By Dr. Richard Ing
A MANUAL ON
ESTABLISHING HOUSE CHURCHES FOR THE END TIMES
the year 2000, I was in the Philippines
traveling from ocean level Dagupan towards top of the mountain Baguio. It was around 7:30 a.m., and except for the
driver, everyone else was drowsing.
Suddenly, I heard a voice say to me, “I want my church back!” I sat upright and looked at the others in the
taxicab. All the passengers were
asleep. I realized that God was talking
to me. At first, I thought He was angry
and wanted me to give him back His church, but the voice was calm and
matter-of-fact, like a friend telling you what is in his heart. The Holy Spirit began to put thoughts
directly into my spirit. The church is
no longer the church God gave us for the first three hundred years. It has changed drastically in both doctrine
and structure. When the church discarded
God’s original design, Christianity changed for the worse.
God wants His church back - the one He put into action
almost 2,000 years ago. God’s original
church was in the form of house churches, and there are definite reasons why
God abandoned the earlier “temple worship.”
Each born-again Christian now had the Holy Spirit dwelling in him and
had become a king and priest unto God.
Rev. 1:5; Rev. 5:10.
This Manual studies the reasons God chose houses as
assembly places for His Church and explores methods on how to give God back His
church. We will discuss the purposes and
benefits of a house church structure, the history of house churches, house
churches in anti-Christian countries, and how a modern house church can operate
and succeed today.
Regardless of format or structure, it takes people with
the right heart and training, the Holy Spirit’s anointing and leading, and our
obedience to His authority that makes any church work. The proper structure, however, can lead to
the attainment of all that God has purposed for us. Keep in mind, however, that our prime intent
is to give God back His true church; not just structure, but also love, obedience,
spiritual maturity and all that it stands for.
Some of the contents of this writing may upset you. In fact, since there are no perfect churches
or saints, it will probably frustrate most of you to some extent. That is not our intention. Our intention is to reveal truth. The truth may make you angry; but it will
make you free. We do not presume that
everything contained herein is absolute truth or that we know everything. For that, you need to seek God. We are merely trying to present a pattern or
foundation for what is to follow. No
doubt, there will be variations that work and different areas will require
I. PURPOSES OF
1. To prepare for coming revival/harvest and
Two things are almost upon us: (1) worldwide revival/harvest; and (2)
persecution/tribulation. The present
church structure is grossly unsuited for either. In studying great revivals of the past, we
find that great numbers of new converts flooded the existing church buildings
and they overflowed within a short period.
The established churches could not contain and train the sudden influx
and many new converts eventually fell back into the world.
The same will be true today if we continue with our
institutionalized churches. (When we
speak of revival, we also include harvest.)
The existing buildings and the limited number of trained and ordained
pastors will quickly reach capacity. As
Jesus mentioned, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are
few.” Mt. 9:37. In order to accommodate the sudden influx,
new and bigger buildings are needed under the present system. However, it takes great sums of money to
build more and bigger structures. In
addition, the time required to plan, design, obtain permits and build cannot
keep pace with a revival of the magnitude and speed expected of the last and
greatest revival of all time. In Third
World Countries, lack of funds puts such construction out of reach. Therefore, we need to think of different ways
to prepare for revival. 2. To attain God’s eternal purposes.
Two eternal purposes and desires have always burned deep
in God’s heart: (A) to have mature sons
and daughters like Jesus Christ; and (B) a perfect Church without spot, wrinkle
or blemish, that will be the Bride of Christ when He returns.
The present church structure cannot produce the spiritual
maturity God desires of us. Many
churches and denominations continue to deny the existence of the Holy Spirit’s
ministry on earth and the saints remain immature and confused. Pentecostal churches that follow the
traditional church structure (large building, professional staff and many
members) are also ill fitted to mature the saints. Most modern churches are program-oriented and
focused on filling the building and paying the bills. For the most part, programs are not designed
to bring the saints into spiritual maturity; but rather, to meet their secular
needs and desires. People left on their
own to seek spiritual maturity will usually fail and mediocrity passes down the
There is a need for a church structure that will
encourage both spiritual maturity and worldwide evangelism. In the traditional large church format,
people are content with going to church once a week and living as the rest of
the world the other six days. There is
no accountability and no need to change.
As a result, we have become a stagnant entertainment center that strives
to satisfy the emotional needs of the congregation and little else. The church leaders have become entertainment
managers and performers. Tithes and
offerings are the entry fee into the theatre.
Emotionalism and entertainment have become the primary orientation of
most modern Christians. Intellectualism
is the badge of maturity evidenced by a degree from some seminary or Bible
college. There is little or no actual
spiritual maturity. By spiritual
maturity, we mean a person who has a close relationship with the Lord, can hear
his voice clearly, is filled with love and all the characteristics of God’s
heart and the fruit of the Spirit, knows how to allow the Holy Spirit to live
his life for him, who has the knowledge and anointing to cast out devils, heal
the sick, raise the dead and who is a true servant to all, skillful in not only
knowing the Word of God but also ministering the Word, who is humble,
submissive and obedient and has much wisdom. This definition is not
larger church (50 more members) does not usually monitor its members and most
programs and activities are voluntary.
One can easily hide in the forest, so to speak. One friend of mine who attended a large
church had been on military assignment in another country for five months. When he returned to his church, no one knew
that he had been absent; nor did anyone really care.
A perfect church not only has perfect members, but a life
of its own that is perfect in the sight of God.
Its doctrines and practices are completely biblical and true to the
Word. We have not yet seen such a church
these days, although many subjectively think they are the true church of God.
If house churches fit God’s mold of a perfect church, that means that
the over-whelming majority of present-day churches are not perfect or anywhere
close to it in both structure and practice.
As it stands today, the modern church is an immature,
compromising and fornicating church that has adopted and incorporated many
pagan holidays and practices. It
observes the birthday of Tammuz, the sun god of Babylon, whose birthday is December 25 and
whose signs are green trees cut out of the forest, decorated with silver and
gold and stood upright in houses (Christmas trees). Jer. 10:1-5.
It celebrates the fertility festival of Ishtar (Easter), the Babylonian
goddess of fertility and witchcraft whose signs are colored eggs and
chicks. All the while, it contends that
it is Bible believing and true to the Word.
Yet, none of these observances is contained in the original Bible. See Attachment C.
The Catholic Church started the habit of incorporating
other religions. They took Hindu and
Buddhists prayer beads and called it the Rosary. They copied the Buddhist tradition of monks,
nuns and monasteries and even adopted the shaven heads, clothing (habits), hand
postures, celibacy and the worship of dead people (called “saints”). They adopted many other things such as
Lent. One of the worse things they
adopted was the worship of a woman as the supreme deity (Virgin Mary). This came from Babylonian worship of the
mother/child that speaks of a perpetual virgin called the Queen of Heaven (Jer.
44:18-19) and Madonna (Is. 47:5). The
church took many other things from the Babylonian religion, including elaborate
temples, an elite priesthood and chanting.
The incorporation of strange religions into Roman Catholicism has been a
long-standing practice. Unfortunately,
with Martin Luther broke away from the Roman Catholic Church, he did not reform
all things. Protestant churches,
including Pentecostals, continue some of the “abominations” of the Roman
The Church today desire social and political
acceptance. Many church leaders and
denominations have either endorsed or joined the Roman Catholic Church’s
Ecumenical Movement to form a one-world religion and most have adopted doctrines
and practices not taught by the early apostles. See Attachment E. 3. To produce Overcomers, the End Time Army
of God, and the Martyrs.
The Bible is clear that in the end times, there will be a
true church that shines like the sun, a man-child army that will be taken up to
the throne of God, and martyrs that will testify to the truth in the face of
death. Rev. 12. Some Bible scholars claim that the woman who
is a wonder in heaven, clothed with the sun, wearing a crown of twelve stars,
with the moon under her feet (Rev. 12:1-2), is Israel at the time Jesus was
born. They claim that the man-child that
was born and taken up to the throne of God to escape the dragon (Rev. 12:5) was
Jesus and the martyrs of verse 17 were the original apostles and
Christians. I disagree.
Roman Catholics claim that the wonder in heaven, clothed
with the sun if the Virgin Mary and the Roman Catholic Church. This is ridiculous.
The Book of Revelation is a prophecy, not a history
book. Rev. 1:3; Rev. 4:1. The events spoken of in Revelation 12 have
not yet happened. The woman, clothed
with the sun could not possibly be Israel. Israel was as corrupt as Sodom and Egypt
when Jesus walked the earth (Rev. 11:8).
She was far from being a wonder in heaven (Rev. 12:1). The man-child is not Jesus. Jesus defeated the dragon and went back to
heaven in victory, not to escape the dragon.
He spoiled principalities and made a show of them openly, triumphing
over them in it. Col. 2:15. Jesus
defeated Satan. The woman is God’s true
church of the end times made up of children of light and therefore, it shines
like the sun. The crown of twelve stars
represents the twelve tribes of Israel because
spiritual Jews (Ro. 2:28-29) and not natural Jews make up the true church. The moon is under her feet because she has
defeated the kingdom of darkness. She
has overcome the Devil by the blood of the Lamb, by the Word of her testimony
and loves not her life until the death.
Rev. 12:11. The man-child is the
Army of God that will come back with Jesus on white horses to defeat all evil
on the earth in the final battle. Joel
2:1-11; Is. 13:1-19; Rev. 19:14-21. The
“remnant of her seed” is the martyrs spoken of in Revelation 6 and 11. Unlike the man-child (taken up to the throne
of God) and the woman protected in the wilderness, the remnant of her seed
remains unprotected. The martyrs that
give up their lives to honor Jesus receive great rewards in the end. Rev. 20:4-6.
Currently, the traditional church structure is unable to
produce the true church, the Army of God and the martyrs. Consequently, God will not allow revival and
the persecutions/tribulations soon to follow until He attains His eternal
desires or establishes the mechanism to bring it to fruition. The present church system falls far
II. THE NEED
FOR HOUSE CHURCHES
1. Coming Revival
The present large-church system (that is - a large
congregation in a large building) could never accommodate the great numbers of
converts expected in the coming revival.
In a Third World country such as the Philippines,
there simply is not enough time to collect funds, purchase properties, plan,
and design, obtain permits and construct large buildings to handle a sudden
massive influx of converts, even if such funds were readily available. Millions of converts will come into the kingdom of God
within a short span of time and a physical structure able to accommodate large
numbers must already be in place. It is
interesting to note that the Great Welsh Revival involved only 180,000 new converts
and was over in 18 months. The Azusa
Street Revival was similar in numbers and time.
while some monies will come from America
and other foreign countries, there will never be enough available funds at any
given time to consider constructing large church buildings and paying many
full-time pastors and leaders. Imagine
what would happen if 50% of the Philippines’
population become Christians within three or four years. That would amount to 43.5 million Christians
(latest census reports show that there are 87 million Filipinos). Currently, only 10% of Filipinos are
church-going born-again Christians, or 4.35 million. That would mean an increase of 39,150,000
members or 1000%. The current church
system would fall apart and many converts would be lost. There would be an extreme shortage of pastors
and other workers and little available money.
Realistically, such funds do not exist now and there are pitifully few
available pastors and laborers for the coming harvest. Most of the current Philippines
churches are poverty-stricken, undermanned and ill equipped. The same is true in many Third World
countries and in Eastern Europe.
This is not to say that no conventional churches will
benefit from the coming revival. Some
will, but fall far short of the needs of a full and quick revival. It is not the Lord’s first or best
God is a God of order and sufficiency. He is not going to move until all the
elements necessary for a successful revival are in place. Why would God trigger off a revival that will
result in turning away millions and leave them to flounder around without
guidance? It would be like someone
obtaining a million sheep and having only an acre of land on which to house
them, only a hundred shepherds to watch over them, and only a hundred bails of
hay to feed them.
Although we mention the Philippines and other Third World
countries, a house church format must also be workable in Western
countries. Indeed, even well financed
churches in Western countries will not be able to plan, construct and furnish
large church buildings overnight. It
would take more than a few years to do so.
By that time, the harvest would be almost over.
Churches not prepared for a large and sudden influx of
converts will miss out. This was true
during past revivals, especially the Azusa Street Revival. Various writers report that churches that
were not prepared for revival or that resisted the movement, lost their members
who left to join the revival effort at other places. They closed their doors,
some forever. Many churches quickly
filled and were unprepared to handle the multitudes. As a result, many new converts went back to
the world or quit after a period because there were no facilities or teachers
of the Word available to them.
We cannot just pray for
revival and not concern ourselves with what will happen when God answers our
prayers. We greatly need a paradigm
shift in the way we think and do things.
While we are waiting for God to move, God is waiting for us.
2. Coming Persecution
The Bible reveals a massive end-time effort to annihilate
all churches of Jesus Christ. Rev. 13:7;
Da. 7:21, 25. Satan’s beast is going to
war against the saints and overcome them.
In Matthew 24:15, Jesus warns us about the abomination of desolation
spoken of by Daniel the prophet. Da.
8:11-14; Da. 9:17-18, 26, 27; Da. 11:31; Da. 12:11. The Book of Revelation echoes this warning. Rev. 12:13; Rev. 13:7-8. Therefore, the Church needs a structure that
will enable the saints to survive persecution.
History has shown that house churches are the answer to
survival during times of persecution.
During the Dark Ages when the Roman Catholic Church was most powerful in
there were a number of underground religious groups that resisted the
Catholics, most notably the Anabaptists.
Nevertheless, these “renegade” groups (which were probably closer to the
true church than their persecutors) prospered and continued until recent times.
“underground” house churches sprouted and prospered in countries that persecute
Christians. Prime examples in recent
times abound in China,
the Middle East, Russia,
and Indonesia. Small house churches are vital for both
revival and survival. Their mobility,
closeness and spiritual maturity allow small flocks to survive and prosper in
the midst of intense persecution and oppression.
prophesied “abomination of desolation” will see organized and institutional
churches both persecuted and destroyed.
Mt. 24:15. It is therefore
obligatory for us to lay the groundwork for a system of house churches. Failure to do so will result in countless
Christians falling away from the faith (2 Th. 2:3) or killed. Most who refuse to fall away will be
martyred. Rev. 11:3-11; Rev. 6:11; Rev.
13:15-18. Revelation 13:7 and Daniel
7:21 and 25 make it clear that Satan’s beast (or one of the horns on the beast)
will war against the saints and prevail over them.
the justification for returning to house churches is not primarily for the
purpose of escaping or surviving persecution.
There is much more. An important
reason is the need to grow spiritually.
Either you are a true Christian or you are a spectator. Either you follow Jesus or you do not. Today, the behavior of most Christians is
contrary to their supposed belief system.
Most are untouched by their Christian beliefs. As the saying goes, they talk the walk but do
not walk the talk.
Institutional churches encourage it passivity. The closeness allowed by a small group,
however, forces people to be transparent and exposed to the light of God. They cannot hide in the forest because there
are few trees to hide behind in a house church.
in peacetime, house churches were the chosen format. Within the first three hundred years of the
New Testament house church, there were many periods of relative peace during
which Christianity enjoyed tolerance and acceptance. Some of these peaceful interludes lasted over
forty years. During these times, the
Church continued to meet in houses and experience great growth in numbers. House churches greatly facilitate world
III. THE PRECEDENT - CHURCH HISTORY
Archeologists have unearthed over 25,000 documents
generated by the church or about the church during the first 325 years
A.D. Not once was any large church
structure or building ever mentioned. In
fact, the only reference to a large gathering place was a house that could hold
seventy-five worshipers at once.
Jesus intended that all saints be kings and priests. Rev. 1:6; Rev. 5:10. The elite priesthood of other religions never
produced kings and priests. The priests
of Jesus’ day lorded it over the laity and the laity had no say in religious
matters. The system was designed for the
elites to rule over the have-nots. In a
sense, most of the people were illiterate and poor. They could not afford an education or gain
social or political position except for a very few exceptional people.
Today, almost everyone is literate and comparatively
wealthy. Yet, the elite priesthood
system is still in position and as strong as ever. The negative effects are also still
ever-present. Our institutional churches
fail to produce kings and priests unto God.
1. New Testament House Churches
New Testament contains many scriptures that support the finding that the early
church was exclusively house churches:
Ro. 16:5. “Likewise
greet the church that is in their house.
Salute my well beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto
16:19. “The churches of Asia salute
you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you
much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.”
Col. 4:15. “Salute
the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and
the church which is in his house.”
Phm. 1:2. “And
to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in
Ac. 2:46. “And
they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from
house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.”
Ac. 8:3. “As
for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling
men and women committed them to prison.”
1:11. “For it hath been declared unto
me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are
contentions among you.”
1:16. “And I baptized also the
household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.”
16:15. “I beseech you, brethren, (ye
know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, and that
they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints).”
2 Ti. 1:16. “The
Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was
not ashamed of my chain.”
4:19. “Salute Priscilla and Aquila, and the
household of Onesiphorus.”
meaning of “house” is “residence” and “family,” but the word “household“ is
also defined as “temple.” (Strong’s
Concordance) By implication, both
“house” and “household” can mean the people who worship within the confines of
a house as a church, depending on the context within which that word is used.
Ac. 2:46 says, “And they, continuing daily with one
accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their
meat with gladness and singleness of heart.”
It is obvious that the different house groups all knew one another
and ate together freely during times of relative peace. There was a singleness of heart as they
united in doctrine, faith, love and Spirit.
Although they belonged to different house groups, they considered all
house groups everywhere to be one large family.
There was perfect familiarity among all saints within an immediate
area. There were no denominations. At the very beginning, the saints met daily
at the temple in an attempt to convince the Pharisees and Sadducees. However, when persecution started soon
thereafter, they met only in houses.
After Chapter 4, the Book of Acts never speaks of Christians meeting at
With house churches, the mundane became sacred in the
sense that it was a privilege to worship in your house and to serve
others. Those who had houses where the
saints worshiped were blessed in many ways.
After all, Jesus said that, “. . . whosever will be great among you,
let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be
your servant.” Mt. 20:26-27; Mk.
10:43-44. However, there is no evidence
that houses were transformed into “sacred places” and set aside purely for
worship. These houses continued to be
used as residences everyday and were not set aside exclusively for
2. The Beginning of Institutionalized Churches
It was only after 325 A.D., when Emperor Constantine of Rome
declared Christianity to be the official state religion that the church began
to occupy large pagan-like temples and proceed to copy such temples by building
many large church buildings themselves.
The Roman Catholic Church quickly emerged as the dominant church and
began to change the form and structure of the church into one that resembled
both the Old Testament form of temple worship and pagan religions of the time.
Not only did the Roman Catholic Church (hereinafter called “Catholic Church”)
adopt pagan buildings, they incorporated many pagan doctrines and practices as
well. Therefore, in order to give God
back His church, we need to discard all doctrines and practices not taught by
the early apostles.
When Martin Luther broke away from the Catholic Church in
1517 and formed the Protestant
he did not bring reform to all doctrines and practices, or to the physical
structure of the church. Even today,
most Protestant churches continue to follow the ritualistic and big-building
form of church with its elite priesthood instigated by the Constantine era, and
many Catholic observances not found in the Bible (such as Christmas and
Easter). This has resulted in a weak,
divided and confused Church.
IV. MODERN ATTEMPTS AT HOUSE CHURCHES
number of house church modifications (actually cell groups) seemingly thrive
today. One example is the South Korean church of David
Yonggi Cho with about 800,000
members. Another example is the G-12
concept of cell or house churches successfully used in Brazil
and elsewhere and now becoming the prototype of many American independent and
some denominational churches. There are
a number of smaller prototypes around the world.
Most of these, however, still do not
come up to God’s standard for house churches, or any true church, for that matter. Some revolve around a mother church serving
as headquarters and housed in a large structure, with permanent full-time staff
and central organization that tightly control the affairs of each house cell
group. This alone pre-empts the Holy
Spirit’s right to lead His people. This
is not to say that the house church format used today does not work in terms of
growing the local church. It most
certainly can. However, it will never
produce or attain God’s eternal desires for mature sons and daughters and a
1. The Missing Link with Modern House Groups
A problem with most modern house groups is the absence of
proper doctrines and the leading of the Holy Spirit. There are house groups originating out of
Evangelical denominations that do not believe in the ministry of the Holy
Spirit, speaking in tongues, casting out of devils or divine healing. While
such house groups can meet some of the needs of the people, they are not able
to mature the saints spiritually. You
cannot give what you do not have.
Baptist house churches continue to be Baptist in beliefs, practices and
doctrines, and so with Presbyterian, Episcopalian house groups or any other
denomination or even independents.
Modern house groups can serve the saints slightly, but are ill prepared
to mature the saints during times of war (persecution) or to serve as a safety
network for survival.
If we focus on God’s eternal purposes, the true church
must depend primarily on the leading of the Holy Spirit and not man. Even the five-fold ministry is secondary to
the daily leading of the Holy Spirit.
Without this feature, even house churches fall short of God’s
Modern prototypes have the following deficiencies: (A) most have wrong doctrines and practices
that do not allow spiritual growth; (B) almost all are tightly controlled by a
mother church or organization and are not autonomous (since we believe that
revival and persecution will lead to almost autonomous conditions, house groups
need to learn how to operate on their own with minimum control); (C) most do
not teach spiritual warfare, deliverance and inner healing and do not have a
vision regarding the maturing of the saints and perfection of the Church; and
(D) some are mostly social clubs that are actually the result of
anti-leadership or “anti-organized religion.”
The lack of knowledge of deliverance, inner healing, divine healing and
raising the dead marks the modern cell groups as spiritually immature and what
you do not have or know, you cannot pass on.
As in the days of Jeremiah, war is
imminent, but the leaders, whether of house groups or large churches, refuse to
believe or prepare for it. Instead, they
feed the people a prosperity doctrine. “For
they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace,
peace; when there is no peace.” Jer.
8:11; Jer. 6:14. One of the features of
a true house church is a structure designed to resist war against the saints,
both in peacetime and times of persecution and a mindset that believes that war
against the saints is imminent.
2. Varieties of Focus in Modern Types
There are as many focuses among existing models as there
are models themselves. Some concentrate
on family closeness, others on evangelism and still others around common
interests. This in and of itself is not
fatal since even in a true house church system each group will tend to have a
slightly different complexion. The
problem is one of limited vision.
As mentioned earlier, the central churches in South Korea
strictly control and regulate each cell group.
Most Korean cell leaders are homemakers.
The increase in numbers in Korea
has been tremendous over a long stretch of time and although it has its good
points, lack of proper doctrines and dependence of the Holy Spirit makes the
Korean system of house groups unable to fully mature the saints or give the
Holy Spirit the proper forum needed to do so.
house groups are anti-leadership inasmuch as all members are equal and all
activities follow a “democratic” form of structure. Even children have an equal vote as to what
activities the group undertakes. Such
groups point out that thousands of historical church documents collected from
the first three hundred years hardly mention “pastors,“ and therefore, these
groups had no leaders. They use the
title “coordinator” instead of “pastor,” and usually change the coordinator
every month or so.
As mentioned above, we find that most autonomous and
“democratic” or “everyone is equal, no one is the leader” groups come out of
evangelical denominations such as the Anglican Church, the Baptist Church or the
Presbyterian Church and appear to be a reaction to leadership abuses, misuses
and past disappointments. In some cases,
a group of disenchanted saints who no longer trust church leadership band
together to worship because they no longer find membership in an organized
church system palatable. These groups
are just a few, however.
The underground house churches in mainland China
are probably closer in form and substance to the format we are attempting to
establish. However, at the outset, we
must mention that we are not bound by any of the above prototypes and in all
probability; the final product will differ from all of the existing models in
one way or other.
In view of our belief in coming revival and
either parallel persecution or persecution soon to follow, we need to put
together a form of house church able to:
(1) Embrace and maintain proper vision, doctrines and
(2) Be self-perpetuating;
(3) Duplicate itself easily;
(4) Mature the saints quickly and resist heresy at the
(5) Foster accountability in connection with other house
groups in the area or to a consortium of house group leaders closely linked by
geography who meet informally from time to time (some current house group
leaders meet at least once a week; others meet at the mother church for instruction);
(6) Allow unswerving loyalty to the teachings of the
Bible despite forced autonomy during times of persecution and perhaps
(7) Be accountable to collective leadership in each area,
preferably a “five-fold ministry” team, or a team of similarly constructed
mature Christian leaders responsible for the area in which they minister, all
the while being otherwise mostly autonomous or self-governing;
(8) Provide an atmosphere that allows close relationships
among the saints and a means to help one another;
(9) Make available a mobile system or underground network
that will allow the saints to escape persecution and attempts to shut them down
when the time comes.
In addition, a house church must meet the following tests: (A) if the mother church were eliminated,
could it continue to exist and flourish?
(B) Does it meet the standard set in the Book of Acts for house
churches? (D) Can it reproduce it self exactly?
(E) Can it survive persecution?
In Third World countries, including the Philippines,
money for church activities is hard to come by for the most part. Most bigger churches are funded by outside
sources. Therefore, house groups should
not be centered on money and there should be no attempt to beautify or make
sacred a meeting place. The meeting
place should be someone’s house. It does
not necessarily have to be the house of the leader, although this is preferable
in most cases. Sometimes a qualified
leader does not own his house or circumstances make it difficult if not
impossible to meet in the leader’s house, such as during times of
persecution. Therefore, it may be
advisable to meet at the houses of other members or with other house churches
outside the area occasionally, regardless of circumstances, to prepare for
persecution or other conditions that require it. Occasionally, the meeting place could be an
office, garage or similar site.
Meeting in houses automatically requires that the members
of that household serve other saints.
Therefore, the leader and his wife must be people of love and
service. That is why Paul required that
a bishop be hospitable. 1 Ti. 3:2. Food
and other items should be brought by all the members, thereby sharing the
burdens of running a house church. Other
members can come earlier to help clean up and prepare for a meeting of the
saints. The experience of being a
servant is available to all.
1. The Need for Proper Vision, Doctrines and
Proper vision, doctrines and church practices are
mandatory. This relates to the purity of
the Church. A house church system with
wrong doctrines will not mature the saints and bring them into truth, as many
such doctrines are conducive to passivity and false expectations. Modern doctrines not taught by the early
apostles are very suspect and we reject most of them, if not all. The Bible warns us not to accept any doctrine
or practice not taught by the early apostles who laid the foundations of the
Church. 2 Co. 11:3,4; Gal. 1:8; 2 Ti. 4:1; Titus
1:9,10,11,13; Jude 3. See Attachment
We reject the following doctrines and practices, to-wit:
Pre-tribulation Rapture Doctrine
The Name of Satan is Lucifer and Satan is a fallen
The Holy Spirit is No Longer on Earth and there are no
Once Saved, Always Saved
Christmas, Easter and Halloween
Christians Cannot Have Demons
Many Other Practices Adopted From Other Religions
“Modern Doctrines” such as Dispensationalism, Third Wave,
Manifest Sons of God,
Prosperity Doctrine, Latter Rain, Dominion, etc. (a) The End Time Army of God
Most churches are preaching, “Peace, peace” as in the
days of Jeremiah. Jer. 8:11; Jer.
6:14. (One of the definitions of “peace”
is “prosperity.”) But, there is
war! The modern version is the
Pre-Tribulation Rapture Doctrine that teaches that there will be no tribulation
for Christians. This is a false
doctrine. See Attachment A. An all-out war against the church is near and
there will be no rapture before the Great Tribulation. Instead, God is raising up an army for the
end times. Joel 2:1-11; Is. 13. Everything in the Bible regarding the clash
between the kingdom of God
and the kingdom of the Devil will take place.
God desires mature sons and daughters and in the end
times, they will manifest as the “overcomers, the remnant, the martyrs and the
army of God.” These mature sons and
daughters will likely be the only ones left at the end. All the immature ones will fall away from the
faith. 2 Th. 2:3; Rev. 12. Doing good works, etc. are not necessarily
signs of spiritual maturity. Even
fasting and much prayer do not necessarily mean spiritual maturity. God looks to the hearts and reins
(intestines, insides) of men and not to external accomplishments. Jer. 17:9,10; Rev. 2:23. Love, submission, humility, obedience, faith
and other fruit of the Spirit can be planted in one’s heart in a short time. On the other hand, one may be a Christian for
a long time, know the Bible well, fast and pray all the time, do many good
works and still have a heart controlled by self-ambition and interest. Proper vision and Christian living is vital.
Persecution will push new converts into a purer form of
Christianity quicker than peace would.
Perhaps that is why the prophet Amos said, “Behold, the days come,
saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of
grapes him that soweth seed….” Am.
9:13. The latter shall come before the
former. Those who come into the kingdom
at the end of the age are more likely to quickly mature spiritually compared to
those who entered into the kingdom earlier during times of peace. Persecution pressures one to depend on the
Holy Spirit and to mature spiritually.
The pleasures of the flesh will be the least thing of interest for those
who want to make it through. That is why
tribulation is necessary for purification.
Of course, house churches can be just as “religious” as
institutional churches with big buildings and a CEO in charge. We can be spectators by choice and refuse to
carry our cross, or be like tailgaters at a football game who come to enjoy the
fellowship, the food and the emotions, but are never in the game. True, the house church format does make it
more difficult to tailgate, but one can still pretend. Commitment is required in any case.
There could be abuses with too much freedom, tolerance
and lack of accountability that can lead to cults or groups that are doing much
good works, but not enough to allow spiritual growth in the members. At the other end of the spectrum, we can have
too much charismatic spiritualism and not enough evangelizing and works. Still another danger is the commune or
Christian community syndrome where members form a group and isolate themselves
from the world as a means of “sanctification” or as a form of elitism - a kind
of fortress mentality.
In mainland China,
the house church movement has been accused by some as being no more than
cults. Upon closer inspection, however,
the Chinese house churches are closer to the first century churches. Regardless of fifty years of isolation from
the rest of the world, they have proliferated and there were over 60 million
born-again Christians in China
when the “bamboo curtain” fell and Westerners entered China
again. Now, estimates are that there are
over 100 million born-again Christians in underground house churches.
2. Self Perpetuation - evangelism and
By “self-perpetuation”, we mean the ability to pass on to
each house group the same doctrines, practices, visions and goals. Duplication in terms of dividing and
multiplying does not necessarily perpetuate these ideals.
of the size of the living room, the maximum number of members will usually be
around 20 to 40. (We actually stuffed
over 60 saints in a living room when we ministered in mainland China.) When the maximum number is reached, it should
be mandatory that the group divide into two groups of 10 to 20 each. The group must not attempt to obtain larger
quarters outside of homes. This would defeat
the purpose of having house groups in the first place. As each house group divides, both the
original and the new group are encouraged to bring others into the group. This assures that new converts will
constantly be added to the house church and this will provide new experiences
and foster new relationships among the saints.
During revival, new members will come in almost automatically.
Keep in mind that the conventional, institutionalize
church is inward in focus. Evangelism is
designed to enhance the mother or central church and new converts are directed
inward towards the central denomination or organization. In a house church system, evangelism is like
concentric circles emanating outward from the originating church. The circles fan out into the world and
produce concentric circles of their own.
World evangelism is the vision.
It is obvious that some training of potential house
leaders must take place. However, the
greatest asset should be love and willingness to serve. We will discuss training later.
In order to allow self-perpetuation to occur, each house
church leader must have the same vision regarding dividing and
multiplying. Self-serving leaders will
tend to hold on to the sheep they have in order to have the biggest house group
in the area. This can cause much harm to
the saints and the church at large. It
must not go back to the institutionalized church. Each house church pastor must know the
reasons why and be willing to divide and multiply.
Evangelism must be of prime intention and concern for
each house church. If a house church
does not evangelize, it is almost useless to the kingdom
of God. Each house church should reach capacity and
divide into two house groups every six months or so. If a house church fails to do so, disband it
and assign its members to other house churches in the area. During revival, there will be little
difficulty in evangelizing since the Holy Spirit will draw many people into the
kingdom with or without human assistance.
Before revival, however, the central group must monitor and encourage
evangelism. At some point in time,
revival or otherwise, the central group may not be able to monitor each house
church because of the sheer numbers of house churches. At this point, a second “central group” is
formed to handle the additional churches.
Other central groups designed to handle house churches within a certain
region are formed as new house churches emerge
A vibrant church must divide and multiply. Otherwise, it will become introverted and
stagnant. When a house church becomes
stagnant, it is better to disband it and assign members to more vibrant groups
than to allow them to become satisfied with their lack of zeal and
maturity. Maturity, be definition,
includes the deep desire to share the gospel.
Members should ideally come from the immediate
neighborhood. In America,
the automobile makes it possible to attend church many miles away. However, this would make things difficult
during times of persecution. A church
with members spread out all over the area would have difficulty in
communicating, traveling, hiding from enemies, moving as group, networking and
other things needed to resist and survive persecution. The members would have a more difficult time
helping each other. Therefore, we
recommend that all members come from the surrounding neighborhood.
Duplication is not the same as perpetuation. The physical format may be identical, but the
character of the group can differ in a negative way. Some leaders may have a personal agenda and a
need to control others. One must guard
against leaders who may become cult leaders and renegades who teach strange
doctrines and follow a different path. This was a problem in the early church
too as antichrist spirits already existed.
Guard against cults and renegade groups. The “trueness” or purity of the former group
must be carefully duplicated and temptations to divert denied.
Checks and balances, accountability and reporting
procedures should be required in order to keep and maintain a healthy spiritual
atmosphere in line with Bible scriptures and the format of the early
church. Therefore, the process of
choosing new house group leaders must be as foolproof as possible. Any person with self-ambition is
disqualified. A person who thinks that
he is special and chosen by God to be an apostle, etc., is also disqualified. Such persons are too ambitious and are often
tempted to manipulate the sheep for his own glory. During peaceful times, such renegades are not
as dangerous as during times of persecution, but a person with selfish motives
is more likely to abandon the sheep in times of danger than one who truly loves
the sheep. One is a hireling, while the
other is in the mold of the Good Shepherd.
Then again, in times of persecution, the self-promoters will
automatically disappear. It would be too
dangerous for hirelings to stick around.
While house groups are autonomous in terms of internal
affairs, there is a need to guard against straying groups - not because of any
desire to control or manipulate, but for fear that anti-Christ spirits will
enter and cause irreparable damage.
Choosing the right leaders is vital.
Keep in mind that Christ is the head of the Church. There should be absolutely no attempt to
duplicate for any other purpose other than giving God back His church
4. Maturing the saints
The emphasis should be on nurturing, not just filling the
building and concen-trating on size.
Maturing of the saints is an on-going task. The house leader must be sufficiently mature
and have the anointing of God on him/her, apt to teach and must have some
ability to guide the saints on their respective paths to maturity. 1 Ti. 3:2.
Maturity is a relative thing for some. Evangelicals tend to think of maturity as
intellectual knowledge, especially of the Bible, and an ability to spout
scriptures freely. Taken alone, it would
take years for one to attain such levels of knowledge. We see such striving to achieve scholastic
excellence in our Bible colleges and degree-producing institutions. Obviously, this should not be the focus of a
house group because of time restrictions and other limitations, such as the
availability of teaching materials and teachers. Even at the present time, existing house
churches continue to favor leaders with credentials in the natural. This may lead to a soulish congregation
because of a reliance on natural abilities and accomplishments. This position also limits maturity to those
who are highly educated. This smacks of
the days when Jesus walked the earth and the Pharisees and Sadducees were the
elite priesthood. The Bible, however,
shows that most of the disciples were unlearned and house church leaders were
growth cannot be expected from those who have not received a level of education
that would enable them to pursue intellectual knowledge of the Bible. A farmer who only went to fourth grade is
limited in his ability to become intellectual.
however, does not require mental excellence.
It is mostly a matter of the heart and can be gained overnight. The book
Lilies Amongst Thorns relates many stories of new converts who laid
their lives down for the sake of the Gospel less than 24 hours after receiving
the Lord. In one case, young
missionaries preached the gospel in a remote village one day and many came to
the Lord. The officials heard about it
and sent police to apprehend the missionaries.
Knowing the nefarious intent of the police, a crowd of new converts
surrounded the missionaries. The police
began shooting and clubbing the new Christians.
Many died or were gravely injured, but the missionaries escaped
unharmed. What was it that so changed
the hearts of these new converts in less than a day, so that they were willing
to lay their lives down for their brethren?
writer knows a Christian who once attended an evangelical church. She informed me that she and a group of
mature saints met for lunch every Tuesday.
They no longer attended church because they knew the Bible as well as
the pastor and they spent their time on volunteer work. Yet, none of these “mature” saints could
speak in tongues, cast out devils, intercede for others, heal the sick, raise
the dead or have visions, dreams, prophecies, word of knowledge, word of wisdom
or other gifts of the Spirit. They were
a proud, intellectual bunch and the love, gentleness, and other fruit of the
Spirit were absent. They were purely
intellectual. None was born again of the
Spirit. Yet, they considered themselves
mature Christians. This is symptomatic
of the sad condition of the Church today.
Spiritual growth should be the aim of all saints. It involves matters of the heart and
spirit. The fruit of the Spirit are no
doubt, more desirable than good works according to God’s viewpoint. While the Bible does talk about the need to
study the Word, it also speaks volumes about the fruit of the Spirit. Gal. 5:22.
The two are interrelated in the sense that much is learned about God by
studying the Bible. However, it is also
clear that the deeper mysteries and understandings of God and Christianity can
come only by divine revelation and actual change of heart comes mostly through
trials and sufferings.
Surely, the fruit of the Spirit marks a true
Christian. Therefore, spiritual growth
should be the main concentration. Bible
scriptures and knowledge must go hand in hand with spiritual growth. Otherwise, the chaste Bride, the true church of Jesus
Christ, will never become a
reality. As the apostle Paul said in 2
Ti. 3:7, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the
The minimizing of spiritual growth and the return to
temple worship with its professional priesthood has plagued the church since
325 A.D. For the most part, both the
gifts and fruit of the Spirit have been lost or discarded in favor of
intellectual knowledge of the Bible and cheap imitations or false
appearances. Bible colleges and
theological seminaries have proliferated and possession of a higher college
degree has become the badge of maturity in evangelical and some Pentecostal
circles. Without the Spirit, there can
be little spiritual growth or meaningful and permanent change of heart. Obviously, the paramount focus of each house
group should be spiritual maturity, which should include both the gifts and the
fruit of the Spirit.
Once, this writer was praying and asking God about why
the church is in such trouble today in terms of immaturity. Suddenly, I had a vision. I saw the yellow pages of a telephone
directory. A forefinger pointed to the
upper right hand corner where there was a word.
As the word came into focus, the letters spelled the word “APPEARANCES.” God began to speak right into my spirit. The church is more concerned with false
appearances, facades, pretenses and make believe than in true holiness,
righteousness and spiritual maturity.
Saints use key words such as, “God spoke to me,” “God told me,” “God
showed me,” “The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart,” etc., in order to create an
aura of maturity and sometimes to control and manipulate others. Most often, it is their own thoughts and
ideas. They just want you to think that
they are mature in Christ and worthy of admiration. Others quote scripture continually and even
correct the pastor or teacher in an effort to show that they are anointed. It is a sham.
We are aware also that born-again, Spirit-filled
Christians are often obsessed with the gifts of the Spirit, including
prophesying, visions, dreams, praise and worship, and so forth, but are short
on evangelizing and service to others.
It reminds me of a dream that one of our members had. In the dream, the woman was in a large room
filled with other Christians. The praise
and worship was wonderful and people were prophesying all over the place. A young man ran up to her and said excitedly,
“Isn’t it wonderful? The Holy Spirit is
here!” After a while, the music died
down a little and the young man ran up to her again and said, “We have to sing
harder! The Holy Spirit is going
away!” The saints whipped themselves
into a frenzy of praise the worship.
Suddenly, she heard a knock on the door.
She opened the door and there was Jesus standing with a dead lamb in his
hands. His eyes were both sad and
angry. He said, “That’s now what I died
for! That’s not what I died for!” He then turned around and jumped on a large
white horse. Just before he galloped off,
he turned about and said once more, “That’s not what I died for!”
In the second part of the dream, she saw a few Christians
in a forest clearing. There was a long
line of people coming to the Lord and another long line where people were being
prayed for and healed of various diseases.
The next night, a young man had a dream in which he found
himself in an old plantation setting. In
front of him was an old, run-down house that had a new coat of yellow paint on it. The strange thing was that the house had no
windows and the door was shut tight.
When he put his ear to the walls, he could hear Christian music. He turned around to look at the front
yard. It was huge and there were furrows
as if the land had once been plowed and prepared for planting. But, the large garden was filled with
weeds. End of dream.
Jesus is telling us that the church has become introverted
and is no longer planting seed on the mission field as they once did. They are preoccupied with building castles at
home and uninterested in preaching the gospel to all nations.
Pure autonomy is not desirable unless circumstances
dictate it. House churches need to be
accountable to others - to other house churches in the area, to the five-fold
ministry and other recognized itinerant teachers of the faith and/or to a
consortium of house group leaders in the area.
Acts 2:34 says that the saints broke bread from house to house, eating
their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. This indicates that there was an atmosphere
of open-ness with all other house groups and they mingled with each other in
unity of heart and love. There was much
sharing of food and possessions.
Although there were many house groups, there was only one Church, one
body of Christ.
During times of persecution, these groups continued to
work with one another and were not isolated.
When this writer ministered in the underground churches in mainland China,
he found that many house groups were represented at his meetings, some as far
away as two hours by train. They all had
one heart and knew each other well. This
shows great accountability and love for one another. Even during times of persecution, the saints
managed to maintain accountability and close relationships within a broad
geographic range. Although eleven of
their pastors were hiding from the authorities, all house groups were intact
and functioning. All risked arrest and
imprisonment if caught, yet all continued to worship openly and to fellowship
whenever they could.
6. Loyalty to the Bible - Avoiding Heresy
During the peak of revival, laborers will be few and
possess less training than at slower times.
There will likely be a loss of contact with other groups and/or the
central headquarters for the area. In
the first century after our Lord returned to heaven, Jerusalem became the headquarters for the
Jewish-Christian community, while Antioch became the
headquarters for the Gentile Christians.
We know that Peter, who ministered to the Jews worked out of Jerusalem and
Paul, who ministered to the Gentiles, worked out of Antioch. We do not know to what extent there were
other sub-centers, but it would appear that other geographic centers were
necessary and probable.
When persecution came, the Christians were scattered all
over the earth. This had the effect of
spreading the gospel abroad quicker than otherwise. Ac. 8:1.
However, during times of persecution, house groups will tend to
disconnect with one another, especially where the authorities are arresting any
house group caught assembling. . We note
that Saul (who later became the apostle Paul) “made havoc of the church,
entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.” Ac. 8:8.
It is clear that the Christians met in houses in his day.
Underground churches will move around in order to escape
apprehension, and this may result in isolation.
This is another reason why ultimate autonomy or self-government is a
necessary characteristic of house groups during times of persecution. Within the forced autonomy, however, there
must be accountability wherever possible.
In a spiritual sense, if all house groups are looking to Christ for
leadership, there is complete unity with all other house groups. Christ is the head of the body and the body
is comprised of all true house groups.
If all look to the head as they are supposed to, the head will
coordinate all activities.
Isolation and lack of teaching materials or persons
mature enough to impart truth can result in distortions of scripture and lead
the flock astray. That is one reason why
there must be a consistent and correct system that will help house groups
retain the truth even in times of isolation and persecution. Keep in mind that a house church system is
not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal
is to produce a true church.
This is also the
reason why leadership must focus on spiritual maturity. One who can receive from the Lord during
times of danger must lead the less gifted sheep. In the early church, spirits of antichrist
and spurious leaders already caused damage to the Church. It will be a fact, given the nature of man,
but should be avoided wherever possible.
In Communist China, there were very few Bibles and some
Christians never owned or even saw a Bible.
However, whenever the saints were able to find a Bible, they would take
it apart and assign each member a number of pages to duplicate by hand - say,
ten copies of each page. When everyone
completed his/her assignment, all the pages are compiled. Eventually, everyone in the house group had
a complete Bible. This shows a
dedication to the truths contained in the Bible and an unswerving loyalty to
the teachings passed down by the apostles.
Watchman Nee once commented that he was often pleasantly
surprised when he went to remote villages where most of the Christians were
illiterate. He found that many,
especially housewives, knew the Bible better than educated saints because they
relied on the Holy Spirit. Therefore, reliance
on the Holy Spirit is a prime requirement in each house group.
In China, brave
people went underground to preach the gospel in prohibited areas of the
country, risking imprisonment, torture and death. These traveling saints kept information and
pure teachings flowing through the underground movement. Many of these itinerant preachers were young
people in their teens or early twenties.
Nevertheless, they were well versed in scriptures and the ways of God. We can only trust the Lord and give Him back
His church so that He can lead the saints and fulfill His eternal purposes
during the days to come. No planning or
strategies devised by men can do the job.
Our job is to trust and obey God.
7. Collective Leadership
At the outset, some system of accountability to
collective leadership should be established.
Accountability infers that independent, outside groups or persons are
able to observe, receive reports about or be called upon to provide checks and
balances and render assistance and counseling.
Initially, a central church could act as the core to which all house
groups must report and submit. As house
groups proliferate however, this may be difficult because of geographical
restraints. In an urban center such as a
large city, however, it is possible to contact and monitor many saints by
creating regional training centers subject to the central church, at least in
peaceful times. David Yonggi Cho’s
church in Seoul, Korea
is an example.
There are situations that will make such a peacetime system
impractical. One such situation can
occur when the sprawl of house groups extends too far out geographically or is
too scattered to enable people to move about freely. An example would be a large rural or
agricultural area where houses are often located many miles from any urban
center or other houses. Cagayan, in
for instance, is remote and spread out.
Farmhouses can be miles apart from each other and villages are no more
than three or four stores or houses in a cluster. Constant communications or physical contacts
are difficult and minimal. Poor farmers
will not likely travel twenty miles to attend a leadership meeting in the big
city. Yet, these are the very ones who
need help and training.
One possible answer is to have a central headquarters
wherever possible and traveling representatives where it is not possible or
difficult. I believe that the five-fold
ministry, especially the apostles, filled the gaps in the first three hundred
years. They were God’s traveling
ambassadors and representatives to the Church, wherever the Church may be and
wherever house groups may be located.
That is why the Bible records that Paul’s four known travels lasted for
years in some instances. He maintained
contact with major groups in central locations such as in the cities, and with
more remote church groups. Wherever he
went, he trained, laid hands on and ordained leaders. At the same time, he suffered much in order
to carry out his responsibilities. 2 Co. 11:23-27. The Bible indicates that many Christians were
constantly traveling and in touch with house churches all over the then-known
world. Paul was not the only one.
In the times to come, young, energetic Christians will
play a major role.
Although house groups are largely autonomous in terms of
being self-governing, they should always be accountable to outside church
leaders. That is one of the reasons why
I believe that God will restore the five-fold ministry. There has to be unity, purity of doctrines
At the very least, and especially in rural areas,
attempts should be made to form a consortium of sorts, which should include all
the house group leaders in that particular area. Such a consortium could be as little as two
leaders and as large as hundreds, but no house group leader can afford to be
isolated and non-accountable. Periodic
meetings should be held whenever possible.
During times of persecution, a system of communication should be in
place. This requires that all nerve
centers be in touch with and have close personal relations with one
another. A network of central control
groups is necessary. In mainland China,
for instance, the underground churches often had elaborate methods of
communicating with other groups. If a
house group is driven out of their homes and communities, they would have other
house churches to go to for protection and sustenance. Closeness among house groups must be fostered
in such times and should be nurtured even in peaceful times. No house group should be intentionally
independent and isolated from other house groups.
As mentioned earlier, when this writer visited mainland
China , eleven house group leaders were in hiding because the government had confiscated
a computer containing all the names of the local leaders. Each group, however, was intact and we were
able to minister to every one of them.
They simply moved out of danger together. They all knew one another and other leaders
stepped in to fill the void. That is
and Five-Fold Ministry
times of relative peace, a central headquarters or church maintains contact and
provides training for house church pastors and potential leaders. This must take place on a continual
basis. In David Yonggi Cho’s church in Seoul,
training goes on almost daily in the central building in the middle of the
city. In outside areas, training also
goes on every week in churches and headquarters for each region in the
city. This training should start right
away and even before forming house groups. A perpetual stream of trained
leaders is necessary.
As the house groups begin to spread outward geographically,
the centers of training will also extend outward. In the chain of command or organizational
chart, there will inevitably be ever-larger levels of training - from the
central church at the top to the regional training centers next below, to the
sub-regional training centers below that and so forth.
Five-fold ministry teams will become vital, even during
peacetime. These teams will help monitor
and train leaders in every region, from top to bottom. Such teams will be the glue that will keep
house groups sane and on the right path.
Five-fold ministry teams will be even more vital in agricultural or
remote areas where house group leaders cannot afford either the time or expense
to travel to urban areas for training.
During times of persecution and hardship, these five-fold
ministry teams will play an important role in keeping the body of Christ
intact, encouraging and protecting the flock.
We note, however, that local pastors are the mainstay of the local
churches and do most of the daily governing.
Only God can appoint and anoint five-fold ministers. At the present time, there are no apostles,
prophets and evangelists in the mold of the first century apostles, prophets
and evangelists. For one thing, there
are no real “teams” as described in the Bible and no Christians functioning in
the fullness of the gifts and power of the Holy Ghost as we see in the Book of
Acts. Ac. 5:12-16. Some may be doing one or more aspect of the
work of an apostle, mostly in the planting of churches, but cannot be truly
equal to an apostle in the mold of Peter, John, Paul, etc., where miracles,
signs and wonders were wrought by the apostles daily. Ac. 4:33.
Modern-day prophets and evangelists are mostly individual ministries and
not part of a team consisting of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and
teachers working to expand and perfect God’s kingdom on earth. Can there be an apostle who is not recognized
by the body of Christ at large? At most,
he or she is an apostle only to their particular group or denomination.
Mature spiritual leaders are necessary. Although the format and physical structure of
a house church can be emulated, the true success of the house group is the
presence and leading of the Holy Spirit.
Leaders must be Spirit-filled, at the very least, and able to hear from
the Lord. During persecution, many
saints will be deceived and fall away from the faith, even some who are
Spirit-filled. Da. 11:33, 35. When it comes to people who are not
Spirit-filled, whether they be evangelicals, Pentecostals, Catholics or
Christian cults, they will not be able to survive the extreme pressures of
persecution and will fall away. In the
end, only Spirit-filled groups will make it through, although not all. 2 Th. 2:3; Da. 11:35. 9. Relationships in the local house church
The way to know if someone has the fruit of the Spirit is
through his/her relationships with others.
What a person has in his/her heart is quickly exposed, as relationships
are fostered and nurtured. The house
church format is uniquely suited to this process since one cannot easily hide
behind the trees in a small garden as one can in a large forest. The small size of a house group allows
everyone to know all the others more or less intimately. In a large church, people can hide behind the
crowds of people.
In a born-again, Spirit-filled church, the leader must be
more spiritually advanced than the other sheep in the flock and can “hear from
God.” It is obvious that the spiritual
ones should lead the less spiritual ones.
Certainly, such leaders should not “lord it over” the others, but abuses
of leadership should not scuttle God’s plan of delegated spiritual
authority. The apostle Paul laid down
specific requirements for an elder or bishop in 1Timothy 3, in order to distinguish
the less spiritual from the spiritual leaders of God’s sheep, and the more
qualified from the unqualified or less qualified.
In the end times, knowledge of spiritual warfare,
deliverance and inner healing, along with gifts of healing, prophecy, and other
gifts of the Spirit will become very important.
The “everyone is equal” approach does not allow the teaching of
discipline, submission and obedience to spiritual authority. In Joel 2:7-8, we find that the army of God
is very precise in its placement of the saints:
“... they shall march everyone on his ways, and they shall not break
their ranks: neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his
path….” This indicates that there
are ranks and different positions in God’s army. Everyone has his own placement and walk and
no one should try to usurp the position or try to walk in someone else’s
position or path.
Each house group should emphasize love and service to one
another. This will be crucial during
times of persecution. An atmosphere
conducive to encouraging close relationships among the members should be
encouraged. As mentioned earlier, the
saints daily shared bread from house to house gladly and with singleness of
heart. The leader must be a person of
love and trust since members tend to follow the leader. Some are more sociable than others are and
others may have more knowledge and natural leadership abilities, but the one
characteristic that must be present in each leader is love and spiritual
maturity. The qualifications set out in
1 Timothy 3 should be adhered to.
One of the ways to encourage closeness is in the area of
service and helps. Each member should be
willing to come to the assistance of every other member wherever and whenever
In the early church, the members sold their possessions
and gave it to the apostles to distribute as they saw fit. Ac. 2:44-47; 4:34-35. There was such a concern for all saints that
people willingly gave their life savings and possessions to the church. However, this is not a mandatory
requirement. There should be, however,
an attitude of genuine and deep concern for one another out of love. As the Bible says, we need to share the
burdens of others, sorrow when one sorrows and rejoice when one rejoices.
It is obvious that the first step in establishing a
viable house church is to bond with one another. Once the members and leaders bond together,
the next step is to build the house church system. Without bonding, the effort becomes
one-sided, with the leader standing alone at times and no one else desiring to
support and uphold the vision of the church.
Therefore, dedicate the first two months to knowing one another and
bonding through daily activities. That
third step is to multiply. Again,
multiplication is difficult if only the pastor is interested in growth.
House church life is different from traditional church
life. It is much closer and active. People visit every day sometimes and the
people learn to work together as a team.
Everyone has a singleness of mind and desire. Every member must contribute to the life of
the house church.
(a) Personality problems
Personality problems will crop up in house groups as
persons with spirits of rejection, Jezebel and other related spirits may
attempt to control or manipulate the group.
Occasionally, its own members betray a group. Strong but sympathetic leaders are necessary
and a good knowledge of deliverance and inner healing is very helpful. Wisdom will become important where
personality problems arise. There is no
way of preparing for everything that may come your way and leaders will have to
rely on the Holy Spirit. In a real
sense, relationships often bring stress, disagreements, arguments, and other
problems. This is natural as God has designed
trials to perfect us. There are almost
always personal problems and friction whenever there are numbers of people in
small or large groups. It is said that
when David went to fight Goliath, he picked up five smooth stones out of the
brook to use with his slingshot. 1 Sa.
17:40. He killed Goliath with one of
them. The five stones symbolize the
five-fold ministry and also a “finishing” or maturing of the saints. In order to become smooth, the stones went
through a lot of bumping against one another throughout the years. One cannot be perfected in a monastery or
cave; one becomes a finished product in the outside world after years of
learning how to love and forgive others.
On the other hand, there should be as much training as
possible with each succeeding wave of leaders.
If training is to be had, preparation must begin now. Tracts, articles, tapes, books and sermons
should be published in bulk, in preparation for huge numbers of converts and
the need for teaching materials. We will
address this aspect later.
Each house group should become so intertwined among the
membership and so close in relationships that people who are forced to move
away from their houses during times of persecution, would be automatically and
naturally welcomed to stay at the houses of other members. That is one of the reasons why the
relationships with other house groups, even in outside areas should be fostered
and vigorously pursued. Divided we fall;
united we stand! There may well be a
time when all the house groups in one area will be closed down by the coming
one-world government. Shutting down a
house or meeting site is not the same as shutting down a house church of saints. A church is not a house; it is people. Shut down a house and the church will move to
The saints should be encouraged to open their homes for
meetings. Meetings do not have to be restricted to the house of the
leader. House groups can also join other
house groups for meetings wherever practicable.
A. Group Leadership
As mentioned earlier, certain groups do not believe or
support the idea of spiritual authority in which there are leaders who must be
submitted to and obeyed. Some house
groups are arranged around a democratic type of autocratic local
structure. That is, everything is voted
upon by all the members and no one particular person is the permanent
leader. A person is chosen each week or
month to lead the flock and no one person can lead the house group down a
particular path without the consensus of all.
The proponents of such groups cite the fact that of the 25,000 written
records generated during the first three hundred years of the Church, very
little is mentioned of “pastors” and “bishops.” They conclude that there were
no church “leaders” per se and everyone was a leader. This is faulty reasoning as other titles may
have been used and neither is there mention of a doctrine of “everyone is a leader”
or “no leaders” or “leader for the week.”
This author disagrees with that theory on several
grounds: (1) the Bible clearly
delineates bishops, shepherds and elders and people possessing certain
characteristics and having particular responsibilities. As Oswald Sanders says in his book entitled Spiritual
Leadership, whenever a group comes together, the cream will invariably rise
to the top and one or more persons will be natural leaders through gifting,
abilities or otherwise. Even in a group
that claims that everyone is equal, one or two will end up being “more equal”
than others. (2) Taken as a whole, where
there are no leaders, there are no authorities or responsibilities. Where no one is responsible, the group
stagnates. To say that everyone is
responsible is not realistic since some will always become more responsible
than others. (3) Where there are no
acknowledged spiritual authorities, there is no need for submission or
obedience and although it sounds people-friendly and democratic, no one will
learn true humility and obedience. To
say that everybody is responsible still does not answer the question of whether
there are spiritual authorities in the universe created by God that need to be
Some groups that profess to have no leaders are more
social than spiritual. It is
understandable that those who see their house group as a social group find no
need for a leader and more need for a coordinator instead. These are usually evangelical groups that
find no need for “spiritual” authorities since they do not believe in spiritual
things anyway. They reject any paternal
authority even in the families that make up part of their group, choosing
instead to allow the children to have an equal vote with their parents and
others in the group, in connection with the activities of the group as a whole.
A number of these groups reject leadership over them
because of past abuses by church leaders.
However, abusive authorities who misuse spiritual authority should not
negate God’s principles on spiritual authority and His governmental
system. A police officer who abuses his
position should not result in the elimination of all law enforcement bodies or
the police department. This is not to
say that leaders should be dictators in any way. Our Lord explained in Matthew 20:25-27,
know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they
that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you:
but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever
will be chief among you, let him be your servant.
every house church leader needs to lead according to the principles laid down
by our Lord. There are no dictators in
God’s kingdom, but there are shepherds who are willing to lay their lives down
for the sheep. We are after a strong,
vibrant church able to stand up against tremendous persecution and attacks from
the enemy and that will not fall away in the face of death and extreme pressure.
B. Deliverance and Inner Healing
Deliverance and inner healing should be a vital part of
house group practices. There are a
number of reasons for this: (1)
initiating and maintaining revival may be dependent on binding up the ruler
spirits over the area of the house group; (2) Satan and his demonic kingdom
will war against the saints in the end times (Rev. 13:7; Da. 7:21, 25); (3) God
is looking for His end time army (Joel 2:1-11); and (4) individuals within the
group need to be cleansed of all filthiness and uncleanness.
Often, the root of personality and relational problems is
demons. The spirit of rejection twists
and distorts personalities because of the need to be loved and admired. Unknowingly, people create responses to
others through that ugly spirit. An
angry person most likely is a rejected person with unforgiveness. Knowledge of deliverance and inner healing
will greatly facilitate bonding.
Another reason is the amount of spiritual maturity needed
to conduct deliverance and inner healing.
One leads to the other. The ability
to conduct deliverance and inner healing may not necessarily require one to be
totally mature spiritually, but it does demand a higher degree. Conversely, if one continues in deliverance
and inner healing, his gift of discernment, wisdom and so forth will be
sharpened. Often angels appear at a
deliverance session and one learns to depend on the Holy Spirit for
revelation. Spiritual ears and eyes are
opened more acutely in the process.
C. Titles and Positions
There is no elite priesthood and each house group leader
is the same as any other member, except that God has chosen him and given him
spiritual authority to lead and feed the sheep.
However, since there is a need to identify the leader, we will choose a title
for his position.
The New Testament uses the word “pastor” only once and
only in reference to the five-fold ministry.
In the Old Testament, “pastor” or “pastors” is used eight times. The door is open for other titles. However, in order to avoid confusion, since
the title “pastor” has been used for centuries, it is convenient to continue to
refer to house church leaders as “pastors.“
Again, the word “overseer” is used only once in the New Testament and
twelve times in the Old Testament. It
actually refers to elders and bishops.
The Greek definition of “overseer” is: “a superintendent, i.e. Chr. Officer in gen.
Charge of a (or the) church (lit. or fig.): - bishop, overseer.” Strong’s Concordance #1985. The use of the word “overseer” is much more
general and can refer to households, tribes, and other groups. The title “bishop” is being used by some
denominations and churches to delineate a higher title than pastor. As stated, however, we favor the continued
use of the title “pastor” since this title brings immediate recognition and
understanding to the modern mind.
D. Working Leaders
There is no requirement that a house group leader be
compensated or given a monthly stipend for his/her work. In fact, the Bible indicates that house group
leaders had secular jobs. Aquilla and
Pricilla were tent makers and the Bible points out that the apostle Paul
participated in tent making when he stayed with them. Ac. 18:3.
Each house group leader should have his/her own occupation outside of
the church. However, some upper echelon
leaders may be given a salary where they are working full-time by necessity for
the church during the day and traveling or otherwise occupied in church work
most of the time. Some “hybrid”
situations may be in order where the house church pastor is paid something
every month and also works outside of the church. One supplements the other.
The elimination of large church groups and buildings does
away with the need for full-time clergy to maintain a large membership and
buildings. Minimal administrative duties
are required in a house church format and no monies are required to pay for
church maintenance. During times of
revival, it will be no different since each house will be limited in size. Large sums of money are not required. Pastors can support themselves. We realize that this may create a problem
with pastors and church workers who are already receiving salaries. There may be circumstances where a group can
contribute to the income of a leader or even a member where the need
arises. However, the house church format
does not make it essential.
This is not to say that tithes, offerings and sacrifices
are suspended. On the contrary, the
saints are commanded by God to tithe.
The tithes and offerings, however, are not diverted to a building fund,
salaries or equipment purchases.
Instead, they can be used directly for evangelizing and other expenses
in expanding the kingdom of
During times of persecution and during the abomination of
desolation (Mt. 24:15), large churches will find it extremely difficult or
impossible to survive. Their members
will be in hiding and income to maintain the large-church operation will shrink
dramatically. Foreclosures and legal
actions will ensue. According to the
book of Daniel, the apparent church will be destroyed. Of course, even house groups will be forced
into hiding. House churches, however,
will not struggle to make ends meet. It
will be either business as usual or time to flee.
E. Names of Groups
Following the Bible example, there were no names given to
house groups. At most, groups were known
by the name of the house owner or leader - the church at the house of ______ at
_________, is often used in the Bible.
Some promote the use of only the Church of Jesus Christ at
____________. However, since there may
be more than one house church in the area, it would be more exact to say, “The
Church of Jesus Christ at the house of __________________, at ________________.”
As is experienced with house churches in mainland China,
each group will eventually operate almost autonomously. This is made mandatory because of
circumstances: (1) the difficulty of
moving around during martial law; (2) the need to go underground; (3)
house-to-house searching by the government and the need to be on the move to
escape detection. Of course, this is the
most extreme stage but one which is inevitable.
As previously shared, when this writer was ministering in mainland China
a few years back, many leaders were in hiding and the government was conducting
intense investigations and searches.
Several things are somewhat apparent when researching the
history of the early church. First,
although house groups were autonomous, they were in close communication with
one another and underground churches devised a system whereby fugitives and
visitors were hidden, fed, clothed and protected. A communication system was created and the
saints drew closer together by necessity.
Resources were pooled and became a common source for churches in the
area with particular needs. A more modern
example is found during World War II, when the French underground was famous
for its ability to smuggle allied troops to safety after they were shot down
behind enemy lines or escaped from enemy prison camps. There was an underground network in the midst
of the enemy.
Persecution causes the saints to draw closer to the Lord
and dependence on the Holy Spirit will become an utter necessity. In China,
the Holy Spirit is given free rein and many wonderful stories of miracles have
surfaced. God’s true church emerged out
of the chaos and oppression and out of the blood, prayers and tears of the
saints. Persecution brings out the
noblest in the saints and draws them closer to the first century church in
heart, thought and deed.
It has been said that when the Bamboo Curtain was finally
lifted after over fifty years, Christian missionaries anxious to minister in China,
thought that the church in China was devoid
of any understanding of the Bible and probably spiritually impoverished. To their utter surprise, the underground
house churches in China were even
more spiritually advanced than their counterparts in other parts of the world.
We should be unafraid of the seeming autonomy to come and
view it as not so much people being uncontrolled and independent, running
around like chickens without heads; but
rather being led almost entirely by the Holy Ghost. We need to trust God that when He initially put
the New Testament church together, He knew what He was doing. Our
job is to prepare and train the leaders to become spiritually mature, to
provide training aids that they can pass down to other potential leaders, and
allow the Holy Spirit to move and direct each house group.
CONDUCTING THE HOUSE MEETING AND OTHER CONCERNS
There are many possible
scenarios. The Bible indicates that the
house churches of the first century not only had Holy Communion, but ate entire
meals together, going house to house.
Their meetings were also held during week nights since having daily
dinners obviously included more than Sundays.
A number of things are implied:
(a) the saints were excited and desired fellowship; (b) house groups
intermingled with other house groups; (c) everyone in a given area knew one
another; (d) people shared their resources; and (e) there was much love and
unity to go around. Ac. 2:44; 4:32.
The important thing is to allow the Holy Spirit to lead
the meeting and all activities. There is
a time for praise and worship through singing (although not completely necessary),
for corporate and individual prayer, for sharing and giving testimonies and
lessons. Teaching is important also,
along with ministering to the members’ needs.
The proper mix is dictated by the Holy Spirit with no set routine or
structure. Each member should come to a
meeting prepared to take an active role by participating at each gathering.
This is the vital ingredient of an “open” church. Of course, new members need to be trained and
given proper amounts of time to feel comfortable. As they absorb knowledge and begin to move in
the Spirit, their roles enlarge.
Preparation and cleanup is a group effort. No prima donnas can sit by idly while others
work or serve them. Constant training of
interns and potential leaders by each pastor continues. Evangelism is a necessary activity during
both revival and times of persecution.
As the group reaches capacity, plans to divide into two groups are put
into effect. This may take place sooner
than expected; therefore, training of potential leaders must be both continuous
There are many other factors and things that can be
discussed, but should be left to the training centers or Holy Spirit; such as,
how to conduct evangelism, different kinds of services, preparation for
survival, networking, counseling, bonding, handling of tithes and offerings,
and so forth. However, we trust the Holy
Spirit to guide each group.
We discuss other concerns in Attachment M.
IX. RECOMMENDED COURSE OF ACTION
Before embarking on a house church course, determine
God’s timing. There is little doubt
intellectually that this is the proper direction, but seek the Lord for His
timing and strategy. At each step along
the way, pray and ask God for wisdom and guidance. Seeking His will is a never-ending endeavor.
On June 24, 2004, during prayer time, one of our
intercessors had a number of visions. In
the first vision, he saw our vocational training center in the Philippines. There was no roof on it and every time
furniture was moved in, a whirlwind swept it away. No one was inhabiting the center. He then saw our Bible college and it was
empty. Then, he saw our mission house
and it was all boarded up and empty.
Next, he saw our sanctuary and breathed a sigh of relief when he saw
people there. However, they were not
there to worship God. They were
socializing around square tables and talking.
Lastly, he saw a huge and beautiful church with large columns. When he looked closely, he saw that the
columns were comprised of many single-family dwellings or houses.
I believe that God is showing us that there will be a
time when the organized churches will be made illegal - the abomination of
desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet.
Mt. 24:15. The empty vocational
training center, the empty Bible college, the boarded up mission house and a
sanctuary taken over by the Gentiles speaks of the abomination of desolation
when worship of Jesus (sacrifice and oblation) will cease. But, the true church
of Jesus Christ
will not only survive but will prosper in the light and presence of God through
house churches. House churches will make
up the true Church in the end times, just as they did during the first three
hundred years of existence. The vision
is a confirmation.
1. Implementing the Plan to Institute House
Before the house church concept can be successfully
implemented, a number of stages must first be accomplished.
Paradigm Shift in Attitude. There must be a paradigm shift in attitudes
and intent. Leadership must abandon old attitudes of “temple“ worship and
programs geared to fill the building. There may be some members who will resist
change or who will not agree. Consequently, teaching and training the
congregation is necessary to change their minds. Once it is determined that house churches are
indeed what God wants, educate the congregation, including the staff and
members, and keep them informed about each step so that misunderstandings are
eliminated. Solicit input from the
saints to create an atmosphere of partnership and gain additional insight. Once the membership is adequately informed,
and agreement is established regarding the need to implement the plan, the next
step can be implemented. Invite other
trusted pastors and Christians to share their thoughts about house churches and
if they agree with it, allow them to take part in preparations.
Have the prayer base of the church pray that all members
will catch and spread the vision. Pray
that a wave of enthusiasm will sweep the church. Throughout the process, pray that the Holy
Spirit will lead and take over each house church.
Training and transition. Institute a program to train house group
leaders and even five-fold ministry. Not
everyone who volunteers will be qualified, however. Qualifications should be clearly understood,
as found in 1 Timothy, Chapter 3. Love
and humility must be prime characteristics of a house church leader. All persons with personal ambitions and
self-glorifying agendas should be eliminated.
Pride and carnal minds are dangerous to the house church concept,
especially during times of stress and persecution. Unity and obedience to spiritual authority
must be encouraged and developed.
Self-proclaimed pastors and apostles, and the like, are too prideful and
rebellious to teach submission, humility and obedience.
All qualified members should submit to training. This is based on the supposition that during
a revival, every soul will be recruited to teach and lead, although not
necessarily as a pastor. During the Azusa Street
and Welsh Revivals, it is reported that even brand new Christians had to be
used after minimum training because of the great numbers of new converts. Indeed, the fields are ripe for harvest, but
the laborers are few.
However, it is wise to start with people who are known
leaders and innovators and who are zealous.
Every house church pastor should be gifted in pasturing and nurturing
members. They should be apt to teach and
also to train successors and other house church pastors-to-be. A house church pastor must be evangelistic in
heart. If he/she is not particularly
skillful, he needs to be an encourager, at the very least.
publications. Existing teaching outlines need to be
streamlined and shortened. Current
outlines and manuals are too voluminous and intended for use in a Bible college
where an entire semester or modules of three months’ duration could be devoted
to each subject. The six foundational
truths and other subjects such as Spiritual Authority must be taught within a
period of three months or less, assuming training sessions two or three times a
week. In addition, put together audio
and video tapes, manuals, tracts and other publications to form a training kit
that can be used in the Philippines and
everywhere in the world to produce, at the very minimum, a Spirit-filled saint
well on the way to maturity.
A training kit that can be reproduced and distributed to
the four corners of the earth is highly desirable, notwithstanding the need to
translate and other modifications.
These training aids should be published on a continual
basis and accumulated while there is time to do so. They will serve as the basis of sound
doctrine during revival and persecution.
In China, such
publications were precious and few and the saints laboriously copied them by
hand and distributed them surreptitiously.
Training Center. Establish a central training center to which
others can come to be trained. Theoretically, each currently-existing church
desiring to change their church structure to house churches, can serve as an
initial central training center. If the
movement succeeds, open other training centers according to need. At the outset, set up a monitoring system
whereby each house church leader reports weekly as to the goings on in his/her
particular group. Traveling
representatives can visit each church from time to time. The central group must eventually grow as the
house churches multiply. Consider
appointing five Regional Leaders, each with jurisdiction over five Zone
Leaders. In turn, each Zone Leader will
have five District Leaders under him/her and each District Leader will have
five Area Leaders under him/her. Each
Area Leader will have five house church pastors under him/her. In declining order, the following would be
the organizational breakdown:
Formulate report sheets for every level to use to report
to the next higher level every week.
These reports will help monitor and guide the house churches. One recommendation is to use computers and
e-mails where possible or available. The
house churches in the book of Acts did not find a need to report because the
five-fold ministry kept a close eye on them.
One important consideration will be the tithes and
offerings. In America,
the federal and state governments require that a church organization apply for
a tax exemption that allows churches to receive tithes and offerings without
being taxed by the government. It also
allows a tax payer to obtain a deduction for his donations. The application
process is a legal one and quite involved.
Requiring each individual house church to apply for its own exemption would
be difficult and expensive. It is
recommended that each house church deposit its tithes and offerings with the
central training center (“CTC”) each week.
The CTC will pass the tithes and offerings through its bank accounts and
books. The central training center should, of course, be tax exempt. Ten percent (10%) of all tithes and offerings
should go to the CTC to fund its activities, since the CTC does not have
“members.” As the regional house
churches grow outward, the CTC will incur additional expenses in monitoring,
training and sending out teachers and five-fold ministry.
The CTC must then weekly return the remaining 90% to the
house churches. This could be done in
two fashions: (1) the CTC can have the
right to re-distribute the monies where the CTC leaders determine are best in
order to take care of the needs of poorer house churches, or where extra monies
are needed to cover certain expenses; or (2) to immediately give the 90% back
to the house church where it originated once the amounts are deposited and
recorded in the CTC‘s books of account.
Giving the CTC leaders the right to re-distribute the tithes and
offerings is biblical since the early saints sold their houses and gave all the
proceeds to the apostles to distribute according to their sole discretion. It was used successfully in Fiji
where the author ministered for a number of years.
In countries that do not have such tax requirements, it
would still be wise to pass the tithes and offerings through the CTC because of
the need to fund the CTC. One other
method is to have each house church give 10% of its weekly collection to the
CTC and keep the rest.
Training must eventually include other outside church
leaders who want to initiate their own house churches. A word of caution must be understood at this
juncture. There should not be competing
house group systems in the sense of different doctrines and focus. The house group format could also be abused
and used by cults, evangelicals and even Roman Catholics. The format itself is just a structure. The real purpose is to produce a true church
in doctrine, practice, power and heart and we must strive to protect the truth
vigorously. In this regard, we do not
encourage the inclusion of denominational churches into the house church
system. This will bring quick confusion
and division. It is unlikely that
denominational churches, both evangelical and Pentecostal, will ever give up
their pet doctrines and denominational beliefs.
It is the author’s experience that whenever there are denominations
present, arguments ensue and the meetings end with division.
We are clear that we do not presently have all
truth. However, we can at least clear
the playing field and allow the Holy Spirit to determine truth.
In recent years, it is reported that denominational
missionaries from the West have invaded the underground house church system in
mainland China and
established their own brand of church doctrines and practices. As a result, the once-pure house church
system is being divided and confused.
House churches have begun competing against one another and even
fighting. In one recent case (year
2005), several saints in one house church
killed others in another house church and the Communist government has
labeled all Christians as criminals of society.
Consequently, persecution increased.
While it is probable that there will be renegade
religious groups who will take advantage of any revival/harvest and steal
innocent sheep, we need to bring as many outside churches in line with the
vision God has given us. Minor
variations may be acceptable, but major fluctuations should be avoided. Most important is that everyone is willing to
work together and not claim exclusive ownership to any flock of sheep or
attempt to add to their particular denomination or church. This may be somewhat tricky in view of the
fact that we are not trying to create a denomination but rather, desire to give
God back His true church. In a real
sense, our lack or disinterest in controlling others will release the Holy
Spirit to do His work. After all, it is
We need to perpetually train teachers who will, in turn,
train house group leaders outside of the central headquarters. These teachers will initially roam around to
train house group leaders in the areas where they live. We do not expect each house church leader to
be completely mature, but he/she must be willing, flexible and teachable. Perhaps
this is the meaning of the two visions we received about many people coming out
of our training center cheerfully waving a piece of paper in their hands. In the other vision, a huge angel was
standing over our mission house with a piece of paper in his hand. These two visions were received on the same
night. Graduates would be entitled to
receive a number of training kits to distribute in their ministry areas.
In connection with doctrines and practices, we remain
open to receive the opinions of others.
We pray that the days of Jeremiah the prophet will not be
duplicated. In the Book of Jeremiah,
there was a great revival going on in Judah. The temples were filled to capacity and
coffers overflowed with money. However,
the prophets prophesied falsely and the priests bear rule by their own
means. The people loved it. Jer. 5:31.
They were covetous of one another.
Jer. 8:10. The priests did some
good, but they misled the people, saying, “Peace, peace; when there is no
peace.” Jer. 8:11. Another word for “peace” is
“prosperity.” In spite of the great
revival, God was angry at His people because they refused to seek Him and
continued to worship strange gods. “Notwith-standing
the Lord turned not from the fierceness of His great wrath, wherewith His anger
was kindled against Judah, because of
all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked Him withal.” 2 Ki. 23:26. God allowed the Babylonians to destroy His
people and temples. How ironic that the
Book of Revelations talks about Babylon the Great ruling in
the end times.
Establishing Other Training Centers. Ultimately, if the house church concept
proliferates, we need to be prepared to establish other training centers in
different areas. These regional centers
can be built around existing and known churches and leaders in the area who
have come to accept the concept, including doctrines, spiritual authority and
policies established by the central headquarters. In other words, we do not need to construct
new buildings. We can use existing
church partners and their facilities. In
fact, if we gain partners in other areas, we can train them and let them train
These outlying centers must work very closely with the
central training center and the central training center must be willing to send
out representatives to teach and train leaders in the various regional training
centers. These workers must be willing
to spend weeks and perhaps months in outlying areas in order to launch training
centers all over the country. Because of
the dire need for more workers, we need to recruit outside pastors.
Turn over all ministry to the house churches. Let your church staff gradually fit into
their positions as trainers of house church pastors. Each house church should be autonomous in
terms of ministering to its members.
However, each house church must be in constant contact and relationship
with each other. Local pastors are
responsible for their own members; subject, however, to monitoring and guiding
through the central training center and visiting five-fold ministers.
2. Other Considerations
There are other considerations that run parallel to and
perhaps repeat some of the above:
1. Bibles, tracts,
study outlines, books, newsletters should be prepared.
courses should be created and prepared.
Teachers must be trained to provide the training.
3. Equipment that
will aid in the proliferation of written materials should be purchased, such as
printing and copying machines, stocks of paper, binding materials, etc.
4. Various books
on specific subjects should be collected and disseminated. Such books as some of Watchman Nee’s books on
The Normal Christian Life and Spiritual Authority should be
5. Due to the
shortness of time in which to train new converts, an effort should be made to
condense many teaching outlines.
6. Have the
leaders pray together and ask God to begin to purify and consecrate the
leadership group in preparation for greater service and even five-fold
ministry. When we see the power that was
given to the apostles in the Book of Acts start returning, we will know that
the time is ripe for revival/harvest and all that will follow. Rev. 11:3.
7. Ultimately, we
should be able to step back and the house church system or structure will
continue on without further change or input from us. It should be self-perpetuating and in
complete control of the Holy Spirit.
8. In America,
there are strict zoning and land use requirements. Some cities do not allow churches in
residential areas unless there is ample parking and setbacks from the main
street. In Hawaii,
for example, you cannot have a church building less than 120 feet from the main
road. To avoid legal and neighborhood
problems, services should be avoid unnecessary confrontations with neighbors by
parking away from the house being used. That is also one reason why the members
of a house church should come from the immediately neighborhood. The best is to recruit all the adjacent
God wants His Church back. Ever since 325 A.D., it has been twisted,
distorted, bent out of shape and invaded by the Devil. Martin Luther started the church back to its
true condition in terms of some basic beliefs and doctrines, but the work was
incomplete. Almost all Protestant
churches, including Pentecostal/Charismatic churches still carry a bastardized
form of church structure, conceived by the devil and fed by the carnal minds of
men who desire to control and manipulate the saints in order to build their own
What God endeavored to do was take us away from the
archaic temple system of the Old Testament and give us a church that would
allow the Holy Spirit to move mightily in the life of every saint. In effect, the body of Christ was to have
only one head and an elite priesthood was not necessary. He has made all Christians kings and priests.
Rev. 1:6; Rev. 5:10. To bring that
forth, the Holy Spirit put it in the hearts of the fathers of the first century
church to form small house groups. These
house churches allowed everyone to participate and be touched by the
Spirit. Anyone with a love for God and the
brethren and who knew how to flow with the Holy Spirit could be a pastor. No one could hide in a crowd. The saints forged close relationships and no
one could be an island by himself. The
leaders who owned homes were required to serve those who came to their house to
worship. The Lord’s supper was not just
crackers and juice; it was a full-course dinner and the saints would go from
house to house to break bread. Each
would bring his/her own food if possible.
This implies a closeness of the members.
One week it would be held at one house and the next week at another
house or even on a daily basis.
Hospitality was a must. There was
no need for copious amounts of money to build a large sanctuary. When the group became too large for the house
to accommodate everybody, another house group would be formed. The original house group would then continue
to find new members and the new house church would do likewise. New leaders would be trained continuously
with the idea that each qualified trainee would eventually be the overseer of
his or her own group. Worldwide
evangelism was the focus of each house church and was made possible by the
simple house church format. There was no
educational requirement and no Bible colleges or theological seminaries to
attend. In a house church format, no
college degrees are necessary and there is no elite priesthood. Anyone with love for God, a relationship with
Jesus, knowledge of the Bible and compassion for people can be a pastor.
In our public schools we insist that there be no more
than twenty students for one teacher and an assistant. We know that good education and training
allow no more than twenty in a class.
The same thing is true with churches.
Any group bigger than twenty or so will bring less favorable
results. With the need to quickly train
new converts within a short period of time, small house groups would be
optimal. God already knew that.
God also knew that persecution would come sooner or later
and house churches would be best suited to provide the closeness and trust each
member must have in the others. Small
groups require that every member contribute time and effort to the group and a
servant’s heart could grow in a small group setting.
Even in the U.S. military, the leaders are beginning to
recognize that smaller, faster mobile units that are able to strike and respond
to any situation quickly, would be more efficient and powerful than a large and
cumbersome group of soldiers dependent on big and constant supply sources,
complex lines of communication and large pieces of equipment to transport
We need to give God back His original church.
The following attachments have been added in order to
expand on certain topics alluded above:
ATTACHMENT A -
PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE DOCTRINE DEBUNKED
ATTACHMENT B - WHO IS
ATTACHMENT C - CHRISTMAS
AND EASTER - BABYLONIAN PRACTICES
ATTACHMENT D - DELIVERANCE
AND INNER HEALING
ATTACHMENT E - APOSTACY -
STATE OF THE CHURCH TODAY
ATTACHMENT F - FIVE-FOLD
ATTACHMENT G - CHURCH
ATTACHMENT H - REVIVAL AND
ATTACHMENT I - THE NORMAL
ATTACHMENT J - SPIRITUAL
ATTACHMENT K -
ATTACHMENT L - STATEMENT
M - TRAINING CENTERS
AND OTHER THINGS
N - OPEN FORMAT FOR MEETINGS AND SERVICES
O - THE FALSE VERSUS THE TRUE GOSPEL OF SALVATION
PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE DOCTRINE
There is no doubt that Jesus will
return to earth in a second coming at the end of the age. I Thessalonians 4:16-17 says:
the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the
archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the
clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Corinthians 15:52 says, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the
last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised
incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Every “rapture” doctrine hangs on these two passages.
These two scriptures, however, say
nothing about when Jesus will return.
OF THE RAPTURE DOCTRINE
The idea that Jesus will return
before tribulation was derived from a vision given to Margaret MacDonald in 1830. It was a complex vision and some individuals
(notably John Darby, who was excommunicated for his position) promoted the idea
that the vision means that the Lord would take His people out of the world to
escape tribulation. It is not a doctrine
of the early church. The word “rapture” is not found in the Bible, but is
immaterial. Is it true that Jesus will
return to take His people out of the world before tribulation?
Hermeneutics is the science or art
of interpretation, and in this case, the Bible.
There are at least several accepted methods: Literal, conservative,
allegorical, etc. However, we do not
need to explore any of these if we can agree to the following:
A direct scripture is one intended by the writer to answer the
particular issue or question at hand. It
is the strongest evidence and inviolate unless there is another direct scripture
that contradicts it.
An indirect scripture is one that is not intended by the writer
to answer that particular question. No
indirect scripture can overturn or neutralize a direct scripture. It is “out of context” because it was not
intended to answer the question at hand, and therefore, inapplicable.
The same rule is used in every court
of law in order to determine truth. No
direct evidence can be overturned by indirect or circumstantial evidence. For instance, if a witness at the scene of a
murder saw A shoot B, no testimony that A was a good guy or gentle or kind or
that A couldn’t hurt a fly can overturn the direct testimony. It doesn’t apply. Scriptures do not apply if they do not
specifically address the question being asked, or was not intended to. In law, it is known as mere “dictum” and not
applicable to the question being asked.
There are at least three direct
scriptures and one close to being direct, that say that Jesus is coming after
tribulation. Matthew 24:29-31 says,
after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the
moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the
powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of
the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth
mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven
with power and great glory. And He shall
send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together
His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Underlining added)
13:39 (parable of the wheat and tares) says, “...the harvest is the end of
the world; and the reapers are the angels.”
The gathering of His elect comes after tribulation. We are aware that some writers make a
distinction between the Day of the Lord and the period after the “Great
Tribulation,” and so forth. Since we are
merely establishing the truth that Jesus will not return before tribulation
starts, we will not be concerned with what happens after tribulation aside from
Mark 13:24-27 says,
in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and
the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the
powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with
great power and glory. And then shall He
send His angels, and shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from
the uttermost part of the heaven.
Luke 23:25-27 says,
there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon
the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which
are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Underlining
are direct scriptures were intended to tell us when Jesus will return - after
tribulation. The powers of heaven
shall be shaken after the tribulation according to Matthew 24:29 and
There is one other passage which
directly implies that Jesus will return after the tribulation.
Revelation 20:4 says,
I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I
saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and
for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his
image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands;
and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Underlining added)
saw those who had been beheaded by Satan’s beast during tribulation. They had come back to life and were sitting
on thrones. Verse 5 then says, “But
the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were
finished. This is the first
We know that when Jesus comes back
the graves will be opened “... and the dead in Christ will rise
first....” I Thessalonians
4:16. If the resurrection of the martyrs
who died during tribulation is the first resurrection, then Jesus could
not come back before tribulation because the martyrs in Revelation 20 would not
have been killed yet.
All the above scriptures were
intended to answer the question: When will Jesus come back? Therefore, they are relevant, material and
direct. Unless there are direct
scriptures that say, “Before the tribulation, shall the Son of man
appear in the clouds....,” the above scriptures cannot be overturned. No logic, reasons or implications can
overrule those scriptures.
We have found absolutely no direct
scriptures that say that Jesus is coming back before tribulation.
There are other scriptures that
speak of the time when the Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth. Although direct scriptures, they do not refer
specifically to tribulation; that is, before or after tribulation. But, they do address the question of when
Jesus will come from heaven back to earth.
Those scriptures all say that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the
Father in heaven where He will reign until all His enemies are made His
footstool (destroyed). Then He will
return. Hebrews 10:12,13 says, “But
this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the
right hand of God; from henceforth expecting til His enemies be made His
footstool.” The Amplified Bible puts
it this way, “...Then to wait until His enemies should be made a stool
beneath His feet.” Jesus will sit
at the right hand of the Father in heaven until all His enemies are
destroyed. I Corinthians 15:25,26 says,
“For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is
death.” See also, Ac. 2:34; Heb.
1:13; Mt. 22:44; Lk. 20:42 and Mk. 12:36. The reference to “footstool”
refers to the custom of placing one’s feet on the necks of your defeated foes
to signify victory over them. Jos.
Jesus will not return until His
people on earth have conquered Satan’s demonic kingdom - the enemies of Jesus
and His people. It is not to say that
Satan’s kingdom must be totally annihilated first, but that there is a people
of God that will grow into such spiritual maturity that they are able to and
will destroy Satan’s kingdom. Revelation
19:14-21 speaks of Jesus coming back with His armies to destroy all evil on
earth. This includes the man-child army
that stands with Jesus on Mount Sion, a people redeemed
from the earth and made perfect in the sight of God. Rev. 12:5; Rev. 14:1-5. They will return with Jesus to destroy all
There is an argument regarding
whether or not these armies will come and destroy all evil before Jesus comes
down from the clouds and whether the Day of the Lord is more than one literal
day. However, we will restrict our
discussion to the question of whether Jesus will return before tribulation.
OF THE NEW DOCTRINE
The danger of the pre-tribulation
rapture theory is that the church will be unprepared for tribulation. Why prepare all-out for a race that will
never take place? That is exactly what
Satan wants. People who say, “Well, we will
just be prepared in either case. If
Jesus does not come back before tribulation, we will be ready any way,” are
kidding themselves. When I was taking
martial arts in my youth, we always talked about being prepared for challenges
from outsiders. But only when someone
did, in fact, issue a challenge to me did I actually prepare with all my
heart. At all other times, I was just
cruising, not really believing that it would happen.
Many Christians say that
pre-tribulation rapture is the hope of the Church. That’s not true. Christ in you is the hope of glory. Col. 1:27.
NEED TO PREPARE FOR TRIBULATION
If the church must go through tribulation we must be
prepared. Only the spiritually mature
are likely to make it through until Jesus returns. Most will fall. 2 Th. 2:3.
WHO IS LUCIFER?
found in the King James Version and Living Bible (which is based on the King
James Version), is a Latin word mistakenly left in when the Latin was
translated into English. Therefore, “Lucifer” is nobody’s name, especially not
Satan’s. The original word “lucifer” is
translated in the Latin to mean “morning star”. See NIV.
The Amplified Bible uses “light-bringer and day star”. The footnote to Isaiah 14:12 contained in The
Amplified Bible says:
n. The Hebrew for this expression-
“light-bringer” or “shining one” - is translated “Lucifer” in The Latin
Vulgate, and is thus translated in the King James Version. But because of the association of that name
with Satan, it is not now used in this and other translations. Some students feel that the application of
the name Lucifer to Satan, in spite of the long and confident teaching to that
effect, is erroneous. The application of
the name to Satan has existed since the third century A.D., and is based on the
supposition that Luke 10:18 is an explanation of Isa. 14:12, which many
authorities believe is not true.
“Lucifer,” the light-bringer, is the Latin equivalent of the Greek word
“Phosphoros,” which is used as a title of Christ in II Pet. 1:19 and
corresponds to the name “radiant and brilliant Morning Star” in Rev. 22:16, a
name Jesus called Himself. This passage
here in Isa. 14:13 clearly applies to the king of Babylon.
idea that Satan was once an archangel second only to God, who rebelled and was
thrown out of heaven is erroneous. Only
two scriptures in the entire Bible use the word “archangel.” (1) I Thessalonians 4:16 says that Jesus will
return to earth “... with the voice of the archangel.” (2) Jude 9 says, “Yet Michael the
archangel,....” Nowhere in the
Bible is Satan called an archangel.
Satan was never an archangel. God
never made a mistake!
only reference of a war in heaven and Satan being thrown down to earth is in
Rev. 12:7-9. But, Revelation is about
the end times - about things to come at the end of the age. The entire book of Revelation is a prophecy. Verse 3.
If Satan was thrown out of heaven before Adam and Eve were created,
those scriptures would be out of place.
The truth is - Satan has not yet been cast down to earth! That’s why Paul called him the “... prince
of the power of the air.” Eph.
2:2. He still rules from the atmosphere
around the earth (the “mid-heavens”) and he still has access to the throne of
God in the Third Heaven.
1: 6 says, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present
themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” The Lord and Satan engaged in
conversation. Once again in Job l2:1, “Again
there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the
Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.”
today, Satan goes before the throne of God to accuse us “before our God day
and night.” Rev, 12:10. That’s why he is called the “accuser” of the
brethren. If Satan had been cast out
before Adam and Eve were created, there would have been no brethren to accuse
and he would not be in heaven talking to God about Job. Job would not have existed yet .
Luke 22:31, Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as
wheat....” NIV. In The Amplified Bible, the passage reads,
“Simon. Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you
be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift
[all of] you like grain.” Who would
Satan be asking? God, of course! Satan still has access to the throne of God
to accuse and petition to have us. He
hasn’t been kicked out of heaven yet! But
he will soon!
Jesus sent the seventy disciples out two by two, they came back “with joy,
saying Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.“ Lk. 10:18.
When Jesus said in Luke 10:19, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from
heaven,” He was talking about a prophetic vision He had of Satan falling in
the future. Whenever someone tells of a
vision he had, he doesn’t say, “I am seeing,” or “I will see.” He says, “I saw” or “I beheld.” For
the first time, mankind had the power to cast out devils. Therefore, Jesus prophesied that one day
Satan was going to be thrown out of the heavens, never to rule again.
14:12 talks about the First Adam before he fell, not Satan. Verse 16 says, “... Is this the man that
made the earth to tremble....” Satan
was never a man. He is spirit. Verse 11 says, “Thy pomp is brought down
to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and
the worms cover thee.” Verse 19
says, “But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as
the raiment of those that are slain....”
Satan has never died and was never buried in a grave and worms never ate
his flesh. It was Adam who died and was
eaten of worms in a grave. It was Adam
who wanted to be God, who said, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my
throne above the stars of God... I will be like the most High.” Is. 14:13,14. Adam was once a morning star. When he sinned against God, he lost the
morning star, his spirit light went out and he saw his flesh for the first
time. Gen. 3:7.
was no fool. He was not deceived by the
serpent. 1 Timothy 2:14 says, “And
Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” What does it mean? It means that Adam had already formed the
desire to be like God, but he had no guts or courage to eat the fruit of the
tree of knowledge of good and evil. He
didn’t need to be beguiled. He already
was. When he heard the serpent beguiling
Eve, he stood by mute. He was an
opportunist. He probably reasoned, “If
we get caught, I can always blame Eve.”
That’s exactly what Adam did.
When God questioned him, he answered, “The woman whom thou gavest to
be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat.” First, he blamed God; then, he blamed
Eve. Gen. 3:12. That’s how many men are today. They pass the buck and refuse to take
responsibility for their actions. Both
Is. 14 and Eze. 28 speak of Adam, not Satan.
Ezekiel 28 is also often erroneously thought
of as referring to Satan. It was the
First Adam who was created perfect till iniquity was found in him, not
Satan. Verse 12,15. Satan was never perfect. He was a murderer from the beginning, and the
father of lies. Jn. 8:44. I Jn. 3:8 says, “He that committeth sin is
of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.” Satan was created by God as Satan. What?
God create evil? In Is. 45:7, God
says, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil:
I the Lord to all these things.” In
Is. 54:16, the Lord says, “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the
coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I
have created the waster to destroy.”
God is in complete control. Satan
could never challenge God. He has to
petition God to get to us. Satan doesn’t
want us to know this. He wants us to
fear him. Satan was never a morning star
or archangel. It was Adam who was once a
bright, morning star, and God is going to restore to us all that Adam
16. Eze. 28:2 says, “Because thine
heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God,
in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God....” Again, Satan was never a man; Adam
was. Verse 8 says, “They shall bring
thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in
the midst of the seas.” Satan is a
spirit that cannot die like a man. “Wilt thou yet say before him that
slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man; and no God,....” Verse 9.
Satan will never be a man. The
word “cherub” in verse 16 means “imaginary being.” It does not mean archangel.
promises to give the overcomers back the morning star that Adam lost when he
he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power
over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of
a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. Rev. 2:26-28.
We are children of light that shine in the
darkness. When we become filled with
the Holy Spirit and overcome the world, the flesh and the devil, we will become
bright, morning stars once more. Satan
will have no power over us. “As the morning spread upon the
mountains, a great people....” Joel
2:2. (Underlining added) “(T)he Lord shall utter His voice before
His army.” Joel 2:11. “... (T)he land is as the garden of Eden
before them....” Joel 2:3. God’s army, the morning stars, are headed
back to the garden of Eden to reclaim the land, and God is going to restore
everything that Adam once had. Satan
doesn’t want us to know that. He wants
us to fear him. Instead, it is Satan who
fears the morning stars.
THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS
Historians claim that the early
church did not celebrate either the birth of Jesus or His resurrection. Josephus, the famous Jewish historian, claims
that they may have celebrated Passover.
However, Josephus produced his works after 275 A.D. and had no viable
evidence of such.
During times of persecution, it
would be easy to determine which household was Christian by the decorated trees
and other paraphernalia of Christmas. It
was probable that early Christians did not celebrate any Sabbaths or
holydays. Col. 2:16-17. “Which are a shadow of things to come; but
the body is of Christ.” According to
10:11 and Hebrews 8:5, these events served as examples and shadows of heavenly
things. Instead of a Sabbath day, Jesus became
our rest and our Sabbath. Heb.
4:4-11. We rest in Him, not in a
day. We cease from our own works and
allow Him to work in and through us.
Thus, Saturday belonged to the old covenant and was supplanted by better
things to come.
The early Christians were filled
with the Holy Spirit and knew how to allow the Spirit to flow through
them. They were acutely aware that, “…
the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father
in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.” Jn. 4:23.
They sought spiritual things, not the physical.
In striving for spirit and truth, we
need to ferret out all that is not of God and to cast out those things that
have diluted the truth once given to the church by the early apostles.
WAS JESUS BORN?
When was Jesus born? This question seems unimportant at first
glance, but represents leaven in the eyes of God. Remember, Jesus warned the disciples about
the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Mt. 16:6.
“Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven
of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Mt. 16:11-12.
Christmas and Easter, and some other well-established doctrines of the
church are leaven. They were not taught
by the apostles of any age and came out of pagan worship. Truth cannot be altered without spiritual
Jesus was not born on December
25. He was probably born at the end of
September, early October, during the Feast of Tabernacles. Under the old covenant, God required three
major feasts each year. The first was
Passover, that celebrated the time when the angel of death had to “pass over”
the Israelite households that displayed the blood of a perfect male lamb on the
side posts and lintel of the front door.
This was fulfilled under the new covenant by Jesus on the Cross when He
became our Passover Lamb.
The second feast was Pentecost,
which literally means “fifty days” after Passover. This was fulfilled by the gift of the Holy
Spirit on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4.
The third feast was Tabernacles,
which was actually the combining of three different celebrations. The first ten
days was the blowing of trumpets (Feast of Trumpets) to call the people; then
the Day of Atonement when the chief priest would enter the Holiest Place
and sprinkle the blood of the sin sacrifice on the mercy seat. God would then come down and His presence
would fill the place. It was the only time during the year when God
came down to be with His people. The
third phase was living in booths or tents for seven days to commemorate the
time when Moses led the people out of Egypt
and they lived in tents. This feast was
fulfilled by the birth of Jesus who was named Immanuel - “God with us.”
Like many things in the Old
Testament, these three feasts were types and shadows of better things to
December 25 is too cold in Bethlehem
for sheep to be in the fields. During
winter, they would be in barns or close to home. The Roman government, known for its logic and
good reasoning, would not require people to travel in the dead of winter to be
taxed and counted. More likely, they
would choose a time when harvest (ingathering)
was over and the weather was nice.
The Feast of Tabernacles was held in late September, early October right
after harvest. It was known as the
December 25 is the birthday of
Tammuz, the sun god of Babylon (and the reincarnation of Nimrod), whose signs
are green trees cut out of the forest, made to stand upright in homes and
decked with silver and gold. Jer.
10. The Babylonian legend is as follows:
Ninus was the king of the region
defined by the Tigris and Euphrates
Rivers. His wife was Semiramis and his son was
Nimrod. Gen. 10:8-10. Ninus died in battle. The custom was that the kingdom must be ruled
over by a male. But if the dead king had
a young son, the queen could rule until the son was of age. Semiramis was beautiful and smart. She became addicted to ruling. When Nimrod (Gen. 10:8-10) was of age, she
married her own son to remain on the throne.
She was a mighty warrior but she and Nimrod were evil. To control the people, they engaged in magic
and witchcraft. They became so evil that
Shem, one of Noah’s sons, had to kill him.
Some time later, Semiramis declared that she had immaculately conceived
and when Tammuz was born, she declared that he was the reincarnation of
Nimrod. When he was a child, Tammuz
died. Semiramis was so heart-broken that
she grieved and wept for weeks. She
decided to go into the underworld and challenge the gods for the return of
Tammuz. She fought so valiantly through
the twelve gates of the underworld that the gods announced that if the women
would weep for Tammuz at the end of each year, he would be reborn at the winter
soltice which falls on the 23rd or 24th of each
December. In the spring, he would be a
young man, in the summer he would be mature, in the autumn he would be an old
man and die. Eze. 8:14. Tammuz became the sun god and the god of
agriculture. Over time, the people
celebrated his rebirth by cutting down a green tree, standing it upright in
their homes on the eve of his birthday, and decking it with silver and gold and
other decorations. On the night of the
eve of his birthday, they would burn a yule (“child” in Chaldee) log,
symbolizing his death. Next morning,
they would wake up to a green tree decorated with silver and gold and there
would be many gifts under it. They would
then celebrate for twelve days.
Semiramis and Tammuz were depicted in statues and paintings of a mother
carrying an infant, a halo around his head indicating that he was the sun god
of Babylon, and
a halo around the mother’s head to indicate that she was the goddess of the
moon. In all Levantine cultures, the
leading deity is a mother who married her son.
The Roman Catholic Church adopted
the birthday of Tammuz by calling it Jesus’ birthday. They also celebrated the summer soltice which
was the feast of Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of fertility and witchcraft in
early April. Her signs are colored eggs,
bunnies, chicks and hot-cross buns. She
is called the Queen of Heaven (Jer. 44:17-19) and Madonna (Is. 47:5) (Latin for
“Lady”). Read Two Babylons by
Bishop Alexander Islop. There is nothing
in the Bible about celebrating the birthday or resurrection of Jesus. We worship in the spirit today. The early church never observed His birthday
and only Josephus, the historian, mentioned that His resurrection may have been
celebrated. But Josephus wrote his books
around 275 A.D. We are worshipping
Babylonian gods and goddesses.
In Ezekiel 8, God exposes what is
going on in His temple. The people are
worshipping demons, including Tammuz. In
Ezekiel 9, God calls six angels with destroying weapons. One has an inkhorn. He instructs the one with the inkhorn to mark
the foreheads of all the men that sign and cry because of the abominations
going on in God’s city (people) and temple.
Then He instructs the others to go into the city and kill everyone
without God’s mark on their forehead.
Eze. 9:1-11. Interestingly, both
Revelation 7:3 and Revelation 9:4 speak of God’s mark on the foreheads of His
true servants in the end times. Those
without the mark will suffer greatly. Is
God talking about us today?
TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS
One evening years ago, I was
listening to our church’s music ministry practice Christian songs about Jesus’
birth and the thought ran lightly through my mind, “I wonder what the true
meaning of Christmas really is?”
Suddenly, the Holy Spirit fell on me and in ten seconds, He gave me the
following revelation (paraphrasing):
All the things that happened when Jesus
was born were examples and types and shadows to teach us spiritual and heavenly
things. I Co. 10:11. Heb. 8:5.
When Joseph and Mary went to the inn that night, it was too full and so
they were turned away. Lk. 2:7. So it is today. People are too busy and full of the things of
the world. They have no room for Jesus,
so they turn Him away. Jesus was born of
a virgin in a dark and lowly (humble) manger.
Lk. 2:7. Before we were saved, we
were proud, sinful and defiled. We lived
in darkness. The Bible says that when
Jesus was born, the people sat in darkness.
Suddenly, there was a great light!
Mt. 4:16, Lk. 1:79. In order to
be saved, we must humble ourselves and become lowly (like that manger) and
repent of our sins. When God forgives
us, we are washed clean by the blood of Jesus and become pure and chaste as a
virgin. At that moment, the Spirit of
Jesus is born in our virgin heart that was once black with sin, but has
suddenly become white as snow and humble as that manger. Jesus is always born of a virgin
(heart). We are born-again of the Spirit
of God, which is the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Phil 1:19. The Bible says that
when one sinner repents, all of heaven rejoices (Lk. 15:7,10) like on the night
that Jesus was born. “Glory to God in
the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” Heaven rejoices each time Jesus is born again
in the virgin heart of an ex-sinner.
On that blessed night almost 2,000
years ago, the shepherds and sheep were honored because Jesus came as the Good
Shepherd who would die for His sheep. We
are the sheep of His pasture. Jesus was
born in Bethlehem,
the city of David, because God promised to “raise unto David a righteous
Branch, ... and He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Jer. 23:5,6. Jesus is “the root and the offspring of
David, and the bright and morning star.”
Rev. 22:16. When we are saved, we
too are born into the line of David, having become the children of God and
brethren of Jesus, by adoption. Eph.
1:5; Heb. 2:11. We too are children of
The star of Bethlehem
drew the wise men to Jesus. The star
represents the Holy Spirit of God. He
always draws all men to Jesus. We don’t
know how many wise men there were, but there were three gifts, so we think
there were three. They came from a far
country. Mt. 2:1. When you and I were saved, the Father, Son
and Holy Ghost came from as far away as heaven to bring us the same three
gifts: Frankincense, myrrh and gold.
Frankincense is a sweet perfume that
was sprinkled on the meal sacrifice in the Old Testament. Lev. 2:1,15.
Its represents the sacrifice on the cross that Jesus, the bread of life
who came down from heaven, made for you and me.
As with the frankincense presented by the wise men, salvation is a free
gift. Jesus already paid the price.
Myrrh is a perfume that is sweet to
the smell, but bitter to the taste. It
is called gall. It is also a narcotic
that was offered to Jesus when He hung on the cross. Mt. 27:34.
It numbs your physical senses.
But, Jesus refused it. He didn’t
have to, but He wanted to take all of our pain and suffering so that we would
never have to suffer pain again. Myrrh
represents the bitter path all true Christians must undertake in order to
follow Jesus. Our walk with Jesus always
starts off sweet like the Frankincense and myrrh. When we are first saved, we are so excited
and happy, we want to tell the whole world.
But as time goes on and as we face the trials and problems that perfect
and change us into the image of Jesus Christ, the walk becomes
bitter-sweet. Many accept the
frankincense but few desire the myrrh.
Many follow Jesus; few carry their cross. The true walk with Jesus will always lead you
up the hill to Calvary
to death of the old man. When Jesus rose
from the dead, we rose with Him into a new race of people and a new life. His life becomes your life and your life
becomes His life. Before you can have
His resurrection life, you must first die to self.
Gold represents the heavenly reward
at the end of your faithful walk with Jesus on earth. The streets and buildings in heaven are made
of gold (Rev. 21:18,21) and there is a crown of glory laid up for you. I Pet. 5:4.
The same three things, frankincense,
myrrh and gold, are presented to each born-again Christian when he or she is
saved. The frankincense is easy to
accept, but the myrrh and gold will cost you your life.
And so, the true meaning of
Christmas is not found in evergreen trees decked with silver and gold,
mistletoe, eggnog, ham, gifts and parties.
Those things are of the flesh and represent Tammuz, the sun god of Babylon. Jer. 10:1--5; Eze. 8:14. The true Christmas happens in the spirit
every time one sinner repents of his sins and accepts Jesus as his Lord and
Savior. The star of Bethlehem
has drawn another sinner to Jesus Christ.
Once again, the angels rejoice in heaven. The Bible says that the angels in heaven
rejoice whenever one sinner repents. He
who once sat in darkness has become humble and washed clean as a virgin by the
blood of Jesus. Once more, the Spirit of
Jesus is born in a virgin heart. The
Father, Son and Holy Spirit come from heaven bearing three gifts: frankincense,
myrrh and gold. The walk begins.
That is the true meaning of
God is seeking a pure church today, without spot,
wrinkle or blemish or any such thing, that He can present to Christ as His
Bride. The church has lost its power and
testimony because it has become false.
It now worships Babylonian gods and goddesses and thinks that it pleases
God. Instead, it has become an
A PROPHECY REGARDING
In Ezekiel Chapter 8, God takes the prophet into His
temple to show Ezekiel the abominations being committed therein. He find the congregation unknowingly
worshiping demons out of their own imagination.
Eze. 8:10-12. At the gate towards
the north, “there sat women weeping for Tammuz.” Verse. 14.
In the inner court the priests were worshiping “the sun toward the
east.” Verse 16.
In Chapter 9, God calls six angels, one with an
inkhorn. He instructs the one with the
inkhorn to go among God’s people and mark the foreheads of all those who sigh
and cry because of the abominations going on in God’s temple. Then He commands the others to follow and
kill everyone without the mark of God on their foreheads and to begin at His
sanctuary. Eze. 9:6. One cannot sigh and cry unless he knows about
the abominations going on in God’s temple or church. Now you know.
In Revelation 7:1-3, an angel of the Lord commands the
four angels about to bring destruction to the earth to “Hurt not the earth,
neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in
their foreheads.” Verse 3. In Revelation 9:4, torment was coming to earth. Again, “And it was commanded them that
they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither
any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their
foreheads.” Verse 4. Could it be that during tribulation, only
those who sigh and cry for the abominations in God’s church will escape?
DELIVERANCE AND INNER HEALING
In our war with the kingdom of darkness, there are
three distinct yet related areas: (1)
spiritual warfare; (2) deliverance; and (3) inner healing. What most churches call spiritual warfare is
usually just prayer, corporate or individual, that comes against demonic powers
in the mid-heavens or against Satan and his demons, in general. Deliverance refers to casting out of devils
from people and cleansing of haunted places or objects. We have found that Christians can have demons
and have literally cast out demons from thousands of Christians, both
evangelical and born-again, including many pastors. Inner healing refers to the healing of
memories and cleansing of the mind.
Although inner healing deals with the mind, we have found that very
often demons are involved and when memories are cleansed, they come fleeing out
of a person.
Spiritual warfare is very necessary for
revival/harvest. As has been discovered
by Carlos Anacondia, in Brazil by Eduardo
Silvoso, and by other Christians, binding up of ruler spirits in the
mid-heavens can lead to revival. In South Korea,
David Yonggi Cho claims that his huge church is the result of binding up the
strongmen over South Korea.
Spiritual warfare and deliverance is the topic of a
manual produced by this church and should be taught to all Christians. Inner healing is also explained in another
manual produced by this church and is very useful. These manuals will be made available to all
interested parties and should become standard reading for house churches.
DOCTRINES OF DEVILS
THE GREAT APOSTASY
A SIGN OF THE TIMES
apostle Paul warns us in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, “Let no man deceive you by any
means: for that day (Jesus’ return) shall not come, except there come a falling
away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (Parentheses
added) So, at the end of the age there
will be a falling away from the faith or truth.
The Amplified Bible says there will be an “apostasy.” Apostasy means - “an abandoning of what one
has believed in, as a faith, cause, principle, etc.” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary) It speaks of a turning away from the
doctrines espoused by the early apostles and the Bible.
Body of Christ is already in apostasy.
It allows many false doctrines, beliefs, practices and movements to
permeate the Church and destroy the purity of our faith. The deception is so subtle and cunning that “if
it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Mt. 24:24.
Both Jesus and the apostles constantly and vociferously warned us of the
spirit of Antichrist and false doctrines. “Now the Spirit speaketh
expressly, that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving
heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” I Ti. 4:1.
NO ONE EXEMPT
feared that if someone came preaching a different gospel, the saints would
accept him. “But I fear . . . if he
that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye
receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye
have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” 2 Co.
11:3,4. Guard against doctrines and
beliefs not taught by the early Church or supported by Scripture. Already, some cults and so-called Christians
teach a different Jesus. Some teach that
Jesus is an angry God and approachable only through His mother, who is higher
in heaven than her Son; others claim that Jesus was just a man who was made
into a god because of His good works; and still others claim that Jesus was the
brother of Lucifer, the devil. Some claim
that Jesus is a Filipino living in Manila
and others claim that He returned in 1914 and is living in Brooklyn,
danger of deception through false doctrines is so great that Paul says, “But
though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that
which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Gal. 1:8.
Even if one of the early apostles changed the original doctrine, we are
not to accept it. Paul did not say “any”
angel, but an angel from heaven!
Even God’s angels are not exempt.
Why then would any Christian be excused?
No matter how smart, popular or godly a person appears to be, do not
tolerate it if he teaches false doctrines or beliefs. Turn away from such; do
not “bear with him.” These appear
to be harsh words, but Jesus warns us to “Take heed and beware of the
leaven....” Mt. 16:6. “Then understood they how that He bade
them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees
and of the Sadducees.” Mt.
16:12. Any wrong doctrine is leaven. “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth
the whole lump? Purge out therefore, the
old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened . . . Therefore let
us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and
wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” I Co. 5:6-8. Leaven must be purged out of the true Church
that will be the Bride of Christ, without spot, wrinkle or blemish.
the end times, false prophets and false Christs will abound. Mt. 24:11,24.
They will be able to deceive because they are respected, famous and
well-accepted in the Church. Otherwise,
who would listen to them? Therefore,
even if a prophet is seemingly anointed, do not accept a strange doctrine from
him. There have been many “anointed
prophets” who ended up in error. You may
have already met a few of them. In the
Old Testament, Balaam, an anointed and gifted prophet of God, fell from favor
in the end. So did King Solomon. The prophets of Ahab (I Ki. 22:12-29) and in
Jeremiah’s days were most likely “anointed” and respected. Yet, they spoke
lies. I’m not saying that all prophets
lie and I am not against prophets (I believe in prophecy); I’m saying that we
have the duty to test every prophecy. I Co. 14:29,32.
are not to influence us. False prophets
and Christs will do miracles and through the miracles will deceive many. Mt. 24:24.
They will heal the sick, cast out devils, raise the dead, but if their
doctrine is not supported by scripture, do not accept it. In Matthew 7:22-23, Jesus says, “Many will
say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in
Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And
then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work
iniquity.” Many unwittingly allow
the truth to be adulterated because they interpret “touch not mine anointed”
mistakenly. God clearly warns us against
such “anointing” and signs and wonders.
We have a duty and responsibility to discern good and evil, truth and
a spiritual “poison” in untruths that silently and surely brings death. If Jesus is “the Way, the Truth and the
Life” (Jn. 14:6), lies are the opposite.
They cause us to veer from the Way and the Life and bring us into
confusion and death. Like a fog that becomes ever thicker with each lie, false
doctrines blind us from the true way and cause us to stumble and fall because
of our failure to see danger and the snares of the enemy. Untruths cloud our spiritual eyes and we
drift further away from the Lord Jesus.
It is when we contend for the truth and love truth with all our heart
that we begin to see clearly. There is no
such thing as a partial truth. A truth
is all truth or it is a lie.
Devil is the father of lies. Jn.
8:44. He brings death through his lies
and deceptions. (Called the destroyer
and waster. Is. 54:16; Ex. 12:23; 1 Co. 10:10.) The Bible says that “The thief cometh not,
but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. . . .” With his lies and deceptions, Satan draws us
into his kingdom and into darkness.
Those who do not accept Jesus, have refused truth; they are deceived by
the lies of Satan. “But if our gospel
be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which
believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image
of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Co. 4:3,4. Satan, of course, is the present ruler of
this world. Therefore, the world is
filled with lies and distortions. We are
living in an age where truth is an inconvenience and embarrassment because it
goes against the grain of friendship with the world, and social and political
acceptance. The world is indifferent to
truth because truth convicts and changes lives.
Man loves sin and truth destroys sin.
How can the Church convert a sinful world when the Church itself no
longer loves truth and is willing to compromise the absolute truth? It takes courage to speak and manifest truth
in the world.
are called to change into the image of Jesus (Ro. 8:29), then we must also be
true because He is true. Jesus is called
the Word of God not only because He speaks and does truth, but because He is
true. It is not the possession of truth,
but an uncompromising walk in truth that makes us true and pure. That is why we were given the Holy Spirit to
dwell in us. Even as we can know truth
and yet not live truth, we can also have the Holy Spirit in us and not obey
Him. The Holy Spirit is not only the
Spirit of Power, but also the Spirit of Truth.
Power and truth are inseparable.
we compromise the Word of God, our concept and knowledge of God is distorted
and warped and Jesus becomes a different Jesus from the Jesus in the
Bible. Our acceptance of lies changes
who He is. I’ve heard New Agers
arrogantly say, “I know Jesus. She’s a
Negro.” They believe that Jesus is
whoever and whatever you say He is. Are
we worshiping the same Jesus? That is
why Jesus said, “Ye worship ye know not what: . . . (b)ut the hour cometh, and now is, when the
true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the
Father seeketh such to worship Him.” Jn. 4:22,23. Distorting the Word of God is distorting the
10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of
God.” Truth creates faith because
the Word is truth. Untruth begets no
faith or a false faith. If your faith is
not based on truth, it is vain. In the
Boxer Rebellion of the early 1900's, the Chinese revolted against the Western
powers because they were against the selling of opium to the Chinese. The peasants had only sticks and pitchforks
against the rifles and machine guns of the British, Americans, Russians,
etc. Kung fu masters convinced the
Chinese peasants that if they drank a “magic potion” they would be immune from
bullets and bayonets. As they pounded
the drums, the Chinese peasants lined up to drink the potion. They had complete faith in it. The next morning, they died by the thousands,
cut down by machine gun bullets and bayonets.
They had faith, but it was not based on truth. It was vain.
So too is our faith, if our faith is based on untrue doctrines and a
distortion of the Word will be so great in the end times, that Jesus said,
“. . . (W)hen the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” Lk. 18:8.
There will be so many lies regarding our faith (religion) that our
doctrines and beliefs will be perverted and our faith will be vain. The object
of our faith is the Jesus of the Bible.
He is the author and finisher of our faith, not a female Negro or any
world that is addicted to pretenses, distortions, facades and falsehoods,
people learn to put on a face and an image that is untrue. We love movies and shows that warp, mislead
and misrepresent reality and we are so into our “acts” that we actually think
we are what we want people to believe that we are. We boast, brag and see ourselves as more than
we really are. Peter and the other
disciples bragged that they would die for Jesus. But, when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus,
they all ran away as cowards. Truth had
hit them in the face. It was truth that
brought them to reality and completely humbled them. Saul was busy persecuting and killing the
saints when he met Jesus on the way to Damascus. Ac. 9:1-7.
The meeting changed him completely.
He had met truth and reality.
Truth changes. We read in Acts
2:1-4 that on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came as a mighty, rushing
wind, flames of fire sat on the heads of the disciples and they began to speak
in strange tongues. Why then do we
seldom, if ever, experience such an outpouring?
Perhaps it is because of our lack of truth and humility. We do not see our true selves. Many new believers see themselves as good
people who deserve salvation. They do
not see their true state as miserable humans who, but for the grace of God,
deserve to go to hell. Lies and
pretences distort and rob us of all that God wants to give us. Christ the hope of glory is also, Truth the
hope of glory. The truth will make us
free (Jn. 8:32) and open our eyes to see the wonders of God. Only by loving truth can we avoid deception.
truth that sanctifies and purifies. Jn.
17:17. “That He might sanctify and
cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to
Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but
that it should be holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5:26,27.
The Word is truth. God’s truth
changes more than a man’s doctrines; it transforms him from deep within. That is why God “desirest truth in the
inward parts.” Ps. 51:6. The closer we are to Jesus, the truer we
become. Truth is not only something we
possess, but who and what we are. As the
saying goes, “We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are
sinners.” Likewise, “We are not made
true because we speak truth; we speak and do truth because we are true.” Becoming true is not just a function of
possessing truth. We can believe in
truth and assent to truth, but still be untrue.
To become like Him is to become true.
We are true only to the extent that we walk in it.
love for truth is the only remedy for avoiding deception and it will cost you
dearly. If we are not already walking in truth, we will succumb to Satan’s
wiles in the end. The truths given to us
by God must be worth living and dying for.
It is to those without guile (lies) that the greatest rewards are
given. In Revelation 14:1-5, the Army of
God stands with the Lamb of God on the mount
Sion. “And in their mouth was found no guile; for
they are without fault before the throne of God.” It is not just a matter of not telling lies,
but not having lies in the heart that make you one without guile. “. . . (S)trait is the gate, and narrow is
the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Mt. 7:14. Ananias and Sapphira lied to
the Holy Spirit and died because of it.
Ac. 5:5,10. God hates lies and
liars. No liar shall enter into the kingdom of God. Rev. 21:8.
We die slowly when we accept lie after lie. Truth indeed, is a narrow path.
we must recognize that the clash between truth and lies will come to a peak at
the end of the age. It is not just a
distortion of truth that is involved. It
is a battle between two kingdoms and kingdom principles. Truth is a principle of the kingdom
while untruth is a principle of the kingdom of the devil. The more lies in the Church, the more we
stray into the grasp of the evil one.
Only a love for the truth and a determined defense of truth will keep us
safely outside of the snare of the fowler.
Ps. 91:3. Our refuge and fortress
is in the Truth. His name is Jesus.
EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH
says, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, . . .
preach the word; be instant in season,
out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and
doctrine. For the time will come when
they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap
to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their
ears from truth, and shall be turned into fables.” 2 Ti. 4:1. “Reprove” means to refute, admonish, convict,
convince, tell a fault, rebuke. “Rebuke”
means to censure, admonish, forbid, charge or accuse. “Exhort” means to beseech, entreat. (Strong’s Concordance) We are to be guardians of the truth and
watchmen on the wall. We are not to
smile and say, “I love you brother. I
accept what you say for the sake of unity and I will not judge you.” In instructing elders, Paul says,
. . Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may
be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers . . .
for there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers . . . whose mouths
must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought
not, for filthy lucre’s sake . . . Rebuke them sharply, that they may be
sound in the faith; not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men,
that turn from the truth. Titus
1:9,10,11,13. (Underlining added)
We are to challenge for the truth and rebuke, refute,
reprove, tell a fault, censure, forbid, charge and accuse, so that others will
be saved from deception and destruction.
We speak in love, but earnestly contend for the faith. Jude says, “. . . ye should earnestly contend for the faith
which was once delivered unto the saints.”
Jude 3. We are not to
compromise the truth that God entrusted to us, especially the elders. Titus 2:15 says, “These things speak, and
exhort, and rebuke with all authority.
Let no man despise thee.”
(Underlining added) Let no person find fault with you for earnestly
contending for the faith.
A COMMAND TO SPEAK OUT
says in 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14, 15,
we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye
withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after
the tradition, which he received of us. . .
And if any may obey not our word by this epistle, note that man,
and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. . . Yet count him
not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. (Underlining added)
We are commanded to note and withdraw
from those who preach false doctrines and walk not according to the pattern
taught by the early apostles. To “note”
is to identify. At the same time, we are
not to count him as an enemy. In Titus
3:10, Paul says, “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second
time. After that, have nothing to do
with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is
self-condemned.” Harsh words are
sometimes necessary to preserve the faith.
are instructed as follows: “Them that sin rebuke before all, that
others also may fear.” (Underlining
added) 1 Ti. 5:20. Paul tells us to make
public the sins of others. If a
brother is in grave error and is being used to deceive others, is it love to
rebuke him? or is it hate? For the sake
of unity and misguided “love”, will you allow him to be accursed? Ezekiel 3:20,21 says,
When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and
I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given
him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done
shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the righteous man,
that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because
he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
Does an earthly father not have the duty to chasten,
point out errors and even take the rod of correction to his children in order
to drive sin and unrighteousness out of them and to guide them in paths of
righteousness? (“He that spareth his
rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”) Pr. 13:24.
Is a father’s chastening of his sons and daughters wrong? No, it is love. In order to correct, there is a need to
judge. More so must an elder in the Body
of Christ warn and correct brothers in Christ who stray from righteousness and
truth. Once again, we are commanded
to rebuke publicly in 1 Timothy 5:20-22: “Them that sin rebuke before all,
that others also may fear. I charge
(command) thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels,
that thou observe these things, without preferring one before another, doing
nothing by partiality.” (Parenthesis
added) An elder is strongly commanded
(“I charge thee before God”) to rebuke, chasten, point out errors and
correct publicly. Love demands
correction. Hatred allows compromise and
lies, the end of which is apostasy.
Speak out or disobey God.
by the person uttering false doctrines is not the issue. The issue is - is it truth? Most false
prophets do not know they are false.
Balaam did not know; the 400 prophets of Ahab did not know; the many
false prophets and priests in Jeremiah’s day did not know; many modern-day
“prophets” do not know. They vigorously
defended their lies. All were probably
highly respected, admired and loved in their day. How will they know and change unless someone
tells them in love?
refusal to judge and discern has eroded the foundations of the Church and
defiled the very essence of the Church - truth.
How else can one explain why many in the Church do not believe there is
a Satan or evil spirits? or believe that Jesus was only a man? or that the
Bible is not accurate? or that Jesus did not resurrect physically? or that the
Holy Spirit is only to explain God’s power and is not a real individual? or
that Jesus sinned while on earth? or that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and was
having an affair with her? or that it was really Judas who died on the
cross? (Survey Results by the Barna
Research Group) What apostasy!
20:28,29, Luke named Ananias and Sapphira as liars. Paul likewise never hesitated to defend the
truth, even to the extent of naming names publicly and in his written
letters. In 2 Timothy 4:10, Paul named
Demas as one who forsook Paul and went back to the world. In verse 14, he named and accused Alexander
the coppersmith of doing much evil. In 2
Timothy 2:17,18, Paul named Hymenaeus and Philetus as having erred in preaching
false doctrines (“profane and vain babblings”). Even fellow apostles were not exempt. In Galatians 2:12,13, Paul accused and rebuked Peter and Barnabas before
all (verse 14). Did it violate the
scripture that says, “Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no
harm”? I Chr. 16:22. Surely, Peter and Barnabas were anointed of
God. Is questioning a prophecy harming
the prophet? Are we not instructed to
judge prophecies (I Co. 14:29), and taught to test (judge) the spirits, even
the Holy Spirit? “Beloved, believe
not every spirit, but try (judge) the spirits whether they are of God: because
many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 Jn. 4:1. We are instructed not to
automatically accept any prophecy or word that comes from a prophet. Test and judge it. Prophets are to judge what the other prophets
say (1 Co.
14:29,32), to discern if it comes from the Holy Spirit or some other spirit. 1
Jn. 4:1. It is love, not harm. But great relief someone would have if he
knows that his prophecies will be tested and if found true, will be endorsed by
all the others. He will also find much
comfort in knowing that any false prophecy will be excluded from publication
and thus prevented from doing damage to the Body.
is a movement to squelch all opposition to the introduction of false doctrines
and movements by claiming that we should “touch not mine anointed” and
“judge not, that ye be not judged.”
Mt. 7:1. But if you look closely
at Matthew 7:1 and the verses that follow immediately thereafter, Jesus was
talking about hypocrites and people who unfairly criticize, gossip, condemn and
slander people when they themselves are sinning in a bigger way. (“And why beholdest thou the mote that is
in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”
Verse 3) Jesus was talking to
hypocrites, not the guardians of truth.
If one wrongfully interprets these passages, claiming that we are not to
judge, he will be in direct opposition to scriptures that say that we have the
responsibility to judge and discern good and bad and to protect the cherished
and precious truths God gave us. As has
been said many times, “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.” Rebuking, reproving, censuring, forbidding,
charging and accusing can be done in love and concern for both the deceived and
the deceiver. We are instructed to name
names and instruct the sheep to avoid them and the doctrines they espouse if
they persist in distorting the truth.
Shepherds must protect the sheep against wolves in sheep’s
clothing. Mt. 7:15.
is a difference between unwarranted criticism, gossip and malicious slander as
compared to an impersonal censure, rebuke and accusation for the purpose of
correction and guidance. For example,
one can properly point out errors in doctrine by some famous televangelist
without calling him a devil, or a creep.
If the intent is to maliciously and falsely slander to build up self at
the expense of another, it is unrighteous.
But, if it is to protect the sheep and to point out errors for the
purpose of avoiding deception, it is righteous obedience. It depends on the
heart’s intent. Sometimes the person
pointing out doctrinal error is himself in error, but his heart is right. Romans 16:17 says, “Now I beseech you,
brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to
doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”
Amplified Bible’s interpretation of Matthew 7:1 is, “Do not judge and
criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and
condemned yourselves.” This
rendition is slightly more accurate than what some Christians claim it to mean,
in my opinion. Matthew 7:1-5 applies to
undue criticism and slander of others and have nothing to do with protecting
the faith from false doctrines and beliefs. God will not give two commandments
that directly oppose each other. Matthew
7:1 is not contrary to scriptures telling us to guard the faith and note,
rebuke, reprove, accuse, correct, refute and withdraw from those who preach a
adverse gospel. It speaks of hypocrites
finding fault in others while they have worse faults.
Corinthians 5:12, 13 says, “For what have I to do to judge them also that
are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that
wicked person.” We are to judge
those in the church, and correct where needed, especially those who would
pervert the gospel or who are deceived.
truth, elders (and all Christians) are watchmen on the wall against those who
would distort truth and preach a different gospel. If they do not blow the trumpet, the blood of
those who are destroyed because of the enemy’s lies will be on their head.
of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring
the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts,
and set him for their watchman: if when he seeth the sword come upon the land,
he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; then whoever heareth the sound of the
trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his
blood shall be upon his own head. He
heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon
him. But he that taketh warning shall
deliver his soul. But if the watchman
see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if
the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his
iniquity; but his blood will I required at the watchman’s hand. Eze. 33:2-6.
When the watchman’s trumpet is blown, it is dangerous
not to take warning. Jesus is coming for
a bride that is pure, unadulterated, “a glorious church without spot, or
wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5:27.
If the watchman fails to blow the trumpet, it is even worse.
SOME TOUGH SITUATIONS
if the pastor brought a Catholic priest to service, put his arm around the
priest and declared, “This is our brother and I love him. Listen to him - we can all learn from our
Catholic brothers and sisters. We love
Catholics and we all belong to the same family of God. We may not agree on everything, but Catholics
love Jesus too. We are on the same
side!” Would you stand up and cheer?
Would you hug the priest and say, “We love you and we are one with
you.”? Billy Graham did. He kissed the Pope’s ring and proclaimed that
the Pope is one of the greatest and holiest Christians in the world. Many other famous Christian leaders support
the worldwide ecumenical movement to unite Evangelicals and Pentecostals with
the Roman Catholic Church. The following is a list of famous Christians who are
supporting the ecumenical movement of the Catholic Church. Please note that you have the responsibility
to research these people to see if it is true.
Hinn is famous for his support of the Catholic Church as was his predecessor,
Katherine Kuhlman. Rick Joyner was
recently knighted by the Knights of Malta, a Catholic organization operating
out of the Vatican and
dedicated to supporting the Pope. Pat
Robertson, Paul and Jan Crouch, J. I. Packer, Jack Hayford, Jack Van Impe,
Robert Schuller, David Yonggi Cho, Dr. Cecil M. Robesh, Jr. (A leader in the
Assembly of God hierarchy), Paul Cain, Bill Bright (head of Campus Crusade for
Christ), The Salvation Army, Jerry Falwell, Jack Hayford, Chuck Colson, John
Arnott of the Toronto Blessing, among many others, have come out in support of
the ecumenical movement of the Catholic Church. Pat Robertson, Billy Graham,
Robert Schuller and David Yonggi Cho have participated at Catholic Masses. Rodney Howard-Browne prophesied that if the
Charismatics and Pentecostals refuse to join the Catholics, God would abandon
them and choose the Evangelicals to bring worldwide unity. Will you join them? Why not?
After all, these are the “anointed” of God and can perform signs and
wonders and we love them. As saints
begin to join the movement, will you warn them or join them? This is a crucial
question. Certainly, as you read the
names of some of the people in this paragraph, all kinds of emotions and
thoughts are going through your mind and not all of them complimentary to this
writer. But, if you are a lover of
truth, you will understand that truth cannot be compromised, even for those you
the stress and pressure of preaching to an audience can cause a speaker to
unintentionally blurt out something that is not biblical. Later, they don’t remember saying it and
never intended to say it in that manner.
I’ve done it too. But, it is a
one shot deal, accidental and not embraced by the person who said it. We’re not talking about one-shot,
inconsequential or immaterial errors made under stress. We’re talking about falsities that affect the
purity of our faith and cause people to
accept false doctrines to their detriment.
One can waste years or even an entire lifetime pursuing a false movement
you believe that holy laughter is the beginning of worldwide revival? Richard Roberts, Marilyn Hickey, Charles and
Francis Hunter and Kenneth Copeland do.
I don’t. I still believe that
repentance, the blood of the martyrs and much prayer serve as the impetus of
all revivals. I received books and tapes
on the Toronto Blessing and Pensacola Revival from close Christian friends
encouraging me to go to Toronto, bring our church
into the fold and “not to miss this great and last move of God.” One brother went to Toronto,
and came back convinced that the holy laughter movement was the move of the
Holy Spirit to bring revival, and tried to persuade our Christian organization
to join the movement. When I stated that
I didn’t believe it would bring worldwide revival, he became very cold towards
me. My purposes were pure but some
labeled me a false and unloving brother and I am no longer part of that
group. In the end times, those who cling
to the truth will be persecuted and ostracized as being outdated Bible
fundamentalists. Social and political
acceptance are more important to many than the truth.
there are times when the defenders of truth are themselves deceived, but their
intentions righteous. We are all in the
same situation. Our beliefs are subject
to scrutiny too. We all have the
responsibility to be as the noble Bereans and search the Scriptures diligently,
to see if those things spoken are true.
Ac. 17:10,11. Should we accept a
doctrine that says that we are already gods on earth? Many Christians, including the Pensacola and Toronto
leaders, Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland have accepted this doctrine called the
“Manifest Sons of God” (we are Christs on earth) and the “Latter Rain
Movement,” (similar outcome) and few have spoken up against it, having been
awed by the famous prophets that are promoting it. What about “Once saved, always saved?” or
“pre-tribulation rapture,” or the “prosperity” doctrine, or “Christians cannot
have demons,” or “tongues is of the Devil”? Beware the spirit behind many other
movements and doctrines that do not line up with the Word of truth. I’m not saying that everything these
Christians say are lies. Many are great
speakers and perhaps 95% of what they say is true; but beware the 5%. It is leaven.
We have a duty to search and see that everything is true. See Attachment “O” regarding the false
gospel of salvation.
understand that the writer does not have any personal problems with any of the
individuals and organizations above and has no intention to slander, defame or
libel any of them. I love them all. The allegations were taken from various
public writings and articles published by various Christian organizations as
supposed truth. I cannot vouch for their
authenticity and truth since I was not part of their research. Some individuals may have reversed their
stand or clarified certain positions.
You should do your own research on this matter.
we have been too lax in our attitudes towards Bible and Christian truths and
too condescending to challenge those we love when they spout false doctrines
that bend the truth, or support movements with untruths as their basis. Maybe we tend to “worship” famous Christians
because we admire them and are awed at their “power” and when they do or say
something contrary to the Bible, we blithely forget and dismiss it. This is extremely dangerous. It is putting people above the truth. Not only are we allowing Satan to plant his
lies in our hearts, we are disobeying God.
Certainly, we need to avoid presenting a “I’m right; you’re wrong!” face
and an arrogant, prideful attitude when speaking out for truth. Truth coming from a critical heart of
self-righteousness becomes a lie too. We
need to speak the truth in love.
that you know what God says about false doctrines, will you earnestly contend
for the faith? or will you sit back and disobey God’s command for the sake of
false unity? It’s your choice (or do you have a choice?).
“FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY” TEAMS
There are no five-fold ministry teams or apostles,
prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers today that are universally
recognized by the Body of Christ. (Eph.
4:11-14) Some Christians may be doing
some of the work of a five-fold minister and have some anointing, but no one is
fully operating in the power and office of an apostle, prophet, evangelist,
etc. as described in the Book of Acts and the epistles. Therefore, we do not presume that we can call
anyone by the titles given to five-fold ministers, with the obvious exception
of a pastor and a teacher, although even this is subject to question. We can only mimic some of the characteristics
of the five-fold ministry for the time being.
When it comes to pastors and teachers, we assume that a
pastor in the five-fold ministry is one who travels to teach other pastors - a
kind of pastor to pastors. A five-fold
teacher is one who goes from place to place teaching and being a teacher of teachers. Their anointing is on a higher and different
level from the pastors and teachers in a local church. Quite a few Christians can act as local
pastors and teachers, but only a few have the anointing to be recognized by the
church universal as five-fold pastors and teachers.
It is our belief that God will restore the power and
office of the five-fold ministry since the Bible speaks of a Bride of Christ, a
true and perfect church for the end times.
This true church will have all the markings and truth of the early
church, as well as most of its structure.
The true church is probably the “woman in the wilderness” out of which
the “man-child” spoken of in Revelation 12 will be birthed.
Five-fold Ministry Teams
Notwithstanding the absence of true five-fold ministers,
there will be a definite need for teams of mature leaders who will provide the
impetus and leadership for a house church movement, whether in the Philippines
or elsewhere. For the sake of
simplicity, we will focus primarily on the Philippines with an eye towards
developing a prototype that can be used in other countries and cultures,
and other Western countries.
These “five-fold” leaders should be of one accord, one
vision and one goal - to promote and nurture house churches and strive to keep
them non-denominational and united.
These should be all born-again, tongue-speaking and mature Christians
who have absolutely no self-promotion or glorification in mind. We need to remember that these five-fold
leaders will become largely independent and “on their own” once the
revival/harvest is in full bloom and during times of persecution. Therefore, we must all be of one heart and
one mind from the very outset. (The
author is not against denominations in the sense that they are false churches
or enemies of God. None of the
present-day churches are true yet, denominational or otherwise. However, God’s true church must be totally
united in doctrine, practices and heart.)
These “five-fold” leaders must be tested and proven by
God in order to become “apostles,” “prophets,” “evangelists,” etc. When God restores the true church, some will
actually receive an incredible level of anointing such as the original apostles
and other leaders had. Miracles, signs
and wonders will be wrought by the apostles once again. Ac. 5:12.
For this reason, choosing the right people from the outset is
vital. We need to pray hard that God
will show us who have been chosen by Him.
This step is essential and cannot be glossed over or influenced by
friendship, politics or social correctness.
As in the first century, the five-fold ministers must
lead the church in pureness of doctrine and practices, with a desire to form
the Bride of Christ. Watchman Nee, in
his book entitled Spiritual Authority, claims that a true prophet always has in
mind the Bride of Christ for the end times.
These must be the greatest examples of what a saint should be like. They will pay a heavy price for doing
so. If Bible history repeats itself, the
apostles and other five-fold leaders will be hunted down and killed by the
enemy first. It is conjectured that the
two groups of witnesses (martyrs) spoken of in Revelation 11, will be the
apostles and other five-fold ministers of the end times, although perhaps not
all five-fold people will go this way.
Some will end up in the Woman in the Wilderness or the Army of God
(man-child) spoken of in Revelation 12.
At any rate, the love factor in a candidate for the five-fold ministry
teams will be crucial. Is he willing to
die for the sake of the Gospel and the sheep entrusted to him?
What is the purpose of the five-fold ministry teams? The answer is found in the Bible pattern,
especially the book of Acts. They will
be the heads of the Church directly under Christ. The job of each member is specially outlined
in certain manuals and books we have already studied and will not be repeated
here. Five-fold ministers will be
expected to be field generals who will travel all over the land to visit house
churches and leaders in every locale.
The older ones who cannot travel as easily as the younger ones will
function closer to home and will serve as administrators as well.
These are some of the functions of the 5-fold ministry
1. Act as the
“glue” that holds the Church universal together.
2. Be the
guardians of pure doctrine and practices in the Church.
3. Teach, lay
hands on, ordain house church leaders and put them into their respective
4. Serve as icons,
examples and models for the Church, that others may follow (Paul often said,
“Follow me.” He was not saying that we
should be like him, but to follow his example of seeking to be conformed to the
image of Jesus Christ.).
5. Supervise the
house churches within their respective jurisdictions.
6. Assist other
five-fold ministers and cooperate with all leaders.
7. Work as a team
along with other leaders and other five-fold ministers with unity and
singleness of mind.
8. Be responsible
for the welfare of the Church.
Unity of vision and purpose
is a “must.” Eventually and especially
during times of persecution, five-fold ministers will find themselves isolated
and having to act on their own. Unless a
person is totally committed to unity and the doctrines and visions as agreed
upon, it is easy for such a person to stray, especially if he becomes
Five-fold ministers must have a direct line with God and
have almost daily communion with the Lord.
Everything they do must come out of the will of God. They must be spiritually mature in every
sense of the word. At this point, we
don’t know how God is going to accomplish the restoration of the five-fold
ministry, but we know He will in His own time and according to His own plan.
HOUSE CHURCH LEADERS
Some historians claim that the title “pastor” was rarely
used in documents written during the first three hundred years. They conclude that the early church never had
appointed leaders in a house church and that everyone was equal in terms of
making decisions and leading the group.
It is difficult to imagine a group without a leader, although some
choose to call such a person a coordinator or facilitator. My speculation is that the word “pastor” was
not easily given and the leader of a house group was just that - a house group leader,
overseer, or bishop. All were
elders. No one was really after titles,
or at least should not be.
The Bible clearly indicates that the Church had a chain
of command starting from Christ, then the five-fold ministry and ending with a
group of leaders called “elders.” The
house church leaders were probably elders.
These leaders met on issues that concerned the entire church. Ac. 15:6.
The five-fold ministry was accepted by the Church as “gifts” to the body
and people who supervised the goings-on of the local churches. Eph. 4:11-13.
In addition, the apostles especially, were gifted by God
to do and wrought many miracles - signs and wonders. It would be hard to imagine that they were
controlled by general consensus. Hebrews
13:17 says, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves
for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do
it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” A facilitator or coordinator does not
have “rule” over people according to the definitions given by groups that do
not believe in spiritual authority. We
can only speculate that past abuses by leadership have soured these groups who
now see everyone as being equal in terms of leadership.
As mentioned earlier, the Army of God mentioned in Joel
2:11, is comprised of Christians who “march every one on his ways, and …
shall not break ranks,” and they “… shall walk everyone in his path….” verses 7,8. These passages indicate that there are ranks
and different paths for each saint.
“Ranks” implies a chain of command involving different levels or
We conclude that house churches should have specific
leaders, including one who has overall charge or who is the overseer of the
group, and secondly there should be assistants to the leader. It is reported that some modern house groups,
especially in parts of mainland China, have a
registrar or recorder as well as an assistant.
The lack of usage of the word “pastor” or “pastors” may indicate
that the title was reserved to the five-fold ministry and not used to delineate
house church leaders. Perhaps, a
“pastor” was one who had up to a hundred house churches under his jurisdiction
or responsibility, as is seen in China
and elsewhere today. House church
leaders were elders by definition and also shepherds, overseers or
bishops. 1 Ti. 3:1. Since the title “pastor” was not often used,
this implies that house church leaders did not use that title, although there
is no conclusive evidence. However, as
Shakespeare said, “A rose by any name smells the same.”
We need to be aware also, of the fact that we are
discussing house churches and not just cell groups or house groups as
used by some denominations today to describe their church organization. Cell groups or house meetings that are
subordinate to and controlled by a central church and are actually
appendages. House churches, on the other
hand, are independent churches in and of themselves, although they may be part
of a larger network of churches and may or may not recognize certain members of
the five-fold ministry. In effect, the
words “facilitator” or “coordinator” may more accurately describe the central
headquarters for the particular area or region where the house church is
located. For instance, Jerusalem served as the central
headquarters out of which Peter, James and other apostles operated, while Antioch
was known to be the central headquarters out of which Paul and his helpers
operated. The relationship was a very
loose one in terms of direct supervision and possibly the only contact between
the central headquarters and the individual house churches in the outlying
regions was through the apostles and other five-fold ministry individuals who traveled
about the countryside and other areas.
Paul’s journeys took him to regions far distant from Antioch
and took him years at a time. He also
spend extended periods of time residing in cities such as Ephesus, Corinth,
During times of peace, it was possible to have a more
tightly organized house church network, with a pyramid type of structure in
which groups of house churches would be monitored and assisted by one “pastor”
and groups of pastors led by an apostle, and so forth. But, in times of persecution it is almost a
certainty that a central headquarters was a physical impossibility. Jerusalem was itself
destroyed about fifty years after Jesus returned to heaven. However, the five-fold ministry and “central
headquarters” became underground entities.
This is seen in mainland China where the
vast majority of house churches became almost entirely autonomous, except for
occasions when visitors from other churches and perhaps well-known mature
leaders would pay clandestine visits. It
is speculated that a very similar system will arise even in Western countries
when persecution sets in.
That is not to say that the house churches were
isolated. When I visited the underground
churches in mainland China about eight
years ago, they were well organized and each house church was familiar with
other saints that belonged to other house churches in the area. Each house church enjoyed a close
relationship with all the other house churches and knew the names of all the
house group leaders. It was as if there
was only one church in the entire city, although there was no formal
organization or physical structure. In China,
the house churches were well-organized and did, in fact, call their leaders
“Pastor.” The Chinese saints all spoke
of the leaders in reverent and respectful terms, whether it was their pastor or
some other group’s leader. This is what
God always purposed - a universal church that is one in love and Spirit. The true church was not a huge congregation
within one monstrous building, but rather a living organism spread out over the
entire area, each working together for the head - Jesus Christ.
Our conclusion is that it makes very little difference
what we call the leader. Modern custom
says “Pastor,” while history does not record such a title being widely used in
house churches. Whether we call the
house church leader a “house shepherd,” “pastor,” “overseer,” “elder,” or
“bishop” make little difference except to a few saints who love titles. If you follow 1 Timothy 3:1, the title
“bishop” would seem appropriate. Another
correct title would be “elder.” Ac. 14:23. For the sake of clarity, however, we will
continue to use “pastor” since it is by far the most commonly used title.
1 Timothy 3:1-13 well describes the qualifications of a
bishop (elder) and a deacon, and we will not repeat those requirements
here. In times of persecution and in the
midst of a revival/harvest, we would be hard pressed to find large numbers of
fully qualified leaders. It is reported
that during past revival/harvest times, there was an extreme shortage of
teachers and leaders and saints who had been converted only six months previous
had to be pressed into service as teachers for the Lord.
It would therefore, seem that the following will be
1. Begin the
training process as soon as possible in order to have as many qualified house
church leaders as possible when revival/harvest comes.
2. Condense as
many teaching outlines as possible, especially Foundation courses so that new
converts can receive and absorb the lessons as quickly as possible without
sacrificing quality. On the positive
side, it is said that after a few years, even college graduates forget over 85%
of what they learned in college and after ten years, retain only 5% to
10%. They will remember only the
3. New teaching
outlines should be available to as many as possible. When revival/harvest begins, it may be too
late to start writing and printing these outlines. We need to start now!
4. A house church
“elder” should be someone who is solid in terms of Bible doctrines and
practices. Preferably, he or she should
be a mature Christian. However, field
conditions may require a great deal of adaptation. Nevertheless, guidelines should be adhered
5. An elder must
be born-again, preferably tongue-speaking and anointed of the Lord.
6. The current
leaders of the existing church should lay hands on these house church elders
and impart the Holy Spirit and anointing to them before they are released into
their house church ministry.
7. There should be
minimal training at least, for these elders.
8. These elders
should be made acquainted with other elders and leaders in their area. This is so they can rely on help from outside
and be able to meet periodically with others.
A line of communication will be essential. There should be no renegades, even during
times of persecution.
9. These elders
should be subject to an appointed “apostle” or mature Christian who will
periodically “drop in” to help steer the house church in the right direction in
terms of doctrines and practices.
Prophets and evangelists should also be part of the house church’s
exposure to other parts of the Body of Christ.
Some loose organization is necessary and should be acknowledged by each
house church leader. Otherwise, there is
a danger of isolation and deception.
Without constant and periodic checks and balances, cults could result
and heresies abound.
Initially, these house church leaders should be trained and given a
certificate or diploma that indicates that they are qualified to lead a house
church. The Bible college at Santa Rosa
or the vocational training center could serve as the initial training
House Group Leaders
Assuming that the restoration of house churches will
follow the Bible pattern, we know that house groups were places of worship and
service. A house group leader must be
given to hospitality and service.
Although others pitched in to help serve and care for the members, the
owner of the house had additional duties.
He/she had to make sure that the house was clean and presentable at all
times, that supplies of food and other comfort items were provided and that
everyone knew the times and order of gatherings, etc. He had to have his children and wife in order
and have no rebellion in the family.
It was a privilege to have your house as a gathering
place of the saints, but there are certain responsibilities as well. Supposedly, the owner of the house is also
the leader, but not always so. Some
leaders do not own a house and it is plausible that another person’s house
could serve as a meeting place, although the leader comes from elsewhere.
The scriptures show that Christians went from house to
house to share a meal and to fellowship.
Therefore, the house owner or leader should be hospitable and willing to
serve others. He had to be wise and have
spiritual maturity in order to feed the sheep spiritual things. He had to have an abundance of love and the
ability to teach and guide. He must be
one who is well-respected in the community.
As God reveals further truth and strategies, we will make
REVIVAL AND PERSECUTION
According to our Lord Jesus, the end of the age will
be heralded in by “the beginning of sorrows.” Mt. 24:8.
Immediately following will be tribulation, often called the “Great
Tribulation.” At the same time, there
will be the last and greatest revival of all time. Matthew 24:14 says, “And this gospel of
the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations;
and then shall the end come.”
Revelation 14:6 says, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of
heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the
earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” Therefore, we know that a great revival
is going to take place before the end.
It is inconceivable that the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached and
that an angel will cause the everlasting gospel to be preached unto all on
earth without a revival/harvest resulting.
God’s word will never come back void.
In 1998, an angel appeared to us in Lal-lo, Tucalana in
of Cagayan and announced that a
revival would take place in that area in the northern Philippines. In 2001, four members of our team saw the
same angel standing in the exact same spot, flanked on each side by two other
angels. Because of that, we began
concentrating on the Philippines. An explanation of that is attached
In Matthew 24:15, after Jesus announced that a great
revival was going to take place, he said in the very next verse, “When ye
therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the
prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let
them that be in Judaea
flee into the mountains:….” This
indicates that the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet is
either soon on the heels of revival or almost concurrent.
The abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the
prophet is found in Daniel 8:11-14; 9:17,26-27; 11:31; 12:11.
he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily
sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And a host was given him against the daily
sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground;
and it practiced, and prospered. That I
heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which
spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the
transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be
trodden under foot? And he said unto me,
Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be
cleansed. Da. 8:11-14.
. . (A)nd cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the
Lord’s sake. O my God, incline thine
ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolation…. Da. 9:17,18.
after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, and not for himself:
and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the
sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the
war desolations are determined. And he
shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week
he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the
overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even unto the
consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. Da. 9:26-27.
arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength,
and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination
that maketh desolate. Da. 11:31.
from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination
that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety
days. Da. 12:11.
Therefore, it is clear that during the end times,
Christians will be widely persecuted and eventually the government (one-world
government) is going to make worship to the Lord Jesus Christ illegal. There will be a one-world government and a
one-world religion as prophesied in Revelation 13.
The churches will be destroyed and/or made desolate or
empty. Daniel 7:21 says, “I beheld,
and the same horn made war against the saints, and prevailed against
them.” Verse 25 says, “And he
shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of
the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into
his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” (note: 3-½ years) Revelation 13:7 says, “And it was given
unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given
him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
But in the very end, the people of God shall
prevail. Da. 7:22,27. There will be a group of Christians who will
be left standing in the end.
Dispensationalist and others that believe in Pre-tribulation Rapture
claim that after Revelation 2 and 3 there is no mention of the church and
therefore, it means that the church has been raptured up. We disagree.
No mention is made of the church because it will be destroyed.
The point is, persecution/tribulation will likely come
sometime during revival or immediately thereafter. When one prays for revival, he must be aware
that he is also praying for persecution and tribulation. We are not to avoid persecution and
tribulation, but to prepare for it. That
is why we are intent on house churches that will be ready for revival and also
allow as many saints to survive as possible.
Not many will survive.
2 Thessalonians says,
no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come except there come
a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is
worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself
that he is God.
When the one-world government
lines every one up and demands that Christians either renounce Jesus and take
the mark of the beast, or be killed, many will take the easy way out and
renounce Jesus. They will fall away from
The process of falling away started a long time ago with
the introduction of pagan practices and “new doctrines” not taught by the early
apostles. The man of sin is no other
than the spirit of the fallen Adam, the man of
sin, the son of perdition. The
question is - who sits on the throne in your heart, in the temple
which is your body? 1 Co. 6:19. Is it the First Adam, the man of sin, or the
Last Adam, Jesus Christ? Those who still
worship self will renounce Jesus and
take the mark. On that day, the man of
sin will be revealed.
Watchman Nee’s book entitled The Normal Christian Life
serves as the basis for our foundational teaching on how God plans to have
mature sons and daughters in the image of His Son Jesus.
His book has been carefully summarized chapter by chapter
(14 of them) and they have been outlined to create a teaching manual on the
subject, along with test questions and answers.
Both the summaries (in the form of fourteen newsletters) and the
teaching manual are available. This
topic is essential to our understanding of who we are and how we are to live
out our lives as Christians. Those who
do not clearly have God’s plan in their heart will find it difficult to mature
spiritually in the fullness of Christ.
While there may be saints who will attain a high position in heaven
through the sacrifice of their life as martyrs, walking the earth and living a
Christian life in extended service to the Lord is another matter. The latter takes divine revelation,
discipline and an utter devotion to God‘s purposes.
The other reason for the teaching manual is the
understanding that during the coming revival and persecution soon to follow,
new converts have only a short span of time to mature. Therefore, we have strived to put together a
program of teaching that emphasizes the absolute essentials in as short a time
The newsletters and the teaching manual will be made
available to all house group leaders.
Authority is the title of a book
compiled through the teachings of Watchman Nee.
Like The Normal Christian Life, Spiritual Authority is a
vital revelation of how a Christian must live his life in order to serve
God. It emphasizes God’s authority and
our need to be submissive and obedient to all authority. Without obedience, God’s kingdom cannot be
established on earth.
God chose the Church to manifest His glory on earth. Sadly, the Church has been largely
ineffective because of much rebellion, hidden and overt. Since we are entering an age during which the
Church will be perfected and without spot, wrinkle or blemish or any such
thing, we need to receive direct revelation about the importance of obedience.
Like The Normal Christian Life, this book has been
summarized chapter by chapter and placed in newsletter form. There are twenty chapters and therefore,
twenty newsletters. Again, this book has
been reduced to a teaching manual with test questions and answers for each
chapter. Both the newsletters and the
teaching manual will be made available to all house group leaders.
Learning submission, humility and obedience is mandatory
if we are to become the Bride of Christ.
STATEMENT OF FAITH
LIGHT OF THE WORLD MISSIONS
LIGHT OF THE WORLD MISSIONS – PHILIPPINES
There is only one God, - the God of
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as revealed in the Bible, both Old and New
Testaments. Any “God” or “Jesus” who is
not the same as described in the Bible, and in particular, the King James
Version, is a different God and a different Jesus. The almighty God is omnipotent, omniscient,
omnipresent. He is love.
The Bible is
the inerrant Word of God, written by men through the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit. Errors in the Bible are mostly
errors in translation and other supposed errors will be revealed as truth in
due time. We believe that the King James Version is the most accurate Bible,
despite a few translation errors.
However, we do occasionally use other Bibles for reference or
comparison. The Bible was written by men
inspired by God and is the complete truth.
Forty-four men wrote the Bible over a span of about 1,600 years from
different locations, but each writer is consistent with all the other writers
in describing the nature of God. No one
is allowed to distort, change or add to the Bible. The Bible is to be interpreted according to
its historical context and all doctrines and teachings not consistent with the
Bible are to be discarded.
Since the Bible is clear that any Jesus or doctrine not
taught by the early apostles should be rejected, we do not accept any modern or
“new interpretation” or revelation that was never part of the teachings
espoused by the first century apostles, although some passages are to be
interpreted with a historical perspective.
Such doctrines include the Pre-tribulation Rapture, Satan’s name is
Lucifer, December 25 is Jesus’ birthday, Easter (Ishtar) represents Jesus’
resurrection, Third Wave, Dispensationalism, Dominion Doctrine, Manifest Sons
of God, Latter Rain, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith Movement, and similar beliefs
never taught by the early apostles.
We do not accept scriptural passages taken out of context
or isolated from the rest of the Bible.
The main question is - was the passage of scripture intended by the writer
to answer the very question that the scripture is being used to answer? If not, then it is out of context. We believe that accurate interpretation of
the Bible is the ministry of the Holy Spirit and only He can guide us into all
We believe in
the trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. It is a mystery, but the Bible is
clear that God is described as three distinct persons but God is one. 1 Jn. 5:7,8.
is God and God created the heavens and
the earth through the Spirit of God.
Gen. 1:1. The Bible says that
Jesus created the heavens and the earth and everything in it (through the Holy
Spirit). Jn. 1:1-3,10; Eph. 3:9; Col.
1:16. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost all
have the same nature, honor and glory, have different personalities and
functions in the plan of redemption. All
three are in total agreement.
JESUS CAME TO EARTH Before He created the worlds, God had two eternal
purposes in His heart: to have sons and daughters in His image and to have a
Church without spot, wrinkle or blemish that would become the Bride of
Christ. Jesus came to earth in the flesh
in order to bring men back to God‘s original purposes. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born
of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross on Calvary for the sins of
the world, rose bodily from the dead and ascended back into heaven. He is presently in heaven, seated on the
right hand of the Father where He will reign until all His enemies are made His
footstool (defeated). 1 Co.
15:24,25. We reject the idea that Jesus
was just a man who was made into a god because of His good works. In order to set up the kingdom
on earth, He had to establish submission and obedience. Therefore, it was necessary for Him to say
that the Father was greater than the Son.
was, is and will always be God, - before He came to earth, while he was on
earth in the flesh, today and forevermore.
He gave up all His glory and power to become like you and me when He
walked the earth in the flesh, but He was still God. Heb. 4:15. While on earth, Jesus did all of
His miracles, including healing of the sick, casting out of devils, raising the
dead, feeding the multitudes, walking on water, etc., by and through the power
of the Holy Ghost.
born-again Christians have the same Holy Ghost in them and the same power
available to do the same things Jesus did when He walked the earth, depending
on their level of purity, obedience and faith.
Jn. 14:12. The power of God is
given to all born-again Christians to preach the gospel of salvation to all the
world. Ac. 1:8. We reject the idea that we are gods or that
we will become gods or Christs on earth or in heaven.
is a gift of grace from God, through faith.
If one confesses his sins and repents, if he believes in Jesus as the
Son of God who died for our sins on the Cross and rose from the dead on the
third day to redeem us from our sins, and if he receives the Holy Ghost, he is
born again and saved. One cannot “earn”
his way to heaven by good works. We are
saved by grace through faith. After
salvation, however, we are commanded to do good works according to the will of
God. All works that do not originate
from the mind of God are unacceptable “dead works.”
Jesus commands us to be baptized by immersion under
water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; in the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ. However,
God will have mercy and grace when it comes to those who are bed-ridden or of
an advanced age, as we have experienced.
Water baptism is a public declaration that we are united with Jesus
Christ in His death and burial. When we
emerge from the waters of baptism, it speaks of our unity with Christ in
resurrection. Ro. 6:3-5. We need to undergo water baptism where
possible, in obedience to the Lord Jesus.
Holy Communion, often referred to as the Lord’s Supper,
the Last Supper or the Holy Eucharist, is symbolic. It reminds us of the body and blood of Jesus
that was sacrificed on the cross. It
also reminds us that He lives within us by His Spirit. It is also a public declaration that the Lord
Jesus Christ is our Master and our God.
A NEW RACE AFTER THE LAST
We believe that we were identified with Christ when He
died on the Cross and rose from the dead.
By faith, our sin nature passed down by the First Adam was nailed to the
Cross and we are dead to sin. When we
rose from the dead with Christ, we were born into a new race of people after
the Last Adam, Jesus Christ, who is also called the Second Man. Sin has no more dominion over us and we are
new creatures in Christ.
OLD COVENANT VS. NEW COVENANT
Jesus disannulled the covenant made with Moses, sealed by
circumcision. The ritual and ceremonial
laws were done away with and the moral laws, including the Ten Commandments
were written in our hearts and minds.
Heb. 8:5-13. We are no longer
bound to obey the written laws and to observe Sabbaths, holydays and new moons
in the flesh, including Easter and Christmas.
Under the New Covenant, Jesus became our Sabbath, our rest. Heb. 4:3-11. The things that happened in the
Old Testament were to serve as examples and shadows of heavenly things (to
come). Heb. 8:5; Col. 2:17. Under the new covenant, we are to be led by
the Holy Spirit in all things. If we are
led by the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Gal. 5:16.
The laws and statutes of the Old Testament were to show us that it is
impossible to obey in the flesh. As
born-again Christians, we are to live our lives by obedience to the Holy
BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST
Jesus commanded His disciples to wait until the promise
of the Holy Ghost was received. After
receiving the Holy Ghost, the disciples had power to spread the Gospel. Ac. 1:8.
As His disciples waited in an upper room, the Holy Ghost suddenly came
as a mighty wind and cloven tongues of fire settled on the head of each
disciple who began speaking in a strange tongue. Ac. 2:1-4.
After the baptism of the Holy Ghost, we too will have power to preach
the Gospel throughout the world, followed by signs and wonders. We believe that speaking in strange tongues
is evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost.THE CHURCH
We believe that Jesus Christ is coming back for a bride
without spot, blemish or wrinkle – a true church that has not committed
fornication with other gods and religions, that has not changed the doctrines
espoused by the early apostles in any meaningful way and who earnestly contend
for the faith which was once delivered to the saints, including the gifts and
fruit of the Holy Spirit. God has chosen
the Church to manifest His authority and kingdom on earth and requires that all
saints submit to spiritual authority, whether direct or indirect. God delegates His authority to humans, and
disobedience to such delegated authority is disobedience to God.
believe that there are two opposing kingdoms – the kingdom of God
(light) versus the kingdom of
(darkness). Satan’s ultimate goal is to
rule the world and destroy all true Christians.
Rev. 13:7,8; Da. 7:21,25. There
will be a time when a one-world government and one-world religion will rule the
world and make worship of Jesus illegal, punishable by death (abomination of
desolation). Mt. 24:15; Da. 8:11,24; 9:26,27; 11:31. The Church will be
physically destroyed, but God will raise up a remnant that will ultimately
defeat Satan and his kingdom. Re. 19:11-21.
believe that there is a Satan, also called the devil, dragon, adversary and
other names. He is the present prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2); that
is, he rules from the mid-heavens where his princes (strongmen) have their
thrones and they control areas of the world assigned to them by Satan. Eph. 6:12.
Many problems and most illnesses are caused by demonic powers. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but
against principalities, against powers, against the powers of darkness of this
earth, and against spiritual wickedness in high places. Eph. 6:12.
One of the signs of a true believer is his ability to
cast out devils, speak in new tongues and heal the sick. Mk. 16:17-19.
Jesus gave us power over demons.
Angels are real and there are various kinds that mankind
do not have full knowledge of. They can
be messengers of God, warring angels, guardian angels and the like. Satan’s demons are sometimes called dark or
OUR RESPONSIBILITY REGARDING THE WAR
It is the responsibility of the Church to destroy Jesus’
enemies so He can come back to usher in the Millennial Age. Jesus will remain in heaven until His enemies
are destroyed. The last enemy to be
destroyed is death. 1 Co. 15:26; Heb. 10:13; Ac. 34,35. As we approach the end of the age, Satan will
increase his activities on earth and there will be a final battle of the ages
between the powers of darkness and God’s people. Victory for God’s people is already assured
(Rev. 12:11; Da. 7:22,26), but many Christians will fall away from the
faith. 2 Th. 2:3.
RITUALS, CEREMONIES AND
As stated above, Jesus required that we observe only two
rituals or ceremonies: (1) water baptism; (2) Holy Communion. We are not commanded or obligated to observe
any Sabbath, holyday or new moon, including Christmas and Easter. Col. 2:16; Gal. 4:9-11. We believe that Christmas, Easter and many
other observances come from the Babylonian religion and are abominations to
God. Fornication with the enemy will result
in the destruction of many Christians and churches in the end times. Eze. 8:3-18; Eze. 9:1-7.
We believe that any doctrine introduced after the first
century church should be rejected as being contrary to instructions by the
early apostles not to accept any doctrine not taught by the early
apostles. 2 Co. 11:3,4; Gal. 1:8; Tit. 1:9,10,11,13,
Jude 3. This includes doctrines and
movements such as the Dominion doctrine, Manifest Sons of God, Latter Rain,
Dispensationalism, Pre-Tribulation or Mid-Tribulation Rapture, Replacement,
Restoration, Laughter Revival, Third Wave and other recent movements.
This does not mean that there is no room for
interpretation of scriptures, but when an interpretation, doctrine or movement
is directly contrary to, leads us believe in a false hope or message, tends to
take our focus away from perfection in Jesus or shifts our attention to a
belief that has no real scriptural basis, we should soundly reject it.
We do not believe in either pre-tribulation or
mid-tribulation rapture. There are three
direct scriptures that say that Jesus is coming back after the tribulation (Mt.
24:29,30; Mk. 13:26; Lk. 21,27.), and one indirect statement that says that the
resurrection of the martyrs that are beheaded during tribulation is the first
resurrection. Rev. 20:5. There are no direct or indirect scriptures
saying that Jesus is coming back before or during tribulation. We reject all scriptures not intended to
answer the question – when will Jesus return?
They are out of context. No
indirect scripture or other Bible passage not intended to answer that question
can overturn a direct passage that was intended to answer the same
question. In addition, we reject those
doctrines on ground that they were not taught by the original apostles, as
required by 2 Co. 11:3,4; Gal. 1:8; Tit. 1:9,10,11,13, Jude 3.
We believe that there will be a taking away only when
Jesus returns at the end of the age after tribulation, with His armies, to
destroy all evil on the earth. Rev.
19:11-21. The “rapture” in Revelation
12:5 is only of the man-child army of God which takes place after the first
3-1/2 years of Tribulation. Any other
belief is calculated to weaken the saints.
In the end times, many saints will be unprepared when they are caught in
the coming tribulation.
We reject the belief that Satan’s name is Lucifer. “Lucifer” is a Latin word that was mistakenly
left in the King James Version when it was translated. The person referred to in Isaiah 14:12 is the
fallen Adam. Satan was never an
archangel, and he never rebelled and was cast out of heaven to earth never to
return. There is no scripture calling
Satan an archangel. He was a murderer
from the beginning and the father of lies.
Jn. 8:44. He sinned from the
beginning. 1 Jn. 3:8. Rev. 12:9-10 which describes Satan and his
evil angels being defeated by Michael the archangel and cast down to earth,
speaks of the end times, not a time before Adam and Eve were created. Satan still has access to the throne of
God. He petitions God to have you and
me. Rev. 12:10; Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7,
Lk. 22:31. There will be a time soon
when Satan will be cast down to earth.
Jesus foretold it in Luke 10:18.
CHRISTMAS AND EASTER
Christmas and Easter are abominations to God. Historically, December 25 was the birthday of
Tammuz, the sun god of Babylon, whose signs are
green trees cut out of the forest, made to stand upright and decked with silver
and gold. Jer. 10:1-5. Easter is the Anglican spelling of the name
“Ishtar,” the Babylonian goddess-mother of Tammuz who was the goddess of
witchcraft and fertility. Her signs were
colored eggs and hot-cross buns. She is
also called the Queen of Heaven (Jer. 44:17,l8,19) and Lady (“Madonna”). Is. 47:5.
We sometimes refer to her as Jezebel, one of her many forms.
We renounce and reject the ecumenical movement presently
being advanced and promoted by the Roman Catholic Church and endorsed by many
Evangelicals and Pentecostal/ Charismatic leaders. This movement is designed to create a
one-world religion as described in Revelation 13:7,8 and 11-18, and is of the
Devil. We reject any compromise in
doctrine and practice that deviate from the principles of the early church and
as taught by the original apostles. It
is part of the Devil’s plan to form a one-world religion that will eventually
cause Christianity to be out-lawed and destroyed.
We believe that Holy Spirit revival can be attained only
through heartfelt repentance for the sins of the people and much prayer. The Scripture example is Da. 9:1-19. “Revival” refers to the saints, while
“harvest” refers to unbelievers. Revival
must come before the end of the age. Mt.
24:14; Mk. 13:10. Therefore, the Church
must repent and return to God. However,
the Church must also prepare for tribulation that will come even as revival is
on-going or soon thereafter.
We believe that God is going to restore the five-fold
ministry as described in Eph. 4:11-13 which God gave as gifts to the church and
for the purpose of government. However,
only God can appoint, commission and anoint any of His leaders into the
five-fold ministry. The government of
the first century church was built on the five-fold ministry network that
worked as a team to forge a strong foundation based on the Word of God, to
edify and perfect the saints and strengthen the local churches. Eph. 4:11-13.
Because of the current disunity of the Body of Christ, there is no
current and true five-fold ministry, although there are individuals who are
being called and prepared by God to function as five-fold ministry as the true
church comes to fruition. The five-fold
ministry is to train the saints, edify and perfect them; not to do all the
work. The work of the preaching the
gospel of salvation is the responsibility of all saints, individually and
Malachi 4:5 says that God will send the spirit of “Elijah
the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he
shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the heart of the
children to their fathers.” A sign of the end of the age and the return of
the Lord Jesus is the restoration of the true church. Jesus said that Elijah comes to restore all
things. Mt. 17:11. However, it will probably be only a small
portion of the Body of Christ that will be part of the restoration.
Denominational differences and carnal, self-serving minds will not bend
and many will be men-pleasers instead of God pleasers.
The spirit of Elijah will be poured out on some of God’s
servants who will strive to right the church and bring unity to those who would
obey. They will bring truth back to the
church in terms of doctrines, government and maturity. They will cause the men in the church to take
their rightful positions and responsibilities and will raise up “fathers” in the
church. We note that apostles and
spiritually mature male leaders were called “fathers” in the Bible. 1Co. 4:15; 1 Jn. 2:13,14. There are few fathers or spiritually mature
men in the present church. By mature, we
mean people who have an intimate relationship with God, and manifest the fruit
and gifts of the Spirit in signs and wonders and demonstration of the power of
the Holy Spirit. When the fathers are
restored, they will turn their hearts to the children of the kingdom and the
children of the kingdom will turn their hearts back to the fathers.
has given gifts to men. God appoints
Christians into particular ministries and anoints them for the ministry at His
own pleasure. Although gifts are good
and necessary, they do not necessarily change the hearts of men. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit that
reveal the inner condition of a Christian.
Love remains as the greatest fruit of the Spirit. Love is the basis of both the character of
God and the nature of the kingdom of heaven.
Love brings forth humility, submission, loyalty, obedience and the other
fruits of the Spirit. We are to move in
love towards God and one another. A sign
of the end times is the loss of love in the church. Mt. 24:12; Mk. 14:12.
We believe that the world is already engulfed in a
spiritual city called Babylon. This spiritual city mimics historical Babylon and
features the same nefarious characteristics:
infant sacrifice (abortions, sexual promiscuity, disdain for marriage
(divorces), mind-altering drugs (cocaine was invented by the Mesopotamians, the
fore-runners of Babylon),
homosexuality, astrology/psychic activities, confusion and female
leadership. It is Satan’s
playground. His ruling spirits include
Jezebel and Ahab, pride, greed, murder and violence, death and occult mind
We believe that many churches are being controlled by the
Spirit of Jezebel and Ahab. Rev.
2:20. As a church, we are to stand up,
engage the enemy and destroy the works of the devil. 1 Jn. 3:8b.
We do not believe in controlling the affairs of other
churches. We believe that the government
of the Body of Christ is in the hands of the five-fold ministry that God is
going to restore. Apostles, prophets,
evangelists, pastors and teachers will work as a team. Five-fold ministry will provide a spiritual
bonding for all churches and will confirm, lay on hands to impart spiritual
gifts, release pastors, teachers and other elders into the local churches and
lead the saints into perfection in Jesus.
Eph. 4:11-13. As in the New
Testament, the elders in a local church will come together to discuss matters
that affect the local church and all the elders of local churches will come
together to pray over and decide matters affecting the entire true Body of
RESTORATION OF GOD’S TRUE CHURCH
When God restores the five-fold ministry, He will also
restore the spiritual power that enabled the apostles to preach with signs and
wonders following. The demonstration of
power by the Holy Ghost will be great.
While others have prophesied the restoration of apostles and prophets,
we do not agree that the entire existing church will be led into an era of
victory and glory and shall rule the earth to welcome Jesus when He
returns. We believe that the church is
headed for destruction and will be overcome by Satan‘s beast or one of the
horns on the beast. Rev. 13:7,8; Da.
7:21,25. In the very end, however, a
remnant shall be victorious and usher in the Millennial Age. Out of the few remaining true Christians,
will come the “woman in the wilderness” (Rev. 12:1,2, 4b-6,13-16), the
man-child army (Rev. 12:5) and the martyrs (Rev. 12:17). All others will fall away from the
faith. 2 Th. 2:3.
We believe that house churches will be restored in the
end times. The first three hundred years
of the church featured house churches with twenty to forty members, on the
average. These churches made it possible
to more easily mature the saints, bring unity and singleness of heart, and
proliferate all over the then-known world.
This format also enabled the church to go underground and survive
vicious attacks and attempts to destroy all Christians.
ARMY OF GOD
We believe that
the man-child of Revelation 12:5 is the Army of God - 144,000 in all (12,000
from each tribe). It is not natural Israel. Born-again Christians of every ethnic
background make up spiritual Israel. Romans 2:28,29 says, “For he is not a Jew,
which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the
flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the
heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of
God.” Galatians 6:15 says, “For
in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availed any thing, nor uncircumcision, but
a new creature.” There are many
scriptures that say that there will be a people who were not God’s people, who
will be called the people of God. 1 Pet.
2:10; Rev. 5:9; Ro. 9:25. This army will
be taken up to the throne of God and stand with Jesus on the mount
(Rev. 14:1) and will follow Jesus wherever He goes. When Jesus comes back, they will be on white
horses as part of His armies (Rev. 19:14) and will come to destroy all evil on
earth. They are also spoken of in Joel
2:1-11 and Isaiah 13:1-20.
JESUS COMING BACK
We believe that Jesus is coming back for His Bride - a
perfect Church made up of perfect sons and daughters who are children of
light. No one knows when He is
returning, but the Father, but His return is imminent. Before the Lord returns, the Church will be
overcome by the Devil, except for a remnant.
God’s people will be purified and the remnant will prevail and overcome
in the end. Da. 7:22,25; Rev. 12:11. The saints will then rule forever and ever.
TRAINING CENTERS AND OTHER THINGS
Initial Training Centers
The initiating church can be the first training center
for the purpose of preparing house church pastors and leaders. The current staff can act as the original
instigators and workers. There are many
reasons why a training center is needed: (1) to provide networking and
coordination among the house churches; (2) to train all pastors and workers on
a continual basis; (3) to encourage cooperation, close relationships and mutual
help among the house churches in the area.
Either the training center or some other location can be
used to hold a monthly celebration service.
(There will be a time when this cannot take place, such as during
persecution.) All house churches in the
area are required to attend such celebrations which should be held at least
once a month, perhaps on the first Sunday.
These monthly celebrations help to acquaint the saints with one another
and foster friendships and personal ties.
The service should focus on worship and not so much on teaching,
although the Holy Spirit is the final arbiter.
The Need for Networking
There is a need for good networking in both times of
peace and persecution. Establish good
communications and contacts among the house churches so that the saints will be
familiar as possible with one another.
During times of relative peace, the church will be able to move forward
quicker through the help of others. For
instance, a house church in a particular area can be established by
house-to-house canvassing in which several house churches work together.
During times of persecution, networking will be
absolutely necessary. In the Bible, Saul
of Tarsus was persecuting the Christians and going house to house to find and
arrest church leaders. Jesus prophesied
that this will happen again. In such
times, some saints will be forced to flee their homes and it is essential that
other saints provide food, shelter and protection. This is how the underground churches in China
were able to survive fifty years of persecution by the government. It is also the method used to escape
persecution for almost 2,000 years.
The training center will be responsible for keep track of
all house churches, monitoring their progress and accounting for the weekly
tithes and distributions. The use of
computers nowadays makes it quick and simple to do so. As mentioned earlier, the American tax system
exempts qualified non-profit organizations, including churches. However, the process is rather complex and
time consuming. Therefore, house
churches without a Tax-Exmpt Letter of Authorization cannot give their members
tax deductions derived from tithes and offerings. The solution is to have each house church
forward their tithes and offerings and pass it through the training center or
originator church (we assume that the training center or church is
tax-exempt). After passing it through
its bank account and records, the training center or church will return 90% of
the tithes and offerings and retain 10% of its operating expenses.
A second method is to allow the training center or church
to decide where to put the monies. This
method will provide financial assistance to smaller or less-fortunate groups.
A word of caution - a computer should hold only certain
information. If we assume that the
enemies of the church can someday gain possession of the computer, we need to
be careful about what goes into the computer.
When I was in mainland China
ministering to underground house churches, persecution was on-going and the
government had confiscated a church computer with the names of all the members
and leaders. As a result, the leaders
were all in hiding and could not meet with me.
However, the house churches remained intact by moving to another
location - mostly the houses of other members.
A primary function of the training center is to provide
instruction and training for would-be house church pastors and leaders and a
act as a dispenser of current information and up-dates for pastors and leaders
already in place.
The center should be prepared to teach the foundations of
Christianity, as well as deeper subjects such as deliverance, inner healing and
counseling. Each potential house church
leader should undergo strict training before being ordained as a minister. This a necessary in order to maintain a high
level of purity in the churches and to eliminate possible cults wherever
The true church of God will all have the
same beliefs and doctrines. Therefore,
from the outset, it must be determined which doctrines are false and which are true. This is an important step. After agreeing, each pastor or potential
pastor must agree to strictly adhere to these doctrines and practices that have
been determined to be pure and true.
During times of persecution, Bibles and other publications
may be scarce. True, no matter what the
abundance of these items is, the government is likely to confiscate and destroy
all Bibles and other Christian literature.
Nonetheless, it is incumbent on the training center to produce as much
as it can, especially during times of relative peace and liberty. During revival, it will be very helpful to
have literature to distribute to the many new converts.
It is always helpful to print and distribute current news
and to introduce other saints in the network, regardless of peace or
persecution. The training center should
be the central headquarters.
At the outset, may be profitable to print and distribute
outlines on the foundational truths of Christianity, evangelism, spiritual
warfare and the like.
Although there are no five-fold ministers today, at least
in the mold of the early apostles, we believe that God will restore the
five-fold ministry in His time. The
training centers will serve as headquarters to send various workers, five-fold
or not, to the mission field or remote areas to monitor the existing churches
and help plant additional churches. The
initial group should work as a team.
Over time and assuming that the house church movement is
successful, there will be a time when house churches will spread out over a
geographic area that is too wide and broad to maintain contact and
communications. At this point, a second
training center should be established to minister to the new house churches on
the outer edges. Ultimately, there
should be many training centers all over the city and region. This is precisely what happened in mainland China.
Chain of Command
As suggested earlier, there should be a chain of command
in the shape of a triangle, with the regional head at the top, five or more
regional leaders under him/her. Each
regional leader will have five to ten provincial leaders under the and each
provincial leader should have five area leaders under his/her command. In turn,
each area leader should have five to ten house churches to tend to.
It should be emphasized that house churches work as a
team. Everyone must contribute. Therefore, there must be a bonding of minds
and hearts and a common vision. That
vision should be concentrated on furthering the kingdom
through evangelism and building the church.
There are no prima donnas and those being trained for leadership should
be reminded constantly of what Jesus said in Matthew 20:25-27:
know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they
that are great exercise authority upon them.
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you,
let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be
The word “servant” is
interpreted as “slave” in the original Greek.
Those who are promoted to leadership roles are those who serve
more. Anyone who covets titles and
positions is disqualified. There is
nothing wrong with desiring to serve and being promoted as a consequence; but
to desire title for the sake of personal benefit is pride. Such persons can greatly damage the church by
setting a bad example for the rest to follow.
REGIONAL TRAINING CENTER
(Possibly the originating church)
FIVE REGIONAL LEADERS
Who each supervise:
FIVE ZONE LEADERS
Who each supervise:
FIVE DISTRICT LEADERS
Who each supervise:
FIVE AREA LEADERS
Who each supervise:
FIVE HOUSE CHURCHES
Tithes and Offerings:
There are two recommended scenarios:
1. All tithes and offers go to the regional
training center (that is tax-exempt where required).
Records are kept by the regional training center.
At year’s end, the regional training center provides
receipts to each donor for tax purposes.
Each donor can thus deduct the donated amounts from their taxable
2. Two possible ways for the regional training
center to handle the funds:
A. Keep 10% for
administration expenses and return 90% to the house church providing the tithes
B. Or, allow the
regional training center to re-distribute the funds to wherever it deems wise
As the numbers of house churches increases, additional
training centers should be formed. These
sub-centers do not have the same role as the Regional Training Center
in terms of monitoring and tithes and offerings. However, this is not to say that these
additional training centers remain static.
In time, the need for another Regional Training
may arise. The original regional
training center must then duplicate itself by passing on responsibilities and
duties to the new regional training center in terms of the house churches in
the region to be supervised by the new center.
No attempt should be made to control the new regional training center
other than assisting, training and helping in other ways.
Training of House
There are many ways to train pastors and we only make
suggestions and recommendations to assist those who are interested.
1. Emphasize love, obedience and service. Without love, all is lost. Without obedience, there is no outward
evidence of love. Without service, there
is no way to truly express love.
2. Teach prayer, fasting. The main idea is to connect up with God. Without a relationship with God, one cannot
3. Teach on how to allow the Holy Spirit to
guide us and how to flow with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to live our lives
4. Teach the six foundational truths found in
Hebrews 6:1,2: Repentance, Faith, Baptisms, Laying On of Hands, Resurrection
from the Dead, and Eternal Judgment.
5. In addition, teach Kingdom Living. We recommend Watchman Nee’s teachings on the
Normal Christian Life.
6. Teach Spiritual Authority and Obedience. Again, we recommend Watchman Nee’s book
entitled Spiritual Authority.
7. Teach Evangelism. Without evangelism, the house church format
is dead in terms of world evangelism.
8. Teach Deliverance and Inner Healing. We are in a war against the kingdom of
9. Teach vision.
Why house churches? Why
evangelizing? Coming revival and
9. Teach networking and unity both within the
house group and with other groups.
10. Teach on five-fold ministry and its proper
role regarding subjection and cooperation.
APPENDIX N - OPEN FORMAT FOR MEETINGS AND SERVICES
CONDUCTING SERVICES AND MEETINGS
IN HOUSE CHURCHES
Changing the structure of the church from a traditional
to a house church setting is just the beginning. The format or structure itself does not
completely bring us back to the early church.
We need to have the courage to change the way we handle services and/or
AN OPEN FORMAT
services usually involve the following sequence or some variation of it: (1) processional; (2) praise and worship; (3)
scripture reading; (4) announcements; (5) collecting tithes and offerings; (6)
a sermon or message; and (7) recessional.
Pentecostal churches usually dispense with the processional, recessional
and sometimes the scripture reading.
Some are dressed in gowns and other traditional paraphernalia, light
candles and have large pipe organs. However,
the common trait is a spectator congregation that just sits and listens or is
entertained. Very little participation
by the people present is solicited and the main feature is the sermon or lesson
for the day. In some churches, even the
sermon or lesson for the day is a minor element compared to the singing and
music. In some churches, sermons and
teaching are limited to 15 minutes or less, as ordered by the church
board. In other churches, the message is
determined by a Prayer Book and is chosen from two or three topics already
pre-set and decided upon by the authors.
Cell group meetings, even among Pentecostal churches,
usually follow along similar lines: (a) opening prayer; (b) singing; (c) a
sermon or teaching; and (d) sometimes prayer.
As with the above services, the persons present are entertained or act
as spectators for the most part and the leader establishes and format and
content of the meeting.
As Watchman Nee claims, there is no evidence in the early
church that sermons were ever given by a pastor or teacher from behind a
pulpit. Certainly, there was a place for
teachings and exhortations, but for the most part house churches followed what
we call an “open” format. There was no
pulpit preaching. In a number of cell
group meetings this writer attended, the leader was the pastor of the church
and he actually brought along his wooden pulpit.
In the “open” format, there is no set plan or order of
service. The Holy Spirit is invited into
the meeting and asked to speak through His people. As the Spirit moves, individual members get
up and share, testify, give praise reports, quote a scripture, even give a
short teaching. If they receive a word
from God, they share it. It could be
something they received at home or outside the meeting. It could also be a vision, dream, thought or
a spoken word that God has given him or her.
During the meeting or service, God may give someone a prophecy or
message. Someone may have a song in his
heart that he wants to share or feel that God wants them to sing a certain
song. Another may stand up and announce
that God wants everyone to pray for healing for certain people, or deliverance
or blessings. Others may have a word of
knowledge or wisdom. Some may have a
revelation regarding scripture. Still
another may have an announcement to make.
Another may have a need.
The object is to depend on the Holy Spirit and to give
Him the liberty to direct the meeting.
The saints learn to expect the Holy Spirit to move in their minds and
hearts. They learn how to receive from
God and how to share publicly. Soon,
they begin to move with certainty and boldness.
There are no set formats and only a rough structure to maintain order. God is not a God of confusion. The pastor and leaders are coordinators and
moderators, but direct the service as the Spirit moves.
At times, God may give the pastor or some other person an
important message to share. This should
be done without eliminating the other essential elements of public sharing and
ministry inherent in an “open” format.
The above format has been used successfully even in large
churches and there are books on the subject.
Churches with a traditional foundation have also used the open church
format; however, we find that it is most needed in the house church format.
researching the Great Welsh Revival, Azusa Street Revival and other movements,
this writer was struck with the common openness of church services. William Seymour and Frank Bartleman both
shared that their services had no format or pre-arranged structure. The Holy Spirit moved freely among the
people present and some would have visions, others would burst into song and it
seemed that a heavenly choir had joined the singing. Sometimes, a word of knowledge or a prophecy
would come forth. The services would go
on and on into the wee hours of the morning, often without any guidance by the
leaders present. Nobody wanted to leave.
Evan Roberts relates that he was invited speak at an
evening service and when he arrived the church building was already filled to
capacity. Outside the church building, a
crowd had gathered. The crowd outside
the church was bigger than the one inside the church. He was ushered to a front seat as people were
already worshiping the Lord. The Holy
Spirit was moving among the people.
Songs would break out and both the people inside and outside the church
would start singing beautifully.
Sometimes it was as if a heavenly choir had joined them. The sounds were so wonderful that no earthly
group could possibly have produced such
singing. People would spontaneously run
to the front and fall on their faces, begging to be saved. Amazing testimonies and praise reports were
volunteered and people were healed and delivered with no human hands. When Evan Roberts left at midnight, he hadn’t
spoken a word. The meeting went on to 3
in the morning. No one wanted to go
Evan Roberts was so attuned to the Holy Spirit that he
rarely committed himself to speak at certain places until 24 hours before the
meetings. God would change his itinerary
so often that he dared not commit himself and then disappoint people when God
changed his speaking engagements. In
fact, the plan during the revival was not to plan.
In an open format, it is often unnecessary to use musical
instruments. That is not to say that we
should not use musical instruments.
Musical instruments were widely used by God in worship, especially in
the Old Testament. What is meant is that
a house church should not be hampered by the fact that there are no good
musicians in the group or no one has a musical instrument. When this writer was ministering among house
churches in mainland China, most groups
sang hymns without using musical instruments.
Certainly, if there are good musicians in the group and
musical instruments, they should be used.
Unlike traditional churches with a clergy, the
responsibility for the conduct of the church’s services and meetings is placed
on the individual saints. Each must come
to the meetings with the intention to share and testify to the goodness of
God. Each must participate in some
manner. The Holy Spirit wants to use
each individual but He will not or cannot use people who are fearful or unwilling
to participate because of embarrassment or some other reason. Those who desire to be used must overcome
fear of rejection, embarrassment or shyness.
This may take a few meetings. Of
course, the new converts may require some “breaking in” time.
In a house church format, each member must contribute to
the welfare of the group and be willing to be more than a mere spectator. The well-being of the group includes more
than just sharing during services. The
individual must be clear that he or she has the duty to see to the growth and
expansion of the house church he or she attends. Duties must be eagerly assumed and carried
out. If one desires power from God, he
must also desire responsibility. One
comes with the other and they cannot be separated.
This writing, however, addresses mostly the conduct of
meetings and services and duties and leaves the enumeration of duties to
THE REASONS AND RESULTS
a “open” format, the members learn how to receive from the Holy Spirit, how to
respond and obey the urgings of the Spirit and how to share the Spirit’s
thoughts or directions publicly. In
addition, they learn to take responsibility for the welfare of the entire
group. Their discernment and senses are
sharpened by their desire to hear from God and to share. The behavior of the more mature members
automatically teaches the younger ones to hear from God and respond. The Holy Spirit speaks all the time to each
one of His saints, but the young in Christ often do not realize that it is the
urging of the Holy Spirit when they notice a song coming to them or a thought,
word or scripture. Therefore, they do
not respond to the Holy Spirit.
Since one of the most urgent needs of the body of Christ
is mature Christians that are able to hear from God and obey Him, the “open”
format is a most effective tool in training the saints.
One of the most vital and vicarious benefits of the
“open” format is the boldness that each member seems to receive from being
invited to share at each meeting. Their
willingness to obey God and speak out in church also trains them to be bold
outside of the church. As faith increases they become more evangelistic than
ever. The end result is an empowerment
from God in each individual saint. The
power is shifted from a paid or appointed clergy to each member. Recent reports speak of many miracles taking
place during open services.
Our experience is that the presence of the Holy Spirit is
much more evident in our open meetings than in the traditional meetings we once
held. We believe that God wants us to go
back to an “open” format as in the early house churches. We want to emphasize, however, that although
the “open” format can be used in a big, traditional church, it is meant to be
widely used in small house church groups, although there are many benefits,
even in a larger church - say a church with more than a hundred members Large church meetings do not allow each
member to participate and grow, although it is possible when meetings go on for
hours. In fact, it is recommended that
an open format be used wherever possible.
Each member must be clear that he or she has a
responsibility and a duty to participate and not be just a spectator. God does not intend to just entertain. Each word from God must be as precise as
possible. Sharing should be limited to
no more than ten minutes since some members have hours and hours of stories to
tell about the tragedies in their life.
The members need to be as spontaneous as possible, but also need to discern
what is from God, their own mind or the Devil.
There is room for mistakes since we learn from them. Every prophet remembers times when he spoke
out of turn or erroneously, but they also know that they learned through their
mistakes too. One of the objects is to
learn how to flow with the Spirit.
Another benefit of such an open format is to relieve the
pastor or leader from having to prepare a formal outline for each service or
meeting. The teaching will come directly
from God. This does not mean, however,
that God never tells a leader in advance to prepare a lesson or message. He often does. Teaching or preaching can be easily
incorporated into any meeting as the Spirit leads.
A RECENT PHENOMENON
It has been recently reported by Jim Rutz in his book
entitled Megashift, that an unprecedented transfer of divine power is
underway, from clerics into the hands of ordinary people. Other writers who research recent movements
in the church, claim that there is a fast-growing house church movement that is
gripping the world. Hundreds of
thousands of house churches are being formed in
countries such as Indonesia,
the Middle East, Pakistan,
and many Third World countries besides China. At many of those meetings, the Holy Spirit
would manifest Himself and speak through the members. The meetings eventually evolved into an open
format because the Holy Spirit would just flow through the meetings. The plans of the leaders were never completed
and in the end, they just gave up planning and began to follow the lead of the
Holy Spirit. Zeal for sharing the gospel
spread throughout the house churches and many new churches are springing up
because of what is going on during services and meetings.
God is empowering each saint to preach the word with
demonstration of signs and wonders following.
We too need to learn how to let God have His church back
- not just structure, but how we approach God through our meetings and
services. Let God be God. Give Him back His church.
THE FALSE VERSUS THE TRUE GOSPEL OF SALVATION
One of the most insidious and dangerous deceptions today
is the new doctrine of salvation being promoted in the body of Christ in America
and elsewhere. This false doctrine is
drawing people into churches by the millions.
The problem is - hardly anyone is being saved.
It is a gospel of blessings and prosperity. It goes something like this: “Accept Jesus as
your Lord and Savior and He will bless you and give you everything you ever
wanted in life.” It is a message of “I,
I, I and Me, Me Me.” “Jesus wants you to
have a good life and success in everything.”
“He wants you to be well, rich, free from debt, healthy, wealthy,
prominent, filled with peace and joy.”
This new gospel avoids any requirement of self-sacrifice
and concentrates on fulfilling the desires of the flesh. It ignores the issue of sin and repentance
and caters to the emotions. In order to
entice people into church, the new wave of televangelists and pastors focus on
short, funny sermons that avoid confrontation, conviction, judgment,
exclusivity, scary, unbelievable messages.
Instead, they give what the audience wants to hear. Take a survey and find out what the people
want and then give it to them is the new technique.
In addition, be casual.
Wear shorts, slippers, T-shirts, informal leisure wear and be one of the
guys. Emphasize a relaxed, informal,
casual atmosphere with lots of music and fun.
Go drinking with your male members and engage in sports to show them
that everything is fine and God wants us to have a good time. Establish many different programs on how to
succeed and have a better life that appeal to a wide spectrum of members. Have gatherings for the singles and some for
large churches are built on entertainment, self-fulfillment and
self-esteem. The members remain carnal
their entire lives and have no interest in self-sacrifice or denial. It is a false gospel.
THE TRUE GOSPEL
The true gospel is directly opposite. In Luke 9:23-26, Jesus said,
anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross
daily, and follow Me. For whoever
desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake
will save it. For what profit is it to a
man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of
him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His
Father’s, and of the holy angels.
The true gospel speaks about giving your life to the Lord
in order to follow Jesus into heaven.
Jesus said in Matthew 10:34-36, “Do not think that I came to bring
peace on the earth. I did not come to
bring peace but a sword. For I have come
to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law
against her mother-in-law; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own
household.” Jesus said further, “He
who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me
is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh
not his cross, and followed after me is not worthy of Me.” Verses 37-38 Salvation can cause family rifts and even
require your life.
In the episode in Mark 10, where the rich, young ruler
asked Jesus how to attain eternal life, Jesus replied, “Go your way, sell
whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven;
and come, take up the cross and follow Me.”
The young ruler was unwilling and he walked away.
The Lord said in John 12:24, “Most assuredly, I say to
you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone;
but if it dies, it produces much grain.”
The ticket to heaven can cost you everything. “He that findeth his life shall lose it]: and
he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” V. 39.
Again, in Matthew 16:24-26, Jesus said,
If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross; and
follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will
lose his life for my sake shall find it.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose
his own soul? Or what shall a man give
in exchange for his soul?
what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Perhaps a man does not know how great a treasure it is to escape
hell. One can hardly know what hell is
like if no one preaches about it. The
modern gospel avoids talking about hell and damnation. After all, it makes one queasy and
uncomfortable. How can one know of the
inestimable value of saving your soul from hell if the church no longer speaks
about hell? If one knows of the horror
of eternal torture and the hopelessness of being thrown into the fires of hell,
what would he be willing to pay for a ticket to heaven?
Jesus told two parables in Mt. 13. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure
hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and
sells all that he has and buys that field.”
In the next verse, Jesus talks about a man who found a pearl of
great price and sold all he had to buy it.
The complete surrender of all possessions is the essence of
salvation. “I give up everything. I deny myself. I offer my life, both in terms of death, if
need be, and in terms of obedience in life.”
The pearl of great price is the saving grace of Jesus Christ that we are
hopelessly undeserving of, but that we can claim as our own by denying
ourselves, picking up our cross daily, and following Him. That is the true gospel.
A HARD MESSAGE DELIVERED
BY MORONS - THE CROSS OF JESUS
The apostle Paul was once a much-heralded student of
Gamaliel, a brilliant Jewish teacher of his day. He knew the law inside and out; but when Paul
(Saul) met the Lord on his way to Damascus, he met truth head
on. Ac. 9:1-18. He now knew the truth and when he set out to
preach the gospel of salvation it must have been a scary thing. He had to drop all the wisdom and
intelligence he possessed, in order to preach a doctrine that he knew was going
to be rejected by most and mark him an idiot.
But he had no choice. He was now
the messenger of God.
In 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, Paul said, “And I, brethren,
when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring
unto you the testimony of God. For I
determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him
crucified.” Paul determined not to
use his own wisdom and intelligence to convince people about Jesus. He would preach only a crucified Jesus, which
is foolishness to those who perish, but the power of God unto salvation to
those who believe. 1 Co. 1:18.
It takes courage to preach the true gospel of the
kingdom. Those who do not understand
will label you a moron; but those God chooses will find the message powerful
and life-giving. For that reason, Paul
took courage in the truth. “And my
speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in
demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”
Verse 4. He was clear that no
enticing words of man’s wisdom would bring people into the kingdom
of God. Only the convicting power of the Holy Spirit
and the power of the true gospel could bring salvation.
Paul rejected clever public relations marketing
techniques that used enticing words created by man’s wisdom and cunning, and
instead relied on the wisdom of God. “That
your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are
perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world,
that come to nought: . . .” Verses
5-6. How often today we hear
televangelists and other preachers promote a prosperity message that distorts
and twists the truth. They use enticing
words generated by man’s wisdom and not God’s.
As a result, few are actually saved, although many may join churches.
Paul knew that the wisdom of God was hidden in Him from
the beginning of the world. The cross
held the wisdom of God that only those who have been called to receive
salvation can understand and embrace. In
verses7-8, Paul says, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the
hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none
of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have
crucified the Lord of glory.” The
preaching of the cross is a mystery, a hidden wisdom ordained by God before He
created the world, to be the true gospel of salvation . Any other gospel is false and cannot
save. As Paul said, “For Christ sent
me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the
cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”
1:17. That is why messages of blessings
and prosperity without the cross, or enticing words that we often hear on radio
and television are insidiously deceptive.
Multitudes have come into the church through a sinner’s prayer without
hearing the true gospel of salvation and not having humbled themselves unto
repentance. They are not saved unto
Paul said, “But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither
have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” Verse 9.
Natural man can never know the things of God unless the Holy Spirit
opens their eyes and ears. Similarly,
only those called by God will have ears to hear and receive the gospel of the
cross and be saved. When His disciples
asked Jesus why He spoke in parables to the crowds, Jesus answered,
because they seeing see not; and hearing
they hear not, neither do they understand.
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing
ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not
perceive: for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of
hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with
their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heat,
and should be converted, and I should heal them. Mt. 13:13-15.
In verses 10-11, Paul remarks, “But God hath revealed
them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep
things of God. For what man knoweth the
things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but
the Spirit of God.” Without the
Spirit of God, no one would hear the gospel of salvation and understand and be
saved. It is God that saves.
Jesus knew this.
In John 6:37-39, He said,
that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in
no wise cast out. For I came down from
heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent
me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise
it up again at the last day.
It is the Father who chooses
and the Son will not reject those the Father sends. It is the same with us. It is the Father who chooses and the Holy
Spirit that convicts those the Father calls.
God never intended that we save people.
He intended that we preach the cross.
It is the message of the cross that allows the Holy Spirit to convict
those He has chosen. It is the Father’s
We are not God. We
cannot convict people and convince them to believe in Jesus without the Holy
Spirit. Man’s wisdom can never do the
work of the cross in bringing people into salvation. Why then do men change the gospel and
substitute the wisdom and cunning of man instead? Is man God?
IN WEAKNESS, FEAR AND
The apostle Paul was not afraid of speaking in
public. He was a man so brilliant that
he was slated to be the high priest one day.
He was used to giving wonderful words and enticing messages. He was no idiot to natural man. Yet, after Paul met the Lord, he did not dare
speak his own words. He spoke in
weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
“And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.” 1
Co. 2:3. He did
not fear that people would hate him and resist him. He was unafraid of death and censure. He had already been through that. He feared that his own wisdom and words would
creep into his preaching and steal away the power and glory of God. He feared that the Holy Spirit would not move
to convict hearts if he gave a false gospel, tainted by man‘s reason. Worse, he feared that his preaching would
displease the Lord.
We too, need to come in weakness and fear and much
trembling when we share the gospel, knowing that we need to speak the truth in
love. If we fear men and not God, we
will surely deliver the wrong message.
Yes, if we preach truth, many will be displeased and resist, criticize
and even hate you. Things have not
changed since the days of Jesus - neither the people nor the true gospel of the
kingdom and the resistance it elicits from those that perish.
THE SHEEP AND THE GOATS
Not all who attend church are saved; not all who say,
“Lord, Lord, ….” will enter the kingdom of
God. Mt. 7:21.
Many there are who seek to enter in, but few there are that will. Many there are who will go down the broad way
to hell. As John MacArthur says in his
book entitled Hard to Believe, everyone thinks he is going to heaven -
both those who are on the narrow path and those on the broad path. Those on the broad path will have a great
shock when they die.
At the end of the age, God will separate the tares from the
wheat and the goats from the sheep. Let
us no longer spread a false gospel and entice people into church with promises
of blessings and a better life on earth.
Let us not be careless. As with
the apostle Paul, let us preach the cross of Jesus in weakness, fear and much
trembling lest we be found among the goats.