t is hard to believe that this issue completes five years of publication of THE EXAMINER. Yet it has been done with the Lord's blessings (we believe), and with the help of hundreds of you ~ who are readers. Your prayers, your financial help, your sending in names for the paper, and your encouragement have helped get us this far. We are indeed grateful to all of you. Without you it could not have been done. God will bless and reward you accordingly.
Have you ever known of another paper that started with only faith in God and that, if it is His will, the readers of the paper would underwrite the financial burden? There was no way we could do it; hence, if this arrangement had not worked it would have never been done. We had almost nothing to start with other than a recognition of the great need for such a unique paper with such a vital and fundamental message. The amazing results that have come from these five years of publication are almost unbelievable. There was never a lack of faith in God or doubt that such a task was His will.
All of us recognized the great need for this special effort to help open the eyes and hearts of His saints to the vital, but simple, truths that had been lost in the institutionalizing of His people in "the local church" corporation. His people had come to "belong to the church" rather than to the Lord Jesus. Hence, they were (are) under the authority and control of the local church corporate officials, called "the Elder-ship." They needed to learn about and find the precious freedom in Christ that is their rightful inheritance as the sons and daughters of light!
In the last 30-40 years, an unholy doctrine has come to be bound upon the "members of the local church". It is that "to obey the elders is the same as obeying God; and to disobey the elders is the same as disobeying God." Please note carefully what you just read. You can substitute the title of POPE in that sentence where the word "elders" appears and it is still just as true! Sometimes the Church of Christ clergy will put it this way: "You are to SUBMIT to the elders when you agree with their decisions and rules; and you must OBEY the elders when you disagree with their decisions and rules." This means your decisions are not to be your own because you must make the decisions of the eldership your decisions in serving the Lord. The elders are the corporate officials who manage the operation of the local church organization. They are not the shepherds or pastors of the sheep.
The laity-members have no voice or vote in what is done by or in "the local church" corporation. In such a situation, all you need to do is to obey the rulers of "the local church" corporation. This is the way to be praised as "faithful member of the church" with the "blessed assurance" that heaven is assured for you because of this submission to men! Incredible! You do not need to think or study for yourself; just accept what you are told and obey the men who rule over you.
May God have mercy upon the poor, deluded souls who commit their eternal well-being into the hands of sinful and fallible men, whoever they are. And may God have mercy upon all these hired, employee-preacher-clergy who are paid to proclaim and help enforce the power and control of men over you. In doing so they demand that you must obey men rather than God! There is a day of reckoning coming!
Please excuse me for getting off on the above matter, but it does need to be "gotten off on" until we can help God's people to fully realize what has happened to them. Membership is one of these local corporate church institutions, which are built, owned and controlled by men, has nothing whatever to do with your belonging to Christ and going to heaven. You cannot find anywhere in the New Covenant Scriptures that any disciple of Jesus ever "belonged to" any corporate structure of any sort or kind! They belonged only to Jesus Christ who purchased them with His own blood. His redeemed people should have "no other Lord or Master". Jesus Christ is the one and only "Head over all things to the ekklesia, which is His body." Paul tells us that there is only "one Lord" or Master over us. Dear brother or sister, do you belong to a local church institution, in which you are required to obey its rulers? Or, do you belong to Christ, with Him alone as your Lord and Master? You can't have it both ways.
Now back to the brief history of THE EXAMINER. I am still amazed that we have completed five years of publication. But with God and His faithful saints all things are possible. My original position was that if we made it for five years we would then stop the paper. Well, we have made it for five years, and we do praise and thank God for this great accomplishment. However, something like two years ago we begin to realize that we were really just getting started with what needs to be done. Things were beginning to break open and all over the nation people were beginning to understand and accept the simple way of the Lord for themselves. There was great excitement and joy in many areas of the country. More and more saints were leaving the local church institution to follow the Lord Jesus. They were claiming their freedom in Christ and accepting their individual responsibility in "living for Jesus" rather than "belonging to" and "attending worship services" (rituals and rites) conducted by some corporate structure, called a "Church of Christ", ruled and controlled by men.
Can you imagine those early disciples dragging along the local church institution when they were fleeing from Jerusalem because of the terrible persecution? Or, wherever they stopped that they set up an organization or institution so they would have a "church" in which to serve God and conduct and control the sacred "five acts of worship"? Just think about that. They did not have such a corporate structure to finance, burden or hinder them. Surely you can understand that they did NOT "drag along" with them "the other CHURCH," one of these $10-million buildings!! Building a CHURCH house in which to "hold worship services" and other religious activities never entered the minds of the early disciples. And certainly there is no instruction from Jesus to build a church/building.
Our relationship with God is personal and individual; it is not based upon any institutional or organizational arrangement of men. Jesus did not give His life on the cross for an organization; He died only for you and me!
Please forgive me, I got off the subject again. (How many times does that make now?)
Having reached the 5-years of publication goal and recognizing that we have really just started toward the potential of what can be done, we are going to continue with the publication of THE EXAMINER, taking it an issue at a time.
IF YOU, the readers, will continue to support this work with your prayers, encouragement, and especially with your financial help, we can go on to reach out to thousands of other believers with the vital message that they need. We are over 15,000 in circulation. We need to move on up to 20,000 or more. We need the names/addresses of thousands more to whom we can send this paper for a trial period of six issues. YOU can help us with getting these names. It is our desire to send the paper to every saint possible. Send all the names you can. Send all the up-to-date church directories that you can get. Don't try to decide who will want the paper and who won't; let each one make his or her own decision about this after they receive the paper. Some who "hated" it at first, later came to be some of the strongest supporters. Keep in mind that what we are setting forth comes as quite a "shock" to many of the sheltered and protected, submissive, church members.
Yes, I am very much aware that many of the churches are now guarding their Church Directory like the thing is made of gold! The reason is that the Eiders/Rulers, and especially the hired clergy/preacher, do not want their member-subjects to be exposed to THE EXAMINER. If the members read it, they may get "disturbed" and begin to ask questions and start studying God s word to see if these things are true or not. That kind of reaction is approved in Scripture (Acts 17:11 ); but the church officials don't approve of such. It has gone to some places where those in power have taken it to the pulpit and railed against it, even as if it was sent from the depths of hell by the devil himself. They are fearful rulers who know that their teaching and practice will not stand the test of scriptural examination. What a shame.
We are dependent upon you, the readers, who recognize the value of this effort and want to share the financial burden. It cost a tot of money to pay the total bill for this work. Keeping adequate funds on hand for the next issue is the worrisome, continual problem. Sometimes I get very nervous and concerned, but so far we have made it.
Please remember that no one connected with this effort receives any financial compensation whatever for what is done. Example: I am sure that I will average 10 hours per day six days each week with the various aspects of this project. Even with all that time, it is impossible for me to answer all the mail that comes. This is the one major area that gives me the greatest regret; and once more I must offer my apology to YOU if I have not answered or responded to your letter or request. ALso, others put in many hours each week helping in various ways, without any financial compensation. Believe me, we have our hands full and more. As the circulation grows, this will bring on more work. We, along with others, keep praying and hoping that somehow enough money will come in so that we can employ some professional help for at least two days each week.
Our financial needs could be solved rather easily if enough people would help on a regular basis. Do you realize that if only 1,000 readers would give $10 each month that this would pay the current cost of publication, with some left over for printing some books and pamphlets for free distribution. Or, if 500 readers would give only $20 per month we could do the same thing; and perhaps hire some needed help with the workload and to keep up with things when Jewel and I are on the road. Once more, if we had only 250 readers who would give only $40 per month, there would be the money needed to do what I described above.
We have some generous monthly financial supporters and without these we could not go on. Then there have been a number who have sent rather large contributions of $1000, $500, $300, $200, some even more than once. A few other gracious, generous saints send $250, $200, and $100 each month. Several others send $60, $50, $25, $20, $15 or so, each month.
With faith in God and in the righteousness of this effort, and with your prayers, financial support, and encouragement we are going on into the sixth year.
"Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (cf. 2 Cor. 9:7). CAH