THE REFORMATION CONTINUES
AND MORE CHANGES ARE COMING
The reformation that began with Martin Luther half a millennium ago is by no means complete as can be proved by scripture. Martin Luther initiated the restoration from the age of apostasy known as the Dark Ages. The time period referred to as the Dark Ages was actually the "great falling away" that many prophecy teachers speak about thinking it is yet to occur before Jesus returns - citing 2 Thessalonians 2:3:
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed....".
This prophetic word from Paul was speaking of the future from his time. The Dark Ages began approximately 500 years later. It is not uncommon for prophetic words to cover great spans of time covering several events that we tend to tie together when in reality there may be significant periods of time between each event prophesied. So it is with this message in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12.
Proof that more change is coming to church is found in Ephesians 5:27 which speaks about the church as it is to be at the time of Christ's coming for it.
Ephesians 5:27 - "That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
What is the church to be like before He returns for it? A "glorious" church - filled with his dignity which is His character and nature, (refer to the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23). Is this the way the church is seen today? Obviously not, and this has to be changed! Being without "spot" refers to stains, defects and disgracing blemishes. Is this the way the church is seen today? Obviously not, and this has to be changed! Without "wrinkle or any such thing". These are detractions that refer to facial appearance implying the ravages of age, as opposed to beauty and grace. Being plagued with signs of age speaks of human frailties contained within along with age-old traditions, beliefs and practices that do not belong. The church is to be free of such age-old problems and the doctrines of man and demons. Is this the way the church is seen today? Obviously not, and this has to be changed! It is to be "Holy" - sacred, pure, blameless, separated from the world and unto Christ. Is this the way the church is seen today? Obviously not, and this has to be changed! The church must be "without blemish" - faultless, absolutely no imperfections in its outward appearance or within its inner being. Is this the way the church is seen today? Obviously not, and this has to be changed!
Is the church of this present day ready to be presented to Christ as it is described in Ephesians 5:27? Obviously not, and this has to be changed! Since we are not there yet, the Reformation must continue as there is much more preparation needed to get the church ready for His coming - as a bride prepared for her wedding.
Pertinent questions need to asked, such as: 1) How do we get there? 2) What is needed? 3) What will it take? 4) Who will bring these changes to the church? 5) Will all or part of the church accept or reject these changes?
Critical issues need to be addressed, such as: 1) That which does not belong in the church must be eliminated. Such things need to be recognized, confessed as wrong and repented of. The spots, wrinkles, blemishes and the like are false doctrines, beliefs and dogmas; practices, traditions and rituals having their root in godless ancient paganism; and the organization and structure is that "of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate" (Revelation 2:15). 2) That which is holy, pure, obedient to Christ the Head and glorious must be restored to the church as its true identity so it can be easily recognized.
The objective is to continue the Reformation; restoring the church to the glory it had in its beginning. Much of what the current institutionalized church is now is the result of what has been incorporated into it over the centuries since 300 A.D. by the Roman Catholic Church. Its additions of doctrines, practices, dogmas, rituals and traditions mostly have their roots in ancient Babylon.
Revelation 18:4 - "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her (Babylon), my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
Note that Revelation 17 and 18 refers to Babylon which is a clear reference to the Church of Rome and how it has effected the entire world, its rulers and has dominated and influenced the church. The word Babylon comes from the root word that means "confusion". The Church of Rome brought much confusion into the church regarding doctrine, holy days (holidays), times of celebrated events, rituals and practices. The Reformation of Martin Luther only began the process of getting the church restored and bringing it out of the darkness. Much more of Rome (Babylon) and its confusion remains in the protestant and evangelical churches that must be purged. (The protestant church denominations are considered as daughters of the Harlot - Babylon's offspring.) Thus the Reformation must continue!
Back to the five questions posed earlier: 1) How do we get there? First and foremost it will require new God ordained and appointed leadership that operates on an entirely different level as that of the current church leadership. Theirs will be more of a function than a position. They will not be answerable and accountable to man-made organizations or boards, but directly to the head of the church - Jesus the Christ.
2) What is needed? Major change, also known as REPENTANCE; deep, soul-searching sorrow for the errors practiced and believed and a total turning away from them - a total change. Forsaking the past and embracing the truth and purity of the Word and Spirit to follow only the Lord's leading. Yet every church in the current system believes that they are already doing this. Obviously they are not because of many differences among them - they can't all be right and yet differ on so many points.
3) What will take? People having a true heart for God and what He wants rather than holding on to stale, perverted and erroneous doctrines, traditions, practices and observances. (This will not come easily as people are secure and comfortable in their traditions). To take away their traditions is to threaten their comfort and security. For this they will fight savagely. It’s like how Paul zealously fought against the new Christians until Jesus revealed the truth to him.
4) Who will bring this about? The restored Five-fold ministry that Christ gave to the church after he ascended to the Father:
Ephesians 4:10 to 13 - "He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying (building) of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect (complete furnishing of) man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."
When these God ordained, (as opposed to man ordained), servants of Christ come on the scene, at his direction and in his timing, they will speak the truth with such power and authority that it will be as Jesus speaking. They will be resisted just as Jesus was, but woe to those who resist and reject their message and leadership.
The Lord revealed to this writer in 1972 that he planned to restore the full five gift ministries and they were to complete the mission of restoring the church and preparing it for His return. I have taught this in several places since and the message has been largely rejected. In other places it has been accepted and I found others teaching it also. I even found places where churches were trying to implement the use of the full five-fold ministry but it never seemed to work. I too was involved for a brief time with such an effort but it too failed.
After many years being frustrated by knowing the truth, yet not able to see it realized, I cried out to the Lord in the mid - 1990's and told him, "It isn't working. What's wrong?" To which He replied, "It is to be! The saints will not be perfected without the five-fold ministry in full operation," (referring to Ephesians 4:12). He then put in my spirit to be patient as He is preparing many for this five-fold ministry but they aren't ready and the time is not yet. So I put the whole concept on the self in anticipation of the days ahead. In the meantime, myself and many others, continue to be prepared for this coming forth of these five gift ministries. Their preparation is in the Word, in prayer, in trials and tribulation, in patience, in having the Fruit of the Spirit being formed within. They are going through a time of perfecting so they will be qualified to lead the saints into perfection and the work of the ministry.
The Lord also brought to my remembrance His word to me in 1975 after I inquired of Him about an unusual experience I had when preaching a message on becoming sinless. He told me there is coming a time in the future that He will empower me, and others, to speak His word; then He will empower that word spoken. This is how the new, God ordained and appointed, leadership of the five gift ministries will operate.
5) Will the institutionalized church as it now exists accept these changes or oppose them? The answer is obvious when simply considering human nature. The leadership in the institutionalized churches will feel threatened and thus will oppose the changes. This would not happen it they sincerely were seeking the Lord for His guidance and His truth. Unfortunately they will be more concerned for holding onto their positions and control. If there are those who honestly seek the Lord, they will reluctantly embrace the change and then seek to find their place within the new order – if the Lord has a place for them to fit in.
On September 29, 2004 while praying about implementation of the five gift ministries to the church, The Spirit of the Lord spoke to my spirit giving me a revelation. He showed me that the five gift ministries of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher CAN NOT operate within the current institutionalized church structure. They will operate outside the current accepted institutionalized church structure as a new order of the system called "church". (He then led me to understand that the current institutionalized church structure will be seen as "The Old Order" of church.)
The implementation of the five gift ministries will usher in this new order of church eliminating reliance on the old order with its Roman-Babylonian heritage. It will be similar to the Reformation began by Martin Luther. He wanted to bring truth and change into the established system, but it was rejected; so he started a fresh new one that became the Protestant Church. This new system of church still contained many of the vestiges of the Roman-Babylonian church with which we must deal with today before the Lord's return.
Just as with the Roman Church and the Reformation, so it will be in this next great move of God. The new order will begin and grow, but the old order will continue on but will be strictly a man maintained institution and it will be the main source of resistance and persecution of the new order. This also resembles the change that occurred when Jesus brought forth the New Covenant in the midst of the influence of the Old Covenant priests, scribes and Pharisees. The old order will not accept the change of the new even though it is from God.
This behavior of the old order is the nature of man and it shows that it is man's nature and character that permeate the current institutionalized structure of the church. The new order will reflect the character and nature of the one building it - Christ. Remember, Jesus said, "I will build my church". There are two churches in the world today; the one man has been building and the one Jesus is building; and His is about to get a whole new look, very much separate from the old order.
The new order will be fresh start and will take some believers out of the old liberating them from doctrinal bondages of tradition imposed by the old: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free". The new order is not to duplicate the old and try to set up the same type of institutionalized structure; the ways of the old have to be completely done away with in the new one. This is why attempts to set up the five fold ministry in recent years did not work; they were trying to set up the same as within the old order.
All this means that the Lord, the one who is building His church, must be the one and only who is directing every step of the process. This requires the true gift ministries to hear directly from and be led directly by Him.
Some ministers in recent years have placed upon themselves the title of apostle or prophet, etc. and have assumed to take on positions of authority, but they are false, not called and appointed of God. Some may have been called of God but have assumed too much and tried to move out in that work but without God's commission which will occur at an appointed time. There is a difference between the calling and the commissioning as is illustrated by David being called and even anointed as King of Israel years before he took the throne.
The new order will be pure in doctrine and form. The five gift ministries are paramount in leading the way, but they are not a hierarchy of rulers as man tends to set up, and is prevalent in the old order. It is likely that they will circulate among an area or region of local assemblies to monitor and minister. There likely will not be a one-man pastor as head of each local church; rather an eldership will constitute the leadership of the local assembly. The eldership will not constitute a professional "clergy" because all believers are to be ministers. There will be no more division of believers into two groups or classes of people - clergy and laity. No more emphasis on buildings or property to be built and paid for which consumes enormous amounts of money that God directed be used to help the poor and needy or send out his servants to spread the true gospel and begin new assemblies.
Have you ever noticed that to the average person the word "church" means that building with the steeple or a particular denominational institution or where a certain man is the pastor and preaches. In the new order, church will assume its true meaning - a particular group of people assembled together; where ever they assemble; and no reference to a building. People will meet house to house and may hold joint meetings with other assemblies at public arenas, stadiums, parks, etc.
Money collected will go to the widows, the fatherless, those in need within the assembly or for the care of those in other assemblies. It will also provide the expenses of those ministries that travel; it will not be a salary which tends to promote the system of the "professional clergy". The apostle Paul supported himself as he did his ministry and so it will be that the five gift ministries will have other sources of income to provide for them, be it by trade, occupation, inheritance, retirement pension or other means.
There will not be a reliance on Bible Colleges or Seminaries to promote a denominational creed or set of doctrines. There were no such things in the early church and they did marvelous works of spreading the gospel. No longer will there be a need for credentials of man to certify a person as eligible to minister. All will be perfected (completely furnished) for the work of the ministry within their local assembly by the elders and five gift (often traveling) ministries. Practical teaching and discipleship will reproduce Christ in the believers.
Some others who have received the same revelation from the Lord refer to this new order as "the street church" or the "church without walls". There will be no church charter or Articles of Incorporation (which makes the church a franchise of the state, making the state the head of the church); no membership rolls, and no entanglement with the government as in needing a 501C3 tax status.
Leadership of the new order of the church will be likened to the human skeletal structure which is totally contained within the body, inside and unseen; being supportive of the body. It will be the body of believers, the people, that will seen as the church. The old order of leadership is more like that of a crustacean whose skeletal structure is external. It is the leadership that is seen as the church and not the body which is completely contained, restrained and confined within by the skeletal structure and prevents the growth and development of the body. If that body begins to grow it forces the external structure to fracture and split apart as the body grows. Then it forms a new external skeletal structure again to contain the body. So when a person refers to going to church of the old order we immediately think of a building or a pastor, never the people.
Those called to be the gifted ministries of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher have been in preparation for many years - mostly in the wilderness, or at least hidden from the masses. They have been generally prohibited from operating within the old order to keep them from getting entrenched in it or absorbed by it. That would require them to conform to that which they have been called to change. The compromise would render them useless to God for introducing and building the new order.
These called ones may have received their calling decades ago but have been prevented by the Lord from being an integral part of the current institutionalized church structure. When they have tried to become a part it only created problems for them and the churches they tried to function in. And they would never really be allowed to function in the gifting that God has called them to because it would threaten the established leadership of the old order. Many have tried and did indeed compromise their gift and calling just to be a part of it, not realizing it's a matter of God's timing. Many in the ministry of the old order are trying to do God's work, but they are doing it man's way - not His way. The result is the Laodicean type church, (see Revelation 3:14-20).
These called and gifted ones are basically outsiders who are no longer comfortable in any current institutionalized church structure. Yet they feel the need to be a part of something and still have a yearning to minister the word in the truth that God has been showing them for years. They are like vessels of God who have been placed on the shelf in a closet, reserved for that special day He has ordained. He has them tucked away in seclusion while He is working His character and nature into their lives - the Fruit of the Spirit, by which His true ministers are to be recognized - (see Matthew 7:15-16 & 20).
These called and gifted ones have a jealousy for God and His Word and will protect its integrity with His authority. They will be empowered of God to do their work. They will point out what needs to be removed from the church and its people - doctrines, practices, traditions, rituals and observances. They will lead believers into true and pure worship, into truth, into a really holy (separated) life and purpose; they will bring forth Kingdom principles of living without selfish motives. They will give a fresh and wonderful vision of the Lord and what he has planned and prepared for His church.
These gift ministers will be hated by the old order for what they speak and what they lead the church into. It will be just as it was with Jesus and the Jews; as with Martin Luther and the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, Martin Luther was a product of the Roman Church, but God was able to reach him and lead him out. Luther most likely tried to bring about the needed changes within the church but was probably frustrated by its rejection. So he took his effort outside the church, nailing his thesis to the outside door of the church for all on the outside to see. It appears that all new moves of God have to be initiated outside the old order before they are able to take root. So it will be with this next move that will take the church onto glory in righteousness, peace and joy with much tribulation - (see 2 Timothy 3:12); but that will be nothing compared to the joy and hope that will reside within each obedient saint.
What is interesting to note is that it will be some of those who were in the old order that actually give birth to the new. The gift ministries come out from within the old order just as Martin Luther came out from the old to start the new. God has indeed used the current institutionalized system of church to evangelize, to send out missionaries, etc. We would not be where we are now if it were not for the current system. However, the time is approaching that it will be the new order that takes the church onward to its intended place in Christ, making it ready for his return. The old is not doing it any more since it seems to be more caught up in self promotion, entertainment, programs, financial extravagances and in some cases, mere survival. Get ready for the new move and CHANGE!
2 Timothy 2:19 to 21 - "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also if wood and earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work".