THE RENAISSANCE OR THE REFORMATION, SECULAR HUMANISM OR CHRISTIANITY?
BY: CHARLES W. WELLER
The world was changed radically by these two events. The Reformation some say began with Martin Luther. Others place it a little earlier than 1517 AD. The Renaissance followed its leader Voltaire in the 1600’s. These two philosophical moves radically altered the way the world was perceived. Either you looked with the eye of the Reformer or you looked with the eye of the “Rights of Man.”
THE RUMBLINGS OF THE REFORMATION
The removal of the dark ages, the medieval times, began with the Crusades. In the 1100’s the Moslems were invading Western Europe and even Spain. The message of Islam was sweeping over countries through radical military conquest. Join and be a Moslem or die. The Moors of Spain were about to fall. It was the military call of the Popes that united Europe in over 12 crusades to fight the wave of pagan beliefs of Islam. Since the Europeans traveled out of the area and saw new things, they were broadened in their outlook. They were ripe for change.
There was a gradual awakening to experience the world and slowly there was a spiritual dawning as well. The word REFORMATION means to “make anew.” The word RENAISSANCE means “a revival of classical influence” (ie. Plato, Aristotle, and other Greek philosophers). What is the difference? One is the real God-driven method; the other is a counterfeit. The early leaders of the Renaissance were men like Eckhart (1300’s) who espoused Neoplatonism (return to Plato’s philosophies). “The Age of Enlightenment” at the time of Voltaire (a French writer of the 1700’s) influenced a revival of the Renaissance. He and Nostradamus had a large influence on this move. “At the opening of the Renaissance the Church was shaping much of the culture of the age.“ (Lucas, Renaissance and Reformation pg.50)
Timaeus, a publication of Plato, taught “that the Infinite was ‘One’ and ‘Good’ and that this unity transcends all rational nature. He rejected the idea that the Infinite was a ‘Being’ (obviously Jesus would not fit into his concept of God) and that it was to be styled ‘intelligent’ for intelligence implies a knower and something known.” (Lucas, pg.172) This is a radical idea for this means things come into existence without being created, but through an intuition. Many of you may have heard of St. Augustine. He brought such thought into the Roman church.
Ockham denied the existence of universals (certain basic truisms), which today means he espoused “situation ethics” which means no moral absolutes. Recently, I taught a class on “ethics” to 24 business people. Ages ranged from 30’s to mid 50’s. Not one believed in any absolutes. I suggested “gravity” and they said only known on our planet and therefore not an absolute. I suggested the law of sowing and reaping. They refused that as an absolute because weather could change the results. During the course a Jewish man suggested that there are absolutes otherwise we would have another day of Hitlerism and murder of people. But these people refused absolutes. I know of a fact that three in the class were born again Christians. Secular humanism, as a concept of individual rights over the good of the group, was very evident in this class as well as Ockham’s ideas. Sad statement that the people could not even agree on the “Golden Rule” as a basis for doing what is right. Humanistic leaders are teaching our younger generation these false premises – “man is his own god.” Look out. Soon you will not be able to trust anyone.
Cusanus expressed the idea of the opposites – matter and form, motion and rest, good and evil. He believed that they are all found in union with God. Today we would call that the I Ching, the Yin and Yang ideas of Eastern Philosophies. Patrizzi developed the idea of metaphysical pantheism which we find prevalent in the USA today in those who state God is IN the earth, the trees, the grass etc. This is contrary to monotheism of Christianity.
In the 14th Century (1300’s) the actual Reformation began with the revolt of the Albigenses in Southern France. While credit is given to Luther for the Reformation, the rumbling noise of it was heard centuries before. They taught that the Church (Roman) was the antichrist. These people had some truth, and some strange philosophies. Thus, a permanent Inquisition was set up in 1233 to handle all “heresies” against the church.
John Wycliffe died in 1384. He was English and a man who saw the power of the Papacy as adversarial to his country. Thus, his outspokenness stirred the Church against him. He saw the wealth of the Church and demanded that it be as poor as Christ and His disciples were. He wrote tracts that said the church was not the hierarchical leadership as was taught, but that the church was comprised of people. (The doctrine of the Nicolaitans mentioned in chapter 3 of the book of Revelation, had come to pass. This doctrine raises the priesthood over the laity [people]. The ministry was supreme. It had progressed so far that the Bible was chained to the pulpit and could only be read by the priest. In fact, only the priesthood and scholars could read and this allowed the church to control the people through ignorance.) For this his life ended, especially after writing about the Pope and the Apostasy. He even attacked the idea of transubstantiation (God actually becoming the bread, and the wine actually becoming the blood of Christ – which the Catholic Church still believes!).
John Huss picked up the same ideas in Bohemia. He was martyred in 1415 at the stake for his beliefs after a council of Inquisition. Wycliffe and Huss while expounding the gospel also preached a form of nationalism, which shook the political and social power of the Church.
Perhaps, the greatest comparison between the concepts or principles of each move is the revolutions that they caused:
The Reformation is the basis for the American Revolution, and the Renaissance is the basis for the French Revolution. A close study of each reveals the dissimilarities of the two. In the 18th Century (1700’s) “Philosophers were hostile to revealed religion and to established churches. They hated dogmas and condemned forms of culture which revealed religious influence.” (Lucas, pg.208) Thus, in the time of the American Revolution and the French revolution we see the “outworking” of two divergent philosophies.
Robespierre, one of the French Revolution’s leaders, helped remove the King from authority. With the death of the King, he set himself up as authority. Laws were changed to meet his demands. Finally the killing was so profuse that he too was killed. Eventually, the French people felt so frustrated they looked for a release, and Napoleon stepped in 10 years after the death of Robespierre. The French people removed a king to receive an emperor. The difference was minimal.
The concept of the Renaissance especially seen in the French Revolution followed the principle that man is the captain of his soul. Man is god. Man rules the world. Secular humanism is founded upon the premises of the Renaissance and the end result where man is the final judge encourages a society similar to that during the time of the French Revolution. Even today the country of France still is quite “interesting.”
The Reformation presents the principles contrary to that of the “classic” philosophers of Greek and Roman times. The Reformation places God as the head and man subservient to Him. Man rules at the permission of God. “REX LEGIS” is supreme. This is Latin for the understanding that the “LAW RULES.” Man is governed by the Ten Commandments and the laws of God. Man is not the law, God is. All secular authority in social and political relations was supreme UNLESS it related to a moral or religious matter. If that were the case the church’s beliefs came to be a factor. While we find in the USA that there is some corruption of the law and even misrepresentation, nevertheless it is because man is evil, not the law.
The French did not make this choice. They chose man as the leader, the writer of the law which could change at the whim of the leader in charge. History proves that. The USA proves that man is subject to the law, and is not above the law. The French rewrote their constitution as they saw fit. The USA has one, the original and it remains. Even the movement to rewrite it has lost momentum because enough states had the sense to realize the foolishness of it, and they rescinded their votes.
The concept of “man as God” creates a license for those of superior talents to manipulate those of lesser abilities. Such positioning subtly corrupts the one in power. Maniacal results follow. The philosophy that man rules is open to abuse because it denies that man is a fallen creation in need of redemption, which is the premise of the Reformation.
Today we find the same struggles in the move of God. In the very circles of Christianity, we find that the counterfeit is slowly becoming the leaven that is corrupting the faith. The Renaissance and Reformation philosophies are divergent forces. Each leads to its own conclusion and result. One leads to death and the other to life. Let me explain.
The law of sin and death, as espoused in Scripture and held in high esteem by the founders of the Reformation (Luther, Calvin, etc.), elevates the law to hold all people accountable. The Reformation established a “God consciousness” and a legal system that would control the Adamic nature. There was a need for the Ten Commandments to be established in government as well as in religious circles.
The Renaissance established the concept of individual liberty, which allowed to run to its conclusion created license at the expense of many. Man was supreme. Thus, there is no sin since man rules. This belief eventually negates the belief of the principle of “common good.” If it interferes with another, it needs to be stopped. In the USA we find today that individuality of expression becomes a narcissistic act (from the Greek myth of Narcissus who loved his reflection so much that it brought his death). Individual license has become the norm at the expense of others.
The fruit of the Renaissance can be found in many areas of the US society since as a society we have left the mores of the Reformation. Abortion is a SYMPTOM of a disease. The disease is death, founded on the principle of the Renaissance that man is the captain of his own soul. Abortion is the fruit of sin. Abortion is not sin. Sin causes abortion. Abortion is the fruit of a sinful person. Personally, I will not demonstrate against abortion clinics, because I feel the solution is different. Salvation is the cure for sin. Love is the cure for self-destruction which occurs in the individual psychologically who has the abortion. We who are to be conformed to the image of God need to express the way of LIFE to them and extend a hand of restoration or salvation for the sin committed. Renaissance philosophy or the acceptance of it leads to abortion.
The woman’s movement in the USA (National Organization for Women NOW) is only 1/3 the size of Beverly LaHaye’s group which supports a scriptural mother. I might add that a Proverbs 31 woman does work outside the home and is a successful career person while still in a godly marriage situation. Yet, the media constantly bombards the young lady of today with a rebellious spirit. Self-fulfillment is the ultimate goal of the National Organization for Women. This is opposite of scripture which states “deny yourself and follow me.”
Narcissism is so rampant that entertainment, leisure and pleasure are the priorities of the individual in contrast to volunteer work, evangelism and denying self to supply others. Humanism, the god of self, must be recognized for its religious nature. When in Kenya, the saints would walk up to three days’ journey by foot to come to meetings. Christians will not spend over two hours in a service, let alone travel three days’ journey by foot. When we met in Kenya there were logistical problems that met us at their convention. When we arrived to set up, we were told we would have to cook outside for the people and that there were dormitories and beds but no mattresses and that the meeting hall was changed to outdoor which required 10 hours a day sitting on benches. Yet, not one person left and there were no complaints. They were waiting on God and came to hear of Him. I would just ask is there that dedication among the saints of God in the US? Is the remnant that dedicated? These people had crucified their flesh. But the humanism in the US, in the church even, pampers the flesh, even entertains it. May God have mercy on us! Humanism/Renaissance philosophy has corrupted the Reformation.
The extreme of religious nature is found in channeling of Shirley McLaine, Yoga, Transcendental Meditation, Reincarnation, New Age, Christ Consciousness etc. All of these pagan humanistic philosophies are counter to the truth of the Reformation. Humanism propounds the thought that we are good. Scripture says we are “sinful.” Humanism states the solution is within the soul and its power. Scripture states the solution is in Christ and the Spirit-led life. Humanism supports the premise that man must atone for his own sins. Scripture provides Jesus Christ, the Son of God as the atonement for our sins. Humanism seeks to elevate self; whereas, Scripture states to humble yourself.
The Renaissance/Humanism philosophy based upon the premises of Plato and others destroys a society by allowing man to be in control. God is ethereal and non-involved with His creation. A certain fatalism follows with the belief that the ebb and flow of the world is predetermined without an influence on it, not even man’s. While man may improve himself through his own efforts of education etc., the belief that man governs himself leads to anarchy because of the fallen nature, the very thing that the Renaissance movement denies.
The time is now for the sons of God to take a stand. Confrontation with pagan concepts is a must. Debate is over. Violence is advocated – for the kingdom is taken by violence. The kingdom of God cannot be corrupted by the vile concepts of man any longer nor tainted by the meat of the New Age which says man is a god. For only He alone is worthy and God. It is He in us, His vessels, who is glorified through us. God has not given to us, but rather has called us unto Himself that He might have the world.
The Reformation begun by God is still ongoing. It is creating anew and elevating those who are being conformed to His Image. It is they who will depose the antichrist spirit that is the land. The sons of the Most High shall come forth. “For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations.” (Isaiah 61:11)
The need for a re-igniting of the Reformation in the world today;
In the 1500’s the Western world (Europe) was slowly emerging from the Dark Ages (from the fall of Rome up to the 1500’s). The only educated people were the priests. The Bible was chained to the pulpit for only the priest’s use. The economic structure was beginning to change from fiefdoms and serfs to a real economy of trade and commerce.
Where the Roman Church, at that time the only church, was dominant and a directive force in all of society – economically, politically, socially and religiously, times were changing. Little kings of city states in what is now Germany were developing and challenging the status quo because of commerce, etc. Luther was challenging the church because of its corrupt practices – indulgences, the Jesuits, etc. On all fronts the Roman Church was being challenged. Into this stepped Gutenberg who invented a moveable type printing press and the revolution of society began. Printed matter became more common and people learned to read and think for themselves. Freedom comes from printed pages!
Luther challenged the Roman Church to change it – not to create another monster that the Protestant move became. Because he challenged the status quo, he was vulnerable. The giant could crush a little ant. But in stepped a city-king of Germany who was challenging the Roman Church on an economical basis – for up to that time kings were appointed or dethroned by the whims of the Pope. This city-state claimed its independence from the Roman Church and at the same time offered asylum to Luther. The struggle was engaged.
For the next 100 plus years, the fledging Reformation struggled with survival but finally was established by Great Britain when its king decided that he did not want to give money to the Roman Church any longer. Besides, the king had other spurious interests in women that did not coincide with the Roman Church. Therefore, the Anglican Church developed basically because a king wanted a different wife and control of the church. The Spanish Armada went to war with England with the Pope’s blessing but was decimated in the English Channel. It was this military defeat of the Catholic Spanish Armada that caused the Roman Church to rely on other methods of control. These other methods would have to be used, if it was to still dominate the world as it had.
The Reformation was not just a religious move but a liberating theology. It allowed man to acknowledge his sinfulness and hope in a personal Savior. Man became hopeful of a better world that could be established on earth as it was in heaven. The Calvinists believed that if a man was walking with God then the Lord would bless the man on the natural plane. This would enable a man to better the world via inventions, businesses, etc. Thus, a blessed natural plane indicated a man’s spiritual life. In essence bringing heaven on earth.
The fallacy of this belief was not immediately evident. But over time capitalism developed as a means of fulfilling this religious belief. Since most of mankind is unregenerate in their thoughts, capitalism quickly became materialism within a century. Currently, in the USA materialism has taken a step further to the left, which is to the liberal side. A hedonistic and narcissistic approach has enveloped society in the USA in the 1990’s.
Any society that begins in a scriptural basis must adhere to scriptural principles, or freedom becomes license and license leads to slavery, which produces a totalitarian regime and repression of the people. It is when a society begins to lose its moral bearings that slavery to vices appears deceptively as freedom. The Reformation was a move to break free from the restraints of a hierarchial authoritarian religion. The motive, I believe, was an honest and sincere one. But sinful men driven by the god of self, even within religious circles, predetermined the failure of the Reformation. The evidence of this failure is that the denominations that began with such a flash and powerful example of Christian faith are today, 1998, an example of a whited sepulchre. Independent, evangelical churches are growing as people seek life-giving answers. But even the growth in these evangelical churches is in reality a cannibalization of the “church.” Statistically, Christianity within the USA is in a decline.
While the cause is not any one reason, yet, it is. The Christian faith has succumbed to a personal religion that requires little if any stand for righteousness. Since Christianity has become a personal experience, and the world preaches through the media to all the concept of “I got to be me,” the saint lets evangelism slide. Stand for Christ or experience financial hardship, excommunication from your peers, etc. these ideas are too costly and prove that the Christian has not had a true experience with Christ. It is time to become radical with one’s faith. Not radical in the sense of taking up guns, weapons etc. but radical in study of the scriptures and manifestation of who we are in Him.
The magazine, Christianity Today, has called the United States a “post Christian society.” It is a true statement since the humanism of the Renaissance has taken over, and we see all forms of legalistic religion taking place. The exponential growth of Islam is a good indication. As spiritual grace declines, the legalism of society grows. Islam is a religion of legalism.
Let me explain. The world is so strong in the churches, even evangelical ones, that when leadership tries to lead people, some consider it Babylonish bondage. The “Lord has not showed me” is often stated. Faith in the leadership is needed when the individual has not heard a personal confirming word. Disrespect of the position of the leader removes one as a disciple of Christ. For a disciple is one who learns at the feet of the Master. Leaders, true leaders, set in by God and not by man into the five fold ministry have been placed by Him and are to bring all of us into perfection – Ephesians 4:11.
The rebellious nature of Miriam, which the story expresses as – I am as good as he is. Why can’t I lead? caused her to almost die of leprosy. She didn’t because the true leader, Moses, interceded. Order, structure, is not a legalism nor is it bondage or even a Babylonish garment. God’s kingdom is exactly what it says – a kingdom, a rule by the king over the people. All of creation is within a structure, an order. You may fight the law of gravity all you wish, but you will not do away with it. Leadership, strong Christian-based authority is not evident in the walk of believers or in many of the ministry.
Those who see sonship, that is, being in the image of Christ, those who see the deeper things of God realize there is a time for being in a desert – a time to prove to ourselves who we are so that we can come forth to go back to Egypt, not be entangled with the ways or systems of the world but to be bound up in the system and structure that the Lord has established. How does one define Babylon? Are all churches Babylon? The answer is no. Those that try to develop a five-fold ministry locally wherein all the elders are submissive to another and do not have a desire to have pre-eminence over another but to seek to prefer another to minister, are not Babylonish, but they do have structure. Jesus had spirit led structure in His ministry. There were the three, the intimate leaders, Peter, James and John, then the outer circle of the twelve, and finally the 70. Jesus used the church system of the day (synagogue) to preach the kingdom in. We have a pattern to follow.
The Reformation started out correctly with little independent groups growing in grace and knowledge. Read the Mayflower Compact. Read Bunyan’s works. Read William Law. But while they grew in the Lord, each failed to grasp the depth of the crucified life. There is no doubt the leaders, Law, Bunyan, knew the depths of a crucified life, but the rest of the saints did not fully comprehend the truth. At this point, in the 20th Century even Christian publications are stating that we are in a “post-Christian era.” The church, the body of Christ, has failed to move into the life of God. Therefore, their witness is a putrid corpse void of life. Because there is no identification with a personal working of the cross in their life, true identification with the Lord’s crucifixion is not found. It is only on the cross that we can walk in grace. The grace of God is manifested through us only as we are crucified. We need more dedicated Christians who desire to reveal Christ through their life rather than have Christ and their own life!
It is up to the remnant that now remains to put our ranks together. Where the world states “I’ve got to be me,” we must surrender all. When we moved to Columbus, Ohio area we connected ourselves with a local expression and what a beauty it was. We did not seek to “take over.” In fact, we sought to support, be submissive to the leadership and the vision of the local expression. We sought to enhance it, empower it and edify it. If it meant the laying aside of our writing and preaching ministry of over 25 years in order to fully flow with the brethren, so be it. For we would see Christ and His ministry. What good is my personal ministry if it keeps another from developing their expression of Him in the local assembly?
Paul states that he would lose his salvation, if it meant the salvation of another (Romans 9:3), just as Jesus set aside His life so that we could live. It is time for the remnant with discernment to submit themselves unto the ministry so that the life of God might deliver all from the bondage of corruption.
Back in 1972 in Springfield, Missouri in a small storefront church of about 50 people, I saw as a young man a five-fold ministry working. Bill Britton, Jack Enlow, Charles Krull, Charles Willner, Charles Schmidt, C. L. Moore, and Ed O’Dell were the ministers. Bill did not believe in communal living, Jack did and later ran a Sam Fife group. Charles Schmidt saw reconciliation, Bill did not. Charles Krull saw reconciliation, Bill did not. There were other differences too. But these men, for a season together, submitted themselves to each other. None sought pre-eminence. A young lady the evening before the morning service had a vision of a man dying in the service. She told Bill and Jack. They kept it from the congregation. As leaders it was a wise decision. Brother Moore was visiting that day and was giving a word over a couple about to go out into full time ministry. In the middle of his prophetic utterance, a man behind me died. A sign or attribute of death is that the person no longer has controls of his bowels. That is how I knew – I saw a yellow stream running under the pew that I was sitting on.
Brother Moore stopped his prophesying in the middle of a sentence when called by Bill and the others to come pray for this man. Remember the spirit of a prophet is subject to a prophet. These men came and prayed and the man was raised from the dead. Brother Moore returned to the front and finished where he left off. Joyce and I have this tape of the service. You can even hear the heavenly choir come down and join in the singing in the Spirit that was going on.
A five-fold ministry that flows together seeks the life of God to be made manifest. Only if you were in a flow of the Spirit could you stop a “word” and then pick it up again. What minister would be able to do that today? What man of God would lay aside his ministry at the beckoning of another ministry and be submissive to that call? I submit to you today for your consideration that the ministry that is in the land today in this move of God is not building a system, a denomination, a name for themselves. But in the fullest sense of the word is committed to one another so that the fullness of Christ will be manifested. The men at Britton’s had their differences, believe me I know, but they laid aside every weight so that the body of Christ might see Him. These were great men. Even so today the ministry of this new day word is growing together.
Totally committed to one another, the end time ministries of today draw upon the life each other and respect each other to such a degree that doctrinal differences are not important in relation to the manifestation of love. Perhaps, the greatest truth I ever heard was from Bill Britton. If it did not measure up to the pattern of Jesus Christ, throw it away; it is a deception. I have found that to be true at all times. It is high time, it is the season for the remnant to allow the muscles to knit the bones together. When bones knit together, it hurts, but what life occurs.
I could name many names that you all are aware of who have committed themselves together to each other. The commitment is to flow together and to flow through each other. Then with the unity of the ministry, the body shall become one.
The Reformation is not yet complete. There must come a resurrection out of sleep. The church, that giant which slumbers, is not dead but asleep. It will take the voice of the trumpet, one voice but many waters (people proclaiming) to speak a word of redemption, a call to arms, a call to the camp to arise (Numbers 10 tells of the calls of the trumpet). This voice, this one word, is being proclaimed today through a trumpet of hammered silver (silver speaks of redemption). Hammered by the very hand of God, beaten by the very hand of God. Not that the vessel has a fault, but rather that the vessel might give a pure sound. The hammered work is done not because the vessel is sinful (when saved, there is no more sin but growth in God), but because God seeks to use the vessel to sound a clear, pure, distinct, holy, liberating tune that will cause the ascension of creation from out of the Adamic nature. A resurrection, if you will.
This remnant has to come to understand the basics of the faith and the depth of it too in order to bring a full deliverance. We must come to know experientially, not just mentally that Jesus not only died in the place of sinners but He took the sinners with Him to the cross. By taking us to the cross, Jesus delivers us from sin. Sin no longer has power over us. The crucifixion of our old nature is not and can cannot be done without Jesus. The good and the bad of self must die. In reality, the crucifixion of the Adamic nature is done only in union with Christ.
It was done physically by Christ almost 2,000 years ago. It was His substitution for us that saves us. But it is our recognition of our co-death with Him that enables us to overcome the flesh. Jesus could have come down off the cross, but chose not to in order that the Adamic nature would be removed and He could give resurrection life. We, too, can come down from the cross. If we do, the old man, that carnal nature lives again. But for the sake of creation, we remain on the cross, for life and grace is found only on the cross. Our co-identification with Jesus sets creation free.
Let it be known that our personality does not die with Jesus. The sin nature is destroyed so that the personality that was God-given can now be led of the Spirit. Jesus states that “If any man would follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me daily.” First we must deny that any carnality exists since we are crucified in Christ, and then we must set our affections on things above. Paul writes that he died daily. (1 Corinthians 15:31) We must realize we live “in the day of the Lord” which is a spiritual realm not a chronological time. Paul died daily in that he decided not to live in the day of Adam but in the Day of Christ. Paul “reckonized” (combination of recognized and reckoned) he was dead by living daily. He lived daily for his life was hid with God in Christ. So too it is with us. The third step of this verse is to follow Christ. Walk in His steps, that is, to be the same as Christ. Totally identified with Him.
We seek to have the world come to Christ but they do not come. Thomas would not believe it was Christ until he saw the holes in the Lord’s hands. The world wants to see the crucified life in us, and then it will believe. But the church, even the remnant, does not walk the crucified life. Life and grace is found only in the cross. The more crucified I become the more grace manifests in my life and the more people see the reality of the Christ life. The reformation must be complete in you and me. God must be God of the Spirit. God of the Spirit-led mind and God manifested flesh.
In my files I have a quote from Watchman Nee, which I believe it fits in here. “To stress experience and forget fact will bring us under the bondage of the law. On the other hand, to emphasize fact and despise experience will cause us to be licentious.” The “fact” is that we were crucified with Him. The “experience” is what we must walk out in our life. We are to balance these two in our lifestyle. One part of the Feast of Tabernacles is the Day of Atonement. It is the first part. This speaks of His atoning for our sins, as sinners. But Atonement is passed for us! We are now in the next phase offering up a sacrifice, a pleasing sacrifice, our full identity with Him (Romans 12) which includes 2 Corinthians 4:10. Our experience is to include Colossians 1:24 also. That we should fill up the sufferings of Christ for the sake of the body of Christ, the church. Let us stand in the gap and bear their burden (Galatians 6:1-3) so that we might present them blameless before the Lord even as He presented us.
“Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world” Jesus stated to the disciples. (John 16:33) We know that our faith has overcome as 1 John 5:4 states. It is our identity with Christ that gives the victory. It is only those who know the cross of Christ who can give life. How many preachers have you heard who do not give life to you but only speak words? It is because the crucifixion has not been done in their life. God is looking for a reformation. He wants to reform people into what they can be – a crucified example of Himself. When the cross is wrought in you, life is poured out. It takes the blending of the Spirit in you with the shed blood to produce life after you have been speared. It was the mark of Christ that spear. It was the sealing of Christ’s ministry, that spear. When the body of Christ (us) is pierced, life must come out. It can only come if death has already occurred in the body. Our identity with Him must be complete.
Our holiness or manifestation of God in our being cannot come from self-effort. Our manifestation of the Christ life comes only as we appropriate the life of Christ into our own existence. This is identification with Christ. Our co-crucifixion with Christ begins our manifestation of Him. Again let me refer to Colossians 1:24 in the Amplified version: “[Even] now I rejoice in the midst of my sufferings on your behalf. And in my own person I am making up whatever is still lacking and remains to be completed [on our part] of Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the church.” Note Paul, who is our pattern to follow as we follow Christ, states that the afflictions of Christ must be filled up which means Christ did not do it all. Secondly, he mentions we must do it “our own part.” And we must do it for the sake of the church. The Reformation was the beginning of the re-establishment of the truth of God – who is Jesus Christ. The truth is our identity with Him.
We are His body broken for the world. We are to be served as the bread of life to others even as He was. Not a bone of His body was broken scripture states, but Paul states “take, eat, this is His body broken for you…” It is not literal bread or literal wine but is the life of the saint spread before the world to be served. Christ has prepared a table, the marriage supper of the Lamb. It is those who identify with Him and are served through union of marriage with Him. They have forsaken their name and taken His through marriage.
To serve in the Holy of Holies is not seen by mankind. It is a personal time with God. Our crucifixion is found in the Holy of Holies as we stand before His presence in the inner man. People see the fruit of the crucifixion in the outer man. But they do not see what causes the crucifixion inside. The ministry of the priesthood, the order of Melchizedek is an order that gives Life no matter what the situation and rejoices in giving life because they have passed from death to life. The ministry of Levi, the order of rituals, creeds, and law seeks to maintain life.
Now let us consider specifically the difference between: AMORAL – IMMORAL – MORAL
The message of reconciliation is a tremendous word of life and restoration. It brings joy to the ears of many that God through His Son Jesus Christ has forgiven and reconciled all to Himself. The emphasis on the “reconciling” has left a grave imbalance within some groups, between those who don’t believe in the reconciliation of all things and those who do. It is to this that this one message is addressed.
James Dobson, of “Focus on the Family”, has stated in his book that “love must be tough.” Love cannot be without cost. True love revealed by Jesus Christ cost Him His life. Love is always a high cost item to BOTH the giver and the recipient. It is not free in that sense, although it is freely give
Love costs. The message of reconciliation/love is the message of salvation to all mankind, because Jesus Christ died for ALL (1 Cor.15:22, 1 Tim.4:10, Ps.22: esp. 22-28). It was a unilateral action by Christ for ALL. It was not based on the condition that people had to “believe it,” “do something” for it, or “accept it.” Jesus Christ gave His life in love for the salvation of all, whether they would accept it or not.
If God’s love is to be revealed through a people it will cost those people their own carnal personalities. It must be laid down and crucified. Only the love of God can be revealed. Some believe that the love of God comes without judgment/correction. This is a carnal interpretation of God’s love. It costs. God’s love costs a great deal. All previous conceptions, even religious ones must be open for re-evaluation. It is this unconditional love that brings the victory. By the same token, a carnal Christian will misinterpret the unconditional love of Christ. The carnal Christian who sees reconciliation many times believes that unconditional love ALLOWS others, and specifically brethren, to live unholy lives before God without correction or judgment of their deeds.
In fact, some would be so unscriptural to say that we cannot judge the brethren for their actions. Many times I have heard it said; “Just love the brother/sister in the Lord and let the Lord take care of that.” Or I have heard “Don’t judge a brother.” But the same person that states “don’t judge a brother” is judging the one who just said something!!! Carnality even shows through with the one who is trying to be so spiritual by not judging!
One of the scriptures that is used to present the idea that we should not judge one another is Romans 14 verse 13. It reads: “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.“ This appears too clearly state that we should not judge. Yet, we also know that Scripture doesn’t contradict itself. So, what do we then do when we read John 5:30 where Jesus says: “…as I hear I judge; and my judgment is righteous because I do not seek my own will but the will of the Father who sent me.”
If we are to be conformed to His image and are maturing in His image, judgment is given to the sons, even as THE Son judged. This word in the Greek is KRINO and means to sentence, ordain, condemn, avenge, and punish. It is obvious that judgment is meant. The Roman’s verse is speaking about NOT judging a brother in respect to AMORAL things. AMORAL are those things that are done without moral or immoral consequence. MORAL and IMMORAL actions are determined or based upon the Scriptures for their foundation. Adultery is immoral. This is found in the Old Testament in Exodus 20:14. Homosexuality is immoral, and this too is found in the Old Testament as well as Romans 1:27. MORALITY and IMMORALITY are based upon the Bible as a foundation to determine such.
A secular society, which has no foundations from which to draw, will allow “situation ethics.” This philosophy says that – whatever is all right and doesn’t hurt you or someone else is okay. But this verse in Romans is talking about judging AMORAL things, not IMMORAL or MORAL. AMORAL is that which has no value either morally or immorally. As an example: Romans 14 talks about food. If one is a vegetarian and you are not, do not cause the brother to stumble over such a thing. Eat with him and accept his way while with him, but do as you are led when not with him.
AMORAL choices have to do with clothes, food, and other things that are by themselves neutral. The Pentecostal church that we fellowshipped with at one time didn’t believe in wearing jewelry. They felt it was unholy. While with them we didn’t wear any. Now we do. It was an AMORAL thing. Even in Romans 14 where it speaks of judging it specifically speaks of not judging in direct reference to AMORAL things for these are principles of conscience.
But Paul goes on and in 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 tells the saints that they should SEPARATE themselves from immoral believers. Here Paul is judging immorality. In fact, in verse one he says that a son has his father’s wife in a sexual situation. Paul states that was not even found in most secular families, let alone the saints. This man was to be expunged from the church.
Of course, judgment to force him to leave the church was first done upon the basis of Galatians 6:1 in the hope of restoring the person. But Jesus said not only to go in a spirit of restoration but also (Matthew 18:15-20) to go alone if you alone know of the problem. Talk to the person. If he doesn’t listen, go with another to talk to him. If he still refuses to change, tell it to the church (body of local believers) and if he still doesn’t listen “LET HIM BE TO YOU LIKE A HEATHEN AND A TAX COLLECTOR.” The words of Jesus are quite strong here.
Both Paul and Jesus sought restoration. But if the act of restoration fails, then judgment comes. We are to separate from such. For as a church we are to reveal the holiness of God, the purity of God, the righteousness of God, and the true love of God.
A true image of God will not allow sin to reign (Romans 6:12), but a righteous God seeks to liberate man so that God can truly be seen in His creation. (Romans 5:21) It is true that Jesus came not into the world to judge it (John 12:47, Greek word again KRINO). But He does judge. Judgment was a by-product, not a main purpose. His main purpose was to save the world. The only way salvation could be given was if the world was judged for its sins. Judgment is a part of reconciliation and restoration. It is a needful part. Jesus judged the woman caught in adultery – He told her to sin no more. It was judgment unto life, if she accepted what He said. If she refused His counsel it was judgment unto death because the path she was living in would lead to total spiritual death.
The word “condemn” used in the story of the woman who was caught in adultery is made of two Greek words KATA and KRINO. We used KRINO in the other verses we quoted earlier. KATA means “against” or “according to” with special emphasis on the very multiplicity of “times” something, which makes it even worse.
Jesus was judging her correctly according to Scripture. He was drawing His conclusions upon the Old Testament Law. But where the law brought judgment and the recognition of sin with no solution, Jesus was offering grace to her. She could change or she could remain under the law and be judged by the church leaders. Now, many use the same example to say where were the leaders that condemned her? Some insinuate that these men had no right to judge her. Jesus never said that they couldn’t. He just asked them that were judging her if they were without sin themselves in this situation. For the leaders were to judge with mercy, and righteousness. But the custom of the leaders then was to be self-righteous. They could not fulfill their posts because of their own fallen nature.
We as sons are to judge even as Jesus judged the sin in the life of the leaders as well as the woman. Conformed to His image we do judge – for all judgment is given to the Son (John 5:22) and we are in Him, alive to God and not unto ourselves. (Gal.2:20)
The problem is that the society that surrounds us has degenerated into an AMORAL society on most things. “Anything goes.” “If it feels good do it.” “Let’s party.” “Whatever.” All these philosophies are adamantly against the Scriptures and the very nature of God. Licentious behavior (anything goes) has also crept into Christian circles. Many sons and daughters of precious saints can’t control their fleshly desires and commit fornication before marriage. Is it their fault? To some degree, but the influence of society is so strong that it overpowers to a great degree the godly influence of parents. The sex urge at adolescence is stronger than at any other time in life, and these children are thrust into an area that is difficult to control.
But what of vain imaginations, deceits, and philosophies of the Eastern order that have infiltrated the Christain church with meditation, lotus positions, mantras, Ascended Masters books, Karma, AnnaLee Skarin, reincarnation, ye are gods? Looking into oneself rather than clearly delineating the looking into God who is in you is secular humanism! All these vain babblings have created a corrupt revelation of Christ.
In many Christian circles the love of God is different – it is a very “permissible” love. Letting the person do their own thing is not God’s idea of a moral, responsible accountability. God has never let creation do its own thing. All of creation is working within a plan He established. He allows grace to see if man will ascend to His level through the development of the mind of Christ in man.
AMORAL action is seen in letting a woman be killed in New York City while many watched from windows and did nothing. Why? Because people don’t want to get involved. Jesus was involved. He touched every life He came into contact with.
Christ grew in the stature and wisdom of God (Luke 2:52) but He REACHED OUT to others. His growth didn’t pull Him in, but rather pushed Him out to extend to others, whereas Eastern philosophy is taking everything unto itself. I can show you people who left the denominations because God told them to leave. This I don’t doubt. But rather than pull together with others who left, they remained aloof, alone, withdrawn. All the time drawing into themselves, and being deceived that they are drawing closer to God.
God drew closer to man by reaching out to us through Jesus Christ. Christians grow closer to God by reaching out to others, through the Christ whom they draw upon from within. The deeper truth that the end-time people have will die with them if they fail to regenerate it in others. Just like the Shakers who were celibate, their truth died when they failed to reproduce what truth they had. The end-time church must procreate the truth rather than pull-back into itself awaiting the change while selfishly enjoying the personal relationship with Christ that it does have. A pool of living water, a spring shut up in a son, will become a cesspool of death if there is no outreach, no spigot that is open.
1 Peter 4:17 declares “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God, and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” The verses go on to say what will become of the ungodly if the righteous are barely saved. We have seen on a national basis the judgment of God using the world system on the Pentecostal order with Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggart. As harsh as that was, I would rather have the end-time move be judged in the hands of God rather than man. The judgment of God has begun in the sons. The wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest. At that time the tares are gathered and burned and the wheat is cut and threshed. Be aware that not all called sons are sons. There is a tremendous difference between LIGHT which opens one’s eyes to new thoughts and LIFE which creates a new person. God desires a new person to come forth, not the old person with a new thought.
God has begun to sift the end-time body of sons. Snares and traps are set for those who are foolish enough to socialize, and extend a hand of fellowship to those who preach a gospel of another light, or to those whose lives do not measure up to the measure of the stature of the holiness and fullness of Christ. Is the gospel MORAL? Does it require holiness and righteousness with it? Is purity of lifestyle and belief in marriage important to the ministry? God married Israel and divorced her because of her IMMORALITY. God wants a husband-wife relationship with His people. Does the ministry believe in such when it ministers? Does the lifestyle reveal that?
Who were outside the city of God? Who were not counted worthy to be in the city? Revelation 22:15 states that there were three levels of people outside the city of Jerusalem, the city of God, which you are. There were dogs/sorcerers, sexually immoral/murderers, and idolaters/liars who were outside the city. Pharisees relate to dogs/sorcerers. (Phil.3:2) These are messengers with another gospel. They have light but do not have the LIFE. Again, what may seem to be life, is not always LIFE. The angel of light does masquerade. Those who believed a lie thought that it was life! But the son comes giving life and it more abundantly. Sexually immoral/murderers refer to the fleshly desires of men. Where the dogs refer to spiritual deception, the sexual immorality refers to natural deception whether it be a homosexual, adulterous or an affair of fornication. The third area is that of idolaters/liars. These are those who play the mind games. They use words that sound similar to the truth, but use them in a way that is corrupt. They take the terms like incarnation which refers to Christ coming from the Spirit into human flesh and apply reincarnation with it! Subtle. Dangerous. Wrong.
In Revelation 20:4 we find the partakers of the first resurrection. These are those who have overcome the second death and are walking in the life of Christ and revealing light. They are different from those who have light but not life. They have been given the place of God to sit with Jesus and rule and judge with Him. The two have become one – as in a perfect marriage. Their goals, aspirations, purposes, desires are all swallowed up in what Christ wants, even as He desires only what His Father wants. The true sons stand in Christ. Their life is a MORAL example. It has no IMMORALITY. They live within the grace of God, which requires a higher holiness than the law. They have no deceptions in spirit, soul, or body because they are in Him, His nature.
Judgment has been given to the Son and the sons made into His likeness. It is the rebellious person who does away with judgment. For if there is judgment to be given, and they are guilty, they will run from it or contend against it so that they do not have to change. Their nature precludes that they do not want judgment, because it would end their license.
Humanism seeks to set itself up as God. It seeks to sustain itself. False religion does the same. Even in Christian churches false religion has entered. The spirit of the antichrist denies that God can come in the flesh (1 John 4:2). It does so in order that it can be god to itself, captain of its own soul. Call it what you will – humanism, narcissism, etc. it is rampant in the church, the body of Christ, too. But it even gets more serious as the Christian religion succumbs to the god of self. The church attracts people by entertainment which is self-gratification and pleasure. People come to church to see what is in it for them. This is humanism, it is not Christianity. Rituals, traditions, etc. replace experienced faith. Those that deny a born-again experience, deny that Christ has come again; those that deny the Baptism of the Holy Spirit experience deny that He has come again through the Spirit; those that deny the third experience of the Holy of Holies fail to recognize the coming of Christ again in the flesh.
Scripture shows we come together because we love one another. We come together to glorify God and worship Him (a far cry from entertaining worship services!). Perhaps a personal note here. When in Kenya the group of people we were with only had a drum and triangle type instrument. When asked why there were no guitars, etc. their response was: “We need only these instruments to worship God, lest it become entertainment.”
Dear God: Let the Reformation begin. Let the cross have its effect in our life, and the grace of God move within us. Use us, O Lord to bring the kingdom to manifestation. Crucify us, Lord; we pray that others may find the way. Deal with us, Lord, that the fullness of You (John 1:16, Ephesians 3:19) may be seen in us during this age. Help us to discern the difference between moral, immoral and amoral. Help us to walk after the moral and cause others to do likewise by our words, deeds and life. Let us bring glory to You, a testimony of Your work in us, so that our Father might be glorified.
SECULAR HUMANISM or CHRISTIANITY [Charles W. Weller] 1