That is, they preach whatever gives them the best monetary return. This would otherwise be obvious based simply on their “success” but deceived congregations are spiritually blind to this truth.
Most are willingly blind. They choose their church leaders and denominations, support them, and take great pride in them. They feel good knowing they belong to the right church teaching the right doctrines. Their leaders, knowing where their support comes from, preach only what their congregants want to hear. That is why, of course, their congregants are there. If they didn’t like what goes on there they wouldn’t be there. If they were not there their money would not be there either.
This dynamic creates a synthetic non-Scriptural symbiotic giving-receiving relationship allowing only that which is acceptable by those giving financial support. These are usually comprised of the greater percentage of the congregation, though it is often the case that the few give the most. Anything which the financial supporters reject must never be taught. In this way both parties are pleased and satisfied and the relationship contract is fulfilled. The “leader” who gives the teaching receives monetary compensation. The “followers” who receive the teaching give monetary compensation. As long as the leader gives the correct teaching, that is, the teaching that the givers want, he will be compensated. The more he pleases them the greater he will be compensated.
Real Christians understand right away that such a model is inherently flawed in that the Word of God cannot possibly work its wonders to convict people of sin under such an arrangement. Without conviction of sin there is no need for repentance, that is, admitting one’s guilt and subsequently getting right with God. This means sinners masquerading as Christians come to church with sin and leave with sin. They are never separated from their sin. Their sin is coddled. This only leads to more sin and the acceptance of greater forms of sin. Sinners find these places comfortable. Their sin is never revealed. Nobody cares about it including the preacher (or priest or reverend or minister or whatever).
“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.” [Isaiah 30:1]
Successful preachers who partake of the false giving-receiving relationship rarely or never preach about sin. To do so could possibly anger their partners who would then likely withhold their support. In their estimation it is better to have compromised Christian sinners who support them financially than anyone who does not or cannot. Of course, in the Lord’s eyes congregations are not supposed to be made up of sinners. But if one never preaches sin, how will anyone ever be convicted of their sin and thus seek a solution to their conviction?
If one never preaches the full teachings of the Lord Jesus, how will anyone ever learn the truth and act upon it?
Real Christians know the New Testament definition of sin. They are aware of the many sinful practices mentioned or listed in the Word of God. The Lord Jesus certainly preached against sin and instructed His disciples to do the same. They were interested in bringing people to salvation. They were not there to make a living. They were not interested in money. They were not bought or controlled by money. If you supported them financially they would preach the same pure Word of God anyway. Whatever they received monetarily had no bearing whatsoever on what they would teach and preach.
We know, however, that they did not receive so much. The Lord Jesus set the perfect example by his frugal lifestyle that He could be supported with next to nothing. Imagine that. The Lord did incredible things. Thousands were saved, set free from sin, and delivered. He was always performing miracles to help people. He could do anything. And it would cost you nothing. He did it all for free. He was fasting all the time and thus took food sporadically. He slept outside except for those occasions when he was in a village and stayed with a supporter. Other than food his stay added no additional expense to a household. And whoever did anything for Him was blessed many, many times over.
I remember once, when I was a spiritual rookie, a young missionary family visited our church. I was already thoroughly enmeshed in the Word of God and well aware of the frugal practices of early Christianity. When I thought of missionaries I thought of hardy souls doing without and subjecting themselves to the rigors of preaching the Gospel and making converts in a foreign and often hostile land. The “missionaries” who showed up that night were nothing of the sort.
They were well-fed, well-clothed, and appeared better off than many of the people in the congregation. The man was somewhat effeminate and soft (but he played piano very well).
There was a hint of entitlement and smugness. These people were certainly none the worse for wear. I found out later that their “missionary” activity consisted in merely administering a conventional church plant. The denomination had simply created an American church building and grounds in a Latin American country in a relatively good area and called this missionary work, a far cry from early Church examples. They likely had more money and comfort than converts.
I knew from my own “missionary work” in witnessing to pretty much everybody, that a man could get slammed and have his head handed to him in a heartbeat. It went with the territory. But I mostly had a great many enjoyable experiences telling people about the Lord and attempting to help bring them to salvation. And this was coming from a young man with little money working fulltime and going to church four or five times a week. To me it was always a labor of love and this is how it should be. And after working all week and witnessing “in the field” you would go to church and get preached at (slammed) and the Lord would make more progress through the Word to conform you to His will. It was not easy. And I always gave what was required freely and with a good conscience. I had no control whatsoever over the preaching.
SOWING TO THE WIND AND REAPING AN F5 TORNADO
The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron… [1Timothy 4:1-2] 
At this point in American history the majority of conventional churches and ministries are abject spiritual failures. Many, however, are financially successful. Many preachers are very well off. They preach to money. American Christianity in general has thus also become an abject failure. There is more sin in the country now than ever before and it is growing exponentially. All of this happened on their watch, that is, the watch of those who refuse to preach the real Word of God but instead work for money and success. And it continues to happen on their watch. They have failed the Lord. They have failed the country. They are responsible.
But they are not convicted. Like their supporters, no-sin preaching has lobotomized their own minds as well.
© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
“You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” [Mark 7:9]
“Your tradition” is any Christian belief or teaching that is not found within the teachings of the Lord Jesus. Some of these should be obvious. The reason they are not is because the Christians espousing and believing such are either Biblically illiterate or have been indoctrinated with a false teaching.
Those who put the Lord Jesus first and are true disciples actually read and study His teachings. They become very familiar with them. They do their best to follow them and obey the Lord. If a Christian refuses to do this or is too lazy to do it, he or she is not a real Christian or at least will not be one for long. If such people remain churchgoers or insist on their particular brand they will end up being deceived the same way the followers of the Pharisees were deceived.
It was the Pharisees and scribes that the Lord was addressing in the preceding Scripture. These people were evil. They showed it by their actions. They absolutely hated the Lord and everything He stood for. They hounded Him constantly and did everything they could to destroy His reputation. They lied about Him always.
Unreal Christianity does exactly the same thing. Its members create a Jesus they feel comfortable with, one that suits them, according to their own limited understanding. This Jesus is not the real Jesus. It is only a figment of their imagination. The proponents of Unreal Christianity refuse to honor His pure teachings because they could never carry out their real reason for existence otherwise. They do not want to follow and serve the Lord Jesus; they want to be followed and served.
That’s why they created a mass laity underclass and keep it subverted to their will. They gain their monetary and social support from this class. They do it through indoctrinating (brainwashing) their followers away from the Lord’s truth and toward their own impure teachings. They use fear, especially the fear of social exclusion. Because they are dealing with spiritually lazy people it is not so difficult to keep them dumbed-down. Some of their followers may be well-versed in their own denominational teachings but that only furthers their Biblical illiteracy.
Why? Because the substitution of impure teachings makes them oblivious of the Lord’s real teachings. Or they are taught that the Lord’s real teachings are actually heresy and steer their followers away from them. There are millions of Christians who have thus been taught to hate the real teachings of the Lord.
Regarding any particular issue, one cannot believe truth and untruth at the same time. Regarding a collection of beliefs, the percentage of false teachings and interpretations one holds is directly proportional to the lack of truth they hold. If one fills one’s brain with untruth there will be little left for truth. Another corollary is thus: The more one accepts that which is not true but only appears that way, the less one has a desire for truth. When people are no longer hungry for truth they will not seek it. Whatever then is left in their head is what they believe and what they believe is false though they think it’s true.
It’s called deception. The Pharisees were masters at deceiving people. So are the Christian Pharisees. They have a different motivation. They put money and social standing above the Lord. They are also excellent liars.
“Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.” [John 8:43-45]
THEY HAVE A DIFFERENT AGENDA
Though their followers would be shocked if they could shake themselves from their zombie status and see their leaders and churches for what they actually are, this rarely happens. Not only that, they don’t want it to happen. They often run from the truth. They cover their ears. The truth is far too upsetting. They would have to acknowledge their deception and admit their wrongheadedness. They would have to realign their lives. Such an occurrence is far too much for them to accept. Their pride can’t handle it. They would rather maintain their fake lives, stay socially connected, and keep the money coming in. Thus, actually following the Lord is out of the question. Following Him in some convoluted false manner is preferable. They are not actually following Him or obeying Him but convince themselves that they are. Where’s the proof? How can they deny Him and also obey Him?
The early followers of the Lord Jesus teach us how it is done. What they believed is what we are supposed to believe. What they did is what we are supposed to do.
However, the beliefs and practices of the Lord’s early Community are different from those of pretty much every Christian denomination. It is why one rarely or never sees the results the early Christians had within these compromised organizations. Their rejection of truth makes the truth irrelevant.
As we say in Texas, most are mere drugstore cowboys. They are all hat and no cattle.
© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
I quoted Paul in my last post in his second letter to Timothy. One of the charges he made against false believers and rejecters of the Lord was that they were lovers of money. So was Judas.
Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” [Luke 16:14-15]
There are a great many Christian bigwigs who are highly esteemed among men. They rule their roosts as the flaming little peacocks they are. It continues to amaze me how gullible Christians are in supporting these people. The Lord could walk in to most churches and everyone there would pay Him no mind. They would simply not recognize Him. He would not look the part. He would be invisible.
But the great mighty platform-strutters and gaudily-attired clergyites, many of which are going straight to hell, are honored much as the original Pharisees were honored.
Such Pharisees also loved dressing the part. They would do anything to pass themselves off as legitimate in order to gain great social standing and much money.
Perhaps this is in part why gaining money is not so easy for real Christians or why they are less motivated toward wealth. Real Christians already know they are the wealthiest people in the world anyway because they have a close relationship with the Lord Jesus. What can possibly be better than that? The Lord ALWAYS takes care of His children but His children must put Him first.
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” [Luke 16:13]
Those who knowingly reject the Lord do so in large part because they love money and refuse to submit to real discipleship which will curtail their gaining of it. Thus, without the Lord, they are free to seek wealth to their heart’s content. Those who put money before God will also engage in much evil against the Lord and His people. One of these evils is betrayal. Spending money on the Lord, His people, and His movement is considered a waste. He always wants to help good-hearted people who strive to do good. Such people are often looked down upon by the world because they are seen as losers who won’t fight, cheat, lie, and deceive to get ahead. The lovers of money do this. The two always go together. Here is a good example:
Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.” [John 12:1-8]
Right after this the indignant money-loving Judas left to make his deal with the money-loving chief priests to betray the Lord.
Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus. [Matthew 26:14-16] 
© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Image is everything. The real person is the one hiding behind the carefully crafted outer person. There is no greater idol or graven image than a living human being.
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.
Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. [2Timothy 3:1-15]
© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
The religious elite hated Him. He looked nothing like them. He was never a member of their religious denominations. He belonged to none of their clerical orders or preacher unions.
The classic clergyman has long since taken over Christianity. Christians have been made to believe that the lone preacher in a pulpit having full sway over a congregation is the model started by the Lord to which everyone must submit. This is absolutely wrong.
It was never that way in the beginning. Why is it that way now? Why has it often been this way throughout much of Christian history? How did we get here? The scope of this article is far too large for this format, so I will have to be relatively brief. I have gone into great detail about this subject in my first book which I feature on this site in case anyone may be interested further on the subject. Suffice it to say that though my book is the result of decades of study and personal experience, is filled with New Covenant scriptural passages, is based directly on the real teachings of the Lord Jesus, and reveals the history of the early Church, some Christians show little interest most likely because the truth contained therein conflicts with the Christianity they are familiar with and comfortable within.
In other words, if someone wants to write an acceptable Christian book it would be best to stick with the conventional outlook and never ruffle any feathers. The same is true when starting a ministry: Don’t rock the boat. Remain with the tried and true. Use the traditional methods Christianity has adopted to bring in people and get them to support it financially. Everyone knows there can be no ministry success without financial success. Everyone knows there must be a central leader to make it all work. And everyone knows that a successful leader must have style, a charismatic attitude, and good preaching and teaching abilities.
What relatively few know, apparently, is that such churches and preachers are more the result of Madison Avenue than the New Testament, and that such ministries and leaders most often look absolutely nothing like the Lord.
The truth of the matter is that the Lord went far out of His way to prove that a real Christian leader is a non-leader. The apostles were non-leaders. The entire early Church was composed of non-leaders. Why? Because they all understood they already had a Leader and that they must have only the one Leader. This truth is proclaimed repeatedly all throughout the Gospels and New Covenant writings. Even the Lord’s own example proves it. Though He is God, and though there is only one God, He showed up as a humble servant. He taught His men to be humble servants. He even said the greatest among them must be the greater servant.
Now, understand, there were actually no “great’ among them as the world defines greatness. These were not great men but the very opposite. This is part of the reason the religious elite hated them so much. They saw the Lord’s men as absolutely unqualified. They did not look right, they did not dress right, they did not talk right, they had no religious pedigree, and they did not graduate from the right ministry schools or actually any official ministry schools. The Lord’s ministry school was seen as a rebel outfit far off on the outskirts. Not one of the many Jewish religious denominations supported them or recognized them. They would never have been accepted even if they had gone through all the proper channels and applied. They were rejected in the beginning and throughout their lives. In this, every single one of the Lord’s original faithful followers were exactly like Him because it was the same thing they did to Him.
These evil religionists were jerks of the highest order. Most of them never repented and thus most of them went to hell. The same is true for all the fake Christian ministers since then. One can spin it any way one wants to but the Lord will not stand for any deviations of the true path in order to have outward worldly “success.” The price He paid was far too great. The price they paid was far too great. And now, presently, there remains a large number of real Christians worldwide who have paid the same great price. They have been rejected by the religious powers that be. This is a requisite for being accepted by the Lord. He made it very clear that not only will His followers be rejected by the world, they will also be rejected by the religious world. They were thus not so surprised when it happened and learned to move on.
“Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” [Matthew 15:14]
Most Christians are nothing more than followers of their leaders. They believe what their leaders believe. They accept what their leaders teach them to accept. They reject what their leaders teach them to reject. They do not stand on their own feet. They cannot defend the New Covenant writings because they are largely unfamiliar with the New Covenant writings. Their churches and ministries are merely based on the New Covenant but few of them know it or follow it exclusively. If they did they would have to leave the club. Their leaders would be disappointed in their approach and their gaining of knowledge, and if they progressed too far their leaders’ disappointment would grow into anger.
Thus, the only way traditional Christian leaders maintain their glowing outward appearance is by keeping it fake and never subjecting it to challenge. They are uncomfortable with challenge. It exposes their weaknesses. It exposes the fact that their foundations are not as strong as supposed and are only that way because they surround themselves with people who believe exactly as they do. In fact, they train all their followers to do that very thing. They indoctrinate them. This is how they keep everyone on the same page and thus remain in their place of authority.
The Lord Jesus did the very opposite. During His ministry, He was no religious indoctrinator. He made DISCIPLES, not mere church members or congregants. The discipline He taught covered every facet of their lives. He left no stone unturned. He went straight to the heart. If one was going to follow Him they would have to give everything. If one was unwilling to do this, to any degree, He would not accept them.
When a person joined His school, he or she dedicated everything, including one’s heart, exclusively to Him. He must be recognized as the Leader, and most importantly, as the only Leader.
This authority aspect has certainly been adopted by official Christianity. The difference, of course, is that leaders other than the Lord must be recognized. The idea that Christians must totally respect and honor their leader has become so ingrained there is no escape from the mindset unless one somehow comes to understand the fallacy of the concept. This is only attained by growing closer to the Lord. We can take a relative shortcut by simply reading and studying the New Covenant writings in depth. The more one does this the more one notices the difference between the Lord’s original model and the later fake models. One also comes to the conclusion that The Lord Jesus as the only Leader model is not only the only one taught in the New Covenant writings but the only one that works on a spiritual level.
But who really cares about this? How many Christians will go to such lengths? Answer: Real Disciples. Christians have already proven over many centuries that they can create alternative Christian models that not only work on a natural level but work great with absolutely no spirituality involved whatsoever. As an aside, it is truly amazing that the Book of Acts has survived since the vast majority of Christians rejects it and wants no part of what is contained therein. This is also due to religious conditioning. It is sad that such a great void has transpired, even to the point that faux Christians become deceived by their own chosen narratives and perceive no reason to escape or search further. Unless they see otherwise it won’t end well.
And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets;’ and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.’” [Luke 13:23-27]
Apart from these, for those Christians who want the full truth and greatly desire a full and rich spiritual experience and lifestyle with the Lord Jesus, they reject the lifeless religious models with their spiritually dead “leaders.” They refuse to waste their lives playing religious games. They want the Lord. They want all of His spiritual reality. They are fascinated by what happened in Jerusalem in the early first century. Because of this they prove their spiritual hunger for the Lord and the truth, and by this, namely, their faith and their spiritual hunger, the Lord can guide them home. Their spiritual hunger acts as a beacon and attractive force that the Lord can use to help them find Him. Of course, before salvation we are the ones who are lost. This spiritual hunger homing device helps to guide us from out of our lost condition, as one may be lost in a natural wilderness and guided out by natural methods. Without this genuine faith and spiritual hunger, something which arises completely from the individual and is not phony or a constructed religious artifice, the Lord has nothing to work with, which means lost people stay lost, but only due to their own will and desires.
However, if people who wish to stay in their lost spiritual condition also desire some type of outward Christian expression, either to partially satisfy their conscience or to gain or maintain social or religious acceptance, there are many such Christian expressions to choose from. There are churches one can join that require no actual spiritual repentance, that require no born again experience (something the Lord Jesus demands) or only a weak simulation thereof, and no total surrender of oneself to the Lord. One must submit, of course, just not to Him. They must submit to a denomination and the clergy class that runs it. They must submit to a personal leader who is not the Lord. They must submit to a Christian curriculum only loosely based on the new Covenant. Their focus must be not on real first century Christianity but the lesser Christianity they have joined themselves to. For most Christians, this obviously works for them. They like it. They accept it. They go no further. They find a place in Egypt or the Sinai to make their camp and they stay there. They never get to the Promised Land because they don’t want to go to the Promised Land.
Those who do get there must follow a Leader who does not look like a leader. Following this Leader will gain them no worldly prestige. In fact, following Him will cost them everything. It is a harrowing journey. Imagine being lost in one of this world’s evil hell holes surrounded by evil people doing evil things with no respect for life. How could one ever escape without a real guide? And though most people refuse to acknowledge it, the planet itself has become an evil hell hole. Though it does not use the exact phrase, the New Covenant writings refer to our planet as a “fallen world” because it is inhabited in part by millions of outwardly extremely rebellious and evil people, some of whom are at the very top. These people don’t care about the Lord Jesus. They hate Him. They rebel against their Creator. They also hate His followers. This is just a standard fact taught clearly by the Lord.
Case in point:
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!” [Matthew 10:24-25]
To summarize, there had to be a very powerful reason the outward civil and religious leaders and their followers hated the Lord to such a degree. It could not be something relatively insignificant. It could not be based on a few differences of opinion. It had to involve polar opposites. What we arrive at then, based on a great many clues put forth by the Lord Himself, specifically within His many diatribes against them, is that they majored in outer religiosity though they possessed dark hearts. Their over-the-top external ostentation existed in part to hide what they really were. They found that people were weirdly attracted to such outward extravagances as religious clerical dress and graven images, including the living human kind. So they did the following:
“But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.” [Matthew 23:5-7]
On the Christian side of things, Protestant leaders insist on various titles but prefer the word “pastor.” This has also been adopted by Catholicism. Of course, Catholic priests are still one’s “father,” something the Lord taught against directly. Such titles, such as “rabbi” or “pastor” serve to denote the man in charge. Christian churches used to have only one pastor but then the mega churches adopted the title of “Senior Pastor” to differentiate the head honcho from all the sub-pastors. In the mega churches it gets quite ridiculous and comical, and even embarrassing, to see so many goofy titles is use. No matter what job an “official leader” has in many of these places, they are some kind of “pastor.” It gets really stupid when a “song leader” or “minister of music,” a position never even alluded to in the New Testament or associated with “pastoring” becomes a “pastor of music” or some inane variation. Both rabbi and pastor were words that came into relatively late usage. The word pastor is only mentioned once in the New Testament and it is a bad translation. It only proves that such official ministers don’t really care about the truth and insist on furthering a false idea.
“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. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” [Matthew 23:8-13] 
Hence, the Lord wanted nothing to do with all the outward adorning of religion, whether clerical dress or superfluous titles which were used to deceive the unsuspecting. He thus appeared as a simple man. He was not handsome. He had no outer charisma. He did not look so much like the standard image depicted in pictures and movies. He never wore his hair long like a woman. He had nothing in His outer appearance that would draw in silly religious women attracted to shallow religious leaders. Religious men hated Him but real men saw Him as a real man that they could follow. He was rugged and outwardly strong and tough. He had weathered skin from years of doing manual labor, something the soft and pallid religious leaders never did. He used all His money for others. He had no home and certainly no church building. He never advocated for the building of synagogues or churches. The natural world in the great outdoors was His place of assembly. With a smaller group He sat down on a log or a rock when He taught or used a friend’s humble house. He had no pulpit. He traveled on the open roads by foot.
Since the Lord Jesus is God Himself and He chose this path and taught it to His followers, where do the clergy boys get their authority to violate His teachings? Why have they created a counterfeit Christianity that draws in millions of people and then imprisons them within their whims and false teachings? Why do they insist on indoctrinating their followers away from New Covenant truth? Why do they insist on taking over and demanding their own way? Their preaching is fake and their manner is fake. They are all about self-promotion. It can be as subtle as their name on a church sign or as ridiculous as their big fat mug on a highway billboard. The more they promote themselves the less they promote the Lord and the less likely anyone under their sway will find anything more than basic surface-level Christian truths. They refuse the Book of Acts or use it only for their own purposes.
Now, if it appears I am only referring to traditional denominations, it is also the case that Pentecostals and Charismatics are sometimes the worst offenders. Many of these people drag in a lot of stuff from Egypt and outright weird stuff that comes from who knows where. They also suffer from a lack of correct spiritual leadership and do their own part in promoting a clergy class.
Remember, the Lord said there is only one door into His kingdom. It is a relatively small, humble, obscure, and unadorned door that most people never find or reject if they do. It looks like the opposite of what most humans think such a door into such a great place should look like. It is not pretentious, costly, or highly regarded. Most people walk right past it with no acknowledgment. To the world at large this door is relatively invisible.
But for the spiritually hungry in heart who yearn for truth and seek it out, who want spiritual reality and purity with no carnal human strings attached or false religious facades, these people will eventually find that door. They will never stop until they do. And when they find it they find the answer their heart has longed for.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” [John 10:7-10]
© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
The Lord Jesus created a Community that is spiritually strong and knowledgeable due only to the combined brilliance of all members, not the limited low wattage of a few.
On the Day of Pentecost in the upper room the visible presence of the Spirit of God separated into 120 small flames and these were distributed to rest on the head of each person present. It was an outer representation of the infilling of the Holy Spirit taking place at that moment. This powerful and miraculous occurrence was clearly representative of the legitimacy and ministry of each and every real believer.
This original Spirit-filled Community of the Lord that started with 120 grew by the thousands but maintained its initial structure and ministry model. The Day of Pentecost experience never ceased. We have clear references to it and the evidence of miraculous occurrences throughout the Book of Acts which proved the ministry of the Lord Jesus continued onward and unabated yet through His disciples. We also have glimpses of what occurred in Christian meetings of that time, but perhaps no better account exists than what the apostle Paul describes in his first letter to the Corinthian believers. This letter was written at the crossroads port city of Ephesus in about the year AD 57. The following descriptive illustration gives us a much fuller picture of what actually transpired in Christian gatherings in the first century:
What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. [1Corinthians 14:26-33]
This passage in the fourteenth chapter of First Corinthians contains an actual look into what most Christians today would call a “church service.” What the apostle Paul writes about, however, looks nothing like most church services of today or of pretty much any day, even among Spirit-filled people. Back then, the Lord Jesus made sure everyone He wanted to be involved was involved and that meant everyone, though not necessarily in each gathering. The point is simply that He wanted each of His children to have the opportunity to contribute. After all, each believer is a member of His Body. Each member has a purpose and a function, and without each respective part something is missing and this negatively affects the Community as a whole. Thus, He wants everyone, not just a few, spiritually engaged.
NO ONE IS AS SMART AS ALL OF US
In most church services, of course, the opposite happens. What is more, rule by one or a few is the law, unwritten or not. By this we know who is in charge. If the great bulk of believers are made to sit down in orderly rows and stay quiet, never contribute except in some largely inconsequential collective manner, and believe they really have nothing to give anyway compared to the brilliant spiritual giant in the pulpit, then why even try? It doesn’t take long to figure out that one better go along with the program if one wishes to have a favorable and positive “church” experience and maintain social approval and acceptance. To do otherwise is to invite suspicion, be perceived as a mild antagonist, or even eventually be cold-shouldered or blackballed.
There are a great many Christians who spent many years as the good soldier in their respective churches even after discovering Biblical truths that contradict church as they knew it. I know I have. But I always held my peace and attempted a possible discussion later. I did my best to go along with whatever we were all expected to go along with. I figured the people in charge knew a lot more than I did even though I rarely had any of my questions satisfied or answered properly. After my rookie year or so I simply quit asking. I could never get a straight answer. The attitude presented to me by those in charge led me to develop a much closer walk with the Lord and that led me to much more study and research to go along with my often essentially incessant Bible reading. Since there were rarely any viable ministry opportunities in church services, I used my own personal study and prayer time as a principle outlet. Whenever I did get a chance to contribute in a more meaningful way, I certainly engaged and it was good.
One might recall the example of Stephen who was greatly anointed of the Lord to tear into the wicked unbelieving religious leaders the same way his Lord had done. I certainly never did that and rarely saw it done in my entire church career. Those kinds of diatribes were allowed only by the guy in the pulpit. Regarding what was sometimes displayed there will have to wait for another possible post down the road. The difference, of course, is that we are all part of a spiritual community and Stephen was strongly rebuking non-believing Messiah-hating spiritual enemies and defending himself and the Lord against false charges. We, on the other hand, are supposed do our best to maintain fellowship according to the Lord’s will.
Regarding our early, developing personal ministries, most of us thought the leadership would eventually come around and recognize our anointing. We were even taught we must wait on God but surely, they said, recognition would come. This does happen with a few, but for most the recognition never comes. That was my experience. Actually, that’s not exactly true, because some in leadership certainly did recognize what I had, they just never officially acknowledged it or rarely allowed a place for it. I knew then that I had something the Lord gave me that they did not want. I was strong spiritually but sometimes insecure socially in the presence of leadership because I knew they disagreed with me even though they knew I had legitimate questions.
It was also because I was growing more knowledgeable than them and beginning to find holes in the church doctrines and bylaws, though that was not my intent. I never wanted to break fellowship and I wanted good relations, and this caused me to walk an endless tightrope in my attempt to please the Lord and honor my calling while also striving to get along with those who stuck to convention. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was challenging their standing. It was only later when I began to realize that many preachers are not really interested in Biblical truth beyond a certain point and are more interested in keeping their jobs. I never saw ministry as a job.
This is the story of who knows how many believers, perhaps millions. I know many of you reading this can identify with it. Perhaps many of us have had similar paths. Maybe that’s why we have these blogs. They are excellent outlets. Imagine all the prayers that went forth before there was ever an internet or the possibility of being able to use our own internet sites as personal ministry. This was something that many of us never imagined. The internet has served to be a viable ministry option, especially for those who have no other opportunities, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of Christians are now using it. This can only be a good thing. Consider it internet “fellowship” or an overall online Christian community.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13:34-35]
The constant tension of “official leaders” attempting to bar the door within their venues to real ministry as per the New Covenant model could be because they are intimidated and insecure, and may see themselves as somewhat improper or compromised in the full light of the Lord’s teachings. In other words, honest believers obeying the Lord have a difficult time fitting into incorrect or wrongheaded church models, but because the leaders thereof are so invested in their programs, they attempt to force people into them rather than get their own act together and get with the Lord’s program.
The Awakening is changing this.
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
“You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” [John 8:32]
Real Christians are good BS Detectors. They know when people are blowing smoke. Some are excellent at this skill. Our Master and Lord is, of course, the best. He saw right through the idiot religionists of His time and hammered them hard. He did not appreciate their manner of deceiving people, their use of silly propaganda, and most of all, the way they acted out their religion to keep up appearances as outwardly righteous though possessing disingenuous hearts.
He does His best to teach this skill to His students (disciples). Most Christians have a difficult time with it, however, and there’s a specific reason why: Most Christians are not disciples. They are instead as rebellious, if not more so, than all the spiritually unregenerate people in the world who refuse to bow their knee to the Lord Jesus and acknowledge Him as God.
They get tripped up in their own limited interpretations and fall sway to savvy savants who masquerade as ministers. Before they ever get their detectors up and running they succumb to the very BS the Lord wants to protect them from.
THE HISTORICAL RECORD
Imagine that. We have very clear writings dating back two thousand years proven to be accurate and also secular documentation to prove their authenticity. Specifically, we not only have a historical record of the Lord’s life and teachings but we have it from four different perspectives. In addition to this amazing data mine we have a full history of the early Community of the Lord, a thirty year detailed record dating from just before His ascension into heaven to a few years before the death of the apostle Paul, which took place in roughly the year AD 67.
Luke, the writer of both a gospel and the Book of Acts, our aforesaid history book, has been verified as extremely precise in all that he wrote. His many detractors over the centuries have continually been proven wrong in assessing his facts as incorrect. Many of these people are now dead and their intransigent legacies have left them with eternal egg all over their formally arrogant faces. It still amazes me how the devoid-of-facts crowd which insists it knows better but actually doesn’t know squat makes up for it with negative emotion and truckloads of anger when their false interpretations and convoluted narratives are challenged. They cannot stand the thought of being proven wrong after investing so much of their lives in phony characterizations and bogus imaginings regarding the Lord Jesus and the real history of early Christianity.
DON’T CONFUSE ME WITH FACTS
Regarding unreal Christians, in all their superfluous variety, they prefer their own versions of the way things ought to be and reject handily the truths of Scripture which confirm their unstable and derelict dirt foundations. It is part of the reason we have four million Christian denominations. It is also part of the reason we continue to have spiritually brain dead preachers spouting off their nonsensical deceptive twaddle endlessly and incessantly, plugging up the airwaves and stealing the spotlight from the Lord’s real ministers. They also love engaging in personal character destruction and destroying reputations, as the unbelieving Pharisees et al attempted with the Lord. They will get theirs eventually. My hope is that they repent. Maybe they will. The odds are most won’t.
The bewitching nature of this fallen world is such that most people always buy into false narratives and are somehow seemingly blocked from truth. Deception has always run deep on planet Earth. Most of the truth blockage is often self imposed, in that people not interested in spiritual truth set up their own blockades to various levels in order to protect themselves from any encroachment of light which might possibly seep through and cause them to have to actually think about their chosen belief systems. The Lord taught that those who have no love for the truth will be blind to it. Those blind to truth can thus only believe such truth does not really exist, since they cannot possibly discern it or know what they don’t know, when in all actuality it only does not exist to them within their diminutive darkened worlds.
We know from the relatively recent phenomenon of social media that most people who engage in that particular medium almost always end up associating with like-minded people and then think their respective social constructs and belief systems are the correct ones. They then often get extremely agitated and angry with those who do not believe as they do and consider everyone not within their zone as complete nitwits. (There are obviously a multitude of zones.) They frequently reject whoever does not see things their way. This has caused a rise in great hatred for others and a deep bitterness which never shows itself until thus challenged.
What this phenomenon had done regarding social division is striking. It is stunning. But it is not new. Christians jumped in with both feet long ago and started their own social media constructs, otherwise known as denominations. Whoever differed from the company line was made to pay. Those who clutched their religious robes about them in defense of the cult saw to it that detractors would be dealt with severely. All the little sycophants had such great fear of their religious masters they meekly stayed in line and consequently remained blissfully ignorant. There were a few, however, who displayed great courage.
THE MORNING STAR OF THE REFORMATION
For example, John Wycliffe was a Catholic priest who eventually gained access to Scripture as part of his higher learning and studies, something denied to the people in general. It didn’t help for the general population that the Scriptures were not available in most languages. This was by design, of course. It was a way to keep people unaware and uninformed and thus much easier to control. The idiot religious powers-that-be greatly feared the people gaining access to the truth of Scripture, mainly because the people would then know they had been shanghaied by con artists misrepresenting themselves. They would know they were ripped-off and cheated, and taken over by what were essentially wolves in sheep’s clothing who hated the Lord Jesus and served the devil.
So what happened with Wycliffe? This was back in the 1300s. There are reams of data on his life and accomplishments. For those of you who do not know much about him I suggest you study his life. It is quite revealing and informative and will open your eyes that much more to the battle real Christians face. John Wycliffe was an English scholar who knew Latin, the language of Scripture at that time, and thus had access to the truths of the New Covenant. He had paid his dues in that he was trusted with Scripture, since he had already bought into the dictates of his denomination which happened to be Roman Catholicism. The vast majority of people who get that far become so heavily invested and dependent, both monetarily and for their religious and social reputations, that they never stray from the reservation regardless of what Scriptural truth they might learn that is contrary to the teachings of their cult.
Wycliffe was different. He was essentially one in a million. He discovered when reading the New Covenant writings that they did not match up so well with Catholic teaching. He attempted to rectify this and bring reform. He eventually completed one of the greatest works in Christian history by translating the entire Word of God into English. This was the real beginning of the Great Reformation. He never stopped being a Catholic but Catholicism hated him anyway. They failed at stopping him. They were never able to kill him but did kill many of his itinerant workers and preachers. Several of these were burned at the stake with Bibles around their necks!
Over forty years after Wycliffe’s death, his Catholic enemies, in a particularly vengeful case in point, dug up his resting remains from his otherwise peaceful grave and then crushed, burned, and scattered them in the River Swift. The incredible amount of hatred against these early Christian reformers starkly exposed the real demonic presence within the establishment Roman Catholic leadership at that time, which would stop at nothing to maintain control. This was a level of hatred seen often by many over the centuries to that time, but that particular act against such a great Christian lives on as an ignominious example of what wolves in sheep’s clothing will do to those who stray from the cult and expose it for what it is.
John Wycliffe differed from others in that he had a very powerful Christian BS Detector. Make sure yours is in good working order.
Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. [2Peter 3:14-18] 
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
There are two types of Christians: Those who obey the Lord and those who don’t. Those who don’t are often held in high esteem in church society. Why? Because substance matters little and image is everything?
KEEPING UP APPEARANCES
Most Christians are no different from anyone else in this world. They know that the best way to get ahead and have a better life is go along with whatever program they have ascribed to and never rock the boat. They know leadership will appreciate them much more if they simply never question anything and do all they are told. They are taught that this attitude is the way of the Lord and that the Lord is against all who refuse to toe the mark. Thus, one’s standing in church society is paramount.
The reality is that this is not so much the way of the Lord but the way of those in religious control and those under their sway. It is much easier to control the people who always do what they say and weakly succumb to their leadership.
But no clergyite can control a Spirit-led child of God.
Now, this is a very strange attitude for these people to have. They are supposed to be Christian leaders. This means they must believe in the New Covenant writings and especially the pure teachings of the Lord Jesus. All their sycophants apparently believe this about them. They consider them experts in the Word of God and thus they honor them accordingly. They also believe if they do not honor them accordingly, well then, the Lord will get them and much trouble will transpire in their lives.
But are these people really all that brilliant? The reality is that the vast majority of official clergyites actually do not have much knowledge of the Word of God at all. They claim to but most are not taught of the Lord. Many of them certainly have surface knowledge but most of what they know has been received through the prism of subjective narratives. Rather than ever being taught the pure Word of God without leaven they are instead taught according to their yeasty denominational beliefs or their own limited personal beliefs. Both are lacking and both are prejudicial toward a particular viewpoint. These vaunted people, in other words, are not independently-minded but are also controlled by senior members of their respective hierarchies. They therefore must kowtow. They must pay homage to their religious culture. Their paycheck and religious standing demands it.
OUR REAL EXAMPLE—OUR ONLY EXAMPLE
The best way to gain knowledge of this reality is to simply study the life of the Lord Jesus. No person had ever honored proper religious authority as much as He. He was raised very well. He studied Scripture, like all the youth in His culture and time, from a very early age. As a young Man, He was already extremely well-versed in the Law of Moses, the Hebrew Prophets, and the Writings. He was quiet and obedient. He never caused trouble. He blended in so well no one ever thought of Him in any way but as a dutiful and obedient young Man who brought honor to His parents, family, and community. He was known in His local synagogue but likely never stood out. No one ever suspected He was more than the humble, obscure youth they were vaguely familiar with.
Except His parents. Mary knew. Joseph knew. They experienced clear, miraculous events associated with His birth. The parents of John the Immerser also knew. And Simeon knew:
And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, and the glory of Your people Israel.” And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” [Luke 2:27-35]
Anna also knew:
And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth. The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. [Luke 2:36-40] 
But most of Israel then and later knew absolutely nothing about Him and this was also true of those in Nazareth. Next to no one had any spiritual vision. Most had dark hearts. Sound familiar? However, there were sordid rumors from that earlier time that did damage to Mary’s reputation. This is what most had believed. Some remembered and would bring it up on occasion. These rumors would later be used against Him.
I say all this to let everyone know that the Lord Jesus had an impeccable and perfect reputation. He had never sinned. No one had any dirt on Him whatsoever because there was none. He was just a great kid who grew into a perfect young adult. He was the type of child every parent would be proud of. He never rebelled, never caused any problems, always did what He was told, and grew into the epitome of the ideal Hebrew Man.
Yet, somehow or another, none of this mattered when the time came to begin His ministry. In the space of only a couple of months or so He became the most hated Man in Nazareth.
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
JESUS DESTROYS COMMUNITY DIVISION: ALL REAL CHRISTIANS ARE EQUAL AND SHARE IDENTICAL ACCESS TO THE LORD
The Lord Jesus taught us that only He must be in charge. Most Christian leaders reject that directive. This is part of the reason why an alternative form of Christianity was created long ago.
Only the Lord Jesus is worthy of praise. Unless anyone out there has done what He did no one else qualifies. Yet we continue to have the equivalent of bowing before religious leaders and kissing their rings as if they somehow managed to grab a hold of something higher than the rest of us and land upon a leadership summit denied to everyone else. In reality, of course, no such place exists within His Community and never has.
But for any readers out there not yet familiar with this blog and the faithful readers who have supported it for many years, you might have a problem with this simple fact. I say this because in many Christian circles this idea of a higher spiritual class with an extremely small qualified membership continues to persist. Nothing has changed concerning this concept except the surface facade, in that many of these have assumed casual dress and contemporary speech as a way to falsely bridge the gap or appear more relatable. Notwithstanding the Biblical directive to the contrary, people are still drawn to leaders who seem to have it all together but the greater part of their standing is based on mere appearance, and as I have said many times before, appearance is everything.
Substance matters little. Before we go further, I will insert a single passage of Scripture to prove my point, though I could list many others. From this one passage we can see very clearly the truth the Lord taught in the beginning that has since been rejected by you know who:
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. [Galatians 3:26-29]
In this single Scriptural passage lies the pure truth of a radical new paradigm and community association model which thoroughly destroys the concept of any clergy-laity class divide or pyramidal leadership model based on a dominating upper class wresting all control at the very top. In this one passage, taught very clearly to the apostle Paul by the Lord Jesus, exists the following:
There is absolutely no distinction whatsoever between what Paul refers to as Jew and Greek, otherwise known as Jew and Gentile. And within either there is no distinction based on race or nationality. In the Lord’s Community both Jews and Gentiles have exactly equal standing. There are thus (1) Believing Jews and Gentiles and (2) Unbelieving Jews and Gentiles. Inclusion in the Community is based only on faith in the Lord Jesus. Among those who follow the Lord there is no difference in status. However, many Christian Zionists will disagree with Paul on this point, as they believe it is possible to be a Jew and still be saved without the Lord Jesus, or that a Jew somehow has higher standing in the Lord’s Community.
If you are a slave or a free man it makes absolutely no difference to your place in the Lord’s Community. You are both absolutely equal. There are no class differences based on socio-economic status. Though we no longer have the high level of forced slavery in the world today as it existed then, slavery still exists in many countries all across the planet and forms of indentured servitude run rampant. This is especially true in dominating oppressive states which strongly fight real Christianity. For those of us who live in relatively free countries, we owe it to our Christian brothers and sisters in such countries to help fight for their freedom.
There is absolutely no difference whatsoever between male and female in the Community of the Lord. Both are equal. While this point may no longer be as radical as it once was in the free world, it was certainly radical when Paul wrote it and continued to be throughout history and most of the world. On the Day of Pentecost there were obviously both men and women among the 120 who were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in languages they had never learned. Among the women there who engaged in the practice was Mary, the Lord’s mother. Christian women might want to acknowledge this. Catholic women might want to especially acknowledge this. We have much knowledge of the role played by women in the early Church. They were often those who made their houses available for spiritual meetings, which was a very dangerous practice in those times. (Remember, there were no official “church buildings” for three centuries and real Christianity was illegal.)
CLERGY-LAITY DIVISIONS DISRESPECT THE LORD
As an associative point in this discussion, the clergy class came into existence based primarily on economic opportunity and thus education level. This notion continues to persist in that only few Christians apparently have a high enough education level required to be a member of today’s clergy (regardless of denomination). Almost everyone else, regardless of their education level or spiritual standing, accept this class division as Gospel truth when it is clearly no such thing. Thus, the 99% for the most part sit passively and silently in the pews and are completely on their own as individuals, as opposed to the very small higher class which mans all the pulpits and collects all the donations. Why more Christians do not see this otherwise obvious violation of Scripture attests to its long-held traditional standing and inherent subterfuge. It exists to keep the majority of Christians uneducated, silent, out of the spiritual workforce, and to serve the clergy class rather than the Lord.
And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” [Luke 22:24-26] 
The Lord Jesus taught that all of His children are on equal footing. There are no distinctions and no class divisions. He created no clergy or laity. He created no church or denominational hierarchies. If anything at all, those members of His Community with more authority, which is based only on greater spiritual maturity, are subjected to greater servanthood. In other words, they pay a higher price in blood, sweat, and tears. Perhaps this is why so many Christians want nothing to do with ministry.
Yet, EVERY SINGLE REAL CHRISTIAN IS CALLED TO SOME FORM OF MINISTRY. To reject one’s calling is a sin, and unrepentant sin causes a big relational problem with the Lord and one another, and will eventually cause one to lose one’s soul.
The institutional clergy refutes the fact that all are called to serve because its members want to corner the market (and have). Once the majority of such people gain control they then manage to not even answer their own callings, if they ever did to begin with. Thus, the entire process results in removing pretty much everybody from real Christian service.
And we wonder why Unreal Christianity is failing…
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
In August of 2016 I suddenly felt strongly impressed of the Lord to plan a Great Awakening Conference. I immediately went into prayer about it and things starting coming together.
THE FIRST ANNUAL REAL GREAT AWAKENING CONFERENCE
I knew I couldn’t do this on my own so I contacted a good friend in ministry with good credentials who had contacts. He also had an initial located structure from which to proceed. He got on board. Although I originally wanted to do it the following spring, we decided that the fall of this year would be best and would give us more time. The fall of 2017, specifically late October, would also coincide with the 500-year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
He felt we needed to line up a couple of well-known speakers and adopt the standard conference format. I went along because I was doing my best to follow the Lord and I thought maybe that’s what the Lord wanted. My friend made some excellent points and suggestions. Well, the first guy he chose, a man he had met with before and shared a spiritual connection, never responded after two or three attempts. Go figure. This was a big name that many of you would know who has been doing much speaking on the subject of great awakenings. I guess we didn’t rate.
We thought of others who might fit. He came up with another guy. I made up a brochure/letter of sorts explaining the entire concept of the conference and all we planned on doing. This was sent by my friend to the second minister. Only his secretary responded. Again, this was another big name many of you would know. My friend was encouraged by the initial response. Then the secretary of this second minister we contacted listed his demands:
He wanted $5000 per night (we were planning on two to three nights). He also wanted two first-class hotel rooms for him and his full time assistant. Of course, we were only planning for maybe a hundred people at most since we were just getting started. My minister friend got so concerned about such money demands that he eventually decided to drop out. I said we could still do it but make it a more organic conference with several less expensive ministers, the way the Lord did it, instead of one or two big names. We could even allow for the engagement of those whom the church world perceives as “regular Christians” (my preference), obviously including members of his own small congregation, but he was apparently so shocked by the big boy money demands he wanted out. So the conference was off.
But guess what? The two guys he wanted to get are part of the same big well-connected nationwide preacher union (my friend is not). The second guy, at least, obviously looked over my brochure/letter. And incredibly, members of that group decided to do what we were going to do, in the same region of the country, and very close to the exact location I originally planned on.
They turned it into a big affair with several big name speakers. I never followed up with what eventually happened. Those kinds of things rarely do anything substantial. It’s usually a bunch of expensive flash with little substance and no long-lasting regional effect. I can’t prove it, of course, but they apparently co-opted something I had planned (without ever contacting me) for their own purposes, and renamed it.
THE REAL COMMUNITY
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. [1Corinthians 1:26-29] 
I will close by once again giving you the key to the real Great Awakening: It will involve all of the Lord’s children. It will not be the usual show time, big money, and big name exercise of the Christian elite. That entire paradigm is fading out. The format is stale. Those people are all getting older and there is very little second generation to replace them. Those younger Christian elites who are copying this paradigm and weaving themselves into the old format are often hopelessly shallow, even those on giant platforms, and there is no room for a next generation since the present one has become so worldly and compromised. You will see this is also happening within so-called Christian television.
Here’s how to tell the real from the unreal: The Lord Jesus must always be the main focus. People must be drawn by His Spirit. If He is in charge miraculous manifestations will occur.
Also, spiritual humility is a door. If you see yourself as a dedicated real Christian but just another of the Lord’s many children and on the same plane as everyone else, and you don’t see yourself as special or part of a small upper caste, then you qualify for being used of the Lord. I suggest you go pray about it right after reading this post and see what happens.
This new Great Awakening in America involves, just like in the political realm, THE FORGOTTEN CHRISTIAN, the ones who actually serve the Lord Jesus and one another in relative obscurity, who have been slaving away pulling on the galley oars out of sight and out of mind forever. These are the ones who have been making Christianity work in America from the beginning by “secretly” giving their money, time, and energy with very little or no respect or acknowledgement for their massive contributions from those on high and in control.
Real Christians are the ones who possess incredible perseverance under trial, longsuffering, and general overwhelming strength against all odds. If you are a young Christian and do not relate to this concept, you will eventually if you stay faithful.
Persecution seeks out those who refuse to back down.
It is the so-called nameless laity in the pews and church chairs and those on the outside who have always made Christianity work in whatever place or time. These are the ones who are always constant and who can make it just fine without big ministerial pay days and ego-stroking. They also work for the Lord under any and all circumstances without requiring $5000 in advance as do the show-me-the-money boys.
Like the Protestant Reformation of 500 years ago that began in a spirit of necessary reform due to the overwhelming sin and corruption of the controlling clergy, Great Awakenings always emerge from relatively dark spiritual times.
And the darkest of times are also the shallowest and most uninformed of times with the most ostentatious artificial window dressing deceiving clueless majorities into accepting costly shiny packages with nothing inside that must never be opened.
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
The adversary is a master of propaganda. He revels in misinformation. He lives to deceive. If he can’t stop you he will try to send you in the wrong direction. He does everything in his power to conceal the truth.
And it should be evident that what is referred to in an overall general sense by an unsuspecting world as “Christianity” is actually a vast collection of unrelated, incongruent, disparate, and often contradictory elements, from merely human but also otherworldly sources, with no connection whatsoever to the original. Unreal Christianity is thus rife with untruths, half-truths, fruitless rituals, syncretic misapplications, and even what Paul referred to as teachings of demons.
The million or so separate Christian camps each have their own primary ideology and religious slant, and each, for the most part, declines close fellowship with the others for fear that its individual identity and brand will be diluted and weakened, and thus compromised toward funding and support. Many of these factions, some quite large, got started because some DA believed the whispered fabrications of the enemy or the weird ramblings of his own wayward mind and ran with them, taking many clueless hangers-on along for the ride.
Once such groups effectively progress from single dominator and analogous cultic origins to gain the desired reputable respectability and requisite numbers, a strange but perfectly understandable phenomenon occurs: The recognition, reception, and incorporation of greater truth, light, and correction is absolutely refused so as not to interfere with established success and acceptance. This only facilitates even more splintering off, the creation of new sects, and greater division. Thus, the multitudinous Christian factions of the last two millennia have more in common with the devil’s obfuscations and religious confusion than the Lord’s original teachings.
Therefore, if one wants to figure out what is what and which is which, one must be willing to do comprehensive, long-term, in-depth study of the Word of God and particularly the pure teachings of the Lord Jesus. One must investigate actual Christian history (not the fake constructs) in as much detail as possible. One must also do much wide-ranging research (much), with no vested interest or personal religious apologia, and wade through the ubiquitous, muddy, debris-laden waters of deception and misinformation to sort it all out.
In that process, as a byproduct of the search for truth, one will discover the frauds and the deceived. Their deceptive cloaking devices will fall away. They will no longer be concealed and they become completely exposed. This is exactly what happened with the Lord regarding the fake religionists of His time. He could see right through them. He could also apparently see demons, which, when you think about it, is really cool, since the devious imps were used to being invisible and getting away with all their lying shenanigans but could no longer hide—Anywhere. Whenever they attempted their magic disappearing act around the Lord it no longer worked.
Here’s just one example:
In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst of the people, he came out of him without doing him any harm. And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another saying, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out.” [Luke 4:33-36]
Think about this the next time you go to church.
It was therefore impossible to deceive Him. This is the way it must be for His real disciples. This is why the vast majority of those who claim to be NT Christians are not seeing Christians—they still have their blinders on. They can’t see the enemy. They remain deceived.
As a starting point in one’s search for truth and dividing truth from error, consider what the Lord told the frauds and deceived people of His time:
“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.” [Matthew 21:43] 
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
The anointed prophetic Word is designed by God to get His people on track and correct them when they get off track. This is why many Christians reject it.
THEY REMAIN HATED TODAY
OT Prophets paid a great personal price to be the spokesmen for God. Without their work the forces of evil had no opposition and ran roughshod over the Lord’s people. One wonders why it even mattered in part because the great majority of “the Lord’s people” had no real care or concern for the Lord’s purposes anyway and always segued into their desired natural condition regardless of the effort to help them. They loved living in the flesh, so to speak. This in turn caused them to embrace demonic entities.
Along came the prophet, sent by God, to correct their behavior, in the attempt to save them from sin and eventual eternal death, because despite their gross sin the Lord still loved them and did His best to help.
In a fine how-do-you-do, the majority of these people thanked Him by attempting to stick their collective finger in God’s eye and essentially told Him to go to hell. Of course, that’s exactly where they ended up, somewhat ironically (Hey! This isn’t heaven!), but such spiritually obtuse nitwits had no conception of reality anymore due to the blindness that befell them as a result of their rejection of truth. Once they reached that sordid state of soul the odds of returning to God were slim and none.
I JUST DROPPED IN TO SEE WHAT CONDITION YOUR CONDITION WAS IN
The apostle Paul wrote about this very strange Israelite condition centuries later. He should know, of course, because prior to his miraculous new birth experience while still wrapped in gaudy religious robery and exulting in all his glorious Tribe of Benjamin and Pharisee status, he had the aforesaid condition, né disease, in one of its worst forms. Though an expert carrier, He had no understanding of the cause of the disease until the Lord opened his eyes. He explained it thus:
For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. [2Thessalonians 2:11-12]
Refusing to accept and believe New Covenant truth is thus defined as a form of wickedness.
Paul claimed the Lord graciously forgave him for his previous wicked religious behavior and hatred of real Christians because he had acted out of ignorance and in unbelief:
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief… [1Timothy 1:12-13]
In other words, he had been a complete doofus with regard to the truth and because of his high intensity personality he had acted out with extreme aggression on his great doofusness with great passion. Before salvation Paul had no love for the truth and was blind due to his rejection of it. He even ended up embracing bad spirits. By his own account he was formerly a:
3: Violent Aggressor
His passion for his religion was such that no man on earth would ever be able to get through to him. Like so many blind Christians today who insist on their own skewed version of truth, they refuse any and every corrective voice, and it is no wonder since they have great support groups of like-minded doofuses to back them up. This is especially true of the blind pulpiteers with no accountability to God since they are surrounded with great clouds of doofuss witnesses congregating before them and sycophant elder boards who often count success in terms of the offerings they siphon every Sunday.
“Who can argue against our great standing and success and massive numbers, especially with all this money coming in? Come on man, gimme a break! Is it not obvious that God has blessed us?”
THEN WHY DIDN’T GOD LIKEWISE BLESS THE MINISTRY OF THE LORD JESUS?
Some of these places have a level of salt and light but it’s not so tasty and not so bright.
Cranking it up to a higher spiritual degree demands a level of discipleship usually rejected so success must be measured in alternative ways. The reality in our modern times is that church and ministry organizations in general subsist not on the Spirit of the Lord and His anointed Word for sustenance but on monetary donations, and their skillful knack at gaining donations is actually what makes them successful. Few other organizations have the boldness to repeatedly collect donations all the time regardless of next to zero spiritual effectiveness.
And yet Paul, the former small-statured colossal doofus who became a powerful Spirit-filled apostle, preacher, teacher, and great witness giant of a man for the Lord had every opportunity granted by the Lord to accept donations for the spiritually abundant work he did, which quite possibly no real Christian has ever matched, but almost always refused to do. He even said it was his right. Why did he do this? Could it be the same reason the Lord never took anything at all for Himself except what was necessary to keep Him alive and strong for the pure purposes of ministry? He chose to hoe an extremely hard row on purpose and submitted Himself to a very difficult life due to the very difficult mission He had to complete.
THE ABSOLUTE GREATEST OF ALL TIME
No one ever lived a more difficult life with more bountiful spiritual success. The Lord Jesus is our one and only perfect example, and most donation-obsessed so-called giants (antigiants) of the faith look absolutely nothing like Him. This is not to question those who rightfully accept donations but there certainly seems to be a correlation between the most powerfully effective ministries and their very low donation acceptance level.
“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” [Luke 14:27]
BUT I DIGRESS
I remember a preacher from my early days who insisted that whenever he preached he had to wear the three-piece dark suit he always wore that he called his “monkey suit.” I guess that is a form of carrying one’s cross. I also remember a good-natured friend at church who sometimes ministered in a pulpit. Remember, this was a few years back and among the usual conservative elements of that time. Smiling, he wondered about the possibility of “preaching in a flannel shirt.” Back then you never saw anyone preaching or even at Sunday church without wearing some form of higher conservative clothing, unless you were associated with the far out laid back churches on the west coast and a few others like them. I most often wore suits and ties, even in violent summer heat. I could certainly relate to the “monkey suit” idea. Nevertheless, though the Lord was always properly attired I don’t think He ever wore a necktie.
But He also never put on airs or dressed for the purposes of being legitimate in the eyes of those with the cash in order to appear worthy to receive donations like so many so-called ministers do. However, Joel Osteen made a good point once, when someone suggested he go casual and maybe preach in some bib overalls. He answered with laughter something to the effect, “Can you imagine someone who looks like me preaching in overalls?”
While I fully understand Joel’s sentiment and appreciate his humility, I think the apostle Paul probably looked more like the latter than the former, in that he probably dressed more like a farmer than a “latter day saint,” who apparently got their uniform ideas from a 1950s IBM dress code manual.
CLIMBING OUT OF THE PHARISEE PIT
I hope you can see where this is going. In its effort to look the part, much of Christianity has fallen into the same Pharisee pit that Paul was rescued from. When “official” Christianity does this regarding New Covenant truth, it bars the door to any truth they do not deem truth, which is exactly what the ancient Israelites did, which is exactly why the Lord was always raising up and sending out prophets to them, which is what He is always forced to do with successful though very wayward “churches,” and is why such establishments continue to fight the corrective voices of nondescript prophets sent their way.
At the judgment the Lord may tell such Chorazin and Capernaum churches that He kept sending people to correct them, and they may say “Who?” and He may point out the sendees and say “Them,” and the faux church leaders may say “Them!” But we…” And the Lord may say something like, “But you silenced them or sent them packing or rejected them because you had no respect for them because they didn’t look the part (sound familiar?) and because you had so much pride in yourselves and you didn’t understand that in rejecting them you were rejecting the One who sent them.” At that point the Faux Bros may still be mumbling to themselves, “Them? But they, but we, but…”
OH LORDY, WE SCREWED UP
Some formerly screwed up church people and preachers have actually expressed this sentiment and corrected their behavior. Like the apostle Paul they finally saw the error of their ways after getting knocked flat on their backs doing their usual Damascus road routine which involved judging everyone on the planet that didn’t look like them and act like them and believe like them. Humble pie has served them well. They have since decided to try to get their priorities straight but it remains a struggle for some. Many continue having a hard time being corrected and are trying to get it right but are besieged under the onslaught of rigid Religious Correctness. (Yes, due to my own past knowledge of and experience in this regard I was ahead of the curve on that one also.) From my book:
A VISIT TO GALATIA
In these verses, Paul gives us a succinct yet powerfully revealing picture of that which continues to keep much of Christianity in the dark ages. He makes it plain that spiritual goals cannot be reached by human effort. He gives us a concise rendering of the fact that the power of God is not contingent upon works but upon pure faith. Why then are we Christians stubbornly intent on doing all that is possible to organize God out of His own fellowship and out of the very teachings which we profess to uphold? It’s no wonder much of the world thinks Christians are goofy. It’s no wonder we’re always playing catch-up ball—original thought is not allowed. True freedom in the Lord is not allowed either, and we’re paying a huge price for it. It’s impossible for one to be free when he or she is dragging around a Religiously Correct ball and chain. 
We all know there are fake preachers thoroughly succumbed to religious deadness for the sake of wallets and respectability. Just turn on Christian television as a reminder. While there are some in that far away land of lights, cameras, and action who are for real, there are many who are as fake as a sold-out politician and are either seriously deceived (stupid) or thoroughly compromised. Bills must be paid, if you get my drift, and anti-Christian agendas must be attended to, because the people giving the money believe in and insist upon the false agendas. Does one really think one will get donations from (insert name of denomination here) unless one preaches the doctrines of (insert same name of denomination here)?
THE ATTACK OF THE CLONES
“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.” [Revelation 2:4-5]
This is why so many churches are Goth dark even though the lights are on. Their lampstand has been removed because they left their first love. Many other churches are likewise dark though they never left their first love simply because they had no first love to begin with. What’s a Christian’s first love anyway? Is it not the following?
And He said to him, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’” [Matthew 22:37-39]
Of course, Christians can’t obey the second without first obeying the first, which proves why many do not obey the first since it is obvious they refuse to obey the second, and we know they don’t obey the second in part because they reject the corrective voice of the Lord who is trying TO SAVE THEM FROM THEMSELVES. Again, it is why we have four billion Christian denominations at odds with each other that insist on majoring on man-made differences and distinctions instead of coming together in unity founded on the ONE and only ONE full curriculum of the Lord Jesus.
And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” [John 9:39-41]
From this clear statement it is obvious that the blind Christians who insist they see remain in their sins though they play the church game very well and are excellent at looking the part. Again, these people are mere actors. There is no THERE there. They have rejected the Lord’s New Covenant truth as did Paul in his previous incarnation and defend their faux constructs to their own detriment. Therefore they do not know they are blind and in sin and must fight against such assertions even if they attack the One they claim to serve. If He can’t get through to them (and it certainly isn’t for a lack of trying!), who can? How long will they persist in fighting against the Lord?
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Excerpt from Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Much of what passes for open dialogue remains agenda-based, market-driven, and brand-centered. It majors on division and ignorance rather than love and an honest search for truth.
THE NEED FOR NEW WINESKINS
Concerned Christian people continue to discuss the fact that with each succeeding generation here in America, more members of the younger generation are opting out of church membership and decline attendance at churches. The claim is made that as many as two-thirds of young people are “walking away from the church” by the time they reach college age. I hear what should otherwise be quite learned and mature ministers speak about the American culture diverging from the traditional church to the point that a great divide has transpired and something within the American culture must change quickly in order to stop this process or all will be lost.
I say ministers such as these have got it all backwards. They are making excuses for their own irrelevance and inability or unwillingness to reach out effectively. They continue to insist on old wineskins and the rejection of new wine. Of course, many ministers and churches have long since watered down their programs to virtual nothingness in their efforts to be seeker friendly. They offer almost zero conviction for sinners looking to be saved. Their programs are essentially spiritually worthless though they may appear to be successful outwardly. Some of these have even managed to grow into mega churches using this approach. Instead of being salt and light, they have lowered themselves to the culture, which has absolutely no salt and no light.
THE REAL AND CORRECT APPROACH
This is the opposite approach that should be taken. The Lord Jesus never took this approach. He told the truth regardless of what it cost Him. Though He would go anywhere and talk to anyone regardless of their condition or station in life, He never lowered Himself to become like the culture but commanded that we must become like Him. That’s bold.
It’s the picture of an otherwise impossible, incredible personal strength bringing forth reactions in others of utter shock and soul-shattering conviction while wrapped in pure humility and grace.
This was the great love of God within a Man doing all to reach us, but with a heavenly respect we do not deserve and completely devoid of compromise. In other words, God is expressing His greatness and devotion by never changing or reducing His greatness but also relaying that He will pay any price for us even unto dying for us. Quick question: How many great and powerful people do you have in your life willing to die for you?
The reaction to the powerful presence of the Lord Jesus by the unrepentant evil forces was, as in accordance with natural law, opposite and equal. No one continually attacks a righteous man, for example, and eventually kills him in a rage if that man represents no threat to an evil kingdom and is the epitome of Mr. Nice Guy. Though warm and accommodating, the Lord is also the epitome of salt and light—spiritual salt with its powers of preservation and accentuation, and a shining light that both reveals the path ahead and exposes all the evil minions and their disguised and disgusting operations and enterprises.
When the Lord Jesus walked among them His commanding presence was greatly felt and duly noted. Sinners were scared. Demons were petrified. Strong men were taken aback. He was the opposite of the wimpy pastors of then and now.
They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. [Mark 1:22]
“Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.” [John 7:46]
Is the American culture growing farther away from God in a general sense? That argument can certainly be made although one must recognize the fact that there are millions of righteous people here existing in relative obscurity off the social media radar. They get little or no press. Their presence must be factored in instead of us going only by the great sins of the headlines and major media. Therefore, rather than the entire country about to fall off a cliff with no hope of a turnaround, what is actually happening is that there is a large contingent of unacknowledged Americans living their lives in such a way that better defines them as mountain climbers rather than cliff fallers.
This means the entire construct of a divided America being the difference between good wholesome conservative church-goers on the right who have been correct all along and should not even think about changing, and another group of largely young leftist liberal activists intent on replacing whatever remains of American traditional righteousness and morality is not only pure nonsense and completely wrong, it is not conducive whatsoever to bringing real spiritual solutions and honest communication. In addition, if one were to total up the membership lists of these two groups one would discover that they don’t come close to comprising all of America. One would actually discover that about half the country is missing and largely unaccounted for. Where are they?
Many are not attending church or marching in the streets. They simply don’t buy into the Divide and Conquer strategy put forth a few decades ago designed to drive major media ratings and earn corporate profits. This unrecognized population group also sees that untold billions of dollars are being wasted not only by bloated government programs but also by what may be termed ineffective traditional Christianity doing what it has always done, and it does not want to be a part of that scenario either. It may be that the bulk of these Americans are not avowed Christians but they have a level of righteousness that often exceeds that of the other two groups.
Many social justice warriors on the left thoroughly believe they have joined a righteous cause and some of their arguments are solid. Many conservative traditional Christians on the right have also proven to have solid arguments as well. The big unknown and largely undefined group of Americans that do not fit either category also have solid reasons for living the lives they live and believing as they do. The odds are that these three groups will remain separate and continue to believe their respective ways are the best, although I must note that the third is not actually a group by definition, but simply a collection of all those who are not in the other two. The first two groups, in a general sense, wrap their entire identities within their group’s practices and mores and are most likely to be more strident and less likely to change. They are forever stridently defending their positions against one another as if doomsday will quickly descend without their contribution and that the earth will blow up or Christianity will be destroyed. Thus, both reject any attempt at dialogue toward finding common ground.
COMMUNICATING WITH LOVE AND RESPECT
The third group? Not so much, which makes it unique in that it is often more open minded and willing to listen. It has not bought into the left-right paradigm and consequently remains free. And this is the key. Once one has jettisoned communication and refuses to promote dialogue and discussion with sincerity and humility, then one has eliminated the only means of bridging the gap. Remember, the reason someone came up with the concept of the political right and left is because the people on these sides have usually gone beyond the point of no return regarding the middle, which is supposedly inhabited by everyone else. (But I don’t mean the muddled middle, the dwelling place of apathy and a disregard for staying somewhat informed.) I am instead referring to the location which has no left, right, or middle compass bearings. This is the place where people can communicate with both sides and promote such communication. Though many reject the idea, it is actually possible to communicate with people in which one has no discernible agreement.
For Christians, isn’t this exactly what we are supposed to do? Did not the Lord command us to go out and witness and share the Gospel? And are not the odds fairly high that we will find disagreement in the process?
Real Christians understand that it is often the case that a person must be compelled to leave a burning, sinking ship only because he or she does not perceive that the ship is burning and sinking.
Real Christians are sent out on rescue missions knowing full well they may be blasted by the very people they are trying to help. It is that way in sharing the Gospel with non-Christians. Sadly, it is also that way in attempting to share truth with Christians. Both have their fallout. Elements of both will reject you. But opening lines of communication with both can also be richly rewarding.
I am glad someone was persistent with me when it came time to share the Gospel. I may never have met the Lord otherwise. And I am also glad that once I became a Christian other believers were willing to share more truth with me. Much of the latter, however, eventually did not come through personal discussion but by literature. This is why written works and books are so greatly beneficial. The authors thereof do much research, capture facts and truths of the ages, and preserve them on the written page which lives on after their passing. Books have an extremely long shelf life, pardon the pun, and exist as an excellent form of learning and communication though it is obviously not direct. Also, we live in a time when almost all preserved books and publications of the past, even the ancient past, can be accessed. This is proving excellent in the discovery of greater truth, especially when it comes to Biblical truth and the Lord’s teachings.
Up until the last few years we were all subjected for the most part to direct censorship and a complete lack of access to other points of view and the truths inherent within such truths. Now the only thing stopping a searcher of truth is laziness, a lack of spiritual hunger, or a stubborn attitude in insisting one already knows it all and has it right. The latter attitude is what has always caused evil people to gain control and authority over others and imprison them within the confines of fake knowledge, false interpretations and narratives, and downright propaganda. Indeed, using this particular means is how the devil is often most successful. Rather than communicate such people greatly prefer to repress truth and indoctrinate.
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” [Matthew 7:1-2]
There is a right way and a wrong way to communicate. It must never be for purely selfish reasons. It must be because of a desire to help others. It must be because one is compelled to share truth and answers with those who are searching for it and need it. Communication must model the Lord’s method. He obviously knew His teachings would last two thousand years and taught in such a way to reflect that, and in a manner that translates into all times and cultures. We should all know that there is no law against godly love and most people will see no need to defend against it. This is why our communication will be incredibly more effective if we show forth the love of God and make the person we are talking to the object of respect and honor rather than simply wanting to win an argument.
The Golden Rule of Real Communication is that is must be based on the Golden Rule.
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 7:12] 
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
One of the worst things that ever happened to Christianity was that it became official, as in, “This is the way you do it—this way and no other way.” And, of course, everyone has their own version of that.
It is still such a difficult truth to grasp, to compare what the Lord’s movement was way back then in comparison to official renditions of the present. To outside observers they were just a group of haggard men with dusty feet and sandals, and flowing threads from homemade looms, traveling around with yet another perspective on the national belief. Unlike every other message being perpetrated then or now, however, their message—the Word—was a word new in every way but which existed from the foundation of the world. Regardless of what those who couldn’t see saw, those men and their Leader preached not just one of many variations of truth, though such a thing is not possible and exists only as a mental construct, but the fullness of the only Truth. It was pure, it was powerful, and it was fully liberating.
CHOOSING THE KINGDOM AND THE KINGDOM MEN
Their world had become gloomy and predictable and saturated with a longing for what once was but could never ever be again, and in that cold void a lower echelon creep class of really first class dark-souled sinister quasi-humans took over and rose to the top of control like scum on a pond. They were dream dashers and fermented vermin, and the Lord knew from the start what would be needed to destroy them.
He chose men of the earth with tough skin and weeping hearts. They had done all their spiritual seeking in secret until He came and then the emotions flowed like streams in arid lands. They could not put words to the feelings they felt when He got around them but it was like someone turned on an internal faucet and allowed them to be what they were created to be. From the aforementioned gloom, great joy broke out among them. They became happy and secure, and had crossed over a spiritual threshold that previously had been hidden and denied, and they began to be fulfilled, soaking up the Lord’s presence like a dry and thirsty sponge.
He chose them because He knew they would let it all flow—that Spirit river He released—and would then know how to help others exit the phony front and enter the King’s realm. He chose them because they had not become overcome by the powerful gloomy and mysterious forces that raid men’s brains like disease and cause them to walk about enchanted and lost though repeatedly told they are found, when they know in their hearts it’s not true. In reality, the only “found” ones among them, those whose lives actually amounted to something who acquired honor and respect, though misguided and coerced, were the ones who found their authority over everyone else to be the big prize. And they played it to the hilt in expertly covering their deception so none would know or see the resulting unfortunate enchantment or its cause that had descended upon the hearts of a captured people.
BEYOND THE FACADE OF SURFACE PERSPECTIVE
The Lord could not afford to be fake in any way. His ragtag group was organic and real and made no apologies for being human nor did they even try to cover it up or dress it up or slick it down or make it presentable so as not to be human but a mere shallow façade of faded-out glory. Instead, the Lord taught them how to find their glory and walk in their glory and eventually be filled to overflowing with His glory, and that demanded an adherence to truth, and this is why the great vaunted fakers hated them so. They knew they had killed their own glory long, long before and could never get it back without Him because they had sold out to a false vision and identity of what they insisted was “the right way to do it—our way and no other way.” They, like so many fake Christians of now, were invested up to their eyeballs in a false anti-God paradigm masquerading as official spirituality.
But their way then, just like the way of so many now, is nothing but a shiny version of death. And if the sacred zombies of now could talk to the sacred zombies of then the former guys would tell them they’ve died a thousand deaths since putting off their mortal coil and know it’s all over for them with no escape, and that their future is nothing but a deserving judgment into the eternal doom awaiting, and they would tell those who have taken their path to please get off of it and don’t be fools like they were.
They can’t, however, speak from the grave and they cannot warn but they would if they could, not that it would do any good because the faux bros of now know they’ve sold out to the dead brand they’ve inflicted on so many others and they know they would never get along with fully submitting to the Lord Jesus anyway.
So they go on in their splendor with so many deluded ones fawning over their every word, not even aware that the giant spotlight they walk in is supposed to be His and His alone, and instead of being fearful of what they’ve done and the price they will pay they just keep on running it out there day after day.
They believe they have reached a summit and deserve it and prove it since they actually have attained it in that they are actually up there, on a stage, raised up to be noticed and heard, but it is so strange that the higher they go the less sense with regard to truth they make, the less spiritual effect they have, and the more they fulfill the Lord’s perfect phraseology that transcends all time and every culture:
“For you have taken away the key of knowledge;
“You yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.” [Luke 11:52] 
What happens to all the many millions of those who sit out there in the faceless crowds on the other side of official legitimacy trying to enter? And why must they always be denied and somehow instead be satisfied with mere crumbs under a table? Why are those few who have mustered the high places continually denying everyone else the right to ascend as well? Could it be because they have actually achieved nothing at all? The Lord said that though they have gained full control and rule over everyone else and have deemed their respective versions of Christianity “official,” they have actually never even entered the place the Lord said we must and they refuse to let anyone else in their charge enter it.
Does this not prove and reveal the existence of a deceiving sleight of hand process in the works?
Christianity was never meant to be show time. It was the Pharisees, those great fancy-robed and headdressed thespians of yesteryear, who demanded a stage and a platform on which they could perform and pontificate, while pressuring all others to conform and desiccate, and who demanded the same vaunted high places of antiquity condemned by God on which demons danced undaunted and from which the unseen principalities and powers of this world ruled.
Perhaps this is why the Maker of the universe went virtually unrecognized when He entered the very world that He created: He is the antithesis of the showboating religious stage player. Official Christianity has thus rendered Him unseen and effectively unknown.
This is why the great many “official” Christians who have yet to enter His kingdom but desperately want to are told they are already in it by those who never entered it themselves.
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
“Some church leaders speak of “covenant,” but their actions toward those they are supposedly in covenant with often show they are completely ignorant of its true meaning.”
In Part 1, we discussed the Revelation of Real Relationship. In Part 2, we discussed the ongoing Restoration. In Part 3, we discussed the Revolution in American Christianity coming forth in these early days of the Great Awakening.
In this Part 4 conclusion, we continue the narrative from my book Real Christianity by discussing the ramifications of reform, the counter fight against it, and Redemption.
I encourage everyone to read this entire series. In contains both a guide for current reform and the prior instructional evidence for successful reformation to date.
We are all growing ever-more hungry for spiritual reality in our Christian effort and experience, especially in the realm of community and our relations with one another. The Good News is that much progress has taken place and continues. Your work matters and is having an effect. The Lord Jesus is winning.
Dual-natured Christianity added a whole new dimension to spiritual battle. To show how bewitching this evil spirit can be, many of those who dissented and began great movements away from centralized captivity and toward freedom often built their own version of the way things ought to be and guarded it like a junkyard dog.
As an illustration, imagine draining the water out of one massive dammed-up lake into several smaller dammed-up lakes. Then, drain those lakes by building more dammed-up reservoirs. Eventually, one would arrive at thousands upon thousands of small, dammed-up bodies of water. The lesson here is that Jesus is not interested so much in man-made lakes as He is in naturally flowing rivers and streams.
Is it really all that difficult, therefore, to see why Christianity is much less than what it should be? If some pastors treated their family in the indifferent manner they do their flock, they would probably no longer have a family.
Why such a harsh statement? Congregation turnover, for one reason. It is something that completely escapes our notice the more populous the church happens to be. There are exceptions to every rule, yet the larger the church, the greater the turnover. There are obviously demographics at work in all churches, meaning that a percentage of the congregation will be fluid. Yet, some churches have almost complete housecleaning every five to ten years. Church leadership thinks this is due to people either moving on into ministry, backsliding into oblivion, or refusing to commit to their program, meaning that any fault, in their view, lies largely with the congregants.
Some church leaders speak of “covenant,” but their actions toward those they are supposedly in covenant with often show they are completely ignorant of its true meaning. God has put up with manifest garbage from His own people throughout history, yet He continues to hold to the terms of His covenant with Abraham because it is an everlasting covenant. From the perspective of Christian leaders immersed in centralized authority, a covenant of that sort is just plain silly and is only referred to in the abstract. They know they cannot maintain control according to the terms of such an agreement and therefore reject it outright. Their public discourse leads one to believe that they support the Abrahamic covenant unequivocally, but this is not really the case. If it were, they wouldn’t be fighting to maintain control over their people or vying to gain even greater dominion by seeking more converts over which they might rule.
If God’s people are to grow, they must be free. By God’s grace, some manage to do this within the system. For others, the only real freedom and maturity they acquire arrives after they exit, stage right.
TIME TO MOSEY
Actually, a great exodus began about thirty to forty years ago. Today, the fruit of this search for freedom within Christendom exists virtually everywhere. In large metropolitan areas, in small towns, in suburbia—thousands of non-denominational fellowships have sprung up with no affiliation with any central authority. This means there are no bureaucrats, no mission boards, no paid resident clergy, and no faceless masses yearning for freedom and real growth in the Lord. Right? Well, we only wish.
We have, in this latest movement, carried less of Egypt with us than in the past, but still too much to promote true spiritual freedom. If anything, we are more fractured than before. Instead of having one, or a few centers of religious authority, we now have scads of mini-kingdoms and assorted loose groupings based on former denominational ties. Of course, the majors came through it all basically intact, although many had to compromise their doctrines, liturgies, and stands on issues in order to keep their membership rolls at an operational level.
So, even though progress is being made, we’ve still not come up with the fortitude to rid ourselves of the clutches of carnality, worldliness, and pride. Christendom must continue, therefore, through the blistering sands of the Sinai on its long and winding trek to the promised land, in order to eventually eliminate those who are hell-bent on making and maintaining golden calves. 
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
The Real Great Awakening is a movement of the great rejected majority. It has nothing to do with the Christian Establishment.
THAT’S WHY THEY’RE PROFESSIONALS
People wonder how elected officials go to Washington and become completely different people. Many of them are all fiery on the campaign trail and espouse great ideas. They get the electorate all charged up. Then they go to that bizarre world we call our nation’s capital and seemingly metamorphose back into caterpillars, going in the opposite direction of all their campaign rhetoric.
It is no different with the professional minister. They have the ENTIRE platform. They can say and do anything they want. There is no real opposition in the pews, unless you count the usual contentious minions getting their panties in a wad over some useless personal minutia or some guy with more money and influence who demands a return on his investment and stroking of his pride.
This kind of garbage and so much more has been going on within the framework on this non-New Testament form since it was forced upon us so many centuries ago. The idea that the “men of the cloth” have predominant standing and must be honored at all times has only given rise to the same uber-cloaked Pharisaical super-class monster the Lord Jesus had to battle almost every day of His ministry. And of course it was the greatest of that idiot class way up there in Jerusalem land that eventually killed Him, ridding the world in their minds of one more rabble-rousing religious outsider determined to expose them and bring in the fresh winds of truth and God’s original intentions.
We see this same thing happening again today. As I have already stated in recent posts, Donald Trump would never have gotten elected without the millions of Christians who decided to leave their galley oars, defy their wimpy leadership, and do their part to stem the great tide of evil washing over the land. It remains to be seen, of course, just how much Donald Trump will honor the promises he made to Christians on the campaign trail, especially in light of the current trail of traditional usuals he is appointing to his cabinet. It could be that he has no other choice, that the Republicans will refuse to confirm any prospective official not of their choosing.
One thing is for sure, however, and that is that Trump will continue being Trump, even if Washington also ties him down like all the others and he is only able to affect minimal change. At the very least it will be change in the right direction.
No candidate in the history of American politics has ever been as pilloried, hated, and politically destroyed as was Sarah Palin beginning eight years ago. The invective against her was so over the top and off the wall it can only be understood in spiritual terms. The devil obviously hates her with a passion. But God loves her. I use her as an example here because what happened to her is the same thing that happened to Donald Trump during the recent campaign. The reason he prevailed is in part because he was much more tested over his long life politically even though he was not a politician. He has always had constant run-ins with the press and establishment leaders. He never considered these entities as superior. In fact, all the politicians (and who knows who else) were always begging him for money. (Wow. THAT sounds familiar.) I am not vouching for his past misdeeds but only stating that he has always been a fighter. He knew how to fight and was willing to fight. His success proves that.
But his victory in the 2016 election was largely paved by the fight Sarah Palin faced. He saw what they did to her and knew he would face the same kind of fight but I still don’t think he had any idea how bad it would get. He really owes Palin for what she endured.
And now it comes out that Sarah Palin is so thankful that so many millions of Christians came out in support of Trump, because she knows that didn’t happen for her eight years ago. This was especially true of wimpy Christian leadership. She was classy about it then and never said anything, but this is what she had to say about it this Thanksgiving:
She added a personal note, something she said she’s never talked about in public before: “I was very grateful to see that the church stepped up, because eight years ago, I felt that they didn’t. Besides the attacks on my family and supporters, the most hurtful thing about the election, the vilification, the marginalization, the ridicule that hit us – my family and me, eight years ago – was that I didn’t feel that the church did circle the wagons and step up boldly and say, ‘What? No, that’s not what she’s saying,’ or ‘That’s not what she represents.’ Because some of them knew me.”
“A lot of these famous pastors, and people all over the country, right after the election were sending me their secret confidential little love notes about, ‘Oh, you know, my heart was with ya, and you know if there’s ever anything I can do for you, just let me know, because I believe in you, and I believed in you during the election, I’m so sorry what you went through.’ And would sit there reading this stuff, saying, ‘Well, where were you? Why didn’t you step up? You’re going to have to step up next time, or that next person is going to go down too,” she remembered sadly.
“So yes, thank God. Literally, I’m thanking God that this go-around, enough pastors, enough congregations, enough people who don’t even ever get in the four walls of a church, but know there is greater purpose in our lives and there is a greater being who has everything in His hands — more of the Church stepped up, prayed about this very hard (and they need to keep praying about it). They did their job,” Palin concluded. [Sarah Palin: ‘Grateful to See the Church Step Up’ for Donald Trump Because ‘Eight Years Ago, I Felt They Didn’t’ © Breitbart.com]
Christians in general did indeed step up but the great majority of the professional ministers did indeed not step up.
THE JOHNSON AMENDMENT
During the campaign, when Donald Trump was having closed meetings with Christian celebrities and professional ministers (and the few regular Christians who somehow made it in), he stated his amazement that so many of them never engaged in the fight and never had for multiple decades. He wondered at their wimpy silence. Then one of these Christian church professionals brought up the Johnson Amendment. They told him they were not allowed to speak politically from their pulpits. They explained why. Until 1954 they had that right but Lyndon Johnson and the IRS took it away.
And I say, Well, the Lord Jesus never took it away. You guys are the ones who insisted on buying into the Church Charter business and the IRS-mandated 501c3. Outside of that strange convention Christians can say anything they want. Besides, political speech is often the greatest of speech. America was founded on free political speech. It was the great outspoken patriots who stood up and spoke out politically who brought forth the American Revolution!
THIS IS A FREE COUNTRY WITH FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND ALL YOU WIMP PROFESSIONALS BOUGHT INTO A SYSTEM THAT REMOVES YOUR VOICE. Why? Because you couldn’t make a living otherwise, that’s why. You could only get your massive donations and the donators could only get their tax write-offs through an official government-sponsored religious set-up. By buying into this false paradigm you also ended up eliminating the voices of everyone else within your establishments, so the net results of your selling out is mass spiritual silence, the very opposite of what the Lord commanded us.
YOU SOLD YOUR FREE SPEECH BIRTHRIGHT AS CHRISTIAN LEADERS FOR A BOWL OF DONATION STEW.
That’s why I will continue to report that this current early Great Awakening is a movement of regular nobody real believers who have thrown off the pew and all the other church-related resistance factors. It is not and cannot be a movement that includes the snowflake professional ministers who will only preach in their government-mandated safe spaces with absolutely no opposition from anyone anywhere including the pews. If they were doing what they should be doing they would be getting the Sarah Palin treatment. They would be getting slammed by the devil. Praise God that Sarah Palin stepped up to the plate when she did. She has more FIGHT than most professional ministers put together, including all those big mouth fakers on TV. She paved the way for Trump.
CLEANSING THE TEMPLE
Now, in case you are wondering about Trump seemingly waffling on his campaign promises, it could very well be the case that he’s taking a higher road at present. Also, he might need a lot of help in getting rid of the Johnson Amendment. He will need the help of Congress and many others. If he doesn’t get it done, however, the only ones it should affect are the professional ministers and compromised Christians. They will continue to make the excuse that they can’t speak up, the same way they always have. It is very convenient for them now and would continue to be. Whatever. They have already proven themselves over many decades to be irrelevant wimps. The country has gone down on their watch. They should be ashamed of themselves. Great massive sin has descended, the devil has taken more control, and their presence has done little to stem the tide.
No, it was the millions of American Christians who left the reservation either bodily or in mind that made the difference. The same current anti-Establishment attitude against the entrenched political class has also been brewing in real Christian circles now for a few decades against the entrenched professional minister class. Christians are tired of being led by irrelevant sissies. They’re tired of being dictated to by sell-outs. They want the temple cleansed. They want to be led by the Lord Jesus.
And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” [John 2:14-16] 
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
“In the beginning, spiritual relationship came naturally. Nobody had to come up with a program to promote relationship between members…”
In Part 1, we discussed the Revelation of Real Relationship. In Part 2, we continue the narrative from my book Real Christianity by discussing the Restoration:
In the beginning, spiritual relationship came naturally. Nobody had to come up with a program to promote relationship between members. The early believers understood that the relational purity they each came to possess upon their new-birth experience was instantaneous. For example, when a baby is born, that child becomes an immediate member of its family. The baby’s family relationships result from the birth, not from trying to create them at a future date. It is the same in the Church. Relationship is a byproduct of joining the community.
It doesn’t exist properly in many churches that have attempted to establish it, however, and this denotes a problem. It could be a problem of immaturity and lack of proper spiritual insight, or it could indicate a problem of resistance against God. Real Christianity has real relationship. Unreal Christianity has little bona fide spiritual relationship between members but only a substitute or inferior form thereof. Such unreal relationship creates no unity or intimacy among members. Thus, the quiet discord that exists beneath the surface in most churches is due to neglect or rejection of that which brings unity. When individual members of the same church never establish relationship, spiritual unity is victimized, and true fellowship is not possible.
It’s jarring to think that what the early church once was is what we in the present are trying to become. Sadly, there was a point in history when the early community of saints which brought light to millions began to have less effect on a dark world. They were faced with mass conversions to a state religion which was Christian in name only and, thus, were increasingly perceived as heretics by the unreal brethren and as world aliens to everyone else. The real believers had become the spat upon and rejected scum of the earth. Wherever they went, they were truly strangers in a strange land.
The Qahal  of the latter portion of the church age met a parallel historical point, though in reverse, a few centuries ago. By the early 1900s, restoration reached a new level and has been steadily increasing since. We are now at another fork in the road. One way leads toward our destiny; the other way embarks on yet another endless circle. This juncture marks the point of no return for those who decline to follow the Lord into the next and possibly final transition. The very narrow way which the Church is pressing through at this writing is forcing her to abandon excess weight and baggage, as well as those elements which might have assisted her in the past but are now only slowing her down. One of these elements is class division. It must be left on the entry side of the eye of this present needle. 
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Qahal is the Hebrew equivalent for “Church,” and is the word most likely used by Jesus.
 Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
“There is a reason people have problems in their attempt to minister together. The chief obstacle which has been in the way for the greater portion of the church age is still in the way…”
I have written extensively on this subject. My book, Real Christianity, delves deeply into the issue. I have taught many Bible Studies on the topic.
Though the following excerpt from the book is relatively brief, it presents the historical and Biblical essence of Real Relationship and helps every believer to discover how it positively affects his or her Christian experience and discipleship.
Speaking of which, I highly recommend buying my book. It has received excellent reviews. Its pages are loaded with truth that reveals this application of the Lord’s teachings, the Divide and Conquer tactic against it, and so many other methods of the enemy that strive to limit and even stop the progress of the Lord’s real Community by eliminating real spiritual relationship, both with the Lord and with one another.
Thank you and be blessed:
There is a reason people have problems in their attempt to minister together. The chief obstacle which has been in the way for the greater portion of the church age is still in the way. We exist in the midst of a major revelation, which Christendom has repeatedly failed to apply properly. This attests to its freshness. That it had to come by revelation shows the depths of our collective naiveté. Of course, many in the pew saw the need for it long before the pulpiteers, but were powerless, in their estimation, to do anything significant about establishing it since it seemed to be in opposition to the status quo. Indeed, the ruling clergy is threatened by it and has therefore tried to water it down or channel it in a “safe” direction. But such puny attempts by even punier autocrats will never succeed against the will of God.
What is this major revelation? Put simply, it is real relationship. Its fundamental hindrance is the clergy-laity division which was firmly established by the fourth century A.D. Remember, the Church, or Qahal,  which Jesus initiated was a community—the community of called-out ones. In the early days, there were no class distinctions or divisions—everyone participated in a meaningful, fulfilling way. At present, though we might try, we will never arrive at real relationship church-wide, until we do away with the clergy-laity split. 
Many churches have attempted to incorporate spiritual relationship between members into their objectives, and most of them think they have succeeded. This reveals at least a small amount of religious pride which must be eliminated as well. The clergy can attach any label it desires to a thing, but labeling is often as far as it gets. Those who have made great starts in the heat of great opposition, on the other hand, should be commended for their stand and supported for stepping out. In takes more time than we think, however, before real relationship is established within a group, and those who have begun the process must press on. When we at last lay to rest the evil root which causes division in the Church, we will have:
1. True recognition of each and every one of God’s people
2. A revelation of the inestimable worth of each member of the congregation
3. The utilization of this worth toward the building of real community
4. The functioning of every person in the Church according to his God-ordained purpose within his destined ministerial calling
5. The maturing of the Church into an organic ministering fellowship (the body of Messiah) with any number of horizontal relationships between members, yet only one direct vertical relationship—that between each member and the Lord Jesus 
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Qahal is the Hebrew equivalent for “Church,” and is the word most likely used by Jesus.
 The word “Laity” originates from the New Testament Greek word laos (lah-’os). It is defined as a people group, whether socio-political, socio-religious, or cultural-ethnic. It generally refers to the “common people,” as a crowd, a populace, or a nation. It is also used as the people of God. When used in the latter sense, it means all of the people collectively. It is easy to see how the meaning of this word was corrupted when class division entered Christianity.
 Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. [Acts 4:1-3]
Most spiritually intelligent people figure it out after a while. Some see it very quickly. Others need a lot of time. Most, it seems, never see it.
The primary reason for this spiritual blindness is revealed in the preceding passage of Scripture: How did the unbelieving Sadducees and priests come to power and gain control over the people of Israel in the first place? Why did the people let this happen?
It begins with intimidation and trickery. It often ends in force.
The key to success for the bad guys is finding people vulnerable to deception, which is apparently not so difficult a task. People become vulnerable to deception through their own ignorance. People are most often ignorant as the result of their own laziness. Therefore, the spiritually lazy are easily intimidated and deceived because of their own ignorance of spiritual matters, and this creates the perfect opportunity for the bad guys (dressed as good guys) to take control.
This very dynamic just took place again this morning, all across the country. The vast majority of “Christians” still have no clue. They are under a very powerful spell of enchantment.
This dynamic is also, of course, reinforced every election cycle. Lazy, low and no information voters susceptible to gross deception by their own ignorance creates the ongoing opportunity for the elite to gain ever more power and wealth. The Lord told us this would happen. So did the Founding Fathers, if we didn’t stay alert. Well, most of America has not stayed alert. Many voices keep warning. This is good. But it is not yet enough.
However, you better hear this voice. The Lord God is in the process of doing something incredibly great though it still remains off the radar of those with compromised vision. WE ARE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF A NATIONAL GREAT AWAKENING. There have been many, many attempts to subvert it, to co-opt it, to shanghai it, and to stop it, but they will all fail.
These attempts will succeed, though, in sucking in the unsuspecting and spiritually weak. If you believe yourself to be a real Christian it is absolutely imperative for you to get on board with the Lord Jesus one million percent. You will otherwise fall victim to the opposing side. There must be a concerted effort to break free. Remember, the Lord said the deception would be so powerful even His own disciples would fall for it without staying spiritually strong, informed, and connected to Him.
After being in control for a while the entire process of dominance and submission becomes self-perpetuating. The only thing that can break the religious enchantment and deception upon all those on the inside then, is Great Light from the outside. This is what happened when the Lord Jesus arrived. He exposed the evil workers in charge who had successfully disguised themselves as God’s anointed. They were obviously not anointed. They had no light. They were frauds.
This is why, in the Acts 4 passage above, these frauds went absolutely nuts. Their crazed and fearful behavior was the result of being exposed by the apostle Peter’s message for what they really were and to losing their religious hold over the people. This is what real spiritual Light does. It exposes religious frauds and it frees people from their grip.
But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. [Acts 4:4]
Most Christians of the present, like their ancient Israelite counterparts, have also submitted to the wrong leaders. As a result, they have also become the willing victims and dupes of party line half-truths, misinformation, and pure pulpit propaganda. They do not realize they have been conditioned over the years to always swallow the status quo and do everything they’re told. They have been conditioned to be passive sheep in which the highest virtue is to surrender to total clergy control. Thus, whenever spiritual Light breaks forth, they do all in their power to put it out.
The following are God’s gifts followed by the conditioned response of religious controllers:
(1) God gave you a very strong spirit. Emasculate it!
(2) God gave you an intelligent mind. Dumb it down!
(3) God gave you a voice. Don’t use it!
The formula is thus: Laziness + Ignorance + Speechlessness = Deception = Domination.
If you want a passage of Scripture that perhaps best describes what has become of traditional, institutional Christianity in America, the following pretty much nails it:
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]
Every sheep that has gone astray falls into one of two camps: Those who know it and those who don’t.
Those who know it know full well that they are in need of the Good Shepherd.
Those who don’t have been deceived into accepting replacement shepherds. They have been led into a camp that actually opposes the Lord but insist that is not the case. They have become satisfied in their fake pasture.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. [Psalm 23:1-3] 
The lush green pastures the Lord would give them have been replaced by the replacement shepherds with disease-causing chemically-fertilized fields of nutrition-empty faux grass.
It looks great but you better not eat it or you will get sick and die.
The Living Water promised by the Lord has been replaced with repackaged sewer water loaded with toxic chlorine and ammonia.
It looks clean but you better not drink it or you will get sick and die.
The false gospel they preach has been redacted and censored exorbitantly so as not to offend (betrayal), to bring in maximum monetary profit (thirty pieces of silver), and to grant power to a tiny religious clique of replacement shepherds (Judases). It is worthless toward gaining real salvation and spiritual life.
It sounds right but you better not believe it or you will get sick and die.
All of this should be obvious. But when “Christians” absolutely refuse to compare the dead and the almost dead Christianity they are associated with to the real Christianity of the Lord Jesus, in order to differentiate the real from the unreal, they have no way of knowing they have been deceived.
For example, there are people who have gotten in trouble with the law because they were playing fast and loose and not respecting the law or acknowledging the penalties of breaking the law. As long as they didn’t get caught they were fine and stayed on course. But when they got caught and the penalties were applied they decided to comply completely so as to get free as soon as possible. If they were put on probation they obeyed the terms of probation. If they were fined they paid it. If they went to jail they became model prisoners, caused no more trouble, worked on paying their debt to society, and eventually got free. Then they never got in trouble again for the rest of their lives. They made the decision to be law-abiding citizens. Their resultant freedom and clear conscience allowed them to make full and virtuous contributions to the life God gave them. They got off the wasted life track and got on the productive life track.
Now, many Christians say they are doing that. But most Christians make lousy comparisons regarding their Christian service. They compare themselves to T-ball players instead of Major League Baseball Hall of Famers.
If a person compares his Christian life to that of the average American churchgoer he will probably feel okay about himself and feel no pressure to improve. But if he compares his Christian life to that of the apostle Peter he will quickly see a giant deficit. And what happens if one compares his life to the life of the Lord Jesus? Uh oh.
Also, why does it never dawn on Christians that most of their so-called shepherds and elders look absolutely NOTHING like the apostle Peter, and certainly not like the Lord Jesus? And why are they accepted anyway?
If one’s “pastor” is a spiritual compromiser then there is no pressure for anyone else to be anything more. This is why most Christians gauge their spiritual lives by their chosen authority figures. They would rather not have the pressure of conforming to the real curriculum of the Lord Jesus. They don’t want real discipleship. Not only is it too difficult compared to their easy method, the people they hang with would not appreciate it.
Why? Because Christians who live lives of real discipleship put pressure on those who don’t. Making a move to be closer to the Lord and be more effective for Him puts pressure and conviction on those who would rather hang back and live in their fake world with fake grass and fake water. They would much rather submit to a fake shepherd and believe a fake gospel. It’s a lot easier. But it is pure betrayal.
This makes every single one of these “Christians,” especially the ones in the pulpit, a Judas.
Their ends will all be the same.
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
The following are Comments from the Real Christianity Community from my January 2016 posts. Thanks to all of you for reading and for your support. Please see comment section of each post to meet and greet your neighbors and enjoy some blogosphere fellowship! You can also read my responses. I’ve included embedded post links for your convenience. Be blessed.
(1) “This is exactly what I needed this morning and am thankful for the words. I am currently going through a valley in life. Sometimes rugged words like this are what a man needs during a trial.”
(2) “Oh yes. Indeed yes. We have watched a young but arrogant “pastor” destroy a thriving work, which has gone from 100% to about 25% since he came. He was highly recommended, and we believed in him. He rose to the level of his incompetence, and we learned that God’s Word was right when it tells us not to elevate a novice. We’ve moved on, as have 600+ other people. One of the saddest experiences in our lives.”
(3) “Great teaching….strong meat, well seasoned, and not drowned in extravagant but needless sauce. Just right, and so very true. I’ve often thought about the “Peter Principle”. To be sure, we reap what we sow. We ought to at least, to be honest with ourselves. If we didn’t start out that way until the Lord got us by the collar, we need to start now. Very encouraging word for today and every day. Be blessed.”
“‘Religious hybrids,’ an interesting analogy, and food for thought. Kind of weird, thinking about these creatures; one doesn’t know whether to avoid them, or pray for them, or if that doesn’t work, to feel sorry for them. I have noticed that some folks simply don’t want their eyes opened, and they won’t believe even if you tell them the absolute truth. They were born and raised in the system and in the system they will stay….. no matter what LIGHT they are exposed to. However, they should know that whatever Truth they have received, they will be responsible to work out in their lives.”
(1) “This is excellent. People don’t want the Lord to rule in their lives, they want man to rule over them. They don’t want to live by faith in God, but faith in the flesh or human convention. Mankind by its very nature likes to negotiate man with man. We are not here to negotiate with God, but to OBEY HIM. Obedience is a narrow path.”
(2) “Here’s a vision I had 2 years ago that fits in with what you’ve posted here: https://tpuccio.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/when-you-come-together-the-body-of-christ/ ”
“Even though that excerpt (from Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church ) may be twenty years old it’s the most prophetic utterance I’ve heard lately, and has confirmed itself many times over, just like the truth always does. I’m not trying to flatter with words…I’m just saying. I’ve tried to warn “Christians” of the same thing……few listen, and almost no one understands. Why? Because the cultural and doctrinal traditions, (brainwashing), has seeped so deep into the collective conscience, it goes in one ear and out the other. No ears to hear.”
(1) “Yes it does sound familiar, and frankly I don’t understand why the churchaholics don’t get it. If I as a relative newbie in churchianity “got it,” then it seems it should be relatively simple for others to as well. I mean, the Lord gave us His instructions in the New Testament with an example to follow. Thanks for the blessing…good stuff!”
(2) “Familiar indeed! At the root of the topic is the Edict of Milan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edict_of_Milan When the early Church was co-opted in to be given rights from the Roman government. Certain inalienable rights to receive tax free status, rights to own real and personal property (read copy write laws). Subsequent to them agreeing to this type of governmental homogenization the Church in this compromised state began a downward spiral from “Glorious” to sleep walking, sleeping, and finally dead which has been happening globally for quite some time since. Thank God for remnants! It is this Glorious Church which Yeshua returns for and not the ones that harken back to a nationalized mindset based upon a governmental foundation guaranteeing certain inalienable rights based upon co- opted belief systems. This kind of “earth based” non heaven-non kingdom belief system is the very kind responsible for mobilizing the Muslim faith along with hundreds of others in to believing that man can re-establish a government aligned to that as King David once was given. There are two passages of scripture that address that King David’s tent will be re-established but this event is not tied to anything that either a real Christian or a fake one will do through governmental rights derived from these earthly realms.”
(3) “Isaiah 29:9 They are dumbfounded and amazed; they are troubled and stagger; they are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. 10 For Yahvah has poured out on them a spirit of deep sleep, and it has closed their eyes, and also the eyes of the prophets and rulers, and the seers, who see the hidden things. 11 And the vision of all is become to them as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is learned saying, Read this, and he says, I cannot; for it is sealed; 12 and the book is given to him who is not learned saying, Read this, and he says, I am not learned. 13 Therefore master said, Since this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their reverence toward me is taught by the precepts and doctrine of men; 14 therefore look, I will proceed to set apart this people by a great wonder, and in a marvelous manner, and the wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the understanding of their prudent men will be taken away.”
(4) “This is why Jesus said He hated the work of the Nicolaitans. Nico is ‘over’ and laitans is ‘laity’ so the term means conquerer of laity. Here’s a dream I had about 6 years ago that fits with your posting:
(5) “The world crept into the church and ruined it. Worldly/carnal people love class divisions. You might like to read this book: PAGAN CHRISTIANITY? by Frank Viola and George Barna:
“Speaking of Greek words (I know very little Greek), I met a guy named Harris Himes while I was hitchhiking in Montana and he has studied the Greek New Testament for a number of years. He said that the Greek word pisteuo means ‘continuously faithing.’ Rather than say ‘I was saved 20 or 30 years ago’ I think it would be better to say ‘I abide in Christ’ or ‘I believe in Christ’—present tense, not past tense. I told Harris that I have met certain ‘Christians’ who have told me that they were saved many years ago. But their lives did not bear witness with my spirit—they had no witness—they were conformed to the world. So I have always wanted to ask them, ‘So when did you reject Christ’ or ‘Why are you so conformed to the world?’ http://biblehub.com/greek/4100.htm ”
(1) “‘United we stand, divided we fall’ is just as true a motto as it ever was. But America is more divided than it ever has been at this critical time. The Lord Jesus said, “A house divided cannot stand.” The household of God, now apostate for the most part, is also more divided than it’s ever been and is crumbling to the ground, except for the true and faithful remnant not part of the well dressed harlot.”
(2) “Although I kind of get where you are coming from, I am somewhat disturbed by your mixing the political system with the belief system. Didn’t Messiah say, ‘My Kingdom is not of this world?’ We are also told, ‘Judgement begins in the house of YHVH.’ Being American is not synonymous with being a believer in Messiah. Our country is not divided because ‘Christians’ are divided, It is divided because its foundation (democratic republic) is anti-God. The founders and proponents of the USA were Deist, Unitarian, Freemason, etc. The principles this nation were founded on which guarantee Christians religious freedom were originally intended to allow the architects of this government to operate unhindered in their anti-YHVH philosophies. Their intent was to create a system where they could freely promote their agendas without state control. The only individual right we are guaranteed as believers of the One True Living God is the right to become the sons of God, members of His household, and citizens of His kingdom.
“I do not believe the US is being judged by God. What I see is the law of sowing and reaping. Consequences of bad choices. The country has become the god. The only national unity under God’s design is the individual parts of the Body of Messiah recognizing their piece of the body and fitting in to become a Kingdom not of this world. Until we get this, there can never be peace – not individual, not corporate, not national.
“The houses, communities, congregations – whatever you call them – that claim the Name of God but usurp His glory, is where He will focus His attention for discipline and judgment. Thank you for bringing the stuff that makes me think.”
(3) “Revelation 3:18: ‘I advise you to buy of me gold refined in the fire, that you may become rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, so that the shame of your nakedness may not be seen; and anoint your eyes with salve, that you may see.’ This is a prayer for those who have suffered from the blinding fog of religious paradigms, doctrines and mindsets.”
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
I have written extensively on the subject of the Clergy-Laity Division. My book, Real Christianity, delves deeply into the issue. Though the following excerpt from the book is relatively brief, it presents the historical and Biblical essence of the Clergy-Laity Division in Christianity and helps every believer to discover how it negatively affects his or her Christian experience and discipleship.
Speaking of which, I highly recommend buying the book. It has received excellent reviews. [Please see the above *AUTHOR / BOOK* tab for more information.] Its pages are loaded with truth that reveals this Divide and Conquer tactic and so many other methods of the enemy that strive to limit and even stop the progress of the Lord’s real community.
Thank you and be blessed. From Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church:
By the Middle Ages, the Christian upper class as a whole had grown much more stealthy and clandestine, gained access to greater monetary sources, and amassed more political power than it had probably ever imagined. Eventually, these classes developed titles. You know them today as the clergy and the laity.
One must note that this split did not take place within the Lord’s Qahal.  Jesus never created rank among His children. Class division began in the unreal assembly, and we can trace its origin all the way back to the times of the apostles. As a matter of fact, Paul referred to its propagators as false apostles:
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” [2 Corinthians 11:13-15]
A few verses later, Paul wrote of their management practices, especially of the way they exalted themselves over their congregations:
“For you tolerate it if anyone enslaves you, anyone devours you, anyone takes advantage of you, anyone exalts himself, anyone hits you in the face.” [2 Corinthians 11:20]
Keeping in mind the fact that the real community of believers was woven together by love and that they comprised a body, those who submitted to the false apostles were obviously not loved by their leaders, nor were their congregations unified in the Spirit. The word “exalt” in the former verse is from the Greek word epairo (ep-ahee’-ro). It means “to lift up, raise up, or raise on high,” or in other words, to exalt oneself in pride. Jesus instructed His people that the greater leader must be the greater servant and must cloak himself in ever greater amounts of humility. These false apostles did just the opposite, being true to their actual nature.
After many centuries, the clergy-laity division became standard practice even among those church bodies which gained greater access to truth. The division has remained in most churches to date due only to carried-over tradition and an apparent lack of knowledge regarding the Lord’s proper format. 
The Divide and Conquer tactic employed by Unreal Christianity was brilliant. As avowed enemies of the Lord Jesus, it put the Christian Pharisees in complete control and regulated 99% of the congregation to wasting away in the pews as ineffectual clergy supporters rather than real disciples of the Lord Jesus:
When the splitting of community became official, it easily did more to thwart God’s plan for evangelizing the world than anything else man has devised. The reason why is simple—ninety-something percent of the membership was removed from the process. The “laity”  was deemed unqualified for officially ordained Christian service and, consequently, unworthy of receiving God’s call. Yet, there was a time when all believers heard the call of God, and each person heard it from Jesus Himself.
At the present, due to the entrenched tradition of the clergy-laity division, many Christians never consider the possibility of devoting their lives to God because they have been made to think that God only chooses certain rare holy ones for His work. If this is true, the Lord is breaking His own commandment by judging a good many people as unqualified before they ever get a chance to prove themselves. [See Matthew 7:1]
The only thing which actually disqualifies a person from ministry is the same thing which disqualifies him from membership in the Church, and that is simply a lack of full commitment to the absolute Lordship of Jesus. There is nothing inherent within any sincere believer which disqualifies him or her from the Lord’s service—somebody else’s service yes, but not the Lord’s. Every Christian needs to know that all legitimate calls to ministry come only from the Lord, and each should be encouraged to find his or her place of service. There are abundant ministry needs to address, very few who feel worthy to address them, and many who were discouraged from entering the Lord’s service by inept ministers who were more than likely never called themselves, at least, not by God.
Ironically, many headstrong individuals or those with improper motives feel all too worthy. Their self-willed attitude would suggest that they usually never hear God’s call at all, but one much more personal. Such high-minded ones see golden opportunities to use religious structures, systems, and especially people to pad their own nest or at least find a niche… 
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Qahal is the Hebrew equivalent for “Church,” and is the word most likely used by Jesus.
 Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 This word originates from the New Testament Greek word laos (lah-’os). It is defined as a people group, whether socio-political, socio-religious, or cultural-ethnic. It generally refers to the “common people,” as a crowd, a populace, or a nation. It is also used as the people of God. When used in the latter sense, it means all of the people collectively. It is easy to see how the meaning of this word was corrupted when class division entered Christianity.
 Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
For those who believe in the false concept that only those with the Lord’s blessing and approval always have abundance, where does that put the apostle Paul? Where does that put Peter and John in the following?
But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” [Acts 3:6]
Would that the majority of Christian ministers had this spiritual power and ability, but they don’t. And they never will because they always put this world above the Lord’s spiritual kingdom. They always put money ahead of spiritual power. Their priority is always funding and having control, instead of more of the Lord Jesus, His love, His spiritual power, and His control.
In reality, putting the Lord Jesus, His kingdom, His righteousness, and one’s obedience to Him first actually does result in abundance, although the term is relative. By having the right priorities, one can have both the spiritual power of God and also be blessed by God materially and financially (to whatever degree He decides is appropriate).
Nevertheless, because the compromised ministers with wrong priorities make up the vast bulk of “ministry,” they also garner the vast bulk of the money.
This also means, of course, that honest ministers with the power and real love of God are in the decided minority. That is not necessarily bad on the surface, but it is when the majority—Unreal Christianity—treats them with contempt, cuts exorbitantly into the general Christian funding pool, and discriminates against them as illegitimate ministers.
But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. [James 2:9]
Why one cannot see the arrogant me-first outlook on the part of the Christian elite and those with religiously correct social standing most often means such a one is a part of that group—One can’t see the forest for the trees if one is one of the trees.
If one’s top priority is to fit in socially both in church and the community and be financially successful then it is impossible to do the will of God and hence, be blessed by God:
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him.
And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” [Luke 16:13-15]
There was a time when the apostle Paul openly REBUKED the apostle Peter. Imagine that. Here we have two of the Lord’s very best men who were both used in spiritually tremendous ways. Both were filled with the Spirit of God. Both had been used for great miracles. Yet Paul thought Peter was wrong enough to be rebuked.
What would Paul think of all the current minister frauds of the present? If Paul would rebuke Peter, he would obviously rebuke, and much more severely, all of the money-grubbing elitist frauds who have made money, power, prestige, success, and a perfect outer image their priority. If such people would rebuke their own it would be a great sign, but such never happens.
It is the same with sycophant church boards and congregations who never speak out about the error from within. That means the only rebuke possible must come from without.
It also means that the Lord Jesus never leaves Himself without disciples with a strong and powerful anointing, like the apostle Paul, in any generation.
It means that, for all real Christians, part of their discipleship allows for possible rebuke by God, not for harm, but to insure that His community is strong, healthy, in possession of the full truth, and able to perform spiritually for the benefit of others. Whoever inoculates oneself from this process through the shield of gaining an improper exalted position, wealth, and influence has chosen the wrong path, and without repentance and redirection will lose one’s soul.
The author of the Book of Hebrews said it this way, at first quoting from Proverbs:
“MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”
It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. [Hebrews 12:5-8]
In this we see who the real illegitimate children are and exactly why America is in decline: For the most part, spiritual imposters are in control. They have no salt, no light, and no power with God to successfully and effectively fight a spiritual war with evil. As a result, evil has gained the upper hand.
The Lord Jesus knew exactly what the reason for the decline of His own nation was, just as this writing is revealing what is causing America’s decline. The Lord also dealt with it directly in a powerful and confrontational way by exposing the false religionists for who they were and laying the blame exactly where it belonged.
If one seeks the party most responsible for the spiritual decline of America, forget the usual suspects. The reason for the decline is elsewhere. Look no further than the few in charge within Unreal Christianity, since they are the ones with the authority to make the most substantial choices that affect everyone else.
In closing, let’s look once again at the incredible statement of the Lord Jesus, for which this series is titled. All Christians must consider its implications. Its application reaches very far. It is at once a severe rebuke but it also puts things in stark spiritual perspective. All real Christians must learn this truth:
Now the Pharisees,
Who were lovers of money,
Were listening to all these things
And were scoffing at Him.
And He said to them,
“You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men,
“But God knows your hearts;
“For that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”
[Luke 16:14-15] 
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
THE NON-PROPHET / FOR PROFIT MINISTRY MODEL: That which is Highly Esteemed among Men is Detestable in the Sight of God (2)
“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.”
They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”
Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.”
They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication…” [John 8:37-41]
One of the many things the Lord Jesus was falsely accused of by religious people was illegitimacy in both physical birth and ministry calling. Everyone except His own mother and maybe a few others believed he was conceived in a sinful union out of wedlock. It is also apparent that some people thought Joseph was not His real father. Though they were correct, it was certainly not for the reason they thought.
There were many other lies told about Him. He was said to be crazy, demon-possessed, a drunk, a glutton, a false prophet, and a liar. Even with a preponderance of obvious miracles performed by Him, most still did not believe the truth but preferred the lies. Only a relatively small percentage of His own people thought He was who He said He was.
Hence, it was next to impossible for the Lord Jesus to have a good reputation within society in general, even though He is perfect, had never sinned, and never did anything wrong. He kept the Law of Moses perfectly and in the right spirit.
A GOOD REPUTATION WITH GOD OR MEN?
Therefore, rather than personal reputations, the Lord cares much more about correcting whatever keeps people from real discipleship, such as false doctrines, false teachings, false operations, and false set-ups. He cares about removing all the stuff He never put there. It is far better to have a great reputation with the Lord and be thought of as an idiot in the eyes of the world than it is to reject God’s correction and sell out to His enemies.
This presents a problem for the fakers, however, because much of the income in many ministries is tied to such things. Consequently, there is a ton of not-so-good stuff hidden behind the scenes that no one ever sees and the people involved must keep it that way or they will lose funding. It is the same in many churches.
That is why the most important reason no one speaks out about minister frauds is because some of them bring in the greatest amount of cash. The cash not only enriches them, but in a general sense enriches everyone associated with them.
It is the idea of a rising tide raising all ships. It is why so many ministers attempt to get their boat out on that particular body of water even if financial pirates are present. There’s just way too much money and influence to sail away from.
Any churchgoer who pays any attention whatsoever knows that every individual church or ministry has to establish a good reputation and must always defend that reputation. One would think this would be based on fending off lies and otherwise unfounded malicious attacks that arise primarily from unseen evil forces intent on doing damage to a God-founded entity. These could in part be malcontents and disgruntled former members with axes to grind. But such are not the real reason for defensive ministry postures.
Though such spiritual attacks do occur from time to time, most “attacks” are not attacks at all, but simply someone pointing out the sin and error most often found within church leadership. As a result, church leadership has long-since instituted a no-rebuke hierarchical set-up that protects it not only from actual attacks, but also from the Lord’s rebuke.
This non-rebukable, non-accountable, top-of-the-pyramid leadership structure can thus go about its business with no fear of any possible spiritual correction that might harm its outward reputation.
As a result, such non-New Testament leadership models grow ever-corrupt (with pretty faces) in their unceasing quest to dodge necessary correction in order to keep their monetary and worldly success and societal reputations intact—the leaders thereof have gained great esteem in the sight of men but not so with God.
“And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. As you enter the house, give it your greeting. If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace.
“Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men…” [Matthew 10:11-17] 
Church leadership learned a long time ago how to circumvent and censor the honest, informed people in their churches who, by the anointing of God and because of their love for the Truth, act as their Lord and Master did when He pointed out the spiritual errors of the religious elites of His time.
Because the majority of that which can be classified as “church leadership” has obvious vested interests in their respective enterprises, they must protect those interests at all costs. What they need are supporters with money, the same way any legitimate business needs clients and customers. They need people who ask no questions, accept everything as presented, and always give as directed.
Most churches and ministries are run like a business. If one disagrees, try doing church as usual with no money.
A business cannot exist unless it has a commodity or product to sell. Good businesses create good products and people are willing to buy said products. Many churches and ministries are actually no different. If they are to exist and be successful they must have a good product that produces a good revenue stream. Without money they are out of business. It is a very simple proposition.
Some ministers are actually honest about this. They know very well the nature of the set-up. They also know, however, that because they are honest they must do things the Lord’s way. They know that whatever money they receive must come with the approval of the Lord Jesus attached to it. They will not ask for money otherwise. They know the entire money issue is never “business as usual.” They know the money they receive as donations or earn through their own labor is due to the Lord’s blessing and approval.
However, many ministers do not follow this clear spiritual protocol. They act like they do, but this acting is the same as all their other acting. They have in fact bought into an act that has been around for centuries. Maybe some of them are deluded, but most know it is a very simple proposition—money will either make them or break them. For them (the vast majority of Christian ministers), money is the solution. Without money they cannot operate or even exist.
The very few honest ministers reject this entire notion. They know it is not Biblical. They know it does not stem from the teachings of the Lord. They know the Lord has called them to a specific work and as long as they draw breath they will do that work come hell or high water, whether they have any money or not.
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
There was once a big Christian conference in a major city several years ago. It was headlined by a big name Christian evangelist from another country. Many local preachers were invited, as were their church members.
The city convention center was rented out—the place used mainly for NBA basketball games—and was nearly filled. The conference had been publicized for months.
As one who attended my share of rock concerts in my long ago youth in such large venues, it was interesting to see all the different people from all over the city come in. As an usher, it was my job to assist in finding seating for the attendees, but also to direct people to the VIP section.
The organizers of the event made sure that all the VIPs, in this case church pastors and official ministers, were ushered toward the front section, which was marked off and guarded. I was posted in the far back entrance on the main floor. Pastors came in with special credentials and I directed them to another usher far down the aisle, pointing them in the right direction. If I recall, the VIPs wore certain badges to identify themselves.
There was kind of an upbeat atmosphere but muted. In the old days one walked into a concert in such large auditoriums and saw people having a great time and looking forward to the show. The inevitable frisbees were flyin’ around, caught by someone in the crowd and flung again, several staying aloft at once.
But not at our conference. No frisbees. No beach balls, even. There was one thing, though. It was kind of weird, but then again for those who were used to it not so much. Again, I was at the head of one of the two or so main aisles in the back down which every minister had to walk to reach his seats in the front section below the stage. My friend and fellow usher was about halfway down the aisle before me.
The next thing I know a young lady of maybe twenty years of age suddenly felt like dancing. In the aisle. Close to where my partner was. She was doing one of those worship dances with large graceful movements, her eyes turned skyward in kind of a blank look, as if she was hearing music no one else could.
Okay. No problem. That’s why we’re here. Glad someone’s getting in the Spirit. It reminded me of something, though…
I remember many years before in a church I was attending there was a lady who did these kind of spur of the moment worship dances. Except hers were really weird. And they usually occurred at odd times. This was in one of those kinds of churches where such behavior was okay, and maybe even encouraged. The idea was to let people be free to worship the Lord as they felt led. The associated challenge with this approach is that you would get the occasional weird “leading.”
For example, we had a tastefully trimmed out walk-in baptistery at the far front behind the pulpit. It was located there so everyone could see the baptismal candidate emerge on the left from behind a wall and walk down the stairs of the filled tank into the water. The preacher would meet the candidate there, sometimes in waders, and do the baptizing. It was cool. Then the freshly immersed believer would rise majestically out of the water all smiles and happy. It was a celebration! People would applaud and praise God, and then the newly baptized would climb the stairs of the tank on the opposite end and exit.
Well, our particular worship dancer would sometimes find her way to the baptistery entrance in the back, unseen by all, and then suddenly emerge from behind the same wall through a narrow outlet and out onto the platform! She was thin with long limbs and would always be holding her arms outward and upward, eyes almost closed for the most part, and glide around.
During a service.
Sometimes during the preaching.
You hoped you didn’t bring a visitor on such nights.
She was ghostly and pale and wore long loose-fitting light-toned dresses. It was quite the sight. Some people were muffling laughter. Elbows were poking others in the pews good-naturedly to let them know the ghost lady was doing her thing. Most congregants acted like nothing out of the ordinary was going on which made it even funnier. For the most part everything just kept going as usual—listening to the preacher, watching the ghost lady, trying hard to be respectful, and allowing her to worship the Lord in her own unique way. Good times…
Well, back to our conference—our young lady was dancing in the main aisle completely oblivious to oncoming traffic. People going down the aisle would have to stand there and wait for a moment, looking for an opening to get past her. Finally my partner asked very nicely if it would be okay if she did not block the aisle and perhaps dance in her seat.
The next thing I know some older gentlemen sitting in the back row close by came unglued and walked quickly down the aisle, his head and shoulders thrown back, aimed directly at my friend. He began to excoriate my fellow usher who was quite taken aback at the treatment. My partner tried to explain but to no avail. The gentleman came walking back to his seat red in the face and quite steamed. “That young lady wasn’t doing anything wrong and should be allowed to dance!” We looked at one another. Everybody saw the whole thing. He sat down madder than hell.
I decided to go over to him both to stick up for my fellow usher and also attempt to diffuse the situation. I was very cool. I kind of half knelt down to make eye contact and tried to explain that she was blocking the aisle. Then he started yelling at me. “That little girl is a member of my church and I don’t appreciate this!”
It was then I realized that this little man was a preacher. Somehow or another, his credentials were messed up and someone told him he was not allowed to sit in the clergy section down front. This all happened before I took my post. He was mad enough to fight because he felt slighted. I told him I would try to fix it. He said he no longer wanted to sit up there. His behavior was familiar to me at the time since I was the father of young kids.
Again, I tried to reason with him and diffuse the situation. I stayed calm. Then he said something or another and I lost it. He remained sitting and we were face to face and I let him have it with both barrels, speaking as low as I could. His wife sitting next to him was the most embarrassed woman in the whole state, and was probably used to his antics. But the guy would not let up. I returned fire. I stood my ground and manned my post. Then he looked at me and yelled, “I’ve been preaching for thirty years and I don’t need you preaching to me!”
If he had gotten up out of his seat I could not have guaranteed that I would not have knocked him into next week. That little banty rooster preacher was a serious piece of work and was obviously used to having his way.
Maybe the preacher’s antics and our little discussion became a sideshow among the crowds in the upper sections. Maybe the whole thing played out like a ghost lady episode.
As these things go I was later questioned that night about what happened. Nothing ever came of it. The mad little preacher stayed in back the whole evening glued to his seat and later tried to make amends and laugh it off, though he refused to admit any guilt. He even mentioned something about us almost getting in a fight. As it was, the corrective of the Lord was strongly applied as it probably had never been before and if the preacher had chosen for it to be applied further it would have been.
Moral of the story? Not sure. But maybe if we didn’t have a first class section for bonafide clergyites and Pharisees, such people would not get their panties in a wad in the first place whenever they felt slighted. Their attitudes are the polar opposite of what the Lord Jesus taught. Imagine the people back in the angry little preacher’s church who revered this guy as a man of God!
The idea of spiritual VIPs is about as far from the example of the Lord Jesus as possible. He was always being disrespected and treated bad and He accepted it. It was part of the territory. He never demanded His own way or threw fits when slighted. Unlike many modern day preachers who demand honor at all times, the Founder of real Christianity took on the persona of a servant. He would have never been invited to a conference like this anyway, much less have been offered any credentials, but if He got in I’m pretty sure He’d have to sit in the back. With a perfect attitude, though, and most likely invisible.
I later thought that maybe the little hothead preacher who had been a minister for thirty years was given a chance by God to show real Christianity by taking the mistake in stride and sitting in his back seat with a smile. And what if all the preachers given official credentials had tossed them aside and purposely sat in the back or somewhere unnoticed? Would not that have been a great testimony to the Lord Jesus, to have that entire front VIP section empty?
But no. Too much pride. Too much sorry religious pride.
And there’s your main malfunction, all you Rev. Pretenders: You refuse the Lord His place and take it for yourself. This is like trading a million nuclear power plants for a flashlight battery. It’s no wonder you never see a move of God!
For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? [James 2:2-4]
“Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” [Luke 20:46-47]
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [Galatians 3:26-28]
Clergy and Laity distinctions have no place in the Lord’s community. Period. We must all get with the Lord’s program. Proper humility is the order of the day. Repentance is called for. Religious pride must be destroyed. We must walk not in the strength of sinful flesh but in the power of the Lord’s Holy Spirit.
If there is one central determining factor in explaining why much of Christianity in America is long since DOA it is because the Lord Jesus has been demoted or kicked out and replaced by impotent imposters.
I’m not sure what the actual purpose of that conference was, except to see how many Christians from different churches we could gather under one roof in geographic unity. Nothing much happened. There was no great outpouring. The foreign evangelist, greatly used of God overseas, had little effect. But, you know, maybe it was a good networking opportunity.
For those interested in the real deal, though, who want the Lord Jesus to be exalted to His rightful place of honor and authority, who long for an outpouring of God’s Spirit and even a national Great Awakening, there is a clue from the ministry of John the Immerser. The forerunner of the Great One quoted Isaiah the prophet while preaching to the many seeking repentance and right standing with God. Isaiah tells us exactly what must happen should we choose to be one big happy family:
A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
“Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley;
“Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” [Isaiah 40:3-5] 
Now there’s a Christian conference worth attending!
© 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
THE PROPER REPRESENTATION OF JESUS AND BENEFITS THEREOF
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies—presenting all your members and faculties—as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
Do not be conformed to this world—this age, fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs. But be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind—by its new ideals and its new attitude—so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn every one among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought—not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance; but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him. [Romans 12:1–3 (Amplified Version)]
There is a connection between the fact that witnessing isn’t easy and the fact that most Christians seem to represent Jesus improperly. When left alone from outside influences, most people will always choose Jesus when given the opportunity. Why? Because Jesus offers life. He offers to remove from a person his or her heavy burden of sin. He offers the ability and strength to be a real disciple. He offers the means toward success and victory according to His will. He gives us the knowledge of our destiny. He gives us purpose and protection. He allows us the honor of being an integral part of His plan in the salvation and edification of others. To sum up, He offers us everything we need as well as our heart’s desire,  if it is in our heart to serve Him. The blessings of God, however, are never given to those who refuse to make Him Lord.
In light of all these gifts and benefits, what sort of person would turn his back on Jesus? There are two possibilities: An impervious, dense, obstinate, thickheaded dolt, or a person who is deceived. The former might be construed as a person who is hopelessly deceived, but a better characterization would be a person who loves darkness more than he or she loves light. God gives these people every opportunity at salvation but also allows them the choice of departing this life in sin if that is their desire. The second category is almost the polar opposite from the first in that it involves people who desire to do the right thing but get cut off at the pass by the religious chucklehead posse. These are people who have been taught that their glass is full when it is empty, that the grass is always greener on their side of the fence even though their backyard is dirt, that up is down, joy is pain, bears only use gas station restrooms, the Pope is Episcopalian, and God is out to get them. And the biggest problem of them all? They learned it all in church!
Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
There are certain people who have lived on this planet at some point after Acts Chapter 2, and some who live today, who refer to themselves as followers of the Lord but insist on a higher platform than everyone else. They love the veneration paid to them by their followers. Many of them appear to be humble or put forth the pretense of keeping a low profile, but are essentially hypocrites in this regard.
Though a probable majority of all “Christians” believe in a distinct clergy-laity division, and that some believers must be treated with more respect and honor than other believers, they did not learn either of these from the New Testament. In fact, the opposite is true.
Why is it that certain believers must be called by a title while they themselves do not even honor the Lord Jesus with a title? They call Him by His first name. In fact, the Gospels most often refer to the Lord by His name and rarely a title.
There are some who have made such a name for themselves that an entire movement composed of millions of followers is dedicated to them by name. Of these, perhaps the worst offender is John Calvin, who instituted Calvinism.
We can debate whether or not Calvin’s doctrines were called Calvinism during his life, but this does not really matter. The man created a distinct theology that many others latched on to and believed in, and millions continue to believe in Calvinism do this day.
I prefer to believe in Jesus. And I will insist on believing in His teachings, and attempting to learn and incorporate His teachings, and make the claim that there are no other “Christian” teachings than His. Therefore, we should have no “isms” before the Lord. Whatever Calvin got right, he merely received from God. But if Calvin got everything right, and he certainly did not, he still would have received it all from God, it would all line up perfectly with the teachings of Jesus, and there would thus be no distinction between what he taught and what the Lord taught.
And then John Calvin could properly blend back into the vast collection of believers, lose all the name recognition and distinctiveness of His name above so many names of unknown real believers, and be an actual follower of the Lord Jesus, the possessor of the one and only original and perfectly correct curriculum, and only possible “ism.”
In other words, if God Himself insisted on keeping as low a profile as possible while still getting the job done, and remaining as humble as possible, and as much of a servant as possible, and as self-effacing as possible, where do so-called Christian religious leaders get off in promoting themselves above their brothers and sisters?
We think a lot of the apostle Paul but clearly, the vast majority of Christians would prefer to not have to go through what Paul went through, and thus, do not, and thus, are not as effective or effective at all. The last time I checked, Calvin and Luther and many of their upper level clergyite followers and supporters never faced the sword of martyrdom, while these same people created martyrs in that they had Christian believers killed, or supported their deaths—those who they referred to as heretics. And, of course, Catholic Church leaders wanted Luther and Calvin dead but apparently couldn’t get to them!
Paul, after his conversion, NEVER killed or supported killing anyone for any reason, and certainly not for someone being a “heretic.”
But Paul certainly believed in killing heretics BEFORE his conversion. Think about that when assessing who the real believers are, even if some murderers are venerated as great men of the cloth. The Lord Jesus was seen by great religious men as the greatest heretic of all time. Whoever then does to another what was done to the Lord cannot be a real Christian. Period.
The original apostles never killed “heretics” either. And most of all neither did the Lord Jesus. In fact, HE WAS THE HUNTED. The apostles were the hunted. The real believers were the hunted. And the Lord, His men, and many early believers were the ones killed for their faith, not the ones doing the killing.
Therefore, “Christians” can be divided into two types (See Genesis 4:1-8)—those who kill those who don’t believe correctly, and those who don’t. Those who kill and have killed did not learn it from the Lord’s example. And if they were willing to kill, and are willing to kill—obviously the worst violation of the Lord’s teachings—then everything else they do and teach is completely suspect and I wouldn’t trust them with a lemonade stand.
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’
“Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” [Matthew 25:41-46] 
And He didn’t even mention murder:
“Lord, when did we castigate you as a heretic and kill you?”
“Whenever you have done it to the least of these…”
© 2013 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Psalm 21:2
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.