revival for years and yet nothing is really happening, despite the many so-called prophetic promises given over the years saying that we will see a great move of God in America that we will cause a multitude of sinners to come to repentance. A real revival! Instead, we see an increase of sin in the Church, like the Bible says in the book of Romans chapter 2, verse 24: No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”

God showed me that there are three major areas of sin in the Church that needs to be addressed and immediately stopped in order for God’s revival power to move among His children, and make the world (the Gentiles) see that the Church is a true follower of Jesus Christ.

The first area of sin in the Church
The Church needs to STOP selling merchandise in the church! Stop the selling of books, CD’s, and DVD’s. Also, it needs to stop charging for conferences, teachings, prayers, prophecies, and meals!

The Church is supposed to follow the example of her Savior and Provider Jesus Christ!

For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 1. Peter 2:21 NLT

Jesus Christ NEVER charged anybody for his teachings or conferences. Neither did he charge anybody for meals. As a matter of fact, Jesus miraculously fed thousands of His followers with only five loaves of bread and two fish! (See Luke 9:10-17) Jesus trusted the Father for the provision, so he could give it free of charge to the people.

Jesus said: Freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8 NKJV

The Church justifies the selling of merchandise and the charging of teachings and conferences with the argument that they need the money to cover expenses, and in doing so keeping the ministry afloat. But the Church doesn’t understand that if God is the one who builds the Church, it can trust God to take care of it! A Church ministry is never dependent on the donations from people, but on God, who will take care and build what is His! Church leaders must lean on God for provision, and not on people!

For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God. Hebrews 3:4 NLT

Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Psalm 127:1 NLT

One day, Jesus went into the temple and drove out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He also knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He stopped everyone from using the temple as a marketplace.

And He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” (Mark 11:17 NLT)

The time has come for the Church to throw out the bookstore and merchandise tables with the sale of books, CD’s, DVD’s, crosses, jewelry, banners – you name it – out of the Church, and instead make the Church a house of prayer, what it’s supposed to be!

The second area of sin in the Church
The Church needs to STOP imposing tithing on its parishioners, which is obligating them to pay 10% of their gross monetary income to the Church. It is even a fact that many well-known pastors are guilt-tripping their church members by telling them not to even think about coming to the front of the church for prayer if they are not tithing to their church, because they are robbing God! These pastors shamelessly use the Old Testament Law scripture in Malachi 3:8-10, which was actually meant for the Israelites so they could take care of the Levite priests by giving them 10% of their fruits and vegetables. This tithing principle cannot be translated to a modern day giving of monetary tithes to the Church!

There are also other Church leaders, who are telling their congregants that they would never accept anyone to their ministry team who is not a tither. They tell them that Abraham also paid tithes, but fail to point out that the Bible says that Abraham, in a onetime event, gave a tenth of all he had captured in battle, a tenth of the spoil, to the king and priest Melchizedek. (See Hebrews 7:1-2) Again, this has nothing to do with giving tithes to the Church and cannot be adopted as a church practice today! As matter of fact, in the same chapter it is said that our High Priest Jesus Christ came to set the old requirements of the law aside:

Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless. For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. Hebrews 7:18-19 NLT

That’s why neither Jesus Christ nor His disciples ever taught the Church to tithe! EVER!!!

Here are the only requirements the disciples told us believers in Christ not to do, and it did notinclude tithing:

Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood. Acts 15:20 NLT

The first church in the book of Acts should be the greatest example for the modern-day Church, asthey sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need and they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. (Acts 2:45, 4:32 NLT)

As a result, there were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. (Acts 4:34-35 NLT)

The first Church really put the words of Jesus Christ in action, who said: It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35 NLT)

It is no wonder that this first Church experienced true revival. In one day, about 3000 people gave their lives to Christ and were baptized. (See Acts 2:41.) And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. (Acts 2:47 NLT)

The apostles NEVER taught the Church to tithe. In fact, the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church the following: You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. (2. Corinthians 9:7-8 NLT)

The third area of sin in the Church
The Church needs to STOP mixing and confusing the gifts and fruit of the Spirit! There is an epidemic of spiritually illiterate Church leaders, who are not able to discern gifting from fruit, and therefore they are not able to know what comes from God or from the Devil. Their “spiritual discernment” often comes from a Google search of people to find out whether they are from God or not, and they end up being deceived. They are the ones the apostle Paul talks about, who don’t have any godly discernment, when he said:

You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. 2. Corinthians 11:4 NLT

These Church leaders are absolutely oblivious, and don’t understand that having the gift of an evangelist, pastor, teacher, prophet, apostle, or healer is not same as obediently walking in the fruit of the Spirit, which produces a character and behavior of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT)

In other words, you can be a gifted evangelist for instance, and yet be unloving, restless, unkind, unfaithful, rude, rebellious, selfish, jealous, have lustful pleasures and outburst of anger, impure, sexually immoral, abusive, a drunkard, cause quarreling and division, and so on. All of these are bad fruits and anyone who is living this sort of lifestyle will not enter Heaven. (See Galatians 5:19-21)

We need to understand that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance; it is freely given to us. But, the fruit of the Holy Spirit deals with our character that needs to be walked out as part of our salvation in Jesus Christ. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. (Philippians 2:12 NLT)

Here is the way Jesus taught how to discern people whether they are coming from God or coming from Satan:

Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Matthew 7:15-16 NLT

Jesus explained further saying that a good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. (Matthew 7:17-18 NLT)

Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. Matthew 7:20 NLT

Jesus also made it very clear that being gifted and doing miracles for God does not mean you will enter into heaven, but producing good fruit through obedience in God does! Just look at these scriptures:

So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 7:19 NLT

Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.‘ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Matthew 7:21-23 NLT

Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good. Titus 1:16 NLT

The powerless Church is busy praying for revival, but in the eyes of the world, the Church is nothing but a joke and a laughing stock.

It’s time for the Church to step up and learn to discern light from darkness and bear good godly fruit for the world to taste and see that the Lord is good! (Psalm 34:8 NLT)

I rest my case!

HOW TO RECOGNIZE A RELIGIOUS SECT

By Sophia Christiaan

“And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.” Romans 16:17-18 NLT

Just like we distinguish different kinds of animals within one species by describing the difference in length, width, type of legs, wings, color, and so on, so it is also by distinguishing characteristics of others things, that we find out what exactly something is.

In this second article in the series of articles on sects and cults, I want to share what a religious sect is and how to know when you’ve bumped into one. This list will ring true to the many who has already had some experience with cultic or secteric activity, and it will be a reference list to those who haven’t.

A sect is actually a word that merely describes a group of people, who have separated themselves from society to devote themselves to practicing a certain belief. This doesn’t have to be dangerous in itself, but when control enters the mix, things will get ugly. And that’s usually what happens to most sects, who start out with idealistic zeal to live in a certain way that is controversial to society.

Here are some things that characterize a religious sect:

A religious sect has one strong leader, who is increasingly adored and revered by every member. Usually, this leader has had some kind of profound life-changing effect on the member, who has become devoted to the leader in return for whatever the leader has given the member, whether it be purpose with life, a certain value system, rescue from bad circumstances, a sense of belonging to a group, or this leader’s love and support.

In a religious sect, the sect leader plays the biggest part of the members’ everyday life. All instructions for the sect and for the individual member are passed down from the leader and the leadership. Over time, the sect leader establishes him or herself as a spokesperson of God, and usually develops his or her influence to a higher divine position, including calling him or herself God, Jesus Christ, the Bride of Christ, the spouse of Christ or God, a highly enlightened spiritual being, a God-like character, a special apostle of God, a special prophet of God, a messenger of God, the Messiah, a reincarnated God, or more of the likes. Sect members come to accept whatever the leader professes to be, and finds confirmation in the common belief of the other sect members.

In a religious sect, there will be use of Bible teaching in some way. Usually, there will be an emphasis on scriptures that confirm the leader’s personal doctrine and repetitive studying leads to a member’s conviction. Usually, a sect leader has little problem persuading people of his/her doctrine, because people are already in awe of the leader and will accept anything he or she preaches.

In a religious sect, it is very dangerous to be a critical thinker and voice those opinions. There is a systematic breakdown taking place of the individual’s previous beliefs, to the point that every member must abandon his own rationalization and become unified with every belief of the sect. If the member fails to submit to the surrendering of his individuality and independence, he will receive correction by the leadership until he agrees to replace his previous ideals with those of the leader’s. This is a process each new member enters into, almost like a kind of boot camp, and he is cheered on by other members to complete the surrendering process.

For outsider’s, who have never experienced the kind of pressure there is to change within a sect, it can be hard to understand how an intelligent person can agree to leave his previously held beliefs for the sake of another. It’s quite another situation though, for the person inside the sect who is faced with the challenge, because he will constantly be influenced by his surrounding friends and circumstances that all tell him how successful and happy he will be as soon as he gives in. He will look around him and see smiling, content, relaxed people, who all claim they have gone through the same process, and are now free.

After the initial surrender, more of the same breaking down is taking place. The member is now ready for the real brainwash, and will be subjected to personal coaching and indoctrination. He will be challenged in all areas of life to embrace his new lifestyle and mindset. He will receive instructions on what to wear and no longer wear, how to speak, how to behave, and who to marry. Furthermore, he will be required to turn over his personal assets in the form of money, possessions, and income for the leadership to control.

If the member has any questions or is considered rebellious or uncooperative, he will be strongly corrected and/or punished by the leadership and his personal mentor, who is set to closely watch over his progress. He is continuously told that he has to submit to whatever the leaders decide, whether he agrees or not. If he continues to disagree and show a contrary attitude, he will reprimanded further, and more psychological force will be utilized to make him submit to his leaders. After many counseling sessions, a member will start feeling doubtful about his own standpoint, and he will start to agree with the disciplining he is under, and accept that the leadership knows better than he does. He will doubt himself so much that it becomes easier to give in than to hold on.

When a member has finished his initiation process, he will start to blossom in his new belief and environment. He will worship the leader like the other members do, and he will start to find great satisfaction in being a devoted member. At this point, he has figured out what is smart and what works, and he will start becoming a player of the game. He will seek to outdo others in radical devotion to the leader and to the sect, he will seek to be an example by following protocol to the tee, and by reporting on others when he sees the same rebellious behavior he used to have.

By now, he has become a devout member, who will at all times defend and protect his leader. He will crack down hard on any negativity or critical statements, and at this point, he has most likely also cut all ties with family members and his previous network of friends and colleagues and other associations. He has accepted that he is now committed to spend his life with the sect in whatever location that may be. His highest purpose is to please his sect leader, who is now showing him a favor he never enjoyed before he reached this level of commitment.

He is promoted within the sect to a higher position of influence, he is in training to become someone else’s coach and mentor, and he enjoys a great amount of time close to the sect leader and the inner core. If his development continues, he even has a chance of being accepted into the inner core group of the sect leaders personal advisers.

Some of the methods a sect uses to gain control over individuals include forcing them to confess sins. This includes not only sins already committed, but also thoughts that are considered sinful. Thoughts count as much as actions in a religious sect, because the leaders know that behavior and attitudes come from the mind. If they can gain control over not only actions but also the mind, they have the key to take complete control over an individual. The sect’s goal is to make everyone think and act uniformly and erase any critical thinking in a member that might cause other members to start doubting the sect leader and the way of life within the sect, thus threatening the absolute power of the sect leader.

Another method of control is subjecting the member to a lifestyle of complete openness at all times. A member’s privacy is subject to invasion at any moment, and all his assets are considered property of everyone. A member is often moved around in different sleeping quarter in the community housing, and he learns to live simple and transparent. It is also required that a member practices militaristic obedience to the sect leaders. If there is the slightest hesitation on his part, he will be subjected to strong correction or punishment. If that’s the case, he will also most like be accused of having demons, which will need to be exorcised. Depending on the sect, they will operate with various demon-exorcism programs where some include blasting, which is a practice where the individual gets surrounded by other members for about an hour, who scream at the top of their lungs at the member in the middle, who then gradually breaks down under the pressure. Merely tolerating to be blasted is already such a border overstepping allowance, that the member puts himself in the position of abuse of his personal borders and self-respect, causing his self-esteem, self-respect, dignity, and sense of self-worth to be completely annihilated.

Other methods seen used by religious sects are the constant use of psychological scare tactics to get control over members, including warning people that they will go to Hell if they disobey their authorities, telling people that God is angry with them, telling people how sinful and dirty they are, calling them names, convincing members they are demon possessed, threatening with ex-communication of the sect if they don’t submit, forcing members to be grateful for all the sect and the sect leader has done for them, using members for manual labor to keep them activated and not thinking and having public humiliation ceremonies where a person’s wrong doing’s are exposed and displayed for all members.

Many religious sects move to suburban or remote areas where they can isolate members further from the inflow of information from the outside world. Members are disallowed from listening to secular music, visiting stores that play secular music, going places that is considered a secular influence like restaurants, café’s and malls. The way they prohibit the members is usually not by saying “You are not allowed to do such and such,” but they will bash and talk so negative about these things, that members not only come to fear this influence, but also develop a strong distaste for whatever it is that is not allowed, sinful, or not considered “from God.” Members must travel in groups when they visit grocery stores or other “outside” places for the sake of supervision. No one is allowed to venture out on his own.

Members are prevented, either psychologically or forcefully, from using personal public communication items like cell phones, computers, facebook profiles, and email accounts. They are also restricted from watching television, or are only allowed to watch certain programs. They are brainwashed to believe they don’t need to keep up with news or other information about the society “outside” or the world. They are encouraged to only read religious books and magazines published by the sect itself that propagates only the viewpoints of the sect. All secular and other religious books are destroyed along with any personal items that remind the individual of their past life, such as decoration items, books, instruments, music, clothing, notebooks, letters, pictures, or any other item that has emotional value to the member.

Sidenote: Secteric influence in a church can be detected by the pastor or leadership disallowing members to visit other churches or home groups or conferences, telling the people they need to be faithful in their own church. In a church like that, the pastor believes he “owns” the members of the church, also called “sheep,” because they have committed to being part of the church and serve and receive under this particular pastor, also called “Shepherd.” He will also control the people further by demanding their faithful giving of tithes and money offerings. He will do anything to make sure his “sheep” don’t go to other churches and see other ministers and get tempted to leave the church or give their money there instead of to his church.

In a religious sect you will find the mentality that they believe they are the only group on earth that is right and will go to Heaven, and everyone else is wrong, belong to Satan, and will go to Hell. Many sects have an over-emphasis on the apocalyptic end times of the world that is said to come. The sect leader extorts the fear the members have of going astray and believing in the Anti-Christ, or missing out on Christ’s second coming, and use this fear to make the group strong from within. Also, as the sect gradually isolates itself from the outside communities, the sect leaders will demonize the outside society, and create a sense of survival mentality within the sect. This survival mode actually strengthens the group from within because of the perceived idea that their value system is in danger of being attacked by others.

A religious sect will always prey on a member’s desire to serve God, and will convince the member that they are serving God by serving the leader. In this way, there is nothing a member would not do for a leader, even things that would normally be considered a sin or inappropriate, like for instance, believing God speaks through the leader and everything he or she says is straight from God’s own mouth and God’s will, which can lead to all kinds of manipulation of the member that he would normally not accept. If a member really believes God speaks when the leader speaks, he can do anything the sect leader would request, such as having a sexual relationship with the sect leader, working to clean and cook for the leader, running errands and doing special favors for the sect leader, and investing his whole life into doing what the leader says, all the while believing he is doing it for God.

Copyright©2012 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan

INCOMPETENT CHURCH LEADERS

First of all, we thank God for meeting some great men and women of God during our stay in the Scandinavian countries. But, we were also shocked to encounter many incompetent church leaders, who are absolutely clueless of how to discern what comes from God and what doesn’t. They are lacking basic knowledge of the Word of God. They are suspicious, judgmental, and prideful. They would rather avoid being confronted, and they are bound by a century-old, demonic rule-system called Janteloven (Engl. Trans.: The Law of Jante), which is a pattern of group behavior towards individuals within Scandinavian communities, which negatively portrays and criticizes individual success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate. The ten rules state:

1. Don’t think you’re anything special.

2. Don’t think you’re as good as us.

3. Don’t think you’re smarter than us.

4. Don’t convince yourself that you’re better than us.

5. Don’t think you know more than us.

6. Don’t think you are more important than us.

7. Don’t think you are good at anything.

8. Don’t laugh at us.

9. Don’t think anyone cares about you.

10. Don’t think you can teach us anything.

There is also an eleventh recognized rule which says: “Don’t think that there aren’t a few things we know about you.”

With this inherent critical and suspicious thinking that stems from many generations back, and with the belief that “we also know about you” – in other words saying, “Don’t think you can come here and deceive us” – it is no wonder that many of these incompetent church leaders were eagerly willing to listen to and believe some false accusations that has been made against me and my wife, even without any witnesses to the allegations!

When leaders act in this way, they go against church protocol on how you are supposed to treat your brother and sister in Christ when rumors are spread about them.

“Do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is confirmed by two or three witnesses.” 1. Timothy 5:19 NLT

When we confronted several of these incompetent church leaders for their wrong actions, they cowardly refused to talk to us, thus again counter-acting what the Bible says to do, which is to go privately and talk it out if you have something against your brother or sister.

“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense.” Matthew 18:15 NLT

In another situation, we heard an incompetent pastor telling us that we are supposed to have letters of recommendation in order to minister in his country. Again incompetently and falsely, he tried to use the following scripture to prove his point, saying that the apostle Paul mandated recommendation letters. But, to the shame of this pastor, we proved to him that the apostle Paul actually said the opposite to the Corinthian church:

“Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not! The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.” 2. Corinthians 3:1-3 NLT

The apostle Paul is precisely the one who knew how it felt to be treated by people like these incompetent church leaders do – with a total lack of godly discernment. One of those instances happened when he got shipwrecked as a prisoner on the island of Malta on his way to Rome to stand trial before Caesar.

When Paul got bitten by a poisonous snake, the people of the island were convinced that Paul was a murderer and that justice had caught up with him. They expected Paul to swell up or suddenly drop dead, but when that did not happen, they changed their minds about Paul and decided that he must be a god. The people’s behavior in this example is very similar to the one of the many incompetent pastors and leaders today.

“Once we were safe on shore, we learned that we were on the island of Malta. The people of the island were very kind to us. It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us. As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand. The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.” But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god.” Acts 28:1-6 NLT

The people were wrong! They judged Paul prematurely, and conveniently changed their opinion about him when they saw that he was unharmed.

The ignorant people of Malta weren’t able to discern that God brought Paul to the island for a healing revival, just like many leaders in the Scandinavian countries are not able to discern when God brings ministers to their countries for a revival move.

“Near the shore where we landed was an estate belonging to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us and treated us kindly for three days. As it happened, Publius’s father was ill with fever and dysentery. Paul went in and prayed for him, and laying his hands on him, he healed him. Then all the other sick people on the island came and were healed.” Acts 28:7-9 NLT

Despite the negative things we have experienced with some incompetent pastors, we see that God is doing marvelous things in the Scandinavian countries. He is sending gifted apostles, evangelists, teachers, pastors, and prophets like us from around the world and raising up a new breed of Scandina-vian pastors and ministers to ignite a revival fire of His Word to restore His body, the Church. God is determined to bring an end to the incompetent and immature church leaders’ reign in the Scandina-vian countries. Their immaturity causes them to be tossed back and forth in their opinions, and they are not able to recognize what God is doing in their midst just like the people of the island of Malta. God is sending His ministers in to break the yoke of bondage over His people with good, solid biblical teaching and equip them to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ, bringing unity instead of division among God’s people!

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4:11-16 NLT

Copyright©2012 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan

THE PROFILE OF A SECT LEADER

By Sophia Christiaan

Having come out of a religious cultic family myself, and having written an autobiography about my life, I would love to share my experience of what exactly a sect leader is and how to recognize such a person.

Many are easily being deceived by dangerous cultic groups today, and even churches can have secteric features. We need to understand what those features are to protect ourselves from the severe psychological damage a sect with a strong leader will inflict. I have seen firsthand how much harm a sect leader can do in the lives of countless people, including my own, and to most people, it takes years to heal.

I want to give some clues to how a sect leader operates and seduces, because many times, he or she will come into your life as an angel of light, appearing to be innocent, well-meaning, and very religious, yet, turn out to be the exact opposite: a controlling, demanding and binding person that is not easy to get away from. The Bible says in 2. Corinthians 11:14-15 NLT: “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.”

Here are 30 characteristics of a sect leader:

1. A sect leader is a psychopath or a narcissist, or a blend of the two. In short, a psychopath is a very result oriented, unemotional personality that has an extreme need for stimulation. A narcissist is someone who has an extreme need for adoration and power, and is someone who will rather die than being proved wrong in anything. Both types are usually unable to feel empathy for the pain they inflict on people, and both types will never truly admit any blame for any wrong-doing. They will make their accuser out to be the “sinner.”

2. A sect leader is usually a very charismatic person to be around, and they juggle a lot of activities to engage and occupy sect members in the sect.

3. A sect leader quickly takes control of your life, by seducing you to believe he/she has the answers to fix any problems in your life.

4. A sect leader isolates you and makes you loyal to him/her and the sect, and persuades you to cut all ties with your previous network of friends, family, and colleagues.

5. A sect leader uses guilt, intimidation, and rejection to control you.

6. A sect leader always puts him/herself at the center of attention.

7. A sect leader will pretend to promote you, but will abort any chance you get to truly succeed.

8. A sect leader demands total obedience and loyalty, and doesn’t tolerate criticism, doubt, or the appearance of weakness and double-mindedness.

9. A sect leader promotes religious fanaticism.

10. A sect leader makes you believe you are part of a great unique work that requires your radical submission and commitment.

11. A sect leader plays people up against each other to bring forth the most loyal person, so the sect leader can use this person as an example of how devoted other members need to be.

12. A sect leader requires insight into your personal and private life, including knowledge of all past sins, mistakes and failures, your finances, sexual habits, and personal interests and relation-ships.

13. A sect leader manipulates to get his/her will by using sympathy, threats of punishment, and by using confidential information about you to your disadvantage.

14. A sect leader requires complete access to your life to scrutinize your actions and thoughts, and makes members report on each other if they see behaviors and attitudes that could be considered rebellious or disobedient toward the leader.

15. A sect leader makes you trust him/her by giving you what you crave, whether it be love, acceptance, understanding, a family bond, or just being that person who believes in you and supports your dreams and ambitions.

16. A sect leader never wants to let you leave the sect, and will turn against a person that attempts to do so anyway.

17. A sect leader lies about people who are opposed to them, and purposely limit the stream of information from the outside world.

18. A sect leader will reject and bash anyone who leaves the sect, and quickly turn other members against them. He/she will hide, distort, and lie about the real reason the person left.

19. A sect leader is not accountable to anyone.

20. A sect leader takes possession of you as an object he/she owns.

21. A sect leader usually use religious traditions to gain trust from people in order to elevate him/herself to a level of divinity, taking the place of God in people’s lives.

22. A sect leader sees followers as their children, and often arranges spiritual birthing rituals to solidify the followers new role. The sect is considered a family.

23. A sect leader will give followers a new identity, and often rename them.

24. A sect leader makes you desire to please him/her, and makes you consider it an honor to serve him/her in any capacity. The sect leader sees him/herself as a very superior and special human being.

25. A sect leader takes control of your lifestyle by dictating rules for what kind of clothing and other personal items are permissible, which spouse to marry, where you must live and with whom, what kind of work you must do, how you must handle your finances, and how much of your time should be spent working for the good of the sect.

26. A sect leader makes you strive for his/her affection and approval.

27. A sect leader is very persuasive, and can make anyone feel guilty for confronting them.

28. A sect leader probes your soul until he/she has total access to it at all times.

29. A sect leader will extort family members by keeping their children from them.

30. A sect leader will entice you with love, attention, and gifts and make you desire to be in his/her inner core group.

Such people need to be avoided at all cost!

Romans 16:17-18 NLT says:

“And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.”

Copyright©2012 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan

WE DON'T LIKE YOU ANYMORE

If you read our studies on our website, in several of the teachings, we refer to the Spirit of Jezebel. That is because we believe that this nasty evil spirit is out there to inflict major spiritual and emotional damage, especially to the believers who follow Jesus Christ. The Jezebel Spirit is the one who instigate hatred and division among Christians. Those infected by this spirit have only one thing in mind, and that is to never admit any wrongdoing, accuse you, and blame you – even for their own sin. They are unforgiving, unmerciful, and unable to show compassion. They especially hate the prophetic realm where prophets, pastors, and anointed men and women of God prophetically proclaim God’s Word over people. They will display your failures publicly, and persecute you, as they let everybody know how bad of a person you are, encouraging people to never have anything to do with you again.

They always think they are better than you, they love to control you, and have power over you, and they will take advantage of your missteps, so they can take over your ministry. You can almost hear them say: “Now we got him, it’s pay-back time.”

We have seen this over and over again, that very gifted and well liked preachers or pastors who fall in sexual sin or commit adultery, are being chewed up and spit out of the Church. Even when these fallen preachers admit the wrong they have done and are willing to work toward restoration, they are still being chased away by the Church, who continues to condemn them. They are being told it is going to take many years of ‘healing and restoration’ before anybody might consider for them to get back into the ministry position. This statement is actually meant to isolate them from the Christian world and silence them for good. Many of the fallen preachers become so discouraged and hopeless, that they ultimately give up being in the ministry all together. They never recover.

How is the Christian Church supposed to the deal with this matter?
First of all, the reason we have church discipline is to help keep the church pure and help those who wanders away from God or backslide, come back to live in the truth.

My dear brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back again, you can be sure that the one who brings that person back will save that sinner from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins. James 5:19-20 NLT

The main purpose of the church body is that it must serve each other with compassion, speak lovingly and truthfully to each other, live in obedience to God’s command, and love one another.

Just look at these Biblical instructions below, which tell us how the church is supposed to behave to one another:

Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically. Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful. When God’s children are in need, be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night. If people persecute you because you are a Christian, don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible. Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord. Instead, do what the Scriptures say: “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you.” Don’t let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good. Romans 12:9-21 NLT

If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen? And God himself has commanded that we must love not only him but our Christian brothers and sisters, too. 1. John 4:20-21 NLT

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16 NLT

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT

The attitudes of the above verses are what we as church is supposed to have, when we exercise discipline on a fallen brother or sister. If not, we will be led by Satan to discipline the offender in an unforgiving way, venting our personal anger. Many Christians, who exercise discipline in this way, become prideful, thinking they themselves are pure. This causes the person who is being disciplined to become bitter, and ultimately leave the church.

There are two mistakes the church often makes: The first one is that some churches are too lenient and not willing to correct mistakes, and the other is that some churches are too harsh and unwilling to forgive and have mercy on the offender.

Here is an example of the apostle Paul explaining to the Corinthian Church that it was time for them to forgive and love a fellow believer that had been disciplined or punished by the church, and who had subsequently repented from the trouble he caused them.:

I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt your entire church more than he hurt me. He was punished enough when most of you were united in your judgment against him. Now it is time to forgive him and comfort him. Otherwise he may become so discouraged that he won’t be able to recover. Now show him that you still love him. 2. Corinthians 2:5-8 NLT

Church discipline should always seek restoration. In other words, the purpose for discipline must always be for the restoration of a person back to fellowship, and not to destroy him or her. There is a time confront and there is a time comfort.

Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You are really a nobody. Galatians 6:1-3 NLT

A Personal Thought
I am many times being reminded by the words Jesus spoke to one of His disciples named Judas. Well knowing that Judas was going to betray Him with a kiss, Jesus still said the following when Judas kissed him: “Friend, why have you come?” Matthew 26:50 NKJV

The moral of this story is that even in this dark moment, there was hope for restoration for Judas who Jesus called His friend, if he had wanted to and taken the opportunity!

Copyright©2009 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan

WHAT KIND OF CHURCH ARE YOU GOING TO?

This might be a good question. The church, or Body of Christ, today is split and fractured into literally countless denominations, fellowships, associations, and the like. Many of them will not allow fellowship with a brother or sister from another church or denomination. I know many of God’s people, especially pastors and ministers, who tend to be very judgmental and look down their noses at others who do not belong to the same group as they do. They are proud and arrogant like the Pharisee who thanked God that he was “not like everyone else.” (See Luke 18:9-14) Too many are prone to “judge their brother” because of doctrinal errors on minor points (or what some might call “major points”), when they themselves have major problems with attitudes, hidden sins, and a wrong spirit.

The first three chapters of the book of Revelation in the Bible are written as letters to various churches in Asia Minor, warning them against their specific sins and shortcomings.

Historians typically interpret these seven churches as representing seven different periods in the history of the Church from the time of the apostle Paul until the return of Jesus Christ.

Personally I believe, that these seven churches were seven actual churches, and that the messages written in the letters were designed for the original congregations, as well as generally throughout the ages, and chronologically through seven major periods of church history.

These prophetic messages to the seven churches are timeless. The problems, sins, temptations, promises, and blessings are all still issues that we wrestle with today. The Spirit is still making the plea today for those who “have an ear” to hear what Jesus Christ is saying to the churches. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.” (Revelation 2:7 NLT)

Most of the messages to these seven churches follow a similar format (with Smyrna and Philadelphia being the exception to this rule). Jesus Christ addresses each of the churches in a particular way as He finds areas of strength, virtue, and commendation to reinforce and encourage the churches. He will then tell about the negative aspects of the church and the various sins each are guilty of, like that of idolatry, false teaching, apathy, and immorality. He then pleads with each church to repent of their sinful deeds. Then the churches are faced with the choice of a blessing or a curse. For the “over comers,” there are great promises of reward and blessings. Consequently, for the unrepentant, there is the promise of sure judgment, both temporal and eternal. One theme that you begin to see is the great love that Jesus Christ has for His churches and for His servants. Even despite their sins, failures, and shortcomings, you see the outstretched arms of a loving Savior. Rather than leaving each church to their own devices, Jesus intervenes to warn them of impending danger.

Let’s see what Jesus Christ is saying in the letters about these seven churches and the similarities you might find with the kind of church you are going to. In general, two of the seven churches were very good – Smyrna and Philadelphia; two were very bad – Sardis and Laodicea; and three were in-between, a mixture of good and bad – Ephesus, Pergamum, and Thyatira.

Ephesus
Starting with the first church in the line of seven, this church is in Ephesus, an influential capital city of Asia Minor on the Aegean Sea. Ephesus is now known for its huge metropolis of ancient streets, arches, and ruins.

“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.” Revelation 2:2-6 NLT

The Ephesus church was once a congregation who was on fire and in love with God. It was a church who did not tolerate evil people. But the fervent desire to please God, the passion to know Jesus Christ and His Word, ultimately gave way to formal, cool worship, and religious dogma. The devotion and enthusiasm for God faded away, and a church once on fire for God became a compromising church conforming to the world around them. The church began drifting, replacing light with darkness, zeal with fine church buildings, and freedom of the Spirit with formality and form. It was all so subtle, undercover, but gradually the influence of Satan took over. Over time, the church at Ephesus was totally corrupted. They forgot their first love. The only way back into God’s grace was via the route of deep, sincere, earnest repentance!

One thing in their favor, they hated the teachings of the Nicolaitans – the followers of Nicholas.

The Nicolaitans were church elders and leaders who taught authority, and stressed ministerial authority, ruling over the flock like tyrants, threatening members with ex-communication, and abusing them whenever they felt they were not properly honored and glorified and meekly submitted to by the flock. In other words, the key was subjection of the people, which also included access to the people’s tithes and money. They organized the church by human government, calling it the “government of God.” They made it sound good, calling it “democracy,” as they appointed boards and committee’s. They ruled the church like an army with various ranks in the ministry, patterned after the military in many cases. The ministers set themselves in ranks over each other, one over another giving themselves titles. Ministers began to be called “father,” “your holiness,” “reverend,” “bishop,” and “most reverend.” Thus, rank consciousness entered the church with much bowing and scraping.

Once these ministers acquire the “authority,” they can lead the flock wherever they want to, and the flock dutifully follows, meekly and without argument. They are taught to “follow God’s church,” right or wrong, or “follow Pastor so-and-so, right or wrong!” It is assumed by them that he cannot be wrong since he is “chosen” by God, or because he is “an apostle” or “a prophet” chosen by God. This Nicolaitan doctrine corrupted the church and led it astray, while men sought political power among themselves, competing with each other in different church organizations. Human government in the church is politics, plain and simple. In God’s eyes, it is an abomination!

“And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.

In the same way, you younger men must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”
1. Peter 5:1-5 NLT

But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.” Matthew 20:25-27 NLT

“Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:8-12 NLT

God’s true government is always based on His written Word, the Scriptures, and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and will never come from human origin.

Smyrna
The second church was Smyrna, located north of Ephesus in a powerful trading center on the Aegean Sea known for its harbors, commerce, and marketplaces. The primary ruins of Smyrna are located in the modern Turkish city of Izmir.

“I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan. Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:9-10 NLT

The church of Smyrna had no material wealth, and was relatively small. It had been suffering persecution by a great number of professing “Christian” churches, who had forsaken Jewish and Biblical practices and laws such as Passover observance and Sabbath keeping, and instead adopted pagan practices. They were false brethren from the synagogue of Satan, who looked down upon these Smyrna Christians. They were violently attacked, imprisoned, and martyred.

The “ten days” of suffering or affliction mentioned in the above scripture refers to the ten years of persecution and affliction upon the church during the reign of the Roman Emperor Trajan, who ruled from A.D. 98 to 117. He considered Christianity an illegal religion because Christians refused to take part in emperor worship. The church was looked upon as a secret society, and when Christians were found, they were severely punished and even killed. The Smyrna church was willing to pay the price for being true, faithful, unto death followers of Jesus Christ.

Pergamum
The next church was found in Pergamum, which is located on the plains and foothills along the Caicus River in Western Turkey. It was considered a major city in Asia Minor since the 3rd century BC, and became a Greek and Roman hub for temple worship.

“I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan’s city. “But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” Revelation 2:13-16 NLT

This church was loyal to God even in the midst of persecution, but it had some serious flaws which they needed to repent of. They tolerated false teachings like that of Balaam, the false prophet who attempted to defeat the children of Israel as they came out of Egypt, by encouraging Israel’s enemies to seduce them through sex and festivals of immorality, causing God to turn His back on them. (See Numbers chapters 22 to 24)

Surrounded by this kind of culture, the church of Pergamum suffered from constant temptation and a spirit of compromise, as these false teachings and heathen idol worshiping practices kept infiltrating the church. Idol worship and sexual compromise is rampant among churches today. Fornication, adultery, and homosexuality have become common practices among Christians. Many church-goers like to have their crosses, crucifixes, icons, images of various “saints,” movie stars, actresses, pop stars and rock and roll musicians and sports figures. It is all a form of idolatry. And among some of the churches nowadays, many virtually worship a so-called mighty “man of God”; his memory, his personality, his charisma; and will follow him “right or wrong, ” as they put him on a pedestal.

Thyatira
Next in line would be the church of Thyatira, which is located in western Asia Minor about 42 miles inland from the Aegean Sea. The ancient city was known for its textiles and dyeing trade, and is now known as the Turkish city of Akhisar.

“I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.

“But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.

“Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.

“But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come.”
Revelation 2:19-25 NLT

The Thyatira church was noted for its “love, faith, service and patience,” but like the Pergamum church, they were tolerating false teachers in their midst! This congregation followed a seductive woman referred to as “a Jezebel,” who called herself a prophetess, as she rebelled and defied the Word of God as the apostle Paul writes, “Women should learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly.” (1. Timothy 2:11-13 NLT)

This “Jezebel” woman controlled the Thyatira church in a militant and diabolical fashion, using subtle teachings and seduction. Because of her, the people began to compromise their values and beliefs.

Thyatira was famous for its magnificent temple to Artemis, another name for Diana, a goddess the original Queen Jezebel of Israel (1. Kings 16:29-33) was a strong devotee and worshiper of. Artemis/Diana is also called Astarte, Isis, Ishtar, Venus, Aphrodite, and Easter. Jezebel came from Tyre in Phoenicia and was a daughter of Ethbaal, who was the head priest of Astarte and also the King of Tyre. She grew up as a highly devoted Astarte priestess, skilled in the pagan arts and the sorcery practices of Baalism. Tyre was also the “birthplace” of the goddess Astarte, so when Jezebel came to Israel to marry King Ahab, she proudly introduced and enforced the worship of Astarte and Astarte’s god-“husband” Baal to the Israelites by erecting temples to worship Astarte-Venus and Baal-Zeus, the sun-god, and by hosting elaborate sexual festivals in the gods’ honor. Queen Jezebel kept her own Baal prophets, and persecuted and killed the prophets of God.

Not all the members in the church of Thyatira were guilty of compromising like the ones who were cleaving to the false teachings of the “Jezebel”-woman. Those who did not follow the “deeper truth” teachings were warned to hold tightly to the truth.

Sardis
The fifth church was in Sardis, which is located on the banks of the Pactolus River in western Asia Minor, 60 miles inland from Ephesus and Smyrna. Popular ruins include the decadent temples and bath house complexes.

“I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.

Yet there are some in the church in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes with evil. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.”
Revelation 3:1-4 NLT

The Sardis church had fallen asleep, and therefore it was as good as dead. Like many churches today, the Sardis church was a powerless, unspiritual, uneventful, boring, and ineffective church that totally forgot God’s commission that says:

“Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” Mark 16:15-18 NLT

Fortunately, there were some true believers in the Sardis church who refused to go along with the rest of the dead bunch.

Philadelphia
The next church is called the church of brotherly love, located in Philadelphia on the Cogamis River in western Asia Minor, about 80 miles east of Smyrna. Philadelphia was known for its variety of temples and worship centers.

“This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open. “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me. Look, I will force those who belong to Satan’s synagogue—those liars who say they are Jews but are not—to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love. “Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.” Revelation 3:7-11 NLT

The Philadelphia church was small, humble, and faithful to the Word of God. It demonstrated the love of Christ in the midst of a corrupt and pagan society without compromise.

The Philadelphia church was not the type of church who, like many of the usual churches nowadays, uses organizational profiles and business managerial methods in order to maximize dollars and income. In other words, these modern churches are running the church like a corporate business. The Philadelphia church followed instead the pastoral model set by God’s apostles, which is the method of prayer and dependency on God in faith.

There is not a word of critique, but rather encouragement from God to this church. God had strongly warned the churches of Ephesus, Pergamum, Thyatira, and Sardis against the sin of compromising.

The Philadelphia church was routinely sneered at, ignored, ridiculed, and attacked by the “synagogue of Satan.” These were branches of the church which had given themselves over to satanic influence, teachings, and a spirit of competition. God encourages the Philadelphia church to realize that His approval is all that counts and not prestige, money, or membership numbers.

This is the church that in the end times will restore much of the Biblical truth and understanding and knowledge of the commandments of God. It will disprove the heretics and compromisers, who claim to teach the full Gospel of God, and yet refuse to live according to God’s Word. It will teach the truth about the Godhead, the true relationship between the Father and the Son of God. It will be an example of restoration and revival of the truth of God.

The Philadelphia church is known as a church of love and affection, and not one who is puffed up with pride and who compares itself with others. It has learned to pray with patience and endurance, waiting patiently for God’s expected answers. It seeks only to serve God, and feed and take care of His flock and proclaim His wonderful true Gospel message of salvation and hope and the kingdom of God.

Do you know a church that really fits this description today?

Laodicea
The seventh and last church I am addressing was in the city of Laodicea, which is located in the Lycus River Valley of western Asia Minor, a primary trade route between the cultures of the West and East. Laodicea was known as a primary hub for the Roman aqueduct system.

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”
Revelation 3:15-20 NLT

The Laodicean church was amazingly lukewarm. It had all the problems of the previous churches, only compounded and magnified. This is the only church of the seven that rebelliously speaks back to God; “I am rich,” it boasts. They were arrogant and proud, lacking in humility and the fear of God. They had a form of religion without God’s love, mercy, and faith – a dangerous mix.

They were rich, but they neglected the poor, the widows, and the orphans among them. They had a large bankroll, but they were spiritually bankrupt.

This church says, “I don’t need a thing.” It believes it has all the truth. It is unteachable and uncorrectable. It is “full,” complacent, and has that “satisfied” feeling. It isn’t striving to seek God, to seek the His Holy Spirit, more of His divine power, and a closer walk with the Savior Jesus Christ. It has no spiritual power, no hunger, and no true love.

This church is “wretched.” In the Greek, this word is talaiporos, and literally means “enduring trial” – in effect meaning it was a constant, never-ending trial to God. It is also translated as “miserable.” The Webster’s Dictionary defines “wretched” as meaning “grievous, deeply afflicted, woeful, hatefully contemptible, despicable, and very poor in quality.”

The Laodicean church needed real cleansing, inside and out. It is blind to its own condition, and yet it is arrogant and prideful and will hear nothing, listen to no rebuke, and take no correction. It is a depressing, sad church.

It is unfortunate and sad that the majority of end-time Christians can be compared to this ancient Laodicea church; they are neither hot nor cold!

They say in their hearts that they are spiritually rich, wealthy, and need nothing, everything is going very well for them, or so they think. But in reality they are wretched, miserable, poor and naked, and yet they don’t even realize it. Why? Because they are absolutely blind to their own spiritual condition.They often rant and rave, accusing one another, but remaining in total denial of Biblical truth!

Conclusion
The seven letters to the seven churches contain God’s warning messages to His people to prepare their hearts, their minds, and their character for the perilous times that are coming. God corrects those He loves. He points out our faults so we understand what needs to be changed. Then He offers to come in and change us if we will open the door of our hearts. In the months and years ahead, severe persecution such as we have never seen, is going to break out against all true Christian churches, which will be termed “cults” and “bizarre sects” by the mass media, under the control of government propagandists. The true Christians will be persecuted with a vengeance, even beforethe “Great Tribulation” ever arrives! Now is the time to make up your mind and ask yourselves whether you are truthfully and wholeheartedly following and obeying Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and what kind of church you are going to? Again:

“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.” Revelation 3:13 NLT

Copyright©2011 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan

WHEN TO LEAVE A BAD CHURCH

Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” 1. Corinthians 15:33 NLT

For some time, God allowed Sophia and I to attend a certain church even though we felt very uncomfortable with the way the church was conducting its spiritual affairs. This particular church went through several splits in the past and therefore considerably decreased in size. Some of the surviving members are still looking back at the years when the church was dynamic and growing, continuing to hope against all odds for those glory days to return.

After God released us from this church, He clarified His purpose for us being there. God said that He wanted us to get an in-depth understanding of what He is feeling and experiencing when being in a bad marriage relationship with His Bride, the Church, which is us, supposed believers and followers of Jesus Christ.

With this understanding, we would be able to effectively, and in a profound way, communicate and instruct others through His Word about this very important subject. Further, God said that many who have been confused and unnecessarily hurt by bad churches will through these teachings, find the answers they so desperately have been looking for on this subject on when to leave a bad church.

First of all, this is the way Jesus Christ meant for the church to function, as a place where we all can come to know Him through His Word which saves, heals, delivers, comforts, and teaches us how to love and grow more and more in every way to be like Him:

He (Jesus Christ) is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ, until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.

Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Ephesians 4:11-16 NLT

Jesus showed His love for us, the Church, as He compared Himself and the Church to a good marriage relationship between a man and a woman. Jesus sacrificed His life for us in order to cleanse us from our sins and make us holy, removing the spirit of fear from us, giving us instead a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind. (See 2 Timothy 1:7) Now we are so in love with Jesus for what He has done for us and how He is lovingly treating us and leading us as we grow to be mature and effective Christians. We are excited about following Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life and want everybody to know about it! (See John 14:6)

And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. Ephesians 5:25-28 NLT

Now that we have established God’s intention with the church, we can see that ultimately the spiritual quality of the leadership determines the effectiveness of the church. If the leadership is of good spiritual quality, the church will be growing in their relationship with Jesus and this will undoubtedly show in the way they love God and each other. In doing so, the church automatically becomes a testimony to the world:

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:34-35 NLT

Likewise, if the spiritual quality of the leadership is bad, it will result in either the church growing deformed or not growing at all. In other words, the church is not being led into a growing relationship with Jesus and is ultimately being characterized as a church that is spiritually immature, not able to really love others unconditionally, and is biblically illiterate. Instead of the leadership teaching from the scripture, loving and caring for people, often the focus becomes more about the church organization, the size of the building, and the protection of the leadership’s own position. Selfishly, these church leaders are motivated by the desire for money, luxurious living, and control.

Care for the flock of God entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly — not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your good example. 1. Peter 5:2-3 NLT

Unfortunately, many believers who have suffered any type of abuse in their lives tend to gravitate toward church leaders who have it in them to continue the same generational pattern of mistreating them. They just don’t know any better, and therefore base their choices on what is familiar to them – what they are used to – and continue to suffer the consequences of it until they find real healing and are able to break this cycle of abuse.

We often get impressed with the gift a pastor has, yet seeming unable to understand why this same person is so unfriendly, overbearing, controlling, jealous, or money hungry. One of the reasons we get impressed with leaders like that is because they use their charisma to promote their gift. The Bible says that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. (See Romans 11:29). In other words, you can be very gifted and yet, that doesn’t say anything about what kind of person you are. The gift we receive freely from God, but we need to work on our character daily to produce the fruit of the Spirit of God:

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

What to look for in a church
The quality of the leadership and what is taught or not taught are key indicators whether the Holy Spirit is actively working in the church.

That is why we need to ask ourselves questions like these:
• Does the pastor believe that everything that is written in the Bible is the truth?

• Do the pastor and leadership of the church teach about Jesus as the God-man and salvation in Jesus Christ only?

• Do they baptize believers in water and pray for the infilling of the Holy Spirit?

• Do they teach about God’s unconditional and unfailing love and His grace?

• And also very important, do they teach about sin and the forgiveness of it, Satan and hell?

• Are there teachings about miracles and the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Speaking in tongues, how to pray for the sick and receive healing, and how to get delivered from demons?

• What is the church’s view on homosexuality?

• Does the church reach out to the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

• Is the church taking care of those who are poor and needy?

• Does the church have significant financial debt?

• Does the church leadership mentor or train men and women to be the future leaders in the church and eventually take over their ministries?

• Do they acknowledge and support the calling one has received from God or are they being threatened by it for the fear of losing their position?

• Are they allowing prophecy and the prophetic?

• Does the pastor put him or herself in the center of attention, or does he/she take every opportunity to pass on the glory to God?

• Is the pastor or members of the leadership living in sexual sin?

• Are their lives transparent?

• Is the pastors wife supportive?

• Are members generally healthy and happy?

• Is the leadership constantly begging for money?

• Is godly discipline and correction applied when members are living in sin as indicated in the Bible?

Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You are really a nobody. Galatians 6:1-3 NLT

Reasons For Leaving A Church
Here are some examples given in the Bible of immature churches who weren’t growing due to bad leadership. There was division in the congregation, and the members were fighting each other. This is the way the apostle Paul addressed this church:

Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to mature Christians. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life. I had to feed you with milk and not with solid food, because you couldn’t handle anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your own sinful desires. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your own desires? You are acting like people who don’t belong to the Lord. When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I prefer Apollos,” aren’t you acting like those who are not Christians?

Who is Apollos, and who is Paul, that we should be the cause of such quarrels? Why, we’re only servants. Through us God caused you to believe. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. My job was to plant the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God, not we, who made it grow. The ones who do the planting or watering aren’t important, but God is important because he is the one who makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work as a team with the same purpose. Yet they will be rewarded individually, according to their own hard work. We work together as partners who belong to God. You are God’s field, God’s building — not ours.
1. Corinthians 3:1-9 NLT

And then there is this one church:

There is so much more we would like to say about this. But you don’t seem to listen, so it’s hard to make you understand. You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things a beginner must learn about the Scriptures. You are like babies who drink only milk and cannot eat solid food. And a person who is living on milk isn’t very far along in the Christian life and doesn’t know much about doing what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature,who have trained themselves to recognize the difference between right and wrong and then do what is right.

So let us stop going over the basics of Christianity again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start all over again with the importance of turning away from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.

And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.
Hebrews 5:11-14, 6:1-3 NLT

This is another example of very bad selfish church leadership:

Dear friend, you are doing a good work for God when you take care of the traveling teachers who are passing through, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church here of your friendship and your loving deeds. You do well to send them on their way in a manner that pleases God. For they are traveling for the Lord and accept nothing from those who are not Christians. So we ourselves should support them so that we may become partners with them for the truth.

I sent a brief letter to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, does not acknowledge our authority. When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the wicked things he is saying about us. He not only refuses to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.

Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you.
3. John 5-11 NLT

Qualifications For Leaders, Also Called Elders and Deacons In The Church
It is a true saying that if someone wants to be an elder, he desires an honorable responsibility. For an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exhibit self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home and must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, peace loving, and not one who loves money. He must manage his own family well, with children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?

An elder must not be a new Christian, because he might be proud of being chosen so soon, and the Devil will use that pride to make him fall. Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not fall into the Devil’s trap and be disgraced.

In the same way, deacons must be people who are respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers and must not be greedy for money. They must be committed to the revealed truths of the Christian faith and must live with a clear conscience. Before they are appointed as deacons, they should be given other responsibilities in the church as a test of their character and ability. If they do well, then they may serve as deacons.

In the same way, their wives must be respected and must not speak evil of others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do.

A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well. Those who do well as deacons will be rewarded with respect from others and will have increased confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.
1. Timothy 3:1-13 NLT

An elder must be well thought of for his good life. He must be faithful to his wife, and his children must be believers who are not wild or rebellious. An elder must live a blameless life because he is God’s minister. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or greedy for money. He must enjoy having guests in his home and must love all that is good. He must live wisely and be fair. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong and steadfast belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with right teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong. Titus 1:5-9 NLT

In Conclusion
Leaving a church is usually a difficult decision to make. Every church is different, even within denominations, since the pastor and the leadership are different. But when the leadership is unqualified and error is being taught, the Holy Spirit will not have His way and be able to be effective in the lives of the people. The intention of God is that when men and women who come together, desiring to live godly lives, submitting to the Holy Spirit, faithfully teaching and obeying the Word of God, and seeking an intimate relationship with Him, awesome things will happen!

We believe that under these above guidelines, we are supposed to commit ourselves to a church and its leader or leaders who are walking examples of God’s Word.

Remember your leaders who first taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and trust the Lord as they do. Hebrews 13:7 NLT

Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this joyfully and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit. Hebrews 13:17 NLT

A final reminder!
And now beware! Be sure that you feed and shepherd God’s flock — his church, purchased with his blood — over whom the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders. I know full well that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some of you will distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you — my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you. Acts 20:28-31 NLT

Copyright©2009 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan

WOMAN PASTOR?

I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. 1. Timothy 2:12 NLT

A couple of years ago, we wrote the study “Women In Ministry,” and now we felt led to compliment and clarify that teaching with this new study called “Woman Pastor?” which answers the specific question if women should assume the role of pastor, teaching and preaching and having authority over men. There is a growing trend in these last days of women who are taking upon themselves the office of a pastor. It is a popular false doctrine people are embracing, and the Bible is warning us against it.

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to right teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear. They will reject the truth and follow strange myths. 2. Timothy 4:3-4 NLT

Many of these women pastors give testimony of how much they love their congregations and how they are called by God to be pastors and the great job they are doing because of their pastoral gifting.

Are all these women nothing but deceived, rebellious and disobedient, useless servants of God who usurp the position of men and go against the norm of scriptural revelation?

We ourselves, as traveling ministers, have noticed that wherever there is a church led by a woman pastor – meaning she is standing up to preach and teach in a mixed congregation of men and women, making statements about God and about the meaning of His Word from a position of authority over men, there always seems to be disorder, with issues like selfish ambition, jealousy, control and manipulation that leads the people astray.

For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the Devil. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil. James 3:15-16 NLT

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the other churches. 1. Corinthians 14:33 NLT

But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman — that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet — to lead my servants astray. She is encouraging them to worship idols, eat food offered to idols, and commit sexual sin. Revelation 2:20 NLT

Let’s dig in and see what the Bible teaches us about this hot issue.

The Word of God proclaims, Women should listen and learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly. 1. Timothy 2:11-12 NLT

In the church, God assigns different roles to men and women. This is a result of the way mankind was created and the way in which sin entered the world.

For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. And it was the woman, not Adam, who was deceived by Satan, and sin was the result. 1. Timothy 2:13-14 NLT

God, through the apostle Paul, restricts women from serving in roles of teaching and/or having spiritual authority over men. This excludes women from serving as pastors, which definitely involves preaching to, teaching, and having spiritual authority over men.

In other words, women are not to teach men or have spiritual authority over men because Eve was deceived. As a result, God has given men the primary teaching authority in the church.

Many women excel in gifts of hospitality, mercy, teaching, and helping. Much of the ministry of the local church depends on women. Women in the church are not restricted from public praying or prophesying (1. Corinthians 11:5), only from having spiritual teaching authority over men. The Bible nowhere restricts women from exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Women, just as much as men, are called to minister to others, to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit, and to proclaim the Gospel to the lost.

But God has ordained that only men are to serve in positions of spiritual teaching authority in the church. This is not because men are necessarily better teachers, or because women are inferior or less intelligent (which is not the case). It is simply the way God designed the church to function! Godly men are to set the example as a spiritual leader through their lifestyle and words.

It is a true saying that if someone wants to be an elder, he desires an honorable responsibility. For an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exhibit self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home and must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, peace loving, and not one who loves money. He must manage his own family well, with children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?

An elder must not be a new Christian, because he might be proud of being chosen so soon, and the Devil will use that pride to make him fall. Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not fall into the Devil’s trap and be disgraced.
1. Timothy 3:1-7 NLT

An elder must be well thought of for his good life. He must be faithful to his wife, and his children must be believers who are not wild or rebellious. An elder must live a blameless life because he is God’s minister. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or greedy for money. He must enjoy having guests in his home and must love all that is good. He must live wisely and be fair. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong and steadfast belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with right teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong. Titus 1:6-9 NLT

Women are to take a less authoritative role. Women are encouraged to teach other women.

Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord. They must not go around speaking evil of others and must not be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to take care of their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. Titus 2:3-5 NLT

The Bible also does not restrict women from teaching children, who includes both boys and girls. Again, the only activity women are restricted from is teaching men or having spiritual authority over them. This, logically, would exclude women from serving as pastors. In other words, a woman cannot teach in a mixed gathering with both men and women. However, a woman can teach and edify other women! This does not make women less important by any means, but rather gives them a ministry focus more in agreement with God’s plan and His gifts to them. There are many gifted women who might very well do a better job at preaching and teaching than many men. However, it isn’t gifting that is the issue, but rather God’s order and calling. We cannot come to God’s Word with a social agenda and make it fit the way we want. Instead, we must change and adapt to what the Word of God says.

My wife, for instance, is excellent at shepherding other women and children. There is a distinction between the gift of shepherding and the office of shepherding because God’s way is to put men in positions of spiritual authority, so only men should have the office of shepherding.

Many women pastors and their supporters justify their position as pastors by saying that women in the Bible like Deborah, Huldah, and Miriam, also held positions of leadership. This justification fails to note some significant factors: Deborah was a female judge among 13 male judges appointed by God to a civil political authority position and not ecclesiastical authority, which is of the church! Huldah is mentioned in the Old Testament as a female prophet among many male prophets, but not as having a leadership position. Miriam’s only connection to leadership was being the sister of Moses and Aaron. The two most prominent women in authority in the times of the Kings of Israel, were the rebellious evil queens Jezebel and Athaliah —hardly examples of godly female leadership.

Nowhere in the Bible can it be found that a temple priest was a woman. In the Old Testament there are over 700 mentions of priests, every single one was a male. There is not one instance of a female priest. That job was always done by a man. This is significant because priests were ordained by God to hold a very important office of ministering the sacrifices. This was not the job of women.

Another argument that is being made to justify the position of being a female pastor is that of Priscilla and Phoebe in the New Testament. In Acts chapter 18, Priscilla and her husband Aquila are presented as faithful ministers for Christ. Priscilla’s name is mentioned first, perhaps indicating that she was more “prominent” in ministry than her husband. However, Priscilla is nowhere described as participating in a ministry activity that is in contradiction to 1. Timothy 2:11-14. Priscilla and Aquila brought a preacher named Apollos, who was from Jewish descent, into their home and they both discipled him, explaining the Word of God to him more accurately. (See Acts 18:26)

In Romans 16:1, Phoebe is considered a “deacon” or a “servant” and “helper” which doesn’t indicate that Phoebe was a teacher in the church. To be more specific, the passage from 1. Timothy 3:2 where it says, “…he must be able to teach” is only given as a qualification for elders, not for deacons (1. Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:6-9). Furthermore, elders/bishops/deacons are all being described as the “husband of one wife,” “a man whose children believe,” and “men worthy of respect.” Clearly the indication is that these qualifications refer to men.

In Conclusion
God’s Word clearly tells us that the elder/pastor/bishop is to be the husband of one wife. A woman cannot qualify for this position by virtue of her being female. Whether anyone likes it or not, that is irrelevant to the fact that this is what the Bible teaches.

God’s Word DOES have a gender distinction when it comes to how things work in the church. We cannot get around “I do not let women teach men or have authority over them.” We can’t get around the requirements for elders as being HUSBAND of one wife, which is a very definite gender distinction. Neither can we get around the fact that Jesus chose 12 men as His apostles and leaders of His church, even though there were also women who traveled with them and ministered to them in a service capacity.

There is also a difference between a person standing up reading scripture, which I would argue is open to both genders in a worship service, as opposed to a person standing up teaching and preaching a sermon, which is far more than simply reading scripture. God says only men belong in that position.

An obedient woman will not seek to rise up to a position in the Church that God has forbidden. Such a woman who becomes a pastor is flat out in rebellion and disobedience. If you are attending a church with a female pastor, I suggest you go elsewhere out of obedience to God.

Seek out a church with a male pastor who has a love for the Lord Jesus and who seeks to please Him in his Church ministry. By leaving a rebellious woman pastor and attending a good church with proper leadership, you will be able to grow and mature in God, as you sit under solid Bible teaching.

Copyright©2010 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan
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