Understanding church and kingdom: violence cometh

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.


21 thoughts on “Understanding church and kingdom: violence cometh

  1. @GCMWATCH-Yes you’re so right sir! I specifically remember many COGIC members telling me that we were the “right” church. And for a while I frowned upon any other church that wasn’t COGIC.

    My Pastor also would tell me I couldn’t go play for other churches because he hadn’t released me to go. I was very upset at this. I lost a lot of gigs because I couldn’t go, because the churches were other denominations. So I just stopped asking and started turning down all kinds of opportunities to play. Even if I would have asked, the answer would have been NO!

    We are brainwashed by the unholy pride in our denomination. But I can see now that this is a ploy of the enemy.

    I remember a member telling me she didn’t eat from every-ones table, when I asked her if she listened to the local Christian Radio. (Which by the way is very sound in doctrine, they have none of the big, heretical preachers out there today they only allow sound bible teaching.)

    I was also encourage not to listen to J. Vernon Mcgee because he was quote “Crazy”. I said on another post that he is one of the most sound bible teachers ever.

    I look back at these things and I just shake my head now.

    Excellent writing sir, I will be linking it on facebook later….

  2. This is an excellent post indeed Pastor Foster and very thought provoking. I can’t speak for anyone else but it really causes me to examine myself to make sure I’m in the faith. If we are not careful and continue to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord, we could very well come up on the short end.

    We must seek God so that we WILL NOT be seduced by doctrines of devils… You have to remember that seduction is very very slow and subtle, much like dropping a frog into cool water and slowly turning up the heat and before it realizes, it has become a delicacy on somebody’s plate.

    Saints of the only True and Living God. We had better make a radical turn to holiness. We must shake ourselves from the stupor of even our own self-indulgent behavior.

    I have even seen too many of my brothers and sisters in Christ picking up the buzz words from the world… for example… “Do You” Whatttt???!?!?!

    What nonsense. When the Word of God says that we must DENY ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ.

    If what is going on now and what we see happening around us is not a wake up call, I don’t know what is. Jesus is coming back soon and all God is doing is getting His house in order.

    He’s coming back for a church without spot or wrinkle.

    Let’s be ready to meet Him.

  3. I tell you, Pastor Foster, you, brdavison and shofarsound are on a roll. Please, keep it coming.

    I, too, grew up in the COGIC. I haven’t been affiliated with them for awhile now. But I can distinctly remember the message of COGIC superiority running through the veins of many of its members. I believe some who lived and breathed it did this out of sheer ignorance, while some expressed it consciously with the intent of “sabotaging” other denominations. I can even recall as an older child telling people that I belonged to such-and-such church of God in Christ, like it was some glorious banner to be waved. Any congregation that had COGIC behind its name was known to have some of the “best” preachers, the “best” choirs and the most members – at least around my way.
    Not only that, but I remember the title “bishop” being discussed all the time. To become a bishop in the COGIC was like winning a Superbowl ring; I recall my pastor and other COGIC pastors who used to visit our church consistently talking about becoming a bishop. Everyone wanted to be the Grand Poo-bah. Ah the days of COGIC.
    Like brdavison, I shake my head now when I look back in hindsight. Some of us didn’t know any better, though. And I say these things not to condemn the COGIC (no one here does), but only to acknowledge that I’ve experienced the same thing, for the most part. It should go without saying that there’s problems in every denomination (which was acknowledged above). Yet I can plainly speak about the COGIC because I experienced it. Though I was young, I clearly remember some things.

    As for this return to holiness, those of us who long to see the Lord put back on His throne (so to speak) indeed long for it; we hunger for it. That’s the cry of many of us who post on this blog, it’s the cry of those who author them, it’s the cry of those preach it, it’s the cry of those who teach it, it’s the cry of those who pray for it. However, as long as we continue to esteem tradition, as long as we continue to extol men, as long as we continue to love our fleshly desires, as long as we continue to mix worldly philosophies with Scripture, the Word of God will be despised and the Lord will not be given the honor He truly deserves. Priorities are in disarray and ignorance is showing bliss for too many.

    May God create a hunger within the hearts of many to long for holiness and thirst for truth once again.

  4. It is amazing that kind of mindset still resonates in the “Grand old Church”. I, too, am a son of the COGIC. I have friends that call me the prodigal son, and when am I coming back home? Right now I am challanged with the ministers at my church to properly handle with Word of God. When asked a biblical question, they respond with example, illustration, etc. but not the word. You must answer scripture with scripture otherwise you will get an incorrect meaning.

    Excellent posts. I share them with many others, and they visit the site.

  5. I can relate to having grown up (and still being) in a denomination that thinks that it’s in “the full knowledge of the truth.” and that other followers of Christ, even some other Pentecostal ones, were lost, not saved, and not “in the truth.” I’m talking growing up Apostolic, specifically in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. Women wearing pants were forbidden, you had to ask the Pastor first about visiting another church, even if it’s another Apostolic Church. If not, then we were disobeying the Pastor, then in turn disobeying God. I even heard family members criticize someone who left “our” church and went to another church, saying that “they ain’t right” or even “they ain’t saved” or “they just want to go where they want to do what they want to do.” I’m grateful that I at least was taught to study and obey the Word, but I have to admit that sometimes I still shake my head, confused about some of the traditions. I do want to live a holy Life, I do want to please God. I don’t even understand the over-critical attitude some of the members have; some have been downright insulting. Yet, unfortunately, the Apostolic churches have even had alot of issues, including DL men. Please pray for me, I’m yet praying and seeking God.

  6. Pastor Foster, this was so well written and true. I’m sitting here in awe of how strong, clear and correct this admonition was. God bless you, brother.

  7. COGIC over here as well.
    While I will openly scoff at secular writers who claim the black church in general (I wonder if they really mean salvation) keeps women single, I have had to consider, and privately at that, is being COGIC keeping me single? We were raised to marry and be equally yoked, with someone at the very least raised in the denom. But within my own family almost none of the women of my mother’s generation did (but they were unsaved or backslide) and they were raised under even stricter admonition than me. I have attended very few COGIC born and bred nuptials, at least where the bride was COGIC for more than 5 minutes cause the brothers are good for bringing Sally who works at the dry cleaners, he sees every week into church or at least don’t have no problem marrying her saved or not. Let me bring a handsome, fire baptized baptist with no kids, a good job and credit to service and it would be a scandal why I won’t talk to reclaimed deacon whose wife left him cause he can’t keep a job…
    Aside from that issue, I love our worship style and I have been raised under great leadership, teaching and sound doctrine. But when I listen to other ministers its not the ones with TBN airtime, but usually expositions of Paul Washer or John MacArthur and others. That Christless Christianity conference they hold is really on the pulse of what has been infiltrating the present church.
    That said, I like this point:
    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 didn’t 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.
    As someone said, this stuff is getting exposed because we’ve BEEN praying, fasting, studying the Word, and if the rest of “the church” would get back in the Word, when someone (who might NOT be a bishop, arch bishop, elder, state supervisor- sometimes it needs to be the parent of the abused child, or the usher in service) responds/act according to the Word they won’t be so quick to throw a you’re judging/hating…, touch not my…, keep your mouth off…is that love/forgiveness?…who are you to say?
    Maybe YOY need to pray cause you can’t discern what’s going on, I already know, Isaiah 56:10-12, John 10:11-13, Jeremiah 23:20-22 etc…

  8. @Nikki, our Bishop did not endorse a lot of church hopping, visiting, or traveling members/singing groups ect…Fellowship and support of jurisdiction, regional and national was encouraged because the church (COGIC) had everything you needed (good preachers, singers, dancers, etc…). But now that the congregation/jurisdiction I grew up in has been thoroughly chopped and screwed by the sundry members of the general board…the opportunities to collectively fellowship are sweeter cause we are family and miss the weekly fellowships.
    But some folks take supporting your local too far…
    Over the summer there was a jurisdiction event(and jurisdiction supersedes has been my understanding) and I was looking for volunteers. I told someone I planned to ask a particular sister so her church could be represented, but the person admonished me that I’d have to ask the sister’s pastor. I was like why? She grown, married with kids, got a career, and should be there participating barring any personal plans. But my friend reminded me of an incident a few years prior, the sister offered her help for an event, but then got reigned in by her pastor from participating. She still helped get in contact with appropriate people/needs/supplies, but when the event day came, she was there before it started to make sure things got delivered, and came back at the end to pack up. I thought I remembered something liked that, but I called sis anyway.
    She’d love to volunteer, but I have to ask her pastor…what?! I ain’t fooling with foolishness, so I started looking at other volunteers.
    You can’t grow a church and spread the gospel trying to keep your members on lock so they don’t take their tithes elsewhere. And the members can’t get all the church has to offer being locked down. That ain’t Bible.

  9. Apostolic and UPC denominations are notoriously known for this. They make outsiders believe that if they aren’t like them, then they cannot possibly be saved. They even make some of their own members who are really committed to living for God but may be a bit ‘quirky’ (not conformed like them), feel this way. Even if the members of that church are known citywide to be habitual gossips and railers, if they dress the part and look the part, they are considered okay, and free to look their noses down on everyone else.

  10. I just wanted to say to all my COGIC brothers and sisters that the idea I was conveying in that snippet about COGIC (the only church Ive ever been a member of) was the feelings of superiority, arrogance and pride which hinders the work of the kingdom of God. I do believe that some of the restrictions were good because some folk are “church hoppers” running to every new thang in town and picking up spirits.

    But this is more than that, this pride and blind devotion to an organization blinds you to the kingdom and what its purpose is. It also creates a classism if you will that is sinful.

  11. @GMCwatch-can someone who is a TRUE believer just pick up random spirits? If I understand your 2 excellently written articles correctly we the body of Christ have forgotten the 4 walls of the church is just a building and not the Body of Christ.

    Therefore shouldn’t we be able to share with other christian brothers and sisters who believe in the death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ at other churches?

    I believe we should be members to a church. But should the Pastor be a dictator and ruler over the outside lives of the people?

  12. No I was only referring to “church hoppers”. They do exist. This scripture to me explains what I mean by church hoppers.

    Eph 4:11-14
    It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

    Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

    These type of people “pick up” different spirits and doctrines and literally spread them around because they are immature. My point is not about loyalty to a building, but to good sound teaching. If you are in a church where the teaching/preaching is sound (and you are immature) running around to different churches to get a thrill is only going to sink you.

    I dont think this applies in the situation you mentioned.

  13. Pastor,

    Thank you for writting this post, it so reminds of what the Lord said, to his disciples when asked when will the Kingdom of God come, and he replied, “You will not say HERE IT IS, or THERE IT IS, for the Kingdom of God is here, within you.” I’ve often looked at him saying it this way, that the Kingdom of God is him, and when you and I accept his plan and purpose for our lives, the Kingdom of God will resonate within us.

  14. @gmcwatch You are right, there are alot of church hoppers and the scripture you left (Eph 4:11-14) does back it up. I was addressing how there is such much control, blind devotion, and members quick to criticize.

  15. @Nikki, I grew up in COGIC all my life, so I can relate to your struggle. A few years ago I realized that I wasn’t going to be in The COGIC my whole life. Than it happened, I got married to a woman who was also raised Pentecostal, we joined a different church, only to find “The Gospel Was Not There”. After praying month after month for a solid church that taught “The Gospel”, God directed us to a medium sized Non-denominational church.
    I encourage you to check out http://www.9marks.com, you might be able to find some good Bible churches.
    My wife & I are still attending this Bible church because the pastors emphasize The Word of God & Jesus Christ, rather than Traditional manmade practices. Solid churches that Preach The Full Gospel of JESUS CHRIST are hard to find but there’s several out there. We went from listening to False prophets like: Bishop TD J, Paula White, Bishop Noel J, etc. to listening to The Truth. Our favorite Bible teachers are>John MacArthur, Paul Washer, John Piper, Alastair Begg, and many more. Change is difficult, but with God all things are possible, let Him direct you by His Holy Spirit.
    Folks may talk about you leaving your denomination, like some talked about me. At the end of the day, all that matters is “The Doctrine of Truth”. We cannot continue to be led by “The Emotional Gospel”, we need The Truth of Jesus Christ and His word.

  16. Wow, what an excellent admonition. I have to bring up one point that I think so many miss when dealing with false doctrine. The Bible says that …a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. What we see from Paulk, Long, Crouch, Jamal etc. is the end result of the effects of error.

    Did you ever notice how many of these guys started out good, and then along the way picked up a little error then a little grew and grew until you have pastors “crowned” king like Fred Price.

    I believe that the focus has to be Jesus Christ and Him crucified and nothing else. All of error leads you away from that. Paul even said “I preach Christ and Him crucified”. When that message is not preeminent, the pastor will be preeminent. The pastor has been crowned king and Jesus has been dethroned in many churches today. Secular humanism and psychology has become the babble that is trying to build a tower to God without consulting Him. These Pontiffs now know more than God’s word for the answers to all of man’s ills.

    Putting your faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, whose holiness and righteousness we become partakers of, is where the church’s holiness is. YOU can’t be holy on your own. He gives us the correct desires and strength to live a holy and sanctified life. The modern church will not preach that because it flies in the face of all THEY call holy. selah

    Dr Foster keep challenging us to “earnestly contend for the faith” God Bless you!

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