Sunday, November 01, 2015

Unity Beyond a Church

If you read here, you know how dangerous I think universal church doctrine is.  It isn't taught in the Bible.  There isn't such a thing -- church isn't universal.  However, there are concepts that are universal, and I want to talk about those.  Those are good enough and should be good enough.  There is fellowship beyond a single church, but mainly because of other concepts.  They do, in a sense, draw everyone together without everyone being a church or in a church.

Could someone just follow the Bible and admit, "There's no universal church," or "There's nothing ecclesiastical that is universal"?  I'm writing here to say that the Bible teaches something universal, but it isn't a church.  Could people give in on the universal that isn't the church, and admit that it isn't a church?

Before I talk about what is universal, you will see that there are practical ramifications to eliminating the false doctrine of the universal church.  Unity is required in the church.  That unity is a very specific unity that is represented all over the New Testament, but stated very well in 1 Corinthians 1:10:

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Later (1 Cor 12:25), Paul writes, "That there should be no schism in the body."  The body is to have no schism.

If the church is all believers, the above teaching on unity can't be and won't be practiced.  It can be practiced in a church.  We have it in our church.  You can strive for this unity and attain it in a church.  God gave a church the tools to reach biblical unity:  water baptism, pastoral authority, church discipline, the Lord's Table, and the regular meeting and preaching.  All of these, if followed, allow for biblical unity, which is in individual churches.

Since a "universal church" can't get the unity the Bible describes, the advocates of this false idea force it in many different places.  They sacrificed the truth, the belief and practice of the Bible, for this idea.  They go for unity between all believers, never get it, but in the attempt at it, they give up the truth and actual unity.  Nothing is gained and all is lost.

If men would be willing just to believe the Bible and trust the Bible for what is universal, they could have the unity God calls for and protect the truth.  What is universal?

THE FAMILY OF GOD

Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ, joins the family of God.  Everyone who receives Jesus Christ becomes a child of God.  Here are some examples:

John 1:12, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." 
Romans 8:14, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." 
Romans 8:16, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." 
Hebrews 2:10-12, "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee." 
1 John 3:10, "In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God,, neither he that loveth not his brother."

You find this teaching all over the New Testament.  The family of God is soteriological.  You join it through receiving Jesus Christ.  Everyone, wherever he is, is part of the family, if he believes in Jesus Christ.  Everyone who is saved has this in common.  Being a part of the family of God has no practical function in and of itself.  All believers do have something in common, because they are all saved.  Practical ramifications can result and should result between family members, which will be seen in a church and even outside of a church.

Recognize that the family of God is a universal concept, which someone joins when he is saved.  God knows who is a part of His family.  Outside of a church, it will be very difficult for people to know who is a part of the family of God.  However, it is universal, and if you believe in the family of God, you do believe in something that is universal.  This is taught in the Bible.

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

The terminology "kingdom of God" is found in 69 times in the King James Version of the Bible. You will see "kingdom of Christ" in Ephesians 5:5.  The kingdom of God in one sense has yet to come, but there is an aspect of the kingdom of God that is for today.  Everyone who is born again is part of the kingdom of God.  Luke 17:20-21 will help understand the kingdom of God now:

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Also consider Matthew 12:28:  "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you."

Many kingdom blessings can be experienced today, but many are also reserved for the consummation and the coming of Jesus.  The fulfillment of the kingdom is here, yet without the consummation of the kingdom.  God is King over the internal personal Kingdom which includes everyone He has recreated. God reigns in the present over those who receive Jesus as King.  Jesus Christ is Lord and King over His spiritual Kingdom and His external universal rule is direct through those.

In the present, the church is used to build up the bigger entity, the kingdom.  We build the kingdom through evangelism.  Certainly in the short term, those who receive Jesus Christ will also join His church, because the kingdom shows up in churches.   Through evangelism, the kingdom is built up.  They are not the same, however.

Both family of God and kingdom of God are soteriological and universal.  I understand that I belong in the family of God and the kingdom of God with people all over the world.  I'm happy about that. You should be too.  You should accept that the family and the kingdom are the two universal entities, and not the church.

28 comments:

Tyler Robbins said...

Kent:

I'll comment more later, but your remarks here . . .

Both family of God and kingdom of God are soteriological and universal. I understand that I belong in the family of God and the kingdom of God with people all over the world. I'm happy about that. You should be too. You should accept that the family and the kingdom are the two universal entities, and not the church.

. . . are excellent. I completely agree. There is a universal family of God in the abstract. Christians should know that all true believer, ina very real sense, are made part of God's family. The problem is that, so often, Christians don't seem to realize that this abstract concept has to actually to applied in real life to the local church.

For example, all the appeals in the NT to unity, "the bond of peace," the "oneness" of believers, "unfeigned love of the brethren," etc. are basically meaningless platitudes unless they're applied in practical church to the perfect you worship the Lord with in the local church.

d4v34x said...

Bro. B.,

You of all people should understand our "two-church theory" where which church is in view in a given passage is determined by context.

Farmer Brown said...

Kent, I agree with what you have written here, all three parts. I think these are important distinctions.

One question, if we are all the family of God, what obligation do we all have to one another? I have been admonished that in disagreements between brethren of different churches, "We have to stick up for our own." That does not seem right.

What would you say governs the relations between believers of different assemblies? I agree "no schism" and "speak the same thing" are for a local assembly, but it there any wider application?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Tyler,

I agree. I also believe that there is some practical ramification outside of a church, which I added one sentence to the post. Love of the brethren is most seen in the church, but it is obviously outside of a church too. A chapter includes this in A Pure Church on 2 John, I believe.

D4,

I agree with the idea of defining a word by its context, which is why we see the generic usage of the singular noun, "the church," being used institutionally. Sometimes you see a particular church, sometimes several churches, and then you see the church being used in a generic way to talk about the institution. You even have the assembly in the wilderness, speaking of the congregation of Israel. You see the word church used many different ways, but in each instance, it is still an assembly. It still always retains a fundamental meaning, and doesn't stop meaning that.

Anonymous said...

Kent,
Thanks for the article. Unity between brethren from different local assemblies would be nice, but is it commanded? Or, if it is not commanded, is it required by some principle of Scripture? How far should one go for unity with brethren in other assemblies? Should he love them and lay down his life for them, as the Lord did for each one of us? I tend to think that yes, the principle of love requires that we should lay our lives down for the brethren even in other assemblies, if there is some kind of problem or dispute. The Father was not obligated to send His Son, but He did because of love.
Thanks
Vic Crowne

Jeff Voegtlin said...

Kent, thanks for writing this post. I know that for myself, when I came to see this distinction that is in the Bible, it really helped me understand better what my relationship is/should be with other Christians and Christians in my own church.

Jeff

Kent Brandenburg said...

Farmer Brown,

Thanks. Answering questions:

"If we are all the family of God, what obligation do we all have to one another?" I'm assuming that you believe "we" is all true believers in Jesus Christ, actual saved people. I'm commenting on your follow up sentences too. There isn't quality control outside of a church as to whether someone is in the family of God or not. How do you know someone is "of us"? They are "with us."

The Word of God is the test. How do they respond to the Word of God. Do they hear His voice and follow Him? I rejoice in whatever belief in and obedience to the Word of God from those who believe a true gospel. There's a lot to say here. Many want to be called believers, part of the family, but who is in the family is not just who says is in the family. In general, I try to be loving with those who might be saved. That's ambiguous, I know, but it is the way I go. I talk to professing believers every week, and I test them to see if they truly saved, and if I can go further, it always takes a trail of truth. I have a track record on this, unlike those who say they are very much into the bigger entity.

Next questions from you, "What would you say governs the relations between believers of different assemblies? I agree "no schism" and "speak the same thing" are for a local assembly, but it there any wider application?" We care about them. We speak the truth to them. We rejoice in the truth they believe. I can converse with them, but this won't last long usually, if they won't obey the truth.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Vic,

Thanks. Answering questions.

One. "Unity between brethren from different local assemblies would be nice, but is it commanded?" Unity is according to the truth, and that is there, 3 John, then we do have it. It will be there. It's all based on the truth though. 2 John too.

Two. "If it is not commanded, is it required by some principle of Scripture? How far should one go for unity with brethren in other assemblies? Should he love them and lay down his life for them, as the Lord did for each one of us?" We love them in the truth. We aid them in the truth. It's all about the truth. Yes, we rejoice in whatever truth. If you see a need, an actual need, you should help -- actual help. You're not helping if you're starting outside your church.

If people would just treat their own church as family, that would be great. Start there.

Thanks.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Jeff,

Thanks.

George Calvas said...

" God gave a church the tools to reach biblical unity: water baptism, pastoral authority, church discipline, the Lord's Table, and the regular meeting and preaching."

water baptism- true
pastoral authority- made up Nicolaitan doctrine taught by the precept of man! I have seen the Diotrephes preeminence (called "my pastor" by spiritually immature Christians that talk about "their" church) which God hates too many times.
church discipline- true
Lord's table- true
church assembly (regular meetings?)- true
preaching- true

Farmer Brown said...

George said

"church discipline-true"

George, how do you put someone out of a universal church? You assert we are baptized into a universal church by the Holy Spirit. That means all believers are part of the church.

How can someone be excommunicated from something they are baptized into by the Holy Spirit? You are part of "the church" by virtue of being a believer, so who has the power to remove you? You would have to remove them from being born again.

George Calvas said...

"George, how do you put someone out of a universal church? You assert we are baptized into a universal church by the Holy Spirit. That means all believers are part of the church."

The body is one made up of many members that assemble in "localities", right? Is this a matter against one in the "local assembly" or is this a matter such as one where Diotrephes needs to be dealt with by higher authority (at that time it was John, the apostle and elder)

1> 1 Co 5:3-5 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

and

2> 2Co 2:10-11 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Just as the church "locally" has forgiven one who has come to repentance, I also and all that are in Christ, forgive him.

The Diotrephes case where one desires to have the preeminence and throw a visiting brother out "of the church" would be dealt with a "higher authority" established by the church to care for matters of this sort.

Again, think of the authority levels ("governments") established in all nations and you can then see what the Lord God expects of the churches working together to establish biblical order within "the church.

Farmer Brown said...

So they would still be part of your catholic church, just not in a local assembly? Can one assembly throw someone out of an entire universal church? If so, do they remove that person's salvation?

After all, you have asserted we enter the church by salvation, so to leave would require you to revert to an unbelieving state. Does a local assembly have the power to strip someone of their membership in the universal church?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Very noble work, Farmer Brown. And good questions. I'm pretty sure universal church advocates resent simple questions though. Most just want acceptance, sort of like Diotrephes would have.

George Calvas said...

"So they would still be part of your catholic church, just not in a local assembly?"

Why are you making this so difficult? If one was thrown out of an assembly for having his mother as his wife, and the church had NT order, do you think he would go to another assembly? Let say, I came to your church, and I said that I left the church in Michigan, and the church did everything "decent and in order", would you not have an elder call the church to find out something about this brother and his family to make sure that he left without strife in the body of Christ?
-----------------------------------------

"Can one assembly throw someone out of an entire universal church?"

If one is in Christ, he is in Christ. If he does wrong within the body of Christ, and does not get right, he does wrong to all. What he does now is just show up in any other church, and bring his ungodly life in the church and nobody cares. How about you church? Do you check someone out who comes in the doors and claims that he is saved? Do you care? If he is a Christian, should he not have a good report from the church that he left? Would you call and find out?
--------------------------------------------------

"If so, do they remove that person's salvation?"

What do you mean by that question? Remove a person's salvation? What in the world does that mean? That statement has no biblical basis and makes no sense. Whether he stays in fellowship with "the body of Christ" is based on his obedience to Jesus Christ and his body. Whether he truly is saved, after he has bee disciplined will not be known unless he repents, comes back and get things right with the church.


"Does a local assembly have the power to strip someone of their membership in the universal church?"

I hope it is clear as to the process that should be followed among the "churches" to keep someone "out of the body of Christ" until he gets things right with the assembly that he was first part of. The other assemblies would do due diligence in making sure that as a Christian he would have to get things right with the assembly at the church he left.

Farmer Brown said...

George, you did not answer the basic questions. You assert that we are baptized into the body of Christ, the church, at salvation. Of "the church" you say, "It gathers as the body of Christ in all parts of the earth, as local assemblies" "It is amazing what men do to evade what the Lord God wanted with his body, the church. Yes, by one Spirit are WE...WE...WE ALL baptized into ONE body. What a Holy King Jacobs Bible will do to correct any misunderstanding."

So what is the excommunicated member being excommunicated out of? The church? The Body? Are those one and the same? How can he be "without" in 1 Cor 5 if he became "within" by salvation? And again, what is he without?

Is he no longer part of "the church", the body or is he just removed from a local assembly but still a member of the catholic church as he was drafted in by salvation? If he is still part of the universal assembly, can he properly be regarded as without?

You say it is by salvation that we become members. Are there saved people who are not members of the body of Christ because of discipline?

Anonymous said...

I think much of the problem stems from vocabulary rather than a doctrinal issue. The doctrineof the Trinity for example was once called tritheism but was discarded because it sounds like three gods. I think people take the family of God concept and and call it a universal church on the basis that ekklesia means those who are called out (e g from the world or sin), so it may not be as dangerous as you imply. I am not saying I disagree, but to play devil's advocate, does it make one any worse spiritually to believe in a universal church, or any better to not believe in it?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Anonymous,

The Bible is vocabulary and doctrine comes from the vocabulary. If you redefine the terms, you change the doctrine. When you change the doctrine, you are either adding to or taking away from God's Word. That is not faithful. That doesn't please God. Many bad practices come out of the wrong belief of the universal church.

Thanks for coming by.

George Calvas said...

Farmer,

Since I do not understand where you keep going with this, I will ask you what you asked me:

1> Was the man in 1 Corinthians 5 thrown out of the assembly?
2> If yes, was he still abiding in the body of Christ, the church?
3> If yes, please explain scripturally.

Farmer Brown said...

George, I am trying to get an answer from you on this. What does it matter where I am going? Just answer the question. Here it is again:

You say it is by salvation that we become members. Are excommunicated people no longer members of "the church"? What are they put out of?

This has been my question all along, and you have refused to answer it. You dance all around it but never answer it. Now you want me to go first. Your doctrine does not depend on my answer.

Just answer the question. This is the fourth time asking. You hold yourself forth as have the right knowledge on this, so share it. Answer the question.

George Calvas said...

Farmer wrote:
"I am trying to get an answer from you on this. What does it matter where I am going? Just answer the question. Here it is again:"

I have been answering your questions, but you do not like the biblical answers given. I have put forth many scriptures that are contrary to "independent local only" thinking and are either avoided or pigeonholed into that theology much like a Calvinist does to scriptures contrary its theology. Also, to believe that the bible teaches a "Catholic" church structure and its form of government (I call that the universal church) is just as ignorant as the above.
-------------------------------------------

Farmer wrote:
"You say it is by salvation that we become members. Are excommunicated people no longer members of "the church"? What are they put out of?"

Excommunicated is not a bible term, so your question is already tainted by Catholic terminology. I DISPISE Catholicism as the "great whore that sitteth upon many waters", so thinking that this is what I teach is preposterous.

By the Lord Jesus Christ, you are saved by grace through faith when you repent and believe the gospel. You are given eternal life by the Holy Ghost (spiritual baptism- Romans 6).

Now, by faith, you become a member of the body of Christ when you assemble with members that are of that same body, for how is it that one can partake of the Lord's supper and also be baptized unless one assembles with the body of Christ by not forsaking the assembly as some have?

Therefore, when one is "given over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh" by the church because of disobedience and unrepentant heart, or decides to be a "lone ranger", they are not abiding in Christ, his body, and are not "part of the church" (How can they be if they have been thrown out of it or left it!) until they repent and get right with "his body" (Ephesians 5:30-32 / 1 John 4:2-3).

Is it clear now?

Farmer Brown said...

George, thanks for the answer. Two things:

1. You are a catholic. Small "C" catholic, not part of the Roman system, but a catholic none the less. The term "catholic church" simply means "universal church". You may despise the "Catholic system", but you are part of a "catholic system", your universal church.

2. These statements cannot all be correct:

"Now, by faith, you become a member of the body of Christ when you assemble with members that are of that same body"

"It is amazing what men do to evade what the Lord God wanted with his body, the church. Yes, by one Spirit are WE...WE...WE ALL baptized into ONE body."

"...we should all come to the unity of the faith, for the edifying of the body, as there is ONE body ("And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross [3:16]) and that body is the body of Jesus Christ, who is the head and we are "all members in particular" rather than the false teaching of autonomous local "Baptist" churches existing as "bodies" distinict and seperate from his body, the church."

"Therefore, this proves both the "ye" and the "we" teaches us that all of us are members of that one body, which is his body and that of his flesh and of his bone."


Do you see the contradiction? I think you do. I am going to surmise a little here, please pardon me if I am incorrect, but I think this is the reason it was so difficult to get an answer from you. You know these positions contradict. Church discipline in the Bible contradicts a universal paradigm.

Either you are part of the body when you are saved (the catholic position), and therefore cannot be removed, or by joining a church you become part of that body (the Bible position), and can be removed. You cannot be both, as you have asserted.

George Calvas said...

Farmer wrote:

"Either you are part of the body when you are saved (the catholic position), and therefore cannot be removed, or by joining a church you become part of that body (the Bible position), and can be removed. You cannot be both, as you have asserted."

The bible position of the church is two fold. When you are removed from any "local church" you would be removed from "the church" worldwide. What it seems that you are missing is that churches have not followed any biblical structure for that to be true. There are today "fellowships" like the BBF, GARBC, IBF, etc. that do not have a follow any church government biblical model, but yet they do understand that unity of the churches is important. It is rather a pseudo-church unity because the elders of each local assembly are not subject one to another and put together no structure for that to be true.

My position is only apparently contradictory because you see the "catholic church position" as the universal position and the "independent local church" as the other position.

The bible teaches a "presbytery" form of government at the level of individual local assemblies as well as that same form of governing the church as one body in Christ.

The way the "independent local church" government works (pastor rules) is contrary to anything biblical. Its position allows "for every church to do right in its own eyes", and if any member of the body of Christ is removed or leaves because of strife and go to another "independent local church" the next week, there is no structure in place to keep them out of the church until the problem is resolved!

Why is it that elders/pastors of other assemblies do not care what happened when a saved person shows up in there assemblies? Do they not care about the possibility that they showed up because of problems they left behind? Of course not, but rather what most pastors really care about are numbers and giving! They could care less about "the body of Christ".

I have asked you a question concerning the above to which you did not answer. I would like an answer to my question.

If one wants to fellowship with your assembly, do you ask him where he assembled previously and then follow that up by calling the elders/pastors to confirm all that he has told you and also to see if he was a brother in good standing?

Farmer Brown said...

George wrote:

If one wants to fellowship with your assembly, do you ask him where he assembled previously and then follow that up by calling the elders/pastors to confirm all that he has told you and also to see if he was a brother in good standing?

1. Of course. I literally do not know a pastor who would let a believer from another church just walk in. Because there is no catholic church, that is a member of an individual body. We have turned people away at the door on Sunday because we know they are members of another body and are visiting in rebellion.

That is a local only position, though. If you are a member of a universal assembly (impossible), the body is universal. It does not matter where you assemble.

2. Even though you say they do not, these statements contradict.

"Now, by faith, you become a member of the body of Christ when you assemble with members that are of that same body"

"It is amazing what men do to evade what the Lord God wanted with his body, the church. Yes, by one Spirit are WE...WE...WE ALL baptized into ONE body."


One says you enter the body by joining an assembly, the other says you enter by salvation. Even though you say those do not contradict, they plainly do. Which is correct?

George Calvas said...

Farmer wrote:
"1. Of course. I literally do not know a pastor who would let a believer from another church just walk in. Because there is no catholic church, that is a member of an individual body. We have turned people away at the door on Sunday because we know they are members of another body and are visiting in rebellion."

To me, your church is an exception to the rule. Of all the Baptist churches that I have been associated or assembled in (IBF, GARBC) prior to the way of an Anabaptist, I have not known that to be true at all. In most cases, they were admitted to be voted in by "testimony alone" and unless someone knew something bad, 99.9% of the time, they were voted in the fellowhship.

--------------------------------------
"Now, by faith, you become a member of the body of Christ when you assemble with members that are of that same body"

"It is amazing what men do to evade what the Lord God wanted with his body, the church. Yes, by one Spirit are WE...WE...WE ALL baptized into ONE body."

Neither of those statements has to do with salvation. They both are in context to the church as one body made up of individual assemblies (churches). If you are baptized into that one body, then you will continue to abide in it. The way out of it is to be disciplined "by the body", yet praying for reconcilation and coming back into fellowship. That is local as well as universal IF the churches would govern themselves as one. That has nothing to do with whether one is saved or not. He can be saved and not abiding in the church, which is his body.

You should not have a hard time understanding that. What you and others will not do is to accept that to be true, even though I have given you plenty of biblical evidence that you all refuse to answer to prove that the independent church model is not the preferred mode of operation.

Farmer Brown said...

George said:

Neither of those statements has to do with salvation. They both are in context to the church as one body made up of individual assemblies (churches).

No way, George. One is clearly about salvation. When else do we receive the Holy Spirit? To quote you on this subject:

"It says in 1 Corinthians 12:13 that "For by ONE...ONE...ONE SPIRT we are ALL baptized into ONE body...". The word Spirit is capitalized in the verse, therefore Kent, is there more than one Spirit? Are we ALL baptized into one body or are we not? It does not say we are baptized INTO THE CHURCH!"

George contradicts George. Again, which is it? When do you become part of the body? At salvation, as you have said, or when you join a church, as you have said. If we are Baptized into the body by the Spirit, when is that happening and what body?

Jim Camp said...

Not wanting to be a cheerleader, but I did want to again commend Farmer for pointing out the glaring error of the 2 church / 2 body position. It all makes perfect sense until you begin trying to figure out which of the 2 apply correctly to the various church passages. This effort becomes a confusion of private interpretation, as each individual chooses which "church" is universal invisible & which is local physical.

George Calvas said...

Farmer wrote:
"George contradicts George. Again, which is it? When do you become part of the body? At salvation, as you have said, or when you join a church, as you have said. If we are Baptized into the body by the Spirit, when is that happening and what body?"

I am not trying to be contradictory, but believe the whole bible as it is written.

When you are saved and born again you become a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and are sealed and given the earnest of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22) unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).

The body of Christ is his church (Colossians 1:24). All that you do in your body must be done in context to the church, or you are not "abiding in Christ" (John 15:5-6) as he commanded through all of the Pauline epistles. You are told many times to "love your brother" and that is done in the context of the church since that is where the body assembles so that one saved can know who his brothers are!

If you cannot understand that I cannot help you. If want to be a "gnat strainer" and catch me at my words (Mark 12:13) so that you do not have to "give an answer" to all the scriptures given, have at it.

There is no point in going on any further since you already made up your mind and desire not to learn anything except that which is hammered upon your own anvil or that anvil of independent local only church mindset.

I left that anvil of Baptist independent "schisms" and "pastoral only authority" where the Lord God and the scriptures left it... standing alone.