The Reformation has never ended. It is just beginning.
Disclaimer: We are not responsible for all views posted on this website. Authors are solely responsible for the content of their articles. Linked material is the responsibility of the party who created it. Those sharing stories or testimonies are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of wickedshepherds.com.
THE OFFICIAL SITE
This article contains comments and Scriptures that may be offensive
to pastors, theologians, and church members. Proceed with caution.
Spiritual counseling may need to be administered.
Ministerial mind controllers are quick to let you know that God does not want you to "forsake the assembly" and will often quote Hebrews 10:25.
They stipulate that God has a law that requires there to be some kind of an official assembly (HALL) that all Christians in the vicinity must be a member of, support, and attend.
This, all under the threat of God's wrath. Their assembly (HALL) is usually referred to as "the local institutional church." Pastors, preachers, and all church officials in these "local churches" have used Hebrews 10:25 to intimidate, to threaten, and to cajole members to attend and support every "service and every meeting of their church."
The beaten-down sheep are admonished to "come, every time the doors are opened." They are afraid to do otherwise, for they have been conditioned to believe that missing a "church service" or “church meeting” could be a sign of backsliding, putting you in danger of God’s displeasure and possible fury.
And don’t forget; there’s also the prayer meeting, the special conferences; the seminars; the retreats; offerings for this and offerings for that; etc., etc.
The religious institutional system will see to it that you are always busy; making them the number one priority in your life. And the world wonders why family life and marriages are in disarray?
Some obligingly go to "services/meetings" when they do not feel like going, but go under the threat of recrimination. Many church leaders and teachers know that Hebrews 10:25 is not speaking about “going to church,” but,….BUT, because they NEED the physical presence and the financial support of the members, particularly and predominately for their own livelihood, they "fashion" the interpretation of this passage into a “religious hammer” by which they clobber believers into submission.
The Scripture quoted in Hebrews doesn't say that it is sinful not to “go to church” Sunday morning, evening, and Wednesday night.
The Scripture quoted in Hebrews doesn’t even contain the word “church” in the passage! In fact, using Young’s Literal Translation, the word “church” is never mentioned, not even once, in the whole book of Hebrews!
Not only that, remember that when this was written, believers (the Body of Christ) did not even have "church services" or even church buildings, for that matter!
Some obligingly go under the
threat of recrimination.
When you read the whole chapter, or even better yet, the whole book of Hebrews, it will become evident that the Lord is not telling you to be more “visible and faithful church goers!”
What we are being told here, as through the entire book of Hebrews, we are being encouraged to draw near to God without fear, by a "new and living way," through Jesus Christ our High Priest, Who has already assembled us together as the house of God, leading us into the Holy of Holies.
Assembling together and worship
Is Heb. 10:25 telling us to “go to church” and listen to a polished orator or watch the performance of a ministerial academy-trained entertainer once a week?
Can we follow the directives of Scripture if we only "go to church," and once a week at that!!
Do people need to “go to church” in order to follow the Biblical commands to exhort one another and discuss the Scriptures?
The verse in Hebrews 10:25 also says to "exhort one another" but this is also found in Hebrews 3:13, where it says we are to "exhort one another daily." If people claim to obey Hebrews 10:25 by "going to church" one day a week, how do you also fulfill the command to exhort one another daily, when you see other believers primarily once a week?
It’s all unscriptural nonsense, perpetrated in order to hold the whole system together.
For, PASTORS KNOW that if the places of worship were taken away and believers truly worshiped in spirit and in truth, the whole system would fall apart!
Acts 7:48 "Howbeit the most High dwells not in temples made with hands;"
Acts 17:24 "God...dwells not in temples made with hands;"
Just what exactly is “worship?”
We have this perfect example in John 4, where the Samaritan woman says to Christ, “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and you say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”
Jesus answered, “Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. (not in this Temple or that Temple or this church or that synagogue)
But the hour comes, and now is, (because He is already calling out His disciples) when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. God is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
That’s how they will worship.
We are to worship IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH, and let me be quick to add that this kind of worship should take place in our lives, EVERY DAY…ALL DAY LONG!
What word defines worship? Is it singing? Praying? Praising? Giving your tithes? Going to Sunday school? Keeping the Sabbath? Being circumcised?
What one word defines exactly what worship is and without it, there is no worship?
Could it be, “Obedience?”
Worship is obedience. If you are not obedient; if you are not believing and following Scripture; if you are not truly living for and following the Lord, forget it, you are not worshipping God, no matter how long and far you wag your tongue.
I know people who are as lost as my dog, but wonder of wonders, how they “worship the Lord every Sunday!”
Really? “…In vain do they worship Me…” Matthew 15:9
No. Obedience is how you worship God.
And why call ME, Lord, Lord, and DO not the things which I say? Luke 6:46
… Why do you call Me that (Lord, Lord) and you don’t DO (obedience), what I say.
It’s all about obedience.
How do you worship God in the New Covenant? Do you need a “church building?” Do you need an actual spot; a particular plot of ground to arrive at?
Do you need some type of assembly hall? Do you need an institutional priesthood? Do you have to get in your car and make a journey to a certain centralized location?
It is virtually implied that those who do not "worship" in a certain location; at a certain place (subordinate to a priest); at the designated time, it is implied that these people do not believe in "assembling" together. This is altogether false. Do you see what a totally asinine, let alone unbiblical, statement that is?
To say that someone is violating Scripture unless they also "go to church" in the building of an ecclesiastical corporation with a credentialed seminary graduate in the spotlight, is simply preposterous, a remnant of Roman Catholic teaching.
There is not a shred of evidence to support such an ecclesiastical requirement, and the whole of Scripture goes totally against it. The movement in the Bible is away from ceremony; away from a special ordained priesthood, away from pomp and show. Rather, it’s toward decentralization, an every-believer priesthood, and a return to direct communication with God through His Spirit, with One Mediator, not four or five or six!
On the other hand however, vain and false worship is everywhere and highly visible. True worship is rare and hidden from carnal sight. Vain and false worship is often visible because the worshippers seek to be seen of men and to have the approval of men, but true worship is for the praise of God and Him alone.
Vain and false worship is built upon having a “time” and a "place" for people to come to so that the works of men may continue to be carried out.
True worship doesn’t take place just because you attended your local institutional church.
These are great truths that the vast majority of church members have not grasped to this day!
"Heretics," “Reprobates,” “Turncoats,” “Apostates,”
The plain truth is that institutional churches, their pastors and church denominations fear the loss of control, power and free money, when believers finally see the Light and exit churches to follow Christ without professional clergymen.
Pastors and institutional churches would have people believe that following Jesus Christ is something done within the confines of institutional churches. There will no doubt be criticism from the religious leaders of many churches, which is the same scenario that happened to Jesus and His disciples in their day.
Any time controllers of people feel threatened with loss of status, power, prestige, control and free money, there will inevitably be persecution against the belief that voids the control.
Those who place their faith in Jesus Christ and rest in Him, outside of the walls of local church institutionalism are often looked upon and labeled as "heretics," “reprobates,” “turncoats,” “apostates,” and a host of other epithets, some that are unprintable!
What a vicious and a narrow, shallow, empty perspective.
I recently said to one individual with this perverted mindset,
“Do you mean to tell me that you believe Christ would have you reject me, the One whose blood has cleansed me from all sin, and upon Whom I trust, with no other resources to keep me, because I do not believe in your unbiblical local institutional church system? The Scriptures say that whosoever calls on the Name of the Lord
(not your church system), will be saved. Jesus said that whoever came to Him (not to man’s institution), He would in no wise cast out.
Who are YOU to cast out whom HE receives and keeps? Do you not see your duplicity?”
Not surprisingly at all, the conversation abruptly ended, never to hear from them again!
Jesus Christ is Lord, Master, Savior, High Priest, and the only Way, Truth and Life, and He is none of those things because of the institutional church system of this world, but because He is God.
When you think about it, church leaders are really no different than the government’s politicians. Both think they must control others; dictate and legislate in the lives of others, right down to the last minutia. And of course, both think as well that they are entitled to free money at the expense of their private and personal disciples.
Jesus Christ is your Teacher, your Leader and your Ruler and many "Christians" have yet to LEARN, let alone LIVE this truth.
CONCLUSION: WHY “GOING TO CHURCH” IS UNBIBLICAL
Right at the outset, let me remind some readers that the writer of this article
(Ken Cascio) did not just invent this idea out of the blue. I didn’t wake up one morning and say, “Hey. You know what? I’m not believing in ‘going to church’ anymore.”
That’s not the way it took place.
I was a “member of local institutional churches” for many decades. I bought into all of the supposed theology and practice. I believed what I was being told inside these institutions “willy-nilly,” and so because of that, my view of Scripture was skewed in the simple fact that I was reading passages of Scripture with the mind-set of an institutional church member.
I was reading passages of Scripture with the mind-set that when the pastor was speaking, it was the “voice of God” and that God has said that believers “go to church!”
“The Scripture is so clear and plain on this issue,” I kept saying to myself.
But there was a time when the Lord finally opened the eyes and the mind to the Truth. Some Scriptures were presented to me that I have never really considered before because they were going against “my theology” and “practice.” But after studying, seeking, and searching for years, crying out to God that He might open my eyes and lead me to Truth, this was finally accomplished and I eventually had to throw up the white flag and admit that I was wrong about things!
Perhaps, this might be the same for you.
There comes a time in many believer’s lives when it will become necessary to depart from your religious setting and traditions; get stripped from a lot of institutional church baggage; turn the page and press on afresh in order to receive and finally know the Truth, the Real Truth that will set you free!
Today, with over 30,000 different sects and denominations in Christendom, each one believing that they are the ones with the truth, it is exceedingly crucial for God’s called-out ones to ask the Father to show and deliver them from all the false, religious, institutional church teachings they have swallowed.
And when that time of deliverance finally arrives and you at last, “get it,” that what your teachers told you what the Bible says IS NOT what the Bible says, that moment of Truth is amazing!
“Going to church” has nothing whatsoever to do with God; with Scripture; or with following Jesus.
Jesus is not the founder of “going to church.” God the Father did not send His Son into the world to start a religion and a ritualistic practice of “going to church.”
“Going to church” is a religion and practice created by man in the name of Jesus and is totally different from the actual Truth that Jesus taught.
“Going to church” will always involve idols of the heart.
“Going to church” will always be involved with making a good showing in the flesh, always desiring to be seen of men.
“Going to church” will always be examining others but rarely themselves.
“Going to church” will always be boasting in religious performance, all cloaked in the language of "being holy" and “worshipping God.”
“Going to church” will always produce a “worship” that only draws near with its mouth; honors with its lips; worships in vain; and teaches doctrines that are the commandments of men.
In stark and blunt reality, “going to church” is the morphine that numbs the pain of spiritual weakness and fecklessness.
It’s the pill that all-too-many are eager and willing to swallow in order to soothe their defiled conscience, thinking there’re pleasing and worshipping the angry God in heaven.
Remember when the apostle Paul came up to those people in the book of Acts where he says, “…You are worshipping in ignorance at the altar…TO THE UNKNOWN GOD?” (Acts 17:23) It’s no different today in local institutional churches, for a lot of folk know not what they are worshipping either!
There are those today who are not worshipping in spirit and in truth.
It’s gotten to the point where “local churches” are nothing more than institutional machines, mechanically and robotically repeating their set of prescribed and pre-planned religious practices in hopes of pleasing an abstract God that some of them might not even know!
It seems like these types of "church services" are nothing but ritualistic funeral memorials held once a week in honor of their ancient dead leader. Since some (perhaps many) don't really know God, they try to please Him from afar by mindlessly performing their repetitive, ritualistic, religious “worship services.”
In many cases, they have no faith at all, yet they are extremely faithful in attendance and in performing dead rituals, but that’s about it.
As long as the people show up, fill the pews, and tithe faithfully, who really cares! It is supposed that when people repeatedly and repetitively show up to their services, “something might eventually get through to them.” This is the wishful, institutional thinking and mind-set.
But, Jesus said that a geographical location or appointed structure is completely irrelevant as a condition to worship and serve God and that true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him.
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24
Yet, on the other hand, what do we see today? Do we see worship in spirit and in truth? Virtually all professed Christian worship in local institutional churches today is NOT in spirit and in truth but in the FLESH and in ERROR!
Should we be surprised however? No, not really. What we are witnessing is the fruit of institutionalism. People are very comfortable in their present day, traditional church setting and would rather DIE than to have to their “boat rocked!”
Never forget: The local institutional church system, along with all of its so-called leadership, is the single greatest BLINDING factor that influences the masses TO REJECT the Truth!
The “leadership” in these church systems are not stupid. They have made examples of people in the past and they have proven and sent the vividly clear message to their membership that if you dare to take a stand against some of their teachings and practices, the likelihood of YOU ALSO being rejected and becoming an outcast to the church; to your friends; and even to your family is very real.
Unless God Himself works in the hearts, minds, and souls of people, not many “church members” are willing to pay that kind of price to stand up for the Truth!
Whatever “church” you may attend, you will always be surrounded by those who label themselves as “your spiritual overseers.” These are the people who are the real force you are struggling against and they will see to it, by whatever means they deem fit, (just like the leaders did in Jesus’ day) to insure that you will always be corralled and imprisoned as institutionalized church members!
But thanks be to the Great God of Heaven, Jesus Christ came to set us free!
“For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage.” Gal. 5:1
“For ye, brethren, were called for freedom.” Gal. 5:13
Jesus said, I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
Jesus said, you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Jesus said, If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Free from what? Freed from the bondage of religion! Freed from the bondage of man’s rules, traditions, and institutions! He came to set us free!
Jesus said that He has come to bring the good news to the poor; to proclaim release to the captives; to give sight to the blind and to set at liberty them that are oppressed. Luke 4:18
You will NEVER, EVER find true freedom in today’s local institutional churches.
It is utterly impossible.
We are to, “…Come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord, And touch no unclean thing; And I will receive you..” 2 Corinthians 6:17;
“..Come forth, my people, out of her, that you have no fellowship with her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4
No matter how much the religious institution and its teachers weave and mingle the two, “going-to-church” and the Bible will never, EVER mix.
“Be not deceived.”
There are multitudes who are very satisfied with having their “church membership” standing. But, being a true member of the Body of Christ (the called-out ones) is totally different than being a “church member” at your local institutional church.
And remember, being a true member of the Body of Christ will not cost you any money either, like it does in institutional churches with their “tithing scheme” imposed on its members.
No my friend. In fact, it costs something much, much more than that!
● It will cost you your name and reputation.
● It will cost you your friends.
● It will cost you your family, and sometimes even your life!
Jesus says, “Count the cost.” Luke 14: 27-33
So, how much is it costing YOU to stand for the TRUTH?
“PRIDE” will hinder you from having “ears to hear” and a heart to believe and receive Biblical Truth from the hand of the Lord.
“FEAR” will hinder you from living out and walking in Biblical Truth, knowing the rejection that most assuredly awaits you around the corner.
May the Lord deliver us from these vices and from the dark days that lie ahead.
"Why Going To Church
"Why Going To Church
This is what Jesus had to say about those who "went-to-church" in His day:
- Why do you transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?
- You hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people honors me with their lips; But their heart is far from me.
- But in vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the commandments of men.
- Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
- You blind people, always straining out the gnat, and swallowing the camel!
- Woe unto you, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within are full from extortion and excess.
- You blind people, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside thereof may become clean also.
- Woe to you, hypocrites! For you are like whited sepulchers, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
- Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. (Matt. 15; Matt. 23; Mark 7; Luke 11)
- When you give of your substance, don’t blow a trumpet before you, like the hypocrites do in the synagogues, that they may have glory of men. Truly I say to you, They have already been paid in full.
- And when you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites: for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues, that they may be seen and heard of men. Truly I say to you, They have received their reward as well.
- And in praying don’t use vain repetitions, like those in the synagogues, for they think that they shall be heard for their long drawn out prayers.
- Therefore, don’t be like any of them! (Matt. 6)
- Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one, a “temple member,” (the Pharisee) and the other a “non-temple member.” (the publican)
The temple member stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as the rest of men - extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this non-temple member. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I get.
But the non-temple member, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me a sinner.
I say unto you, This man, (the non-temple member) went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalts himself shall be humbled; but he that humbles himself shall be exalted.
- And He said unto them (the temple members) You are they that justify yourselves in the sight of men; but God knows your hearts: for that which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16; Luke 18)
- "And when He had made a scourge of small cords, He threw them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables." – Matthew 21:12ff; Mark 11:15ff; Luke 19:45ff; John 2:14ff.
“They will be putting you out of the synagogues: but, the hour is coming that whenever they kill you, they should suppose that they are offering divine service to God.”
Are these enough references?
I could bring many more, but I’ll refrain for the moment.
What do you think Jesus would say about those who “go to church” today?
If Jesus were to return today, bringing His Truth inside of these institutions, He wouldn’t last five minutes because He would be thrown out the door very quickly!
And why is that?
Because people today do not want to hear the Truth. Their church leaders are “fine outstanding men who deserve to be followed, thank you!”
NOT ONE so-called “church” on the face of the earth would ever hire Him to be their “pastor.” Not one!
Remember that when it came to the common people, Jesus was indeed the "Humble Servant.” His ministry to them was always marked with compassion. He “was moved with compassion for them.” He healed them. He fed them. He gave the gospel to them. He ate with them. He wept with them.
He identified with the people and knew many were distressed, as sheep not having a shepherd. When it came to the common people, Jesus ministered to them in meekness and gentleness, as His words showed.
But…BUT, when it came to those who attended the synagogues; to the rulers and the “great ones”; to the church leaders and so-called experts in the law, something changed.
His ways, His mannerisms, His countenance, His words “EXPLODED.”
Remember, Jesus was more loving than any person who ever lived, but He also loathed hypocrisy and destructively false teachings from the “religious crowd.”
In all of His confrontations with the “religious,” you could see the difference in His whole attitude, especially in His words. Jesus was exposing their evils. He was exposing their false teachings, their manner of life and hypocrisy like no one ever did before. And in so doing, many others were starting to “see the light.” His words were as the voice of a trumpet, and the “religious” didn’t like it one bit!
So again, if Jesus came back today, what would He say to all of the people inside local institutional churches, to both “leaders” and “pew-sitters” alike? Indeed, what would He say to all the host of Christendom?
When you think about it, has anything really changed in 2000 years?
Does Jesus change?
Looking at today’s so-called “Local Institutional Church System,” with all of its baggage of:
●the destruction of the home and of the marriage institution;
●the “clergy/laity" separation;
●“pastoral rule and authority;”
●“mandatory church attendance;”
●the “church building;”
●the “salaried professional speaker;”
●bloodied and abused believers;
●“worshiping of idols;”
●the “tithing deception;” etc., etc., etc.,
we can say, “YES, IT’S CHANGED! IT’S GOTTEN WORSE!”
And today’s local institutional church system is WIDE-EYED, CRYSTAL-CLEAR, LIVING, BREATHING PROOF OF THIS FACT!
God’s called out people are not to be part of today’s religious world systems, including man’s local institutional churches.
God's faithful are "few and scattered," but they are out there scattered all around the globe!
The Scriptures advise us that truth, wisdom, and knowledge must be sought after. These things must be “revealed” to you. As the Scripture says, it’s like “searching for hidden treasure.”
Proverbs 2:1 “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, And lay up my commandments with thee;
Prov. 2:2 So as to incline thine ear unto wisdom, And apply thy heart to understanding;
Prov. 2:3 Yea, if thou cry after discernment, (knowledge) And lift up thy voice for understanding;
Prov. 2:4 If thou seek her as silver, And search for her as for hid treasures:
Prov. 2:5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of Lord, And find the knowledge of God.
Prov. 2:6 For the Lord giveth wisdom; Out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
Search the Scriptures to see if these things are so and ask the Lord to give you that desire to know and love the Truth.
You might also be interested in these two related articles:
THE OFFICIAL SITE "Not in word only, but in power.." 1 Corinthians 4:20 email@example.com