The kingdom of God is suffering violence, but its not from without, its from within. A trifecta sickness of false teachings, idolatrous practices and deadly, but alluring voices are systematically pushing and luring us closer and closer to the edge of a pit with no bottom. Fear of the tricks of the false prophets has caused us to mollify them with silence.
Misconceptions about the church and the kingdom of God have colored and influenced the contemporary church to the point to where it is barely recognizable as representative of God. We are living in the age of an out of control church reminiscent of a wild jackass. A spiritual run-a-way bride. But beloved please know that such things should not be mentioned once among the people of God.
These misconceptions —which in reality are false doctrines— have pierced the body to its core and are wreaking havoc on our outward witness and out inward compass.
People of God, look at what has been spawned among us:
In recent years, especially during the Earl Paulk sex abuse saga, we heard about “kingdom relationships”. Said kingdom relationships centered around the idea that in the “kingdom” leaders such as Paulk were entitled to sex from whomever they chose. Somehow “kingdom relationships” transcended the moral boundaries of scripture. But in reality it was nothing more than a church harem for a deluded sexual addict with a big church title. Last week, Atlanta’s WSB-TV made the connection between Paulk and Long and the sexual ideology both seemed to incorporate into their religious empires.
Ole Anthony of the Trinity Foundation, a watchdog organization which monitors clergymen like Long, says the late Bishop Earl Paulk mentored Long as a young pastor.
When WSB Radio asked Anthony about Long and the three lawsuits filed by three former members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, said he was shocked.
“But his mentor was Earl Paulk,” said Anthony.
Paulk, who died last year, was an evangelical mega church leader accused of having sex with many women in his congregation including his brother’s wife and his own granddaughter.
Anthony compared Long’s “Spiritual Sons” program in which his three young accusers were members with Paulk’s “Kingdom Relationships,” saying both were really designed to sexually gratify the clergymen.
We’ve also heard of “kingdom principles” from a number of megachurch and junior megachurch leaders. Perhaps those in the prosperity movement have capitalized the most on these principles which generally can be traced to the lust for mammon. The rather unseemly practice of throwing money at the altar or at the feet of a preacher while he is speaking emanates from the idea that when you hear what you believe to be a “good word” you pay the speaker. The act has been attributed to Word of Faith heretic Leroy Thompson of the “money cometh” fame. The practice is eerily similar to men throwing money at strippers in a club, especially when she performs titillating lewd acts.
As we noted in our previous post, people are attaching the word “kingdom” to their doctrines of devils and effectively deceiving many people who are marginally in the faith. I might also add that it is being attached to the music of devils and achieving equally disastrous effects. Everyone wants to cash in.
Also, the idea that a particular church or denomination is the only right organization has truly hindered the work of the kingdom. I grew up in a denomination (COGIC) that taught merely going inside a Baptist church was a sin. We could only fellowship with other COGIC churches and the only way we could go into a church of another denomination was if we went to accompany the Pastor. Out of that belief was the idea that if you left COGIC, you were backslidden. It didn’t matter if you were saved, you’d left “the greatest church in the world”, therefore you could not possibly remain saved. This idea is still prevalent (although somewhat subdued) in that denomination’s mindset. This is a pride that is not from God.
While some organizations most certainly embrace doctrinal error, the idea that one church (physical building, association) was the only true church is a fallacy within itself. And while I cite COGIC, I’m certain other dogmatic organizations have some of the same beliefs at varying degrees.
A radical return to holiness
I wrote sometime ago that we desperately needed a radical return to holiness. But I soon realized that such a return to holiness cannot occur without first a radical return to the Word of the Lord. Above all, his word is our source document for life. We cannot even begin to understand holiness if we do not return —now and fervently— to his Word.
If the church is ever to mirror the glory of the Kingdom —and it will— we must find the will to purge the wicked thing from among us. It doesn’t matter if that wicked thing takes the form of a person or a passion, it must go. And we must re-inaugurate God as King and Christ as Lord.
A history lesson should help us get the passion and the will to do what must be done in this hour. Reputations must be laid aside and the each of us must see ourselves as needed volunteers in the restoration of the glory of God.
Consider the passion of one Phinehas, recorded in Numbers 25:
And behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation and took a javelin in his hand; and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.
And those who died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.
And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, “Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned My wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for My sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in My jealousy. Therefore say: `Behold, I give unto him My covenant of peace.
Of course God is not in the business anymore of ordering us to kill those who sin. That price of death was satisfactorily paid in full by Christ on the cross (that’s what propitiation means).
But we still have an obligation and a mandate to restrict, restrain and remove sin and those who refuse to repent from our midst. This is an act of discipline which protects the integrity of the body as well as protects us from opportunistic spiritual infections.
Phinehas’ radical passion to honor the will of God infused the blessing of God to his legacy. Too many of us see the abominations being loosed in the body, we know that it is against the word of the Lord, but we stand on the sidelines fearful. I will tell you why. Our thinking is not in snyc with God’s. A great majority of the universal church is locked into a carnal processing mindset. The case of Bishop Long has exposed that in many places.
But we need a radical return to honoring the will of God by adhering to the Word of God. That’s what Phinehas did. Take special note that he didnt steal away into prayer and fasting. He acted. There is a time to pray and there is a time to act. Now, is the time to act and restore order in the house of God so that it may accurately reflect the glorious kingdom of God.
Bishop Long’s revelations are not the only ones which will arise. Others are in the pipeline. And there will be many more opportunities for us to speak up and stop what we know dishonors God and his kingdom. The only other alternative is for us to continue this insane game of musical church chairs.