Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The true way 'church' should be done

I recall reading the about the conversion of Andrew Dunn, a once staunch Roman Catholic who was given a New Testament, read it, and was converted by God. I recommend reading the entire story, from that story I want to share how Andrew and his family worshiped God - I will get to that in a minute.
 It is a sharp contrast to what we see today, people gathering in buildings of brick and mortar with big screens, praise bands, coffee shops, extravagant sound system and lighting, etc. Is this what God desires for His elect? I don't believe it is. I think the way 'church' is done is the reason why many of the elect are leaving organized religion - for it's a joke. 
I recall reading a piece by Dan Phillips at Pyromaniacs, a blog shared with the likes of Phil Johnson of GTY. In that piece Phillips rips on A.W. Pink for not attending a local church later in his life, among other things. I won't link to the piece because I despise that blog and have no desire to promote it or its authors, none of whom I say qualify as teachers, elders, or anything else for that matter. Pink made a very wise statement when he said "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers." This applies first to our religious connections. How many Christians are members of so-called "churches," where much is going on which they know is at direct variance with the Word of God—either the teaching from the pulpit, the worldly attractions used to draw the ungodly, and the worldly methods employed to finance it, or the constant receiving into its membership of those who give no evidence of having been born again. Believers in Christ who remain in such "churches" are dishonoring their Lord. Should they answer: "Practically all the churches are the same, and were we to resign, what would we do? We must go somewhere on Sundays!" Such language would show they are putting their own interests, before the glory of Christ. It is better to stay at home and read God's Word—than fellowship with that which His Word condemns!"  Pink was spot on. Today most are brainwashed into thinking they must attend a church, become a member, get involved, give $$ to support a pastor who doesn't work but expects you to work, etc. 


Here is a sample of how Andrew Dunn did 'church'....

Family Worship. 
Andrew was for some time convinced that it was his duty, as head of a Christian family, to introduce family worship into his house. Since becoming acquainted with the Word of God he spent a part of every day in secret prayer. He had thrown his beads and charms of all kinds “to the moles and to the bats,” and prayed simply from a sense of his wants and a desire to be blest. But though he could do this when alone he was afraid that he would be unable to do so in the presence of his family. One day he took courage and thus addressed his family: “My dear wife and children, through the Divine mercy most of us have been brought to an acquaintance with the truth. It is not enough, however, that we glorify God as individuals, we must endeavor to do so as a family. Now, one mark of distinction between such families as have the fear of God and such as have not seems to be that the former have family worship. I have for some time been hesitating about beginning it, on account of my own deficiency, but I now see that this excuse was occasioned chiefly by pride, and I am determined, by the grace of God, no longer to delay doing what I am convinced it is my duty to do. This night let us begin.” They all consented; and, after supper was over, Andrew opened his Testament and read the third chapter of the Gospel by St. John. He ventured to make a few short remarks as he proceeded, and when that was done, kneeled down with his family around him and prayed. He prayed out of the abundance of his heart. He expressed his thankfulness to God for food, and raiment, and a house to live in. But he particularly praised God for His great love in sending His Son into the world to save sinners, and for giving him and the greatest part of his family to taste the richness of His grace. He offered up earnest petitions for all his friends and for all his enemies, if he had any. Nor did he forget Father Dominick. No! he besought God in his behalf and in behalf of all his flock, and prayed heartily that all the blessings of the Gospel might descend upon him and them. He prayed for the good of the land in which he lived, and for the increase of true religion everywhere, and concluded by committing himself and all his concerns into the hands of Him who “never slumbers nor sleeps.” 
That night Andrew had an opportunity of observing the kindness of God in the preservation of those who put their trust in Him. About midnight he was awakened by the loud barking of his dog. He got up to find out the reason of his barking, but when he went out could see or hear nothing, so that he was returning to his bed, supposing that all was well, but on his way back he thought he perceived some smoke in the house, and upon examination found that a little coal had got into a heap of straw that lay in a corner, and that the straw had nearly taken fire, so that he had good reason to believe that if he had not been awakened so very seasonably the whole house would have been in a short time on fire, and that he and his family would either have been consumed or have made their escape with the loss of their house and their little substance. Andrew quietly stopped the progress of the mischief, and uttering an ejaculation of grateful acknowledgment to the Author of all good for His kind interference, returned to his bed. When the family was assembled according to his desire in the morning he told them what had happened, and took an opportunity of extolling the goodness of that God who had watched over him and his family. 
Andrew’s Greatest Enemy. 
When Father Dominick excommunicated Andrew and his family he talked a good deal about heresy, and insinuated pretty plainly that to hurt a heretic was an offense of no great magnitude. Now it happened that there was in the congregation one, James Nowlan, who owed Andrew a grudge on account of a preference in respect to a piece of ground which he held, and who would have had no objection, if a favorable opportunity occurred, to make him pay dearly for his advantage. Nowlan, upon hearing Andrew pronounced a heretic and roundly cursed by the priest, said within himself, “Now is my time to take my revenge upon Andrew Dunn. Father Dominick says that a heretic ought to be considered as a heathen man and a publican, that is, I suppose, that if he was in a foreign land he would be burned to death as an enemy to the Church, but that in this country it is contrary to law to burn heretics. Now, if Andrew Dunn deserves to be burned, and that nothing hinders it but heretical laws, there can be no harm, but a great deal of good, in my giving Andrew Dunn a sound flogging that he will remember as long as he lives. This will be doing God service, and the more so as I run the chance myself of suffering by the cruelty of those laws that will not allow good men to punish wicked heretics as they deserve. This is all true, and I’ll show the dog that it is.” Having settled the whole matter in his mind he determined that on the following night he would go up to Andrew Dunn’s and inflict upon him the punishment which he had merited by his unnatural behavior to his Mother Church.

 Accordingly, having crossed the fields he reached the door of Andrew’s house about eight o’clock, just as he had done reading his chapter and had gone upon his knees with his family to thank God for the blessings of the day, and to implore a continuance of His favor. He stopped at the door for a minute to discover what was saying or doing within, when suddenly he heard the sound of a voice which was familiar to him. He knew it to be the voice of Andrew, but it was not like one man conversing with another, nor like anything he had ever heard. After listening for a little while, and looking through a crevice in the door, he perceived that it was Andrew in the act of praying, with his family around him. Curiosity made him listen to what he was saying, and he quite forgot the purpose of his coming in his astonishment at seeing the devotion of the man and his family. He heard him thank God for all the blessings which he enjoyed, but particularly for what He had done in redeeming him and his family from sin and death; but what affected him most was his prayers for his enemies. “O Lord,” he said, “if we have any enemies in the world, forgive them, whatever unkind thoughts or designs they may have towards us. Bless them with the knowledge of Thy Salvation, and enable us on every occasion to return them good for evil!” In this strain he continued to pray for some time, during which James Nowlan was quite overcome with astonishment, and when his prayer was over he thought he could cordially embrace the man whom he had intended to injure. “What,” said he to himself, “is this man a heretic? If he be, where are the Christians? Not in Father Dominick’s congregation, I am sure. If all that call themselves Christians, aye, and Father Dominick himself, were like poor Andrew here, it would be a different sort of world from what it is.” All his purposes of hostility against Andrew were at once laid aside, and he began to blame himself severely for having formed a design to hurt him. “Hurt him,” said he, “God forbid! No, let my right hand forget to work rather than I should employ it to injure such a man.” 
Becomes His Greatest Friend. 
He was going away, but he recollected himself a little, and determined that he would go in and tell Andrew what he intended to do, and ask his pardon. He accordingly knocked at the door, and being admitted by the unsuspecting family, Andrew invited him cordially to sit down by his little fire. “Did you hear,” said James Nowlan, “that Father Dominick cursed you and your family last Sunday in the chapel?” “I did,” replied Andrew, “and I heartily pity and pray for the poor mistaken man.” “But are you not,” said Nowlan, “afraid of the priest’s curses?” “Not a bit,” answered he, “while I know that God blesses me.” “Do you know, Andrew, that I came here tonight with an intention of punishing you as a heretic, and at the same time of revenging our old quarrel about the ground?” “As to heresy,” said Andrew, “he is the only heretic who departs from the Word of God, and I am willing to take the consequence of keeping to that Word against all the priests in the world. And as to the quarrel about the ground, you know, James, that there was nothing either unfair or unfriendly in my conduct about it. But if you think so, I am willing now to give up the ground, and what little improvements I have made upon it, if you have the landlord’s consent. For though I have a family to provide for I would rather give up all that I have and trust in the Lord for support than that any man should have a cause of complaint against me.” “God forbid,” cried James, “that I should take your ground! No, Andrew, you got it fairly, keep it, and all I ask is that you will forgive my evil designs against you, and count me as your friend.” “I heartily forgive you,” replied Andrew, “and I pray God to convince you of your state, as He has convinced me of mine, and turn you by His grace to Himself.” Though James did not well understand the wish, yet from a conviction that it contained something that was good in itself, and needed by him, he felt himself strongly disposed to join in a hearty Amen! He now told Andrew what it was that occasioned the change in his resolution, and asked him whether it was usual for him to pray with his family in the way he had seen him. Being answered in the affirmative, he begged leave to come over sometimes and join them. “By all means,” said he, “if you are not offended by my awkwardness.” “No, indeed,” answered he, with much warmth, “I never was affected in all my life by any prayer till I heard yours just now. As to Father Dominick, I do not know anything about what he is saying. His prayers are too learned for people such as I; and if it was not to have it to say that I was at Mass, I might as well, I think, spend the time at home. I never could, for the life of me, find out why the prayers of the chapel are said in a strange tongue. Is not plain English as good a language to pray in as any other? And then people will understand what they are saying.” “What you say is all right, James; we have been long enough in ignorance. It is high time for us to begin to think for ourselves.”
 He then informed him that about the same hour every evening he would find them engaged in the same way in which he had then found them, and assured him that they would all be glad to see him, and that if he would come a little sooner he might partake with them in the little supper. James thanked him, and took his leave for that night. On his way home he could not help musing on the transactions of the evening. “I came out,” said he to himself, “with a determination of giving Andrew Dunn a sound beating, nor did much care if I killed him outright, and here am I now going back, not only without having touched a hair of his head, but full of admiration for the man, and reproaching myself in my own mind for having formed the design of hurting him. To judge by appearances, there is more of the Christian in Andrew than in Father Dominick.” 
He slept but little during the night, and while he was at work on the following day his mind still ran upon the same subject. In the evening he went to Andrew’s, and joined with him and his family at worship. Andrew was led particularly to pray for his guest, that God would be pleased to enlighten his mind and lead him into all truth. After prayer they got into conversation upon the subject of religion, and they were both so much interested that they did not observe how the time passed, and it was near twelve o’clock before they separated. It turned a good deal upon the question: “What must a poor sinner, convinced that he deserves the wrath of God, and that his heart is wicked, do to be saved?” Andrew showed James very plainly from Scripture that all the penance he could perform, and all the mortification he could submit to, and all the prayers he could say as long as he lived could not restore him to the favor of God; that the Word of God shows the only way by which it can be effected, viz.,1 the atoning power of Christ’s offering applied by faith to the soul. He showed him also how the love of Christ constrained the believer to devote himself to His service, so that he no longer continues in sin, but must hate it, and resist and overcome it. These were the topics chiefly insisted upon that night, and it pleased God to open the heart of James to receive the important truths which he heard, so that Andrew had the satisfaction in a little time of seeing him possessed of a good hope in Christ, and giving proof of this to the world.
The Shillalah Burned
This James Nowlan had been a great bully. He used to go to all the fairs and hurling matches, and pick quarrels there to make sport, or, in other words, to set people by the ears that they might cut and hack one another without mercy. He was a man of great strength, and used to carry a shillalah,2 which was well known by the name of Jemmy’s switch. But this man whom every one feared was changed by the influence of the Gospel, and he became a striking instance of the truth, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2Co 5:17). The very expression of his countenance was altered; for, before, his aspect was ferocious, and strongly marked the savage disposition that was within. But after he became possessed with genuine religion his features wore a complacent kind of smile, which indicated the composure and serenity of his soul. He brought his great stick one evening to Andrew’s house, and told him he was come formally to commit to the flames the instrument with which he had so often done the work of the Devil. “This is the very weapon,” said he, “with which I intended to have beaten you the night I came here for that purpose, and there can be no better place to burn it in than this.” So saying, he threw it into the fire, and as it burned he said: “Blessed Redeemer! these hands have been to often employed as they should not in seeking mischief, and these eyes have too often looked with satisfaction upon scenes from which they should have turned with horror. But Thy grace has taught me to hate my former wickedness. I desire now to see no blood but the blood of Thy Cross by which my soul is redeemed. And while I look by faith on that object, may I die unto sin, and devote my powers to Thy blessed service.”
The Circle Widens.
James Nowlan, having himself found Salvation, was anxious that his family should be possessed of an interest in the blessing. Accordingly he begged that they would accompany him at the usual hour to Andrew’s house. They all of them showed a great deal of reluctance, and for some days absolutely refused. “A pretty thing, indeed,” said they, “to go and pray with such a fellow.” They could not, however, help observing the change which had taken place in James (he was no longer quarrelsome and drunken as he used to be, but stayed at home, and endeavored to make his family happy). They could not deny that Andrew Dunn (for they did not know then that it was the work of God) had accomplished in a few weeks what Father Dominick had not been able to effect by all his preaching, and penance, and holy sprinklings in twenty years. At last they took courage and determined to go. Andrew’s prayer was simple and affecting, and there was not a dry eye in this little congregation. When they went home they concurred in praising Andrew, and the next night they needed no entreaties to persuade them to go. Without entering into further particulars, I shall just mention that James Nowlan’s family soon began to feel the power of the Gospel, and showed the change by turning to the Lord Jesus Christ and leading a new life. Andrew had now the satisfaction also of seeing his eldest daughter upon the fullest conviction renounce her errors and embrace the truth, so that this little family was at perfect unity with itself. On Sundays they and James Nowlan’s family used to meet regularly for worship and praise to God. For some time these two families alone dared to be singular to worship God in a simple and spiritual way. Others were afraid on account of Father Dominick’s curses to join them, and they were exposed to much ridicule and opposition on account of their adherence to the Scriptures. However, after the first impressions occasioned by the priest’s denunciations had a little worn away, some began to reflect upon the grave change which had taken place in the lives both of Andrew Dunn and James Nowlan, and particularly in the latter. They could not help observing, too, the order of their families, their kind and gracious manner one to another; they were struck also with the improvement in their outward circumstances.  
 Many, from seeing these things, were induced to think more favorably of Andrew than they did at first; and after a while some took courage and ventured to come on a Sunday morning to attend the little religious meetings at his house, while others, curious to know the nature of these meetings, and afraid to enter, would listen outside at the windows, and in this they were emboldened by degrees to break through the restraint by which they were held. As Andrew made it his business simply to follow the Scriptures, and to direct those who attended at his house to take no other guide, he had the satisfaction after a little time of seeing that his feeble efforts to point out the nature of the Gospel, as contained in the sacred volume, were not in vain. He took particular pains to convince them that he did not attempt to introduce anything new, but simply to show them what the Word of God contained, that it was their business to read that Word as if they had learned nothing before, and that if they did they would find that it contained everything necessary to be known for their Salvation.
Andrew’s cabin was now filled twice every Sunday, and though the worship held there had nothing splendid in outward show to recommend it, yet it was such as God had declared His respect to “worship in spirit and in truth.” And those who met there found by blessed experience that God is as little a respecter of places as of persons. When the morning worship was over they made a little collection out of their savings during the week (See 1Co 16:2). Andrew Dunn and James Nowlan were chosen as the persons to manage the little fund, which they did most faithfully, putting down in a book everything that was received and laid out. As every one was willing to contribute as far as he was able, they could do a great deal of good in the neighborhood. They had upon their list six old men who were past their labor, and each of them received out of the funds a small though welcome sum every week. They were particularly attentive to the sick, and used to visit them, and buy whatever was necessary for them. Thus “their light shone before men,” and they proved that their religion was not in words, nor in show, but in faith which worketh by love.-- {emboldened by me for obvious reasons} From https://www.chapellibrary.org/files/3713/7643/2880/adai.pdf

Let me point out what they did with the money collected, they gave it to six old men who were no longer able to work. What a difference that is in what we see in today's 'church'!! Where 'pastors' like John MacArthur pull in close to one million dollars a year, live like kings and have the audacity to justify their greed! That is why there must be elders, plural, and not just one 'pastor' to oversee things. 

I thank the Lord that He has pulled me out of 'church' and kept me from the greatest deception of all - organized religion.

I would appreciate your comments/thoughts on this, I know there are many true brethren who no longer attend church, and with good reason. We are better off brothers and sisters, we are blessed! May the Lord be with us this Lord's day as we seek to worship Him, wherever we may be, in our homes with all our hearts. Let the Lamb receive His due reward!


Here is a video exposing the unbiblical 'role' of 'pastor' in today's organized religion. It is done by the gentleman who runs the blog http://beginningofsorrows.org/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UFt4Lu5LTc




21 comments:

Darrel said...

With all the horror stories I have read about people being removed from 'fellowships' by whatever means suited the hierarchy it is no wonder that most shy away from getting 'burned' again. I was one of the hard-head cases as it took three times being burned for me to get the hint that "church" was a ruse, a lie and a place not fit for the elect. It is more than a den of thieves, but a harbinger of demons through and through from the top to the bottom and everywhere in between. The necessity of "church" had been engrained in me some fifty years prior under the leadership of a man who taught lies and heresies so pleasing to the flesh that that the unsaved (as I was) could not resist, nor was there any desire to do so. 'Don't forsake the assembling of yourselves together' was so deeply implanted that it didn't matter with whom this 'assembling' was done, just so long as it was done. Tithing was another big thing and remains so today, despite the fact that tithing went out centuries ago with the Levitical Priesthood, etc. The unsuspecting 'flock' has been so well indoctrinated in the ways of satan that it takes time to break the bounds that have held people in their clutches for so long. I suppose this breaking will continue till we are called home.

It seems that many who no longer attend 'church' have also begun to "circle the wagons" and let few genuine believers into their heart. Even if they do let some in, it is at arm's length. I suppose that fear of being burned yet again is a key factor. But isn't it the "witness of the Holy Spirit" that delineates the fake from the true? Many a false prophet can spout the Bible and speak fluent 'Christianese' but it often is the peace of God about another person that becomes the 'deciding factor' along with a track record of defending the faith without partiality. It is a dangerous thing for our love to wax cold, which is usually attributed to iniquity abounding all around (we have become 'gun-shy').

It has become apparent to me over the past several years that one of the stealth tactics of the wicked one is to tear people apart, friends, family, parent/child, husband/wife, it doesn't matter to him, just as long as he can divide people, especially the elect. This may sound like I am now 'making the case' for church attendance, but quite the opposite: this is about individuals, one on one. Disagreements arise all to often over petty things mostly involving our ego and hurt feelings, my how childish we can be some times. But division over sound doctrine is another matter all together. Case in point: would you continue to attend a church where the 'pastor' took his text from the gospel according to Thomas and accused Jesus Christ (at the age of about 8) of throwing another child off of a roof, killing him, and later out of remorse raised this child from the dead? I'm not making this up! [David Goza, Jefferson Baptist Church (SBC), Baton Rouge LA] The recording of this was later swapped for a less damning version, with the real tape being scrubbed. The cover-up is often more egregious than the original offense.

To those newly "unchurched" give thanks to God every day for the fact that you have been delivered from the abyss of the wicked one and are free from his controlling antics. Pray without ceasing as the accusations of the evil one will like a flood at first. Read the Word as much as you can, for there is where the Lord instructs His own. Having been down this road four times (but no more!) enough is enough!! You have been set free, don't renew the bondage of the past.

lyn said...

Most excellent comment Darrel! Amen and amen

Sheryl said...

Inside the walls of the 'church' was where I learned error that the Holy Spirit had to undo and transform my mind. Scripture tells us and we see the evidence that what is happening today is described in 2 Timothy 4:3,4 and 1 Timothy 4:1. It is foretold and cannot be changed. Jude 4 confirms that the ungodly men standing behind the pulpits will continue until they obtain the condemnation ordained for them. So attending church is one of the most dangerous things a person can participate in. It has been corrupted and infiltrated - I'll repeat myself here - in preparation to form the coming one world religion.

Follower of Christ said...

Wonderful comment, Darrel. I, too, was burned by the 'church'. It took me going under very uncomfortable circumstances, in the 'church', not in my life, for me to finally (through a single conversation with the preacher) decide enough was enough. I walked away from that 'church' and spent very little time in one after that. That was 14 years ago.

In my years out of 'church' I read Scripture and the occasional 'christian' book, I am sure I would recommend none of them now. Somewhere in that un'churched' time the Lord opened my eyes and granted me true salvation rather than the 'I said the prayer' kind. I am so grateful for it too.

That said...It was in the 'church' that I learned of Christ and seeds were planted. I am grateful for that too although I had to unlearn so much that I was taught in 'church'. I remember reaching the point where I told myself I simply had to question everything I thought I knew about Scripture, which I didn't even know as Scripture back then, it was just the Bible. I would have to mentally stop myself from processing anything of the Lord or Scripture when I heard it and go to Scripture to look it up, unlearning the 'church' nonsense and learning Scripture brand new.

And boy did I learn it. I fell head over heels in love with it and I simply could not get enough of it. I read it like some people read a fictional book while on vacation. Meaning I read it every change I got. I had a little paperback New Testament that I carried just about everywhere and literally read it to pieces. It fell apart, I taped it back together and kept reading. I taped it back together many times. I had other Bibles but it was that paperback NT that I carried everywhere. It fit my hand well and was lightweight for carrying about.

I never had any such experiences while I was in 'church'. How grateful I am for the seeds that were planted while I was there, though I wish I had gotten them in a more Truthful way, and the Salvation the Lord eventually granted me.

lyn said...

The 'church' I attended was filled with typical SBC garbage. As God continually matures us, we see the errors we thought were truth and we separate from that. When God saved me, I wasn't even in any church at all. I had heard of Jesus, we all have at one time or another. But, the Lord drew me to Himself through a devastating terminal illness of my mom.
After God saved me, I attended a SBC church for about seven years. As God continued to grow me, I was less and less satisfied with this 'church'. I never heard of the doctrines of grace while in that church, I never heard about total depravity, etc. I learned this outside of church. I left that church, then went to a 'reformed' church. It was lifeless and loveless. The preacher continually said 'if you place your faith in Christ'. I would question him on this and never got a response. If you claim to adhere to the doctrines of grace, then why are you telling people to do something in order to be saved?
Then I moved on to Gary Gilley's church in Springfield Il. It was very clannish. One of the elders and I did not see eye to eye on a phrase he repeatedly used, 'when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior'. Gilley and his son, who preached on occasion, liked to use the pulpit as sort of an amateur comedy hour. On one occasion, a story shared by Gilley Sr. was not appropriate at all. I left that church as well not long after. In all these churches, church 'membership' was required. I now see the folly of that as well.
The last church I attended about 3 years ago was another Baptist church. The first three Sundays I went the preacher was hammering on tithing. I didn't last long there either. Tithing is not even a N.T. principle. I am always amazed preachers expect me to get out and work, yet they don't. God doesn't just want my money, He wants my WHOLE HEART.
Something doesn't add up there.

In all these churches, the people were for the most part phony. In the reformed church, the daughter in law of the pastor would be on her tablet during the sermon on the internet on sites like Target, etc. I was appalled!

I cannot give any credit to any of these dead churches for what God Himself has done and taught me, for I really learned nothing from organized religion. I learned through bible study, I also learned through men like Pink and Spurgeon. I didn't glean anything from organized religion and left disgusted, angry, and repulsed by it all.

Follower of Christ said...

I suppose my experience differs in that the only credit I give to the 'churches' is what I learned as a child, basically the 'Jesus loves you' spell that every 'church' I ever went to teaches to everyone that steps foot inside, and usually outside, their building.

That 'Jesus loves you' belief carried me through childhood and into adulthood although I was questioning my own salvation by my early 20's. I had a preacher ask me if I died that day did I know where I would go and I could not honestly say yes. I had said the prayer but there was something in my telling me that did not guarantee me salvation. I had no words for any of it back then and no one to ask. It was just this deep question inside me. That same preacher then asked me if I had 'asked Jesus into my heart' and when I said yes he assured me I was 'saved' and sent me on my way. He was assured but I was not. If anything he just supported my doubts that that was all there was to it.

What I learned in 'church' as an adult did nothing but put me off the whole 'church' institution and made me question if things were really the way they were teaching it. I attended one 'church' that I could not think highly of when they allowed their teenagers to come in dressed like street walkers and there was never a reprimand or warning given. It was always 'come as you are' acceptance.

Clothing is not a salvation issue but there is a general modesty line that should be upheld in a 'christian' setting and a teaching of the younger generations that should take place and these girls in question may as well have come in without clothing for all they had on, see through and super skimpy.

From there my experiences and questions just kept snowballing and that was during a time when I was only occasionally attending services for the sole purpose of spending time with a relative.

But that time and those occasional visits to the 'church' building were opening my eyes to things I had never thought to question before. Eventually I began to study Scripture on my own and things just went from there.

I can't truly say I was regenerated because of the 'church' but I can say that I was taught of Jesus as a child through 'church' in a way I never would have been if I had not gone. Being a 'Christian' was something my mother and grandmother did but it was what they did. As in being a 'christian' was more about what we sometimes did on Sundays and a bedtime prayer that was a memorized poem. It was much like having a laundry day and a bedtime habit of brushing your teeth.

So yes, I am grateful for the 'church' and those that taught me of Jesus even if their interpretation of Him was wrong. I learned He loved me and looked after me and I always considered myself a 'christian'. It was a restraint on me to some degree and it was a system that planted seeds

Did the 'church' do any of this? No. It was God working through certain people and certain circumstances. He guided and masterminded it all but it was a system that He used to work in my life.

I am not supporting or promoting the 'church' system. It's anti-Scriptural but the Lord has it here for a purpose and it does sometimes work in the elect's life. I am proof that no matter how much misinformation the 'church' pumps into you it's possible to be saved out of that system, not because of it (unless one counts the handful of seeds planted) but in spite of it.

lyn said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We all have interesting stories to share about our journey don't we? The Lord will save His elect, in spite of organized religion. And we all can praise Him for that!

Follower of Christ said...

I have been meaning to leave a comment on your article and not just on the other comments I replied to before. Meaning too has been a while in coming though as I have tended to life and family but that has given me more time to reflect on the story you shared.

It was a great story and I very much enjoyed reading it. It does strengthen the heart and soul to hear of other believers and their experiences with our Lord and His word.

I believe the men in that story and their meetings give a better example of what believers should do when gathering together and that we would all do well to take such examples to heart when deciding to meet together in any number.

That said, after reading the article and enjoying the story, I came away with some other thoughts too.

I can't help seeing the eventual similarity of their meetings to 'church' as we know it. What started as family worship and grew shows that one man seems to be the leader of the bunch. We see Andrew leading at the beginning:

"Andrew was led particularly to pray for his guest, that God would be pleased to enlighten his mind and lead him into all truth."

"Andrew showed James very plainly from Scripture that all the penance he could perform, and all the mortification he could submit to, and all the prayers he could say as long as he lived could not restore him to the favor of God"

Since Andrew is the more mature believer it is only appropriate that he lead at first. It was his family worship that James came too for the purpose of learning more. The trouble in this set up is that we later see Andrew is still the leader:

"James Nowlan, having himself found Salvation, was anxious that his family should be possessed of an interest in the blessing. Accordingly he begged that they would accompany him at the usual hour to Andrew’s house... When they went home they concurred in praising Andrew, and the next night they needed no entreaties to persuade them to go."

"Many, from seeing these things, were induced to think more favorably of Andrew than they did at first"

" As Andrew made it his business simply to follow the Scriptures, and to direct those who attended at his house to take no other guide, he had the satisfaction after a little time of seeing that his feeble efforts to point out the nature of the Gospel, as contained in the sacred volume, were not in vain."

What I'm seeing in this story is that Andrew moved himself and his family out of the 'church' out of a desire to lead his family and accidentally (on his part) wound up starting another form of 'church', granted a much better one since he was teaching Scripture. I can't help wondering how many denominations started in exactly this way.

Follower of Christ said...


Another thing I noticed was the assumption that the entire families were now true Christians after leaving the 'church' and listening to Scripture. While I imagine some of them may have been granted salvation, Scripture tells us that two from one family and three from another, mother will be against daughter... How then can we assume that all of the family members are truly born again? Even Andrews daughter's supposed conversion, while I hope it was real and true, reminds me much of all other religions assumptions that the kids gain salvation through whatever means. This daughter was well versed in what it meant to be a Christian, she was hearing it daily, having it poured into her, and she was seeing the effects in others. Of course she wanted that.

She was also under her parents rule and influence. Parents are a great restraint on their children up to a certain point or age and that restraint was stronger and stronger the further back we go in history.

Again, I truly hope all these people were born again and I am not at all complaining about Andrew's little 'church' but I do think his family worship times grew into a 'church'. He became the preacher and for whatever reason they even continued to follow with the tithing tradition. Thankfully it was used for a good purpose and not for ill gotten gain.

I think Andrew's story could be a perfect example of a good way to meet with the ekklessia but also to look at the places where we see what appears to be the mirroring of the 'church' system, complete with a leading 'preacher' and the assumption that all that gather are saved, and to also be able to see, at least in part, what should not be done.

Darrel said...

Interesting comments, FoC. Rather than rejoicing in the salvation of a soul you seem more intent on finding fault and that with woefully inadequate facts. You jump to the "three against two and two against three" as if that is the fact of every family where some are saved, not even considering that whole families were saved in Acts (the jailer's family for one). Andrew's daughter is another example, a 'hold-out' for quite some time as the story goes, but is nonetheless saved IN DUE TIME. There is nothing in the story to bolster your unfounded contentions, just some sort of 'wishful thinking' that allows you to pick it apart, but for what reason? There are plenty of charlatans out there and ALL will be exposed in due time either by their own mouth or their pen (keyboard) and it will unmistakable to the elect.

Andrew was saved by the same miracle of regeneration as God's elect are saved. James came to his house to 'beat the life out of Andrew' but was saved in similar manner. He was invited back to Andrew's house for supper and prayer, etc. and somehow this makes him some sort of evil self-appointed "pastor" (an evil word to some) which you have assigned him to be, the story says no such thing, so why do you? Whoever the Lord saves should be rejoiced over, no matter the circumstances.

Please reconsider your "take" on this wonderful portrait of the workings of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those depicted therein. Don't let the bitterness of things in the past taint the present. I highly suspect that real and bona fide persecution is right around the corner for God's people in the USA. Real discernment will be a must for survival. May the Lord "unlearn us" and educate us in HIS ways.

lyn said...

It seems God moves through hearts in different eras as He sees fit. I would think Andrew, being faithful to God and His word, led a service that was pleasing to the Lord. It may very well be God honored such worship and moved through entire families at that time.
In Acts 16:15 it is recorded that Lydia and her household were baptized. I am not saying that baptism saves, it appears they were baptized as a result of believing.


We don't really know, so we cannot say for sure can we?

Follower of Christ said...

Lyn,

The Lord does indeed work in ways we cannot fathom. I truly hope these entire families were granted salvation. I'm simply saying that that may not have been the case. How many people have you known that professed salvation for themselves or others? Were they all truly born again? We can NEVER know the condition of another's soul. We can make assumptions based on what we see in their lives or their writings but that does not mean we really know. Judas Iscariot is a perfect example. People would have sworn he belonged to Christ but in the end we see he was of the devil. We also see the believers at the end Hebrews 10 are being warned about turning back to temple worship despite having professed a belief in Christ and even suffered persecution. How then are we to know that everyone that professes a faith unto salvation actually has one?

I know someone that swears her children are saved. She puts great stock in the fruits she sees in them right now. Her children are children, they live with their parents, under their rule. Whether or not these kids are or will be born again remains to be seen. Right now they are like parrots, repeating what they have been taught and what makes their parents happy.

That is all I was implying with my statement, we cannot know.

As for Andrew leading a service that was pleasing to God...that is exactly my problem with his service, he led it. Therefore he became a 'preacher' and those coming to listen became his congregation. They were a 'church' in their own right, even if it was based on Truth. Acts 15 is a great example of what a bible study should be between believers. Andrew's services do not sound as if they looked anything like the bible study in Acts.

Follower of Christ said...

Darrel,

I commented on the article because Lyn asked for input on the article. Up until I gave my comment on it all the comments, which you started, were about the modern 'church' and everyone's experiences and not about the article itself. Lyn wanted opinions on that article and I complied.

You said I should not let the bitterness of the past taint the present, an interesting comment coming from someone who said, " I was one of the hard-head cases as it took three times being burned for me to get the hint that "church" was a ruse, a lie and a place not fit for the elect. It is more than a den of thieves, but a harbinger of demons through and through from the top to the bottom and everywhere in between." You essentially said that every person in 'church' is a demon yet you accuse me of being bitter when I have stated more than once that 'churches' are here of the Lord's doing and He has a purpose for them. Not only that but I am grateful for my experiences in the 'churches' I have attended. I harbor no bitterness toward the ones I have been to or to the entire 'church' system.

I may question their ways and point out there errors but I am not bitter toward them. Quite the opposite in fact. I am grateful they are there and that they are being used by the Lord to fulfill whatever plans He has for them.

The article we are commenting on has an interesting side to it in that if one tries to learn more about Andrew Dunn there is nothing there. I searched and searched for anything more to the story and all I can come up with is that this is a tract, a copy of which can be found here: https://www.chapellibrary.org/files/3713/7643/2880/adai.pdf

and is titled, 'Andrew Dunn: An Irish Story' by Thomas Kelly. Your use of the description as a 'story' seems to be accurate, it does indeed appear to be a story, a complete work of fiction, complete with an intact written dialog of a conversation between the priest and Andrew. What writer of nonfiction events is able to write out a conversation word for word? Therefore your statement that Andrew is saved by the Holy Spirit is incorrect as Andrew was saved by the pen of the man writing this make believe story.

In a story the good guys always win and we see that everyone that meets up with Andrew Dunn is portrayed as gaining salvation, everyone, that is, except the priest. This story has a happy ending for everyone except the Roman Catholic Church who are the bad guys in this fairy tale.

All that said, none of it matters in relation to the same issues I wrote of before. Andrew is shown to be the sole leader of the multitudes of people that came to him for leading in things of Scripture, people that are shown in the story to sing his praises in the same way people today praise their preachers.

It also does not matter if the story is real or fictional where the salvation of all in the story are concerned. I HOPE that everyone in this story, if it is indeed a story of real people, were born again. The trouble is that real life, history, and Scripture generally portray that will not be the case.

Multitudes of people crowded around Christ, many professed a belief in Him and yet they were not of Him. Many crowded around Paul, professing a belief in Christ, and yet we see that a good number of them fell away.

Isaiah 29:13 is a perfect example of this very thing...

And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,

lyn said...

I agree, we cannot know for certain can we? You do make some valid points concerning the matter. God can save entire households, or He can save one or two and leave the rest in sin. It is His call to make, we pray for loved ones but there are no guarantees.

Darrel said...

FoC,

It would be helpful if you were to read the post and subsequent comments with at least a modicum of understanding, but this seems to have escaped you. Instead, you twist the post and some comments to fit you agenda as a "heresy hunter." You are so quick to blame everyone who does not fit the profile you have conjured up for you to decide who is and who isn't a Christian. You even said that 'we cannot know for sure' and then proceed to state that the story and all it's participants are frauds. A mighty bold statement for someone who "does not know" and yet does know when it fits their agenda---and yes, it is based in bitterness whether you can see it or not.

It is also obvious that you totally ignored the second paragraph of my first comment. Perhaps that was because you don't seem to have a clue as to what I said nor do you have much Biblical knowledge of the workings of the Holy Spirit, if you did your conclusions would likely be vastly different. in a nut shell: YES WE CAN KNOW WHO IS SAVED AND WHO IS NOT. If your senses have been exercised to discern both good and evil you would already know this instead of taking the stand insisted upon by today's "church" that no one is able to know whether a person is saved or not---how ludicrous, no, insane such a statement is! You said that I didn't speak to the post as requested, but this is not so, my initial comment was spot on to this post and how it relates to today's 'church scene'; what a pity this went over your head as you chose to find fault rather than rejoice over the salvation of another. If this story is false then the perpetrators will stand before God. But don't you realize that these people spoken of are EXACTLY the types of people that are of God's Elect. Surely this must have entered you mind, but apparently not.

Follower of Christ said...

Lyn,


You and I have been friends of sorts for several years now. We have had numerous discussions through your blog and mine. We have both called each other sisters in Christ. I truly consider you to be one of the Lord's elect. It is with love and concern that I write this now.

I am choosing to address you rather than Darrel because in the handful of encounters I have had with him, I have found him to be contentious and very nearly hateful. My limited experiences with him have left me unable to consider him a brother in Christ as I do not see the fruit of the Spirit in him. It has also left me wondering at your alliance with him. From one sister to another, I ask you in love and all sincerity if you have read his comments and the tone he takes when others dispute anything he says?

He has accused me of all manner of evil, first saying I am siding with those that support homosexual sin because I did not name names now saying I am a "heresy hunter" among other things. I do not mind what he calls me. I actually enjoy being challenged and pushed, it forces me to dig deeper and to test my own faith and understanding of our Lord and His Word. I will be addressing Darrel's statements and accusations on my own blog as I do not wish to be the cause of arguing on your blog, not that I intend to argue but as you can see from the tone of Darrel's comments he is not inclined to lean toward love and understanding in his conversations, at least not where I am concerned. I will be writing a blog to address this. It will come in the line up of the series I am in the midst of writing now and should post on August 26.

I only bring this all up because Darrel strikes me much as you described the people in the Reformed 'church' you attended, he lacks love and makes me think of 1 Corinthians 13:1, If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. He is able to speak of Scriptural things but to what degree? He tears down and argues but does not take disagreement or correction well. We might say that it is because I am a woman and therefore should not be teaching a man that up until today I would have said was most likely a brother in Christ (I now have my doubts on that based of the fruit that he is now showing), however, in at least one encounter with Darrel I made it clear my husband is right here with me in these comments and blog posts and he still did not handle being challenged on his stance very well at all. He does not appear to have a humble or teachable spirit, nor does he seem to want sincere conversation with like minded believers. At best he appears to like arguing, at worst he is hateful and angry and spews that toward anyone that states an opinion that differs from his.

Follower of Christ said...

I ask, one sister to another, that you take a deeper look at his comments and his wishy washy statements. He says something in one comment, then says something else in another. And each statement he makes seems to be more and more bitter and hateful.

I do not know what your alliance with him is, only that at some point in the past he seems to have been given equal ownership in your blog. I do not wish to cause hard feelings between anyone or to stir up trouble. I have merely been trying to do for you what you do for me, that is to support you through leaving comments on your blog. In this post you asked for opinions on the story you shared and I gave mine, and just to clarify things in case Darrel's issue with me is the fact that I am a woman, my husband shares my take on this post. We did the research on Andrew Dunn together and discussed the story indepth before I left my comment. Had I asked for opinions on one of my blog posts I would have greatly appreciated you giving me your honest input. That is all I did. It was done in love and out of a sincere heart for the sole purpose of trying to support you. If what I wrote sounded argumentative, I did not mean it too. I was simply sharing my, and my husbands, take on this story and what it appears to be and what it does not appear to be.

Again, I am asking only that you take a look at Darrel's comments and to evaluate them through the eyes of Scripture on what a brother in Christ should be.

May the Lord bless you as you.

lyn said...

Sister,

I understand your concerns and thoughts. Yes, there are times when Darrel can be a bit overbearing. I have been guilty of the same thing on too many occasions. I find that the more I visited Christian forums, the more argumentative I became. Praise God He removed me from such forums - nothing good comes from it. Sitting behind a keyboard is too impersonal and too easy to forget the person we are engaging is in fact a living, breathing human being.

I think we must remember to love one another, not bite and devour. We can differ in views on things, and that's fine. But, we should curb our thoughts and not let them get out of control.

I pray often for the brethren to love one another, for God to teach us how to love and how to be kind towards each other. We all should have the same desire, to bring glory to our Lord and to love one another just as Christ loved us.


May the Lord mend harsh words and accusations and teach us His ways. I ask that we all pray specifically for each other tonight, and every night thereafter.

Darrel, I mean NO disrespect. I ask that we ALL consider what we say and bear in mind Christ died for us, let us always seek to be kind to our brethren. This dear sister is entitled to her views concerning the post, we may not always agree and that is okay. Now, if someone is caught up in false teaching, then we with a sense of urgency warn and seek to correct. May God grant us hearts that love as Christ loves.

Darrel said...

Lyn,

Your words are always taken to heart---always. There has never been one iota of partiality from you, no matter the subject or person involved. Your efforts at peace maker are greatly appreciated.

Darrel said...

FoC,

In your comment of 7-19-18 @11:10 am you are quick to pronounce the entire story as a hoax, the salvation of lead character also a hoax based solely on your "research" with no backing except your conclusion. Later you allude to your contention that it is impossible to know whether another individual is saved or not. Is this not a double standard for the convenience of your conclusions at any given moment? Since you provide no Scriptural support for your contention, are we supposed to take it as "gospel" just because you said it?

If indeed one cannot know the status of another's salvation (referring to your comment of the same date @ 7:32 pm) how is that you make such a bold statement: "My limited experiences with him have left me unable to consider him a brother in Christ as I do not see the fruit of the Spirit in him." Double standard, part two!

In a post from your own site you level the charge that I said stated that you are 'in support' of homosexuals simply because you refused to name the name of some singer that placated his daughter in her sins. No such thing was stated nor alluded to, but that did not deter you from your stated thought. You know this to be fact, but ignoring the facts, you proceeded full steam ahead. The exchange can be viewed @ Journeying to Christ, the post dated 6-16-18 is entitled "What Kind of Love Is This?" Double standard, part three.

"...a double minded man [woman] is unstable in all his [her] ways." James 1:8

To your credit you got one part right, I did refer to you as a "heresy hunter" mainly because in this post and those I have so far at your own site fault finding is the order of the day. One is hard pressed to find an encouraging word, a word that exalts the Lord Jesus except in passing, and nothing closely akin to biblical teaching. I will be happy to be proven wrong, show me. In the midst of your obviously hurt feelings (not my intent) you actually played the "girl card." Instead of a Biblical response (just a few verses would suffice) we get the hurt feelings response so prevalent in the world today---it seems that everyone is wearing their "feelings on their shoulder" just waiting and hoping to be offended so that they can unleash the harshest of come-backs. But a Christian should be primarily concerned with the never ending attacks on the character, the veracity, the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus. Oh, how emotions and ego get in the way!

Lastly, you fronted an effort to silence me by suggesting to Lyn that I be removed from her blog. Do you think she doesn't see this, too? Would you have everyone blind to this back door technique in order to elevate you to some sort of prominence? Is this the direction and working of the Holy Spirit? Be VERY careful how you answer this, He is listening.

"Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them." Eph. 5:11. Expose the double standard, trumped up charges of no merit and not based in fact, lying to "save face", using the Name of Christ to advance one's own agenda, divisive words and underlying spirit of the same, silencing those who seek to glorify the Savior by exposing the charlatans. If this list offends you, FoC, then may prayer be your utmost activity till your conscience is clear. Gal. 4:16: "Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?" Be angry with me as you will, my only hope is that the Lord will open your eyes first of all to Him, then the rest will take care of itself.

lyn said...

I hope and pray you will search the words Darrel has given, and see if you are not guilty in some way, shape, form and/or fashion to some degree, as you say he was guilty of certain things you spoke of.
Let us point out each other's faults, but let us do it with a meek spirit and in a way that honors God.
I do consider Darrel a brother in Christ, as I consider you a dear sister in Christ. Let us NOT let the 'flesh' overtake us! Please remember, our Lord is watching! I know how hard it is to battle this flesh, to battle our emotions, etc. The death to self MUST be died each second of each day we have on this earth.

Let's share thoughts- and let's seek to edify, let's seek to bring glory to the One who is deserving.

I also urge both of you to consider the words of our Lord, 'love one another'. Let's see to it we seek to do this above all else. You BOTH are in Christ! Please, let cooler heads prevail and hurt feelings be lifted to the Lord of glory.