Goodness! This thread has exploded. Well, I don't have the time to address everything that may have been said in this thread, but I 'm going to focus solely on our exchange for the moment.

Originally Posted by carlos123
Just curious CovenantInBlood...if you care to share, I am wondering what I said that might lead you to believe that I have an independent spirit? I am not asking from the standpoint of defending myself. Who knows. Maybe the Lord wants to point out something in me that needs attention but I am going to have a hard time seeing it as clearly as you seem to see it. Maybe the Lord can use you to help me in that regard.

Well, the first clue is that you describe hearing the word of God preached from the pulpit as watching "one man exercising his gifting in front of hundreds of the rest of us who must sit mute as spectators." The second is that you claim not to "fit into the square hole that organized Churches would have [you] fit into." These speak to a spirit that is unwilling to be humble in submission to his Christian brethren, i.e., an "independent spirit." Now, I do allow that there may be legitimate reasons for your inability to "fit in," as I have encountered a number of problematic churches in my short time. But the problem is not being "organized."

Now, perhaps all of the churches in your area are promoting a false gospel, in which case you would have reason not to be joined to them. you are being a bit, how shall I put it, fascitious I think. Of course not all the churches are promoting a false Gospel CovenantInBlood. That would be quite ridiculous and altogether arrogant if I or anyone else thought such a thing.

Though in truth such a thing might be more common that we might realize in that many churches today teach that one can accept Jesus "into their heart" without submitting to Him as Lord (a most unblical Gospel if I ever heard one).

But that is not the reason I don't attend Sunday churches.

I wasn't being facetious, although I would doubt there are no gospel-preaching churches in your area. However, it is entirely possible, especially in these times.

We see in Scripture that these are done in the context of local assemblies (Greek ecclesia, translated "church," means "assembly"), in which godly men have been called as elders/overseers & deacons.

I believe I might differ with you just a tad CovenantInBlood in that it is my understanding that the Church or ecclesia is not so much an assembly (as in a building or something associated with a building) as it is a group of called out one's. Called out from the world to proclaim the excellencies of Him who calls us.

Nowhere in the entire New Testament is Church associated with a building. It is true that New Testament Christians met at first in a building, the Temple in Jerusalem but that was incidental and simply a convenience to their being Christians (not to mention that it was the most convenient and natural place to meet given their Jewish background).

It would be more in line with what they did in the New Testament to say that Church was a field or even a home than a specific Church building (if we were to superimpose our understanding of Church as a building today on the New Testament Christians such that we would start looking for a place to associate with Church as opposed to being the Church wherever we might be).

The Church ("capital C") is the assembly (ecclesia) of the elect ("called out ones"). But its visible manifestation is in local assemblies of believers (the ecclesia of God at Corinth, the ecclesia of the Thessalonians, etc.). I quite agree that this doesn't have to do with a church building per se - a building dedicated to the purpose of being a gathering place for the local assembly is an appropriate convenience, when it can be afforded, but it is not a necessity & has nothing to do with what the church is. Nevertheless, the local assembly is essential to the character of the church as it conducts its mission on earth.

I was just discussing this with a good friend of mine just a couple of days ago. He too does not attend a regular Sunday Church (there are a lot of us by the way and many more opting out of organized representations of Church these days...dare I say it might even be a move of God?). But both of us are absolutely committed to having Jesus be Lord of our lives and we are both surrendered to whatever He might want to do with our lives.

In 1 Cor 14:26 is an interesting description of what Church was supposed to be like in Corinth and what I believe it should be like, overall, today. My quote is from the New American Standard Bible...

What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation Let all things be done for edification.

Interesting set of verses those. Now why are we not allowing the Holy Spirit to lead our get togethers as a Church today. Do you know of any Church where God through His Spirit is given control of an assembled gathering like that? I sure don't. And I've either been involved or have attended a great many Church assemblies in my lifetime as a Christian.

I've only ever seen one such practice of Church. And that was not in an established and organized Church assembly. Rather it was among a group of Christians who the Lord knit together in an apartment building that we all lived in at the time. Some of us did not attend Sunday churches, some did, but we all met as equals in the eyes of our common Father and we allowed Him to lead us.

It was the most wonderful fellowship I ever experienced in my life and the most wonderful and true manifestations of God happened in that small Body that I think I have ever experienced.

I have been in Assemblies of God churches that take these verses largely as you do. There are a couple of important points to observe. First, this is still in the context of a local assembly ("When you assemble"). Second, Paul's instructions in this section conclude with the remark, "But all things must be done properly & in an orderly manner." Paul is not condoning spontaneous outbursts; indeed, such confusion as the Corinthians created in their local assemblies by their spontaneous outbursts was not authored by God (v. 33). Third, the apostolic age has long ago ended, & with it the extraordinary gifts & offices of that era which were necessary for laying the foundation of the church as it proceeded forward. There are no longer apostles or prophets, & revelation has ceased with the closing of the canon of Scripture. You can read more about that in our "Charismatic Movement Index."

The other grievances you mention are connected largely to these points that I have already pointed out, so I'm going to leave off here for now.


I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.