Of Growth
And Strength

A better Moustrap

All that is required is that a man produce a better mousetrap. and the world will beat a path to his door.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Since the fall of the Church around 200 AD, the backslidden blind ministry has been in the business of building a better Gospel in the hopes that in so doing that the world will beat a path  to the church's door.

For as far back as I can remember was given an alternate peice of revisionist history that went something like this in 330 AD the Emperor Constantine was converted (This was viewed as good or bad depending who was speaking.) Constatine made Christianity a legal religion in the Roman Empire (this is view as good) . And at that point the early Church was hit with an explosion of hundreds of thousands of converts.(This was viewed as good) And we are then told that these converts brought with them their idols and pagan practices and that they had “Christianized" them. (As if the laity had the power to do that.) Thus we are told that becasue of this influx of a mixt multitude caused the fall of the early Church, not the Church itself..

Now if we had heard such a story on the Evening News we would suspect that the story had some bias and spin added to it. But when we read or hear it from modren Christian sources even known tainted Christian sources suddenly everything is golden. 

The truth is that the Christain leadership for quite some time was trying to escape the pain and suffering of Roman persecution. And so they had been at work building better and better mousetraps for several generations beginning quite noticeably in the third century with limited success.  Finally a century later during the days of Constantine they trotted out their latest version of the Gospel and began preaching a new grossly compromised anything goes Gospel, that willingly embraced “Believers “ with pagan beliefs and practices, A Christianity that was for the betterment or enhancement of all men no matter what you believed.  It was sort of like what being an American became in the 1970’s. People no longer were Americans but Italian/Americans, French/ Americans, Arab/Americans, Afro/Americans , and Asian/Americans. Our language and culture was put aside, and the people that no longer had any allegiance to the nation became squatters, just living here while still being very much a part of their home land.  And so after the conversion of Emperor Constantine the world beat a path to the new ecumenical Church’s door and surprise surprise they brought all their idols with them too.

Do you suppose in your wildest imagination beleive that this “Success “ of the early Church was the work of God?  Recently I had a contentious discussion with a brother who attends a Baptist that bribes children with fistfuls of candy to attend Sunday school. They hold carnivals, and other public “events” to attract the unsaved, they hold placard protests, and on and on. And they tell us that the following verse justifies all their actions.

Luke 14:21-24  So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.  And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.   And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.   For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

According to this young man, this verse tells his Pastor and his Church that they can employ any means possible to bring people into the church. Lying, trickery, bribery, as long as they are brought in and hear the Gospel that is all that matters.  So we can use darkess to bring people tto the light, we can use sin to lead to salvation, anything goes as long as they can lead poepl to the Lord.

Indeed they they will make disciples, – but these disciples are not disciples in christ walking uprightlly before the Lord -- these discipiles are instead corrupt and earthy following after sensual things made in their own image and likeness. Many places like them have filled their churches, but what have they filled them with? Tares. Tares that will be gathered and burned.

First they did not fill the house with the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. As was stated in the verse previous. And why do they like the most successful Churches in our day pass up Christ’s words to preach the Gospel to the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind? Does not this parable indicate that these people are to comprise the majority of that Church?

What is the meaning of this parable? Perhaps it might help us to see what Christ was saying before he spoke this parable.

Luke 14 :11-14 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Then said He also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.  But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:  And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

Once again we find our modren traditions and teachings of men are in conflict with the actual words of Christ. The answer as to why my friend's church, and hundreds of churches just like it as well as all those great temples of men that reach to the sky do are not comprised of the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind is because they can not recompense thee.

In other words they don’t have the money to finance multi-million dollar ministries. Sooooo in order to finance their vision of either local and worldwide evangelism they preach to the middle class and the rich. They create partnerships with the world to be able to do "good works.". And what does Jesus say in this parable about receiving recompense from a congregation of friends, of thy brethren of thy kinsmen and of the rich – You as a beleiver, you as a disciple you as a Chritsian can not do it. 

No, no, no, that cannot be, because that conflicts with the Church's prime directive to compel them to come in and collect tithes and offerings from the well to do and the wealthy. Shock of shocks brothers and sisters Christ emphatically states here that you are to only receive recompense for working with those that cannot give you any recompense.  The meaning also carried in Jesus’ words is that that those who preach and teach  thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.

The word Bid in the Greek is Anti-Kalesosin this is actually two words Anti and Kaleo Anti in English has come to mean against in the Greek Anti means: to correspond to. To do in like kind, to do in retribution,  to do out of consideration of something that was done. Kaleo means: to call or be invited to receive an office or position, to receive privilege, to receive favor or regard.

 The meaning of Anti- Kalesosin is a lot more than I buy you dinner and you buy me dinner. It speaks of a certain smarminess that has taken over our church in the last two generations, regarding preaching to the middle class and the wealthy so that we (like the Loadieans) can be increased with goods and do lots of Gospel things. So that by bringing in the well-to-do, we can receive the prestige of men and rub elbows with the right people. That we can receive favors of men opening doors for us so that we cam appear at the chief seats at dinners and events. So that we can receive most particularly their money in tithes gifts and offerings. Big Churches, and big ministries require massive infusions of cold hard cash – something that the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind don’t have much of.      

Mark 12:41-43 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.  And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.  And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

This text is the basis of 10,000 sermons on tithing and giving offerings – according to the doctrines and the traditions of men, this passage means that we are to give more. And more importantly that Jesus notices our sacrificial giving and we are therefore blessed for it.

Note that in this verse Jesus did not walk over to the woman and lay hands on her and say because of your sacrificial giving thou art healed and thy household shall receive great financial reward. In fact Jesus did not EVER say a single word to this woman.

In hearing these words neither Peter nor any of the twelve disciples understood that that Jesus noticed her sacrificial giving, nor were they aware of His advising them to do likewise and that they would be blessed beyound their wildest dreams of averice for it.

In another familiar passage look at Peter’s response when he is faced with something that Christ wanted him to experience.  

John 13:7-9 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him. If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.  Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

We see in this passage that when Peter perceived that hi might receive a blessing from Christ -- be immediately when for it with all his heart andsould na strength. So is it not reasonable to suggest in another passage that if Christ was suggesting that His head was turned by the widow’s offering, that if Christ was suggesting that by sacrificial giving the disciples would receive some greater blessing don’t you thing that at least Simon Peter would have stood up and said:: having saved this one mite, farthing, or piece of silver, and lo I give it all. And then Peter would have ran up and tossed in the box. 

The same people that preach this nonsense tell us that Jesus and the disciples were financially rich. If that is so why don’t we read of Peter emptying his gold filled pockets into the offering box and declaring “Lo I have given all so that he could have received that hundred fold blessing.”  But we know from scripture that Peter was as broke as Jesus was.

Matthew 17:24-27 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?  Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.  Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

So if Jesus and the disciples were rich as we are told by the preachers of the prosperity gospel why didn’t Jesus just reach into that sack that Judas had to drag around? Poor Judas he had to work harder than any of the disciples dragging this 300 pound sack of gold behind him. And after every meeting that Jesus passed those solid gold offering plates of His to the poor. And naturally the poor forked out all they had for Jesus and the disciples to fund their chariots, their 100 houses their 100 plots of land and their 100 wives. And Judas of course was stuck with the task of dragging that ever-increasing bag around.

Haven’t you figured it out yet that if anything like this would have happened that Jesus would have been disqualified from offering himself for our sins as He would have bowed the knee to the love of the world the love of the things of the world the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes?

Jesus owned one piece of raiment like the disciples. He never made an issue of whether it was a fine suit or a cheap suit. All we need to know is he had one set of nice clothes and he wore the same clothes day in and day out.  And as far as we know from the word of God he wore that same set of clothes from the first day of His ministry.  He was probably also baptized in that same robe. It was probably paid for by His working for father Joseph or it was a present from his parents as he went off to do the will of God.

So in fact when the issue of taxes came up in Matthew 17:24-27 the little bag or little pouch Judas carried was empty.  Jesus loved his disciples as a father loves his children so when the tax man comes to Peter and demands tribute Jesus would have given Peter the money if He had had it, but Jesus has no money – So the Lord does not instruct Peter to run and hide –but Jesus says  we don’t offend so I want you to go fish.  I think that we can agree that Peter James and John probably fished regularly for what Jesus and the disciples ate. They didn’t do Taco Bell, Red Lobster, or any other fine restaurants of their day – things that we claim we could not live without –and if we don’t eat out daily we would wonder if God cares at all about us. So Peter goes fishing as he is instructed cast the hook in pulls out the first fish, and finds a single coin in its mouth enough to pay Peter’s and Jesus’ taxes and no more.

Now if Jesus were operating under the prosperity gospel don’t you think that the fish would have been huge and filled with gold? If Jesus would have believed in and taught the prosperity Gospel this verse have read like this: And Peter hooking the fish cried out to James and John to help him the three labored for an hour to bring the fish in. And the fish weighed three talents and was exceeding large and when Simon Peter opened the fish’s mouth coins began to fall out. And when the disciples cut open the great fish they found 612 pieces of gold in it then Jesus and the disciples rejoiced and went to town and had a feast –and invited the tax collector and when the tax collect saw their great wealth he was compelled to believe.

When are we going to be able to read the word of God without reading in these doctrines and traditions of men? When are we going to seek God with a singleness of vision, seek Him for himself as opposed to seeking Him for personal enrichment, ministry and power?

I want to get back to the widow’s mite, and that none of the disciples understood at that time or anywhere in their writings that God had respect of a person based on their level of giving. 

Concerning the temple offering that the poor widow was a part of, we do not know if this was a weekly offering, a monthly offering, or a yearly offering. Now I suppose that if someone really loved the truth on this matter they would feel compelled to read Josephus’ writings as he lived around the time of Christ and wrote extensively on what was practiced in the temple of Herod as opposed to what was prescribed by the Law of Moses.  And one might also feel compelled to read the writings of the Apostolic fathers as they were the next generation after the Apostles to see if they might be able to shed some light on the matter, or we might even want to read Alfred Edersheim’s book “The Temple” to get a more scholarly and scriptural view of tithes offerings and the sacrifices. All of which I might add can be found and read online.

So this widow has these two mites and she’s giving an annual gift to the temple – she probably had a house, she may have had children, certainly she had to eat and sleep somewhere. In your wildest imagination would you believe that this was in fact the first fruits of all the money that had crossed the widow’s palm during the course of a year?

It would take far more than 20 mites (The total that 2 mites would be 10% of) to house, cloth, and feed this widow for a year. If it took 40 mites for this woman to live, we would be told by our modern tithe and offering Pharisees that she had robbed God, for she would have kept back 50% or that she owed God two more mites? If it took 80 mites to feed cloth and shelter this widow for a year she would have been keeping back from God a whopping 66% or 4 mites of her tithe. And if it took 120 mites (taht would translate out to 1 mite to feed cloth and shelter this widow for every three days she would have been holding out on God for a whopping 75% or 10 mites.  Now if someone would be familiar with the law of Moses they would have already known that the poor were not required to tithe. And that the tithe in the law was not paid on financial commerce, but it was PAID ON edible farm products Only. It was given because the Levites had no inheritance ie no farm fields, no vineyards, no olive groves, no herds of cattle and no sheep of their own.  And that the produce of the tithe was to feed the priests, the fatherless and the widows.  Incidentally, the Apostles seemed to have been strangely taken with this notion of taking care of the widows and the fatherless in the book of Acts, so much so that for quite some time they were personally seeing to the feeding and care for the fatherless and widows. 

So unlike the common view of this hour Christ was apparently not viewing her offering in context to her tithing. Now in the bible we are told that there was a group of people that did have great regard to people’s tithes and offerings. That would be the Pharisees.

And in light of the widow and her gift there is are some instructive verses regarding the Pharisees view of all of this.

Matthew 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

I am now going to give you a strange sounding doctrine, a doctrine none the less of far reaching implication. Christ himself teaches a doctrine that in coercing offerings from the poor, preaching that if they don’t tithe they are robbing God, preaching that if they don’t tithe or give cash offerings that God will not bless them. Telling someone that because of their not giving money that they are sick, or their children or relatives are sick, is a capital offense in the kingdom of Heaven. In so doing and so teaching you will guarantee for yourself a place in the lowest hell.

Mark 12:40-41 Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation. And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

The Pharisees were telling these poor widows that they needed to give into the Pharisees ministry, they were having widows borrow money against their houses and assets. And over time the collection agency would show up and seize the house and property from the widows. Bite by bite they devoured the widows holdings to enrich their lifestyle and their ministerial goals.  And strangely enough this destructive practice of the Pharisees in this passage leads straight into the temple treasury and to Jesus seeing the widow give her two mites. This is probably the very place that the Pharisees had their watchmen, this is probably where they selected their marks, from the widows and the poor that had enough religious conviction to bring in an offering. The Pharisees or their surrogates would probably befriend these people. And them wj=ehn they had them hooked they would tell them in mournful terms how God, the king of heaven, the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills had of late fallen upon hard times and had these dire financial needs. And how that poor old God needed their financial help HIM out, because without their tithes and offerings of corrupt mammon, alas God couldn’t keep the temple open, and the work of their great evangelistic ministry would have to cease.

There was a day not to far in the distant past that ministers preached the Gospel for free and lived by what was termed a faith ministry which meant they personally had to believe God to provide all their needs ie their next meal, shelter over their heads, and for the place they met. Missionaries Evangelists Pastors and Itinerate preachers lived day by day hand to mouth. Now they have cast off their bonds, they have put aside the yolk of Christ and have not only made merchandise of their hearers, but have brought corrupt mammon  directly into the Church service and made it as part of the worship service. And thus have they defiled themselves, their ministries and their hearers.  

In case you are curious this passage of scripture in the Law of Mosses that Christ was referring to here it is:

Exodus 22:22-27 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.
If thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.

How many poor, fatherless children and widows have evangelists, television ministries and pastors fleeced for all they were worth? For three decades God has heard the cry of the innocent being financially ruined and losing all they had, their being forced to live in slums where they are in danger night and day, they are forced to eat cat food, give up medicine and turn the heat down to a minimum while these ministers live like kings and build palatial estates for themselves?  

In the 1970’s I heard talk of evangelists sucking congregations dry for months, and this same thing happened with the advent of the televangelists in the 1980’s. There had been reports of hundreds of these shameless ministers have taken everything from the poor and working class people even that which they needed for food and shelter.   

What does God say in Exodus? His wrath shall wax hot, and he shall kill them that do these things by the sword. Everybody senses something is coming and they are so excited. I am filled with fear because I know the death and carnage that is coming to the Church. Judgment day is coming, a day when He will clean house and gather first all that causes to offend, Jesus said that the tares shall be gathered first to be burned.   

This is the only day that I can effect for God yesterday is past and I have no guarantee of tomorrow. Are we prepared for weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth? It would appear that most are. All you have to do to earn that reward is to do what you have always have done and you will get what you have already gotten – (sowing unto the flesh and reaping death.)  But if we want to have a singleness of vision and desire to be converted from darkness to light we are going to have to do something more than give God lip service, show up to church and sing a few songs. We are going to have to fall before the stone and be broken of our ways, of our envious desires, and our covetous desires for the wealth and things of this world.  

The time to play is over it is high time to awake out of our slumber and put on the armor of light.

The Church has become fixated with the accomplishments of men in sports entertainment, politics, the military, in education, the wealthy and now their own preachers and evangelists. They openly offer shameful praise and adoration for their fleshly accomplishments. And it has been commonly taught for the last 30 years that if only we could get some of these pop icons saved that there would be a vast influx of millions that would follow suit because X got saved. In my life time many Mr X’s and Ms X’s have come in and “Gotten saved” but the promised revival has not occurred with any of them. This feast and celebration of the flesh of men is precisely why Paul the Apostle declared:

1 Corinthians 1:25-27 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

God will not share his glory and praise with anyone. Not with a sports figure not with an entertainer, not with a singer, not with a politician, not with a military hero, not with a pastor, teacher or evangelist, and not with the wealthy.

With the advent of people being able to sell their testimony and make a good living on traveling the Christian circuit it has been increasingly hard for God find someone to work through that will not accept praise and worship from Christians.