A local social group, that meets under the banner of Religious Organization (per the IRS guidelines) touts its origin as being there for, "for people who really haven't felt at place in a church. Sometimes we feel out of place because church is something you did (or were dragged to) as a kid, sometimes we've just gotten bored, sometimes it's because we opened our heart to people and were hurt because of it. " And so, they decided to start a para-church ministry that meets in a church? Wouldn't that kinda be like church? They have music and preaching and other church stuff...led by wonderful people who have rejected the authority and clear instruction of God's Word, caused great divisions in the places they've come from and now they are....leading? How in the world does this happen? It happens because it is exactly that, IN THE WORLD. It is a "come close to Jesus so you feel better" ministry, by people that have rejected the very Lordship of Jesus Christ. The fruit of their lives is scattered all over the mountain, yet they have achieved this status of "being" the ones who now lead, the way they want; doing what they want, when they want to. The success of this supposed remedy is based on their ability to gather other similar souls and place them under the all accepting banner of "love". However this delusion, manifested in the complete disregard of spiritual accountability, works best at just forwarding its recipients faster to hell, than if left to their own ways. This is because of the assumed cloak of "religiousness" they quickly and proudly wear, while demonstrating the balance of Galatians 5:19's works of the flesh. They really think they are achieving harmony with God, or as they themselves say, "where they can "belong to believe"-that is, where they can be nurtured and discipled into faith in the one true God and in Jesus Christ whom He has sent". Sounds good until you consider that NO ONE can be nurtured and discipled INTO faith. Faith in Jesus Christ is because the Father has drawn them, not because fleshly humans have convinced them into this state of mind. The faith that saves is in Jesus Christ; it comes by the conviction of the Holy Spirit of our sin and our need for a Savior. It is IMPOSSIBLE to disciple a lost human in God's Word because according to God's Word it is not their nature and they cannot understand it, period! Someone who has responded to conviction of the Holy Spirit, believes (whether understanding much of God's revealed Word or not) and confesses their belief, can at that time begin to understand God's Word because it IS their nature. A new nature, not the old recycled nature in another attempt to pacify guilt with some sort of spiritual leanings.
If the root is holy, so is the tree....said Jesus! And yet week after week, this band of merry accepters just whitewashes any behavior as long as you fit into their semblance of "love". I find the Love of Christ to be very different...He left no one to continue in their sin who truly followed Him. He had the harshest words and condemnation for the "religious", who for the sake of followers would cross the earth just to make the one twice the son of Hell that they already were. This is a pattern that these in this group follow....it's not whether you are truly regenerated...it is just whether or not you choose to fit into their group and play along. If you choose otherwise, then you are just one of those "judging" types that doesn't love.
But doesn't true love, agape love, put every possible obstacle in the way of Hell by requiring the greatest sacrifice ever made? Not to allow man to continue in the flesh, but to be changed into the very children of God!! Now that is love!
A friend that loves...will wound and those wounds will be faithful to produce a right response in me. They will be the call for pause that makes me reflect on the validity of my actions before God, not self and they will stand in the way of the remnant of the flesh that desires to cast itself headlong over the cliff of sin and lust. Oh, for a faithful friend!
Recent update: In the evolution of this group, much has changed over the last months. There is a core of people rising up who are solid and sincere in their relationship with Christ and the direction has turned from one of "church runaways"and "easy believe-ism-ers" to a viable Bible based ministry. (still shallowish, but moving much deeper into what Christ demands of those who are His) Some have left that were part of the above described folks, a few remain...but by the Grace of God, they may be rooted out and exposed for what they are or even better, they might accept correction and grow in God's grace, mercy and love....by far the better route. Stay tuned, God is still working and the fruit of His labors is always good!! My opinion of the one under whose direction this ministry works has radically changed...my perception was skewed and wrong; his heart is right and in that particular arena, it is exciting to see what may be the future!!