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The Harlot Church System, Part 1
5 September 2014
The Crucified Ones by Charles E. Newbold, I started reading his book The Harlot Church System.
Just as when I was reading The Crucified Ones, I used a LOT of colored pencil to mark sentences and paragraphs which spoke to my heart. And as with The Crucified Ones, I want to share with you these profound and amazing excerpts.
However, compared to that previous book, when I highlighted The Harlot Church System, I ended up with more than TWICE as much material! It took four articles to present all the extracts from The Crucified Ones. For this book, there is going to be a total of NINE articles, each one longer than any of those previous four.
I've already shared the entire eighth chapter of The Harlot Church System in two previous article: THE Ministry, Part 1 and THE Ministry, Part 2. Even if you want to read the extracts from The Harlot Church System in order, I still want to encourage you to read my introduction to this book at the beginning of the THE Ministry, Part 1 article.
In addition, one article in this series of nine will share the entire text of chapter 17 — The Deep Things of Satan — including an extensive footnote that is almost as long as the chapter itself! The remaining six articles will present excerpts from the other 16 chapters of the book.
As was the case when I posted the two articles of excerpts from chapter 8, entire sentences highlighted in this color are MY emphasis — thoughts which struck me as especially important. All other emphasis is the author’s, or implied by the author.
Although I will be presenting a LOT of material in these nine articles, what I will have shared will still be less than half of the entire 168-page book — so you REALLY need to buy your own copy and read the whole thing!
If the flow of thought from paragraph to paragraph feels disjointed at times, that’s because it is! Except for the three articles in which I share entire chapters, I’ve taken paragraphs which were spread throughout each chapter, so there can be large chunks of text missing in between the paragraphs I’ve included here. I’ve also incorporated the subheadings within each chapter to make it easier to read, and to facilitate referring to particular sections.
Hopefully what you read in these nine articles will whet your appetite and make you hungry enough to get your own copy and read the WHOLE thing!
Even though this book is not available directly from Amazon.com, you can still buy it from third-party vendors on Amazon’s Web site by following the link above or by clicking on the book cover. The Harlot Church System is also available as a Kindle e-book for only 99¢ — at that price you can’t afford NOT to get it!
carnal (fleshly) mind devises in the exaltation of Self — the preeminence of Self over God. It is a place in us where we think we are IT. We exalt our imaginations and every high thing above the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). Both Zion and Babylon were historical places, yet the scriptures also speak of them as spiritual states of being.To be continued:
In this book spiritual Babylon refers to the institutionalized, organized, religious church systems which I contend are products of the carnal mind. Please read on to see what I mean by this. The word church and the pronoun it when used in italics in this book refers to this Thing we call church. When it is not in italics, I am referring to buildings that have been dedicated to the worship of a deity, or I am directly quoting other sources. church is that difference between Spirit and flesh — what is of the Spirit of God and what is of our old man nature of flesh and sin, even the carnal mind. Zion represents the Spirit; Babylon represents the flesh.
The flesh loves Self. Self with the capital “S” is the term I use throughout this book to refer to that the self-centered, self-indulging, self-absorbed, self-willed, self-serving nature of fallen flesh. harlot, broadly defined, is anything for Self. I refer to these Things we call church as the harlot church system because they have been created out of our fleshly minds and desires for Self. Churches as we experience them today have no basis in scripture. They are icons of self-worship. Moreover, they are idolatrous, deceptive, and dangerous. church system as we know it and experience it today. If you are not prepared to hear this message by the Spirit, you will no doubt take serious offense to it. The message of this book will be troubling to many of you who are victims of the church system, but will be most troubling to those of you who depend upon the church system for your livelihood and who find your significance, identity, validation, recognition, power, and security in it.
If you choose to continue reading this book, it will take you where you may think you do not want to go. You will journey beyond the façade of that Thing we call church and see how it is an invention of flesh. You will discover the demons that empower it. church system of men’s traditions and religions. (Ekklesia is the Greek word in the New Testament which has been mis-translated “church” in most English versions, but it literally means ”called-out-ones”.)
We become spiritual prostitutes when we create something and give our hearts to it rather than to the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what men have done with this Thing we call church. They have made church a substitute for Jesus. Many within these harlot church systems are true believers who love the Lord, but are uninformed and deceived. They have unintentionally given their hearts to these Things we call church. God loves us all but hates our idolatries.
Judge the words in this book for yourself and judge yourself by these words. Open your heart to the Holy Spirit that He might instruct you and point you to Jesus. I hope to reveal Father-God’s heart to you that your heart may be revealed to you; that you may dare face your idolatries, cleanse His temple of whom you and I are, and return to the God of your salvation. The idolatry revealed in this book is not about “them” but about each of us.
Did he actually believe that abiding in that system we call church is what it means to abide in Jesus? (John 15:1-10) Did he believe that committing to a church or the pastor is the same as committing to Jesus? His conclusion was an outrageous misrepresentation of scripture... This deception has been passed through the generations of Christians since at least the third century A.D. Those who perpetuate this lie are equally victims of it. This deception is so deep and cruel that we have believed it as the truth. We minister death with this deception, thinking we are offering life. church is of God and that our membership and participation in it is essential to our Christian walk when in fact it is an idolatrous substitute for Jesus and quite often a hindrance to our walk with Him.
This Thing we call church, as we have come to experience it, is an idolatrous extension of our own Selves. Though it exists as an entity unto itself, we are in it and it is in us. It is an icon of self-worship that has grown out of the traditions of men and has no basis in scripture. We proclaim that this Thing we call church is the Kingdom of God when in fact it has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. Rather, it is the modern-day Babylonian captivity of the elect of God.
We have confused our relationship with Christ by fusing it with this Thing we call church. We are led to believe that when we are in a proper relationship with it we are in a proper relationship with Christ; that we have to be a member of a church to be saved or to be a good Christian; that serving it is serving Christ; that loving it is loving Christ; that tithing to it is tithing to Christ.
In many instances this Thing we call church is like a tent we have made to spread over the moves and revelations of God in order to preserve them, touch them, contain them, maintain them, manipulate them, own and control other people in them, and use the people and the system for our sordid, fleshly gain. We find comfort in the restrictions these church walls set for us. We can hide in them and feel good in them. We widen these tent pegs just enough to let others in who want to walk, talk, and dress as we do.
The word church, as we use it, speaks of an illegal, unholy mystical union which embodies buildings, institutions, denominations, and people. These have been so fused and confused with each other that they perpetuate the dangerous lie that this Thing we call church (buildings, institutions, denominations, and the people associated with them) is Christ’s assembly of called-out-ones. This Thing we call church looks good in its outward appearance, but is often inwardly controlled by men and women ambitiously, often unknowingly, seeking something for themselves. church, as we craftily do, we thereby preach another gospel, a false gospel. We perpetuate the lie. We are often zealous to evangelize people into our churches; yet, we are uncomfortable calling them to deny themselves and take up their crosses to follow Jesus. Such a command by Jesus is a foreign concept to most Christians today. If we happen to lead someone to Christ, we immediately impose church membership upon them, especially hoping that they will join “our” church.
If it were true that going to church is synonymous with coming to Jesus, then we would have to ask: Which Jesus is it? Is it the Baptist Jesus? The Church of Christ Jesus? The Methodist Jesus? The Presbyterian Jesus? The Roman Catholic Jesus? The Orthodox Jesus? The Protestant Jesus? The Charismatic or Pentecostal Jesus? The Independent Jesus? There are so many to choose from. Unchurched people look at this mix of churches they are invited to join and wonder why anyone would want to be a part of that.
We give our hearts to these Things we call church rather than to the Lord Jesus Christ. They are enemies of God because they stand in place — in substitution — to what is holy, to what is His. church evolve? Believers in the New Testament did not have such baggage. At first they were simply called the followers of the way. They gathered spontaneously in the temple and in some synagogues for a period of time. Mostly, however, they met in private homes and went from house to house. They were drawn together by the presence of the Lord in their midst.
Christians did not have church buildings until Constantine the Great, Emperor of Rome from 306 to 337 A.D., embraced Christianity. His endorsement of the faith created a free climate for men to erect buildings “to the glory of their God.” The enchantment with church buildings throughout the centuries has contributed to the institutionalization of the church system as we now know it. etymology of the word “church” is quite revealing.
Moving backwards into time, the word “church” was derived from the Old English word cirice which is related to the Norwegian / Scandinavian word kirkja. These were derived from the Germanic word kirka; which was derived from the late Greek word Kyrite; which was derived from the Greek word kyrios which means “ruler, lord, master.” In the Greek, Kyriake oikia means “lord’s house.” Thus, the word church came to mean “a building set apart or consecrated for public worship.”
Though the word “church” does not have its root in the Greek term ekklesia, it is used to translate ekklesia. Ekklesia is the formation of two Greek words: ek which means “out of” and kaleo which means “to call.” Combined, the word literally means “to call out of.” Ekklesia was commonly used among the Greeks in reference to a body of citizens who “gathered” to discuss the affairs of state. A correct and quite appropriate translation of ekklesia is “called-out-ones” although there are times when the context demands that “assembly” or “gathering-of-called-out-ones” be used. The word has to do with a people who are called-out to be gathered together.
The word church... has been so adulterated that we ought never to use it when we are referring to the body of Christ. It is appropriate to use the word “church” when we are actually talking about a building but not when we are talking about the body of Christ. What we call church is a Thing. The ekklesia is a people. it, incorporate it, elect officers to it, open bank accounts in its name, and train and hire staff to run it. We take up money for it. We devise campaigns to recruit more people to join it. We track attendance to it. We love it, get mad at it, resign from it, and leave it. If we are particularly fond of it, we make up brochures and buy ads to market it. church is started, it nearly always takes on an existence of its own and begins to exist for its own sake. The people in it exist to serve it rather than it existing to serve the people. Those dedicated to keeping the church going expect their members to attend it, support it, and serve it. They plan various programs that fit the model of what they think a full service church ought to look like. its programs, whether we want to or not, whether we are called to serve in a certain capacity or not, we are made to feel guilty. If the services or programs were really meeting people’s needs, people would be more likely to support them. A lack of support may be a clear indication that the event no longer meets a need worth supporting.
When we are asked by leadership in the church to make a commitment to the church, we are actually being asked to make a commitment to the Thing. Our loyalty is measured by how well we serve this Thing. We are thought to be slothful Christians if we do not support it; and if we do not even attend a local church, we are assumed to be backsliders.
What if you and I have different expectations about how a church should work? We will have conflict. There will always be conflict in the church because there will always be expectations in conflict. These are man’s expectations, not God’s. We bond with that Thing we call church and thereby get in bondage to it. We join it and it somehow takes possession of us. We do, in fact, get addicted to it.
Many who dare to leave one church go down the street hoping for a better “spiritual climate” only to find the same old harlot in a brand new dress. Only the rules are slightly different. They go from church to church looking for that which is genuine only to find more phony religious façades; they go looking for Spirit and truth only to find more flesh and hypocrisy. Yet, they continue their search, because they are addicted to it. They bob up and down on their wooden horses unable to dismount because of the velocity of that carousel — the church system that perpetually spins round and round, going nowhere.
A few discerning persons are able to break away from the bondage of church, but often leave damaged and resentful. Some of these attend anonymous groups, seeking recovery from the religious abuses inflicted upon them by these religious systems of men’s traditions.
Church, as we have come to experience it, permeates every aspect of our society. It is the only thing we have seen and known that supposedly represents Christ. In going after it, just as did Israel of old, we have played the harlot and provoked the Lord to jealousy.
I hope you are praying for the Holy Spirit to lift the veil from over your eyes to see how church is a counterfeit system, to see how we have made a Thing out of who we are in Christ and gone after it instead of Jesus.
This article is 42nd a series of articles on this Web site related to Modern Christianity and the Church which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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