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DAMAGING GOD’S MANAGING: SUPPLANTING THE LORD’S ORIGINAL MODEL WITH THE PASTOR PARADIGM

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It is a direct result of the false clergy-laity divide. Once that precedent was set, local one man rule quickly followed. Most insist on the “pastor” title.

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Everybody calls them pastor. Next to no one ever questions the title nor the position of the title holder. Much worse than this, next to no one ever does any New Testament research on this particular term to verify its legitimacy. Like so many other things regarding traditional Christianity as opposed to the Lord’s original model, the pastor title and one man rule has been successfully embedded in religious concrete with nary a fight. Though it has no legitimate reason to exist, its presence proves the further presence of misinformation by design and millions of Christians unaware of the truth. Those in control would rather not deal with any Biblical truth that challenges their position.

THE LORD’S ACTUAL MANAGEMENT MODEL

For those interested in what the New Testament actually teaches about the Lord’s original model, the following four points explain it succinctly:

  1. The New Covenant Communities were each ruled exclusively by the Lord Jesus through the medium of His Holy Spirit.
  2. He appointed men under His leadership to supervisory places of service. These men were generally entitled elders and overseers.
  3. He appointed other men to associate places of service generally entitled deacons and ministers.
  4. Each Community was supervised by a group of elders and never by one man.

I have researched this topic for decades and written long papers. I have done exhaustive New Testament studies on the subject. Because I must be relatively concise with this article, I will explain and clarify, though briefly, the New Testament facts regarding the pastor title and position, and why the issue matters. I will be quoting from my book Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church (which contains much deeper research). Each book excerpt will be indented to differentiate it from the post text. Keep in mind that the words pastor and shepherd are not synonymous:

As mentioned previously, the word “pastor” is mentioned only once in the New Testament and is translated from the Greek word poimen, which is translated as “shepherd” on every other occurrence of its use. “Pastor” is originally a Latin word and means “herdsman,” which is defined as “a manager, tender, or breeder of livestock.” Though “herdsman” and “shepherd” might appear identical, there is a difference. The Good Shepherd, for example, cannot be identified as a mere manager of livestock, but only as a caring shepherd who gives His life for the sheep. A herdsman, or pastor, is actually more similar to a hired hand in the sense that livestock is seen as a commodity, and the level of personal care is much lower than that of a true shepherd. It is in Ephesians 4:11 that we find the only occurrence of the word “pastor.” If the translators had used the word “shepherd,” as they should have, we quite possibly wouldn’t have today’s “herdsmen” in authority over God’s people, but true shepherds who assist the Great Shepherd. [1]

Again, the word “pastor” is mentioned only once in the New Testament and is translated from the Greek word poimen which is defined as “shepherd.” This Greek word occurs 18 times in the New Testament. Why is it translated as shepherd 17 times instead of all 18? There is absolutely no legitimate reason for this. Since the original King James Version of 1611 was written with a strong authoritarian bias per the king of England and his translators, this was their chance to insert an authority word since the word “shepherd” is disdained by authoritarians as weak and essentially useless for instituting rule. Of course, the Lord Jesus was never referred to as “Pastor” nor were any of His disciples. He was, however, addressed often as Shepherd. He is the Good Shepherd not the “Good Pastor.” We must follow His example:

A real pastor is nothing more than, and nothing less than, a shepherd. Many of those who represent themselves as pastors today are anything but. There are many preachers who desire a nice, steady job and a “Pastor” title. There are also quite a few homesick evangelists who would rather settle down in one location to do pastoral work instead of attend to their callings. It should be obvious that the only real pastors are those who are functioning as pastors, that is, caring for and shepherding God’s flock according to God’s will. There are undoubtedly many people who are called to be shepherds who are not serving as such, or else the Church would be in a lot better shape. Most of these are probably wasting away on pews because they don’t feel qualified when comparing themselves to the multi-credentialed big boys in the pulpits. [2]

Because a great many of our so-called Christian leaders refuse the original New Testament management model of the Lord Jesus, might they also be engaging in other violations? If their desire is to rule over the flock instead of shepherd the flock, their spiritual condition doesn’t really matter. Perhaps this is why so many Christian leaders, including those with a pastor title, seem to always be engaged in some form of hidden sin:

Through deception, each of us can become blind to our own sin at any given time. No one is immune from this possibility. The most susceptible are those who have such a high opinion of their worth and stature the very idea of their fallibility and sinful tendencies escape them. Such “right” supremacists would no longer think it possible to be unaware of or compromised by their own sin than they would think anybody else could possibly serve in their place. When this high-minded attitude is resident within professional Christian leadership, it serves as an obstructing hidden sin against abundant living for those in their care. Hence, it is far too often the case that those who lead congregations do so according to their own will since they are not fully obedient to the will of God. This is not the picture of Jesus working through a person, but a person working of his own accord.

Therefore, many spiritually hungry and unfulfilled seekers of life have unknowingly committed the sin of appropriating for themselves leaders other than Jesus. The Lord makes it very clear that He is the only Good Shepherd, and though a believer may gain assistance from a person of more mature spiritual standing, such a person must never occupy the foremost place of authority in a believer’s life. Such facts bring us to the sad conclusion that many Christian leaders and/or pastors are not true shepherds at all, but mere hired hands. They might indeed care somewhat for those in their congregations, but they certainly don’t possess the same level of care as the Good Shepherd. As hired hands whose salary stems from the pocket of their congregations, they can get by without being tapped-in to God’s payroll and yet maintain their ministerial credentials. The shepherdless sheep, however, are not quite as artful and are often scattered by the wolf. [3]

HOME GROWN WOLVES

While churches have been hyper-sensitized to all manner of possible minor deviations from doctrinal and cultural protocol arising from the congregation and (Aghast!) mysterious visitors, no one ever looks in the other direction. The dude in the pulpit is thus most often immune. He is rarely queried. As long as he gets the denominational doctrine right people look the other way. This would explain the previous passage regarding sin in high places. Where then, would the enemy strike? Would the enemy seek to clandestinely enter the well guarded congregation, the laity class, where every member must always toe the mark and squeal on those who don’t? Or would he attempt a takeover by going after those high and lifted up with little or no accountability that control the operation? We should all know that the devil will always try to gain control of the few in control in order to control all. This is yet another reason why such false Christian authority positions are highly vulnerable to temptation. It is the opposite, of course, with legitimate, accountable, and transparent Christian eldership groups. These men act in the service of the Lord Jesus and not only watch over the flock but each other as well.

Could this be why the clergy boys double down and also establish protective manned check points toward their hidden ivory towers? And condition the congregation to never question “them that have the rule over you?” Do they set up all this protection to keep people from finding out what they really are and what they’re really up to? This is a far cry from the way the Lord Jesus and His followers ever conducted themselves. The “One Man Show” Ruling Paradigm has thus done great damage to the Lord’s management model and has had a devastating effect on what could have been regarding American Christianity’s positive impact on the country. The enemy has gained a beachhead:

 Christianity in general has become too stodgy and complacent to be changed by Him in any appreciable manner, since the will of the people for His control is greatly lacking. Revival and/or renewal do not address the root of the problem, and this consequently demands a new approach. The people who are at least trying to obey Him in this regard are finding some success, and their new-found fresh spiritual forays contrast sharply with conventional methods. It is in comparing the two that we discover a glaring truth.

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.

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. [4]

ESTABLISHING DOMINION THROUGH ARCHITECTURE

Why are church building interiors arranged like theaters, auditoriums, assembly houses, and ancient Roman amphitheaters, with platforms and stages, and lecterns and pulpits? The Lord’s original apostles and the entire first century Christian Community never appropriated any of these. Instead, theirs was an organic fellowship utilizing available organic means. For example, they never had any central meeting house but always met in private homes. They took care of one another. What one lacked another provided. They steered clear of any institutionalism, prideful shows of earthly power, or dominance over the people dogma precisely because they were spiritually powerful humble servants, exactly as their Lord commanded them to be.

This question of church buildings thus pretty much answers itself for those paying attention. To go along with clergy dominance, it helps to create imposing material representations of said dominance. The people need to know who’s in charge. It began about 1700 years ago with the first “cathedrals.” They simply transformed Roman government structures for Christian use and then continued with the government model to showcase their rule over the people. Never mind that the Lord Jesus never engaged in such earthly nonsense. When did the Lord and His men ever advocate for the building of static church buildings? There were no church buildings for three centuries and the early believers managed to turn the world upside down anyway. The Lord’s kingdom was and remains a spiritual kingdom devoid of the mandatory trappings of earthly kingdoms.

Also, when did the Lord Jesus ever act like a duded-up ruling potentate preaching down from on high to the lower class? Is He not the most humble Man who ever lived? Did not the Creator Himself choose to present Himself that way? Why did God enter this world like everyone else, as a mere babe? Is He teaching us something with His perfect attitude? Is He not our perfect example?

There is a massive disconnect in this area. When presented with such information most Christians simply stare and say nothing or get angry and go into defense mode. This is highly unfortunate. I am not saying that good is not being done in traditional Christian settings. But such tradition has most often been a huge drag on what could otherwise be accomplished. And nothing subverts the process more than a solitary strong man in control dictating anything and everything, and building according to his vision instead of the Lord’s vision. These ruling pastors (and this is a perfect grammatical definition) are most often working in direct opposition to the Lord Jesus rather than working in concert with Him. The Lord is thus forced to support them in part because of the limited good done in such places since they are on balance better than nothing at all.

STUDY TO SHEW THYSELF APPROVED

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. [2Timothy 2:15] 

Imagine rightly praising your first grade child for doing well in his or her school work. Then imagine the idea of praising him or her when the child continues to operate on a first grade level in the second or third grade. Then think about what happens when kids are passed on to the next grades when they never complete the required course work for their previous grade. You will eventually have some really ignorant children and teenagers that simply cannot handle the work which the grade they were passed to requires.

Did you know we have an absolute epidemic of ignorant children in schools? That we have ignorant teenagers actually graduating from high schools? That some of these are actually attending college? In the early years of this country, roughly three centuries ago, children were learning new languages. They were reading the classics at early ages. They were reading the Word of God and understanding it. They had difficult course work but many were mastering it. Have you seen the bright but disciplined children in this world mastering musical instruments? Have you noticed how some children learn practical work at early ages and later become masters at their trades?

We do a great disservice to children by allowing them to be dumbed down rather than instructed properly toward higher levels. How many people notice the miracle of very small children somehow learning complex grammar and language at the age of two to three years old? How did their grasp of grammar and vocabulary suddenly shoot through the roof? The so-called experts have no answer for this. It defies evolutionary thinking. It is impossible that the children learned it on their own. It is not possible to teach it. They acquire a great amount of information and ability at an extremely young age and begin working out complex problems when they should not be able to.

Then they are placed in “schools” with extremely limited learning environments with forced low common denominators that cause their revved up rocket engine minds potentially taking them into outer space to be downgraded to virtual Model T’s and in other cases horse and buggy technology that make it difficult to get on down the road and impossible to travel any appreciable distance. Rather than continuing toward epic flight they are forced into slave galleys pulling at oars to support the institution and its parasitic inhabitants and leaders instead of the other way around.

This exact dynamic has transpired in American Christianity. The arrogant clergy boys and their sycophants have created institutions that serve them instead of serving the people. The people suffer. Christians never get the teaching they need or the Biblical and spiritual knowledge they require. These Pharisaical leaders almost never create a single disciple but maintain dumbed down “congregants” who rarely progress and are next to worthless spiritually. Most American Christians have never had a real born again experience. Most have never read the Bible. Most are Biblically illiterate. Most have a dirt foundation with a future fall. It is almost never the case that such eternal church-going Christians cannot learn or be properly discipled as the Lord clearly commanded. It is that true discipleship is at odds with the traditional curriculum. Keeping the congregation dumbed down and under control is a much better management model because it’s a much better business model. It is better to keep everyone in elementary school perpetually to keep them coming, giving their money and support, and maintaining the rule of the clergy and local “pastors.” The last thing they want is people doing things the Lord’s way. I mean, if everybody developed as real ministers of the Gospel and actually graduated, how could that be good for the local church?

SUPPORTING THE COUNTERFEIT

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” [Luke 6:46] [5] 

Why is it that most Christians never properly compare the Lord’s ministry style with their own and comprehend the night and day difference? Is it simple cognitive dissonance? Why do so many Christians look upon the Lord Jesus, the original apostles, and the first century Church as primitive and even wacky, and their methods those of a long dead culture that could never work in the present? The reality of the matter is that the Lord’s management model, which is the perfect model, is rejected not because it doesn’t work or cannot work but because it conflicts with what Americans Christians have built in its place.

Why do so many Christians support the Pastor Paradigm? Why does the majority continue to insist on supporting a failed model? The official model is a counterfeit substitute that falls short on many levels. It is why American Christianity in general continues to deteriorate and lose influence. Look around! America and Americans are suffering! Real Christianity is under attack! It is only the current Great Awakening which largely exists outside official channels that is allowing for a vehicle through which the Lord can work. Sound familiar?

They refuse the Lord’s full authority, refuse His perfect management model, and refuse to allow the infusion of spiritual life that so many are desperately praying for. For them it will always be business as usual.

“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]   

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] © 2001 Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

[2] © 2001 Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

[3] © 2001 Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

[4] © 2001 Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

[5] 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.

THE GREAT ERROR OF TRUSTING DUPLICITOUS HIRELINGS AND POMPOUS PUPPETS

Sans salvation, such human leaders are hell bound sinners awaiting a surefire inevitable judgment before God. Trusting them blindly is outright foolishness.

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Many Christians learned the hard way once again. When he had the power of office, at a time when it was needed most, he failed to use it. He thus revealed himself for what he was—at worst a compromised puppet effectively controlled by higher powers like most of the rest, and at best a well-meaning man without the means or courage to follow through. He did many good things, possibly went farther than anyone else would go, and attracted much vitriol for his efforts, but not only did he lack the ability to close the deal, he left the nation defenseless against an unrelenting enemy. In the end, millions of Christian supporters were left in the lurch. It’s a terrible thing to believe in a leader’s apparent sincerity and ostensible truthful speech only to be left hanging when such speech is proven to be mere dissembling rhetoric and his supposed earnestness a con.

And that’s what these people are, pretty much all of them. They are merely con artists working their trade on the payroll of unseen puppet masters, making fools of the people and laughing behind your back.

DUPLICITOUS HIRELINGS

The Lord Jesus did His best to tell us. For the most part His warnings and wisdom go unappropriated in this area, as in many other areas, as so-called believers only trust Him to a point and no more while they fall at the feet of human pretenders both secular and religious, and essentially worship them. It is, as they say, a spectacle to behold, as if the Lord commands His people to surrender to someone other than Him which makes no sense but remains an extremely successful lie.

Real Christians learn early on in their walk with the Lord Jesus that the devil is real, that he is an excellent liar, and that he lives to steal, kill, and destroy. He loves to corrupt the good, innocent, and wholesome. He is a tempter extraordinaire. The devil always plays fast and loose with the truth and uses segments of truth to do his dirty work which always involves his skillful abilities of deception. The devil is a deceiver of the highest order; there is no one better. And we can tell who his disciples are because they do the same. He teaches them well. The greatest liars and deceivers are the greatest disciples of the evil one. They lie, they cheat, they steal, they kill, they destroy, and they fool a great many into believing in them. Such people could not possibly have their great powers, however, unless the greatest of evil powers granted his power to them. They cannot function without their evil spiritual master. And the people of this world who have no power in the unseen spiritual world are easy marks, very easily taken advantage of, used and abused, and then cast away. They have no chance whatsoever without the Lord. It is not a fair fight. Even those who get wise and figure it out have little ability to do anything about it. All are mere sheep without a shepherd.

One would think, therefore, that the few sheep who become aware of the truth of this fallen world would seek the One they know must exist somehow, someway, somewhere, and many do. But sadly, before establishing a solid relationship with the Lord Jesus many of these get cut off at the pass by the religious chucklehead posse and they end up bowing to a shepherd who is not a shepherd but just another hireling.

Such hirelings are much worse than other false leaders because they pretend to be spiritual leaders. And the very worst of these are false Christian leaders. Even though it may seem highly unlikely at the onset that anyone could ever pull off such a great deception—that one could actually deceive Christians—these have turned out to be the greatest deceivers of all. Though they are nothing more than lying sellouts, they are world class at pretending to be something they are not. In essence, their greatest powers of deception are as masters of disguise. The best are so good at their trade they can fool the best and deceive to the tune of millions. All it takes is the proper window dressing. And it is apparently quite helpful to also wear such window dressing, as their costumes often appear as explosions in a vestment factory.

Also, they understand very well that broken, hurting, needy, shamed, and weakened people need someone to look up to so they play this to the hilt. They become all the more the pompous pretenders they are. They love to dress up and pull rank. They love it when people bow down to them. They love being false idols. They are infatuated with titles, the longer the better. They are among the world’s greatest narcissists. But alas, when it comes to real Christianity they’re spiritually powerless. They’re also insincere cowards. They don’t care in the least that they rarely ever do a damn thing for those who need real spiritual help (you know, the kind the Lord Jesus supplies), and who look to them for assistance, but instead only offer worthless mumbo jumbo, possible temporary fixes, and false hope. They’re great at making excuses. All they really are is the personification of the devil’s trick to keep sincere seekers from the Lord.

Jesus therefore said to them again, “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 shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep.” [John 10:7-13 NASB77]  

A hireling, or hired hand, is one who works for money. Rather than serving the Lord and the people in his care, he serves mammon. The Lord said a man cannot serve both God and mammon. He will love one and hate the other. Thus, hirelings don’t really care so much for the people supposedly in their care since their heart is not in the work. If there was no money to be made they wouldn’t be there. If they received no salary they wouldn’t serve. If they had no promise of an income they would find another job. And that’s what ministry is to them. It is nothing more than a job and career. The reason many Christians are not aware of this is because they either don’t know the Word or the Word they know is overcome by the more forceful word of the hireling ministers who never miss a trick at justifying their false standing. Of course, it helps tremendously that the hirelings outnumber real ministers of the Gospel.

Nevertheless, Christians should know better. They should never let themselves become so deceived. The Lord Jesus never looked like the hirelings. He never acted like them. Though He is the most powerful Man who ever lived He is also the most humble. He was so humble he out-humbled Moses who was previously said to hold that title. (Remember, this is God we are talking about. Consider that.) Though humble, He had such a powerful presence in His time that every man knew the Lord was a much bigger and tougher Man than any of them. He exuded manhood. He exuded great strength and courage. Men of wisdom rightly give Him His due. It is only the disgusting and deceived who do not.

The religious leaders of the Lord’s time painted a perfect picture of what a mature follower of the Lord is never supposed to be and yet the majority of Christian leaders have always looked more like effete Pharisees than the Lord Jesus, who only wore simple utilitarian clothing, kept a low profile, and presented Himself as a common Man of the people. He never wore a sleek business suit or a bizarre pope hat. He was never ostentatious or drew attention to His humanity but always directed people to the spiritual. This means the majority of “Christians” tend to also gravitate to the pretender side since they support the hirelings and not the Lord, or they are among the vast ranks of the deceived. Why are so many so fooled? As I said previously: They are merely con artists working their trade, on the payroll of unseen puppet masters, making fools of believers and laughing behind your back.

Regardless, no one has a viable excuse. Though we are all possibly deceived at any given time to a certain extent and certainly unaware of the Lord’s full curriculum to various degrees, the Lord has made a way for us to see the Light and WAKE UP. He has overcome the deceivers and their great powers of deception so we can see the charade for what it is. He told us very plainly that “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” That is, in part, that one will no longer be bound by the powers of deception. It will no longer be possible to be fooled. One can then see behind the curtain, as it were. Though the enemy still works hard at his great masquerade, real Christians will see all the pretenders for what they are. Their elaborate vestments and attire will no longer hide them. Their fake sincerity will suddenly be seen as such. Their speech, which before had seemed so honest will be perceived as mere lies and religious gobbledygook. It’s a great thing. It’s great that they look at you fearfully and realize their cover is blown, that you see them for what they are. The look in their eye is priceless. The Lord Jesus got that look often.

The moral of the story, of course, is that there is only one Person who is 100% trustworthy. You can trust Him absolutely and fully. He will never walk out on you. He will never betray you. He will always be faithful and honor His Covenant. The Lord Jesus is that Person. He is the only One. He knows we need Him. And He never made any provision that a Christian should ever put another before Him.

ONE MAN SHOW CHRISTIANITY

This is also why the Lord never allowed for one man shows. Sadly, Christianity has long since fallen into the deception of single “pastors” leading “churches.” It is just one more thing the fakers and deceived appropriate in order to have their way. This is why there is so little accountability in organized Christianity. The pretenders and deceived always feel they must have a ruling “pastor” that everyone can submit to. It does not matter that there is no New Testament support for it. This is what they have been fooled into believing and they are bound and determined to enforce it. It is as if they are so superior to everyone else they are pretty much like the Lord. Some of these morons even claim to be infallible, but that high country is clearly only reserved for the Lord Jesus. That’s His territory and His alone. Whoever attempts to trespass on His sacred ground is obviously working for the devil. There is no one who is as pure, holy, powerful, humble, and loving than Him. It is extremely dangerous when one attempts to equate himself with God or demand that which only God should receive. This would otherwise be obvious but not in the world of the deluded. As I wrote in my book, Real Christianity, “The most fully evolved form of an idol today is a living human being.”

You see, the Lord refers to His Community as His Bride. No one treats women better than the Lord and He will certainly treat his own Bride the best way possible. And though it may be a hard concept for many Christians to grasp, He expects the members of His Bride to treat each other the same way. We are all in this together and are supposed to work together. He says everyone in His Community is on the same level ground in that we are all equal (See Galatians 3:26-28). There are no separate classes of people. There should never be anyone exalted over another. There are no ridiculous hierarchies. He never created a clergy-laity divide, which is the invention of imposters and only exists as a means to a false power grab. How is it then, that a few within the Bride (likely posers) insist they have authority over the Bride? This is asinine. Is the Lord Jesus going to allow another man to have authority over His own Bride?

This is why the Lord carefully and evenly distributes His authority. When He grants authority, and all believers have a level of spiritual authority, He doesn’t grant it so some Christians can take authority over other Christians. THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS AUTHORITY OVER A REAL CHRISTIAN IS THE LORD JESUS. In the Lord’s real Community, He works through each believer. He will obviously work through mature believers to assist new and developing believers, and mature believers must be respected for what they are called to do. Real ministers are servants. This is another way to distinguish between shepherds and hirelings. But how can the Lord work through those who have never received His Spirit? The Spirit of the Lord is what unites the Bride. It is what every member has in common. Since the majority of “Christianity” has rejected Pentecost or substitutes some fake version thereof, the majority of Christian “leaders” doesn’t have or want the Lord’s Holy Spirit anyway. This is why they are forced to disobey the Lord’s actual teachings in this area in order to procure their supposed authority since they are not granted authority by the Lord. They bypass Him. This, again, makes them pretenders. They refuse the prerequisite of Acts 101 and simply skip from the Gospels to the Epistles thereby circumventing that which would allow them to be actual ministers. And many of these are not content to merely reject Pentecost but are hostile to it.

Those who actually read the New Testament and study it know the Lord never allowed for a one man show. He actually set up groups of elders. He did this not only to look after the various small congregations making up His larger Community but also for the elders to look after each other. The Lord always knew, obviously, that He was dealing with human beings prone to sin and error, and He would never put one man in charge because there would be no accountability. Meaning, of course, that such a one would stray—always. This rule is forever in effect. Put one man in charge, no matter how good he looks or how gifted he is, and he will screw it up. The Lord does not want His people being led by a screw up. And it doesn’t matter what the deceived supporters of such a one may think but only what the Lord thinks. It also doesn’t matter how “successful” such ministers may otherwise outwardly appear. We all need to be told when we are wrong in order to get right or we will end up in hell. And when a Christian group is operating correctly there is no place for error to hide.

Now, it is certainly true that some ministers will give the appearance of having it all together despite extracurricular side trips if you get my drift, but that’s usually because of one of the following or a combination thereof: (1) They hide error and sin very well. (2) They are preaching watered-down nonsense or presenting a spiritually dead liturgical pageant that doesn’t attract the devil’s attention or is anything he would be afraid of. (3) They have mastered the craft of showmanship. (4) They have fulfilled the traditional expectations of the congregation (very important). For others, they simply take authority without any pretense whatsoever, letting everyone know who the boss is, meaning that the Lord Jesus IS NOT the boss. It is always an amazing thing to see some young “on fire” minister take control of a congregation. The next thing you know it becomes “his” church and “his” people and “his” pulpit. The people become beholden to him. He is thus not a servant according to the Lord’s requirements but is there to be served. He even puts his name and his name only on the church sign out in front (and all the church literature and letterheads and legal documents and bank accounts). Again, everyone knows who’s in charge. (We get it, okay? You da man.)

Thankfully, one other man in the congregation might actually do some New Testament research, gain some spiritual maturity, and then have the courage to speak the truth. Now, that man is actually doing what should have been done in the beginning. He is being used of God to show the need for accountability which the “pastor” refuses to have though he may appropriate a yes man or two or even a whole church board of dignified sycophants. Those guys also know who’s in charge and will never buck the man or system that gave them their position of prestige. They all cover for one another. So here we have yet again, for the umpteenth time, The Great Error of Trusting Hirelings and Puppets.

REAL MEN OF GOD

Real men of God, after being properly schooled, sometimes in the most effective but difficult manner, learn to never engage in such blind belief and non-scrutinized unverified trust in so-called leadership because they know the devil is a master deceiver who has master actors working for him. Remember, the Lord called the Pharisees hypocrites precisely because the word means “stage players.” The Pharisees were religious actors engaging in a high form of deception. They certainly fooled much of the nation of Israel. The Lord said the bulk of them were working for the devil. Christian Pharisees in America have done and are doing exactly the same. Few Christians can see through the masquerade or perceive the subterfuge but should certainly be able to understand its effect. We all should be able to put two and two together using the brain the Lord gave us and see that these people have not only not stemmed the tide of evil but have instead embraced it and promoted it. Rather than being part of the solution they’re part of the problem.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” [Matthew 23:25-28]   

Real men of God are smart enough to know that embracing spiritual pride is a sin. They know that appropriating God’s authority for themselves and using it for their own power and purposes is a sin. They know that taking advantage of well-meaning church people to insure their own salary and success and feather their own nest is a sin. They know they are supposed to properly teach the Word of God and assist the Lord in developing strong mature Christian disciples instead of keeping the congregation spiritually immature and under control to be used for their own means. Real men of God know the humble road is the right road. They know they will be subjected to endless insults and dishonor but will have to wade through such flak in order to fulfill their callings. It doesn’t mean they are not strong and spiritually powerful. It certainly does not mean they are not real men. In fact, real Christian men who are Holy Spirit-filled and fully dedicated to the Lord Jesus are the most powerful men on the planet. It is because they know who the real power is and they always humble themselves before Him so He can work through them.

Then the Lord blesses them and they go out and win spiritual victories. And duplicitous hirelings are exposed and called to account. And lost people are saved and find a home with the Lord. And miracles take place. And New Testament Truth is taught. And the Book of Acts happens. And people are filled with the Holy Spirit. And dead churches come alive. And Christians actually develop, mature, and become unified and loving and love each other. And whole societies are turned around. And Great Awakenings break forth.

It’s an awesome thing when we do it the Lord’s way.

The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who watches his way preserves his life.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.

It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.

He who gives attention to the Word will find good, AND BLESSED IS HE WHO TRUSTS IN THE LORD. [Proverbs 16:17-20] [1]         

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] 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.

BREAKING FREE FROM CHRISTIAN PROGRAMMING

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If you’re a Christian of some form or another, the odds are high that you’ve been religiously programmed in some way or another. They don’t call it indoctrination for nothing. You must find a way to break free.

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A LONG TIME AGO IN A LAND FAR AWAY

Let’s set the scene: Two thousand years ago, in a small secluded land, a solitary figure arose from abject obscurity and began to teach. He gathered a small group of followers, twelve in number, to assist Him. He explained that they must be fully dedicated and so this small band of men lived as a brotherhood twenty-four hours a day. They traveled the countryside, visited small villages, and on occasion ventured into larger towns, even those not necessarily of their ancestral tradition.

These men were thoroughly unknown to the rest of the world, but also remained obscure among their own in the early days of the mission. If it were not for some extremely extraordinary events that took place among them by the hand of this Teacher, the group would likely have never achieved any notoriety at all and would have just as likely faded out, unknown to history. There were such groups that did. Local bands of rabbis and students dotted the place, this little country, a place with a centuries-old tradition of legends and stories of past exploits and endeavors. They said it was once at the top of nations, that it achieved the greatness reserved only for the rarest and best, and that it achieved it in a way no other country had ever done.

The residents believed these stories. Their priests and doctors of law, what some referred to as shamans and others as religious enforcers, kept the traditions alive through various means, at best to maintain revealed truths and at worse to control the populace and extract wealth. The people had no choice but to honor these men since they had attained power over the people by possessing closely held access to the ancestral writings and the ability to decipher their content. Only they could read from them and deliver teachings based upon them. No one else had access to any meaningful degree.

The new Teacher had been raised upon these traditions and knew them as well as anyone. He had become very well versed in the teachings thereof, as others had done, but most of the others had taken another turn long before by entering the ranks of the learned by joining up with the established denominations from which honor and wealth could be appropriated. Many a proud parent saw their grown children become exalted expositors of the law and sacred parchments, not knowing or apparently caring that such expositions had become stale and distant from those of the originals long before.

The great patriarchs, in a distant age, and later prophets, were said to be in close contact with what this strange and small people referred to as the One God. They had communed with Him and heard His great Words, and honored the great God with their lives. The people of the present knew conditions must have been much different and better in those days long ago and a few longed for such to be again.

SOLITARY MAN

The new Teacher did not take the traditional ministerial route. He was no mere ecclesiastic. He did not join the ranks of the powerful public officially-ordained clerics but struck out completely on His own. He was a solitary Man, a lone figure on the outer fringes, collecting not the learned ones from religious academies as student followers, but everyday men, fishermen and tradesmen, and even the lowborn and despised, like a certain tax collector. This merry band of misfits was truly unique and showed no future promise that anyone could see, and appeared destined, like so many others, for the scrap heap of wayward wonderers and wretched falsifiers.

Except, again, for the curious presence of those otherworldly occurrences that no one else had ever seen or experienced—those strange works that followed them wherever they went—those “extremely extraordinary events.” And when people saw the events, they also began paying more attention to this Man’s teachings and pronouncements. They noticed first, that His teachings were not actually so different at all from what they had grown up hearing, but secondly, that he delivered His teachings and pronouncements in a way that no one had ever done before or even heard of before. He was powerful. He never simply read a script or spoke in the usual dry and monotonous manner of the elders and priests, or carried any scrolls that anyone could see, but delivered His words as if somehow, in some unknown way, He actually was the words. His words did not simply fall to the ground or quickly dissipate in the immediate air as all were used to, but were delivered in a way in which the words entered directly into a person, like the air he or she breathed, and stirred his soul and revived his heart. It was not as if they were words, but food. They were like spiritual food. Yes, that was it.

Others came. They sat enthralled at what they were hearing. The Scriptures were coming alive as delivered by this obscure young Preacher, if one could call Him that. He was more like a Father teaching His children, but how could that be? He was so young. And a tradesman! He bore the mark of much physical strength and long toil in the hard and rough elements. No preacher or priest they knew ever looked like that. How does such a man have so much wisdom and ability? Old men with much experience, vaunted elders of the land, had not the vast wisdom and abilities of this Man.

Who is He?

TOTAL TRANSFORMATION

From the above description we can ascertain quite the contrast between The Lord’s original ministry and that of later forms of Christianity which obviously do not possess this powerful spiritual dynamic. Their character exposes them not so much as Christianity light but as entirely different entities. We fully understand such a contrast in other fields or subjects, when something vibrant and energetic either becomes downgraded over time through use, neglect, or attack, or when it is entirely replaced by a facsimile which merely poses as the original. Why don’t we consider this in the case of Christianity?

The same thing happened to the nation of ancient Israel. There was time when it reached a zenith among nations and was blessed with God’s full protection and providence. And all throughout its history to that point there was at the very least a strong Remnant of the faithful which kept the fire burning, but this didn’t last. The Remnant certainly lasted and remained as vibrant as ever. What changed was the number of spiritually energized participants holding true to the Word first delivered. The majority had drifted away from the heart of God and flaked off. Whatever they did outwardly, if they maintained the correct geography, or became members of an official religious order, didn’t matter. They had turned on the Lord in heart.

Thus we see when studying the history of the nation, a new majority arose which was not connected whatsoever to the original or in fellowship to the Remnant. They certainly were not connected to God. The fruit was not there. The same has happened in Christianity. It has happened because Christians allowed themselves to be torn from their roots and planted elsewhere under the authority of counterfeit vinedressers in entirely different vineyards. In time the forms of Christianity these Christians became associated with were essentially the only ones they knew. They did not know a variant curriculum had been foisted upon them or their parents or ancestors. And through the use of the usual religious fear tactics by those in charge to keep everyone on the plantation, they had no heart to attempt an escape but settled into their respective cultural practices and identities. They had become captured and it often passed from generation to generation.

It is the clear evidence of indoctrination. Their lives reveal religious programming. Why their brand doesn’t match first century Christianity does not matter to them because actual history does not matter, both because those who know it reject it and those who don’t have no frame of reference. As far as the latter are concerned, their denomination’s version of events is the only one that matters. This is a bad bridge to cross because the next step is actually defaming the originals as primitive and unenlightened, and unaware of “higher truths” arising later, an otherwise clear falsehood. This perspective also implicates the Lord Himself as a veritable imposter, meaning a “new Jesus” has been created in the minds of these unfortunate ones, both to make their faux forms work and also to relieve their conscience. When presented with the real Lord Jesus He appears to them as a foreigner and His real curriculum is seen as wholly incorrect, unworkable, and even strange.

BREAKING FREE

When we see the Lord for who He actually is we understand, as the Scriptures state, that He never changes. We are still in the Age of Grace. With reference to the Church it began at Pentecost. Nothing has changed regarding His pertinent commandments since then. What was done in the beginning remains in effect now. For those Christians who disagree, they may argue until the cows come home but have no leg to stand on and the Lord will never bless them. Until they get their hearts right before Him such Christians will never see what those people saw so long ago in His ministry. What He did then He is still doing now.

Maybe only a few have experienced this. Maybe the Remnant is comparatively small as it was in those OT times when the generational line was reduced to a thread. Or maybe many Christians are not doing their work to become good disciples, “rightly dividing the Word of truth.” Can it be that most are satisfied with far less than the Lord has appropriated? Don’t we all want the full blessing? Don’t we know our Lord will not only rain down His love but also His very Spirit to fill us with His energetic and vibrant life, to do as He did and as the early believers did? There comes a time when we need to get out more. Abundant life awaits for all those who seek it.

There’s a green pasture out there where dreams come true.

“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. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.” [John 10:7-13][1]

© 2020 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] 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.

HOW TO ENTER THE DOOR OF ABUNDANCE

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      The Lord Jesus, God Himself, the Creator of the Universe, became a human being, just like us, but knew He would have the loneliest calling of all.

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         He also knew, in order to achieve His calling and get the job done, He would have to be last in all things.

OFF THE GRID 

         Since He created everything I think it is safe to say He knows how everything works. He also knows, in the spiritual realm, that the way up is down: 

         But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” [Mark 9:34-35]   

         Now, I can tell you with no hesitation that the Lord wanted to be first. He was already first before He got here and was determined to be first again. It was not a selfish motive, however, but the opposite. No one else could do the job and the Lord knew that. He took it upon Himself to humble Himself to the nth degree and do whatever it took to rescue us even if it meant living a very difficult but perfect life and then sacrificing it all at the end. He had to be first but also had to be last to get there. No one else could have done it. No one else qualified. Here is another example:

         And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place.

         “But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” [Luke 14:7-11]  

         Now, consider the powerful ramifications of what the apostle Paul revealed in the following passage regarding the difficult path the Lord had chosen:

         He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. [Colossians 1:15-18]

CHOOSING TO LIVE VICARIOUSLY THROUGH CHOSEN ONES

          Rather than actually strive for personal spiritual victory, some people who believe they will never be winners like to associate with those characterized as such, if at all possible, as a way to be around winning. Believing they will never be accepted, well-liked, admired, or popular, they strive to associate with the people who are. This is why so many people fawn over the few recognized prominent and distinguished among us. It starts in childhood. It gets ramped up in high school as a manifestation of the popularity contests which thrive in that environment. If one looks better than others, is more talented, or is simply more self-assured, one will rise in the ranks and be seen as better and more worthy of whatever accolades there may be. Many of these got a head start early on and probably always had a strong support group.

         The Lord had none of this, save for Joseph and Mary. He was obscure and most likely not attractive. He had no “charisma.” He was never seen as someone destined for greatness. He had decided all of this in advance. He would arrive as a nobody and people would often treat Him that way. He would never expect any special favors. He would be last:

         Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. [Philippians 2:3-8]

         As you can see, the Lord decided He would take a totally opposite road of the so-called popular people and hupokritai. Rather than be a performing, stage-oriented glory hound seeking fame and money, He would instead strive to serve others and help them, and bless them. As a result, no one was more spiritually fruitful than the Lord Jesus. He planted Himself in death as a lonely rejected seed, the last and the only one there was.

         From such a humble beginning so long ago, the fruit of His ministry is still bringing forth a burgeoning, incessant, and abundant yield all over the planet to this day, and continues to increase. He started out last, became the Servant of all, and then gained first place in everything. This means He also became the only Door of salvation and eternal life. No one can get to heaven without Him.

         So Jesus said to them again, “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. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” [John 10:7-11] [1]

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.   


[1] 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.

HIERARCHY HIRELINGS: How Incompetent Posers Gain Authority (Doh!)

         “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.” [John 10:11-13]

THE PETER PRINCIPLE        

         According to Laurence J. Peter in his best-selling book, The Peter Principle, “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”

         This management principle has proven to be absolutely true. It explains everything. It illustrates why we have so many incompetent people in the upper levels of power. It contrasts the real world of cause and effect, risk and reward, and survival of the fittest with the fake world of herds without predators.

         Two hunters deep in the woods are suddenly surprised by a very angry bear. They both take off running for their lives, the bear right behind them. One hunter yells to the other, “Do you think we can outrun him?” The other hunter says, “I don’t need to outrun him. I only need to outrun you.”

         This is the real world. It is why God created predators. Predators are the eliminators of incompetence in the natural world. Unless you stay sharp and at the top of your game the bear will get you.

         This is why incompetent people don’t survive long in real world applications. Many meet a quick end. There is simply no place for ongoing laziness, lack of ability, foolishness, stupidity, and bad decisions. The natural world teaches this. Incompetence is never rewarded or allowed. Natural selection means survival of only the fittest.

         In fake world situations, however, the opposite takes place. Rules are written to protect incompetence. Instead of rightfully being killed and eaten by angry bears, incompetent people not only survive, they thrive. Their bad behavior is rewarded. Everybody gets a trophy.

THE BACKYARD WARRIORS PRINCIPLE

         Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. [1 Corinthians 9:24]

         I remember when I was about eleven years old I had a birthday party at my house. We lived in a well-kept suburban working class neighborhood. As part of the birthday fun I set up an intricate obstacle course in the backyard. You had to run around the perimeter of the yard as fast as you could under and through this and over and around that—just a bunch of stuff I found laying around that I transformed into world class athletic equipment. Not bad for a kid. It was pretty cool. I had an old army tarp tied to the chain-link fence at a 45 degree angle that you had to crawl under. There was stuff to jump over, like a strategically located metal trash can. Things like that. You had to run the course while being timed. Whoever completed the course correctly and the fastest was the winner. We probably had some small prize.

         The rules were the same for everyone. I invited a bunch of friends over from school and the neighborhood. But someone also invited my young cousin, who was probably about seven or eight. If that wasn’t bad enough I also had an older sister hanging around who was sixteen or so at the time. She had an inordinate desire to lend what amounted to overwhelming assistance to those such as my young cousin who she thought were in great need, as a way to even the playing field. I had a different perspective. I have always been competitive. My concerns about her ruining the competition were soon realized.

         Some of us had already run the course. We gave it everything we had. When a kid was out there running around he was completely on his own. It was sink or swim. Figure it out. Don’t miss anything. Show respect for the process. Everybody else was watching making sure he did it right.

         Then it was my little cousin’s turn. And what does my older sister do? She starts running the course with him! He appeared to have no clue what to do but probably would have done okay if allowed to run by himself. I still have this mental picture of her leaning over slightly and running off with him with her arm on his shoulder guiding him around. He quickly yielded to her lead. She then decided he only needed to run less than half the layout! And here they come, cutting right through my well constructed obstacle course across the middle of the yard making a total mockery of the game! She’s still right there with her arm on his shoulder, leaning over, telling him what to do while running him back to the start.

         We did not appreciate this. Neither I nor my friends said anything. It was an era when kids showed more respect. She meant well. But what a joke. She almost ruined the whole day with that pathetic display.

         This is exactly how incompetence thrives.

THE JEREMIAH JOHNSON PRINCIPLE

         Again, in the real world only the strongest and wisest survive. America was founded by such people. So was Texas. The few incompetent people out on the frontier were soon dead if they didn’t manage to get back to civilization post haste.

         I am reminded of Robert Redford’s character in the movie Jeremiah Johnson, set in the mid 1800s. There was an early scene when he was way up in the frozen Rocky Mountains trying to catch fish by hand in an icy stream. He was soon in the water. There he was in the deep snow and ice splashing around doing his best to catch a fish to stay alive. The scene then switched to an Indian on horseback silently watching. Later in the movie when the same Indian recognized him in a different setting, he told another, “He fishes poorly.”

         But Jeremiah Johnson survived and then thrived. He figured out how to stay alive in a killer environment. Though he met friends, nobody held his hand. He overcame all obstacles, including some personal losses that ripped his heart apart. That movie was about the real world and survival.

         It is quite the contrast to our present world. Since that time America has largely become a vast, neurotic, socialist nanny state ruled over by bureaucratic incompetents and enablers with selfish agendas in which everybody, regardless of any achievement, gets a little trophy. Many would never be in their positions of authority without some big sister brotherhood opening doors, scripting their work, showing them the way, and refusing to let them stand on their own. It is the complete opposite of survival of the fittest. Because of the ridiculous policy of allowing incompetent idiots to become our “experts” America is going down fast.

         Now, before you think I’m stumping for a certain presidential candidate, I’m not. I’ve been saying this for decades. (That dude stole my thunder.) I have watched this contrary agenda develop over several decades. Of course, many people know what’s going on but almost everybody feels powerless to do anything about it. When some charismatic person comes along who says all the right things and claims to have the answers he gains an immediate following.

         But it rarely or never works. It’s always just words. Those that actually gain power never follow through. The only thing that does work in such cases is following the lead of someone who actually knows what to do and has a proven track record. Such good guys, however, are currently very few and far between, and are becoming extinct. The bad guys have taken over. The paradigm shift of rewarding evil and eliminating the good is almost complete. It’s why Biblical prophecy says the world would succeed in blowing itself up without the Lord’s end-time intervention. Corrupt doofuses in places of authority are the sole cause.

THE LORD JESUS PRINCIPLE

         There is only one Leader who can fix this mess. The reason America is cratering is due only to the rejecting of His leadership. There is no possible way to remove the preserving agent without falling into gross corruption. The more He has been rejected over the last several decades the worse things have become. Though few acknowledge Him, He is the one who holds everything together.

         Also, though the Lord Jesus is the best Father, He never spoils His children. Though He is our Shepherd, He is never the enabler of stupidity, laziness, or incompetence. He only rewards those who give it their all. Whoever will do things His way must be absolutely dedicated and must also be in it for the long haul. One will discover that following His lead allows one to grow stronger and wiser, and possess greater ability to overcome and thrive. He prepares us to be the best. His discipleship methods always work. He is a maker of champions.

THE UNREAL CHRISTIANITY PRINCIPLE

         The reason the Peter Principle has become a burgeoning reality is because the people in power have rejected the Lord’s proper authority and correct management principles. They have replaced them with bulky, unresponsive, impersonal hierarchies and shallow methodologies that reward morons and punish the strong, independent, honest, and righteous.

         GUESS WHAT? THE EXACT THING HAS HAPPENED WITHIN TRADITIONAL AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY.

         Pious pinheads and parading shysters have taken over the outward institutional format and are now the tenured cloth men. We know the majority of these guys have no clue how to right our wayward course or have any desire to, largely because they’re the ones who caused it. They’re invested in it. It serves them very well. These sold-out fakers only exist because foolish people keep throwing money in their coffers, which only enables them and their incompetence. Every time the Lord tries to correct them their supporters reward them. These power-tripping Christian “experts” eventually cold shoulder any real Christians in their vicinity, refuse to support them, and badmouth them, in the sinister effort to eliminate those who would rightfully take their job.

         But this has always been true. Thus, all real Christians must first learn to survive in this fallen world, then learn to fight, overcome, and thrive within it, AND THEN TAKE OVER. It’s how the Lord does things. It’s exactly how He did it. When He was crucified He looked like the greatest loser that ever lived. Three days later He became the greatest winner of all time. If we would be successful we must follow His lead, trust Him, and do things His way.

         This is why the Lord Jesus never coddles His children. He has no use for perpetual babies and whiners. He never hands out participant trophies. He requires us to run the race well without constant enabling. He calls us to follow Him even through the worst spiritual environments that will test us to the nth degree.

THE PAUL PRINCIPLE

         For correct spiritual perspective with respect to real discipleship, consider the fact that the apostle Paul once found himself dead under a pile of rocks. He suffered this fate doing exactly what he was called to do. The Lord Jesus did nothing to stop the brutal attack against him—He let Paul get stoned by a bunch of Jewish religious idiots.

         But He did bless him with a preview of heaven:

         I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows—was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. [2Corinthians 12:2-4]

         That’s pretty cool. And He did bring him back to earth. And He did give Paul supportive friends after he was dragged out of Lystra for dead who stood around him when he suddenly got up:

         But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. [Acts 14:19-20]

         Therefore, it is not that we don’t need help and support from time to time. We obviously should help one another. But such help is usually designed to get us on track or back on track. Both of these should be very few and far between events after our initial discipleship training. After that it’s a matter of running the race well without being hindered or enabled, both of which restrict our mission.

         If the Lord has given you honest and competent authority figures at present, be thankful. We need the wisdom of those who have gone before us who have gained the Lord’s wisdom. But in order to be the spiritual success the Lord needs you to be, you must work at becoming a spiritual adult.

         For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity… [Hebrews 5:13-6:1] [1]

         Live the adventure.

         Climb the Rockies.

         But watch out for rocks.

       © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

        Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] 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.

OUTING THE CLERGY SPIRIT (4)

         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 22:25-26]

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE WOMAN?

         But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushing his skull. [Judges 9:53]

 ENMITY BETWEEN SEEDS

         “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” [Genesis 3:15]

 THE WOMAN AND HER RIGHTFUL HUSBAND

         The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” [Genesis 2:22-23]

THE ATTACK OF THE DRAGON

         A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

         Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. [Revelation 12:1-4]

THE RIGHTFUL HUSBAND AND THE INTERLOPER

         And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.

         At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem.

         And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.

         But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. [Acts 5:11-18] [1]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] 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.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 7)

         Pessimism is a sin. If a person claims to be a real Christian and is not optimistic regarding areas under God’s control, then one is sinning against Him.

         It’s called a lack of faith.

         …And whatever is not from faith is sin. [Romans 14:23]  

         The Lord was often exasperated with faithlessness, especially among His own disciples. Remembering the simple fact that those guys were His students learning His craft excuses them since they were in the process of moving from darkness to light. If they continued in pessimistic faithlessness after the Resurrection, the Ascension, and Pentecost, then they failed His curriculum and were in sin.

         And not a real part of His community.

         Which brings us to the crux of the matter: The majority who claim to be Christians are not real Christians. They are Christian in name only, regardless of their denomination or doctrinal beliefs.

         “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. [John 10:1-6]

         From this definitive statement the Lord is clearly teaching that it is possible for “strangers” to get into His sheepfold. Think about that. We gain greater understanding of this fact when discovering that the Greek word for stranger in this verse means “one belonging to another.” In other words, these strangers are not simply unknown persons crashing the party but those who belong to someone else. And in the clear context of the verse we see that He is referring to people who are shepherds other than the Lord Jesus.

         Who are these shepherds?

         I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. [Galatians 1:6-12]

         There is no doubt that Paul spoke often of false apostles and false gospels. This obviously presupposes false shepherds. False shepherds are “strangers” who enter the Lord’s sheepfold through means other than the door. They assume authority over people not granted from God. It was the Pharisees who Jesus was referring to as such strangers, as clearly indicated in chapter nine of John’s gospel. (There should have been no chapter break, since the narrative from chapter nine continues into chapter ten.)

         The Lord Jesus tells them He is the Door of the sheepfold. He is also the Good Shepherd. Whoever does an end run into His sheepfold without going through the Door (the only means of proper access) is not a real believer.

         “…No one comes to the Father but through Me.” [John 14:6]

         No one can possibly get to the Father without going through the Son. Whoever rejects the Son automatically rejects the Father also. The Father and Son are a package deal. One cannot have one without also having the other.

         If one has a shepherd other than the Son, one does not have the Father.

         Yet, such people think they still have the Father. Some Christians insistently refer to “God” as someone other than the Lord Jesus, but have no real idea who this “God” is. The term often refers to an unknowable, intangible, and conceptual God that people end up making to suit themselves. In their minds, this God is not Jesus.

         They must, therefore, have a shepherd other than Jesus, because if Jesus were their shepherd, He would be their God also.

         Who qualifies then as replacement shepherds of unreal Christians? Who are the Christian leaders who teach their sheep to enter the Lord’s sheepfold through a means other than the Door? Who are these replacement shepherds who take the place of the Door?

         So Jesus said to them again, “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. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.” [John 10:7-13] [1]

         One should see very clearly that any shepherd who advises his sheep to disregard the Door and enter His sheepfold through another means or method is not honest or upright, but a thief and a mere hired hand working for pay. What’s more, you can bet that the sheep of the false shepherds look and act like them, and not at all like the Door.

         The password to the kingdom of God is the Name of Jesus.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 7 of 10]


[1] 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.