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Visible, Local NT Church Biblically Defended! VIRTUAL "Church" Debunked!

August 08, 2018, 02:38:10 am suzytr says: Hello, any good churches in the Sacto, CA area, also looking in Reno NV, thanks in advance and God Bless you Smiley
January 29, 2018, 01:21:57 am Christian40 says: It will be interesting to see what happens this year Israel being 70 years as a modern nation may 14 2018
October 17, 2017, 01:25:20 am Christian40 says: It is good to type Mark is here again!  Smiley
October 16, 2017, 03:28:18 am Christian40 says: anyone else thinking that time is accelerating now? it seems im doing days in shorter time now is time being affected in some way?
September 24, 2017, 10:45:16 pm Psalm 51:17 says: The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the league rulebook. It states: “The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. “During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”
September 20, 2017, 04:32:32 am Christian40 says: "The most popular Hepatitis B vaccine is nothing short of a witch’s brew including aluminum, formaldehyde, yeast, amino acids, and soy. Aluminum is a known neurotoxin that destroys cellular metabolism and function. Hundreds of studies link to the ravaging effects of aluminum. The other proteins and formaldehyde serve to activate the immune system and open up the blood-brain barrier. This is NOT a good thing."
September 19, 2017, 03:59:21 am Christian40 says: bbc international did a video about there street preaching they are good witnesses
September 14, 2017, 08:06:04 am Psalm 51:17 says: bro Mark Hunter on YT has some good, edifying stuff too.
September 14, 2017, 04:31:26 am Christian40 says: i have thought that i'm reaping from past sins then my life has been impacted in ways from having non believers in my ancestry.
September 11, 2017, 06:59:33 am Psalm 51:17 says: The law of reaping and sowing. It's amazing how God's mercy and longsuffering has hovered over America so long. (ie, the infrastructure is very bad here b/c for many years, they were grossly underspent on. 1st Tim 6:10, the god of materialism has its roots firmly in the West) And remember once upon a time ago when shacking up b/w straight couples drew shock awe?

Exodus 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
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Author Topic: Visible, Local NT Church Biblically Defended! VIRTUAL "Church" Debunked!  (Read 7575 times)
Psalm 51:17
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« on: October 27, 2016, 12:13:46 pm »


Over the past few years a number of people have asked me about Greater Joy Ministries operated by Michael and Debi Pearl, and as I have traveled on preaching trips I have found that many families in good fundamental Baptist churches are using their materials.

The following is a report on my investigation into this ministry. I have read two of Michael’s books as well as issues of No Greater Joy magazine, and I have looked carefully through the material available at their web site.

Beware Michael Pearl
There is much to praise in Greater Joy Ministries. The Pearl’s book To Train up a Child contains many very helpful things (though it often goes beyond clear biblical precepts and enters into a legalistic “Pearlosophy,” which is presented as dogmatically as the parts that are supported directly by Scripture, such as some of his teaching about education and other things that almost require an Amish-like lifestyle). The Pearls rightly avoid “Christian” psychology. They promote godly husband-wife relationships. They teach parents how to reach the child’s heart rather than enforcing mere externals. They focus on how crucial it is for the parents to live what they preach, to avoid hypocrisy. They teach a biblical approach to corporal punishment without apology. They teach parents how to jealously and carefully protect their children from evil influences. They give some excellent and timely warnings about the danger of the average church youth group that throws young people together in a secular fashion and thus allows strong but worldly personalities to corrupt heretofore innocent youth (which is exactly what happened to me as I grew up in a Southern Baptist congregation). They are clear about parental responsibility, that the “buck stops here” with Christian parents in regard to child training.

I am sure that the Pearls are genuine salt-of-the-earth people who try to practice what they preach, but I want to mention some serious errors that those who use their materials should be aware of.


No Greater Joy has some excellent practical teaching on the family, but I do not believe that it is presented within a scriptural balance and framework in regard to the church. In the topics listed at the No Greater Joy web site, “The Church” is glaringly absent. When Michael Pearl speaks about the church it is almost always in a negative context.

While the family is the foundational unit in the church and society and is very, very important, I believe it is possible to turn the family into an idol, when it is emphasized beyond biblical bounds and when it becomes an end unto itself.

I don’t believe the Pearls themselves have made an idol of the home, but I believe that many associated with the home schooling movement have, and the Pearls should do more to resist this error. Debi Pearl wisely says: “Do not get caught up in pouring your life into a good cause--even the rearing of a large family. Pour your life into knowing and serving the Savior and desiring that every life you touch be touched with the knowledge of forgiveness in the shed blood of Jesus. We are called to be soldiers in the army of the living God. Raising up young new recruits is exciting” (To Train up a Child, fifteenth printing, 2004, p. 119).

The problem is that this is only a brief postscript in their book on child training, and it is not something that seems to be properly emphasized. In the dozens of articles I have read by the Pearls, this is the only time I have seen that type of emphasis. The Pearls have 150,000 on their mailing list and their book To Train up a Child has sold more than 400,000 copies. They therefore have a vast influence among home schoolers.

Christ’s Great Commission is to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth and to plant churches that are discipleship centers, the pillar and ground of the truth, where believers are trained in the service of God and in the work of world evangelism (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:17; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 1:Cool. This is what we see lived out in the book of Acts and it is a program that is to be perpetuated until Christ returns.

Parents who are committed to Christ will have this Great Commission before them at all times as they raise their children.

To raise wholesome, talented, law-abiding, hard-working citizens is not enough, because it falls short of what Christ commanded.

I believe home schooling is by far the best way to educate children. That is how our own children were educated, but within some home schooling circles there is neglect toward and misunderstanding of the New Testament church.

For example, on my last preaching trip to Australia I met some godly families in one of the churches. The children play various musical instruments; they have a wide variety of interests and talents; they have serious goals in life; they are getting a wonderful education; they are separated from the wicked things of the world. There is nothing wrong with any of this, of course. It is a great blessing to see close and godly families in this wicked age. The problem is with the emphasis and balance. These families do not place the church and the Great Commission in a Scriptural priority. They attend services only once service a week, forsaking the other services for “family time,” in direct contradiction to Acts 2:42 and Hebrews 10:25. They brazenly neglected the special services that the church was hosting and thus gained no benefit from the visiting preacher. Their lives could have been challenged by that preaching, but other things were more important to them.

These parents are teaching their children many good things, but they are wrong in teaching them to slight the church.

My friends, the Bible plainly states that it is the church that is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). Why doesn’t it say that the home is the pillar and ground of the truth? And this is not some vague “universal” church. The context is a scripturally organized assembly that has pastors and deacons (1 Tim. 3:1-14). The believer’s service to the Lord is to be in and through such a church, in submission to God-ordained pastors and elders (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:7, 17).

Any family that is not in proper relationship with and submission to God-ordained church authority is not in the will of God (unless, of course, no such church exists in the area). I say this on the authority of the Scriptures. I would ask such a family, “Who has the rule over you?” If the reply is, “God does,” I would rejoin that God Himself says that church elders are to have the rule over us (Heb. 13:17), not as lords over us but as under-shepherds who must, in turn, give account to the Great Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:1-4).

I understand all too well that pastoral authority has been abused at times and that this is an hour of great compromise in churches, but that is no excuse to reject it. Husbands and fathers have abused their authority at least as much as pastors have abused theirs, but that does not mean that we are free to reject them. The Lord Jesus Christ said, “I will build my church” (Mat. 16:18). It is His plan and program, and it is not to be despised.

There is nothing wrong with a “house church” as such, if that church is scripturally organized, but a loose knit gathering in a home is not necessarily a church, and a father of a family is not a pastor unless he is qualified and called and ordained (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-11; Acts 14:23).

Paul wrote to Titus and informed him that he was to “set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city” (Titus 1:5). The thing that was wanting, or lacking, was for the new converts to be organized into proper New Testament assemblies, and this required the ordination of qualified, God-called elders (Titus 1:6-16).

This is the pattern that we see in the first missionary journey. After Paul and Barnabas had preached in many places, they returned to each place and organized the new groups of believers into churches and ordained elders in each one (Acts 14:23).

A home Bible study, a home prayer meeting, a loose knit group of home schoolers, is not in itself a proper New Testament church and has no scriptural authority to replace such a church.

If Michael Pearl agrees with us on the importance of the New Testament church, he should be very careful to preach about this, as it is an essential part of “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). He should also speak out plainly against the practice of many today who neglect and discount the value of the house of God (1 Tim. 3:16). We would expect to see such a warning prominently given at his web site, since his ministry is attractive to such people.

Such teaching and warning is lacking, though. In fact, in his article “Sanctuary” (March 2005) he refers sympathetically to “several families” who have “traded church attendance for a DVD player,” and he does not explain that this is unscriptural.

Pearl complains that “church today is not a sanctuary from the world nor is it a ‘holy’ place.”

While I agree that too many churches are worldly from top to bottom, meaning that even the leaders and workers are worldly, it is equally true that a scriptural New Testament church will never be completely holy. If a church is reaching the world for Christ as it should, there will always be unsaved and newly saved people in attendance who are not very holy, to say the least. In fact, if we were to be honest with our own hearts, we would admit that there is plenty of unholiness in the most mature of saints, as even the apostle Paul lamented in regard to his own life. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Rom. 7:18). And the apostle John added his Amen to this when he said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:9).

The New Testament church can never be a complete sanctuary from the world or a perfectly holy place for the simple fact that it is made up of sinners who are in the business of reaching sinners. Paul referred to the unsaved who attended the meetings of the church at Corinth, and said nothing to discourage the church from having the unsaved in attendance but rather encouraged them to live in such a way that they would reach the unsaved for Christ (1 Cor. 14:23-25).

A church that is busy reaching the unsaved will not only have the unsaved in attendance at services and events but will have new believers in attendance, as well, and these will be far from “entirely sanctified” and separated from the world.

I remember when I was first saved and joined a fundamental Baptist church in central Florida. I was saved; I knew the Lord; I had truly repented; but I was still a mess! I still had hair down to my shoulders; I still smoked and listened to rock & roll and attended worldly movies. Yet the church members were so patient and kind to me, opening their homes to me, spending time with me, discipling me; and it was this that helped me to grow and to begin shedding the things of the flesh and the world and putting on Christ.

The man that led me to Jesus Christ had the same attitude. He was not ashamed to spend four or so days traveling with me, living with me, enduring my foul language and disgusting habits and vain arguments against the truth.

The apostolic churches that are described in the New Testament scriptures were far from sinlessly perfect. Consider the seven churches of Asia Minor addressed in Revelation 2-3. Most of these apostolic churches had serious problems. The church at Ephesus had left its first love. The church at Pergamos allowed false teachers in their midst, including the false doctrine of Balaam that was associated with idolatry and fornication. The church at Thyatira allowed a false prophetess to teach worldly heresies. The church at Sardis had a name that it lived but was dead. The church at Laodicea was so lukewarm that Christ warned them that He would spew them out of His mouth.

Consider the apostolic church at Corinth. This church was established by the apostle Paul himself, but it was a genuine mess! The members were carnal and divided (1 Cor. 1-3); they did not discipline even the most glaring sins (1 Cor. 5); they took one another to court (1 Cor. 6); they fellowshipped with idols (1 Cor. 10); they grossly misused the spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 14); they allowed false teachers in their midst, even those who preached false christs and gospels (2 Cor. 11:3-4) and denied the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:12).

The church at Philippi was an excellent church, but two women in the congregation were so at odds with one another that they had to be corrected by Paul in a public letter (Phil. 4:2).

The apostle Peter played the hypocrite and Paul had to rebuke him publicly (Gal. 2:11-14).

Even Paul and Barnabas had such a “sharp contention” that they could no longer work together (Acts 15:36-40).

None of this is an excuse to think that it does not matter what type of church we attend or how we live, but it is a fact of Christian living and church life that we must understand and learn to deal with.

This is not something that Michael Pearl preaches properly. In his article “Sanctuary” (March 2005) he does advise someone, “Don’t leave the church, anymore than a missionary would leave the field because there are sinners there,” but having read two of his books and dozens of his articles, I am convinced that the message to exchange the church for a DVD player and to look lightly upon one’s responsibility to the church is louder than the message to stay in the church and be a faithful, fruitful member thereof.

For more on this subject see “Seven Keys to Fruitful Church Membership” at http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/sevenkeys.htm.


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