That They May Add Sin To Sin
The following is an excerpt from Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
THAT THEY MAY ADD SIN TO SIN
“Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the LORD, “who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, in order to add sin to sin; who proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me, to take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!” [Isaiah 30:1-2]
Christian rulers have no doubts about where they stand. With every thread of their being, they know they are right. They know their position is the correct one.
Thus, the clergy spirit is very deceiving. This is how it remains in power. If the Christian ruling class were to display even a hint of uncertainty with regard to its core principles, its foundation would be weakened. Therefore, the clergy recognizes that to admit error is to admit fault. In other words, those who are passively going along with the clergy’s program should never be given an opportunity to consider the possibility that their leaders have been compromised.
Though some believe themselves to be superior, the Scriptures state very clearly that humanity has an exceptionally sorry and rebellious nature:
“All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” [Isaiah 53:6]
This is why many people don’t put any real faith in the Bible—they simply cannot handle the fact that they are inherently sinful. Most of those who have heard the gospel message yet remain in their sins are in strong denial. A lot of these people are “Christian.” Some are “Christian” leaders. These deceived individuals have no effect on the purity and strength of the real Church since they are not yet members. The problem for the body of Christ arises when those who are members fail to ongoingly replenish themselves through the refreshing of the Holy Spirit. This failure leads to a strengthening of the lower nature, which then leads to sin and a loss of contact and fellowship with God. Therefore, the same deception occurring in non-members can occur in real members. When the true becomes weak, it allows the false to grow strong. When people fail God, they give aid and comfort to the enemy.
Is it possible for a Christian to never commit a sin? There are those who seem to think so, but they’re either (1) on drugs, (2) from a different planet, (3) deceived, or (4) prideful, arrogant, and high-minded. (Choose your poison.) Obviously, those in leadership are just as susceptible to sin as those not in leadership. However, according to the convoluted logic which most Christian rulers engage in, it would be better to keep such facts behind closed doors since there is so much potential for scandal.
Those who have chosen to follow man instead of God prefer leaders who are better than they are. They don’t appreciate it when they discover that their leaders have misrepresented themselves. Even if they are aware that their leader is human, they would rather not know what makes him human. Hence, the cover-up. Besides, as far as the clergy is concerned, why confuse the laity over who’s in charge? Why allow the laity to think it could lead?
The reason the sin of the clergy is proportionately rarely revealed is because, as a class, they work to keep it hidden. This is an art, of course. Covering one’s sin goes hand in hand with image building, but the Word states that creating images is also a sin.
In Exodus 20:4–6, the second of the Ten Commandments flatly states:
“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
The word “idol” is translated as “graven image” in many Bible versions. The Hebrew word is pecel, and implies an image of a man or animal made from metal or wood. The word “likeness” in the stated verses is from the Hebrew temuwnah. This word has a more general definition—“form, representation, likeness”—but suggests three dimensionality. Both of these words connote something fashioned or shaped to be worshipped or served.
Hence, image building is designed to cover inherent flaws and promote a false representation of reality—a three-dimensional fashioning of an object other than God to be submitted to, and thus, to serve. Therefore, the intention of the Second Commandment is to protect God’s people from the temptation of honoring another above Him and consequently losing or never establishing both one’s blessed relationship with the Lord, and one’s dominion in Him. The most fully evolved form of an idol today is a living human being.
Even so, the professional clergy class has been very successful in promoting their image of sanctity and sinlessness. That they must sin to cover up their sin doesn’t seem to concern them. The alternative is to be found out and subsequently lose their power and prestige. Of course, these facts are general in scope. There are many members of the clergy who are not trying to hide personal sin. They must be careful, however, to avoid defending and protecting the traditional image of their class. Jesus wore the clothes of a simple working man, yet the majority of professional ministers insist on clerical collars, business suits, ties, fanciful robes, and the like. Why dress in this manner, if not to create a certain image or be recognized as a clergyman?
Though many sins of the clergy have started to leak out as of late, they have been treated as isolated incidents, instead of as the tip of the proverbial iceberg. As is the case with all cover-ups, once leaks begin to flow unchecked, raging currents are sure to come. The professional Christian clergy is like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike, except they’ve used up all their fingers and are running out of toes. This strategy won’t work, just as their halos won’t work at bailing water.
When it comes to the sin of the laity, however, failures and transgressions are treated much differently. Instead of working to keep them concealed, the laity is encouraged by the clergy to bring their sins out into the open. While the clergy remains behind a mysterious wall of piety, the laity is supposed to be transparent. Why this obvious double standard exists, and why it is rarely challenged, attests to the power and scope of the clergy spirit’s subterfuge.
If the laity reveals sin, shortcomings, faults, and so forth, how can their stature ever match the standing of the ones who don’t? In politics, a candidate attempts to compare his strengths with his opponent’s weaknesses while concealing his own weaknesses and refusing to acknowledge his opponent’s strengths. Is it any different in church circles? How can there be true Christian community under these dual class conditions? Are the controllers trying to insure that the controlled remain in a state of submission? Is this why they insist that the laity alone hang out its dirty laundry? Or are they simply trying to enforce the notion that clergy members are somehow closer to God?
Like the Wizard of Oz, the ruling class has established a powerful and sometimes fearsome image of itself. Its members have set themselves up as the sacred and the laity as the profane. The laity, if brave enough to seek personal needs, whether a heart, courage, or brains, often do so at the feet of the big boys, who have been enormously successful at promoting their big daddy image for centuries. Of course, the laity receives only religious tokens for the most part, if anything at all. The important thing is image.
The great Christian controllers must believe that if the laity perceives them as merely human, and not ultrahuman, it would cause such disillusionment within Christendom that a complete breakdown would take place. But one man’s breakdown and loss of power is another man’s revolution and recovering of freedom. Ask George Washington. Ask Martin Luther. Ask the Lord Jesus Himself. It was the benefactors of the religious clergy spirit of His time who were so incensed by His radical teachings and so petrified over losing control because of His growing movement that they savagely murdered Him, revealing to all, for all time, their true motivation and character.
© 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
Posted on April 27, 2014, in Real Christianity and tagged Clergy, Graven Images, Idol Worship, Image is Everything, Laity, Lord Jesus, Real Christianity, Real Christianity The Nature of the Church, Unreal Christianity, Wizard of Oz. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.
Add to your concept of those of us who are spiritual leaders who do confess our sins readily. Like Paul in Romans 7:23-25, we lament our sinful natures and rejoice in God’s provision of the spiritual natures within us.
A colleague was afraid to publicly confess. He was afraid of losing his job because his spiritual life wasn’t perfect. Imagine the burdens these expectations place upon those who rely on a paycheck and not God.
Exactly. Thanks for the comment. I appreciate your sincerity and humility.
Of course, the fear you speak of is all too common and is very sad. Such fear was never present in the early community of the Lord. They were not dependent on their ministry as a job with a paycheck, because no such thing existed and EVERYONE was in ministry. It is impossible to fulfill such traditional callings because one must present themselves as ultrahuman and if they fail at times (prove their humanity) they are judged by a congregation that most often is much less spiritually mature! So they often have to present themselves as an unreal image that appears perfect.
Also, the Lord instructed us to not call ourselves leaders because He alone is our Leader:
“But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant.” [Matthew 23:8-11]
This has somewhat become a semantics issue, in that the terms “leaders” and “leadership” has become almost universal. We should probably instead focus on the term “elder” as it was used in the NT, denoting a person who was not only older but more properly experienced in the things of God, more spiritually mature, and primarily one who was also humble enough to understand his place. Also, “elder” was not a title, nor did they use titles.
All such elders or spiritually mature ones are that way because the Lord Jesus has a greater place in their lives, and it is His presence which they yield to that allows them to be more effective than less mature believers. All believers should become mature but this is pretty much impossible under the usual current set-ups.
The problem we have presently, however, and have for many centuries, is the institutional clergy-laity division which the early community never had. This false class division (1) causes division in fellowship by invoking the concept that some believers have a higher or better calling and/or office than others, and thus greater significance, (2) promotes spiritual pride and religious standing that further erodes the possibility of real spiritual community and fellowship, (3) keeps the laity in a place of immaturity, submission, ignorance, and dependence, and never allows them to develop into strong and mature believers, and most importantly (4) refuses to allow the Lord Jesus to be the only real Leader the community should have.
This is in part (a large part) why traditional, institutional Christianity is not the same thing as the early community of the Lord, and thus is not effective as salt and light in the world. The clergy-laity division has allowed Unreal Christianity to flourish the same way sowing to one’s flesh will cause the flesh to flourish over the Spirit.
Christians have become so conditioned to be led by clergyites and perceive them as highly superior that they would never submit to the Lord if they saw Him in person because He is by His own design the antithesis of a clergyite. It is also another reason why the clergyites of His day rejected Him because they perceived Him as the opposite of what they thought he should be according to their false standard. In other words, God is REAL, not fake, and he presented Himself as a human being exactly that way.
RJ, I agree for the most part but question your view of not referring to another as a spiritual leader or pastor. This is clearly approved by God and is shown as part of God’s spiritual gifting upon those He anoints and calls as leaders. What I tend to seek and ask is if this person is spiritually led by God or not. So many ordained themselves when it’s not God’s will or plan for his/her life.
I did a Jonah for a while and resisted His call until He made it plain to me that this is indeed His plan for my life: to encourage, preach and teach.
Maybe the best way to answer that is to say that if we call one believer by a title we will have to call all believers by a title. He instructed us that all believers are equal, that we are all in this together, and that He is the only One who reserves the right of a title.
I never mean any disrespect whatsoever to any particular minister of the Gospel by not using a title. I know real ministers pay a huge price in becoming used of God. But my point is that we are all supposed to be ministers. I can certainly see the desire for terms of endearment toward those who assist the Lord in bringing us to maturity, and I’m sure the early community had such loving references, the same way we may use the terms “Dad” and “Mom” for our parents.
It is interesting, though, that many who use ministry titles most often never address the Lord Jesus with a title, but merely call Him by His Name.
I have had pastors who wanted to be called by the title “Pastor” and nothing else. I had some whose only desire for a title was not a title, in that we called him “Brother (last name).” Others insisted on first names.
Another point is that religious titles can obviously get out of hand and we end up with such things as “Most Holy Right Reverend” and other titles that detract from the authority of the Lord and the pureness and simplicity of our relationship with Him.
The apostles were not known by titles but by the work they did. One could be a shepherd or a teacher or a prophet without being called by that title, but it must be pointed out that the title was never emphasized; it was the ing that was emphasized. In other words, the fruit of the calling of a teacher was that he was teaching, and teaching well and correctly. He was referred to as a teacher by the work he did but not entitled as a teacher. The fruit of his work proved what he was.
Whatever the case may be here, love will always prevail, and we will always be brothers and sisters in the Lord, though we may not agree on a few things. Diversity is a great strength of His community and we all have various perspectives. I love you guys and appreciate your work.
RJ, George and I read your response and need to agree to disagree with you, and that’s okay. What you see in some cases is not what God has led us to see. We appreciate your being authentic as I know you do us.
One thing George did point out is that Paul indeed referred to himself as an apostle. You might want to take that before God to see how and where He leads you with that.
That we love you as well has never been in question. You are our brother in Christ, and we look forward to that looooong spiritual hug when at last we meet in the kingdom.
Thanks. Of course, Paul obviously referred to himself as an apostle. He also referred to himself as a teacher and a preacher. My point was that he did not insist on being referred to by a title. He was not title-oriented as all other members of the Lord’s community were not title-oriented. When one addressed Paul, one addressed him by his name with no title before it.
Most important concept: “This is why many people don’t put any real faith in the Bible—they simply cannot handle the fact that they are inherently sinful.”
We’ve spent way too many years teaching ourselves that mankind is basically good. How foolish.
Thank you Linda. Yes, there is none good but God and those made good by Him, made possible through personal repentance. The very nature of covenant, in this case a blood covenant, requires the active and committed presence of two parties. Righteousness is a blood-bought gift:
For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. [Romans 5:17-21]