[If you have experienced spiritual abuse at The Crossing or any other church, you can contact Jeremy Rogahn from the Facebook page, Back Door Ministries Support Group. This group meets every Friday evening to help deal with the grief, anger, and wounds that result from spiritual abuse. This is a GREAT group of people and will give you full support and help your healing process regardless of your situation]
PICKING UP WHERE I LEFT OFF
I am still doing the preliminary groundwork before I start addressing the individual points in THE CODE. I had to take a bit of a detour because I had to address something important outside of THE CODE. It may take three or four more posts before I dig into THE CODE. Today's post is merely an extension of yesterday's post, " PREVIEW: EXPOSING "THE CODE" OF THE CROSSING CHURCH-PART THREE". You may want to read it now if you haven't already, otherwise you might get confused. So here we go!
A QUICK REVIEW
At the end of my last post I posited several questions, coming down hard on the implications of the last part of point twelve in The Crossing Church's "Statement Of Faith".
"...each church is independent and must be free from interference by any outside authority."
Here are the slam-dunk questions I asked pertaining to the statement above starting with...
- Is it O.K. then, if a church's authority is rooted in its pastor only rather than God's Word?
- Is each church really independent and therefore free to teach and practice whatever they want in the name of Jesus Christ?
- Does that doctrinal statement mean that all the people in the whole world who are Christians have absolutely no authority to interfere when a pastor of a church is deceptive, heretical, abusive, legalistic, disobedient, blasphemous, and irreverent in the name of Jesus Christ?
- Is it really true that every church, by necessity "must" be free from interference by any outside authority? Does that mean that even the police cannot interfere? What about the Lord Jesus Christ?
- Where in the Bible exactly, are the proof texts that support these ideas?
- Yes or no: Is Jesus Christ an authority above and beyond the authority of pastors and churches?
- Does Jesus Christ have supreme authority over all His creation?
- Does Jesus Christ communicate His moral imperatives through His written Word alone, thereby exercising His supreme authority providentially through His true disciples?
- Are Christians called by Jesus Christ Himself to embody the principle of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and rebuke another church if it is unfaithful to the Word of God?
- If The Crossing truly believes that, "...each church is independent and must be free from interference by any outside authority", isn't that refusing to submit to Christ's supreme authority through His written Word and providentially through His true disciples, therefore denying His Lordship?
- Doesn't point number twelve blatantly contradict point number one in The Crossing's Statement Of Faith?
EXPOSING THE PROBLEM BIBLICALLY:PART TWO
I am not going to answer those questions point by point because the questions are rhetorical in nature; the answers ought to be obvious to the reader. Instead, I will counter The Crossing's belief that, "...each church is independent and must be free from interference by any outside authority" with what the Scriptures teach about this statement, both implicitly and explicitly.
COUNTERING THE CROSSING'S BELIEF IMPLICITLY
What does it mean to counter The Crossing's belief "implicitly"? It means that we can look at New Testament Scriptures as a whole without quoting any bible verses, and critique The Crossing's belief that, "...each church is independent and must be free from interference by any outside authority".
EPISTLES: THE NEW TESTAMENT POST OFFICE
Let me start by asking the question, "What are "epistles"? In the Bible an epistle Is simply a synonym for a letter, as in, "I wrote a letter today to my brother in Montana". Of the twenty-seven books that make up the New Testament, twenty-two are epistles; that fact right there ought to tell us that epistles were the primary vehicle and which God chose to complete the New Testament.
WHO WROTE THE NEW TESTAMENT EPISTLES?
The most prolific author in the New Testament was the Apostle Paul who wrote thirteen of the twenty-two epistles in the New Testament canon. Non-Pauline epistle authors include the Apostle Peter, the Apostle John, James and Jude who happened to be Jesus' half brothers. The epistle of Hebrews is unique in that the writer is unknown.
Although the authors of the New Testament epistles were mere human beings, the Lord chose them as agents to communicate His Word in such a way that the character and personality of the authors was not compromised, yet the theological content of the epistles communicated the very mind, character, and will of God. Therefore, what the New Testament authors wrote carried with it the inerrant and supreme authority of God Himself.
WHO WERE THE ORIGINAL RECIPIENTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT EPISTLES?
The majority of the recipients were churches or groups of churches in a particular geographical region written during the Apostolic age. However, some were addressed to specific pastors like Timothy and Titus.
WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE IN WRITING THE NEW TESTAMENT EPISTLES?
The authors of the New Testament epistles, writing under the superintendence of the Holy Spirit, wrote personal letters to congregations and pastors for a variety of reasons, usually the epistles were front loaded with theological (doctrinal) content followed by it's practical implications and moral imperatives as it applied to the Christians of the early Church.
The epistles also commonly addressed a variety of serious problems that arose within churches, such as division and hierarchies between brethren, moral degradation within the body of Christ, spiritual abuse and abuse of the sacraments, lack of discernment, heresies arising within churches, and the increasing prevalence of false teachers and false gospels. These serious problems had to be addressed with "apostolic authority" or a church might end up in spiritual ruin and cease being a genuine church.
AND THE POINT IS....WHAT?
Notice that the normative pattern of the New Testament epistles is one of teaching, warning, correction, and rebuke by an "outside authority!" These early churches were not just planted by missionaries and then left on their own. There was direct correspondence between churches in the form personal visits and epistles by missionaries imbued with apostolic authority, which means that their teachings were, and still are, the source of divine Truth, and just as applicable today as they were two thousand years ago.
In other words, The Crossing's assertion that, "...each church is independent and must be free from interference by any outside authority" is simply a ridiculous and outrageous claim. Such an idea is very dangerous, and any pastor or church that teaches and practices such a doctrine should not be trusted.
WHAT IS THE CHURCH AND WHAT DOES THE CHURCH HAVE TO DO WITH IT?
A "church" is not just a building with four walls, it is the population of Christians who are Christ's possession, bought and paid for by His own blood! And churches, then and now, depend on the apostolic authority in the Scriptures for its sustenance and vitality.
As ambassadors of Christ, genuine Christians use the inerrant and supreme authority of Scripture to challenge any pastor who, in the name of Christ, teach and practice doctrines that contradict the the mind, character, and will of God as revealed in the Scriptures.
If a "church" refuses to be rebuked and corrected by Scripture through the body of Christ, a.k.a Christians outside of their church walls, then they are proud and hard-hearted toward the Lord, refusing to submit to His Lordship. And that is a damning error!
BACK TO MY THEORY
Once again lets ask the question, "Why is The Crossing church's "Statement Of Faith" constructed the way it is; is it by accident or by design?"
My argument from persuasion as outlined in this post strongly suggests design. Why else would the heretical statement number twelve, "...each church is independent and must be free from interference by any outside authority" be sandwiched between the biblically orthodox statement number one, "We believe that the Bible is the verbally and totally inspired Word of God, inerrant in it's original manuscripts. The Bible is our supreme and final authority in faith and life. (2Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21) ?
Just think, there are ten biblical statements between statement number one and statement number twelve. If the heretical statement number twelve was located right after the biblical statement number one, then a red flag might be raised and the reader may start thinking something along the lines of, "Wait a minute, you just got done stating that the Bible is your final authority, and now you are saying it is not?"
And like I said, point number twelve is strung together as a single sentence with three distinct doctrines, of which the first two are biblical. The wildly heretical portion is just sort of stuck on the end, which lends credibility to the assertion that it is a biblical doctrine.
Here's another suspicious quality to The Crossing's "Statement Of Faith" that I didn't mention before. There is another doctrinal statement after point number twelve, that would be statement number thirteen. it goes like this....
Notice that the Statement of Faith does not end with statement number twelve, but statement number thirteen with proof texts to back it up."We believe in the universal church, composed of all regenerated believers of any race or nation. We believe in the local church, consisting of a group of believers in Jesus Christ, baptized on a credible profession of faith, and associated for worship, work and fellowship." (Matthew 28:17-20; Acts 2:41-42; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31)
I think the reason for that could be that the Statement's author(s) wanted to end it on a strong biblical note. The last thing they would want is for someone to end reading the Statement of Faith with something as audacious as the statement at the end of point number twelve. The point is to keep the readers mind off that heretical statement by immediately proceeding to the last doctrinal statement.
Have you ever heard of subliminal messages? About twenty years ago I read several books on subliminal messages, and how they are so prevalent in advertising media. I began to look at advertisements in magazines and I was blown away by the massive amount of subliminal messaging we are exposed to daily. Here's an accurate description of what subliminal messages are I found on the internet...
"Subliminal messages are words, images, or sounds that might appear in television or radio commercials, TV shows or movies, print ads or recorded music. Usually when subliminal messages are seen or heard, they’re not recognized for what they are. In fact they may be ignored by the conscious brain and be beyond the level of conscious perception.
The theory holds, and it is getting less popular, that subliminal messages are perceived by the subconscious or unconscious mind. Since the conscious mind doesn’t have time to rationalize or analyze these messages, people might more easily accept them. For instance, the use of red in commercials for Target® is at least partly subliminal. The red itself really has nothing to do with the company, but persistence in using it for most commercials means advertisers hope that the color red, whenever seen, will remind people of Target and convince them to shop there."
Here is a link that shows subliminal messages in actual advertisements. I will warn you. This link has graphic, sexual content, so use wisdom in deciding whether you want to actually view the link. This is only instructional, but still, don't violate your conscience! I suggest reviewing only enough material to get my point across.
IS PART OF STATEMENT NUMBER TWELVE A SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE?
It could be. If the heretical statement "...each church is independent and must be free from interference by any outside authority" is assimilated at the unconscious level. That would serve to indoctrinate its readers into believing that such a statement is true and is a principle that ought to be lived out in in the context of their church.
I hope I have made my case clear implicitly. Next time I will provide actual proof texts, and explicitly refute the statement,
"...each church is independent and must be free from interference by any outside authority"
Until then, God bless, Casey