Bad Church a Legitimate Church?

The New Testament speaks of the entire Christian “church” as being one body yet having many members (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; ect). The unity is in a common allegiance to the same Lord Jesus Christ, but we are otherwise diverse in our locations and callings.

An individual is part of Christ’s invisible spiritual church by the new birth (received when one believes the gospel that Jesus died for our sins and rose again), but local assemblies that meet together and call themselves Christians are visible churches that may or may not be comprised of truly born-again individuals.

The Roman Catholic state church was invented in the fourth century by Emperor Constantine for the political expediency of unifying a mixed population of pagans and Christians into a single patriotic block of loyal citizens. Rome’s existing pagan religion underwent a disguise whereby its old customs continued under new Christian names and titles. Because the religion was founded by an emperor for the political purpose of unifying his empire, Roman Catholicism ever since has engaged in the unseemly obsession of coercing all other Christians to submit to the authority of its “pope” – the alleged reigning deputy of Jesus Christ and thereby pseudo emperor of the entire world .

This was terrible and demonic, of course, because the Catholic religion has not only used its political power to kill off rival churches, it has stifled sincere Christianity within its own ranks by inoculating its followers against the true gospel by duping them into the notion that they have been saved in a pagan manner by using outward “sacraments” rather than by sincerely trusting in Christ from the heart.

But given the political alternatives, the conversion of Rome as it occurred was not entirely bad. Christianity was preserved and kings gave glory to Jesus Christ. The pagan religion of old was defeated culturally by having to retreat and hide behind a Christian guise.

Although the Bible says quite a bit about different churches – identifying a hundred or so by location – the most important passage of all on the topic of the institutional manifestation of the church is found in Revelation chapters 1 through 3 where professing Christianity is divided into seven identifiable groups. The vision portrays those seven churches alone in Christ’s right hand and no others. Thereby we can say that symbolically all of outward Christianity is represented in those 7 churches – and remarkably, they contain unsaved blasphemers, idolaters, fornicators, and all sorts of other unwholesome characters. With some exception, most of the churches are sternly rebuked by the Lord Jesus Christ for their many faults and shortcomings – for the which many divine punishments are also prophesied.

The most severe in both sin and chastisement is the fourth one, Thyatira, yet the promise of ruling over the nations follows the period of purging. This church is the Roman Catholic institution – an outward form of Christianity that has failed to repent of certain notable sins that infect its unsaved membership:

Prophetess Jezebel: worshipping Mary and giving heed to apparitions;
Fornication: Clerical celibacy and refusal to allow re-marriage after divorce;
Eat sacrifices to Idols: Eucharistic blasphemy, statutes, and other superstitions.
Depths of Satan: Sub-cultures of luciferians and religious syncretism.

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; {19} I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. {20} Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. {21} And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. {22} Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. {23} And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. {24} But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. {25} But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. {26} And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: {27} And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. {28} And I will give him the morning star. {29} He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

The seven churches are:

  1. Ephesus: Early Church – rebuked for leaving the first love, the Bible, for traditions.
  2. Smyrna: Persecuted Church – only highly praised.
  3. Pergamos: Orthodox Church – rebuked for introducing sins such as Nicolaitanism (i.e., clergy lording it over the laity), idolizing the Mass, and fornication (prohibiting marriage and re-marriage).
  4. Thyatira: Romanism – rebuked as described above.
  5. Sardis: Protestant/Reformed – thinks it’s okay because it started out ok, but is actually filthy and dead.
  6. Philadelphia: Bible Churches/Baptists – highly praised for faithfulness to the word of God.
  7. Laodicea: Evangelicals/Modern – rebuked as smug and self-satisfied but in reality worthless pukes; true believers called out to zeal and repentance.

scots-churchThus the history of Christianity in its outward forms from 33 AD to the end of the Church-Age has been spelled out in the Holy Bible by the Lord Jesus Christ himself. What the apostle John wrote in Revelation chapters 1 through 3 has come to pass in such a way that 2,000 years of history proves his prophesy to be 100% true. Any Christian who professes to believe that what John wrote was prophetic must acknowledge that these seven churches depict a reality of good and bad churches and doctrines over time exactly as described.

The passages remove any doubt whatsoever that Roman Catholicism is not the “one true church” – but is in fact a highly flawed institution that Christ dislikes so much he is about to thrust it, and all the other apostate churches who join with it in the ungodly Ecumenical movement, into the great tribulation.

Only one of the seven churches is as an institution so thoroughly full of true believers that it will entirely be removed from the earth before the tribulation starts, and that is Philadelphia, the Bible-churches that have kept Christ’s word:

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Rev. 3:10.

Nevertheless, despite shortcomings, Revelation chapters 2 and 3 also make it abundantly clear that real believers do exist in all seven churches. The Orthodox, the Catholics, and the mainline Protestant churches (Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc) all seem entirely doomed, but that’s not necessarily true. Faithful remnants of true believers stuck in those churches are a real part of Christ’s spiritual church and thus maintain a tenuous legitimacy despite the soul-damning faults of their current religious leadership.

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1 Comment

  1. This makes me feel better (: thanks for sharing, it really sheds light on revelations, which is where i find myself most confused. Again great post!

    Like

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