Christians have been taught by those who rule over them to never question religious authority. Thus, those in control equate themselves with infallibility and inerrancy.
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]
This is obviously not the case among the majority of churches and denominational hierarchies. These always feature top-down leadership in which the congregants have very little say. Everyone is expected to merely obey what comes down from on high and respect their leaders with a respect deserved only for the Lord.
We could fix this and all the damage it causes by simply:
(1) Allowing the Lord Jesus to have full control, and
(2) Adopting the leadership method He taught and advocated for
We see His method very clearly in the New Covenant writings. One of the first things we notice was that there was never any “one man show.” There were always at least two men going out to minister together in evangelism and several men appointed as elders of groups. These were older men, hence “elders.” There was no central elder. The elders worked together.
This correct method eventually devolved over time into the incorrect method of rule by one man and this ruler became known as a “pastor” although there is no New Covenant authority for such “leadership.” Churches then devolved into clergy-laity set-ups in which the laity had no voice and were merely dictated to and told what to believe.
Whoever decided to invoke their God-given freedom to do individual research and study to become a better disciple was eventually falsely disparaged because his discovered truth always threatened those in charge.
Consider the following words of Paul written to Timothy, and remember such universal New Covenant discipleship terms applied to all Christians such as “servant” and “workman:”
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” [2Timothy 2:15-19] 
The Greek word translated as wickedness in this verse is defined as “injustice, unrighteousness, doing wrong, evildoers, iniquities, iniquity, injustice, unrighteous, unrighteousness, wickedness, wrong.” What could be more wicked than a Christian leader teaching anything opposed to the Lord’s teachings or refusing to teach the fullness of the Lord’s teachings?
CHRISTIANS ACCEPT THE REALITY OF THE WORLD WITH WHICH THEY ARE PRESENTED
At that time, the two guys mentioned by Paul had adopted a wrong belief and began telling others. It was up to Timothy, as advised by Paul, to avoid this type of “worldly and empty chatter” that leads to such “gangrene.” We know what gangrene is, and it is not pleasant. It begins with a small infection. The offhanded beliefs of the two men with no Scriptural backing were as an infection that invaded the community. The infection was teaching something as true that is not true.
Hence we understand the great need, especially in these latter days, to stand strong for the original teachings of the Lord Jesus and oppose strongly all the false teachings adopted by so many “Christians” since, who like those two men, have infected overall Christianity with various gangrene-like spiritual diseases which have spread far and wide.
It appears that in the majority of congregations, Hymenaeus and Philetus have taken over, and without much of a fight.
You will know them by their fruits.
© 2017 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.
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One of the great things about the Lord Jesus, found in no other, is His ability to simultaneously reveal truth and expose deception. He shines an incredibly BRIGHT, quasar-pulsing LIGHT on the false construct of fallen, sinful mankind upon this planet—in New Testament terms, the world—and destroys the con, the fraud, the sham, and the ruse.
This is why the forces of darkness hate Him so much. They can’t hide. They successfully conceal themselves and their underground, off-the-radar, highly deceptive machinations from everybody else, but not from Him.
This is especially true for religious fraudsters, and most especially true for unreal Christians and fake Christian “leaders,” probably the most self-deceived people on the planet. They act like they know it all but regarding the Lord’s real curriculum and compared to the Acts model, most don’t know squat. Their religious pride and smugness is off the charts.
The Lord’s demand for honesty is also why the Lord Jesus will never allow His own children—real Christians—to construct false images about themselves or be mere posers, as are so many unreal Christians, who must do such to pass themselves off as authentic.
Such faux bros are not authentic but only pretend to be. It is why they do not like close inspection. They are very easily offended by the Lord’s pure light and are greatly convicted by the pure Word of God. They much prefer hobnobbing with other shallow-minded, largely Biblically illiterate (by choice), and appearance-oriented folk due to the obvious comfort factor. Most churches are composed of such pretenders and posers—those who prefer to hide—and is why such places always run off the bright lights who innocently expose their silly shenanigans.
THE PLAGUE OF PHARISEES
Of course, the first-century Pharisees were the masters of the false image medium, and their present-day descendants have maintained this mastery, successfully taking full advantage of modern media. The original Pharisees, however, were not Biblically illiterate, but the very opposite. Neither were they shallow-minded. It is curious then, that they missed the mark so badly. And that’s how the Word of God defines sin, as “missing the mark.”
The Pharisees misfired so badly they not only missed the broad side of every barn known to mankind, but entire galaxies. And yet they considered themselves, among themselves (there was little or no dissenting opinion within their own group regarding their superiority and high standing), as brilliant and as close to God as is humanly possible. (Sound familiar?) And yet the Lord characterized the Jewish non-believers, including the Pharisees mentioned in John 8:13, as thus:
“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.” [John 8:44]
Keep in mind that this narrative in John 8 is a purely intra-Jewish dispute—everyone in the chapter was a Jew—which includes the author of the fourth Gospel, traditionally named as John. The Lord Jesus is obviously Jewish, especially since He is from the tribe of Judah. Jews are listed in the chapter as believers in the Lord and also as non-believers by implication. The point, though, is that the Lord was drawing a very distinct contrast between the real and the unreal, and was exposing the false-image fakers for what they really were.
This construction of false outer images to deceive an unsuspecting public is one of the principle components of the Lord’s commandment against graven images, which proves the non-believing Jews and Pharisees listed in John 8 were actually grossly violating the Torah, though they did not know it and refused to believe it. They were deceived and even self-deceived by their false interpretation of the Word and their departure from the truth:
“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.” [Exodus 20:4]
“You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.” [Leviticus 26:1]
“So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female…” [Deuteronomy 4:15-16] 
THE WIZARD OF OZ PHENOMENON
The Lord’s children must be real, and that is not easy. Unreal Christians, conversely, must build false images of themselves as a way to pass religious inspection. Unreal Christian leaders also do it to take control and command authority over others, and as a way to enrich themselves.
As I have written in Real Christianity, the most fully formed graven image (or idol) is a LIVING HUMAN BEING.
The man-made, exalted “Christian” clergy class invented itself for this very reason. The members thereof hide behind a curtain of false piety and holiness, and demand undeserved honor and respect, which never matches their actual deeds. The great majority of their clueless followers give them exactly what they want, which means the few who see them as they actually are and attempt to expose them end up receiving what the evil perpetrators should receive. This is in part why the Lord Jesus was crucified. The evil religionist followers, inspired, deceived, and led by evil religious leaders, turned their wrath upon the innocent party to protect the very guilty false-image party.
The same thing happens to real Christian innocent parties at present in so many false Christian venues, as attested to by so many real Christians who have been made to pay for the sins of others.
It has been said, of course, that the devil goes to church. In reality, the devil owns many churches. They are his enterprises and not the Lord’s. In these places he has complete control and does not appreciate the Lord’s shining lights and truth-bearers bringing their witness.
DISCIPLESHIP DEFINES DISTINCTION
How do we know the difference between the real and the unreal? This is what real discipleship is about. The closer we get to the Lord Jesus, the more mature we become in Him. The more knowledgeable we are about His written Word, the more we will get to know and understand the Living Word. The more our relationship with Him matures, the more we will be able to see what He sees, and the more He will reveal to us.
Putting the Lord Jesus first sorts things out, removes deception, exposes false reality, and sets us free.
PREPARING FOR PERSECUTION
Of course, the enemy doesn’t like being exposed, so any attempt to reveal his false environment for what it is will not be appreciated and will be met with strong hate and extreme prejudice.
This is why innocent and good-hearted real Christians, the only real spiritual children of the Lord, are viciously slammed beyond all reason and out of all proportion. The attacks come from an unseen evil enemy whose only recourse is to engage in wanton character assassination, slander, libel, and even murder.
It is why the Lord was so savagely and hatefully beaten, tortured, and killed, though He never sinned or did anything wrong. It is why Stephen only lasted a few seconds after one of the greatest, anointed, honest, and exposing speeches in Christian history (See Acts 6-7). The enemy was so enraged by the truth pouring forth from Stephen that they even gnashed their teeth at him!
Therefore, if one wonders why the people who are externally friendly, loving, and supportive are suddenly transformed into hating, rejecting, and slandering crazies—something that would otherwise make no sense whatsoever—it most likely reveals the fact that one has exposed a nerve, an ultra-sensitive nerve, and are innocently and often unknowingly exposing a false image—a human front—perhaps created over many years, and also quite possibly a very evil religious spirit.
Such deceiving poser proponents cannot allow anyone to know what they really are, as their entire life is built upon a false foundation. Once exposed, their house of cards will come crashing down very quickly. They will have no leg to stand on. They will explode in a heap. This is why they must attack so viciously against such harmless innocent witnesses. It is also why they must surround and align themselves with birds of a feather—fellow posers—believers in the lie—those who are blind to truth and real morality. The crowd, the congregation, the family, the group—these allow them to hide and access strength they don’t have individually.
Once their attack commences, and once they successfully survive (temporarily) by throwing the honorable party under the bus (or a pile of rocks) and seemingly get away with a huge injustice, the Lord instructed us to leave them alone.
THEY ARE BLIND LEADERS GUIDING THE BLIND AND BOTH WILL EVENTUALLY FALL INTO A VERY DEEP PIT. IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME.
Perhaps from within said pit they will at last see the truth and find salvation.
But as long as they are playing the faker game on the surface they will most likely never repent and find real salvation, since they have already appropriated for themselves a false salvation through a false gospel or counterfeit belief system of their own rendering.
The devil is a liar.
© 2016 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.
Early in my walk with God, less than two years in, a friend of mine and I had a prayer meeting. I had just began to emerge from the fog of rookie training (most of it very good) and saw from a distance the great revelation that the Lord actually DID NOT want His people to be all alike—as some conformed, congealed, regimented, and watered-down mass.
I began telling my friend that the Lord told me He was not into the business of making such mass-produced manufactured saints.
Picture God with a big die cutter stamping out replicas like the idol-makers of the ancient world.
Now, maybe I didn’t get the terminology exactly correct when I heard the message, but I certainly translated the gist correctly. Though the idea of the Lord standing over a copier making copies may appear obviously incorrect to the enlightened and mature among us, one must remember this was the late 1970’s when the majority of churches and preachers thought all rock music was of the devil, ministers of the Gospel were inerrant, and talking in tongues was the practice of insane crazies on the other side of the tracks.
Though what was termed “Pentecost” had made great strides, and though some Pentecostals had even managed to buy up the tracks, the truths of Book of Acts real Christianity were still treated and reacted to not only with great disdain but great hysteria. And if one knows what hysteria really is, the actual crazies were the ones pointing their boney religious fingers not necessarily at Pentecostal excess or fakery (there’s loads of that stuff), but often the actual work of God.
So my friend and I started praying. I was over visiting. He was renting an older house built probably 50 years before. It had big rooms and tall ceilings and I remember walking into one room praying pretty intensely and it was the first time I recalled being in the presence of angels. I’ve never seen an angel that I know of in the sense of some giant glowing apparition, but I knew they were around me that night in that room.
And it was then I got the big idea. That was when the Lord told me He wasn’t turning out children of God the way Henry Ford turned out Model T’s.
I already had my own bent against that direction anyway. Being raised a Catholic, I was aware of conformity from a very young age—everyone in school dressing the same, acting the same, lined up in regimented rows to go outside the classroom, girls on the left, boys on the right, like long slow moving processions of khaki-clad ducks following a giant penguin. Some of those nuns were very nice and displayed much patience with the incorrigible among us. And some of them were like crazy women with PMS on steroids.
They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And I say especially if she’s a nun in the 1960s trying to force school kids to conform to the image of God without the help of the Holy Spirit. The level of frustration is off the scale.
But anyway, the Pentecostal church I was then attending at the time of said prayer meeting (quite the pole shift, huh?) was up to the same tricks. Conformity was the order of the day. I preferred wearing blue jeans, for example, as did several other new converts which by that time was considered barely acceptable, though never on Sundays.
[Speaking of which, it was my senior class in my Catholic High School that first won the right to wear jeans to school. It had never been done before. Something to be proud of if you knew the times.]
As a young adult in Spirit-filled churches I witnessed the same attempt to force new believers into religious compliance by yelling that much harder from the pulpit or shaming people into conformity. New believers, like little Catholic school kids, are pretty vulnerable to such tactics, since most want to do the right thing and won’t rock the boat. But coercion has never been God’s way. It doesn’t work. Impressionable young ones are damaged by it.
So at that prayer meeting with Ken and me in that old house, it was no little thing to have the Lord agree with me on something I had always thought was stupid. Tongues are not of the devil, though most “Christians” apparently still think so, but religious conformity is certainly of the devil because it attempts to disregard the fact that we were each made to be conformed to God’s original design, not some other.
The Lord Jesus is the most non-conformist Person that has ever lived. Now, He certainly conformed to the will of the Father, but not so much to the will of religious people or the fashion of this world. Which means God was not into your basic everyday Phariseeism. Especially if it’s the Christian kind. He’s just different that way.
That’s right. God is a religious non-conformist. You’ll never figure Him out. You’ll never tie Him down. You’ll usually never guess what He will do next. (As a standard example, study the many different ways He healed the blind.) He is as unreligious and as unpredictable as can be. Though He is the ROCK and He NEVER changes, don’t try to set your watch by Him.
“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” [John 3:8]
He’s always doing things in such a way that it leaves His enemies perplexed and dumbfounded, especially dumbfounded—God’s enemies are DUMB. He messes with ‘em every chance He gets, or it sure seems that way. Read the Gospels in light of what I’m saying here and see if it isn’t true.
But our churches? Predictable. Dead, dull, and boring. Rote and ritual. This Sunday the same as last Sunday. All the people lined up in neat rows. Quiet and torqued down. Scared to break convention. Somehow needing a man-made structure and format that works against a move of God and against the very thing their hearts scream for.
And then we picture the Lord out in the countryside with His men like a flock of sheep, following YES, but as organic and free flowing as leaves on a breeze. And an impetuous Simon Peter routinely blurting something forth, often good and sometimes not so good, whom the Lord never censored. (Try speaking forth like Peter in your church.)
We also have the incredible spiritual phenomenon of Pentecost described so wonderfully by Luke, a travelling companion of Paul, and quite possibly a disciple of the Lord. How could Luke not have been there that glorious day when the Spirit of God returned to His people? The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is still fought against with great gusto to this day, especially by the majority of “Christian” adherents, which should tell us very clearly how the devil works.
Regarding religious man’s false conformity, the natural world tells us what God is like (a Living Stone, unprofaned):
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. [1 Peter 2:4-5]
Our church buildings (and inhabitants) tell us what He is not like (every brick the same):
“If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it.” [Exodus 20:25]
There is an insistence, if you get my drift, on right angles and plumb walls and straight rows and the linear and broad flat surfaces and steeply pitched roofs and cathedral ceilings and stained glass windows and steeples. (Shades of Babel.)
Religious man, like the great slave master Nimrod, must have CONTROL. He must wield his stone-cutting tools. He must force compliance.
But God has built a natural world that is forever in a state of flux, some landscapes changing at a moment’s notice and some gradually over time. Mankind cannot control the natural world though mankind screws it up in the attempt, and in time the natural world simply and patiently takes over again and repairs the damage. And unregenerate mankind certainly cannot control the spiritual world since mankind is fallen in sin and under the authority of the devil:
We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. [1 John 5:19]
The wind moves upon the surface of the sea and roils it up, making today’s water different from yesterday’s. And look at the clouds. Are they ever the same? Sunsets and snowflakes and trees and landscapes are always different and distinct.
But what about God’s people? Should not each person be totally unique? Where then does all this conformist nonsense come from? It doesn’t come from God. Not on your life. It actually comes from one who has a contrary agenda. He is the one who treats human beings as slaves. And there are no slaves deceptively ensconced in greater slavery than those in religious slavery.
Never forget that it was all them good Christian boys who distorted Scripture to back up their support for black slavery in the good old USA not all that long ago.
And it was all them good Christians who had people burned at the stake during the Great Reformation. They were both Catholic and Protestant. They were not interested in doing God’s will but their own. They built and guarded their own religious kingdoms, put their fat posteriors on thrones, dressed up like religious potentates, and killed off and enslaved whoever did not agree.
Today’s fake Christians in the West merely run off such real Christians and gossip about them. It’s how they protect themselves and their silly little establishments. Yet, if they could kill…
Considering that, it should cause us all to consider the origins of any and all religious conformity. The more the conformist big boys buy into this false concept and the false doctrines that go with it, the more they distance themselves and their regimented pew sitters from the heart of the Lord, and the more they create an anti-community, one in which people may be close geographically every Sunday morning but a million miles apart otherwise.
That night long ago in the midst of a two man prayer meeting confirmed something for both of us, and I have never forgotten the lesson:
A strong and vibrant Church means strong and vibrant individuals.
And in order to have such strong and vibrant people, they must be allowed to develop. They must be allowed to speak forth. They must be allowed to answer their callings and do their jobs. They must be fed the best spiritual food and given the best spiritual drink. We were put here in part to take on very powerful spiritual entities who have existed for eons. They know their way around. To beat them in battle means we have no other choice than to be like the Mighty Man from Galilee who silenced the Pharisees and calmed the stormy seas.
But if God must depend on the average pew warmer and pinhead preacher we’re all sunk. Therefore, we must all get off our tuffets if it’s on a tuffet we sit, and get in a spiritual gym, and become more like Him, and stand up and speak forth and do what He put us here to do instead of playing church every blasted Sunday morning of the year.
The only things we must ever conform to are His will, His Word, His nature, and His way of doing things. The enemy’s greatest fear is millions of the Lord’s children roaming the earth doing exactly as He did. That Christians in general are NOT doing that means most are getting their marching orders and instructions from someone else.
Wonder who that could be?
“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
“Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.
“Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.
“The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
“But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. [Luke 8:11-15] 
© 2013 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.