Thursday, April 2, 2009


So, in part 1, I talked about 2 fellows with whom I had some rather unpleasant dealings over the local church post. This internet world does seem to have a lot of appeal to folks who don't play well with others.

The anonymity offered gives some folks a great deal of "courage" I guess. Even professing Christians feel "free" to be as nasty as all get-out because they can get by with it, because they are out of arm's reach, safe from that punch in the nose some of them deserve.

On Facebook, another place I have reduced my activity recently because it seems so non-productive in terms of serious ministry, I have met some good folks and a few real "cases" A Facebook friend has been trying to deal with a commenter who very quickly reduces all those with opposing views to the "stupid" and "heretic" class. This guy is apparently a hyper-calvinist who gives credence to all the old stereotypes of calvinists being arrogant, condescending, cerebral and heartless.

At the same time, I have a handful of friends there who are independent Baptists, a group I was once part of and whom I now consider generally to have a theology which is "mile wide, inch deep" and dominated by decisional-regeneration, unBiblical "evangelism" These folks, however, are not like that, and it's a real revelation to me, and a great blessing. Several of them adhere to the doctrines of Grace as strongly as I do, eschew circus-evangelism, and are serious students of the Word. It's a good lesson to me--avoid generalities, avoid stereotyping!

I even have a "friend" there who is a minister in the United Methodist denomination. Now, I assume without asking that he and I have a different view of soteriology. There might be calvinist Methodists in Wales but I don't know of any in Louisiana! At the same time, I see what a heart this brother has for the lost, for the down and out, for the "dregs" of this culture who are rejected by the "church" because they are "not our type" He speaks my language and I thank God for him and his ministry.

So, maybe I'm goin' librul in my old age, huh?


Since I haven't posted anything for a month, I have all kinds of things on my mind--very dangerous. Thinking about the "firestorm" I referred to in the Local Church posts, I must say one "meets" all kinds of folks on the internet, even when treading "Christian" territory.

The fellow whose blog post I criticized was one of those internet "friends" so-called. He responded with an email in which he called me 9 kinds of a hypocrite and a bald-faced liar. Jaded as I am, I was seriously taken aback. His main basis for that was that I myself had stated some criticisms of local churches--my own, matter of fact--and therefore ought to be sympathetic to his view which involves discarding the local church and playing at it in one's own house. The essential difference, which apparently zoomed right over his head, is that though I have differences on a couple of issues with the practice (not the doctrine) of my local church, I have not abandoned it. I am active, I teach, I attend, I support the ministries. When I start hiding out here in the woods and pretending that my wife and I constitute a Biblical church, then someone needs to jerk my chain.

Another response to that post was from an anonymous one-trick pony whose hobby horse is the "universal church" versus the "local church" He has determined that the local church is apostate and thus not relevant. Apparently this apostasy relieves all believers from participation in local assemblies, negates all Biblical commandments, etc. Now I'm a believer in what is termed by many the "universal church" I define that as the Body of Christ which is made up of all born-again believers from all time. Local churches have regenerate members (most do, anyway) and unregenerate members. We men cannot accurately separate one from the other. That congregation meeting in the brick building down on Main Street is not the Body of Christ....though, hopefully, some folks there are part of the Body.

And, local congregations in this day and time are a pretty sorry lot. It's tough to find one preaching and teaching pure doctrine and practicing Biblical activities. They are diminished and weakened by the high percentage of unregenerate members. Despite this, God's commandment to participate in local assemblies is not repealed. There is no excuse for any believer to abandon the concept of local churches.


The post below on this subject was originally written and posted a month ago. It created a small firestorm in my tiny corner of the blogosphere in a short time. Because I was facing a month of more demanding activity, trips to out of town doctors and hospitals, etc, I took it down so I wouldn't have to deal with the fires or the pyromaniacs.

Now, I have a month of less intense times, hopefully, and I have re-posted it, with minor editing.

To further my point about Paul Washer's view of the local church, what follows is a quote from Heart Cry Magazine #56: a statement of the missionary society's view, their home church's view of the local church:

THE LOCAL CONGREGATION: We believe that meaningful and enduring fellowship in a local congregation is absolutely essential to the Christian's life and ministry. Media ministries can never take the place of the local church and its ministers. We are commanded not only to congregate, but to do so for the purpose of encouraging one another and stimulating one another to love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
EVERY MEMBER MINISTRY: Every Christian in the local congregation without exception has been given spiritual gifts which they are commanded to employ for the edification of the entire congregation. The administration of such gifts by every member is necessary for the proper growth and ministry of the church.

Anyone who seeks to justify his self-removal from a local congregation, his withdrawal into a phony "home church" by misapplying anything Paul Washer said is on slippery ground.

There is a Biblical approach which guides some "house churches" but too many of them are simply disgruntled professing Christians whose pride keeps them from obedience to the Word and leads them into this sorry substitute which is no church at all.