Leaders of the church:
Because you won’t judge them, Christ will.
I have been reading “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas A. Kempis (written in the 1400’s) for my first time and came across a couple of paragraphs I wanted to share from the Chapter “Internal Consolation”.
The Voice of Christ
“I taught the prophets from the beginning, and even to this day I continue to speak to all men. But many are hardened. Many are deaf to My voice. Most men listen more willingly to the world than to God. They are more ready to follow the appetite of their flesh than the good pleasure of God. The world, which promises small and passing things, is served with great eagerness: I promise great and eternal things and the hearts of men grow dull. Who is there that serves and obeys Me in all things with as great care as that with which the world and its masters are served?
“Be thou ashamed, O Sidon, for the sea speaketh” And if you ask why, listen to the cause – for a small gain they travel far; for eternal life many will scarcely lift a food from the ground. They seek a petty reward and sometimes fight shamefully in law courts for a single piece of money. They are not afraid to work day and night for a trifle or an empty promise. But, for an unchanging good, for a reward beyond estimate, for the greatest honor and for glory everlasting, it must be said to their shame that men begrudge even the least fatigue. Be ashamed, then, lazy and complaining servant, that they should be found more eager for perdition than you are for life, that they rejoice more in vanity than you in truth.
Sometimes indeed their expectations fail them, but My promise never deceives, nor does it send away empty-handed him who trusts in Me. What I have promised I will give. What I have said I will fulfill, if only a man remain faithful in My love to the end. I am the rewarder of all the good, the strong approver of all who are devoted to Me.”
You can read this online for free:
Oftentimes people define their place with the Lord by denomination or creed rather than Christ. I have always believed that when we do this, we can soon find ourselves out of the will of God because we are tied to following a set of man made rules and regulations that have nothing to do with the Lord’s Word or His ways for our lives.
While reading, “Shadow of the Almighty” by Jim Elliot a couple of weeks ago, I came across a quote from Jim Elliot that best expresses the views of my husband and myself and our beliefs regarding denominations and creeds:
In what ways is your church denomination or creeds restricting you from being who the Lord wants you to be?
Modern Love = Mushy Sentimentality That Never Says a Harsh Word
“What exactly is agape, or “love” as it is translated? The NT tells us: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
We read such passages and tend to assume at once that “love” means what it does to us in modern times — in this case, a mushy sentimentality that never says a harsh word and never steps on the toes of others. The same word is used in 1 Cor. 13 (though translated differently):”
To read the rest of this article written by James Patrick Holding: http://www.inplainsite.org/html/agape.html
Although this article was written a couple of years ago by a European, I found it to be of good interest:
“I am a Catholic, yet am sad, though I was expecting America, the only industrial country which is intensely religious, to become slowly secular. She will thereby be gravely weakened. The future for America looks European and this means wisdom, sophistication and decline. I am much more saddened by this than by the economic statistics showing America losing ground to China. Economics is in itself unimportant – economics reflects culture which reflects, in the broadest sense of the idea, religion (and genetics). In no country have religion, self-belief and sense of purpose always been as closely linked as in America, founded though she was by Deists, with church and state strictly separated.”
To read the rest of this article, click here: http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4992
The doors of the church are open wide. But, is this a good thing? I want to share a few paragraphs from“Church History in Plain Language” by Bruce L. Shelley regarding when and how the church began to allow non-repentive souls to become a part of the church. This will surprise you, but it started in the 1600’s.
“The Puritan “holy experiment” – blending belief in a church of the truly converted with the idea of a Christian state – seemed destined to fail almost from the start. There are problems in operating any church on earth when only God knows who the real members are. Not everyone in Massachusetts or Connecticut could boldly testify of experienced grace. As the zeal of the New England founders cooled, fewer men and women could bear public witness to grace in their souls. To keep membership from shrinking drastically, many churches in 1662 had to settle for the Half-Way Covenant . Under this policy the “unawakened” could enjoy a kind of partial membership, baptizing their children and joining in congregational activities, but not taking full Communion. This was enough church affiliation for most political and social purposes, so that gradually the “saints” sank to a tiny minority. ” (pg. 344)
“The Puritan view of the church rested upon their understanding of the covenant of grace. Early New Englanders realized that the visible church could never be an exact copy of the truly elect but God willed the church so far as possible to be a church of visible saints. That is why the first generation insisted that conversion precede church membership, a practice reaffirmed in 1648 with the adoption of the “Cambridge Platform”.
“The doors of the churches of Christ upon the earth,” they said, “do not by God’s appointment stand so wide open, that all sorts of people good or bad, may freely enter therein at their pleasure.” Those seeking admission, they declared, must be “examined and tried first” to see that they possess, above all else, “repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ.” This usually meant that potential members made “a personal and public confession,” detailing “God’s manner of working upon the soul.” (pg. 343)
The biggest problem with the church today is that it is often a building comprised of people who have not repented to God and are therefore not saved. One cannot be saved without repenting to God first. It does not matter what kind of sins a person has committed if he repents to God He will hear him and save him – if he chooses to turn about from his sins and grow in Christ.
The true church today is comprised of many who do not go to church. They do not seek membership within a building or a denomination, but are a part of the living body of Christ. Many of us are “scattered sheep” without a shepherd upon this earth, lights out in the darkness, but we have a Shepherd and He still leads us.
“Ekkleesia in the New Testament never means the building or house of assembly, because church buildings were built long AFTER the apostolic age. It means an organized body, whose unity does not depend on its being met together in one place; not an assemblage of atoms, but members in their several places united to the One Head, Christ, and forming one organic living whole (1 Cor 12). Fausset’s Bible Dictionary, Electronic Database Copyright © 1998, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.
Though the church does not depend on assembly in a building, oftentimes God would lead the body of believers to one another and they would “assemble” to worship the Lord and have fellowship and intermingle with one another in marrying and such (the visible church). Because these believers were united in Christ, they could not “worship” with one who was not a believer, they could only share about what Christ had done in their lives in hopes of the person converting.
One last quote from Bruce Shelley’s book that I have to share:
“The revivalists pointed out that their fathers had left the Church of England to come to America precisely because they believed it was contrary to the Word of God to permit the unconverted to enter the church.” (pg 347)
Next, the revivalists organized their own congregations using these beliefs as a foundation of the church. Isaac Backus joined the revivalists and he ended up forming the First Baptist Church of Middleborough, Massachusetts. The first Baptist church in America was founded on the belief of it being comprised of “visible saints”, not the unconverted or unrepentive souls.
What are your thoughts?
I have decided to remove this post as over half of it was personal. There are some things that are so personal and so tragic to one that it cannot be put in words adequately. Words can cheapen and diminish the effects of the entirety of a set of circumstances upon ones life. It used to be that when a man or woman had something tragic happen to him, even if he was in the public eye and in a position of authority, that it was said of him that it was so personal to him that he never spoke upon it publicly. There are some things better left unsaid.
The entire quote: “Veni Sancte Spiritus reple tuorum corda fidelium et tui amoris in eis ignem accende” translates as:
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and kindle in them the fire of Thy love.
What’s Wrong With This Picture?First of all, it is the woman who is holding the blower. She’s the one in charge, doing all of the work. Secondly, note the man standing behind his woman in a “supportive” role for all that she does. Real People! Brook (note, her name is first) and Matt are real people of today. She’s in charge and he wimply, oh excuse me… softly, gently and kindly supports her. This is a local ad so I assume they live in Washington. I’m guessing my husband may write this fellow. You might find them in the local church with Brook leading the way with Matt in tow… ; )
Here we have another one from Google on Veterans Day. Note, the men are all standing in the background.
* Image by Darrel Tank/Licensed from GoodSalt.com
Here is the best book that you can read regarding marriage and raising a family. I found it on a website some years ago when looking for a book that the Amish use for marriage. It was written over a hundred years ago by J.R. Miller and although he is not Amish, the Amish publish and read his beautiful work. It is by far our favorite book for just living life. You can read it for free here: https://archive.org/details/homebeautiful00millgoog
You may purchase the book here for under $5.00 – it is under the name “Home Making”:
Even Charles Finney, the Father of Modern Revivalism had a lot to say concerning the attire of Christian women.
Lectures To Professing Christians
Lecture VIII. 1836
CONFORMITY TO THE WORLD
by the Rev. CHARLES G. FINNEY
Objection. “Is it best for Christians to be singular?” Certainly; Christians are bound to be singular. They are called to be a peculiar people, that is, a singular people, essentially different from the rest of mankind. To maintain that we are not to be singular is the same as to maintain that we are to be conformed to the world. “Be not singular,” that is, be like the world. In other words, “Be ye conformed to the world.” This is the direct opposite to the command in the text. But the question now regards fashion, in dress, equipage, and so on. And here I will confess that I was formerly myself in error. I believed, and I taught, that the best way for Christians to pursue was to dress so as not to be noticed, to follow the fashions and changes so as not to appear singular, and that nobody would be led to think of their being different from others in these particulars. But I have seen my error, and now wonder greatly at my former blindness. It is your duty to dress so plain as to show to the world, that you place no sort of reliance in the things of fashion, and set no value at all on them, but despise and neglect them altogether. But unless you are singular, unless you separate yourselves from the fashions of the world, you show that you do value them. There is no way in which you can bear a proper testimony by your lives against the fashions of the work, but by dressing plain. I do not mean that you should study singularity, but that you should consultconvenience and economy, although it may be singular. Objection. “But if we dress plain, the attention of people will be taken with it.” The reason of it is this, so few do it that it is a novelty, and everybody stares when they see a professing Christian so strict as to disregard the fashions. Let them all do it, and the only thing you show by it is that you are a Christian, and do not wish to be confounded with the ungodly. Would it not tell on the pride of the world, if all the Christians in it were united in bearing a practical testimony against its vain show. Objection. “But in this way you carry religion too far away from the multitude. It is better not to set up an artificial distinction between the church and the world.” The direct reverse of this is true. The nearer you bring the church to the world, the more you annihilate the reasons that ought to stand out in view of the world, for their changing sides and coming over to the church. Unless you go right out from them, and show that you are not of them in any respect, and carry the church so far as to have a broad interval between saints and sinners, how can you make the ungodly feel that so great a change is necessary. Objection. “But this change which is necessary is a change of heart.” True; but will not a change of heart produce a change of life? Objection. “You will throw obstacles in the way of persons becoming Christians. Many respectable people will become disgusted with religion, and if they cannot be allowed to dress and be Christians, they will take to the world altogether.” This is just about as reasonable as it would be for a temperance man to think he must get drunk now and then, to avoid disgusting the intemperate, and to retain his influence over them. The truth is, that persons ought to know, and ought to see in the lives of professing Christians, that if they embrace religion, they must be weaned from the world, and must give up the love of the world, and its pride, and show, and folly, and live a holy life, in watchfulness, and self-denial, and active benevolence. Objection. “Is it not better for us to disregard this altogether, and not pay any attention to such little things, and let them take their course; let the milliner and manta-maker do as they please, and follow the usages of society in which we live, and the circle in which we move?” Is this the way to show contempt for the fashions of the world? Do people ordinarily take this course of showing contempt for a thing, to practice it? Why, the way to show your abhorrence of the world is to follow along in the customs and the fashions of the world! Precious reasoning this. Objection. “No matter how we dress, if our hearts are right?” Your heart right! Then your heart may be right when your conduct is all wrong. Just as well might the profane swearer say, “No matter what words I speak, if my, heart is right.” No, your heart is not right, unless your conduct is right. What is outward conduct, but the acting out of the heart? If your heart was right, you would not wish to follow the fashions of the world. Objection. “What is the standard of dress? I do not see the use of all your preaching, and laying down rules about plain dress, unless you give us a standard.” This is a mighty stumbling block with many. But to any mind the matter is extremely simple. The whole can be comprised in two simple rules. One is- Be sure, in all your equipage, and dress, and furniture, to show that you have no fellowship with the designs and principles of those who are aiming to set off themselves, and to gain the applause of men. The other is – Let economy be first consulted, and then convenience. Follow Christian economy; that is, save all you can for Christ’s service; and then, let things be as convenient as Christian economy will admit. Objection. “Would you have us all to turn Quakers, and put on their plain dress?” Who does not know, that the plain dress of the Quakers has won for them the respect of all the thinking part of the ungodly in the community? Now, if they had coupled with this, the zeal for God, and the weanedness from the world, and the contempt for riches, and the self-denying labor for the conversion of sinners to Christ, which the gospel enjoins, and the clear views of the plan of salvation, which the gospel inculcates, they would long since have converted the world. And if all Christians would imitate them in their plain dress, (I do not mean the precise cut and fashion of their dress, but in a plain dress, throwing contempt upon the fashions of the world,) who can doubt that the conversion of the world would hasten on apace? Objection. “Would you make us all into Methodists?” Who does not know that the Methodists, when they were noted for their plain dress, and for renouncing the; fashions and show of the world, used to have power with God in prayer – and that they had the universal respect of the world as sincere Christians. And who does not know that since they have laid aside this peculiarity, and conformed to the world in dress and other things, and seemed to be trying to lift themselves up as a denomination, and gain influence with the world, they are losing the power of prayer? Would to God they had never thrown down this wall. It was one of the leading excellences of Wesley’s system, to have his followers distinguished from others by a plain dress. Objection. “We may be proud of a plain dress as well as of a fashionable dress. The Quakers are as proud as we are.” So may any good thing be abused. But that is no reason why it should not be used, if it can be shown to be good I put it back to the objector – Is that any reason why a Christian female, who fears God and loves the souls of men, should neglect the means which may make an impression that she is separated from the world, and pour contempt on the fashions of the ungodly, in which they are dancing their way to hell? Objection. “This is a small thing, and ought not to take up so much of a minister’s time in the pulpit.” This is an objection often heard from worldly professors. But the minister that fears God will not be deterred by it. He will pursue the subject, until such professing Christians are cut off from their conformity to the world, or cut off from the church. It is not merely the dress, as dress but it is the conformity to the world in dress and fashion, that is the great stumbling-block in the way of sinners. How can the world be converted, while professing Christians are conformed to the world? What good will it do to give money to send the gospel to the heathen, when Christians live so at home? Well might the heathen ask, “What profit will it be to become Christians, when those who are Christians are pursuing the world with all the hot haste of the ungodly?” The great thing necessary for the church is to break off from conformity to the world, and then they will have power with God in prayer, and the Holy Ghost will descend and bless their efforts, and the world will be converted. Objection. “But if we dress so, we shall be called fanatics.” Whatever the ungodly may call you, fanatics, Methodists, or anything, you will be known as Christians, and in the secret consciences of men will be acknowledged as such. It is not in the power of unbelievers to pour contempt on a holy church, that are separated from the world. How was it with the early Christians? They lived separate from the world, and it made such an impression, that even infidel writers say of them, “These men win the hearts of the mass of the people, because they give themselves up to deeds of charity, and pour contempt on the world.” Depend upon it, if Christians would live so now, the last effort of hell would soon be expended in vain to defeat the spread of the gospel. Wave after wave would flow abroad, till the highest mountain tops were covered with the waters of life.
1. By non-conformity to the world, you may save much money for doing good. In one year a greater fund might be saved by the church than has ever been raised for the spread of the gospel. 2. By non-conformity to the world, a great deal of time may be saved for doing good, that is now consumed and wasted in following the fashions, and obeying the maxims, and joining in the pursuits of the world. 3. At the same time, Christians in this way would preserve their peace of conscience, would enjoy communion with God, would have the spirit of prayer, and would possess far greater usefulness. Is it not time something was done? Is it not time that some church struck out a path, that should not be conformed to the world, but should be according to the example and Spirit of Christ? You profess that you want to have sinners converted. But what avails it, if they sink right back again into conformity with the world? Brethren, I confess, I am filled with pain in view of the conduct of the church. Where are the proper results of the glorious revivals we have had? I believe theywere genuine revivals of religion and outpourings of the Holy Ghost, that the church has enjoyed the last ten years. I believe the converts of the last ten years are among the best Christians in the land. Yet after all, the great body of them are a disgrace to religion. Of what use would it be to have a thousand members added to the church, to be just such as are now in it? Would religion be any more honored by it, in the estimation of ungodly men? One holy church, that are really crucified to the world, and the world to them, would do more to recommend Christianity, than all the churches in the country, living as they now do. O, if I had strength of body to go through the churches again, instead of preaching to convert sinners, I would preach to bring up the churches to the gospel standard of holy living. Of what use is it to convert sinners, and make them such Christians as these? Of what use is it to try to convert sinners, and make them feel there is something in religion, and when they go to trade with you, or meet you in the street, have you contradict it all, and tell them, by your conformity to the world, that there is nothing in it? Where shall I look, where shall the Lord look, for a church like the first church, that will come out from the world, and be separate, and give themselves up to serve God? O, if this church would do so. But it is of little use to make Christians if they are not better. Do not understand me as saying that the converts made in our revivals, are spurious. But they live so as to be a disgrace to religion. They are so stumbled by old professors that many of them do more hurt than good. The more there are of them, the more occasion infidelity seems to find for her jeers and scoffs. Now, do you believe that God commands you not to be conformed to the world? Do you believe it? And dare you obey it, let people say what they will about you? Dare you now separate yourselves from the world, and never again be controlled by its maxims, and never again copy its practices, and never again will be whiffled here and there by its fashions? I know a man that lives so, I could mention his name, he pays no attention to the customs of the world in this respect, and what is the result? Wherever that man goes, he leaves the impression behind that he is a Christian. O, if one church would do so, and would engage in it with all the energy that men of the world engage in their business, they would turn the world upside down. Will you do so? Will you break off from the world now, and enter into covenant with God, and declare that you will dare to be singular enough to be separate from the world, and from this time set your faces as a flint to obey God, let the world say what they will? Dare you do it? Will you do it?
I would like to share some writings from our early Fathers pertaining to the ways of the man. These writings are from “A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs“, Bercot, W. David. The author of this book has compiled this dictionary of more than 700 topics discussed by the early church Fathers from the Ante Nicene Fathers which is a collection of collection of books in 10 volumes on most of the early Christian writings. You can read this collection online for free: http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html or you can even purchase the set for under $200 on Amazon.
” From the very beginning, this was inculcated as a precept of Jesus among His hearers: men are to despise the life that is eagerly sought after by the multitude, and are to be earnest in living the life that resembles that of God (Origen 248 AD).”
“Whoever, then, prefers the life of the soul must despise the life of the body. He will in no other way be able to strive after that which is highest, unless he will have despised the things that are lowest (Lactantius 304-313 AD).”
“Are we not, in like manner, commended to put away from us all immodesty? On this ground, again, we are excluded from the theater, which is immodesty’s own peculiar abode. …The very harlots, too, victims of the public lust, are brought upon the stage… Let the Senate, let all ranks, blush for very shame! Is it right to look on what it is disgraceful to do? How is it that the things that defile a man in going out of his mouth, are not regarded as doing so when they go in his eyes and ears (Tertullian 197 AD).”
“The Christian man has nothing to do with any woman but his own wife. A Christian with grace-healed eyes is sightless in this matter. He is mentally blind against the assaults of passion (Tertullian 197 AD).”
“Buying as they do, a single dress at the price of ten thousand talents, they prove themselves to be of less use and less value than cloth (Clement of Alexandria 195).”
“The one peaceful and trustworthy tranquility, the one solid, firm, and constant security is this: for a man to withdraw from this whirlpool of a distracting world and to lift his eyes from earth to heaven, anchored on the ground of the harbor of salvation… he who is actually greater than the world can crave nothing or desire nothing from the world. How stable, how free from all shocks is that safeguard. how heavenly to be loosed from the snares of this entangling world and to be purged from the earthly dregs and be fitted for the light of eternal immortality (Cyprian 250 AD).”
“I will then see whether you will rise (at the resurrection) with your ceruse and rouge and saffron – and in all that parade of headgear. I will then see whether it will be women thus decked out whom the angels carry up to meet Christ in the air! If these things are now good, and of God they will then also present themselves to the rising bodies (Tertullian 198).”
I want to share something that I came across today while looking up some sources regarding Christian persecution in America. Here is a compilation of account after account of Christian persecution right here in America. The Liberty Institute has a free download of their 189 page survey right here: http://tinyurl.com/l7r886v
Here’s one example that you will find on their survey:
“Bible Distribution Lambasted by Freedom From Religion Foundation Members of Gideons International distributed Bibles in front of the University of Wisconsin Hospital. In response, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent the hospital a letter complaining about the distribution of Bibles and demanding the hospital prevent the Gideons from handing them out in the future. The hospital submitted to FFRF’s demands to prevent the distribution of Bibles. http://ffrf.org/legal/other-legal-successes/item/15217-ffrf-tightens-security-at-a-wisconsin-hospital-april-9-2012.
Although you may wonder how this ties in with the content of this website, this is actually a subject that I am addressing in my upcoming book, “Harlotry in the Church.” There is a relationship between the church and the religious persecution that we are seeing more than ever these last few years.”
A dear trusted friend of mine sent me this link to a sermon. While my husband and I do not watch sermons online and are particular and selective about what we read these days, this sermon about the church will make any man or woman fearfully examine oneself before the Lord.
Do disregard how the title of the sermon comes across, it is not a fly by night type of sermon, it is a very serious message shared in a quiet, and serious demeanor.
It appears to any common Christian that there would be nothing wrong with a woman voting. She should have a voice and her position should count for something. But, have you ever given thought that there could be something deeper than what we see and hear on the surface? Here’s something so very simple that I am going to share with you that is overlooked by the multitudes.
Did you know that women didn’t vote because when their husbands voted, his vote counted for the entire household? A man and woman’s house was not divided. They were of the same body and mind and when a woman’s husband cast a vote, she was right there with him even if she was not physically present with him.
A man used to have position in his home. When he made a decision, it counted for his entire home. His wife, children and servants (depending on what era), would never be considered to be apart from him on his decisions. If a man spoke a word when a man’s word was gold, he was not speaking of himself. He was speaking for his entire family because he represented his family and their morals and character because they followed him.
God still has such a beautiful place for the marriage and family in unity under Him. Marriage is supposed to have such strength, unity and vitality but it has been perverted so much over the last century that very few can find the way to a prosperous and beautiful marriage anymore. We women have lost so much sanctity and beauty in marriage because self has exalted itself to seek it’s own way or it’s own voice instead of cleaving to our husband’s as a shield and saying, “I am with you, I will follow you wherever you go dear.”
HARLOTRY IN THE CHURCH
THE HARLOT AMONG US
There have always been times of cleanliness and times of filth. Times when the beauty of holiness in a woman is esteemed and times when the attire of harlotry is favored. It has always been contingent upon where a man’s heart lies because where his heart lies, the actions will follow (Prov 23:7). And where the multitudes of men’s hearts are set, the women will follow and the church body will follow as well. I am going to talk about harlotry today and I am going to talk about it in a way that may be strange or foreign to you. But, if you pray and entrust the Holy Spirit to open up your heart to the truth I am about to share, the multitudes could be changed in a matter of years starting with one man at a time, one church body at a time and then the multitudes.
The street harlot has always been here. She is spoken about numerous times throughout the Bible, the well known verse being Proverbs 7:10 where she waits on the street corner. She’s been in all countries, Malaysia where we see child prostitution, London where Jack the Ripper murdered many of the street harlots and here in America where it has always been spoken of not to go across the other side of the rail road tracks to the “wrong side of town”. We are all familiar with hearing about or knowing the street harlot.
There’s another form of harlotry that exists today, and that is that of the common heathen or what the Lord would call a “foreign or a strange woman”. She has the “attire” of a harlot and does not profess the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior. Any Christian man who marries or comes together with a woman who is not saved is considered unequally yoked (II Corinthians 6:14). Judah married the daughter of a strange god (Mal 2:11). The Lord talks about delivering man from the strange woman who flatters with the words of her mouth and not to lust after her beauty in to his heart for by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread. (Prov 2:16, 6:24-26).
Some of us know of relationships and marriages within our circles or families in which Christian men and women are close to unbelievers in marriage, friendship or some other close union. But what happens when we start to see it in the church? How did it get in? Why isn’t anybody saying anything? Is it because the “unbeliever” may have a chance at becoming saved by his or her presence within this church? How can we tell who is a strange woman or a foreign woman within the church when so many of them look the same? Is confusion starting to set in or maybe the light is just starting to be shed upon the confusion?
Yes, this is where we are today. The church. The church has women in it that are professing to be of Christ, however they are dressing like the strange women we are told to stay away from in the Bible. In fact, they are wearing the attire of harlots. Now stay with me, how can I say such a thing, that Christian women are wearing the attire of harlots? First of all, let me share with you this; the name harlot describes an “unchaste” woman married or unmarried. Chaste means “Properly clean, innocent, modest, perfect (1). Are women in the church dressing in this manner? They are not, or so many men wouldn’t be struggling with illicit thoughts about their sisters in Christ within the church. I don’t mean to get explicit here but this is the truth, if you were to drive to the downtown of any large city to spy out a harlot, you would find that she looks just like many of the women of the church today. And these women who dress like harlots are comprised of the Pastor’s wife, the church Secretary, the women in the choir, possibly your own wife, yourself (if you are a woman)or the woman sitting next to you by her husband.
So, what if some of these women of the church dress like harlots but have good hearts? In most cases a woman who dresses like a harlot is wearing the fruit of her heart. A harlot is a harlot because she is looking for an exchange whether it be a nod of approval for her appearance, a glance, or a word, or a sexual exchange. As my husband once said, “If she is showing, she is selling.” As I shared in the beginning, there are times when the beauty of holiness is esteemed and there are times when the attire of harlotry is favored. In most cases if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. So, goes the woman with the attire of the harlot whether she stands on the street corner, is a co worker or sits next to you in church.
HARLOTRY IN THE CHURCH
Christian men everywhere are literally begging women in the churches to put some modest clothes on. Yet, nobody will step up and demand that these women be put out of the churches. A famous pastor once shared that without purity, there is no power. Before we can change anything in the church, we first need to see where we have come from and how man has lost his power.
The church used to be holy because it loved and sought after the Lord. Because of its love of the Lord, it had a resemblance of the Lord. The men and women of this church took great measures to protect themselves from evil. They first protected their own bodies and they also protected one another. During this time, they wouldn’t dare let the regular harlot walk on up to the church, have a seat and pretend that she was one of the members of the church. It would have been absurd for such a thing to happen during a time like this. Instead, the harlot who truly wanted to repent of her ways and follow Christ would humbly, with prayers and crying somehow make her way known that she just wanted to be made clean. She knew the church was holy because she knew Christ was holy. It made her all the more shamefaced to even be near this Christ church, but, she still wanted to touch the hem of His garment because she knew of and had hope of His mercy.
Today, the church is very, very dirty. It is filthy and an abomination to God. The harlot knows this and comes on in and takes a seat. She feels at home there. She has no shame and the sins of men with their eyes upon her give her this gratification. She becomes the one who is worshipped and this gives her great pleasure. Her worshippers (the men in the church) are in pleasure and don’t say anything to her because they don’t want her to leave. The men’s wives don’t say anything because they follow the men in the church , furthermore because they know they don’t have their husband’s hearts they compete with the woman in similar dress and mannerisms as they see this is what their husbands like. The church is full of sickness and confusion. It appears to be no different than what is in the world.
If only the church would get clean again, we could put the harlot back in her place of shame and keep our people safeguarded. You say that we don’t know the harlot’s heart and how dare we be such a judgmental people? No, there is much, much, mercy and grace for the harlot who comes repenting of her ways. Let us get the church separated and clean first and then strengthened in much love of the Lord and then the common harlot will not want to come near the church because she will know what it is. But listen to this, the harlot who wants to become clean and follow Christ will literally come begging and shamefaced to want to get right and then the church should clothe her and feed her with good spiritual food for nourishment.
So, now we see the condition of the church, but how did it get here? I’ll tell you how it got here, man gave up his strength to women. Men used to put God first. They wanted to be true worshippers of God and honorable in character. Somewhere along the line they started to turn away from God and turn to their former, natural lusts that they followed before salvation. Because women are followers of men and naturally want to be pleasing to them, they follow them by giving them the desires of their hearts through the wicked dress of harlotry. Men cannot get the harlotry out of the church until they repent of their ways and turn back to the living God. It is the men’s fault and responsibility for the condition of the church and they are the ones responsible for getting right with God and cleaning up the church. The woman who comes in dressed like a harlot is not the one with the greatest burden of responsibility for cleanliness in the church. It is the men. King Asa and King Jehoshaphat are prime examples of holy men who would not allow abominable things or people within the church. They came against and destroyed the temple prostitution that went on within the churches of that day.
The first place to start with making the church body clean is within the church. Let’s go to the book of Ezra. Ezra prayed and wept before God that they had trespassed against God by taking strange wives. Shechaniah responded by proclaiming that there was hope in Israel despite the condition of the church and then further proclaimed, “Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God: and let it be done according to the law (Ezra 10:3). Here, men knew in their hearts that they had married women that God was not pleased with and they put away (divorced) their wives and children. They were told to arise and be of good courage. If men were commanded by God back then to put away their wives and obeyed, surely men of today can do something less strenuous such as sharing with the congregation that there will be a new dress code next Sunday and that dress code will be one of “modesty”. A pastor should be of good courage and have other leaders in the church stand with him in this matter and face his congregation of people to whom he’s responsible over and share with them that they need to dress appropriately in church or not come back the following Sunday. There’s no other way to do it but with courage and straightforwardness. As much as we all hate conflict, there is not an easy or nice way around this. Things hurt when they are in the process of getting clean. An open wound that is filled with pus and grime will hurt and be tender to the touch when being cleansed. Does this not sound in accordance with what you’ve been taught about Jesus Christ? The Lord Jesus said, “ Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division”(Luke 12:51).” We live in a terrible age, especially that of the church and this is a time we need Jesus Christ to divide before cleansing and reformation can begin.
The next place we need to go is to the door. When a woman approaches the church door in attire that is inappropriate, an older gentle woman should pull her aside and share with her in kindness and love that she is more than welcome to attend the service the following week if she would dress appropriately and modestly for church. She should ask the woman if she would like a visit from her or one of the other ladies in the church to talk about Christ and to see if she needs help with her attire. She may offer the woman a dress or outfit from the churches clothing bank if needed. The older ladies of the church can be a great spiritual guide to women who have recently been saved or aren’t saved at all but are seeking Christ. They should go out of their way in all ways possible; offering home visitations, lunch or coffee or assistance in picking out appropriate clothing, etc… But, they should also keep the boundaries secure and not let a woman enter in Christ’s church who is unwilling to make such a simple change as her attire. Anyone who is not willing to change in such a simple area for the respect of others within the church of Christ, is not ready to do the weightier matters such as sacrifice her life to Christ. If a woman is unsure about committing herself to Christ, a woman or women from the church can do home visits for a time to show the love of Christ and extend the hand of friendship to help persuade her heart in the right direction.
Finally, women cannot help other women without the support, commands and direction from the men. The men need to enforce this for the protection of their sons and daughters as well as themselves and the rest of the church. If a man cannot make a stand against “weak” women as Augustine used to refer to women, then they cannot stand for or against anything. Oh dear men and leaders to be, we women beseech you to stand up for holiness so we can support you in it and follow. We want holy, God fearing men and women as a body of Christ as much as you do. Do not cower and waver when a woman walks in with the attire of a harlot, take a stand and demand holiness in your church. It will bring the harlot to repentance and the once shamefacedness place that used to be and will be the start towards making the church clean again so it can be strengthened to do the work that is needed.
Further, it will produce a beautiful outcome and that is that women will go back to their proper God fearing place of shamefacedness. Shamefacedness in Hebrew means “bashfulness with a reverence towards men.” This does not fit the description of the women in the church body today. Women have no shame because nobody shames them anymore for their immodesty. Where women are shamed for their unchaste dress or behavior in the Amish or Mennonite denominations or other cultures, they either become shamefaced or they leave. Let me reiterate, if a woman is shamed, she will be shamefaced. This is in her God given nature. Understand this, being shamefaced isn’t the same as humiliation or degration and certainly doesn’t have to mean a woman who’s shamefaced cannot have a voice or mind to speak. Many women who were shamefaced had an influence upon nations, translated Bibles and started churches. Corrie Ten Boom, Amy Carmichael, Helena the mother of Constantine, Monica the mother of Augustine, Pandita Ramabai founder of a mission and translator of the Bible, Susanna Wesley and so many more women were shamefaced.
Where the line is drawn and the command is spoken and set firm, the women will naturally follow. We have an example of this; the Amish have their boundaries set, for you will not see a worldly and seductively dressed woman walk into an Amish home church and take a seat among them for the Sunday service. It would be absurd. We have come so far from where the church used to be but with good courage and the first steps of walking in faith, the church can be changed for us and generations to follow. Let us now walk in good faith and works brothers and sisters in Christ, and do the first steps, so we can look expectantly unto our Father to see what He will do with the church in this coming age. Amen.
1. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia