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By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
Copyright © Midnight Ministries 2006
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Answers to commonly asked questions about church membership
Q. Can I join Midnight Ministries to become a member?
A. No. Midnight Ministries is not a church. It is a name identifying this branch of the Work of God conducted by Malcolm and Helena Heap. God has put an anointing upon us for the purposes of restoring His truth to the Church in writing. While I follow the lead of His Spirit in that task, Helena provides the cover through intercession.
Of course, you can join with us in supporting what we do, but you cannot be a member of MM because it is not a church. It identifies the work God has called us to do.
Q. Should I join a church?
A. That is a choice you have to make. It is certainly true that when God first opens your eyes to spiritual things, He draws you into church, to be nurtured spiritually, and to share in social, emotional and spiritual fellowship. But there comes a time when He also draws you out again (Jn 10:3,4).
Jesus doesn’t call you to join a church as if that were the be-all and end-all of your spiritual journey. There is more!
He calls you into HIS CHURCH, the spiritual body of believers who have received His Spirit (Rom 8:9), who listen to His voice (Jn 10:4,5), and who follow the lead of His Spirit (Rom 8:14). That is all that matters. It doesn’t matter whether you belong to a church organisation, because church organisations are physical groups of people, not the all-important spiritual body.
But you can, and should, be a part of a fellowship of believers where you can receive spiritual nourishment and share spiritual fellowship, and practice / utilise spiritual gifts.
00Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together... but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Heb 10:25, NKJV).
Q. People say it’s important to be subject to ministers.
A. Our fellowship is with God first and foremost, and with His Son Jesus Christ (1 Jn 1:3). Likewise, our submission is to God and to Jesus. Fellowship and submission are very closely interlinked. You can’t have fellowship with God and receive His Spirit unless you want to be obedient to Him (Acts 5:32), so fellowship and submission are inseparable.
When someone claims that you need to be submissive to a a church leader, or follow implicitly what he says, and come under his authority, they are encouraging you to commit idolatry. It is subtle, but it is blasphemy when a man stands in the place of Christ. You are to submit to God through Christ, not to a mere man. He (the church leader) is not your saviour. You are to work out your own salvation (Phil 2:12). A man can’t work it out for you.
Now, when an apostle or prophet or evangelist or ‘shepherd’ is speaking through the inspiration of the Spirit, he speaks for God in that instance, and his words are to be heeded and obeyed. In that case it is right to submit to what he says, but you don’t submit to him in all things. First you have to know whether what he says is guided by the Spirit, because there are also many demon spirits who use false ministers as their means of promoting deception. That’s why you must TEST the spirits to see if they are of God (1 Jn 4:1; 1 Thes 5:21). If you submit to a false minister, you submit to the lying spirits that use him, not to God. And your fellowship is not with God but with demons.
...I do not want you to have fellowship with demons (1 Cor 10:20, NKJV).
False ministers abound in churches! Paul warned:
...those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast.. are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers transform themselves into ministers of righteous- ness, whose end will be according to their works (2 Cor 11:12-15, NKJV).
Q. How can I tell a false minister from one who is true?
A. By the spiritual fruits of the person’s life (Matt 7:15-23). It’s not easy. It can take time to see through the facade he promotes. It’s not a matter of personality or ‘charisma’ or smiles and pleasantness. It’s a question of what is in his heart, and God has to help you perceive some of that.
Q. Didn’t Paul say that we are members one of another?
A. Yes. That is in Romans 12:5. But notice in that text that it says we are parts of His spiritual body – the Church – not parts of physical bodies misleadingly also called ‘churches’. So, our membership is toward a spiritual body – Christ’s – not a physical body here on earth (a ‘church’). Your loyalties must be to Him, not merely to human beings.
Where human beings (ministers of Christ) are in His will, doing His work, then help them, assist them, support them, but remember that your loyalty is not to the person, but to Jesus who is behind the work of that person.
Always try and see with spiritual eyes the way God views things, not with physical eyes the way mortals view things. God’s viewpoint is very much different from that of mortals (Is 55:8,9).
Q. When I was baptised, I was baptised into my church.
A. No you weren’t. You were baptised into Jesus, and into His spiritual body of believers. Notice what Paul wrote:
Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Cor 1:13, NKJV.)
It is equally wrong to think you were baptised in the name of your church or minister. You weren’t. Baptism symbolises your death to former sinful ways, and a resurrection up into a new life of higher loyalties – loyalties towards God / Jesus.
So, quit thinking you should be loyal to men, to church leaders, and be their supportive members. You are Jesus’ supportive member and meant to be supportive of Him and His Work, not to human heads of compromising churches.
Further Reading: God’s Church – Whose Authority? (GC)
Testing The Spirits and Apostasy In God’s Church (TTS)
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