The Independent Ministries of Jesus the Christ and John the Baptist

An article from SVM Winter Spring 2017

Jim Patterson

Managing Editor

This article is about encouraging the continued and growing practice of independent ministries throughout the Church of God and exposing the error of the corporate church model. This we will do by examining the independent ministries of Jesus Christ and John the Baptist.  It is an interesting investigation to look at what they did not do to avoid compromising   their    ministries, and what lessons we should learn and apply to our own present day experience.

In our examination we will find that independent ministries by their nature are best structured to cultivate the kind of ministry model Jesus Christ practiced and advocated through His apostles. This article would not have been even necessary if it were not for the secularization, and institutional behavior of corporate churches. Jesus Christ came to show us the way, and the corporate way is not what He had in mind.

We need to learn our lessons.  Despite evident failures with the corporate model that have occurred and continue to occur, the solutions have been continued repackaging and rebranding with more centralization. We need to look to scripture for the reasons behind failure and what we should learn through them. Failures do not necessarily mean complete dissolution, but repeated false starts, large break-offs, lawsuits, leadership corruption, apostasy, defamation of ex-members, permanent member disaffection and more.

Of course, those who advocate the corporate church model would blame these issues and problems on disloyal members, false brethren and those who did not get their vision of growth. When a system is flawed, it is hard for those benefiting by it to admit its error. That is, those who benefit the most out of a system will always favor and defend such a system. Regardless of our personal leanings, we suggest those who oppose what we present here due to their current loyalties and dependencies may at least be sober enough to see the realities that His revealed word gives us. We all need to work out our own salvation with Jesus Christ as the Author of it, and we want to do this by taking advantage of as many opportunities as we can when reality checks are presented to us. I suggest at the very least those who advocate corporate church structure consider what we have to say here, as even the most despised among us independent ministers can have something meaningful to offer.

First Some Definitions

We have already started using some of these following terms but now we are going to define them in terms of what will be expressed in this article. The term “Independent” is perhaps a faulty word that is currently being used to classify churches and ministries that are not operating under a larger corporate structure. In fact, a negative connotation has been applied to the word independent as it relates to ministries, some having called them out as “selfish” with accusations that independents are those who cannot work with others in a structured environment with a proper mutual submission to their peers. It is commonly assumed that corporate churches can more effectively spread the gospel as a collective work of people, but we will also dispel this assumption later. These biased views of independent ministries are not new and go back centuries, as we will also expose in this article.

Therefore, for the purpose of this article we will submit to the inferior term “independent”, but with the soft caveat that an independent ministry is not independent of anything except human hierarchies and rules imposed to sustain a corporation. They are ministries who are not under oversight by a central authority (such as a head office) in neither their corporate life nor their spiritual life.

Corporate Churches are those who are governed by a central authority with oversight of various congregations. They are usually comprised of a ministerial council and corporately structured to comply with the state and federal (and otherwise provincial laws etc.). Some of these corporate churches have a more defined hierarchal model than others depending on a leader’s self-proclaimed anointing or loyalty among inner circles. These organizations offer a broader range of teaching materials, a sense of community, and are generally more financially and resource-equipped to carry out various church initiatives. They are an attractive option for individuals looking for something that is perceived to be more secure and established. Through community and structure corporate churches strive for a broad sense of unity, but it is a spirit of uniformity that is really in play.

No exact governing method or structure has been presented in the New Testament, and for good reason. Congregations have local dynamics and needs that cannot be pre- determinable by remote head offices or regional overseers. The corporate church model has been presumptuous in the past to believe that it can meet local needs. Experience has shown that smaller congregations suffer neglect by corporate church directors while larger congregations receive more attention.

It would seem the more evident that concern is placed on the behaviors of both local overseers and those they oversee. An intimate awareness of each other seems to best be cultivated locally so they can serve God only as their Head to be truly effective to those who they serve.

Ministry, even when it is being practiced correctly, is a difficult task to maintain.  We need to look   at scripture closely to find the best model that will get the results God is looking for and at the same time recognize the type of model that will not set ourselves up to stumble. Our manner of function and behavior is   a serious matter we should carefully consider. Jesus Christ has already set the standard for us.

The Seriousness of the Matter

… I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).

Churches must not become as businesses—which is an offense to the Truth

Paul wrote this to Timothy to impress on him the importance of what he had just been communicating in light of the leadership qualifications he just presented. The church is the base of operation for God on earth, and church must express itself so that it reflects the truth not only in teaching but also in behavior. I do not see support in scripture that the structure of the Church should be an expression of a secular government or kingdom. In the context that this scripture is given, a congregation must conduct its functional life on more intimate and localized terms rather than like a business, a social club, an entertainment center, or some other organizational format. When we start to gravitate to any of these worldly models for their perceived benefits, we are disrespecting and devaluing the Truth.

We would never presume to think we would make such a mistake, but it happens all the time. In different places below we will give examples.

A former president of a corporate/centralized church admitted to this writer during the time of his service within that organization that, though they outwardly presented the church as a spiritual organism to the brethren, they really were operating as a business. He made the same admission to others—as this writer found out years later. In retrospect, he was being honest, but only privately. His realization is not unique however.

Churches must not become as businesses—which is an offense to the Truth

 This writer has had a past history being in upper management of a multinational company. From this experience, I can tell you that it makes for a more reassuring presentation of the corporation being familial and open in nature than it being strictly a business. Many corporations try to appear as family oriented and caring. This message is more reassuring to its dependent and supportive employees, and encourages employee retention. The reality is much different—they are simply and strictly businesses. They make decisions based on what is good for the corporation.  The   same   reality is behind the curtain of corporate churches in that they are in fact businesses differing little with their secular counterparts. Corporate churches are businesses with a high priority on growth (market share) and income to sustain the real stakeholders for their security, that is, those who are truly vested in its success and viability.  Often the real stakeholders are those who are financially compensated and/or have authority within the church ranks. The real stakeholders drive most of the agenda.

We say this not to take away the sincerity and efforts of the people behind these organizations to deliver the gospel authentically and produce materials (some have called them products) in serving the brethren. Some are passionate in the work they do to support the church, but all the sincerity in the world is not a biblical justification to promote a corporate church model that has cloaked business ideals.

Businesses must promote themselves as viable operations to sustain market share and confidence with employees and investors. Promotional material and events are necessary and are initiated by management and human relations. Pay attention and you will see that corporate churches are also spending their energies authenticating and promoting their organization. “The most baptisms”, “First in class ministry” and other promotional rhetoric is very common at the lecterns and embedded in the literature of these groups.

From simple experience and by our human nature, the easy path for us has been uniformity. We institutionalize easily, and we interpret that as unity. We may begin to serve the institution, which over time may lead to disillusionment. The message will begin to serve the organization, not the Head or the needs of the congregants. Fear and dependency begin to dominate the decision-making processes of those in charge.

Perceived Benefits of Corporate Organizations

Without question there is strength in numbers. Nations, corporations and armies will all certainly attest to that. The more cohesive any organization becomes, the more it can accomplish and protect itself. Naturally, we should expect that this should apply to God’s Church and His operations on earth, however we should not so quickly make this assumption.

As parallel reading to this article and further theological background, the reader is suggested to consider the articles Kingdom Misconceptions (SVM Spring 2012) and To the Angel of the Scattered Churches (SVM Winter 2010) in past issues of SVM. These articles will help dispel common erroneous assumptions that come about with man’s idea of God’s Church and the Kingdom of God and hopefully give a broader view of both.

We include this excerpt from Kingdom Misconceptions:  We have all heard of strength is in numbers, and so it is. Jesus Christ, however, takes us beyond such thinking and teaches that the greatest strength is the sum of all our weaknesses.

When Paul was struggling with his thorn in the flesh, he must have considered it a dampener on his efforts even to do God’s will. He notes three particular efforts to convince God to remove whatever it was that was holding him back. After the third effort, he received his answer:

My Grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

As it was for Paul, so it is in general for us. As Paul also defaulted in his thinking, i.e., that his own strengths would elevate his ministry, we tend to believe that numbers, money, charisma, and even hard work are the answers to growth and unity in a church. On the contrary, our scattered state and ultra-dependency on God for sufficiency will enlarge our capacity to serve God. Paul realized it too:

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For When I am weak, then I am strong (verse 10).

Can we not understand this too and come to see where the real capacity is for growth beyond our own abilities – even when we are at our best – and to be excited as Paul was when we get it? I believe we can if we forget our contemporary experience that elevates numbers and charisma higher than it should and look instead to the early church for inspiration.

God will not allow another to glory in His presence. In doing so we find He does take measures to ensure that this does not take place:

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

Yes, God will put to shame a mighty church that exalts itself above its calling; do not assume this has to do only with mainstream institutions. He is not a respecter of persons, nor must He honor anyone’s great works (Acts 10:34, Luke 17:7-10).

We will now look at the independent Ministries of Jesus Christ and John the Baptist. An understanding of their ministries gives us the model for how we should be conducting our ministries today.

Conditions in First Century Palestine

We should briefly review the societal and religious conditions that John and Jesus encountered when they began their ministries. In doing so we can better identify their independent attributes. In first century Palestine, there was no separation between church and state. The priests at the temple in Jerusalem not only officiated over the religious life of the Jews, they were also rulers and judges. There were multiple layers of authority that had been instituted—a religious political bureaucracy.

Herod, who was himself a pawn of Rome, had his own pawns installed in the Jewish priesthood. By the first century the election of the High Priest was more political than religious. The Romans wanted the priesthood to support their occupation, and the Herod made sure their desire was carried out. However, it would be unfair to assume that all of the priesthood was as sympathetic to Rome. Some did support rebellion against Rome, but those at the highest levels and in the corporate inner circles were undoubtedly in Rome’s back pocket.

We see evidence in the Gospels of this loyalty to Rome, along with a fear of Rome:

Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation” (John 11:45-48).

But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away (John 19:15,16).

It would seem utterly foreign for us to even contemplate that the chief priests, the keepers of the Temple, would exclaim such an allegiance to Caesar, but we should never underestimate the power that money and position can have over our lives. Sources of money give security and safety, but are used to control us.  So it should be known by the reader that the priesthood lived very well on the temple tax system. This tax was in addition to the national tax imposed by Herod and Rome. The average Jewish citizen was under a severe tax burden, and the weight of taxation brought tensions in Palestine very high.

There were other members of the religious elite that fared well off the common Jew. The Pharisees were very zealous for the Law of Moses, but they also considered themselves the guardians of the oral traditions that had developed over generations. The oral traditions interpreted the Law of Moses. The Pharisees had great zeal for God. The average Pharisee fasted two days a week and paid his tithes to the penny.  Yet, the Pharisees stood in the presence of the perfect revelation of God, and they did not know Him. In fact, they wanted to kill Him. Had they not institutionalized, they could have been better able to recognize Jesus as the Savior, as institutionalized group think has a perpetual way of self-vindication, leading to blindness from real truth and the real needs of people.

The religious ruling class had authority, but they feared the independent ministry of   Jesus as a threat to their authority and influence. They were a corporate structure that was held together by loyalties and mutual financial security.   When   structures   such as these are threatened, fear and preservation of the institution becomes the dominant motivating factor. This same motivating factor exists today as it did then, as this writer has witnessed repeatedly.

When fear is present, certain behaviors, even irrational, can start to occur and take a self-justifiable life of their own. Although self-preservation can cause one to flee that which is feared, a common approach is to attack. In the first century laws did exist to permit the ruling classes to execute undesirables, but in modern times character assassination is the preferred legal means. A modern example of this is related later in this article.

Almost 2000 years later we can certainly judge how Jesus Christ and John the Baptist would not have any cooperative association with the religious ruling class at the time. Congratulations to us, right? We know so much better than to make that mistake.  But wait a minute …

Let us suppose for example we change history and we find Jesus and John announcing to the establishment as to who they were to the religious elite so that they could work together to introduce the gospel message. I propose this would have had some significant advantages. They would be part of a ready-made system that is to a degree organized, clearly having financial resources, with authority and influence over the synagogues. Saul, for example, was part of that system at the time and he could have turned out to be a great asset to the work (as he later would be). The religious elite had a lot of knowledge of the Torah and the prophets, and with some further instruction by Jesus and a few miracles they could have recognized how to apply their knowledge to further the gospel. Everybody would be on God’s side and things would have been awesome!

The above scenario may seem ludicrous, but that is because we have our modern biased filters engaged. The above actually describes an attractive corporate church scenario that today many in organized religion would envy and are tempted to employ.

Now, back to reality.

The reality is that Jesus Christ and John the Baptist would have expended way too much energy and time trying to get their message across to “fix” the system and it would have been a waste of their limited time. They came to fix people, to be acceptable before God, not their institutions.  Jesus Christ is still not in the business of fixing our corporate church institutions—nor is He starting any new ones. Jesus Christ is going to deal with us locally and personally to get His will done without regard to what larger corporate denomination or association we may think He should respect and acknowledge.

John the Baptist’s Ministry

John the Baptist and Jesus Christ started their own independent ministries when their time had come. Their anointing came directly from God and did not need or seek permission out of respect for the establishment to take their message to the hearers. They did not even send them a memo. This of course created challenges for the religious ruling class and authorities. Let us first look at John the Baptist.

Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews (Pharisees v 24) sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” (John 1:19-22) He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the LORD,”’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” (John 1:23)

And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” (John 1:25)

What is implied by this exchange is that the establishment had issues with John not having the corporate credentials to proceed with his ministry.  John’s answer had little to do with who he was or what his credentials were, but all to do with what he was doing. Our real callings come from God.

John the Baptist was not interested in making friends, particularly political friendship with any aspect of the establishment. This is always certainly a temptation, but this would take away from his independent ministry and make it dependent. (Matthew 3:7, Mark 6:18).

His style had rough edges, I would think his disciples were also a tough lot, but he was not willing to compromise ministry or concern himself with image or anyone’s perceptions of him. He was independent of worldly influences to complete his calling.

Neither Jesus Christ nor John the Baptist declared an affiliation with any group or organization. Neither did they combine and team up together. Due to their difference in approach and different callings this was a wise move. There is no record of Jesus asking John to step down either.

John the Baptist’s calling was to make straight the pathway of the Lord, and this he did. This also should not be lost on us either, that we should never stand in God’s way with wrong motivations in service, and wrong motivations in service come from serving our own needs for money and influence, and not the will of God.

Jesus’ Independent Nature

Jesus’ independent nature came about because of a singular motivation to serve His Father. Even from an early age it would appear evident that Jesus had this singular motivation without any   consideration   for   permission.

His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.  And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:41-52).

One could imagine the distress of Mary and Joseph to find their missing boy, particularly after three whole days, but this was not of any real significant consequence to the young Jesus.   What we see here is a precursor as to what was to come in Jesus’ ministry. It was of little consequence to Him when it came to offending and upsetting people when His works were of service to His Father.

Jesus paid little attention to the acceptance to His ministry on the terms of anyone else. In fact, Jesus took opportunities to antagonize the religious establishment every opportunity He had.

Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing (John 9:1-7).

Jesus’ instructions and actions were deliberate, as He willfully violated the Pharisees’ oral traditions that they had imposed on people, and He did so in three ways. To the Pharisees, it was unlawful to heal on the Sabbath (See also Matthew 12:10, Mark 3:2, Luke 6:7, 13:14).  Secondly, believe it or not, it was considered work to make clay out of saliva. This may seem silly, but it was a violation of the Pharisees dictates. Consider it would have taken time of repeated spitting to make sufficient clay. Lastly, we see that Jesus was in the vicinity of the temple when he performed this miracle. A quick look at a map shows that the journey to the pool and back was well over 2000 cubits, longer than the Pharisee prescribed Sabbath day’s journey.

Jesus’ independent nature repeatedly had the desired effect of introducing controversy. Controversy can be a healthy thing when introduced into an ineffective or otherwise lifeless group. Healing the blind man caused division among the Pharisees (verse 16), it encouraged the healed man to challenge the elite (verses 30-34). Ultimately, it convicted those of sin who were not recognizing the light of the world, and is part of the work today of the Holy Spirit in a believer (John15:24, 16:8,9). Often times God uses people today to challenge our current assumptions about ourselves, and to stir us up. A failure to respond convicts such people of sin. Jesus had to have an independent ministry in order to do this, and this is an example for us today. This should challenge the belief that true believers only bring peace to groups. Jesus said Himself He did not come to bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34). He will tear things down to build it up again, or He will just tear it down for good.

We should be reminded that the Gospel is a disturbing thing. It will offend and disrupt society. The message of the gospel can bring peace to a body of people that practice many of its tenets but if they are not doing His will or compromising, He is within His sovereign right to do what He deems necessary to find out who will follow Him and to get the results He wants.

I would like to submit here that we should consider the possibility if a ministry is not offending anyone during the course of time, it suggests that it is not doing the work. The questions should always be: “Are we offending others in service to our Lord?” “Are we in service to ourselves and are our loyalties to an institution?” Some get confused between the two as history shows. If we look to the example of Jesus Christ and John the Baptist, independent ministries are less vulnerable to confused loyalties.

Rebuking the Spirit of Sectarianism

We use sectarianism for this section as it does conjure up a range of opinions, emotions and perspectives. Nobody I know would use the term “sect” to identify their own corporate or even independent association or membership, but sectarianism is a reality that has been especially cultured by the corporate ideologies in the Church of God.

It may be of interest to the reader to consider the book A Fragmentation of a Sect: Schism in the Worldwide Church of God. Author David Barrett demonstrates how the structure of the World Wide Church of God is a textbook case of sectarian and cult like behavior that lead to its fragmentation and other problematic fallout. There is nothing unique about the Worldwide Church of God in this manner.

Former members of that corporate organization have a tendency to point to a hijacking of a God ordained organization by a new leader, but the fact of the matter is it was an unbiblical model and the culture led to its fragmentation and the subsequent disillusionment of many. Today, all corporate churches that had formed out of the World Wide Church believe they have revised the hierarchy and structure to prevent a repeat of such an experience, but they are just minor variations of the same thing. Some are sectarian light. Some are sectarian heavy. Some are hierarchy light. Some are hierarchy heavy.

Unique to his gospel, Mark recorded an account that carries some lessons we will do well to consider.

After the dispute over who would be greatest, Jesus took a child and sat him in the midst of them:

“Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and   whoever   receives ME, receives not Me but Him who sent Me” (Mark 9:37).

Having heard this, John started to wonder if they had done correctly when they earlier had attempted to forbid another individual from doing a work in Jesus name:

Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me” (Mark 9:38-39).

What we should recognize here is that there is no indication that the disciples had any issue with the works that this man was doing. However, what they did mind was that Jesus (as far as they knew) did not commission this man as He had commissioned them earlier (Mark 3:13-15). Perhaps they wanted also to protect Jesus’ honor much like a few who were compelled to protect Moses’ honor (Numbers 11:27-29).

The reality is that this man had already begun his independent ministry, and Jesus honored it. No ministry is above criticism and correction, and we can get better with criticism if we properly internalize, however if Jesus honors a ministry, we should never make any move to thwart or demonize it.

But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward” (Mark 9:39-41).

Corporate churches would certainly argue that they are not forbidding others to do works in Jesus’ name, but history and the facts have shown otherwise. Perhaps this can be best understood in modern terminology as Turf Wars.

Over five years ago, a corporate church took exception to a new independent feast site being formed by former ministers of their organization in Western Canada where this writer also participated. In order to discourage attendance by those on their corporate mailing list, council members of the organization employed the tactic of attacking the credibility of the feast organizers and its participants. Under the corporate letterhead, its council members signed a letter containing inflammatory accusations and signed their document in Christ’s service, blaspheming His Name. This is a prime example of those who were motivated by fear and market share, rather than leaving matters to God to judge. This feast God has blessed year after year.

Sectarianism is simply the gravitational pull of self-preservation and territorialism; such as in the example above. Self-preservation is very typical of religious organizations. Even as small independent groups must put an effort to resist having an exclusive attitude, it is even more difficult with corporate churches. It has been evident from simple experience that corporate churches have a greater tendency to develop a spirit of sectarianism despite all conscious mitigating efforts that are made to avoid such a culture.

If we learn from the ministry of Jesus Christ, independent ministries are best equipped to serve God in a more exclusive capacity and have less potential to be compromised in their calling as has been found in corporate ministries. Jesus Christ made it clear by His example of ministry and by His very words that an exclusive service to God is necessary to be most effective. The sectarian mentality that has infiltrated corporate churches is a leading cause of division amongst the Churches of God. The operation of a church as business and the need for self-preservation under fear is an offense to the Truth.

Ultimately, Jesus Christ is the head of His Church, which we may all attest to, but we often fail to fear the reality that comes with this. Jesus Christ will certainly judge the motivations behind all individuals and groups, but we should take serious note: He is already judging it, and we should take heed on how He is doing it:

“Every plant which My Heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch” (Matthew 15:13-14).

This statement follows the exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees regarding their incorporation of specific sectarian traditions into worship and His disciples’ concern of having offended them, but Christ’s judgment here applies to every tree that has not been planted by His Father being uprooted.  This included persons, groups of persons, their doctrines and traditions as well.  Every one of us should consider our own potential blindness to what man made traditions we are supporting.  As this article demonstrated, the Father has not ordained corporate church models with hierarchical, sectarian and business like attributes.  We have already seen that, when left alone, many of the leaders and the followers of such institutions have fallen into the ditch. There seems to be no intervention necessary by the Church Head.

Whether they are independent or operating under a corporate banner, ministry leaders should fear the One who sits on the throne and not the opinion of men they serve, regardless of the cost. We hope this article inspires you, the reader, to be sober in your ministry service to God, assuming of course that head office permits your reading of it.

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