Welcome to Brian's Bits, where Brian gets to share at length about various topics stirring inside of him.
The Harlot Church System, Part 5
9 September 2014
This is the fifth in a six-part series of articles presenting excerpts from Charles E. Newbold’s book The Harlot Church System, taken from chapters 12 through 14.
In this book, the author’s thoughts and arguments build from one chapter to the next. Therefore, if you have not read the previous parts yet, I strongly encourage you to do so now before you read today’s article. This is especially important because throughout the book, Mr. Newbold uses words like church, “it,” “Self” and “Thing,” with very precise and special meanings. In order to understand what he means by these words, you will want to read his introduction in Chapter 1 of Part 1 very carefully.
As I shared previously, 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. 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. That’s why you need to buy your own copy and read the whole thing!
The story of Naboth in 1 Kings 21 reads like a parable and has striking similarities to the circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus. It continues to speak to the present condition in the church. Reading about Naboth as a parable further exposes the nature, deeds, teachings, and work of the Nicolaitans and the Jezebel spirit. Ahab particularly further defines the Nicolaitan spirit.Other articles in this series:
Nearly every person, place, and part in this story has symbolic meaning. Naboth’s name means “sprout.” As such, he is a type of Jesus, the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1). He lived in Jezreel which means “God sows.” Jezreel is a type of the Kingdom of God wherein God sows the good seed of the word to bring forth His vineyard (Luke 8:1-15). Naboth’s vineyard represents the general assembly of called-out-ones, which is the body of Christ — all those who are born from above by the eternal seed in Christ.
Jesus is the true vine, the Father is the vinedresser, and we are the branches. We abide in Him and He abides in us (John 15:1-8). We are the fruit of that vine as well. We must know that the enemy of our faith seeks to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) doing whatever it takes to claim God’s vineyard for himself. Ephesians 1:14). It is what God wants for us. Likewise, our redemption is an inheritance for God (Ephesians 1:18). It is what God wants for Himself. It, too, is a very personal thing with Him.
It is little wonder, then, that Satan would pull the strings on his Ahab marionettes to rob us and God of our inheritance. Satan, like Ahab, wants God’s vineyard for himself. His primary mission in our lives is to destroy those of us who are heirs and joint-heirs with Christ. False shepherds sneak into the fold as wolves in sheep’s clothing to claim God’s inheritance for themselves. Pastors refer to congregations as their people. We identify a body of believers as “Brother Bobby’s” church. We cannot possess what God owns. We belong to one another in the kingdom of God, but we are never to own one another. We are His sheep and the sheep of His pasture.
Ahab wanted the vineyard for a vegetable garden and not for the grapes and wine it could produce. He wanted to change its character. The Ahabs of today change the character of God’s holy vineyard. They clone others to look like themselves to satisfy their own agendas rather than permitting the Holy Spirit to conform others into the image of Jesus. Satan gains control of God’s vineyard through the self-aggrandizing personalities of the heavy-handed Ahabs that rule the churches. “I do not believe the life of the people should be consumed in helping a leader accomplish his goals in life.” In bold simplicity he asserts, “We must release people, not possess them.”
Jezebel not only failed to submit to the headship of her husband, but usurped the headship of her husband. She ruled the roost. As such, she is a type of the harlot church system in which people are the heads and not Christ. Their headquarters are in cities rather than in the Kingdom of God. Through these systems the Jezebel spirit plots and schemes to accomplish its personal ambitions and agendas. church today still intimidate believers with fear; for example, they may tell them they will be out of God’s will if they leave their church.
Hebrews 13:13 charges us saying, “Hence, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” Going outside of the camp for us today is like coming out of the harlot church system. You cannot live a laid-down, Spirit-led life in it. You will either be controlled by those who rule it or by the Holy Spirit.
Church membership is voluntary. If you have voluntarily placed yourself under false leadership such as we have in the harlot church system, you are under false headship. If, on the other hand, you permit yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit and that runs contrary to the agenda of the leadership in your church, you will most likely cause trouble. If those who rule it cannot control you, they will put you out, find ways to silence you, or at best, ignore you. 1 Kings 21:15-16 could just as well have read, “And it came about when the Jezebel spirit heard that Jesus and all of the apostles were dead, that it said to the Ahabs / Nicolaitans (clergymen), ‘Arise, go down to the called-out-ones, to take possession of them.’” This is exactly what happened, and they have ruled the churches from the second century A.D. until now.
Balaam’s strategy remains the same to this day: “If we cannot curse them, we will seduce them into the harlotry of Self.” Whatever it takes, the Ahabs and Nicolaitans must possess “their own.” 1 Kings 21:20). The Ahabs will always view the true prophets of God as their enemies, for the true prophets do not say what the Ahabs want to hear.
The Elijah spirit is being released today in part to speak judgment against the Ahabs and Jezebels who teach and seduce God’s servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols (Revelation 2:20). How we give our affections, time, money, energies, children, and the like to these idolatrous church systems we are in! Jesus’ parable of the vineyard in Matthew 21:33-46 sounds strangely like the story of Naboth because of the coveting, the murder, and the judgment contained in it.... This parable just as well speaks of the condition of the church system today, and the Nicolaitans in that church system today perpetuate the attitude of the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, and rulers. Once again, the Spirit of the Lord testifies that the vineyard (the called-out-ones, ekklesia) will be taken from them and given to those who will nurture the called-out-ones into the fullness of Christ. They will be shepherds who will seek nothing for themselves.
Ahab is a type of Self on the throne. Jezebel is the harlotry of seeking something for Self. When it comes to that Thing we call church, she connives to be on the throne — practicing her witchcraft to possess God’s inheritance in the saints. flesh, has two dimensions to it. One is the strict, familiar concept that it ordinarily brings to mind.... We think about voodoo dolls, ouija boards, tarot cards, crystal balls, palm reading, seances, astrology, meditation, parapsychology, psychic phenomena, and mental telepathy.
The other dimension of witchcraft, is broader and more subtle. I define it as anything we do to manipulate other people to do things against their wills in order to achieve our own self-centered desires. Manipulation is an attempt to control someone else. Control and manipulation are the practice of witchcraft. In our day we do not use witch’s brew to control other people. Rather, we do such things as play on emotions, withhold affection, provoke fear, provoke guilt, intimidate with anger, lie and deceive, or use self-pity.
The practice of witchcraft in this broader sense of the term abounds in our lives and has devastating effects upon us in our everyday life. If we can see how it works in everyday life, perhaps we can see how widely it is practiced in this Thing we call church. Most of us practice witchcraft without having an awareness of it. The practice of witchcraft is so subtle and common we either do not recognize it or have become de-sensitized to it. We just experience the frustration of it.
The practice of witchcraft is the principal cause of trouble in the world. It is the principle cause of trouble in the home between husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters who try to manipulate one another. It is the cause of strife between friends and nations. It is the major source of conflict in churches.
Guilt feelings, fear, depression, suspicion, mental ruminations and rehearsings, anger and bitterness, fantasies, confusion, jealousy, compulsions, and obsessions may be caused by the fleshly practice of witchcraft. Poverty, crime, sickness, disease, and conflicts in relationships are also among the effects of witchcraft.
Witchcraft is indicated by one’s attempt to unduly control his life and the lives of others. Insecure people try to make their worlds safer by building rigid structures for themselves and for others in their lives. When we are insecure, we think we need to control God, other people, our environment, and every circumstance of our lives. We attempt to control what we feel, think, say, and do.
Witchcraft is indicated by fear, worry, doubt, anxiety, and restlessness. When we are no longer able to control other people nor believe that we can trust God, we panic. However, we no longer need to fear, manipulate, and control other people and circumstances once we know who we are in Christ Jesus.
Witchcraft is indicated by self-strength.... Witchcraft is indicated by pride.... Self-abasement is false humility. It is pride in disguise.... Witchcraft is indicated by stubbornness.... Witchcraft is indicated by cursing.... Witchcraft is indicated by rebellion. It is the will of the flesh rising up against the will of God.... Any ambition for Self is going to lead to the practice of witchcraft. Self will try to use people and coerce them to do things against their own wills.
Witchcraft is indicated by talkativeness. Talkative, rambling, interruptive persons are self-absorbed. They are preoccupied with their own thoughts and are not really hearing what other people are saying. Consequently, they frequently misunderstand what other people are trying to say. They may use their talking to control and cling to others out of fear of losing them, even though their incessant talking has the reverse effect and drives listeners away. It is difficult to communicate with such persons.
Witchcraft is indicated by unforgiveness. We practice witchcraft when we deliberately withhold forgiveness from others in order to manipulate their feelings or actions. We think we are punishing them by withholding forgiveness, but we are mostly punishing ourselves. We can be held hostage by our own unforgiveness of others and by the unforgiveness of others toward us. Ultimately, however, we who refuse to forgive become entangled in the root of bitterness. Bitterness can kill us.
Witchcraft is indicated by impatience. Impatience means we are in a hurry for something to happen. We rush through traffic, get angry at people who get in our way or slow us down.... We get impatient with circumstances, other people, ourselves, and God. “Why doesn’t He do this or that?” Impatience is pushing for something for Self in disregard for others or for God’s timing and will.
Witchcraft is indicated by distrust in God. That is what motivates us to resort to it. It disregards the reality of the lordship of Jesus Christ. When we surrender to His lordship, we enter into a trust relationship with God. We trust that He is absolutely sovereign and that the Holy Spirit is our competent guide. We are secure in knowing who we are in Christ. No one can put fear, guilt, or condemnation upon us, nor can they provoke us to anger. We seek God’s will only and not something for Self (which is usually at the expense of others). We will passionately determine to keep other people free of our control and manipulations.
Witchcraft is a negative and destructive force of the human flesh and will. Any form or degree of witchcraft is an abomination to God. It is a counterfeit to the Holy Spirit. God’s life-giving Holy Spirit will not abide where witchcraft is practiced. Just as we practice witchcraft in everyday life, we can be sure that it is also being practiced in the churches. When people bring their manipulations and control issues into the life and affairs of the church, they practice witchcraft in the church — witchcraft being: anything we do to manipulate other people to do things against their wills in order to achieve our own self-centered desires. Wherever it is practiced, or however slightly it is practiced, witchcraft is still witchcraft.
The structures of denominations and institutionalized churches are headed by man; therefore, they are out of scriptural order. Those who rule the churches may say that Christ is the head of their church, but He is not. He cannot be the head of many different bodies. He is the head of His body. There is only one body of Christ. If Jesus were in charge of these man-ruled organizations, there would be no need for men and women to politic for positions. If He were the head of the churches, there would only be one church because there is only one body of Christ. On the contrary, the churches are divided one against the other. churches depend upon other people to make themselves and their churches successful. Naïve and unsuspecting members are deceived into believing that giving to these churches ruled by people with personal agendas are “as unto the Lord.” These ministries often make people feel guilty if they do not give as much as they might freely choose to give. They extract tithes and offerings from their constituency, deceiving them into believing that they are “seeding” into the Kingdom of God when, in fact, they are empowering the kingdoms of men.
They falsely teach that their churches are the storehouses [ into which should be brought the tithes and offerings, see Malachi 3:8-10 ] for those members who “belong” to them. Many of them accumulate wealth and lavish it back upon themselves in the building, maintenance, and preservation of their organizations and institutions while the poor around the world go without food, clothing, shelter, and the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus never even slightly suggested that, “Inasmuch as you build your buildings and preserve your institutions, you have done it unto Me.” Rather He said that inasmuch as we feed the hungry, give a drink to a stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, we are doing these things to Him (Matthew 25:35-40). churches often flatter their prospects in order to win them in. “You two have so much to offer. It’s a shame you aren’t involved in a church somewhere.” That one has been used on my wife and me a few times. We were said to be the poster couple for one church we attended. I think it was meant to flatter us, but it did not.
Hype is what leaders do to pretend the presence of God. These leaders have to make their services look like God is moving in their midst whether He is or not. He is not, so they substitute hype for Spirit. They try to make things happen that are not happening, or try to make it look like things are happening when they are not.
Hype is the practice of witchcraft. We see and hear it in many “charismatic” church services, conferences, and meetings when the praise and worship leader prolongs the energized music for an hour or so, pretending that the Holy Spirit is present or hoping to invoke His presence. When the Holy Spirit chooses not to manifest Himself, the congregation may be brow-beaten for not singing loud enough, clapping their hands long enough, praying hard enough, or dancing in the Spirit wildly enough.
“Put your hands together and give the Lord a clap offering.” “Somebody give me an amen!” We are manipulated to do and say things that we do not want to do and say — things that are not in our hearts to do and say. We fake it anyway because we do not want to stand out in the crowd, to be thought of as rebellious, or to be accused of quenching the Spirit. When we fake something, that makes us a fake — Pharisees. If that which we call “Christian” can become an industry, it is not the real thing. Christian “artists” (the big ones are called “stars”) are the product of this profit-driven industry and are themselves often driven by the need for popularity, money, and possibly winning the coveted Dove award. I suppose this award is considered Christian because of the dove which symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Why do so-called Christian entertainers even want a trophy? Who are they performing for? Do they have a special cabinet at home in which to display them? Is their motivation to gain fame and fortune the same as those in the world? Or is it a sacrifice of praise to the Lord without regard for personal gain?
Authors, Bible teachers, TV personalities, evangelists: Are your efforts entirely to serve the Lord, or to serve Self? If for the Lord, then they are Holy Spirit inspired. If for Self, then they are driven by witchcraft. churches, many who belong to them are Christian in name only. They have only a religious relationship with God. Their real relationship is with their religion and their church. God is distant to them. They go to these Things we call church because it makes them feel righteous. They have performed their religious duty. This gives them a false assurance of salvation. Church leaders foster this sense of false assurance of salvation by making people feel they are okay because they attend and support their church. People are made to feel guilty when they do not.
Dennis Loewen wrote:
Years ago I heard a tape by Leonard Ravenhill. He told of having lunch with a pastor who was one of the recognized national leaders of the American church. He asked the question, “When will the church start ministering the salvation found in Jesus Christ?” The pastor replied, “We are ministering salvation!” Ravenhill disagreed, “No, you are ministering the assurance of salvation.”
Ravenhill had it right. “Assurance” is being dispensed weekly for an hour’s attendance and a few dollars in the collection plate. This, by far, is the main product being sold by the present-day church. This is their bread and butter, and nobody better mess with it.
Jesus promised we would be hated and despised for the sake of the gospel. He knew the world would not be the main threat any more than it was for Him, but that our enemies would kill us thinking they are doing God a service.
American Christianity is no less apostate than the Babylonian (Jewish) mess Jesus encountered in Jerusalem. It’s undeniable. Churches are doing a brisk business in the souls of men dispensing the assurance of salvation and making the process so easy that nobody has a chance to become poor in spirit or mourn for their sins.
When we get into their faces and tell them they can no longer deceive the people with this false assurance of salvation, all of the promises of Jesus about being a persecuted disciple will be made manifest.
This article is 46th a series of articles on this Web site related to Modern Christianity and the Church which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
There are no reader comments for this blog entry.