Greg Alston (26 Dec 2021)
"What’s Wrong with the Church"


What’s Wrong with the Church Acts 20:29-31


"Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate."
- Revelation 2:6

What are the "deeds of the Nicolaitans" mentioned here and in verse 15 of Revelation 2? Zola Levitt writes in his book, Seven Churches:

A literal translation of the word Nicolaitan means 'to conquer the people.' This refers to the establishing of a hierarchy or a priestly order in the church, dividing the believers into superior and inferior ranks. In reality the leadership of a proper church are servants of the people...those churches who establish an order of ranks and levels of importance among their clergy are guilty of this heresy.

Alexander Strauch, in his book Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership, states:

The tragedy of the clergy-laity error is that it inevitably establishes a secular-sacred division between the Lord's people. Two levels of people are created - an elite clerical order that performs the community's religious functions and a mass of unqualified laymen. Such a division fragments the body, destroying the lofty status, oneness, and simplicity of Christ's holy community. Clericalism, in addition to wrongly dividing the holy brotherhood and suppressing the masses of God's people, has done more to diminish church eldership than almost any other doctrine...churches have ignored the pastoral oversight of the church by a plurality of elders - a concept plainly set forth in Scripture - and replaced it with a one-man pastor, which is inadequately defensible by Scripture.

The clergy-laity system pervades the churches of our land. To some degree, it is present in most every church in America. The system depletes the body of its vitality and, therefore, its ability to impact the world as it should. Rather than developing and building up the saints, the church of today often exploits God's people for its own purposes. James Rutz, founder of Open Church Ministries, writes:

Up until the fourth century, we were a laity- driven movement. But in the space of about eighty years, we dumped our spiritual responsibilities onto the shoulders of paid professionals, who to this day still do about 70% of the work of the church. We kicked back and relaxed, content to compartmentalize our lives into sacred and secular. Six days of worldly pursuits, followed by a quick shift into an elaborate world of man-made sacredness, which today has a bedazzling constellation of props: church buildings, pews, pulpits, programs, committees, choirs, stained glass, seminary- trained clergy, robes, liturgies, unwritten rituals, and sermons so slick they require a pro to deliver. And none of these are found in the New Testament!

As a result of the foregoing practices, today's Church falls sadly short of what Christ intended it to be when He said, "Upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Sadly, as Mr. Rutz informs us, hell stormed the gates of the Church in the fourth century when Constantine merged it with the world. He incorporated pagans (and their practices), and usurped the headship


of Christ (he even retained the pagan high priest's title of Pontifex Maximus, from which the pope derives his title of "Pontiff". The result was a great host of abominable practices, not the least of which was the clergy/laity division. The 1,000 years that followed have appropriately been termed the "Dark Ages".


Why did Constantine do this? The answer is simple - for the sake of "unity". At the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, in 312 A.D., he saw a sign in the sky and, ostensibly, converted to Christianity. He later declared himself to be the head of the "Holy Roman Empire" - a great feat of "unity" that brought the government under the control of the Church. From that flowed the Papacy and the Roman Catholic Church.

Constantine's efforts invoke the memory of another character in antiquity - his name was Nimrod: "Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words...And they said, 'Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name; lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth'...So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth" (Genesis 11:1-8). Notice that the people were "united". They knew they could accomplish their goals if they would only "unite". But also notice that they pursued


their own goals, in their own strength: "let us," "for ourselves," "let us make," etc.

As we count down to the end of the age, this cry for unity is once again being heard among God's people. The Bible says that in the last days the very elect could be deceived (1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-11). Saints, the current cry for "unity" is a very subtle and devious deception.

On March 29, 1994, mainline evangelicals, including but not limited to Pat Robertson, Bill Bright and Charles Colson, covenanted with the Roman Catholic Church via a written agreement entitled Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium. They did this to pool their resources (unite) for the common good. The trend continues today. This return to the Mother Church (see Revelation 17:5) not only revokes the Protestant Reformation, but it is a giant step forward in the formation of the one- world religion that is prophesied to exist in the last days. This evil, however, is little recognized because its proponents believe they are doing something good! They believe that such an alliance will overturn the evils of our day, i.e., immorality, abortion, gay marriage, etc. - precisely what Constantine thought at the outset of the "Dark Ages."


It is sobering to consider the fate of those who order their priorities in contradiction to the written Word of God. His Word says that the times will continue to worsen (2 Timothy 3:1-3), that the predicted calamities "must come to pass" and that lawlessness will increase (not be eliminated) in the days preceding His return (Matthew 24:6-12). But what is the Christian Church doing? It is ignoring, rather defying, the Word of God

There are a number of grave implications associated with this. First, as evangelicals and charismatics stream back to Mother Rome (with its "crusaders" and "inquisitors"), they unwittingly help to establish the global church. Second, the believer's insistence on salvaging the world and attending to "the affairs of this life" will cause him to be left behind at the time of the Rapture (Luke 21:35,36). Hebrews 9:28 unequivocally states that Jesus will remove only those Christians who are "eagerly awaiting His appearing." "Looking for His appearing" necessitates a desire to leave this world - not redeem it! You cannot do both. As Jesus said, "you will either hate the one, and love the other, or else you will hold to one and despise the other." Choose the "better part" today and avoid regret tomorrow.

These cries for "unity in the body" are a substitute for the "unity of the Spirit" (Ephesians 4:3). The unity of the Spirit is inextricably connected to "the faith" and "the truth" (2 Thessalonians 2:13) - the definitions of which are plainly recorded in Scripture. We need to


earnestly contend for "the faith" - which refers to the basic tenets of Christianity, i.e., salvation by grace, the triune God, the virgin birth, etc. And the "truth" is explained by Jesus as being the Word - the Holy Scriptures (John 17:17). In other words, we need to be "doctrinally sound" - a requirement for genuine oneness and salvation (John 7:16,17; 17:11, 1 Timothy 4:16).

Moreover, biblical unity or "oneness" can be achieved only through personal "sanctification" (John 17:17-21). When praying for "oneness" in the 17th chapter of John, Jesus acknowledged that it can come only as a result of "sanctification." This is in stark contrast to the "ecumenical" unity that is being sought in many Christian circles today. That brand of unity is not the result of a sanctified life, but the product of carefully crafted plans on the part of the organizers to present an outward show of unity. In other words, "Biblical" unity automatically results from an inward condition, whereas "Nimrodian" unity is brought about through the carnal efforts of the participants. The unity that is being promoted by the evangelicals and charismatics is analogous to that which Nimrod sought. And the horrifying reality is that its Constantinian underpinnings are resurrecting the Holy Roman Empire!

So the problem with the Church is twofold: one, it's laced with clericalism, i.e., the "deeds of the Nicolaitans" and two, it is swept up


in an ecclesiastical whirlwind that will usher in MYSTERY BABYLON, THE GREAT. It is certainly time to heed the voice of Revelation 18:4:

"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, 'Come out of her, my people, that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues..."

...He that hath an ear, let him hear.

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