- Church / Church System:
- The church establishment or demoninational system, not specifically the Body of Christ
- Same as the above
- David Berg's daughter
- Street distribution of Gospel literature
READING THESE BOOK REVIEWS OF THE FAMOUS SAINTS and MISSIONARIES GAVE ME A LITTLE BIT OF A SORT OF NOSTALGIC FEELING FOR THE CHURCH, and certainly gave me a feeling of inferiority complex that I'm never going to measure up to standards like that or that kind of survival of torture and persecution!
GOD LETS US HAVE A FEW GREAT SAINTS TO BE EXAMPLES and IDEALS, but that was the thing about that--even if you can remember back when you were in church and the churchianity--the saints and the great heroes of the Bible and all were so exalted and so high and so far superior, it just made you feel like, "Oh well, what's the use of trying? I could never be like that, I'll never make it!"--and you don't even feel like trying hardly because they're so far beyond and above you!
THEY'D EVEN MAKE CHARACTERS IN THE BIBLE SOUND SO FAR ABOVE and BEYOND US that they were unrelated to our present existence. They were out of this World, they were just in another World. But what I've tried to do in my writings--or I think the Lord's tried to do--is to show you how human they were and how much like us they were. I think it's more important to bring some of those characters down closer to your level where you can see there's some possible hopes for you. That's why King David was always such a great encouragement to me, a man who could sin and be as wicked as he was and yet the Lord forgave him and called him a man after His Own heart! I always figured, "Well, if he made it, I guess I can make it!"
BUT THE CHURCH HAS BECOME SO HOLY and SO OUT OF THIS WORLD and so far beyond anything to which this present generation could attain in the way of pretended holiness, at least. They held up a standard which to the sinner was totally out of their reach and unattainable and there was no use trying. On the other hand, they saw that the church members themselves were hypocrites and did not measure up to that standard at all! Therefore they throw the whole Church System overboard!
WHEN POOR LITTLE TECHI TRIED TO REACH THE DOORKNOB and COULDN'T, she burst into tears in frustration! And then I was so sorry I'd put her through such a test. I just wanted to see how close she could come to it, how much more she'd have to grow before she could reach it. But she apparently thought that I really expected her to reach the doorknob, and when she couldn't make it she felt like she'd failed me and she was a failure and she had really failed something I expected her to do, and she was so heartbroken and so frustrated she burst into tears!
WELL, I THINK HER BURSTING INTO TEARS and MY REALISING WHAT I'D DONE TO HER, by a simple little thing that I didn't even realise what I was doing, I think that hurt me more than it did her! I felt like bursting into tears and it was about all I could do to try to cheer her up!--And I really believe that the Lord is a lot like that. He's not as dumb as I was, He knows the effect it's going to have, but I don't think He's going to ask us to reach for anything that's out of our reach, that He knows we can't reach. I don't think He's going to ask of any of us a standard that is beyond our particular individual reach. But if He allows you to go through these tests, even if you don't think you can make it, He's going to help you make it and show you that you can. "He will not suffer you to be tempted above what you're able to bear!" (ICor.10:13)
THAT'S WHY I FINALLY GAVE UP ON THE CHURCH. I figured it was a hopeless case. In the first place, it was too holy for me, such a wicked sinner. In the second place, I could never live up to their standards and their ideals of saintliness. And finally, when I saw their own sins and wickedness in not loving others and the World--not even hardly loving each other--when I saw how they were failing God and not reaching people outside, that the sinners hardly ever came to church--and I can't blame'm--I saw that church was just not where it was at, that's all!
SO I FIGURED, "WELL, I'LL NEVER MAKE IT IN THE CHURCH, I can't be their kind of saint, but at least I can get out in the World amongst people like myself and I can be a soul-winning sinner, even if I can't be a church-going saint! I can't help these church people, they're too far above and beyond me and they're too far out and too far away even from what I think Jesus wanted them to be, as witnesses in the World. But at least I can get out amongst people who are pretty much like me, who are poor lost sinners, and I can get out here and tell'm the true Gospel, that in spite of all their sins and their wickedness and in spite of their shortcomings, failures, mistakes and unsaintliness and ungodliness, God can still save'm through Jesus!"
WELL, ALL THAT TO SAY THIS!: That's why I don't go too much for that sort of thing and why I left the church and why I don't go for their ideals of saintliness and setting them up as shining examples of the way everybody ought to be, because I don't think it's possible for everybody to be like that and it discourages people from being anything if they're told that they've got to be like that or else they're not saints at all!
I THINK THAT'S FOR THE RARE EXCEPTIONAL FEW TO BE SUCH GREAT SAINTS and suffering saints and to go through such extreme trials and testings and temptations. I believe that is the exception and should be known to be the exception rather than the rule, so that not everybody gets discouraged, quits and gives up because they figure, "I could never make that anyhow so I might as well not try."
I DON'T WANT TO PUT THE DOORKNOB SO HIGH that the poor babe in Christ tries to reach it and can't and gets so frustrated he bursts into tears and quits like poor Techi did! I want to put the cookies on a lower shelf! The church has put the doorknob too high to the point that most of us who are too short spiritually can't even reach it, it's impossible. So we get so frustrated we burst into tears and we give up and feel like failures and quit altogether!
I DON'T THINK WE SHOULD PRESSURE BABES, CHILDREN and IMMATURE CHRISTIANS under the impression that that's the goal, that's what we want you to be like eventually, that's what you're to strive to attain to be, that's what you're supposed to endeavour to suffer and gain merit by, to become a truly great Christian, that's what you've got to go through.
SO I THINK REALLY WHAT MY MINISTRY HAS BEEN, IN A WAY--for example, in the beginning with those hippies, and then with sinners and the prostitutes and the profligates and what have you--is to show that to be saved you don't have to reach any doorknob! The door is already wide open by Jesus and all you have to do is walk through, that's all! Jesus said, "I am the door!" ( Jn.10:9 ) And therefore, if we want to get to Heaven we just have to walk through Jesus, the Open Door.
I'VE TRIED TO PUT SALVATION AS AN OPEN DOOR BEFORE THEM WHERE THEY DON'T HAVE TO REACH ANY DOORKNOB. All they have to do is see the door, believe it, walk through it by faith, receive it, receive Jesus, and they're saved! And if there are any other doors that they have to open thereafter in the way of works, services for the Lord, witnessing, litnessing and living for the Lord, we have tried to make the standards low enough that they're within their reach, within their grasp, they can make it, it's not too hard for them.
(MARIA: I'D LIKE TO SAY WHAT MY IMPRESSION WAS UPON READING THAT BOOK REVIEW. Maybe I was taking it the wrong way, but to me, I thought, "Most of them were great missionaries of the church and sort of like our kids!" I sort of identified with them, like our kids have gone through really tough battles and they're going to be going through more as times get harder and the Tribulation. But the Lord's going to strengthen them so they may get to the point where they have to go through maybe just as hard times as some of these missionaries went through, but the Lord will give them power for the hour.) Amen, Honey! That's a good way to present the positive.
I GUESS MAYBE I'LL HAVE TO CONFESS THAT IN THE EARLY DAYS PARTICULARLY and EVEN NOW, WE SET THE STANDARD SO HIGH that when you compare with what the church practices--not what they preach but what they practice--we put'm to shame. Our preaching may not be up to their standards, but our standard of practice is so high that most people stand in fear and awe of us and the church is afraid of us and criticise us because we put'm to shame!
BECAUSE WE REALLY BELIEVE IN WHAT JESUS SAID, that we ought to forsake all and go into all the World and preach the Gospel to every creature, ALL of us! That is our standard! And for God's sake, that's a Heaven of a lot higher than the church standard for its Christians! We expect to suffer for it, and we expect to have to live by faith for it and forsake all for it!
BUT EVEN THE PHYSICAL PERSECUTION IS NOT AS DANGEROUS as the danger of getting into the same bad habits and the same rut and the same spiritual lethargy and the same churchianity hypnotism of the church people. So as long as we go into this thing with our eyes open and aware of the dangers and the pitfalls and the bogs and the temptations of it, as long as you're aware of it, well then there may be a few good things we can find if we pick away carefully through all the trash and all the garbage and all the dangerous sharp tin cans and broken bottles and junk.
LET'S HOPE WE CAN PICK OUT A FEW THINGS THAT MIGHT BE REAL JEWELS and valuables that are worth salvaging from the church and churchianity and church practices. (Maria: Or if we can see that these great men and women of God didn't actually belong to the church, the church didn't possess them, but God possessed them, then they belong to our Family as much as they belong to the church! They belong to our Worldwide Family of God!) Right! They belong to the Church, but not necessarily the churches. Many of them were not even church people.
My name is James Arendt. I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the southeast side of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom.
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