"Religion is not a cure-all, but the gospel of Christ certainly is the only answer to the sin problem. . . . Let it be known that Christianity is not opposed to everything modern but only such claims that are not totally true and that do injustice to the claims of the gospel. I wish every mentally disturbed person might be counseled by one who knows the functioning of the human mind and knows equally well the message of deliverance through Jesus Christ." [1] -- Billy Graham

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who can treat mental illnesses with drugs or various types of therapy. Psychologists have at least completed a master's degree, and must pass certain state requirements in order to be licensed to practice. Even though great men of God may approve of psychiatry or other forms of the healing arts, that does not necessarily mean it is God's will for Christian individuals to use any or all forms of the healing arts. Anything can become an idol or a stumbling block to anyone. We need to be certain whatever tools we use to enhance our lives, that we use them in obedience to the Author of Life. The Bible helps us determine what tools are appropriate for us.

Even the Scriptures are not sufficient to save, heal, and make whole without a relationship with the living Lord. It's our daily relationship with Jesus which brings us from "glory to glory into His image," but what is "His image"? How can we be certain our image of God is the correct one?

Our goal is not to attain perfect doctrine, but to expose false doctrine and false concepts of God so we might have a perfect relationship with the true God, which is LIFE (John 17:3). That which diverts our attention away from knowing the only true God through Jesus Christ leads us away from life and toward death. What needs to be put to death are the idols in which we place our trust for life.


1. an image of a god, used as an object or instrument of worship: sometimes said of any heathen deity.

2. any object of ardent or excessive devotion or admiration.

3. an image; effigy; (b) anything that has no substance but can be seen, as a shadow or an image in a mirror. 2

Knowingly submitting oneself to false images of God is idolatry. If someone believed a lie about God, and persisted in believing it after God revealed the truth about Himself, that person is an idolater (see John 14:6-24; 15:22-25; and 16:15). Jesus had revealed Father God to the Jews for three years, and the time had come for the Jews to decide whether or not they would accept Him as the Son of God. Some Jews gladly gave up their preconceived misconceptions of the Messiah in order to embrace the true One unto eternal life. Others held on to the "messiah" of their own design unto damnation. They wanted a messiah who would immediately overthrow the Romans and establish His earthly rule while granting them the same power and control they had over the people as religious leaders and scholars. Religion and Bible study are meaningless without a loving relationship with the one true God.

"Messiah-making" and "re-imagining God" are not new inventions, as George MacDonald describes in The Curate's Awakening, originally published as Thomas Wingfold, Curate in 1876. "There are those who in their very first seeking of it are nearer to the kingdom of heaven than many who have for years believed themselves in it. In the former there is more of the mind of Jesus, and when he calls them, they recognize him at once and go after him. The others examine him from head to foot, and finding him not sufficiently like the Jesus of their conception, turn their backs, and go to church to kneel before a vague form mingled of tradition and imagination." [3] God is the great "I AM", a real Person. He is not a concept which can be redefined. Real people do not change depending upon your understanding of them.

Today God's Holy Spirit patiently manifests Jesus to us as individuals as well as in the midst of the Body. God still gives us time to know who He truly is before we must make a decision to accept Him. After we begin a relationship with our heavenly Father through His Son Jesus Christ, we discover new depths of God's character. Greater revelation of God does not mean the former revelation was mere idolatry, just that the cloudy glass we were looking into is clearing up a bit more (1 Cor. 13:12a).


The early Christians had a problem deciding what things of this world they could use which were attributed to idols, and yet maintain fellowship with God and each other. (Read Acts 15.) Notice place was given for pointed debate (v 2), discussion by leadership alone (v 6-7), individual and congregational decision-making (v 19-22), and disagreements that caused personal separation (v 39). The circumcision party (v 1, 5) did not believe in salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. They wanted the Gentiles to become Jews (circumcised and obedient to the Law) in order to be Christians. Peter argues that since God's Spirit has already accepted the Gentiles' faith alone, that they should not now be burdened by the Law. James adds some requirements of the Gentile believers so the Jewish believers in every city (v 21) could fellowship with them without being offended (see Exodus 34:12-16 and Leviticus 17:10-18:30). They commissioned Paul and Barnabas to deliver this message to the Gentile believers.

Though the original letter from the church at Jerusalem required the Gentiles to "abstain from meats offered to idols," Paul recognized the intent of the request was to foster fellowship among believers, and he wrote Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 unto that end.

Romans 14:22 "Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

1 Corinthians 8:5-6 "For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him."

A church might have required you to abstain from all psychology or medicine in order to help you maintain fellowship with God and one another, but the choice of tools is up to you; it is not their place to decide for you. It's sad that churches will take an adamant stand against things that the Bible does not address, but will not take a firm stand for things the Bible does address. Some tools which "work" (like calling up the dead spirit of Samuel through the witch at Endor) are forbidden by God in His written Word, yet I have witnessed "Christian" ministers attend seances. Other tools may be forbidden to you through a heartfelt message from His Holy Spirit within you. Other Christians may be able to use a tool which God forbids you to use, or He may forbid a certain tool for a specific period of time. It is a facet of having a personal relationship with Christ.

God "giveth us richly all things to enjoy" (1 Timothy 6:17). The source of "all things" is God, regardless of who "discovers" it. If a cure for cancer derived from a plant is found by a witch-doctor in South America or an atheist scientist in North America, the plant can still be considered a good gift from God. Some Christians, unable to separate the plant from its ungodly discoverer, might have faith in God to heal them without the new cure; they are not to speak evil of the cure in the presence of the brethren who use it (Rom. 14:16). Some Christians might have faith to use the new cure; they must not impose their beliefs upon the brethren who have the faith not to use it (Rom. 14:15). It is imperative that every individual discuss tool options with God, and come to agreement with Him about which tools he or she can or can not use.


Many Christians have faith that God can heal them without the use of psychology, but others have faith in some of the tools recently developed under the umbrella of the field. That which man creates can become a tool for good or for evil, but when that tool is worshipped, it becomes an idol to the one who has glorified it as such. In faith, some Christians ate meat that had been sacrificed to idols, and others did not eat. A believer's faith in regard to using or refusing any tool (not forbidden in the Bible) is to be supported.

Not all the wise men of the East worshipped the stars or used them for selfish purposes; a few used the stars to guide them to the King so they could worship Him. Though there are some "Christian psychologists" who use psychology and the Bible to make themselves gods in the lives of those seeking help, there are Christians who use some tools of psychology to worship Christ by ministering to His body.

In the process of prayer and coming to a decision of whether or not to use anything connected to psychology, some objective knowledge of it might be helpful. The overall philosophy of psychotherapy and its founders were against truth. Some of those within the field have recognized its errors and weaknesses. John Weakland, a noted psychologist, said the following in reference to those in his profession: "To put it bluntly, we cannot state what `truth' or `reality' is, and we will never be able to do so." [4] In his book Against Therapy, Jeffrey Masson stated the following: "The structure of psychotherapy is such that no matter how kindly a person is, when that person becomes a therapist, he or she is engaged in acts that are bound to diminish the dignity, autonomy, and freedom of the person who comes for help." [5]

". . . abuse of one form or another is built into the very fabric of psychotherapy--that power corrupts, that psychiatric power corrupts just as political power does, and that the greater the power (and a psychiatrist's power is great indeed), the greater the propensity for corruption. Even more than politicians, therapists, by the very nature of their profession, are protected from usual forms of scrutiny. Psychotherapy is a self-policing profession." [6] Movie and television producers rate their own productions with regard to violence and obscenity, but not regarding spiritual influence (are there "good" witches casting spells to "help" people, or New Agers having a seance?, then I suggest "SS" for Spiritually Sick). The secular mind can not understand spiritual matters, so any "professional" rating or policing will not truly protect Christians from being hurt or abused. Christians have good reason to avoid psychology based upon the attitude and beliefs of its founders concerning abuse. "As a psychoanalytic student I have been taught that Freud initially believed the women who came to him for therapy when they said they had been sexually abused as children, often by members of their own family. Then he made what he thought to be a momentous `discovery': What he heard from these women were not genuine memories; they were, Freud said, fabricated stories, or made-up fictions. They were fantasies, not memories. Or they were memories of fantasies. . . . It has affected the course of psychoanalysis and therapy in general from that time on, and has caused incalculable suffering for patients who were in fact sexually abused." 7

"The fact is that Jung made statements and took actions that harmed Jews and others, and whether he joined the Nazi party or not is irrelevant. Jung's words speak loud and clear, and the message they give is one of collaboration. The reason it is so important to recognize this fact is that Jung's psychotherapy contains attitudes that are compatible with his collaboration. With its coercion and disdain for the real traumas that people experience, there is a deep strain of fascism running through Jung's psychotherapy." [8]

"Nowhere in his writings does [Carl] Rogers acknowledge the existence of such abuse, let alone ascribe to it any importance." [9] Like many of us, these founders of psychotherapy denied the existence of abuse, and thus, denied the existence of sin. (In order to face the sins of others, a person must first face his own.) There were, and are, exceptions within the profession. There are different ideologies and techniques in the field of psychology which no longer accept Freudian theories; especially modern Christian counseling. Jeffrey Masson records the following in Against Therapy: "Freud had told Ferenczi, and the rest of the world, that when women reported such abuse in childhood, they were merely imagining the events. They were, said Freud, the product of childhood fantasies. But Ferenczi gave back to fantasy its innocent meaning. What the child has, according to Ferenczi, is a fantasy of being loved in the nonsexual sense of the term. The father, however, responds by raping the daughter. And as if this weren't bad enough, he then denies the event, and devises methods whereby the girl is made to believe it never took place (`you are crazy'; `you dreamed it'; `you cannot distinguish between a thought and an action'). He also can no longer provide the daughter with affection of any kind, and withdraws from her emotionally, thereby abandoning her and refusing her the help she originally came to the father for. Not only does this appear to be an accurate rendition of what sometimes happens in incest, but Ferenczi drew a parallel with the analytic situation that had never been made previously, nor since, as far as I know. He likened the transference, the feelings that the patient supposedly develops for the analyst on the basis of other feelings in the past, to the original play/affection/needs of the child. And just as the father took advantage of these needs, either misunderstanding them or ignoring their import, so the analyst takes advantage of the transference. Therapy is, Ferenczi said, like a rape." [10] Sad to say, some "professionals" (doctors, therapists, teachers, clergy, etc.) even take sexual advantage of those who place themselves in their care. Survivors of sexual abuse are accustomed to only "feeling loved" when they are being sexually abused by others. As Christian survivors heal they can have their longings to be loved met through the non-sexual, loving acceptance of God and His church. In their magnificent book Boundaries, Doctors Henry Cloud and John Townsend clarify the "fantasy of being loved" as the natural development of three to five year olds in establishing their gender roles: "Parents who fear the budding sexuality of their children will often become critical of these intense longings. Their own fear may cause them to attack or to shame their child, causing her to repress her sexuality. At the other extreme, the needy parent will sometimes emotionally, or even physically, seduce the child of the opposite sex. The mother who tells her son that `Daddy doesn't understand me -- you're the only one who can' is ensuring years of confusion about sex roles for her son. Mature parents need to keep a boundary between allowing sex role typing to emerge -- and keeping the lines between parent and child clear." [11] Sexual abuse not only confuses a child's understanding of sex roles but also of age roles, because the abuser has forced the child into a parental function. After sexual abuse a child no longer belongs to the group of innocents, yet has not physically matured enough to be accepted into the group of adults. This added to gender confusion often leads a child to create a fantasy group to which he or she belongs (robots, aliens, tomboys, etc.).


* "Abuse" is sin; often a type of sin called an offense (Matt. 18:1-14)

* "Addicts" are "slaves to sin" (Romans 6:16). Children born addicted to drugs have been abused by the mother's sin. In The Useful Lie, Dr. Playfair states: "Their [addictions'] symptoms are not disordered bodily function or disordered thinking, but rather disordered or abnormal behavior. Thus, we include alcoholism, drug addiction, compulsive gambling, pedophilia, compulsive bank robbery -- all the things society used to call sin or immoral conduct." [12] * "Powerless to control bad habit" is the recognition of our sin nature (Rom. 7). The answer is to recognize Jesus rendered our sin nature powerless over us through His death and resurrection (Rom. 6), and to focus our attention on God's power and desires, thereby putting to death sinful deeds (Rom. 8). You can't sin and obey God at the same time, so focus on obeying God's good will (Rom. 12).

* "Dysfunctional" is synonymous with sinful or idolatrous -- someone in the system has usurped God's position, and the others are willing to serve him or her. (Romans 6:13-23)

* A "co-dependent" is someone in close association with a sinner, but unwilling to confront the sinner with the sin because of the possible adverse consequences. (Luke 17:3-4) When your life is threatened, confront by phone, letter, or the courts.

* A "whistle-blower" or "secrecy breaker" is one who exposes the sin (Eph. 5:11).

* "Boundaries" are rules to maintain clear distinction among persons in order to interact in healthy, mutually edifying ways. In the Bible they are commands that are often coupled with rewards for respecting them, and punishments for trespassing them. (See chapters 5 and 27-30 of Deuteronomy.)

* "In denial" is ignoring the boundaries of God or others (Prov. 30:20), or temporarily forgetting the memory of a sin you committed (Matthew 5:23).

* "Amnesia" is a partial or total loss of memory due to trauma or a brain injury (Matthew 5:23-24).

* "Empowerment" is the enforcement of boundaries through rewards or punishments (Deuteronomy 27-30 and Matthew 18:15-20).

* "Enmeshment" is the melding of persons into a "group consciousness" which refuses to recognize individuality. It occurs when boundaries (commands) are not enforced. Identity must be separate from others in order to be joined to Christ (Matthew 10:37-39; 2 Cor. 6:14-18 and 1 Peter 2:7-12). Enmeshment is man's corruption of God's oneness which supports an individual's free will.

* "The child within" could be the true self previous to boundary violation. It is the core of our being which needs to respond to the love of our Heavenly Father (Matthew 18:3). If allowed to mature, it could become the "inner man" (Romans 7).

* "Parenting the child within" could either be a restorative work undertaken with God to reestablish the true self previous to boundary violation, or it could be a process of becoming a god and savior to yourself. (See John 14:15-21.)

* "In recovery" is the process of working out your salvation (Phil. 2:12).

Terms that have no Biblical equivalent are as follows:

* "Abnormal behavior" is whatever current society and psychology say it is, and therefore can not be equated with sin or wrong behavior.

* "Therapy, then, is what we say it is, i.e., what names we operate with, what explanatory principles we use, and what reality we thereby create." 13 -- Paul Watzlawick.


Depression is one of the "abnormal behaviors" that needs "therapy". Though there are states of depression, which can possibly lead to suicide, for which professional help could be sought, there are other types of depression that are a natural part of life. Christians should accept and be supportive of the grief process. Besides funerals, there is no place or program in many churches to "weep with them that weep (Romans 12:15)." Too often that "ministry" is relegated to the local bars.

Death is not the only loss which causes one to grieve. Sin, loss of relationship with God and others, also causes grief. When you do not know why you are depressed, ask God to pinpoint the loss you are grieving. In his book Post-Traumatic Stress, Frank Parkinson states, "The stresses and reactions produced by traumatic incidents are similar to those of bereavement and grief. This is because experiencing a traumatic incident means loss, and loss is an inevitable consequence of human life, from birth to death. Loss brings change and change can mean growth, but growth is often painful and disturbing. Yet the very pain of loss contains within it the seeds of healing and renewal." [14]

Grievers will search elsewhere for a listening ear and a comforting touch if it is not readily offered in the church. Job 2:13 advises us to be silent and physically close to those suffering great grief. Grieving may take weeks, months or years, and may have physical side affects: "Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed." (Psalm 31:9-10) Diminished mental abilities (eye) and physical strength, drives (soul), physical appetites (belly), and insomnia (see Ec. 2:23) are symptoms psychologists ascribe to depression, but they could equally apply to infatuation. Times when your energies are focused on an extreme good or extreme bad often result in extreme emotions of happiness or sorrow; mania and depression in psychological terminology.

Even Sigmund Freud gave grief its rightful place: "It is well worth notice that, although mourning involves grave departures from the normal attitude to life, it never occurs to us to regard it as a pathological condition and to refer it to medical treatment. We rely on its being overcome after a certain lapse of time, and we look upon any interference with it as useless or even harmful." [15] No psychological "expert" can tell us how long it will take to grieve a loss, or battle a painful circumstance. Jesus said, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4)." Mourning is part of the normal Christian life. It is a process that must be allowed to take its course if comfort is to be received.

In his book Post-Trauma Stress, Frank Parkinson states, "It's a healthy society that takes trauma and loss seriously and accepts as normal and natural the reactions of grief and post-trauma stress," [16] and "The truth is that if we are allowed to express the pain, no matter how difficult or distressing it might be, we usually begin to cope and learn to value our lives and selves again." [17]

During the course of time, people's emotional pain will often subside whether or not they see a "professional". "Without the help of the recovery industry, the nontreated alcoholic did as well as those who received help." 18 Seeing a professional or expert could cause further abuse, as is noted in Masson's book Against Therapy. "If we place our trust in somebody, it matters very much whether that person only appears to be worthy of our trust, or actually is worthy. And these are things we find out only over time, and in a relationship without power and hierarchy. The therapeutic relationship always involves an imbalance of power. One person pays, the other receives. Vacations, time, duration of the sessions are all in the hands of one party. Only one person is thought to be an "expert" in human relations and in feelings. Only one person is thought to be in trouble. This cannot but affect the judgment and perception of the party less powerful." [19]

"People are rather vague about the nature of psychotherapy training, and therapists rarely encourage their patients to ask in any detail. They don't for a good reason: often their training is very modest. To receive a degree in marriage, family, and child counseling (the MFCC), for example, one need study only one year after receiving a bachelor's degree. The most elaborate and lengthy training programs are the classic psychoanalytic ones, but this is not because of the amount of material that has to be covered. Instead, it is because the training is an elaborate indoctrination program, a way of becoming a "professional." [20] I am not saying professionals cannot help you, but I am saying they can hurt you if you ascribe authority or power to them. They are human beings with problems of their own, but hopefully they can provide some advice or methods through which you can better understand yourself, others, and God.


God cleanses us from our sins when we repent and He often does miraculous healings, but that's just a part of our life-time process of "working out our salvation with fear and trembling." I do not think God ever intended us to rely upon miracles for our day to day needs (though in some dire circumstances, it is the only means of survival). Though we ask God for our daily bread, we are still encouraged to work to provide for our families. Relying on God to meet our needs does not equal relying on miracles.

Some Christians expect the "Name of Jesus" to be a one-stop, minimal effort/expense/time cure-all for our problems and diseases, but we need to build a relationship with our Great Physician by faithfully obeying each prescription He gives us (from His Word). If we are unwilling to take His medicine, why do we complain when we are still sick? He uses many tools in His practice: doctors, elders, teachers, counselors, therapists, friends, family, and basic knowledge of the world and human development. But each of those tools can only be effective as you look to God for your continued healing, not expecting any one tool to be a cure-all for your complex life. Some tools who think they are a one-stop cure-all will eventually bring you harm.

As we all go through the process of becoming whole (holy) through knowing and being known by Jesus, sometimes we will be a tool in our Master's hand and sometimes we will be the patient. To lock a person into either role of "professional tool" or "perpetual patient" presents problematic relational imbalances. There is only one Person who can be our continual counselor and comforter.


2 Timothy 3:6-7 "For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
Silly is gunaikarion in Greek, meaning "little woman"; gullible or open-minded in O.T.

"This sort" are Christians in sin who have been taken captive by Satan to do his will (2 Timothy 2:23-3:5). I fear some Christian counselors are of "this sort". Both of my female Christian counselors tried to lead me away from my husband and his input, incorrectly suspecting I had married an abusive man. I felt like a captive in a dungeon with a crushing burden of sins (mostly unforgiveness of myself and others) and lusts I didn't know if I could control, and I read a ton of books. From the amount of books available, there are a lot of "captive silly women" in our country.

The current fad in many books is to blame our poor spiritual state on parents and past generations. When Jesus confronted the woman at the well she used her ancestors as proof that she was spiritually sound. Basing our spiritual condition on the bad or good performance of a prior generation is foolish. We are commanded to avoid genealogies (1 Tim. 1:3-4 and 6:20-21).

Today's gospel message focuses on relieving only half our burden of sin; the ones we've committed. Seldom do we hear the cross of forgiveness applying to the sins committed against us. Jesus is "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29b)" When we receive Christ's payment for our sins, we must also accept His death as payment for those who have sinned against us (Matthew 6:12-15). That's the good news! God has forgiven the whole world of sin. Since He has forgiven everyone, we are foolish to refuse forgiving anyone.

Sadly these female captives won't likely find healing (real salvation, sozo) in traditional churches or Christian counseling or books. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)" Healing and wholeness come through a relationship with God through the atoning work of Jesus Christ.


Isaiah 9:6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Counselor is ya'ats in Hebrew; meaning to advise, purpose, or deliberate. Isaiah 61:1-4 "The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations."
Preach good things is basar in Hebrew; meaning bear news, publish, announce, show forth, or to gladden with good news.
Meek is 'anav in Hebrew; meaning humble, afflicted, poor, needy, or weak.
Bind up is chabash in Hebrew; meaning to tie, restrain, or bandage.
Brokenhearted is two words in Hebrew: shabar which means to break, rend violently, wreck, crush, quench, rupture, shatter, be maimed, be crippled; and leb which means inner man, mind, will, heart, soul, understanding, conscience, emotions and courage.
Proclaim is qara' in Hebrew; meaning to call, read, recite, summon, invite, or appoint.
Liberty is drowr in Hebrew; meaning flowing, or free run.
Prison is pqach-qowach in Hebrew; meaning opening (of eyes), or wide.
Mourn is 'abel in Hebrew; meaning mourning for the dead or because of calamity.
Beauty is p'er in Hebrew; meaning head-dress, ornament, or turban.
Oil is shemen in Hebrew; meaning fat, fatness, olive oil, or unguent.
Garment is ma'ateh in Hebrew; meaning wrap or mantle.
Heaviness is keheh in Hebrew; meaning dark, dull, colorless, or faint.
Trees is 'ayil in Hebrew; meaning pillar, jambs, strong man, leader, chief, or terebinth.
Glorified is pa'ar in Hebrew; meaning to beautify or adorn.
Desolations is shamem in Hebrew; meaning to be appalled, be astounded, be deflowered, be deserted, cause horror, devastate, ravage, or to cause oneself ruin.

Jesus is the embodiment of the Father, who is spirit (John 4:24). Jesus is God in the flesh. In Luke 4:16-21 Jesus declared Himself the fulfillment of this prophecy, ending His reading at "the acceptable year of the Lord." The day of vengeance for the enemies of the Lord is yet to come. Jesus is no longer on the earth to physically minister to our needs, but He sent us another Comforter to be with us forever (see John 14:15-17, 25-26; and 15:26). The Holy Spirit is the first person we can expect comfort from when we encounter loss or calamity.


John 16:7-15 "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you."
Comforter is parakletos in Greek; meaning "called to one's side", advocate, summoned, one who pleads another's cause before a judge, counsel for defense, intercessor, helper, succourer, aider, or assistant.
Reprove is elegcho in Greek; meaning rebuke, convince, convict, or correct.

The primary sin of the world that is keeping them from relationship with God, is their refusal to believe in Jesus. All other sins are secondary, and will be met with forgiveness when confessed to the Lord of our redemption. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law; He is our new code of righteousness. Since Jesus is now with the Father in heaven, the Holy Spirit reminds us of His righteous life. Satan was defeated by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; therefore we must not let ourselves be judged by the principles of the world or religion (see Col. 2:6-15). All that the Father and Son wish to communicate to us will be faithfully transmitted by the Holy Spirit.


When Jesus saved (Gr. sozo, meaning healed, set free, and made whole) a person, He did it completely. "And all who came to Him were healed." The "all" were mostly Jews who had faith in Jesus as their Messiah, and they initiated coming to Him. Jesus asked for background information of the demon-possessed boy (Mark 9:21), and asked a blind man what he wanted Him to do for him, but He usually told the seeker what was needed for salvation or healing.

One paralytic is brought to Jesus and is forgiven of his sins before he is healed (Mark 2:1-12). Another paralytic is healed through Jesus' initiation and compassion, and later told to "sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee (John 5:14)." This latter paralytic was not seeking Jesus, nor did he recognize who had healed Him until later. Jesus did not chide him for seeking miraculous healing at the pool.

Jesus' conversation with each individual is poignantly personal and genuinely filled with compassion. He tells Nicodemus he must be born of the Spirit, and though amazed at his lack of understanding, Jesus carefully explains it to him. He offers the Samaritan woman living water, tells of her history of illicit love-affairs, and answers her theological questions. They both submitted themselves to their Savior. He told other followers that they must eat his body and drink his blood in order to have eternal life, and they turned away. The rich, young ruler also turned away when Jesus told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor.

When Jesus saved and healed people it was on the basis of their faith in Him, not upon their forgiving others of past sins against them. Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman received Christ's rebuke and took responsibility for their own short-comings. We do not know if the Samaritan woman or the woman caught in adultery endured previous sexual abuse, but we know after conversing with Jesus, both were free to live without guilt or sin.

The physical body of Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, and we still confess and receive forgiveness and healing from Him (1 John 1:5-2:11); but He has also designated His Body of believers on earth for confession, forgiveness, and healing (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 11:27-32; 12:12-31 and James 5:13-16). Though elders have certain responsibilities in the church (like anointing the sick), when it comes to confessing our sins to one another, no one is exempt or considered above human weaknesses. The problem is that some of the members of His Body demand to be treated like the sinless Head; attempting to assume God's role in the lives of others.


Matthew 23:8-11 "But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant."
Called is kaleo in Greek; meaning to utter in a loud voice, to invite, to name, to bear a name or title among men, or to salute one by name.
Rabbi is rhabbi in Greek; meaning my great one or my honourable sir; Rabbi was an official title of honor used by the Jews to address their teachers.
Master is kathegetes (root hegeomai means to lead or command with official authority) in Greek; meaning guide or teacher.
Brethren is adelphos in Greek; meaning "from the womb", brothers or a fellow believer.
Father is pater in Greek; meaning father or parent; one who stands in a father's place and looks after another in a paternal way; a title of honour; teachers, as those to whom pupils trace back the knowledge and training they have received; the members of the Sanhedrin, whose prerogative it was by virtue of their wisdom and experience, to take charge of the interests of others.
Greatest is meizon in Greek; meaning larger or elder.
Servant is diakonos (root diako means to run errands; an attendant or waiter) in Greek; meaning deacon or minister; one who executes the commands of another, especially of a master; the servant of a king; or a deacon, one who, by virtue of the office assigned to him by the church, cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use.

Jesus probably commanded us to only call God in heaven, Father, because even the best of earthly fathers misrepresent the perfect Father. Our emotional needs for nurture (parent), instruction (teacher), and purposeful labors (master) are real, but they are only truly met in God. Our real need is God-shaped; anything else will be imperfect and unfulfilling.

We use many terms for people whom we allow to play God in our lives besides familial ones: pastor, preacher, minister, priest, prophet. shepherd, teacher, professor, guide, mentor, doctor, counselor, therapist, boss, commander, etc.. For myself I know I can no longer use the term "pastor". I prefer to call all in the body of Christ "brother" or "sister" instead of referring to them by their gifting or calling. Basically, whatever you call someone to whom you give God's rightful authority in your life is a term and a type of relating which must not continue. God alone is the supreme authority to which all are accountable.

Jesus understands the power we attribute to people by the names we give them; therefore He gave us strict rules about what names are to be reserved to Himself alone. I am not suggesting we stop honoring and obeying godly parents and godly elders in the church, but abusive parents and ungodly church leaders must be held accountable for their actions and, hopefully, brought to repentance. JESUS is the HEAD of the Body, and ALL the body parts are supposed to honor one another and submit to one another.


After my study of oneness through the book of John, I finally understood that I could approach God the Father with the same assurance of acceptance that Jesus the Son showed believers on earth. I had previously been taught that the personalities of the Father and the Son were different; that the Father was to be approached with fear of His possible displeasure because He was a god of wrath, but the Son would welcome me with open, forgiving arms. Jesus kept testifying that all He did or said was what He saw the Father doing, and that He did nothing but what the Father told Him to do. I found myself at this spiritual impasse, sharing Philip's dilemma (John 14:6-12), then Jesus broke through with "those who have seen Me have seen the Father." The Lord and Savior who was gentle and compassionate toward children and sinners and uneducated men, but angry toward spiritual abusers, also represents my heavenly Father's heart. "I and the Father are One" now means that I can replace all the awful images of "father" with Jesus as described in the gospels.


Jesus' heart's desire expressed in John 17 was for His followers to be One with Him and the Father and with each other: one church faithfully representing the One God throughout the earth. Jesus rebuked five out of seven churches in Revelation (circa 90 A.D.). Jesus condemned them for departing from Biblical truth and personal devotion, for tolerating immorality in their midst, and for substituting success and affluence for spirituality. [21]

Jesus defined "church" as an assembly of two or more believers who gather under His authority to resolve issues of sin. The two passages where Jesus uses the word "church" He also states, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:19 and 18:18) Bind can also mean imprisoned, and loosed can mean released. In the first passage to Peter, the pronoun is singular, as it is with Jesus giving Peter the keys of the kingdom. Keys are primarily used to lock out undesirables. Jesus first gave to Peter and then to all believers the authority to shut out (bind, excommunicate) unrepentant sinners from our midst, and to let in (loose, restore to fellowship) repentant sinners into our midst. When the church gathered in the presence and authority of Jesus, the verification of a sinner's repentance and restoration was also established in heaven, and not even the gates of Hell could override their judgment to set the captive free; neither could an unrepentant sinner who had been barred from fellowship find redress in heaven if he or she hadn't repented.

Churches should provide regular opportunities to confess sins to one another (we do so during ritual foot washing), and to confront sins in one another; and to remove unrepentant sinners from their midst, and to restore them after they demonstrate the "fruits of repentance." God's empowerment of a church decision to disfellowship the unrepentant (general agreement of all believers, not just the judgment of a few) establishes safe boundaries and a healthy fear for those desiring to obey God (Mat. 18:15-20 and 1 Cor. 5). People, children included, would have the opportunity in such a church to bring charges against sexual offenders in hopes of their repentance, but knowing they would be safe from them through excommunication of the offender if he refused to repent. Men might then find healing in repenting from viewing pornography, instead of hiding their sin in a church that provides no opportunity for confession until it erupts in a sexual offense against someone. When churches refuse to confess sins to one another and to disfellowship the unrepentant, many become defiled (Heb. 12:15).

Anonymous 12-step recovery groups have filled a need for places to confess sins without shame or scorn; but since they treat sins as diseases over which they are powerless, harm is likely, and deep healing of the soul is unlikely. Though they can offer empathy and understanding, they cannot offer forgiveness and accountability. I encourage you to read Dr. Playfair's book, The Useful Lie, which contains in depth research into 12-step groups.

Believers need to meet in homes again in safe, small, supportive groups where people can honestly be vulnerable with each other without fear of being abused (though be aware that false brethren can abuse you anywhere). We need redemption in Jesus through repentance of our sins, and healthy church systems in which we can confess our sins to one another and be healed. We need to reestablish Jesus as our sole High Priest and all of the brethren as the priesthood, and be able to exclude unrepentant sinners and to forgive those who repent of sins and proclaim them "accepted in the Beloved."

Why do we no longer have indulgences (payment to a priest to atone for your sins)? Luther rediscovered that forgiveness of sin is a gracious gift received by faith in Jesus Christ. He was angered that the priests blocked the people from a free salvation and cheated them out of their money in order to build the wealth of the church. He returned to the Bible as sole authority (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and demanded the church do likewise. Luther also discovered the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:5-7). Just as Americans awakened in November '94 to demand their responsibilities and rights of freedom be returned to them from hired "public servants" who usurped them, so too are Christians awakening to their responsibilities and freedoms in Christ which have been usurped by some hired "religious ministers". Let's take a look at the past and the present priesthoods.


Since Adam and Eve sinned, mankind has been seeking approval and acceptance of God. God let it be known that only through animal blood sacrifice could we obtain this restoration of favorable relationship, and that it was obtainable at a personal, intimate level (as demonstrated by Abel, Noah, Abraham, and each household at the Passover). God would have continued this with Israel, each having an altar of earth or stones at their home upon which to sacrifice (Ex. 20:18-26), but the people were afraid of God and asked Moses to be their intermediary: the beginning of the priesthood. Aaron, his sons, and the Levites were set apart by God as conduits of His spiritual authority, absolvement, and approval.

At the suggestion of Jethro (Ex. 18), Moses delegated social responsibility. Eventually even having judges proved to be too scary for Israel, and the people demanded a king; running farther away from a personal God. God sent prophets to remind His people of His desire and determination to have personal, restored relationships, but too often the people did not listen.

God sent John the baptizer as a transition between the old and new covenants; between the Levitical priesthood and the priesthood of all believers through our High Priest Jesus Christ. Instead of sacrificing lambs to atone for people in the temple so that the holy Presence of God might reside there; John goes to the Jordan to prepare living temples for God's Presence through repentance and baptism. As for Jesus insisting John baptize Him in order to "fulfill all righteousness," we have the picture of the last human priest ordained by God assisting the eternal God-man High Priest into His ministry. John declared Jesus' identity before His baptism (symbolizing death) as "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world;" and His Father declares Jesus' identity after His baptism (symbolizing resurrection), saying, "This is my beloved Son." The Holy Spirit bore witness as the descended dove, that His priestly ministry would be to "baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Thus Jesus, the Word of God, is the sole source of God's authority, atonement, and approval in our lives.



The entire Old Testament describes various sacrifices and payments for sin, as well as thankful offerings for the blessings of God. These payments supported the temple and its workers.

Exodus 30:15-16: "The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls."

Deuteronomy 12:5-7 "But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee."

We don't give sacrifices, offerings and tithes to the Temple and its workers because we are not Jews. Jesus, as a Jew, reluctantly paid the temple tax ("sons are exempt" -- see Mat. 17:24-27). Jesus never asked people to support Him with their money or service, but a group of women chose to do so (Mark 15:41). Though the apostle Paul received wages from some churches (2 Cor. 11:7-13), he never demanded wages as the false apostles did, nor did he teach Christians to pay tithes. The Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., and our High "Priest forever, in the order of Melchizadek (Heb. 7:17)," already collected his tithe from Abraham. "For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. (Hebrews 7:12)" No New Testament scripture commands us to pay tithes. We are not under the Law, and we have no priests or temple to support because we are each priests and temples of the Holy Spirit.


Believers are commanded to work to provide for their own needs and the needs of their families (2 Thess. 3:all). The local churches were to provide for true widows of exceptional character (1 Tim. 5:all). When collections were taken it was either out of a loving desire to "share the wealth" that there would be none needy among them (Acts 4:32-37) or for relief of other believers who were being persecuted and in need (2 Cor. 8 and 9). Paul established a practice for each believer to set aside some money, according to his prosperity, on the first day of the week; saving it up until they chose messengers to take it to those in need (1 Cor. 16:1-3). Jesus gave instructions to the Jewish community concerning providing for their poor (Matthew 6:1-4). I can find no scripture commanding Christians to provide for poor unbelievers, but charity could definitely be implied in loving you neighbor and your enemies (Mat. 5:43-48).

It is reasonable for churches to provide necessities for those they send out to minister to others as well as for those who are sent to minister to them. Both Acts 15:3 and 3 John 6 contain the word propempo which means to send forward, accompany; or to fit him out with the requisites for a journey. Local believers were to entertain other believers, even though they be strangers, as they engaged in the work of the Lord (Heb. 13:1-2 and 3 John 5-8).

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9 about the right of preachers of the gospel to obtain material support from those who have spiritually benefited from their message. He later tells them, "I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service (2 Corinthians 11:8)." Paul didn't request justified imbursement for his labors in preaching at Corinth, because he wanted to make a distinction between himself and the false prophets who demanded payment. He later regretted this action because of the way the Corinthians questioned his authority. Yet Paul determined to continue to minister to them without charge because of his parental love for them (2 Cor. 12:11-21). This fatherly ministry without charge had previously worked well for Paul during his brief (less than three months) stay in the Jewish city of Thessalonica (1 Thess. 1:7-12), but it back-fired during his free eighteen month teaching stint in the pagan city of Corinth. Paul learned why Jesus commanded us to "call no one father," as he found himself to be the source of church discipline (1 Cor. 4:14-5:5 and 2 Cor. 12:14-13:10), instead of holding them responsible to obey the Father's commands through Jesus (Mat. 18:15-20). Ten years later Paul charges Timothy to make sure elders are paid and respected for their labor and rebuked publicly when they sin (1 Tim. 5:17-21). Though the gospel should be ministered free of charge to unbelievers (Mat. 10:8), it is reasonable for believers to financially support their religious overseers and teachers (Gal. 6:6).


Like the people of Israel, the Catholic and Protestant churches have largely given up direct worship of God, and the Bible as their sole authority. We have also chosen to ignore the priesthood of all believers, and opted for indirect worship led by a paid clergy class. Though the hierarchical systems of traditional American churches are flawed, it does not mean that all who serve in a paid position are wicked or greedy.

When Jesus, the Servant-Leader mentioned His death, His disciples jumped at the opportunity to be left "in charge", and each time Jesus tells them His kingdom does not grant positions of power over others like the world does, but that leaders in His kingdom are those who minister to others needs as servants (Matthew 20:17-28; Mark 10:32-45; and Luke 22:14-39). Based upon Christ's teachings (Matthew 18:15-20; and John 4:19-24; 16:13-15), early Christians met freely outside the temple in Solomon's porch, or in each other's homes, or in large open areas. Their worship was no longer bound to a place. Their worship was also no longer controlled by a succession of human, sinful priests, but ruled by the perfect High-Priest who never changes (Hebrews 7-10 and 13:11-16). God liberated His people from religious rules (the Law) and religious rulers (the Levitical priesthood). Through Christ's atonement God made us priests and put the "law of the Spirit of life" within our hearts so we could have personal relationship with Him. Christ canceled religious rules and rulers, and established familial relationships with only One Father.

But when father is out of sight, siblings squabble for dominance. They question who's in charge and what father really said. They fight over possessions and what group game to play. Instead of being thankful for the many different toys and playing together in peace, factions develop around certain toys (doctrines) and the person who possesses the toy (leader of denomination). Some siblings will invent their own toys (false teaching) in order to gain a group (cult) which they can lead. Paul's answer to denominations is in 1 Corinthians 1-4, in which he beseeches them not to follow after God's messengers, but only to imitate their godly lives in the light of God's glory. Christian leaders have no authority given them from which they may issue commands; they can only serve and persuade men by their words and lifestyles. Regarding heretics (those who try to create sects), Paul uses the three step method of Matthew 18:15-20 (see Titus 3:9-11).

The new Gentile believers were unaccustomed to being a separate community within the world's system (1 Corinthians 5:9-6:8), and the Jewish believers longed for the system from which they had been delivered (Hebrews 10:19-39). Divisions (heresies) and false doctrine continued to plague Christianity. Christians decided to take matters into their own hands and established "holy" places of worship with "ordained people" who alone were "authorized" to minister the "holy" sacraments of communion and baptism and foot-washing (forgiveness of sins). Hierarchy was established about 250 A.D. to try to control or to eliminate heresy, but today we see it has only created divisions (denominations) which establish there own hierarchy. Governments and hierarchy offer a sense of safety at the cost of personal freedom, and the protection becomes enslavement because human authority is corrupt.

The people in the pews need to understand that if they pay one or a few people to do most of the ministry, that they are setting up these individuals to become proud and corrupt, and that the congregation will be set up to worship mere men rather than the Creator (1 Cor. 1:10-13). God has gifted all members of His Body, and has provided officers, whose humble service has been recognized by other members, to prepare God's people to minister (Eph. 4:1-16).

Wise teachers and parents know you do not perform a task for a child that he can do for himself. Through patient instruction and loving correction, they prepare the child to live independent from them. These elders "who serve well" in the church implement such training of younger or newer converts (2 Tim. 2:2 and Titus 2). I call "elders" who use their position to make people dependent upon them, or to further their lucrative religious careers, the "Protestant Priesthood". There are those few who really want to serve the Lord and His people, but conform to the traditions of men because they know no other way.

The Protestant Priesthood contains "hirelings" (John 10:12) who "through covetousness and with feigned words make merchandise of people" (2 Peter 2:3). These men attract those who did not receive approval and loving correction from their fathers, and are often a product of the same themselves. (I believe this is why "He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children" is so important to the re-establishment of God as sole source of authority and acceptance.) They seek to undermine a personal relationship with God by setting themselves up as the only one who can hear God's voice clearly while opposing all private directions from God in a person's life through intimidation and manipulation.

Damaged persons will continue to jump through hoops and ignore clear evidence of fraud and impurity in hope of being accepted and approved by these self-appointed authority figures. The Protestant Priesthood surround themselves with yes-men and can give the appearance of accountability. Any who question their authority are branded "untrustworthy" by various means: accusation of sin or being demon-possessed, accusation of being legalistic when presenting the Bible as the only authority, diminution by bringing up past sins repented of long ago, or belittling by flaunting pastoral position and power.


The church is the family of God, and it has only one Father. Instead of following Christ's commands to call no one on earth our father, we have created thousands of idolatrous "families" supposedly in submission to the Head. Like the Israelites before us demanding a king because they rejected God's sovereignty in their lives (See 1 Samuel 8), many Christians elect a man to govern their spiritual sojourns. We are still as worldly as the new church in Corinth, unable to discern the mysteries and digest the meat of the Word because we are too busy exalting mere men (1 Corinthians 1-3). We have forgotten God uses weak and foolish people by means of weak and foolish preaching to draw us to Jesus, "who is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." I do not oppose gifts of leadership among the body; I oppose the separation and exaltation of a clergy class from the body.

When Jesus died on the cross, the veil of the Holy of Holies was rent in two, giving all who would believe in the risen Savior direct access to God, the Father. Jesus abolished the clergy/laity system forever, so that no further spiritual abuse of His creation would continue. Churches met in homes for the first two hundred years, and the first church buildings were round and flat. No one person was elevated, except Jesus. If they followed the pattern for orderly worship given in 1 Corinthians 11-14, everyone got to speak in turn and everyone got to judge what was being said at the time it was said. They met often in each other's homes. These were intimate, accountable groups with God as their Father, Teacher, and Master. Eventually power-hungry people institutionalized the church and made it into a greedy business that led to the Dark Ages, and people willing to reject God as their only Father received it.


Today, when a "common" (i.e., non-clerical) person confronts a clergyman of his sin, the clergyman has the option of denouncing the commoner based upon the elevated position given him by the people. Some of the commoners who have idolized the clergyman (given him the place of Father in their lives) will immediately deny that their "god" could commit sin, and will often turn against the one who exposed the sin; thus the whistle-blower, who broke through the unrealistic expectations and the secrecy, is excommunicated. If the whistle-blower values his relationships within the church system more than the truth, he might be "convinced" by others that he was wrong ("rebellious" or demon-possessed and in need of deliverance) in order to remain within the system. In order for the whistle-blower to remain out of reach of the toxic tentacles of the system, he must break the relationships with those still within the system. If others break free of the system, he may choose whether or not to form new relationships with them, but relationships that just rehash the past are counter-productive.

The clergyman, having been given the place of God, might feel he has nowhere to go for help with his sin nature, because a god cannot have imperfections and let down "his" people. Because clergy have separated themselves from the people they "minister" to, and can, at best, only confess their sin to another pastor outside their system; they are set up for major sin and abuse. The clergyman would first need to repent to God for playing god in peoples' lives, and then repent of the sin.


A child accuses a parent of incest. Because of parental authority, the parent can dismiss the child's accusation or disown the child completely. Other siblings are apt to believe the parent, even if it means remaining in denial of their own painful memories. If the whistle-blower values his relationships within the family system more than self-protection and truth, he might be convinced that he was wrong in order to remain within the system. In order for the child to be free from the poisonous effects of the system, he must break the relationships with those still unrepentant (in denial) within the system. If others repent and break free of the system, he may choose whether or not to form new relationships with them, but relationships that just rehash the past are counter-productive and detrimental.

If the abuser claimed to be a Christian, he has shown himself to be apostate (the "railer" is abusive in 1 Cor. 5:11-13). The non-Christian abusive parent first needs the light of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4-6) so he can repent to God and receive forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Then he can confess playing god in the family as well as the other sins committed. He must repent of sins to each family member and ask for forgiveness. When parents confess their sins to children, it elevates the child to the same personal (spiritual) status as the parent before God, and brings about much health and healing in the family. Families may prosecute the abuser for his crimes regardless of his spiritual state.


In both systems beware of those who wish to remain in the idolatrous system and still be your friend. Their loyalties can not be divided (see Matthew 6:24). Though their affections for you, and yours for them, may still be strong, they have to choose between loving the person who is telling the truth or the person who is lying. Do not accept the "cop-out" that says both of you are partly right and just need to clear up the misunderstanding. Sin can only be cleared through repentance and forgiveness. Many just want to remain secure in their unrepentance and familiar idolatry. How much time you want to give them to make this decision is between you and God. God sets limits on the amount of time He will let people continue in sin (Rev. 2:20-23) -- there is a judgment day coming!

Is it possible to "fix" the idolatrous family and church systems which refuse to acknowledge God as the one and only Father? I think in Matthew 12:50 and 23:9 Jesus clearly says "no," but that He has established a new family system in which all who come out of denial of sin in order to receive His forgiveness, and who choose to do the will of the one Father in heaven, are welcome.


Matthew 23:8-12 applies here as well as at church and home. Even though a teacher and a boss need to lead and manage people in order to achieve a goal, neither one may usurp God's supreme authority in a person's life. Only one Teacher will lead us into all truth (John 16:12-15). Only the Master can rightly demand our total allegiance and obedience.

The U.S. Supreme Court designated secular humanism as a religion in 1961 in the case of Torcaso v. Watkins; therefore the federal government has violated the First Amendment by establishing a national religion through the public school systems. The only god our public school system wants to keep out is the Creator and Giver of inalienable rights found in the Declaration of Independence and the Bible. Most schools have open access, and must allow time and space for children to hear special presentations from outsiders. It's a great opportunity for the true gospel to be proclaimed in hopes of overcoming twelve years of humanistic brain-washing. Colossians 3:23-24 "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." God created us with the need to be one spirit with Him; to willingly give ourselves to Him as "living sacrifices." All other gods demand sacrifice. If we have not given ourselves to God, we might give ourselves to those who try to take His place. We might sacrifice our extra time and energy, and even our personalities and sexual boundaries in order to please these false gods and be found acceptable to them. It's no wonder that sexual harassment is increasing in the work place, and that public schools are training children to become "temple prostitutes" to the god of humanism.


The nation of Israel went through cycles of being a separate people who revered and obeyed God's Word, to mixing with the cultures around them and disobeying God's Word. Though we have no land on earth, the "holy nation" of Christianity is little different. Christians still marry non-Christians and reap the dire consequences. Christians still allow the culture to dictate some of the beliefs and actions of the church, instead of "withstanding the evil day" and maintaining its firm boundaries in the Bible. To a large extent the church has relinquished its authority to judge and to forgive sin to the secular courts (1 Cor. 6:1-11), psychology, and 12-step groups. The world is crying out for absolute truth and authority that will impose discipline. The majority have rejected God and will embrace the anti-Christ and his one-world government; but there is a promised remnant who will remain true to God and His Word, and see Christ rule with a rod of iron and dash the ungodly to pieces (Psalm 2).

There was a remnant of Israel who chose to escape the comfortable trappings of Babylon, and return to the rubble of their religious system and rebuild it. The Holy Spirit's restoration of the church could follow the pattern of Ezra and Nehemiah's restoration of the temple and the wall in Jerusalem. Ezra's name means "help," and Nehemiah's name means "Yah consoles" or "God comforts." Jeshua, the high priest, first reestablished the sacrifice (Ezra 3:2-3 and Zech. 3-4). Jesus provided the sacrifice to make way for our Helper and Comforter to encourage us.

In order for the Bride of Christ to make herself ready for the Groom's return, she must be made holy through the washing of the Word (Eph. 5:25-27). First the Holy Spirit convinces us of our sins as a group of people who have disobeyed God (Neh. 1), a people who has intermingled with putrid idols. As individuals we need to confess our sins and take the time to thoroughly purge ourselves of all known ungodly entanglements (Ezra 10:1-17 and 1 Cor. 7-8). As a church we need to disfellowship unrepentant people (Ezra 4:1-3; Neh. 2:19-20 and 1 Cor. 5). Then we need to be immersed into God's Word. For seven days Ezra read the Law and the Levites instructed each family as to its meaning, and they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles (Neh. 8) and reviewed their history (Neh. 9:6-37). The hearing of God's Word brought about more confession and worship. Maybe Christians could call for a day of repentance and then gather in camp grounds to read the Bible and worship and fellowship.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Col. 3:16)

A typical meeting could follow the guidelines of Neh. 9:1-5: one half of the time in teaching one another God's Word (Mat. 28:20) and rebuking one another if necessary, and the other half in confession to one another (James 5:16) and worship (Eph. 5:18-20 and 1 Cor. 14:26-33). Most churches provide no opportunity for confessing to one another. It is confession of our sins and acceptance of God's grace that lifts our hearts to worship our God. Preaching to the unsaved should be done outside the church after teaching the saints how to obey Jesus occurs within.

One of Nehemiah's first acts was to reset the gates. Gates keep the family safe from the threats outside. Gates are noted as a place of justice (Neh. 3). Our society desperately needs the church to be a place of justice again (1 Cor. 5:9-6:8). The leaders did not use their authority to gain wealth or to lord it over the people and make them their servants, but to serve the people (Neh. 5:14-19). They read God's Word to the people, giving it clarity and meaning (Neh. 8:7-8). Sometimes that meant rebuking them and making them choose between God and sin (Neh. 13:23-28).

Like Ezra (4:1-5), we can expect enemies to want to help us rebuild the wall, suggesting which parts of God's Word we should obey and disobey; but we must be people wholeheartedly set to obey all of God's Word. Sometimes our enemies will use political and spiritual accusations to dissuade us from our goal (Neh. 6:1-14). Sometimes government will help (Neh. 2:1-10), and other times it will obstruct (Ezra 4:5-24). Often it is the past disappointment (Neh. 4:10) and immensity of the task that is hardest to overcome. With the help of our God we can rebuild the wall of Biblical authority.

As the enemies of the gospel see Christians rebuilding the wall by boldly obeying God's Word, they will see their gaps of "greasy grace" closing with them on the outside (Neh. 4:1-7). When they plotted and threatened, Nehemiah posted families at the low points in the wall, and told them; "The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another. In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us." (Neh. 4:19-20). These "families" could be churches, each responsible to protect certain doctrines from neglect; and when one portion of God's Word comes under attack, we should all come together and see God uphold His Word. Maybe these "families" are simply families and individuals who are obedient to the Lord.

The Israelites signed a binding contract to obey God and care for His temple (Neh. 10:1-12:20). They dedicated their restored wall with joyful celebration that was heard far away (Neh. 12:27-43). I think many people desire to become Christians. If we would distinguish ourselves from the world long enough for them to see our clear boundaries and hear our joy, I think they would rush in, eager to repent and to rest in the security that comes from obeying the Truth. The New Jerusalem is the Bride of Christ; let's be careful how we build.

As Christian believers we must uphold the Truth, the living Word of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We must lovingly and decisively point all people to Him and to no other. Everything and everyone else is merely a tool of deception or a tool leading to the Truth. May we be faithful tools our Master empowers to draw others to Himself so that He might make them whole. [1 ]Billy Graham, Answers to Life's Problems (Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1988), p.229.

2 Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, deluxe second edition, (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1983), p. 903.

[3] George MacDonald (Compiled and edited by Michael R. Philips), Discovering the Character of God, (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1989), p. 53.

[4] Brief Therapy: Myths, Methods, and Metaphors edited by Jeffrey K. Zeig, Ph.D., and Stephen G. Gilligan, Ph.D. New York, NY: Brunner/Mazel, Inc., 1990, p. 101.

[5] Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Against Therapy Emotional Tyranny and the Myth of Psychological Healing, (New York, New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., 1988), preface ix

[6] Masson, Against Therapy, p. 168

7 Ibid., preface x.

[8] Masson, Against Therapy , p. 111.

[9] Ibid., p. 192.

[10] Masson, Against Therapy , p. 81.

[11] Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, Boundaries. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992, p. 189.

[12] William L. Playfair, M.D., The Useful Lie, Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1991, p. 35.

13 Brief Therapy: Myths, Methods, and Metaphors edited by Jeffrey K. Zeig, Ph.D., and Stephen G. Gilligan, Ph.D. New York, NY: Brunner/Mazel, Inc., 1990, p. 59.

[14] Frank Parkinson, Post-Trauma Stress (Tucson, Arizona: Fisher Books, 1993), p.1-2.

[15] Sigmund Freud, "Mourning and Melancholia," Standard Edition of The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, vol. 14, (London, England: Hogarth Press, 1957), p. 244.

[16] Frank Parkinson, Post-Trauma Stress (Tucson, Arizona: Fisher Books, 1993), p. 95.

[17] Ibid., p. 85.

18 William L. Playfair, M.D., The Useful Lie, (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1991) p. 69.

[19] Masson, Against Therapy, p.244.

[20] Masson, Against Therapy, p.248.

[21] The Full Life Study Bible (NIV). Donald C. Stamps, General Editor. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing Company, 1990, p. 576.

© 1997 L. Eve Engelbrite