When men know what they believe before they know the Bible, the Bible is then used to prove what is already believed, rather than going to the Bible to find out what one should believe. The result of this method of dealing with the Bible is that scriptures which contradict their beliefs must either be ignored or interpreted in a way that fits into their prior scheme. Sometimes the interpretation of a scripture is in direct contradiction of the actual meaning of the words of that scripture. Thus the denominations formed from the Reformation were bound by their creeds and confessions from truly restoring the New Testament church.
Here we can see the problem with the sects which arose during the Reformation and before. They already had a framework for what they believed was “the Church.” There were many points of Catholicism that they disagreed with, but they only changed those things. Some rejected infant baptism. Some rejected transubstantiation (https://www.google.com/searchq=transubstantiation+definition&aq=2&oq=transub&sugexp=chrome,mod=4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8) Other’s had a quarrel with indulgences and the corruption of the priesthood, and yet, when they began to resist the authority of the Catholic Church, they only did so partially. For the most part they went on to incorporate many of the false teachings into the new movements which they started. One erroneous teaching that took on many different forms was the teaching of the deity, or flesh of Christ. More will be written addressing this at a later time.
We can see that Holdeman was bent on being the only right man on earth. If anyone else was right, he reasoned, they would come to him, he would not go to them. The arrogance of this can scarcely be comprehended. What is even more fantastic is that otherwise reasonable and thoughtful men have continued to believe and teach this fallacy. There is only one explanation for this; they want power. When a man has no need for power, he will have no need to seize the reins of an organization which claims to be the only right people on earth. This brings us to the question, “What are the signs of a true New Testament church?”
One thing that is NOT a requirement is a lineage. However, for a moment, let us leave aside what it is NOT and examine what it IS.
The church is a SUPERNATURAL institution! The word “church” is translated from the Greek word “ekklesia,” which should more accurately be translated “assembly,” or “congregation.” The way Holdeman uses the word, and the way it is often used by others, denotes some sort of invisible government or mysterious institution. The church is simply the local assembly, those who have gathered in a particular place to worship God. They are a part of the larger entity, the Body of Christ. Following are the principles of New Testament Order:
1. Christ, and Christ alone, is the head of the church.
2. EVERY member of the church has an office or function.
3. God gives each member a gift of the Spirit to operate in his office or function.
4. The grace of God is imparted through these gifts and their operation in the office.
5. The gifts and offices are perpetual and are to remain in the church until the return of Christ at his second advent.
6. The first or highest office in the church is the office of apostle.
These points are all scriptural, as will be shown in later articles. It is worth noting that there is no mention of a traceable, unbroken line of succession. The church cannot be contained in the hands of men. They cannot possibly be the kind of caretakers that would be required in order to keep it spotless and unblemished. The lineage is impossible to trace, and the purity of it is impossible to keep. The only way for it to move from a presumably flawed organization into a new and restored one is for a man to make the decision and make the change. This requires such a high degree of anointing and lofty spiritual standing as to be almost ridiculous. This man has to claim this status for himself. He has to be the sole determining voice as to when and how the old church is corrupted and how and when to organize a new one. Men who do this almost always do it alone. They do not call together a group of their brethren and make the decision as a body. They almost always bring together a group of disenfranchised followers. It is very difficult to pull members away from the original group. It works much better to begin to collect strays who have no place to belong, and who are attracted to an apparently brilliant and charismatic leader. The fact remains that if one man is able to do this, there is nothing to stop another one, many years down the road from appropriating his pattern of behavior and his example and doing it all over again. Of course at that point the new leader is called a heretic and out of order.
Let’s talk about the first point; Christ is the head of the church.
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the HEAD over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullnes of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:22-23)
And he is the HEAD of the body, the church; who is the eginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. Colossians 1:18
It is clear from reading these two scriptures that Christ is the head of the church, his body. He came to save all who would believe, not all who would unite with John Holdeman. If Christ is the head of the church, then where is the headquarters of the church? Is it in Rome? Salt Lake City? Moundridge Kansas? No, it is in heaven. There can be no earthly headquarters. This leads us to the idea of incorporation. The Holdeman church is incorporated, a legal entity. It is incorporated as a larger body, and I understand that each congregation is individually incorporated. It is my understanding that this was done to limit liability in case anyone ever brought a lawsuit and there was a money judgment of some kind, the whole church would not be held liable. However it is now also my understanding that in some Mafia trial there is a precedent that overthrows this rule. Formerly, due to such laws, it was impossible to bring down more than one Mafia boss in a single trial, but due to the changes in this law, they can all be viewed as a single entity and all held liable. If I am incorrect in this assumption I can be corrected. I will do some further searching and see what the exact details are about this.
The Church of God in Christ Mennonite, Inc. is located at
Moundridge, KS 67107
NOT in heaven. Once they incorporated they ceased to be a heavenly entity and became a legal and earthly entity. This is sad, a shame and a disgrace.
The reason for incorporating was that in the early 1950s a large bequest was left to a number of Mennonite-type churches. This is known as the Showalter Estate. More can be written about this at a later time, but for now it is enough to say that when the Holdemans found themselves joint recepients of this money, they found there was one catch; they had to incorporate in order to receive it. This presented no problem. If there was money to be collected, they had no problem with incorporation. It can now not be denied that they are headquartered in Moundridge Kansas. They are a legal entity. They are registered with the government, and as such they are liable to be monitored by the government, controlled by the government, and possibly shut down by the government. There are now boards to elect and which must meet, trustees to handle the money, reports to be presented, and meetings to be attended, and more business than you can shake a stick at. This is a high spot to come back from. It would have been best if they had never gone there.