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Excerpts From

"The Harlot Church"

By Charles Elliot Newbold jr.

 

…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.

 

…Pastor Daniel's church--and I emphasize that it was "his" church--served as a showcase for his drive to perform. He was an accomplished orator, avid reader, and had a winning personality. His setting was exquisite and his staging was professional. He attracted crowds and multiplied members, but he could not keep them. "Why do people go out the back door as quickly as they come in the front?" he asked.

He did not want to hear the truth. He wanted it to be "their" fault, not his. People left because of his misuse of authority.

 

…Self-seeking people who rule the churches are typically possessive and claim ownership over their constituency. If they own you, they can control you. If they cannot control you, they will disown you.

…Membership in the churches is a claim of ownership that the churches have over a set number of people. All churches and denominations do it. Pick any. In 1997, the Southern Baptist Convention reported 15,891,514 members and 40,887 churches. 3 {22} Why do we need to know how many people belong to us? Why do we need to know how many people were in Sunday School and worship services? Why is it important to compare this figure with "this time last year"? Who are we counting for? We count because we measure our success with numbers.

…"Don't count. You don't know who counts."

…We are fascinated by numbers. We build our significance upon how big we perceive ourselves to be. Size is a matter of opinion. In order to determine how big we are, we have to compare ourselves with others. Comparing ourselves with others is a prideful and competitive spirit which has no place in the Kingdom of God. Church rulers relate to "their" church members as extensions of themselves. They validate themselves by their statistics. They feel they must possess people in order to keep them.

…Sonny was at the ball park with his kids one steamy, summer night and saw Pastor Gene. Sonny asked, "Do you have someone here?" "All of mine are here," he answered. Sonny was puzzled by his answer. Sonny knew Pastor Gene did not have children of his own playing ball that night. Pastor Gene explained, "If they are a member of my church, they belong to me." Sonny regretted later that he had not asked him at the time, "Do you really want that responsibility? They are not your sheep. They belong to Jesus."

Taking possession and claiming ownership of God's sheep is a very grievous thing to God.

…Self-seeking people who rule the churches often hype things up to make themselves look good. Hype in this context is trying to make the Holy Spirit "happen" in self-strength. 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.

…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.

we fake something, that makes us a fake--Pharisees.

…Many self-seeking people who rule the churches have turned their churches and ministries into entertainment centers and seek ministers who are crowd-pleasing showmen. Their theater-designed church auditoriums and "entertain-me" hungry congregations demand this performance mentality.

…"Christian" entertainment is big business today. The self-seeking, secular-owned executives within the so-called "Christian" music industry are driven by the corporate bottom line. 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?

In spite of the fact that Christians own the 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. In spite of the fact that Christians own the 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.

…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.

…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.

Return to "Leadership"

THE Ministry. It, too, is an idolatrous extension of Self, a Thing that exists outside of and in addition to the one in ministry. It is a mantle we put on ourselves that God has not woven for us.

Be careful what you eat...

               ... to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet

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