You Left the IC, but has the IC Left YOU?

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This Article was written by “set free from the i.c.”

Deleting this blog out of existence was certainly on my mind concerning recent events in my life. Why do you ask?  Mainly because I have became flabbergasted recently concerning the behavior of some of those who have claimed to have left the Institutional Church(IC), YET are exhibiting the same ways, practices, and tactics, of those they negatively speak of. They left the IC but the IC hasn’t LEFT THEM. We do the same things we accuse those in the institution are doing. I have personally forgotten my first love, and for that I am in deep sorrow.

Hurt People, Hurt People: Have We Become What We Once Despised?

Many of us who have left false churches which have controlling tactics and ways know how it feels to experience “church hurt.” (I term I HATE but seems appropriate for this blog) We know how it feels to have people who claimed to love you use controlling tactics, authoritarianism, false doctrines and scripture twisting, shaming, suppression of differing opinions, etc. resort to creating cliques, sowing discord, and exhibiting the most ungodly behavior of which they refuse to be corrected for against you. We saw it, and God told us to come out from among them and be separate.

I find that many who have left IC’s are doing the same things. They have formed cliques, they indiscriminately shut out the voices of those who disagree with them, and engage in gossip, slander, character assassination, and many other tactics of which many apostate churches have done in order to shut out the voices who speak truth against the current behaviors, doctrines, and practices they engage in.

I find this phrase to be so true in this case… Hurt people HURT PEOPLE. Saints I implore you to please examine yourself to see if you are in the faith on this matter, (2 cor 13:5) because many of us have become what we have despised in the institution.

When I talk about the Institutional Church, many people assume that I speak of every organized church in existence. I assure you I am not speaking of everyone, or do I think every organized fellowship fits the categories of which I speak of in this blog. The institution is a mindset and a structure of ungodly control and hierarchy of which God has not established.

So when I speak of those coming out of many institutions, you have to realize that people make the institution run, and it is their mindsets, attitudes, and personalities make it work many times pushed forward by selfish ambition and the desire to have the preeminence. Unless we as saints allow God to renew our minds from what we learned from those places, and crucify the flesh daily, we will continue to exhibit the same characteristics and bring those tendencies into any fellowship we choose to be part.

The Matter is the Heart – The Building is NOT the Issue

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV84)
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Matthew 15:19-20 (NIV84)
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’

A very wise woman once said to me that the building and all that goes on there isn’t necessarily the problem in and of itself,  it is the HEART OF MAN, AND THE SINFUL NATURE which breeds and continues to support the IC structure and mentality. The heart and all of it’s evil ways must be dealt with, and for believers this is part of crucifying the sinful nature and all of the evil which comes with it.

Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV84)
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

It all made perfect biblical sense. The BUILDING WAS NOT THE ISSUE, the ISSUES are the false doctrines, teachings, practices, which originate from the sinful nature and are expressed in the heart. These things manifest themselves in the way many IC’s are established and run. So you have people who have escaped the ranks of many apostate churches around the world, but where do you point them to, or in this case WHO do you point them to? Looking at my experiences over the years,  it is a vain and unprofitable endeavor to tell people to escape the false institutions and not lead them to CHRIST who is the LIVING GOD and the express glory of the Father. Our focus should never be to just to blindly attack institutions and the members therein… it defeats the purpose if Christ is not the one we will point those scattered believers to.

Church Hurt + Unforgiveness = Roots of Bitterness

Hebrews 12:14-15 (NKJV)
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

I find that many who have left IC’s carry with them a lot of hurt and pain, and rightfully so in many instances. It may be emotional, as well as some physical wounds for many. These people need to be ministered to, cared for, and counseled so that their relationships with the Lord Jesus can remain strengthened and not be affected by the actions of those in their former IC. This is an IMPORTANT STEP, and for pastors out there please be sensitive to this. I wrote a blog entitled “Dealing with Residual Anger” which deals with some aspects of this. If you are Christian who is reading this, please reach out to these wounded brothers and sisters who either remain, or have come out of those fellowships in love to see the truth.

Church hurt may have been very real, but because many have not forgiven those who have hurt them, they have allowed a root of bitterness to spring up in their hearts, leaving them ANGRY, vengeful, and filled with malice and contempt for anything they know as the IC… even those who are LEGITIMATELY BROTHERS AND SISTERS who are still members. Saints who may be reading this, please forgive them! Many of them do not know what they are doing.

As for me I REFUSE to leave a matter unsettled and hold some aught against my bro/sis.  That is a weight I cannot bear. PLUS I want my Father to forgive me.

Matthew 6:15
But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Where is the Love? Do Not Become a Pharisee

Matthew 24:9-13 (NIV84)
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Please do not allow your love for your brothers and sisters to grow cold. Stand firm till the end! How could anyone ever consider anything we say if we do not love them, we will be like sounding brass and tinkling cymbal. Without love we are NOTHING. For we should be determined not to know any thing among us, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. Let us make sure that in all of our contending and defending the faith that we not forget LOVE the weightiest matter of the Law. If we lose that, all we do is in vain. Choose the most excellent way.

If we lack love, care and wisdom in how to deal with our brothers and sisters in Christ and everyone else for that matter, it will show up in our prideful spirits, arrogance, and in our ability to never find fault in ourselves. We become overly critical fault finders… many of us know our doctrine, but just like the Pharisees, we forgot the weightiest matter of the law. God hates pride, arrogance, and those who sow discord among brethren, and we must be careful to guard ourselves from selfish ambition and watch our conduct and motives.

A love that builds up our brothers and sisters is not only a witness to encourage them, it also gives God glory, for it pleases him. Love never fails, but knowledge will eventually pass away. So if Jesus considered loving the Lord, and loving our neighbor to be the greatest of the commands for us as Christians, why is it we are missing the mark?

These evil last days have even this blog writer in despair, even as I type this I feel myself getting more numb and my heart getting harder, I don’t know if I have it in me to do anything further.  I’m experiencing a “new” kind of church hurt, which didn’t take place in any institution. I am a wounded soldier seeking healing right now… and it hurts more that our brothers and sisters in the Lord cannot even display Godly love toward one another. It hurts even more that I am guilty of the same.It is discouraging, and has has left me in a state of hopelessness, but as I hear the Spirit minister to me: “You are not like those who have no hope.”

I covet your prayers.

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8 thoughts on “You Left the IC, but has the IC Left YOU?

  1. No problem brother, I agree 100% and have felt exactly the same way. I wish those on opposing sides would be willing to come to the table and have a (healthy) debate over our differences instead of biting and devouring each other. As for me, I’m done wrangling with people! If we can’t act like adults, there is no conversation taking place. God bless!

  2. Thanks Brother Don, I have to say I miss you, I understand completely your desire, that is a desire of a true pastor. Real transformation is God’s desire for all of us. I have found, (or I feel) that I have never had a choice in the matter…The Lord just keeps taking me to the wood shed if you know what I mean…But it is for my good, my life is not my own, it was purchased by Christ blood and I have no right to it. Stay strong and never give up, and never give in!

    Peace to you
    Mike.

  3. Thanks Alan, I take courage (as Paul said) the suffering we experience now cannot compare with the glory we will share in Christ’s Kingdom. I’m sorry you lost your wife, I can relate, and I can relate to 30 years of life turning to ashes! I was in ministry when God decided to close us down, I didn’t understand at first and felt exactly as though all my dreams where shattered and all turned to ash. Now I can see He was sparing my wife and I and calling us out of the Institutional Church for a reason. I have experience must hostility, rejection, and accusations since then but still I stand by His Grace. You are right, there is no other place to go but to the throne of Grace as Jesus has the words of eternal life. One day you and I will look back on this time, look at one another and be glad we stood for the Lord and His Word! God bless you brother for your encouragement and kind words.

    Peace to you,
    Mike.

  4. Hi Mike, I feel your pain, I struggle daily with the issues you refer to, especially as I watch my younger daughter drawn towards the ‘Bethel experience’. I was awake all night the night before your post, with exactly those thoughts you describe churning through my mind. I believe it’s not wrong to be righteously angry, but VERY hard to be gracious at the same time. I find the only thing I can do is take it to the Lord (sorry, I hate cliches, but it’s the only thing that fits). I find myself identifying very much with David, Jeremiah, & others in the Word that wished their reality was otherwise. I think of Ezelkiel, whose wife God took from him & marvel that god told him not to mourn. What a terrible strain that must have been! Yet somehow God gave him the grace to obey, so I trust that He will do the same for us. Be encouraged my brother, although it may seem as though you’re alone (trust me, I know the feeling), there are many who cling to the truth & He will wipe away our tears on that day. All our sorrows will be turned to laughter & these things will be no more. As Peter said; Lord, where else can we go? You have the words of eternal life. I have lost my wife (because of the ‘God forgives everything’ mindset that she feels gives her permission to leave in spite of no adultery or abuse on my part) & I have watched the past 30 years of my life turned to ashes, all because of false teaching. It’s unbearbly hard not to want to lash out at those responsible, but I find my only real comfort comes in knowing that the Lord is my ONLY refuge & strength. I have come to the point that Job did & can honestly say even if He slays me I will trust Him. There really isn’t any other option. I know this can just seem like empty words, but God’s Word says His grace is sufficient for us & I will hang in to that with everything I have. I pray the Lord will comfort you as you continue to be obedient to Him.

    Shalom,
    Al.

  5. Michael my brother. Thank you for the heartfelt words and the vulnerability. In so many ways I join you in the sense of hopelessness. The things I long most to see I cannot bring to pass. Real transformation and freedom in the lives of people. Men who refuse to compromise their integrity. Young people and old who are hungry for the Word of God! I long to see these things. I rest on the promise of Jesus Christ to build His Church. He will finish what he has begun.
    I love you brother. I am here for you.
    Peace to you and Pat in the name of Jesus.
    Donb

  6. Amen Alex, I live for the return of our Lord, today would not be to soon however I know more needs to come before that great and glorious day. What a reunion it will be when He calls our names and we are with Him in the clouds of the sky waving the world goodby.

  7. Brother, You have fought the good fight of faith and sounded the the alarm to many! I believe the time is now to look up our redemption draws nigh! Isaiah 50, 51, 52 is my prayer everyday untill he comes. Your are in my prayers. http://www.tribulation-now.org

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