Am I Guilty of Reformed Popery and should Christians Go To Church? A response to Lee.
I recently received an email from a commenter name Lee who prefaced it by accusing me of Reformed Popery. The email was titled "Reformed Popery" and simply commented that it was a shame that I wouldn't publish his comment. Jim usually handles this sort of thing but with him out of commission for the time being I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of Lee's claims in a post. I was going to photoshop up a picture of me as the Pope for a graphic that would have gone great with this post but Jim is the one who handles the formatting and my HTML skills are virtually non-existent so this one's all business and no sparkle.
The aforementioned email is in response to my banning Lee's comment that he tried to post on the Lone Ranger string a couple of days ago. In the comment he links to an article about the term Lone Ranger Christians that he wrote a while back. I refused to post Lee's comment because it broke our rule about drive-by linking. Here's Lee's comment that didn't get posted on the "Lone Ranger" string.
"Funny, I hadn't visited your site for months, and then was led back to see this as the headline.
Jim and Chad asked me to leave simply because I didn't attend a church, without even understanding that I have very good reasons for it.
Here is an article I wrote for the other side of this topic, I do hope you will post it." ( I have omitted the link).
Actually Lee, the reason you were banned is because you slandered Frank Turk You said "Frank Turk is an SBC type whose religion is bound up in outward ordinances, and I expect him to hold that position, however wrong he may be." That was made in reaction to this remark of Frank's made somewhere on the web and provided by long time Old Truth commenter Truth Unites. I don't have a link for this but Frank knows about this post so if I've misquoted him he can correct me. Anyway, here's the position that Frank holds that Lee finds so objectionable.
"it is wrong to belong to no church at all. Fooling yourself that you are part of the "invisible church" when you can't find it in yourself to be part of a visible, local body of believers is just a fancy way of disobeying the Bible.
Let me just say; "Amen, Preach it brother!" O.K. now that I've got that out of my system....
Lee, you also claimed that we don't know the so-called "very good reason" you have for not attending church. Well, we actually do. You told us, maybe you forgot about that part but I must say that your reason is really not quite so "very good". Here's the reason you gave on the very same string that you accused Frank Turk of having his religion bound up in outward ordinances.
"Truth Unites I do not attend church, I have not attended church for 6 years now, and don't foresee myself attending church anytime in the near future.
Here is a quote from my site as to why. "When Christ came the first time the visible Jewish church was in total apostasy, even crucifying the Lord of Glory; when Christ returns the second time the visible Gentile church will be in a similar condition; with all indications pointing to that time being very near."
But I do belong to this church.
The shame is that in this apostate age there 100 men telling people to go to church for every one telling Christians that they ARE the church.
I wrote an article on the "Lone Ranger Christian" that will soon be posted on my website, dedicated to Christians outside the visible church.
Another read for you on the topic."
Now all of you may have noticed that the links that Lee gave were from Bishop J.C. Ryle, and A.W. Tozer. Tozer in particular preached in a day when the church was barreling headlong into apostasy but guess where he preached Lee. In church. Tozer never condoned the idea that Christians should just stop going to church. In fact the use of the writings of these men in support of the idea that it's actually a virtue to absent oneself from church attendance is simply dishonest. In fact there is so much wrong with his comment that I could write several posts refuting each error. Instead I think we'll let our Old Truth commenters handle that on the discussion thread here.
Lee's excuse for not attending church is based on the apostasy of the age and to be fair he did say that he believes that Christians should meet together when possible as commanded in Hebrews 10:25. In that same comment though Lee says;
"I need not meet together with other believers to remain a Christian, otherwise Christ's atonement was not complete. But given the opportunity, I love assembling with believers."
In the very same comment Lee makes this remark.
"If Christ had nothing good to say about the visible church of this time (Rev 3:14-22) why do you think I should be in it, or even say anything good about it?"
Both of these statements are part of the same comment where he took his dig at Frank Turk and you can read it in it's entirety at the link provided above. I was amazed to see that in the same comment some one could say that they love meeting with God's people, and then turn around and say that since Christ had nothing good to say about the visible church then there is no reason that he should be a part of it. So Lee, you love meeting with the visible church which Christ had nothing good to say about and you don't see any reason to be a part of it?
Again, there is so much wrong with Lee's citation of Rev. 3:14-22 and his use of the word visible church that to properly refute it would require a post unto itself. We'll try to hash that out in the discussion thread too.
I don't want to forget the "Reformed Popery" remark. It seems to me that after reviewing Lee's comments and an article on his website that he seems to think that I'm teaching that in order for a person to be saved he must attend church. In other words he seems to think that I'm adding church attendance to Christ's atonement hence I'm guilty of Reformed Popery. I don't know where on earth Lee could have gotten that idea. Where did I ever say that people were saved by faith in Christ plus church attendance? I don't think anyone on Old Truth would ever claim that I was asserting such a thing. In fact, I would say that drawing such a conclusion is a dishonest handling of what I've written here on Old Truth. Christ's atonement is sufficient but Christ also says; "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (John 14:25). He also says; "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you?" (Luke 6:46) And also, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."(Matt 7:21) In other words, we saved by faith alone in Christ alone, but the mark of a saved person is that he obeys his Lord and the Lord commanded Christians to meet together for worship and the edifying and support of one another. They are also commanded to submit to the officers of their local church and organize churches according to the commands laid out in scripture.
So what say you Old Truthers. Am I guilty of Reformed Popery? Does Lee have a case for saying that the visible church is in total apostasy and that we shouldn't be identified with it? I know my church isn't apostate. I know of many others that aren't either. Am I part of the visible church Lee? Is Christ saying about my church what he's saying about the church in Laodicea? If I'm a faithful Christian should I come out from my church and not be identified with it?
Since I wouldn't post Lee's links to his website I have invited him to come and defend his views, in person so to speak, here. He is allowed to comment as often as he likes in defense of his views on this string.
Lee; before you make any comments answer this question first. If I am a member of a local church am I then part of the visible church that Christ has nothing good to say about in Revelation 3:14-22 and is it your belief that I should disassociate from it in order to be faithful to Christ? Also, please clarify your "Reformed Popery" charge.