THESIS ON DENOMINATIONS
- “But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22).
“Obedience is better than sacrifice” [= than worship ceremony according to human tradition]
- “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (James 1:25, 2:12).
1.- CONTAMINATION “OF THE CENTURY” AND HUMAN TRADITIONS
The evangelical denominations emerged gradually from the religious and social developments of the Protestant Reformation, as a new attempt to get closer to the apostolic roots of Christianity.
However, by excessively institutionalising spiritual experiences, successive revivals end up becoming fossilised and lose a large part in the Spirit. So the evangelical denominations tend to be a syncretism (mixture) of biblical truths and genuine spiritual experiences with power structures of questionable biblical basis, contaminated by sin inherent in the human condition and vested interests.
At the beginning of the Reformation (Anglicanism, Lutheranism), these church structures were almost a mere copy of the Roman Church (intense marriage with the State, sacramentalism-ritualism) and it was the successive Calvinist ramifications which distanced themselves from “papal” Caesarism (from which stem Baptists and Pentecostals, the denominations most common in non-Germanic or Anglo-Saxon countries, especially in Latin countries). These ramifications arose historically in a time of booming trade and expansion of power of traditionally Protestant countries (like England, USA, Germany, Holland, Scandinavia…), and were created and directed by the entrepreneurial, businesslike bourgeois mentality, which gave them its unmistakable limited-company inspiration. (Scholars of the Reformation have extensively analyzed the relationship between Protestantism and especially Calvinism with the rise of capitalism and modern parliamentarism or democracy.
If the Roman, Anglican, or Lutheran churches were invaded by the forms of power of their time and society (feudal Caesarism), just as Israel was by the mentality of its time (including idolatry and “sacred” prostitution), the denominations of a Calvinist origin have been invaded and shaped in the image of their own time and society: Western capitalism, especially of the American kind.
Just as in the history of Israel, Judaism was influenced and diverted by its worldly environment, so Christianity also has been influenced and diverted by its own, and, as always, by the source of all evil according to Paul: love money, the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10).
- “This is what the Lord says:
“As for the prophets
who lead my people astray,
they proclaim ‘peace’
if they have something to eat,
but prepare to wage war against anyone
who refuses to feed them.”
“The seers will be ashamed
and the diviners disgraced.
They will all cover their faces
because there is no answer from God.”
“Her leaders judge for a bribe,
her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
Yet they look for the Lord’s support and say,
“Is not the Lord among us?
No disaster will come upon us.” (Micah 3:5, 7 and 11).
Ever since the Church succumbed in the 4th C. to fornication with worldly power (political-military-pagan) and became controlled by the Caesars (politicians, often very undesirable from a Christian point of view) and a religious syncretism with paganism; equally, the cumulative effect of traditions on its various branches has constituted a huge burden of routines and prejudices very difficult to neutralise.
The churches and denominations have conformed in fact to the mentality of this century (Rom. 12:2) and have copied its human structures – just as Israel preferred kings to judges and quails to manna – be they feudal hierarchies as the pyramidal Church of Rome or business corporations as many of the “dynamic” evangelical denominations.
“It’s tradition that makes us say:” Lord, NO – In the Scriptures we read about the unity of the body of Christ and we say almost aloud: “No! God wants the denominations just as they are!” We say that the Bible is our rule of faith and practice, as long as it’s not in conflict with our traditions. What do you think about that?” (“The New Wineskins.”)
2.- ABÍBLICAL DOGMAS TO PERSECUTE PROPHETIC VOICES OR INTERNAL DISSENT
Evangelical denominations normally function with capital provided by the “local mother church” (the one which sends out missionaries), which arbitrarily designates an executive or foreman (salaried “pastor”, see John. 10:1-15) whose mission is to recruit converts or simply members (“win souls” in religious language) and replace the apostolic authority (non-salaried pastors, local elders, prophets, and sent apostles).
“The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.” (John 10:12-13). For an employee, the sheep that really count and interest are those that pay tithes according to the Old Testament.
“Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture,
where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord” (Jer. 23:2-4).
“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.” (Ez. 34:2-4).
“Then the Lord said to me, “Take again the equipment of a foolish shepherd. For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hooves.
“Woe to the worthless shepherd,
who deserts the flock!
May the sword strike his arm and his right eye!
May his arm be completely withered,
his right eye totally blinded!” (Zech. 11:15-17).
A pastor is someone who cares for the sheep and not an employee (not an employee or mercenary at the order of those who pays him). That is, it is a ministry and is owed to the People of God, not to money; let’s not confuse a ministry, that of a pastor (who is not so much a preacher, which is up to teachers, but the carer and comforter of “the flock”) with a legalistic employment-title-position (that of an employee). It is generally acknowledged that a pastor has to be paid by the denomination and has to preach. But is there any biblical basis for these beliefs, now so popular and widespread?
Pastor is the one who shepherds, that is, the one who cares for and comforts the brethren, not necessarily the one who preaches.
“Preacher” is not so described in the NT. We could consider that a preacher could be a teacher. But the preachers who predominate are histrionic, repetitive ones, those who tend to put on religious spectacles, etc. Many, no doubt, can say good things, none of us is perfect. But what I mean is that what is now defined as pastor is not the same as the type of pastor of the NT and instead now much importance is given to “preaching”, which is not exactly the case in the NT. A pastor is not “the preacher”.
The tithe comes from the old covenant and does not appear in the NT. It refers to evangelising “without a bag”, although “don’t muzzle the threshing ox.” That may mean that the pastor has the right to food and shelter. Anything else? Paul sewed tents for a living and was the apostle to the Gentiles. Jesus also spoke against “the paid worker”. A careful pastor should fear to be considered “salaried”, given that the Lord Himself warns about them. Not to fear is a sign of a worrying spiritual lightweightedness.
Believers are recruited – with techniques of afiliation and persuasion that even have specific names like “church growth” and a kind of “five-year plans” of the “fattening-up” of the number of registered members – to the corporation and are controlled by the membership-card system – which does not appear in the Bible – which includes a generally un-biblical system of conventions and a system of subtle Anathema and of discipline, including expulsion and denial of greeting (which appears in the Bible in this form but in its implementation is often contrary to the Spirit of the Bible, since it is applied to the weak and to the different in dubious cases while it is not applied to the leader and to the conventional even in clear cases). It is a respecter of persons.
It’s a case of a more or less partisan system of control of spiritual freedom in order to keep a conventional and (human) authoritarian order of the denominational “company” and to expel those members who see things differently according to their conscientious interpretation of the Bible. For example, whomever asks for an end to respect of persons or of human groups or to linguistic discrimination against indigenous languages, or even whomever doesn’t pay tithes (this a topic of the Old, not the New Testament, where church tithing is not mentioned).
Whether these “Protestant” Christians (= “those who protest”) raise more biblical models or not, this is not a debatable issue for some “churches” that already consider themselves finished products and “biblical” per se and par excellence
“14. To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev. 3:14-22) It’s more or less in the same sense that the Roman Catholic Church declares the Pope to be infallible and that in essence believes that even the very Word of God isn’t as infallible as themselves: they consider themselves, in principle or in practice, more “Orthodox” and “true” than the Apostles themselves.
3.- COMMERCIAL STRUCTURE, PREACHING AND ATTITUDE OF THE “EVANGELICAL” DENOMINATIONS
“The Holy Spirit began Its work of destruction. The first thing It said to me was, “Juan Carlos, what you are directing is not a church. It’s a business.” “You are promoting the gospel in the same way that the Coca Cola company promotes its products,” It said. “Like Reader’s Digest sells books and records. You make use of all the human subterfuge they taught you in the seminary. But tell me: where is My hand in all this?” (“Children for ever?” “The New Wineskins”).
These corporations do not usually look for communion and unity of spirit in all the flock of the Lord but, in their structures, entangle and divide that which the NT teaches with oppressive human hierarchies and unbiblical traditions.
in this way they maintain anathemas and human divisions, because these companies have been self-sanctified as the ultimate Will of God on Earth, and turned into petrified orthodoxies, with hardly any room for the Holy Spirit’s free and constant renewal of the church through the prophetic voice.
They see things rather through their own livelihood and business logic, and subject their performance and their interpretation of the church organisation to this dynamic. These societies (or clubs of religious power) are not at all prepared to cede human capital (the members with their tithes) to “the competition” (the other denominations that contest the title of “The True Ones”). As false mothers, they prefer to divide the child rather than surrender it. As they have sanctified themselves, they consider themselves as infallible as the Pope, although only implicitly, not daring to make it a identifiable dogma of faith, and so doing add confusion, obscurantist subtlety, and hypocrisy to the basic error.
In Malachi 1:10 we read the following question: “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands.
If we look at the subject of the preaching of the Baptist or Pentecostal denominations we’ll see that they rarely preach the Gospels (as opposed to the Roman Church, paradoxically). It must be because the simple Gospel, which its leaders, sermonical and salaried, are not willing to fulfill due to its costly and “cumbersome” nature, would leave them too much in evidence, in contrast with their (let’s say) prosaic daily activities.
“But in the Church when the second child arrives, the first is still a baby. The more children are born in the church, the more are the diapers that we have to change at a time. But if everyone is growing, ministers and sheep alike, there will be harmony. Note Paul. He didn’t start as an apostle, but a disciple who began testifying in the church… But he continued to grow.” “We are barriers that are blocking the road. The sheep grow and continue to grow and develop and mill around us, unable to continue growing until we grow a little more. They continue to listen to our sermons and soon know as much as us and that then creates a pressure chamber.” (“The New Wineskins”)
They mostly preach Paul and in the case of Pentecostals also quite a lot the book of Revelation, always useful to scare the flock into obeying and paying the tithe, faced with the imminent end of time.
The various churches always want to monopolise every thought in pursuit of their commercial god alleging that it’s a God of Justice. They supplant the very idea of a holy, biblical God.
In fact more than “Evangelical” they perhaps could (with reservations) be called “Pauline”, and rather than “Pentecostal,” “Corinthians” (as at Pentecost the languages were human for evangelisation, while in the Pentecostal churches they are often the languages of angels, without interpretation and sometimes with disorder and every kind of “special effects” that give lots of fun to the services, sometimes for edification and others for the religious entertainment of the faithful).
Often, such a name change would portray them better and avoid the confusion that their current denominational names spread.
4.- PROFOUND LACK OF INTEREST IN JUSTICE, ABUSIVE SANCTIFICATION OF ALL AUTHORITY AND AVERSION TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD ACCORDING TO THE BEATITUDES
These denominational companies don’t have a global outlook because “it doesn’t pay the rent”, e.g. justice for impoverished social strata, marginalised peoples, Third World children, people with no Bible translation, etc. or if they do have to some extent it’s very limited and only for some very specific cause (drug addicts, prisoners, etc.) that is “well regarded” in the local or denominational congregation (since it is in good taste to have some visible social work) and it’s like a concrete “local” church fashion, a kind of hallmark of which to boast. Nothing more than that.
Of course there are always some of their members, most sincere, who demonstrate their commitment to Christ with a more serious commitment to the disadvantaged and marginalised, without forgetfulness or prejudice, but these are almost always the exception and a strict minority compared to the vastness of the “pew-warmers” who say yes to everything they’re told and ordered to do (if it’s not difficult, of course).
Naturally they trot out that “the works do not save.” We know, we know. But when Paul says that he’s referring to those of the law, not those of mercy. On the other hand when James speaks – and jesus christ Himself when describing the final Judgement – about works he means those of mercy as confirmation of having faith.
These religious firms, rather than spending on social works in more or less remote places, prefer that tithes are spent on employees and the temple, so that it’s luxurious and attracts select people who pay more. It is the unconfessed business logic of many “local churches”, hence the excessive idolisation of the temple and often greater interest in the building of stone than in the heart of flesh. Christ also had to deal with the same issue with temple-worshipping leaders of his time. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.'” (Matthew 21:13).
“He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples” (Acts. 17:24).
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are” (I Cor 3:16-17).
For these groups it’s much more important, in practice, to maintain a good relationship with the authorities (even if they’re of a foul dictatorship or a racist, totalitarian, or colonial regime) which will allow their business to prosper without legal hindrance.
To justify such a dubious,”pragmatic” attitude, they create a religious, “pious” environment above the “sin of the wicked world, ” super-spiritualise any specific consideration about what is right and what is abominable, the truth about what happens, etc., “despising earthly things” (as have the heresies of all time: Gnostics, Manichaeans, Montanists, Monophysites, Muslims who do not accept that Christ died in the flesh, Cathars, etc.) and strictly prioritising the most routine activities and rituals (worship services, tithing, the absolute authority of the pastor or leaders, religion sacramentalism, etc. even the birthday of the “members”, sometimes in an environment of intense silliness to keep infantilised “members” happy and entertained.) That is, the most innocuous activity against injustice, corruption, oppression of Mammon and the prince of this world. If someone points out to them that social justice is a basic Bible category or that the denunciation of religious corruption is the basis of the prophets and Jesus Christ, they accuse them of “preaching a social gospel.”
Of course, they brand as “political” any sense of justice and cover up their collaboration with tyranny and injustice with “must obey the authorities” (Rom 13:1), forgetting that before human authorities we are to obey God (Acts 5:29) who instructs us to be fair, otherwise we will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9).
In this way they can well ignore – without making their best-intentioned or more awake followers suspicious – the concrete harrowing situations of pain and neglect, of the concrete and unequivocal commitments which would lead them actually to risk their lives for the sheep (John 10) specifically the most marginalised sectors (Third World, less-developed areas, poor immigrants, native- or indigenous-language populations, or those without their own church, etc.).. “Seeing the multitudes, (Jesus) took pity on them, then went astray and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Mt 9:36, Mk. 6:34). “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.” (2 Cor 4:1-3).
In fact they often ally themselves even politically to horrendous regimes (such as South African Apartheid, or as the Catholic Church with pro-Nazi Croats or the Franco dictatorship or that of the Argentine military junta, including actively collaborating in genocide like that in Rwanda, etc.) and defend them with fanaticism and without any awareness of the enormous damage and pain they cause to people defenseless against such atrocities and tyranies. This can be considered an abomination before the Lord. It is the style of the radio network of the Spanish bishops, the COPE.
To justify such bad theology they sanctify the authority of “Caesar” (religious version of the machiavellian “Reason of State”) in a similar way to the sanctification of its own leaders or of the denominational divisions (in everyday practice), ie just like the Church of Rome or the Pharisees, they enshrine not only purely human, unbiblical traditions but even sometimes abominations. The patriotism of the Spanish, French, Peruvian, Mexican, Italian, or “x” State becomes something ethereally sacred, positive, beyond good and evil; and their authorities and leaders, even when tyrants and corrupt, become someone to obey without questioning too many things concerning the honesty of what they impose.
They do not understand that when Christ spoke of “Giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s” (Matt. 22:21), he was foremostly speaking to prioritise the Justice of the Kingdom of God (Beatitudes) and in second place not to owe anything to Caesar (= State, political authorities, always corrupt): it was necessary to return to Caesar that which carried his image (gold coined by him who dominates), and to God what carried his (Man, created in the image of God).
Let me clarify that the original Greek is not “give”, but is clearer: “return” (“apódote” in Greek, “give back” in English). We’re not to give to Caesar: we’re to return to him that which is his, not ours (his corrupt economic system that bears his printed image).
The denominations have accepted in some countries not to pay taxes to the state – in the Spanish case agreements between FEREDE and the Government, with which accords, of course, they are not returning to Caesar that which carries his image, but building their religious businesses (more or less well intentioned) with money from all taxpayers (religious, agnostics, atheists, etc..), which is the principle of marriage with political power (the Church of Pergamum, Apoc. 2:12-17).
Taught by long experience of being where the sun shines warmest, of making of the religious organisation an end in itself, and of servilely flattering the powerful even when these have hands stained with innocent blood, the visible churches (organisations) further accuse those who denounce such ignominy of “playing politics”, while those who really are playing politics with more or less good dividends and practices of patronage (which is the common use of political professionals) are, without doubt, themselves. Audacity and cynicism thus complete the turn of the screw by slandering the prophetic voices who cry out against injustice and religious abomination. “Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world” (Lc. 11:50).
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.” (Romans 13:1-5).
Nor is it very clear that the interpretation often make of what Paul says about authority in Romans 13:1-4 is the correct one, forgetting verse 5 where he talks about motives of conscience, which is the real background, as not all authority (let’s take as examples Caligula or Nero in apostolic times; Hitler, Stalin, Franco, Pinochet, or Ceaucescu more recently) is good, even when God allows it to exist as a punishment or test of a particular people. But we may conscienciously object to abortion law (Psalms 106:38, 139:13), to pledging allegiance to a flag (Sir. 27:14, Matthew 5:36, James. 5:12), to going to war (Psalms 5:7, Job 24:14), etc., however much the legal authority tries to induce us somehow to it.
The early Christians were conscientious objectors to rendering honour to Caesar because it was a ceremony of deification of political power (the Roman emperors were often declared “gods” and received a simple ritual burnt offering from the citizens), and for this posture, many were martyred.
The Antichrist itself is described as a political authority in Revelation. And Peter and the apostles say that it is necessary to obey God (and His Justice) rather than men (Acts 5:29). “A bad law is not law” (Augustine of Hippo, Father of the Church).
Denominational corporations do not spare systems of honouring political powers, because they depend on their permission to thrive with minimal material barriers. But, as Bonhoeffer (dissident Lutheran pastor, under the Third Reich) said: “The freedom of the church is not there where it is tolerated, but only where the gospel of truth and by its own effort is making headway on Earth, even though – and especially when – it’s not given permission” “But when, through gratitude for officially granted freedom, the preaching must be sacrificed, the church is already chained, even as it believes itself free.”
That is why in many Islamic, communist or dictatorial countries, the churches are “homemade”, they lack temples, just as there were almost entirely no temples until the III or IV C.
But because they look to men more often than to the Gospel, the denominations (their leaders) are very meticulous in defending the reasons of State of any kind, as if they were state ministers rather than ministers of God, and also with very few scruples, when it comes down to it. This is defending the role of the logic of Mammon, and forgetting and marginalising the many millions of destitute and forgotten in the Third World and those right here.
Without a doubt we will be able to find in these churches many very honourable and even heroic exceptions, but they are just that: exceptions, the Body of Christ who also lives in the midst of these groups. God makes use of anyone who participates in any way in His Truth, even when it is someone who doesn’t yet believe in the Gospel or even when it’s a fanatic or a cynical and greedy religious leader: it’s what there is. The Providence of God uses each one as he is open to the Providence of God, or whatever might be useful at any given time.
The denominations are, in themselves, statist (subservient to men) and commercial-capitalist, because they grow in a Babylonian environment of unbridled consumerism and insolent luxury that is becoming “the habitation of devils and the hold of every foul spirit and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk the maddening wine of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries…” (See Rev. Chap. 17-18). Always the worldly atmosphere affects the people of God.
In general and to a greater extent, denominational companies are a battleground of the power of the World against the Invisible Church of Christ (Mystical Body.) They are worldly groups disguised as the Visible Church, respectable and self-proclaimed the true Church (usually from within each one is well understood to be the only true church or at least the best one, in a demonstration of “humility”… given that pride, even though it’s the worst sin, is not directly “visible”). They preach a certain theoretical orthodoxy (a verbalisation), but a content very limited in terms of the Beatitudes (the Kingdom of God according to Luke 17:21: “The kingdom of God is within you”) and in the power of God.
The very fact that they spend their time “rebuking Satan” must be because such encroaching structures attract demons as if in a swarm, which sometimes makes it seem as if the members of these groups spend more time fighting against devils than practicing the Gospel (or perhaps the demons stick to them because of sins of omission as in James 4:17), and more time announcing the “Old Evils” of disasters and threats of any kind than the “Good News”, teaching by their own example .
This is the spirit (not the holy one) which is hidden behind the unbiblical sacralisation of the evangelical denominations, which claim to be what only God knows (= His exclusive chosen ones). They thus sometimes permit themselves the luxury of judging others and seeking to replace God in His role of Supreme Judge. And if Christ sent his disciples “without shoes or bag” (Mt 10:10, Mk. 6:8, Lk. 9:3, 10:4, 22:35), these gentlemen have assembled an entire religious enterprise to pay for everything they might choose and order, even if it hasn’t become as cumbersome as the magnificence of the Vatican.
But it is written: “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:24). “You can not serve God and money at a time” (Matt. 6:24).
“Babylon the great, the mother of prostitutes and the abominations of the earth” (Rev. 17:5). If there is a prostitute mother (the Vatican), that means that she had daughters, derivations (the sectarian denominations).
“Come out of her my people…” (Rev. 18:4), not out of one or other denomination (perhaps there are local churches where the authority structures may be quite correct and biblical), but out of structures corrupted for injustice and destruction, out of believing in them as if they were the only will of God. And this in order to build up the Body of Christ, which is mystical and invisible, as only the Good Shepherd knows – as only He knows his sheep – in His Freedom and in the order of the Holy Spirit (Beatitudes) according to Hosea 6: 6: “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”
The denominations tend to imply that their membership books and cards coincide – more or less – with the Book of Life (Revelation 21:27), which is an attempt to supplant God when it comes to judging the believers: really abusive and of an implicit, abominable arrogance and a diabolical, detestable hubris.
5.-THE AUTHORITY IN THE CHURCH ACCORDING TO THE LORD
The authority in the Church of Christ is by real service and not by delegated position (one with salary with honorary title of “pastor” or even “preacher”, which does not even appear as such in the Bible). This is the system of Annas, of Diotrephes (3rd John 1:9) or of the Popes, but not that of Christ. A pastor is not one who “governs” or who “preaches”, but one who cares for and loves the sheep (John 10:11), who gives his life for them. There is only true authority there where there is responsibility for souls. Let’s not allow religious authorities to bind the flock of the Lord (such as the “Nicolaitans” – that God “detests” – did according to the message of the Spirit of the Lord to the seven churches of Asia, in Apoc. 2),
There is only real authority according to the Lord where there is also the responsibility for souls. Let’s not let religious authorities spiritually circumcise believers, because those born again in the Spirit are essentially free, no one knows where they come from or where they’re going, says John 3:8, and they possess a manifold grace, 1 Peter 4:10 , that is to say, very diversified, and they don’t fit in rigid eclesiastic systems which do not allow free expression and which impose uniformity according to human measures and non-biblical interests.
But in evangelical denominations, the power of the pastor (clericalism or nicolaitanism) is usually so central that it causes a heavy reliance of the entire congregation on him, creating a helpless and infantile environment, and disabling and severely sterilising the gifts or charismae of the Spirit in the believers. It is the kind of environment in which sometimes the only thing missing is for some exemplary obedient believer to ask the pastor: “Pastor, I’ve dropped my pencil, may I pick it up?” “Yes, faithful member (and payer of the tithe), pick it up, pick it up.”
Because our freedom is in Christ and is of Christ, it is not our own, and at the end of the day we should submit only to His authority according to His Word, not to men who “order” us to do something else that is in their interest. We are stewards of what God gives us, to put it into practice as in the parable of the talents.
“The power of tradition is terrifying. There are many things that God can not do because of our slavery. Each time that He wants to change us a little bit, we are scandalised.” “This is what happens when our minds, closed to everything that isn’t traditional, receive something alien to that to which we are accustomed. We fall to pieces.” (“New Wineskins”).