I wrote a booklet that I really believe the Lord gave to me. I got the whole book practically dropped in my heart word for word on a 20-minute drive to work. When I got there, I sat down and typed the thing out in no more than 3 hours. I just gave it as I got it.
It’s a brief history of the first 300 years of the church from the devil’s perspective. It’s the story of how we went from a church that could boast that even its blue-collar workers and old women, even if they didn’t know how to express their faith, knew how to live it. They knew how to love and to turn the other cheek.
About 180 years after Athenagoras wrote that boast, Christians brawled in a church yard until the "gore" ran into the streets, according to Socrates Scholasticus.
My booklet describes, from the devil’s perspective, how that change happened.
I think it’s really interesting, and you can get it here. It’s for sale for $5 so that other web sites will be willing to help me get it out, but it’s not money I’m after. If it’s a problem to pay $5, just email me and I’ll email it to you.
This post isn’t meant to be about the book, though. It’s about how to undo the devil’s work …
The Devil’s Plan
The book outlines the devil’s very effective plan in 3 steps:
- Persecute hard and fast; drive off the weak and get the strong to be looking around them rather than upwards.
- Bring a boring peace afterward that a "war-torn" church doesn’t know how to handle.
- As soon as the church is complacent, fill it with nominal believers so the strong ones feel like outsiders.
I don’t know what you would think of that plan in advance, but in hind sight? Awesome plan. It was entirely successful, producing a violent and worldly church with leaders that were almost exclusively ambitious, politically-inclined appointees of the emperor.
Undoing the Devil’s Work: Step One
If we’re going to get back to apostolic Christianity, we’re going to have to undo what the devil did.
Primarily, what the devil did was fill the church with complacent, nominal believers who are not disciples of Christ.
How many times have you heard a pastor say, "If I preached that, I’d lose half my church"?
Most of the time that pastor is wrong. If he preached the Gospel Christ preached, complete with "Unless you forsake all you have, you cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33), then he’ll lose more like 95% of his church.
Hmm, no. Based on the experience of a couple pastors I know about, he’d lose half his church, and then the other half would drive him out.
The first step in undoing the devil’s work is for the saints to be together without those that are only church attenders.
That probably isn’t going to happen in a church building. The saints are probably going to have to "come out of her."
Undoing the Devil’s Work: Step Two
The "come out of her" part is happening. George Barna says that 20 million Christians have left institutional churches in the last couple decades. He calls it a revolution.
It’s not a revolution yet.
It’s not a revolution until we get those saints back together.
It’s not enough to pull everyone out of the harlot. No church is not really any better than a fake church.
We’ve got to learn how to be in unity.
And about that, we’re clueless.
I can’t address uniting today’s very misguided saints in one blog post, but let me throw out a couple thoughts that perhaps y’all can run with.
Unity is spiritual. If God provides spiritual unity between you and a brother or sister, you are not allowed to break up that spiritual unity over your stupid Bible interpretations.
Oh, yeah, that’s right. You don’t think your Bible interpretation is stupid. You think that you came up with a spiritual and accurate Bible interpretation in order to produce the evil fruit of division.
Only bad trees produce bad fruit.
Listen, God gave you a foundation to work from. That foundation says that the Lord knows those who are his and that those who name the name of Christ must depart from iniquity.
You’re allowed to divide from adulterers, drunkards, and even greedy people (1 Cor. 5:10-13).
You’re not allowed to divide from people who understand the Trinity or eternal security differently than you.
Doctrine and Division
Those who want to justify their division over doctrines point to verses like Rom. 16:17-18.
However, those who point to those verses do not understand what doctrine Paul taught.
Read what Paul says sound doctrine is in Titus 2.
If people agree with you on those doctrines in Titus 2—things like sobriety, sensibleness, faith, love, kindness, loving your spouse and children—then you’re agreed on doctrine. Every Christian must assent to departing from inquity. Every Christian is called to forsake their own lives.
Did you know the majority of the early church did not believe in the Trinity?
Mind you, they were wrong, but Tertullian excused them as ignorant and uninformed, and then says the ignorant and uninformed will always constitute the majority of the church.
But not the willfully sinful!
You are not supposed even to eat with those that are in unrepentant sin (again, 1 Cor. 5:10-13).
Overthrowing the Devil
Do you want to overthrow the devil?
Join forces with people who believe in following Christ wholeheartedly and who have agreed to depart from iniquity (even if there’s some weakness that you have to help with), and you will find incredible power.
You will find such incredible power that the devil will hurriedly rise up and fight you, too. He’ll apply all the same tactics he applied to the early churches.
Most likely, he’ll win because you’re poorly equipped, you don’t know what you’re getting into, you’re unaware that you don’t have the right to divide, and you trust your interpretation of the Bible more than you trust God to guide you (even though the Bible itself says that’s backward). You also don’t have an apostle to bail you out when you have big problems.
But since there’s no other way to win, you’re going to have to try it.
We’d love to help when you do.