What the Lord Has to Say About “A Jesus Manifesto”
“And the Word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision” (1 Samuel 3:1 KJV). There are many religious proclamations and initiatives to be found everywhere today, but what does the Lord say? The “Jesus” of this manifesto waits on your imaginative input and will to come to life, but we wait on the Jesus Christ of Scripture, Who is seated on the throne of God and rules over all. Here we shout what He has whispered in our ears. “The Lord GOD has spoken. Who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:8 HNV)
An open letter to Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet regarding A Jesus Manifesto:
We write to you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who has called us to preach His Gospel in a darkened religious world.
I was contacted by Frank with a link to the Manifesto, and after reading it, posted this message on his blog:
“Can you imagine the apostle Paul publishing a manifesto that required its readers to purchase a book he was selling to get the full understanding of it?
The cross is not only a teaching, but is the very means of identifying with God through Jesus Christ in order to be delivered from all worldly religion and unreality, within and without. Unless the Lord puts His finger on your idols and leads you into the obedience by which you forsake them, you are not free.
The Teachings and Commandments of God are not extraneous, but are the starting point for all people to come into agreement with His Law and Nature. Then, through His holy judgment, you will be led to Christ.
This letter was not posted, which is not surprising, given the spirit of your manifesto – man-pleasing and self-promoting. Therefore, congratulatory and complimentary letters are welcomed and encouraged. Those with questions or some differences are allowed if they give opportunity for plugging your books or promoting yourselves as spiritual heroes.
To one critic, Frank writes (my emphasis added):
“we are very open to challenge and criticism and appreciate those which are substantive and do not judge motives,” adding later:
“btw/ the moderator informed me that the rest of your post was removed because you were imputing evil motives. You may want to read the ‘about’ link on the page. Let’s remember that Jesus Christ is Love, and as Paul said, ‘love thinks no evil,’ but always believes the best, especially when it comes to intentions and motives.”
No one would dispute that God is love – but where do you get your definition of love? Jesus Christ called the Pharisees whitened tombs, having beautiful exteriors for men to see, but who were ugly to God because dead inside and full of uncleanness. Was Jesus unloving, imputing evil where there was none? Why didn’t He “believe the best” of others, as you say He should, and take their appearance at face value? Why isn’t He acting according to how you say He should?
The obvious, correct, and only conclusion is that you are not reflecting or representing Him or His ways.
Why did Jesus warn His followers about false prophets and teachers? Why did the apostles also warn His followers of these? And why were they given the authority and power to reprove the works of darkness, if they were only to “believe the best” of everyone, as you say? Would you have all men to be blind to evil and afraid to confront it? Should servants of God be mute, refraining from speaking the truth? Was Isaiah a liar, who reports (Chapter 58) God commanding His servants to speak up and show His people their sins?
Why would you deny these things, except that you do not want to be confronted on your own sins?
And what if you were falsely accused? Have you no answers of truth, no spiritual wisdom or power in Christ, to shame and shut the mouths of the disputers, even as the Lord and His apostles did? Why are you afraid? (We know the answers, but you and everyone else must know them, too.) The Lord said it is a very good sign if men speak evil of you for His sake:
“Blessed are you when men shall hate you, and when they shall cut you off, and when they shall reproach you and shall cast out your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man” (Luke 6:22 MKJV).
You do not suffer evil for His sake, but you seek to look good for your own, just like He also said:
“Woe to you when all men shall speak well of you! For so their fathers did to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26 MKJV).
You men preach an entirely different Jesus and gospel than those of Scripture. Your gospel is devoid of righteous judgment, which is the hallmark of, and essential for, His salvation. You reject His judgment so you can continue doing your own thing in the darkness you deceitfully call Light (Christ). You are frauds.
Your way is not of the Lord Jesus Christ or of those who follow Him. The Lord doesn’t receive honor from men. His followers don’t look away from the substantive matters of the heart, which are wonderful opportunities to address what is critically important. Only by illumination of the darkness, by the calling of things what they are, and not what men pretend or wish them to be, can real and meaningful change happen.
The Lord and those in Him are not afraid of objections or accusations, because they are Light, and the Light always shines the greatest in darkness.
Your manifesto, while it says some true things, is not the Truth. It is a lie, giving the appearance of godliness without God’s Presence or Reality. It is manufactured light, Satan coming as an angel of Light. Your words are empty and self-serving, paying lip service to the cross, but avoiding it altogether. You hope others will mistake your hypothesizing and religious works for the Genuine Article, giving you power and justification.
When the True comes, however, the false are made manifest:
“And it happened, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His doctrine. For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29 MKJV).
You don’t give the First Person (Christ) account that is the distinctive identifying characteristic of those whom God sends. Without this, though you promise life, you deliver death. Those sent by Him promise death (the cross), but deliver life. We speak the Word of God, not just in word, as you do, but in reality, His Presence confirming the authority with which we speak:
“For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 MKJV).
God is not known by your private interpretations, but by those who know Him and speak from His mind. Thus we are here, sent to speak the things He gives us for you.
These words towards the end of your manifesto are true:
“Christians don’t follow Christianity; Christians follow Christ.
Christians don’t preach themselves; Christians proclaim Christ.
Christians don’t point people to core values; Christians point people to the cross.
Christians don’t preach about Christ: Christians preach Christ.”
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.” It is all about Him. However, questions for the reader remain: “What does this mean for me? Where do I find the Lord? How can I assume He is here in me, as you tell me He is, when I haven’t heard Him speak to me or tell me what to do? How do I actually take up the cross, follow Him, and live His life? What are the specific things the Lord would have me to do? How can I presume to be with Him, when I don’t have the life He promised those with Him would have?”
You don’t give the answers to how one is saved (whether here or in your books), because you assume that those who profess to believe are already saved. You assume this for them because you assume it for yourself. You confer salvation on them expecting in return to have it conferred on you. “We’ll scratch your backs and you’ll scratch ours.” They, being in the dark, and not knowing the difference between true and imitation, honor you as if you are saved.
If you admitted not knowing the difference between the saved and the unsaved, your right hand and your left, you couldn’t be blamed. But because you say you do know when you don’t, you are blameworthy:
“Jesus said to them, If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, We see. Therefore your sin remains” (John 9:41 MKJV).
Furthermore, you are teaching and leading others in darkness and error. And those who readily follow you are deluded, because they have not received a love of the truth:
“And because of this, God will send them strong delusion, in order for them to believe the lie, so that they all might be damned who did not believe the truth, but delighted in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 EMTV).
Jesus warned about preachers like you:
“Take heed that you are not deceived, for many shall come in My Name, saying, ‘I AM!’ Also, ‘The time has come!’ Do not go after them” (Luke 21:8 MKJV).
This is often misinterpreted to mean that many people would come claiming that they, personally, are Jesus Christ. The Lord did not say that. He said many would come in His Name (not their own) claiming He is God and the time has come to do something. Is that not what you are doing in your manifesto?
If you, coming in His Name, do not have a present Word from Jesus, verified by His Presence, then those who seek to walk with Him should know He has not sent you.
All God’s servants are commissioned by Him, as was Moses:
“Go and gather the leaders of Israel together and tell them that I, the LORD, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to you. Tell them that I have come to them and have seen what the Egyptians are doing to them” (Exodus 3:16 GNB).
Jesus warned His followers not to go after those such as you, who bring alarmist messages, but do not have His Word or the fruits of faith that accompany His Presence. He has not sent you, so who are you to sound an alarm in His Name? How do we know He has not sent you? You speak as the scribes did, without authority.
The sheep who hear His Voice hear Him speaking in the shepherds He sends. We don’t hear His Voice from you because you are not speaking by Him. We hear with you the voice of strangers who speak their own words. You have come in your own names, yet by using His Name, you deceive many.
You are denigrating and defiling His Name. Listen to this:
You have entitled your manifesto, “A Magna Carta for Restoring the Supremacy of Jesus Christ.”
You may not mean that believers should restore His supremacy, but that they should acknowledge it; however, that is not the import of your words.
Since when does the Sovereign Lord God need to have His supremacy restored? What? Was the Body of Christ decapitated? Just who are you that you will restore God to a position He never lost or lacked? Does a sitting President need to have the citizens of his country rise up to declare him President? How much less does the Almighty need men to enthrone Him? He already rules in perfect power, always has, and needs no one to acknowledge or accept the fact:
Isaiah 40:13-15 HNV
(13) Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or has taught Him as His counselor?
(14) Who did He take counsel with, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice, and taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding?
(15) Behold, the nations are like a drop in a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on a balance. Behold, He lifts up the islands like a very little thing.
Is the Lord waiting for us to make Him Lord? Did the apostle Paul decide to make Jesus Christ Lord, or did Jesus Christ reveal Himself to Paul as Lord? You are preaching another gospel and another Jesus Christ altogether. The resurrected Lord Jesus Christ sits on the throne of God, ruling this world:
“John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace to you and peace from Him Who is and Who was and Who is coming; and from the seven spirits which are before His throne; even from Jesus Christ the faithful Witness, the First-born from the dead and the Ruler of the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1:4-5 MKJV).
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority is given to Me in Heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18 MKJV).
When do you suppose He lost His authority, that you should restore it? And who are you to restore it when the Son of God was incapable of keeping it when having it? Are you greater than He?
Jesus Christ is ruler of all realms, including death and hell:
“I became dead, and behold, I am alive for ever and ever, Amen. And I have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18 MKJV).
Your declaration of enthroning Jesus Christ is a most ignorant and arrogant statement! It is a plain admission you have never known or experienced His Lordship, despite delusions and deceitful words to the contrary. It is the expression of a religious mindset that worships a god made in your own image, calling it “Christ,” and teaching others to “accept” your god.
Truly, the Lord Jesus Christ has never been enthroned in the hearts of the religious, and never will according to your gospel (The False and Misleading Gospel of “Accepting” Jesus Christ). Only a complete removal by death, through the cross, will bring people into submission to the resurrected Lord of all. You represent orthodox nominal Christianity, the preserver of the flesh and spirit of antiChrist, which you claim to be supplanting with your home churches. Your work is simply more of the same old religion dressed up in a different costume. The whole superstructure must fall, and is falling.
At the beginning of the manifesto, you write:
“What is Christianity? It is Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less. Christianity is not an ideology. Christianity is not a philosophy. Christianity is the ‘good news’ that Beauty, Truth and Goodness are found in a person.”
Yes, and that Person is God. So how does one find this Person, Jesus Christ? Where does one find Him? Are you not just giving more ideology and philosophy, contrary to what is found in Him?
You go on:
“In that regard, we feel a massive disconnection in the church today. Thus this manifesto. We believe that the major disease of the church today is JDD: Jesus Deficit Disorder.”
The problem here is you do not distinguish between the false and the true church. You are focusing on the false one, created by man with its many names and manifestations, which anyone can join while keeping his or her life. You are telling those in the false to get with it, to focus on Jesus, when the very nature of these works (with yours among them) will never allow its adherents to focus on Jesus Christ, as is needful by faith. Furthermore, the “Jesus” you are telling them to look to is not the Jesus they need to look to by faith.
Without distinguishing between the work of Christ and the works of men, or knowing how to do so, your readers are no wiser as to how to follow Christ. Their only choice is to continue in the religious systems, perhaps now in the new guise you offer them. Many who think to have come out of the religious systems, escaping the whore, Mystery, Babylon the Great, have only brought her with them, because she is within. The Law of God and the cross need to be applied in their lives, but you don’t know how to do this, not having them applied in your own lives.
So you work in a “new” way of gathering and worshiping, thinking to have the answer.
“No one puts a piece of new cloth onto an old garment; for that which is put in to fill it up takes from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do men put new wine into old wineskins; else the wineskins burst, and the wine runs out, and the wineskins perish. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved together” (Matthew 9:16-17).
The Lord answered those who had problems with His putting new wine into new wineskins, rather than into the old. Because the Lord has not worked the miracle of new life and transformation in you or your hearers, all you are doing is putting old wine into new wineskins, designed by you. What is inside is still the old man. A new exterior makes no difference.
Goading and cajoling those in whom Christ neither resides nor rules into availing themselves of Him is like telling those confined to a windowless basement that they can and must manufacture their own sunshine.
Some portions of your manifesto points with comments:
1) “The center and circumference of the Christian life is none other than the person of Christ…Knowing Christ is Eternal Life.”
2) “Jesus Christ cannot be separated from his teachings…Jesus says to his disciples, ‘Follow me.’ In all other religions, a follower can follow the teachings of its founder without having a relationship with that founder. Not so with Jesus Christ.”
Again, amen! Unless you hear His Voice, keep His Word, eat His flesh, and drink His blood, you have no part in Jesus Christ.
3) “God’s grand mission and eternal purpose in the earth and in heaven centers in Christ . . . both the individual Christ (the Head) and the corporate Christ (the Body)…To be truly missional, then, means constructing one’s life and ministry on Christ.”
Here we begin to see the nuts and bolts that are missing. How does one construct his or her life and ministry on Christ? How did Paul the apostle do that? The simple answer is he didn’t. God did it, as reported in the Book of Acts.
How, then, will you do what Paul did? Unless God does it, you have nothing, and what you think to have is not there.
Any true minister of Christ (and not all are called to be ministers, though all believers share in the same Life) has the same experience of being called and apprehended of God as Paul did. God’s ministers are born by His will, and not by the will of the flesh or man (John 1:13). The latter is the way of the whore, who produces many false copies through religious training and systems taught of men.
4) “Being a follower of Jesus does not involve imitation so much as it does implantation and impartation.”
The false church is strictly about imitation, based on carnal notions of the things of God, which come by man’s flesh and imagination at work. Only by receiving the Implantation and Impartation from Above does one come out of the confusion that separates the fake from the Real. How does one receive that?
The manifesto doesn’t say. It is theoretical, not practical.
“Incarnation–the notion that God connects to us in baby form and human touch—is the most shocking doctrine of the Christian religion. The incarnation is both once-and-for-all and ongoing, as the One ‘who was and is to come’ now is and lives his resurrection life in and through us… We have been given God’s ‘Spirit’ which makes Christ ‘real’ in our lives. We have been made, as Peter puts it, ‘partakers of the divine nature.’”
The reader is led to presume that he or she has received God’s Spirit. But have all who say they believe received Christ’s Spirit? What of tares? These are planted by the enemy, the Scripture says. Surely they do not have Christ’s Spirit, though they profess to believe in Him.
What about those who have been granted repentance, a wonderful gift from God, but have yet to receive the baptism in His Spirit? Or those who have heard of Him, but do not yet have authentic repentance? These will know they are lacking and must go on to receive. There is no condemnation in being where they are, incomplete, though they cannot safely remain there.
To teach incipient or beginning believers to presume they have God’s Spirit will cause them to stop short of going on for what they must receive in order to be saved. You teach the unregenerate flesh to enthrone its carnal thoughts, and those of others, as the Voice of God. Your pupils and adherents will be readily confounded when justifying errors and wrong actions based on thinking they have acted according to the divine Nature of God, and you are partially to blame. The Lord’s words are fulfilled in you:
“Whoever will cause one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if he was thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around his neck” (Mark 9:42 HNV).
Woe to those who mistake corrupt flesh and man’s intemperate spirit for God’s Spirit and the Lord Jesus Christ, particularly those who teach this error to others for personal gain!
When one receives God’s Spirit, he will indeed know that Christ is real. Even before then, the Lord will be with that one, having led him to repentance, a supernatural gift of grace that only He can give.
As stated, not all who believe have received the Spirit of God, and many who think themselves to be Christians have never repented. Read Repentance and The Baptism in the Holy Spirit to hear more about these very definite and life-changing events in the life of the God-made believer, who now begins to eat from the Tree of Life.
Meanwhile, the manifesto dispenses fruit from the Tree of Knowledge:
“He’s our indwelling Presence, and we share in the life of Jesus’ own relationship with the Father. There is a vast ocean of difference between trying to compel Christians to imitate Jesus and learning how to impart an implanted Christ. The former only ends up in failure and frustration. The latter is the gateway to life and joy in our daying and our dying. We stand with Paul: ‘Christ lives in me.’ Our life is Christ. In him do we live, breathe, and have our being.”
Is He indeed substance in your hands that you can presume to fashion both for yourselves and others? So you are the imparting Potter and He the imparted clay?
How do you know that you stand with Paul, Frank and Leonard? Anyone can say, “Christ lives in me,” but can you say, “I am crucified with Christ”? And if you do say it, are you truly crucified with Him? Even if you were to claim that you are, we plainly see that you are not. Your fruits betray you. You speak from doctrine, not Reality. You play-act in make-believe Christianity.
Did you think that those in the Lord Jesus Christ could not see you? Does He exhort to remove the beams and anoint the eyes with salve in vain?
You look down your noses at those who imitate Jesus while you pretend to have Him within. Hypocrites! At least those who try to imitate Christ know it is their own doing, but when you believe Christ is within you doing the things that you are doing yourselves, you are calling yourselves Christ. This is the essence of the spirit of antiChrist, who usurps the throne of God while showing himself that he is God.
5) “The ‘Jesus of history’ cannot be disconnected from the ‘Christ of faith.’ The Jesus who walked the shores of Galilee is the same person who indwells the church today. There is no disconnect between the Jesus of Mark’s Gospel and the incredible, all-inclusive, cosmic Christ of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. The Christ who lived in the first century has a pre-existence before time. He also has a post-existence after time. He is Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, A and Z, all at the same time. He stands in the future and at the end of time at the same moment that He indwells every child of God. Failure to embrace these paradoxical truths has created monumental problems and has diminished the greatness of Christ in the eyes of God’s people.”
Inability, rather than failure, to embrace is the issue:
1 Corinthians 2:14-16 MKJV
(14) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
(15) But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged by no one.
(16) For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Truly, Jesus Christ is much more than a “person.”
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among nations, believed on in the world, and received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16 MKJV).
A “person” you can see and live, but no man can see God and live (Exodus 33:20). Jesus Christ is God:
1 Timothy 6:13-16 EMTV
(13) I charge you before God Who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus Who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate,
(14) that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
(15) which He will show in His Own time, He Who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
(16) Who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, Whom no man has seen or is able to see, to Whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
You men are still living, which means you have not seen Christ. You have not seen Him, because you are not crucified with Him. Since you have not seen Him, you have no business teaching others about Him, much less presuming to “restore the supremacy of Jesus Christ” in His Body, of which He is, and always has been, the Head.
“Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?” (1 Corinthians 9:1 MKJV)
Those who follow you are your work, and made in your image, not Christ’s.
6) “It’s possible to confuse ‘the cause’ of Christ with the person of Christ. When the early church said ‘Jesus is Lord,’ they did not mean ‘Jesus is my core value.’ Jesus isn’t a cause; he is a real and living person who can be known, loved, experienced, enthroned and embodied. Focusing on his cause or mission doesn’t equate focusing on or following him. It’s all too possible to serve ‘the god’ of serving Jesus as opposed to serving him out of an enraptured heart that’s been captivated by his irresistible beauty and unfathomable love.”
It is also possible to confuse what you think is Christ and the real Lord Jesus Christ. What you “enthrone” (which the dictionary defines as, “invest with power and authority”) is your version of Christ.
Is Jesus Christ indeed irresistibly beautiful, possessing an “unfathomable love” that you seem to suggest is experienced by the carnal emotional senses? Where does anyone find such a testimony in Scripture of Jesus Christ? Again, you appeal to the flesh and preach the comely, attractive, and seductive “Jesus” that flesh and blood adore and prize – a giant and hero among men. You do not preach the Lord Jesus Christ, Incessant Sovereign of all creation.
He did not come as you describe Him, but as Isaiah described Him. And He did not become the way you describe Him after His resurrection. Ask any who saw Him before and after His ascension. No, men, you do preach “another Jesus.”
As we said earlier, the real Jesus Christ is not enthroned by anybody. He is Lord; all power and authority in Heaven and on earth is His. By enthroning your christ, you are actually enthroning yourselves. You jostle for position with other religious who enthrone themselves through their versions of Christ. Yet, it being all a work of the evil one, for the most part you honor one another’s christ in order to keep whatever power each of you has, rather than being crucified with Christ and losing it all.
“He who finds his life shall lose it. And he who loses his life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39 MKJV).
7) “Jesus Christ was not a social activist nor a moral philosopher. To pitch him that way is to drain his glory and dilute his excellence… Jesus Christ is the embodiment of Justice, Peace, Holiness, Righteousness. He is the sum of all spiritual things, the ‘strange attractor’ of the cosmos. When Jesus becomes an abstraction, faith loses its reproductive power. Jesus did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live.”
Those who teach that Christ was a social activist or moral philosopher have never known Him and have never seen His glory or excellence. This is another man-made “Jesus” and idol, not the Lord or His faith at work. True faith cannot lose its reproductive power. True faith is His faith, the faith of Christ and the power of God.
Your version of faith can lose its power because it is self-willed. Your faith cannot make dead people live, though it can deceive dead people into thinking they are alive. Big difference.
8) “It is possible to confuse an academic knowledge or theology about Jesus with a personal knowledge of the living Christ himself. These two stand as far apart as do the hundred thousand million galaxies. The fullness of Christ can never be accessed through the frontal lobe alone. Christian faith claims to be rational, but also to reach out to touch ultimate mysteries. The cure for a big head is a big heart.”
Your darkness and misunderstanding reveal themselves at every turn. While the carnal “Christian faith” claims to be rational, the true faith of the Son of God never did. How rational was it for the father of our faith to go out from his country and kin, not knowing where he was going? How rational was it for him to offer up his son as a burnt offering to God? How rational is it to forsake family for His sake? How rational is it to fetch a gold coin from a fish’s mouth to pay taxes? How rational is it to give up working for a living to serve the Unseen? How rational are the chosen cross and resurrection from the dead, the focal points and essence of true Christianity?
No, your Christianity is the same old stuff of millennia-old nominal Christian orthodoxy, the counterfeit, under which power and influence all creation has groaned to this day. And you presume to dress and repackage it for yet another run.
Not any more. The Lord is finished winking at men’s imaginations and deceptions. He is done. This is His Day, and the fire tries all men’s works and finds them wanting.
“A big heart” the cure, you say? The heart is the seat of deception:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 MKJV)
The heart, being deceived, leads the head into all kinds of false notions and beliefs. Many a person following his or her “big heart” has been led into destruction, yet thinking to serve and follow God.
What you think is a personal knowledge of the living Christ is a deceived heart uncovering itself:
“A fool has no delight in understanding, but only in uncovering his heart” (Proverbs 18:2 LITV).
“Christians don’t follow a book. Christians follow a person, and this library of divinely inspired books we call ‘The Holy Bible’ best help us follow that person. The Written Word is a map that leads us to The Living Word. Or as Jesus himself put it, ‘All Scripture testifies of me.’ The Bible is not the destination; it’s a compass that points to Christ, heaven’s North Star.”
The Scriptures point to Christ, but the true test is not whether you agree with the Scriptures. The pope agrees that the Scriptures are all about Jesus Christ, yet he is the consummate antiChrist. Agreeing that Christ is the North Star means nothing. The true test is whether you receive Him in the flesh. Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life. And they are the ones witnessing of Me, and you will not come to Me that you might have life” (John 5:39-40 MKJV).
Just because you believe what the Bible says doesn’t mean you will receive Him; that is the Lord’s point. Receiving the Word made flesh is what counts. As for the Bible, devils believe It, too. Didn’t Diotrephes believe the Scriptures and profess to believe in Christ? Yet he refused to receive the Christ in His apostle (3 John).
“Jesus does not leave his disciples with CliffsNotes for a systematic theology. He leaves his disciples with breath and body.”
That is true, so where is the evidence of His breath and body with you? We don’t hear His Voice or see the fruits of faith. We hear words, knowledge, theory, platitudes, human reasoning, and self-promotion, but we do not see Jesus Christ or His faith. That is why you deny His presence:
“The Mystery of Faith proclaims this narrative: ‘Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.’”
For you, Christ is either in the past or in the future, anywhere but in the here and now. You obviously can’t be His Body if you are still waiting for Him to come. For those who have received His Spirit, however, Christ has come. We are His Body, presently. This isn’t theory for us. We have the doctrine of Christ, abiding in Him and receiving Him in His brethren:
“Because many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and the antichrist…. Everyone who transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ, this one has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:7-9 EMTV).
Deceived by your hearts, you speak Scriptural truths that substitute words for Reality, confirming your delusion in the process. You are not of God. You do not confess Christ has come in the flesh; otherwise you would hear His words and repent:
“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the antichrist you heard is coming, and even now is already in the world” (1 John 4:2-3 MKJV).
You can’t tell the difference between those who walk in the Spirit of Christ and those who don’t, except you toss out those who do and welcome in those who don’t. You preach another gospel and another christ, whose trademark is false love:
“The meaning of Christianity does not come from allegiance to complex theological doctrines, but a passionate love for a way of living in the world that revolves around following Jesus, who taught that love is what makes life a success . . . not wealth or health or anything else: but love. And God is love.”
Yes, but He is not the love you have and talk about. Yours is a carnal love, the love of the whore, found everywhere in false religion, masquerading as God’s love. It is a self-righteous, self-serving, bloodless, crossless love. The passion is not for Him to the taking up of the cross, but for preserving the flesh and living in its lusts. Read False Love – Satan’s Last Stronghold.
9) “Jesus Christ cannot be separated from his church. While Jesus is distinct from his Bride, he is not separate from her. She is in fact his very own Body in the earth. God has chosen to vest all of power, authority, and life in the living Christ. And God in Christ is only known fully in and through his church. (As Paul said, ‘The manifold wisdom of God – which is Christ – is known through the ekklesia.’)”
How true! Jesus Christ comes in the flesh! And who are these that comprise His Church, the “called out” ones? Who are these who have His commandments and keep them? Who are these holy people who are hated of all men? Do you presume to be part of His Body because you profess to believe and follow the Bible, as you see It? Read Is Your Profession of Faith Vain, Christian?
It is not those who call themselves the Church, but those who walk in His ways that are His people. Read The True Marks of a Cult.
“The Christian life, therefore, is not an individual pursuit. It’s a corporate journey. Knowing Christ and making him known is not an individual prospect. Those who insist on flying life solo will be brought to earth, with a crash. Thus Christ and his church are intimately joined and connected. What God has joined together, let no person put asunder.”
Those who are independent from the Body will crash, but those in Christ who do not join themselves to, or remain in unequal yoke with, the works of men will become His sons and daughters:
“Therefore come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean thing. And I will receive you and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18 MKJV).
How many times has the false church accused the faithful believer, who has forsaken the assemblies of men, of “flying solo”? That is her constant refrain, desperately trying to maintain her place and power. But she is destined to fall, as given to our beloved brother John to prophesy:
Revelation 18:4-8 MKJV
(4) And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that you may not be partakers of her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues.
(5) For her sins joined together, even up to Heaven, and God has remembered her unjust deeds.
(6) Reward her as she has rewarded you, and double to her double, according to her works. In the cup which she mixed, mix double to her.
(7) As much as she has glorified herself and has lived in luxury, so much torment and sorrow give her. For she says in her heart, I sit as a queen, and I am not a widow; and I do not see mourning at all.
(8) Therefore her plagues will come in one day, death and mourning and famine. And she will be consumed with fire, for the Lord God Who judges her is strong.
Revelation 18:21-24 EMTV
(21) Then a mighty angel picked up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence Babylon the great city shall be cast down, and shall by no means be found anymore.
(22) The sound of harpists, and musicians, and of flutists, and of trumpeters shall by no means be heard in you anymore. And no craftsman of any craft shall by no means be found in you anymore, and the sound of a mill shall by no means be heard in you anymore.
(23) And the light of a lamp shall by no means shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and of a bride shall by no means be heard in you anymore. Your merchants were the magnates of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived.
(24) And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all those who had been slain on the earth.”
When I first began to believe, after God led me to seek after Him and ask, “Who is Jesus Christ?” I was approached by several churches. Since I had spoken to no one who professed Christ until after I began to believe, was I therefore “flying solo”? I certainly was not led to join any group. Which one should I have joined? The Messianics, the evangelicals, the Anglicans, a traveling street ministry that was recruiting through a Catholic movie I was invited to see, or the Mormons, to name several with whom I came into contact?
Thank God I joined none of them. They had their agendas and goals that were not centered on Jesus Christ, their words and works with contrary appearances notwithstanding. I had already come into contact with the true Church, the invisible Body of Christ, as soon as His faith began to operate in my soul:
Hebrews 12:22-29 MKJV
(22) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
(23) to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are written in Heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
(24) and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
Then the Lord sent a man to speak to me in His Name, to lead me out of sin and into His ways.
(25) See that you do not refuse Him Who speaks. For if they did not escape, those who refused him that spoke on earth, much more we shall not escape if we turn away from Him Who speaks from Heaven,
(26) Whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will not only shake the earth, but also the heavens.”
(27) And this word, “Yet once more,” signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, so that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
(28) Therefore, since we are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear,
(29) for also, “Our God is a consuming fire.”
Many are gathering themselves together, but only those gathered in Christ are made members of His Body. Are you being consumed by God? Or are sin and unbelief having their way with you, after you spend yourselves on religious efforts at having and being the righteous Church? Can you tell the difference between true and false, between God’s work and man’s? If not, it is likely because you are victim and perpetrator of the false, the works of men. Read The Church and The Gathering.
10) “If Jesus could rise from the dead, we can at least rise from our bed, get off our couches and pews, and respond to the Lord’s resurrection life within us, joining Jesus in what he’s up to in the world.”
What is this, a righteousness of your own to match His impossible and matchless one? What an audacious statement of unbelief! Do you really think that if you had the Lord’s resurrection life reigning within you, you would be lying there dead to Him and what He is doing? How readily you confess you are not His!
Perhaps you might protest, thinking of Paul rebuking the Corinthians, who, though they had God’s Spirit and life, were walking in the flesh and not in His Spirit. Paul rebuked them and put his finger on the issues that troubled them. The situation here is different on several counts.
1. You are talking to a varied audience, many or most of whom do not have the indwelling Spirit of God and His resurrection life. How can they respond to what they do not have and what you cannot give them?
2. For those who do have Christ’s Spirit within, the way in which they access the resurrection life is through being crucified with Christ, and not by pep talks promoting self-willed works of the flesh.
3. Before a believer (even a Spirit-filled believer) can take up the cross and join Jesus in what He is doing in the world, sin issues must be dealt with, as Paul addressed with the Corinthians (fornication and sectarianism, as two examples). You do not acknowledge or address the specific sins that separate your hearers from Christ.
You presume your audience has life, because you presume to have it yourselves. You can’t lead others into something you don’t have, which you deny they need in the first place! You fool them into thinking they have it and that they can now awaken and realize Christ by following you, when all they are doing is ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the Truth, Jesus Christ, God incarnate.
“We call on others to join us—not in removing ourselves from planet Earth, but to plant our feet more firmly on the Earth while our spirits soar in the heavens of God’s pleasure and purpose. We are not of this world, but we live in this world for the Lord’s rights and interests. We, collectively, as the ekklesia of God, are Christ in and to this world.”
Only those crucified with Christ are raised up into Heaven, serving God’s pleasure and purpose. Only these are really and truly “Christ in and to this world.” If others join you, as you call on them to do by this manifesto, they are not going to the cross, but to a substitute for the cross – a form of godliness that denies the power of God. You appeal to their carnal natures and their presumed virtue in Christ.
You are of this world, Frank and Leonard; that is why you sell your books and speak by your own authority, though you claim to be ministers of Christ, without His authority. You are no different from those you criticize. Indeed, you are worse, because thinking to be better, walking in your own righteousness in a way that is highly contemptible before God.
Frank writes in the letter accompanying the link to the manifesto:
“We trust it has the fingerprints of the Spirit of God on it, as it seeks to magnify the Lord Jesus in a day when He’s gotten short-changed in so many places.”
You trust in vain. If you wish to know where Jesus Christ has been shortchanged, and more than that, defrauded, look in the mirror, which you can now do, because we have just shown you to yourselves.
Our answer to a complaint:
It’s okay with false professors of Christ to spread their darkened and vile opinions about God to whomever they please, but they are offended when He sends someone to answer them. “We’ll do the talking; you can only talk to us if we invite you,” they hiss, flashing the mark of the beast, which is the number of a man.