by Steve Dines
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It’s over. The relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and the group of people who are called “the church” is finished. And if my life is as prophetic as I have come to believe it to be then look out, because fire and death will come upon us suddenly.
Church by church, assembly by assembly, the Lord has been visiting those who say they belong to Him, and church by church, assembly by assembly, each has fallen short of His evaluation. We have failed to hear His voice, we have turned a deaf ear.
Some people try to tell me that there are some good churches out there, but I don’t believe it. To my mind, to my whole being, there is no such thing as a “good” church.
It is with our beloved churches that we, like Old Testament Israel, have defiled the land; we have brought to ruin our promised life in Christ.
That’s because our love for that “sacred cow” we call local church has replaced our love for the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have come to believe that being in church is the same as being in Christ, that listening to church leaders is the same as listening to Christ, but they are complete opposites.
The difference is something that is of vital importance to us, it is a matter of life or death.
I saw a news item on a popular “church” news TV program last night, a church out West in Canada had burned to the ground and was completely destroyed. The Pastor and the congregation were wondering what it was God was trying to tell them. Perhaps the message is plain enough, “the second death is by fire”.
I know I keep on banging on about it, but I can’t keep quiet. This is my message:
Wherever you see hierarchy, formal use of power and authority, routine or mechanistic ways of getting things done and a predominance of one-way communication, then this is not the Lord Jesus Christ at work but men.
It is the work of men that has defiled our Holy Land, our Canaan, our promised life in Christ. It is our human thinking and our human ways that have set Christ aside and caused us to turn a deaf ear to the voice of the Lord. For years He has been calling us to repentance, now the time has come where He is giving us over to what we want. And what we are going to get will eventually destroy us.
We are going to get a radiant, beautiful church that has power. You want a transformed church? You’ll have it. You want an influential church? You’ll have it. You want a church that will unite all “believers”? You’ll have it, and then some. But you won’t have Christ. Because it’s over. The Lord is not going to suffer our insults any longer.
Since coming to Canada, I have come to learn there are two areas of my life you can’t touch, my intelligence and my integrity.
Insult my intelligence or question my integrity and you will see a side of me that you won’t think is very Christ-like. Perhaps the Lord built me this way so that I have a better understanding of how He feels about our churches. Not that I am excusing my sin or my sinful nature, I am having to face up to the fact that I need the life of Christ more than anyone.
But we have to face up to the fact that with our churches we insult the Lord’s intelligence and question His integrity. How? By organising and planning, by directing and controlling, by “leading” the people who are called by His Name. The Lord is quite capable of doing that without our help.
Is not putting ourselves in the place of Christ the work of anti-Christ?
Stay in church long enough and you will get the turnaround you have been asking, seeking and knocking for. But be warned, destruction will follow and you won’t see it coming. That’s because the Lord is testing your ability to hear Him now.
Look through scripture and tell me when there was an occasion where the Lord did something without announcing it well in advance first? Tell me when the Lord allowed people to continually turn a deaf ear to His warnings of destruction without eventually hardening their hearts such that they could not escape His judgement?
Church has brought us to the point of delusion. The time to leave church is now before it is too late.
Since writing “Too dark to work” I’ve been deeply troubled. The Lord speaks, we should listen and respond (willingly cooperate) accordingly. Failure to do so puts us in great danger. “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” because those that do harden their hearts will perish.
God is not speaking to His people today through Pastors or Evangelists or so called Apostles or Prophets. He is speaking with His people directly. This is how He is sorting out the wheat from the tares, the sheep from the goats and the live branches from the dead ones.
Those of us speaking out about what we believe act as a means of ministering to the saints. We speak to encourage those who are hearing the Lord for themselves. Jesus didn’t tell Peter who He was, He asked. Now there’s a lesson for our local church leaders (and don’t forget, I used to be one who thought he would preach and teach!). Maybe now I should ask, “so who do you say church is?”.
So as far as church is concerned, it’s over. The Lord is done with it. He is not striving with men any longer.
The people who are, “called by His Name” must make their choice. Either take heed to the voice of the Lord and “come out of Her, My people” or face the consequences.
Fire and death are on their way. I know, because I’ve already lived it.
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Steve, Wow. This is strong stuff. I can appreciate your distaste for a lot of the ritualistic things we do in organized religion, but I fear you go too far when you say we ought to leave the church. We can't leave the church. Believers ARE the church. I understand your sentiments that perhaps many organizations have gotten very far away from what the early church (ACTS)was like--I can agree with that. However, I am of the belief that the Holy Spirit is at work purifying His Bride--readying us for His return. We WILL become the overcomers that the Word of God says we will become, and we will do it as one body. That is Biblical. I happen to be a member of a Bible believing, God-fearing, loving bunch of Christ followers that we just happen to call a church. They are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I cannot forsake assembling with them because the Word of God commands me to find my place in His body. Besides that, they are my brothers and sisters. We have one Father and one Savior, and we are all working together to encourage and admonish each other to good works. I am blessed to have a pastor who speaks Truth and who loves the Lord and loves the sheep he has been called to under-shepherd. I would urge you to seek out a body of believing people. They ARE out there. Perhaps the place you have worshiped has not magnified Christ, and you are right, God is not pleased with that, but that does not mean that we all should leave our churches. How can we do that and still be obedient to the Word of God? How can we do that and be who He's called us to be? Believers are automatically a part of a body. We can't choose NOT to be. To separate yourself from other Believers--well, I just don't know how that's possible. The Bible says that unbelievers will know we are Christians by our love for each other.
About 5 years ago the Lord Jesus began to expose the "church" system to me. It began after my wife and I were placed on staff at a large southern baptist church. You do not really know how uncaring and ungodly the system is until you get to go behind the scenes, and especially if there is financial problems. Long story short after several different "churches" (same old thing in all of them) the Lord finally showed us that in order to follow Him we would have to get out from under the tyranny of "church leaders" that would not allow us to follow Christ through conscience and the Word of God. Thank's to our Lord, we are out of that harlot religious system.
Steve: You are delusional. The church is not dead. The church, as you so easily forget is the Body of Christ and it will always be the future Bride of Christ. Your pessimism is not well founded. The church is and will be victorious so your death knell about the church and coming out of it, is far mis-placed. Yes, there are some congregations that are following a different gospel and are not under the Lordship of Christ but your general critique is without foundation or logic or factual research. Stop spreading your spirit of fear and enlarge your capacity of seeing Jesus high and lifted up!
Steve, Awesome article...I agree because it bears witness in my spirit. It is what God has been speaking to me for a long time, yet I've struggled with it also..I detached myself from any church affiliation for some time now. Like so many, we've been programmed to believe one way, the church way, and if you dare to disagree, you're labeled rebellious and disobedient. I've attended churches that we so corrupt, they were dismantled by the Lord. By His grace, He removed me before I was in over my head, because I was so disturbed in my spirit and sought His face about it first before listening to the myriad opinions of the flock! Thank you for a straightforward, uncompromising article. I'm tired of middle of the road Christians who follow the pastor & the crowd, but NEVER shoulder their cross and follow the Lord. I'm far from perfect, but I know it; therefore I desperately desire to know God's unadulterated truth! God Bless you for telling it like it is. I felt a genuine peace flow over me after reading this particular article, "It's Over." I will read more of your articles too! Thank you!