We have had a comment from a brother in which he complains that we are stirring things up but that we offer no “viable solutions.” This is a part of our complaint…that men who are supposedly godly need someone to map out the path for them. As long as a man needs someone else to map out the way or carve the path for him, he has not yet been tried as a man. Part of being a man is living to the fullest and facing one’s darkest demons. Trusting categorically in anything for your acceptance in God’s eyes other than the finished work of Jesus Christ performed on your behalf is sin… That includes apparently good things such as attending religious services, performing various religious rituals, fasting, saying public prayers, and so on. Religion is not the answer. We frustrate the grace of God by saying that righteousness can come from the law (i.e., the ego’s principle of justification), since this directly implies that Christ died in vain.
It is to this end that we are debunking the idea of a lineage. If one needs a lineage and a prefabricated structure, one should stay within the framework that he was born in. If he still needs a framework, but cannot tolerate the one that he is in, then he should try very hard to find one as similar as he can to the one he is in, but kinder, gentler, more to his liking. One which has all of the positives which he now enjoys, but none of the negatives. This is a very tall order, as I’m sure you can see. The search for a good structure that pleases all the desires of one’s flesh is a troublesome quest.
This is not to say that some sort of order is not needed. But are you looking for it in some sort of perfect fellowship which already exists? Do you ponder at great length, testing theories of how you and your like-minded brethren might launch a more user-friendly version of the church which now confines you? Brother Hiram has observed that whenever there is a false teaching by any religious leader, it is always with an agenda, and that agenda always concerns power. Religious leaders who desire ultimate power over others have a clever knack for twisting scriptures into important-sounding doctrines which have a very powerful binding effect on the minds of the followers. As the followers begin to try to unwind a teaching that is confining to them, or difficult to bear, they are always confronted with an entire sweater that begins to unravel. They then begin to reason with themselves, and say, well, even though this doesn’t seem right to me, it must be, for if I remove this, then everything else falls apart. There is a good reason for this. The entire structure is built on one premise after another, all of which require the others in order to stand. Usually in frustration and fear the seeker gives up and accepts the status quo once again, squashing down the questions and the unrest. Dear Brothers and Sisters, do not be so easily deceived.
The ultimate answer is in Jesus Christ, his death for us, and in him alone. Structures of man have always failed and will continue to fall. When men and women are truly converted, the way is clear. They are no longer afraid of disfellowshipping, of judgment,or of finding themselves alone. They have the ultimate guidebook, the Bible. They have the indwelling presence of the Holy Ghost. This presence lives inside of them and provides life and energy, direction, and power. Any religious leader who tries to circumvent the power of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life should be in fear. To stunt or stymie the power of God in a Christian so that a structure can be held together, church dues can be collected and businesses can continue to function, to keep the continuity of a lineage, is proving that they do not understand what it means to be a Christian.
These may seem like harsh words, and yet consider the state of the Holdeman church today. There is a great deal of variation in practice from congregation to congregation. We have had an email from someone who has offered to write a post detailing the huge disparity in the practice of avoidance and wearing of the headcovering. The much vaunted unity and sameness is only a fantasy. There is much outward conformity, it is true, but true unity of the spirit can only happen when man steps out of the way and allows God to have full control of a believer. At this point things such as headcoverings, beards,shunning, the order of a church service and such cease to be the greatest importance. At this point love and kindness and an overwhelming desire to be instruments of peace and reconciliation in God’s hands become paramount. I will end this post here but will write more about it later. Please feel free to comment and submit feedback as to what constitutes “viable solutions.” This is a place where your voice can be heard.
In the pursuit of truth justice mercy and love,