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[Home]>[The Man-Made Church]>[56. The Formation of the Imitation Church - Part 1]
This is the 56. Chapter of "The Man-Made Church"
by Frank L. Preuss
In this chapter of our book "The Man-Made Church" we bring the testimony of a high-ranking member of the man-made church about all the things that are wrong with the man-made church.
This high-ranking member of the man-made church is not just a member of the man-made church or a cleric, but belongs to the top of the hierarchy. He is a professor of theology, a man Jesus describes as a scribe, a hypocrite, a false prophet, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a ravening wolf.
What is so negative about such people is that they know the truth, that they claim to know the truth, that they claim to be able to teach the truth to others, but that they do not do the truth.
The testimony comes from a man with the name of Emil Brunner and his book "The Misunderstanding of the Church," 1952.
The book was originally written in German and the original German title is "Das Mißverständnis der Kirche," 1951.
In the book we find quite a number of statements which very nicely describe all the shortcomings of the man-made churches, what is wrong with them, and it is these details we are going to concentrate upon. But there are also descriptions of how the real church works and should work and we will also look at them.
I will now bring excerpts from this book and will sometimes intersperse comments to the statements made by Emil Brunner.
I start with a description of the book from the dust cover:
Professor Brunner needs no introduction either as a theologian or a controversialist. In this monograph he addresses himself vigorously to the question: What is wrong with the Churches? He seeks an answer in the contrast between the virile Spirit-filled fellowship of the New Testament and the institutions which are called "churches" to-day. He writes in his preface: "The title of the book, The Misunderstanding of the Church, is equivocal. Is it a question of a misunderstanding of which the Church is guilty, or of a misunderstanding of which it is the victim? Or is it that the Church itself, as such, is perhaps the product of a misunderstanding? The author is not responsible for this ambiguity; it is intrinsic in the theme itself."
And now follows the Preface:
What is the Church? This question poses the unsolved problem of Protestantism. From the days of the Reformation to our own time, it has never been clear how the Church, in the sense of spiritual life and faith – the fellowship of Jesus Christ – is related to the institutions conventionally called churches. This problem has become sharper than ever as a result of the ecumenical movement; but it is in no way solved and the idea of the reunion of the churches – understood by many "ecumenicals" to be the real goal of the movement – shows as nothing else how inadequately the depth of the problem has been appreciated.
For the Roman Catholic church this problem does not appear to exist at all. Rome presents to the world the face of a church which is certain of itself. But this is only so in appearance; in reality Rome too has no ready answer to the question how the phenomenon visible in the New Testament as the Ecclesia is to be related to the papal church as the latter has developed in the course of centuries; and the uneasiness of those who cannot satisfy themselves with the neat formula that the one has evolved into the other is the less easily appeased the longer it lasts.
I am interrupting here the Preface for the first remark. In this just quoted paragraph the word Ecclesia appears and it gives a good example of the falseness of the writer because this word Ecclesia is an artificial word created by religionists to create religious terms and expressions, which are misleading and misinform "laity" to give support for a church system that is contrary to what the Bible tells us about the real church. The word Ecclesia is a Greek word and simply means assembly, and has no special meaning related to religion or something positive or negative. The proof is found in the Bible itself, were the word Ecclesia is used three times for a heathen assembly rioting in Ephesus and that is in Acts 19 verses 32 and 39 and 41 and the hypocrites, the theologians, do not translate it there as church, as they do at other places, but use the word assembly. The same they do and have done with the word Apostle. That is also a Greek word and simply means messenger and has no religious connotations. In John 13:16 the proof is found, where the hypocrites translated the Greek word apostolos as "he that is sent" and in 2 Corinthians 8:23 and Philippians 2:25 where they translated it "messenger." In addition they even made a title out of this word and gave the disciples of Jesus the title Apostle, which is completely contrary to word and spirit of the Bible.
But we now continue with the Preface:
In the last 50 or 100 years New Testament research has unremittingly and successfully addressed itself to the task of elucidating for us what was known as the Ecclesia in primitive Christianity – so very different from what is to-day called the Church both in the Roman and Protestant camps. It is, however, a well-known fact that dogmatists and Church leaders often pay but small attention to the results of New Testament research, and are only too ready to bridge the gulf between then and now by a handy formula such as that of development, or by appealing to the distinction between the visible and invisible Church, and thus to give a false solution to this grave and distressing problem. But while many theologians and Church leaders are able to quieten their consciences by such formulae, others are so much the more painfully aware of the disparity between the Christian fellowship of the apostolic age and our own "churches", and cannot escape the impression that there may perhaps be something wrong with what we now call the Church.
In the present work an attempt is made to discover the ground of this disharmony by systematically turning to account the conclusions of New Testament research in their bearing upon the problem of the Church as it confronts us to-day. The title of the book, The Misunderstanding of the Church, is equivocal. Is it a question of a misunderstanding of which it is a victim? Or is it that the Church itself, as such, is perhaps the product of a misunderstanding? The author is not responsible for this ambiguity; it is intrinsic, rather, to the theme itself.
It is in fact the opinion of the author that the church itself, in so far as it identifies itself with the Ecclesia of the New Testament, rests upon a misunderstanding. Therefore he must be prepared for violent opposition from all those who are resolved to defend their own church as the true Church at any cost. Since for his part he does not intend to pit his views as a dogmatic system against that of any particular church, he would like to have his work understood as a contribution to the ecumenical discussion, in the course of which he is sincerely anxious to learn from disagreement. On the other hand he hopes to gain the concurrence of all those to whom Jesus Christ is dearer than their own church, and he counts with certainty upon the interest of all who wish to investigate deeply the problem of the Church. For this book has sprung from just this desire to discover the reason why since the Reformation epoch a real solution to the problem of the Church has not been found. The reader will feel, I hope, that behind it lies not merely the impulse to know, but a desire, at least equally strong, to bring into being the true fellowship of Christ.
Zürich, Easter, 1951.
So this was the Preface, which we quoted in full.
Now we come to the quotes from the actual text of the book, "The Misunderstanding of the Church."
The first quote mentions the word organisation and we have dealt with this problem often in this book "The Man-Made Church," particularly in these two chapters: 1. Organism – Not Organization and 28. The Urge to Organize.
So now the quotes:
It is just in this that resides the miraculous, the unique, the once-for-all nature of the Church: that as the Body of Christ it has nothing to do with an organization and has nothing of the character of the institutional about it.
It is the miraculous that is the character of the true church, and it is the lack of the miraculous that marks the man-made church.
We come to other quotes:
The Ecclesia is what it is through the presence of Christ dwelling within it. He is present with it through His Word and His Spirit - "the Spirit of truth which shall lead you into all truth". [John 16:13.] Therefore, because the Holy Spirit is the very life-breath of the Church, the Church participates in the special character of the holy, the numinous, the supernatural, in the hallowing presence of God; for that reason the Christian society itself is a miracle. It is therefore in point of fact unintelligible from a purely sociological standpoint. For it is in fact intelligible only from a standpoint of the Christ who dwells within it and determines its life. And so because it is itself the "temple of the Holy Spirit" it is in its very essence the sphere of the holy and needs no temple. The fact that it is both koinonia Christou and koinonia pneumatos and "fellowship one with another", thus combining the vertical with the horizontal, divine with human communion – that fact constitutes its entirely characteristic, its utterly unparalleled life.
Communion with God which is not also communion with man is a false attitude – all such a-social mysticism is wrong: equally false however is a communion with mankind which is not also and primarily a communion with God – that is to say, all irreligious or godless communism is wrong. Jesus Christ is the Truth and as such He founds a communion of God and man which puts an end to all isolation. Therefore Christian truth can be apprehended only in the Christian fellowship.
The word Ecclesia itself, however, means congregation, people of God.
Here Emil Brunner is simply demonstrating his ignorance. The word means congregation, but is also used in the Bible in Acts 19, three times, for a group of rioting pagans in Ephesus.
This insight – which an unprejudiced study of the New Testament and the crying need of the church have helped us to reach – may be expressed as follows: the New Testament Ecclesia, the fellowship of Jesus Christ, is a pure communion of persons and has nothing of the character of an institution about it: it is therefore misleading to identify any single one of the historically developed churches, which are all marked by an institutional character, with the true Christian communion.
So finally the question whether Jesus "founded the Ecclesia" is seen to be of small moment: the Ecclesia is in any event rooted in Him and interpenetrated by Him, since He is the head of the body which is the Ecclesia. The gift of the Holy Ghost and the sharing in the invisible presence of the Master are so closely connected that it is hardly possible to distinguish between them, but rather it may be said: "The Lord is the Spirit." [2 Cor. 3:17.] So then the fellowship of Jesus is the true people of the covenant, whose history doubtless begins with the old covenant, but which only attains full reality through the living presence of the Risen Lord. But because the fellowship is nothing else than this people of God dwelling in the Spirit, it is in no sense an institution, but the living body of the living head.
The New Testament church – as will be shown in Chapter Five – was an astonishingly well-ordered whole without such a formal hierarchy, without such delimitation of competence and regulation of rank. And not only a well-ordered but also a coherent whole. The unity of the Christian fellowship flowed from the living Word and Spirit of Christ dwelling within it. Doubtless the apostles were granted without demur a certain leading influence in all things appertaining to the common life of the communion. But again the paradoxical peculiarity is this: that they never claimed this ascendency as a formal right accruing to them through their institution as apostles, but rather in everything they strove to gain the assent of the communion and submitting themselves to the test of authentication by signs and wonders in the power of the Holy Ghost. [Rom. 15:19; 2 Cor. 12:12.] Only so was it possible that the primary apostles should give way to the new apostle Paul and then indeed not reluctantly, just for the sake of peace, but with genuine conviction and subdued as they were by the Spirit of Christ speaking through him.
Three further facts point in the same direction. The apostles were certainly equipped by Jesus with full authority as His ambassadors; at the same time nevertheless they received the strict order to go forth not as rulers but as servants, just as the Master Himself, through His readiness to serve, through His surrender to death, had become the victor over principalities and powers. [Phil. 2:8f.; Col. 2:15.] In this sense, precisely through its inner connection with the imminent death of the Cross, the story of the foot-washing is essentially true and historical, although it may not be so from the point of factual information. Thus and not otherwise had Jesus interpreted and granted to His emissaries plenitude of power and authority. Secondly, when Paul is enumerating the various Charismata to which special types of service are adapted, he includes the charisma of Kybernesis, of government, [1 Cor. 12:28.] as one amongst others without according to it the slightest degree of preference. This service too is needed, so he argues, and the charisma corresponding to it exists; but this service is only one among others and authorizes no sort of hierarchical structure. Further, even those to whom this service is committed must continually prove themselves to be worthy and capable of it; [1 Cor. 16:15.] any formal right to its exercise is thus completely excluded. Such an interpretation alone harmonizes with the conception of service embodied by the Lord Himself who ruled through lowliness.
Thirdly: the apostles of the first Jerusalem church, indeed the latter itself, enjoyed special pre-eminence within the Ecclesia as a whole, because the preaching of the Gospel had originated with them, hence by reason of the already explained factor of historical contingence. But the recognition of this priority, as is especially clear in the case of Paul, was an entirely voluntary thing and was kept within quite definite limits. His deference towards Peter and the "pillars" did not hinder him from fighting to maintain his cause, the cause of the truth itself, in defiance of these authorities; and likewise the latter did not obstinately insist upon their primary status, but submitted to the sway of truth. But what became of the Jerusalem claim when its historical destiny overtook that city? The privilege of priority linked to this place vanishes completely. After the death of the apostles, the apostolic office retains its value in one way only: as providing the norm of the fundamental tradition now committed to writing, of the fundamental testimony, that of the New Testament. This does not mean, as is so often mistakenly assumed by Catholics, that the oral word is to be finally replaced by the written; the Christian communion still has its prophets, men filled with the power of the Spirit; it has become no synagogue of mere scriptural exegesis. But the Scripture is the norm of all dogma, because it crystallizes the primary shape of the tradition and hence becomes regulative for the teaching of the church.
I will now bring a complete chapter from Emil Brunner’s book "The Misunderstanding of the Church." It is probably the best description of the real church I have ever found outside the Bible:
The Christian fellowship and the Holy Spirit
Behind the conception of tradition as it lives in the minds of many people to-day there lies, concealed for the most part rather than expressed, perhaps even unconscious rather than conscious, a concern for the idea (which the New Testament can only sanction) that it is not merely a question of the continuity of the word – the maintenance of the original doctrine – but also of the continuity of a life; that is, life flowing from the Holy Ghost. The fellowship of Jesus lives under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; that is the secret of its life, of its communion and of its power. To use a blunt modern word, the Spirit supplies the "dynamism" of the Ecclesia. Word and Spirit are certainly very closely connected; and yet in these pneumatic energies there is something which eludes expression in words, something in relation to which all words are inadequate, if not in fact quite misleading. There exists even in the New Testament a certain tension between Word and Spirit. "The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. " [1 Cor. 4:20.] The apostle Paul freely admits that he won the Corinthians not through words of wisdom, but through demonstrations of the Spirit and of power. [1 Cor. 2:4.]
I am interrupting here for a comment.
We had already discussed the use of two words, Ecclesia and Apostle, that they are artificial religious words created by the people of the man-made churches, words from the Greek language, that are just normal words and that they should be translated as such – assembly and messenger.
Now we come to another false use of words, or of a word, and that is again the word apostle.
First the word apostle itself is wrong, in the English language, and now this word is, in addition, used wrongly by putting it in front of a name, and this is something the Bible does not do, putting it in front of a person’s name and therefore use it as a title - The apostle Paul.
One can often recognize a murderer of the prophets, like Emil Brunner, whose book indeed has the purpose to describe his man-made church, the church of Satan, as the real true church and to therefore veil truth, that he outs himself through ignorance of such fundamental things of the Bible and proves to be a false prophet, that he uses titles for Christians. That of course also has to do with the fact that he himself has indeed the most beautiful titles and uses them – Herr Professor. Every time he uses a title, particularly when he lets himself be addressed as Herr Professor, he demonstrates indeed to the world, that he is a false prophet.
And now you say, just now you said how beautiful the description of the community of Mr Brunner is, and now you call him a servant of Satan. Balaam also described the true church very nicely and also knew it very well; he knew it so well that he also knew exactly the means to kill this church. And it is exactly the same way with Herr Professor Brunner, his nice book indeed has the purpose confirming you in your man-made church and therefore to destroy the true church, to which you are supposed to belong. That is the whole nature of Antichrist to work within the church, to kill it with false doctrine.
Emil Brunner very nicely describes in this his fifth chapter the real church, but the real thing would be to draw the consequences out of this knowledge and become a doer of the word and do it.
Emil Brunner is like the great prophet Balaam. He also saw the real church down in the valley and one would assume that he would, if he had been a genuine person, have run down and joined it. But he did not do it. He gave advice how to destroy it.
And the same thing is done by Emil Brunner, simply by him remaining a member of his divisive sect and therefore giving the wrong example to the people, completely missing his job as a teacher and becoming and remaining a facilitator for the killing of the prophets.
And this business of using titles is just one item showing that he is in reality someone who misleads the very people he is supposed to teach and guide in the right direction. And that he does not really know the Bible.
Let us carry on with his fifth chapter:
Here is indicated a reality which can reveal itself apart from words. Like that power of the Spirit which struck down Ananias and Sapphira and killed them as though it had been a powerful electric current. Precisely because it is operative and yet not comprehensible in words, or rather, because the words in which we seek to grasp its nature allow the living reality to evade them used to denote it, even in the New Testament, which do not spring from the realm of logos-knowledge but from that of nature, and in particular the notion of power. Where this power exists, things happen – things which are described as mysterious, perhaps "occult", and which a generation to whom all this has become alien through excessive rationalism dismisses with the derisive term "magical". We are afraid, and not unreasonably, of this whole kingdom of the para-logical: we know, of course, that from it flow such phenomena as hysteria, mass psychology and psychopathy. On the other hand modern psychology has made us realize that these forces do not lose their efficacy by being repressed in the unconscious, but become only the more dangerously powerful. In any event we ought to face the New Testament witness with sufficient candour to admit that in this "pneuma", which the Ecclesia was conscious of possessing, there lie forces of an extra-rational kind which are mostly lacking among us Christians of to-day.
What Emil Brunner calls "us Christians of to-day" are no real Christians and all the details he has mentioned are the best proof of it. What he talks about is the power of God which is described in the Bible from the first page to the last and which is experienced by us real Christians of today inside and also outside of "church" on a permanent basis.
And that all these Christians he talks about are lacking these things is exactly the fault of men like Emil Brunner, who have created these dead churches by them being clerics and killing the spirit and who are the ones who kill the prophets and provide the spiritual background for others to kill the prophets.
Annanias and Sapphira were killed because they lied to the church and a typical "pastor" of today would probably get killed in the church because all the money that people bring in, and that should get distributed, by the "pastor", to the poor, he does not distribute to the poor, but distributes it to his bank account.
And the poor do not come to his church because they would not receive any money there, quite on the contrary, they would be asked to give money to the church. And the ones who come from far away countries and would like to participate in the wealth of his country, they are already kept out at the border, at the border of his country, or already at the border of an associated, neighbouring country. They are drawn to his country and therefore would be ideal material for conversion, but this system of his, of his church and his society, prevents them to even come near it.
And that is just one crime these clerics commit and because they know that they could not get away with such violations of the commandments of God in a church were the Spirit is in control, they fight the Spirit with all means, because the Spirit would destroy in no time the business they have set up.
Now let us assume that someone in his church comes up with the idea to not give the received money to the clerics but send it to their missionary in a faraway country so that he gives it to the poor of which there are plenty and how that missionary church would then grow fast and many would find Christ and how this cleric would immediately raise objections, based of course on a lot of theology, why this should not be done, because he would then receive no monthly salary and would be forced to work with his hands, may be forced to make tents.
Just imagine what would happen if all the churches in his country and also in all the other rich countries would send all the money, that the people laid at the apostles’ feet, would be sent to poor countries.
If we take this example, what to do with the money the real believers lay down at the feet of the real apostles, then we can actually see, what the heart of the problem of the man-made churches is. It can be summed up in one word: pastor. The position of a pastor is something that is completely against all the teachings about the real church. The real church has nothing like a pastor, like a one-man show on Sunday morning in church. It is utterly un-scriptural to have a pastor. The Bible only mentions a pastor once in the New Testament and that is in Ephesians 4:11 and the context in which this is done shows that pastors are just servants given by Christ to the church for the perfecting of the church and are on the same level as the others: apostles, prophets, evangelists and teachers, all plural.
The appropriate way to describe such a person, who calls himself a pastor but is no pastor, is the way John does it, in 2 John 7: Widerchrist.
In the book of the Bible that is not in the Bible of the hypocrites, but in our Bible, Paul’s letter to the Laodiceans, Paul describes a pastor, and therefore we have a pastor, as he is known today, in the Bible, but not furnished with this title, but nicely described:
But I ask and even implore you: Do let by anybody put in front of you the aim, who strides in all humility according to autocratic choice and of complete spirituality of the angels of heaven, but has never seen and heard anything of this, - but is therefore puffed up in his business in his carnal sense only
and does not keep to the head, out of which the whole body, through the members, joints and gaps receives energy, supports and seizes one another mutually and therefore then grows to a divine size,
but only to his sense, which is in itself full of dirt and filth, full of self-interest, full of deceit and lie, full of lust for power, full of greediness and full of envy!
But so it just stands with him who wants to pose in front of you as if he was called by the Lord and chosen by me and after that by you!
But I say to all of you here: He has the spirit of the devil in himself and goes around among you like a wolf in sheep’s clothing and as hungry, roaring lion, that tries most eagerly to devour you!
For that reason drive him as soon as possible from his place, and return again to Nymphas, whose house there is a right community of Christ!
So this was Paul’s letter to the community in Loadizea 2,9-14.
And the way Emil Brunner writes about these acts of the spirit also indicates that these acts of the spirit are not only lacking in his church, but also in his personal life. For him it is not something of what he experiences every day, but something occult.
We continue with the fifth chapter:
The psychology of the unconscious serves us well in drawing our attention to the fact that, in regard to the dynamism of human life, it is precisely this layer of the soul – only too often withdrawn from clear awareness – which is the decisive factor. Now the Holy Ghost is certainly not to be identified with the unconscious. The Holy Ghost is God: but the Ecclesia, in its experience of the Holy Spirit, experienced God as the One whose impact on human life penetrates these depths of the soul, touches these hidden energies, mobilizes and harnesses them in the service of His holy will. The Holy Ghost seizes the heart, not merely the nous: it pierces the heart until it reaches the depth of the unconscious and even the very physical constituents of personality. Theology is not the instrument best adapted to elucidate just this aspect of pneumatic manifestations. For theo-logy has to do with the Logos and therefore is only qualified to deal with matters which are in some way logical, not with the dynamic in it’s a-logical characteristics. Therefore the Holy Ghost has always been more or less the stepchild of theology and the dynamism of the Spirit a bugbear for theologians; on the other hand, theology through its unconscious intellectualism has often proved a significant restrictive influence, stifling the operations of the Holy Ghost, or at least their full creative manifestation. But we shall never rightly understand the essential being of the New Testament Ecclesia if we do not take fully into account these paralogical revelations of the Spirit.
If we search the New Testament documents themselves in order to discover some characteristic signs of its mode or being and operation, we shall have to affirm for example that the "pneuma" is there, manifesting its presence and operating in a self-authenticating manner – even so it is said of Jesus that He preached with authority and not as the scribes; [Mark 1:22.] its effects are incomprehensible, striking the beholders with amazement and awe. The spirit operates with overwhelming, revolutionary, transforming results. It manifests itself in such a way as to leave one wondering why and how, and in such a way as to demolish the walls of partition separating individuals from each other. Its mode of operation is such that we find ourselves forced to adopt the terminology of mysticism on the one hand, of magic on the other, since that of logic and even of theology is seen to be inadequate and inappropriate. In this connection three phenomena in particular fall to be considered, standing obviously in closest relation with the work of the Spirit.
(i) Flowing from the revelation of the Holy Ghost was the mysterious power which made the fellowship, consisting of many separate individuals, into a unity, a single "body". We must not rationalize this concept of the body – often used, of course, in theological writing – by reducing it to a mere metaphor. Certainly a body in the sense of a physical organism was not meant. But what was intended thereby was an effective reality of a supra-logical kind, quasi-physical, and in any event essential organic.
This concept must not be understood either too theologically or too untheologically. It is a question – so much is indisputable – of the body of Christ, therefore of a spiritual organism which is not be understood to mean a reality existing merely in theological-Christological concepts, but rather existing at least after the fashion of the living physical body – not for example (a further rationalisation) a reality in the sense of a juristic corporation, or in the sense of an organization. Just as the word "dynamic" is indispensable for the characterization of the "pneuma" and expresses one aspect of its meaning most accurately, so the concept body, organism, expresses another aspect. With this is directly connected the second phenomenon.
(ii) As the differentiation of individual organs is essential to the healthy functioning of a body – there is no body without members – so to the body of the Ecclesia belongs its membership. This organism too had a living structure capable of functioning. [1 Cor. 12.] There was in the Ecclesia a regulation of the functions – Scripture declares this explicitly [1 Cor. 12:11.] – assigned by the Holy Ghost to the various individual members who were thus equipped to perform their special services – falsely represented as "offices". For an office belongs to a public organization; an office is part of an institution. The diakoniai, however, the "service", should be conceived on the analogy of the organs with their specific functions which inhere in a living body. Even though it be only a metaphor, this is relatively the most adequate expression of the truth.
The New Testament surprises us again and again by the multiplicity of these functions and their bearers, of the various services and those who render them. One thing is supremely important: that "all" minister, and that nowhere is to be perceived a separation of even merely a distinction made between those who do and those do not minister, between the active and the passive members of the body, between those who give and those who receive. There exists in the Ecclesia a universal duty and right of service, a universal readiness to serve and at the same time the greatest possible differentiation of functions. The metaphor of the organism illuminates one aspect of the reality; the dependence of all kinds of ministration on the one Lord [1 Cor. 12:5.] reveals the other. The head of a body is something different from the ruler of a people. Yet both sides of the reality are expressed and must obviously be expressed, in order to do justice at one and the same time to the vertical and the horizontal relationship, on the one hand to bring out the mysterious vital fellowship, on the other hand to show that it is the one Spirit who effects the differentiation of functions.
It is therefore quite wrongheaded to describe this pneumatic ordering of the Ecclesia as anarchical simply because it is something different from an organization or institution. This can only be said by one upon whose mind the later juridical administration of the Church has left such an indelible imprint that he can imagine no other sort of order except that. But it is the mystery of the Ecclesia as the fellowship of the Spirit that it has an articulate living order without being legally organized. When we who are so accustomed to the juridical organization of the Church ask how such a "pneumatic" order is possible, the answer must be: it is no longer a simple possibility, but it was once possible thanks to the reality of whose dynamic power we can now entertain scarcely a vague surmise – the reality of the Holy Ghost. From this point of view it would have to be said: The organization of the church and in particular its legal administration is a compensatory measure which it becomes necessary to adopt in times and place where the plenitude of the spirit is lacking. Canon law is a substitute for the Spirit.
Emil Brunner is quoted here so amply because of his excellent description of the real church. We who belong to the real church do not seem to do this because it does not really seem to be necessary, at least for us, because it is all so obvious and the experience of it all is normal.
Emil Brunner writes a "pneumatic" order is no longer a simple possibility.
It is not a simple possibility for someone who likes to make a name for himself as a capable theologian, but would not really like to have something to do with such a church or come across one because it would challenge him to make a choice.
We have dealt with Brunner before, his name was not mentioned there, but it was him who was described. I repeat this section from chapter Balaam’s Way:
The more we study the difference between the real church and the man-made church, the more we become aware of the fact that all this knowledge is readily available and has been scientifically studied and recorded by the theologians of the man-made churches. The gradual change from a spiritual church in the book of Acts to a carnal church, the changes from spiritual Christians to carnal Christians and to the clergy, the changes from lively meetings in houses to dead meetings in church buildings, the changes from participation of the believers to domination by the clergy, all these details are well known and can be read in the books of the theologians.
The theologians of the man-made churches themselves deliver all the proofs that their system is completely and utterly inconsistent with the witness of the apostles and the writers of the New Testament. They supply all the evidence and the spiritual explanations of what happened and what is. In their eagerness to be successful and recognized as worthy members of their profession and scientists, they work relentlessly and make all these details available to us. But it leaves them completely cold. They could not care less. What really counts with them, is that they are recognized in their high professional, scientific status and that they get their reward for all this effort. The only two things that really count with them are that their position is secured and their fees are coming in.
Let us take an example. There is a professor of theology and he writes books about the history of the early church, shows all the details were the man-made churches went wrong and takes a delight to expose all the unscriptural behaviour of the clergy. From his writings the real church can clearly be seen and recognized. Now does this man take the natural step and join the church or start a church like this? If Balaam would have been genuine, he would have seen the church and would have heard his own oracles about the church and his reaction would be to run down into the valley and join the church. He finally found what he so eagerly was seeking all his life. But our Balaams do not do this. Why?
This professor of theology is part of a denomination. He is one of the clergy. The university that employs him, also pays him. The salary he gets is the fee for divination, for him being a doctor of divinity. His bread and butter, his whole business is this job inside the man-made church. His real master is the one who pays him. Why should he turn against his master and lose his job?
He is on Balaam's way. And Balaam's way is the root of all evil: the love of money.
He became a theologian because when he came out of school he had to choose a way to make a living. And he chose to become a theologian. He could have chosen to become a lawyer, or a baker or an insurance broker. He liked theology, maybe he was even genuinely interested in the things of God. But he thought that godliness is a means to financial gain. He decided to peddle the word of God for profit. This part of theology he always avoided, it would have been too embarrassing: To study the connection between money and the clergyman. It was not an opportune thing to do. But even if he did, it would not cause him to take honest action and stop and repent.
A theologian, who has all this knowledge of the difference between the real church and the man-made church, will not turn towards the real church, quite contrary, he will use this knowledge for his denomination to fight the real church, to kill it. And he will make this knowledge available for that organization which tries to unite all denominations. And this again will be done for the same purpose: to kill the body of Christ.
Their main argument is that the man-made churches preserved the rich inheritance of Christianity. They provided the protective framework. And the multiplicity of churches is justified, because they render specific services to the community.
We now carry on quoting from chapter 5 of "The Misunderstanding of the Church":
(iii) How did the fellowship of Jesus spread? We children of an era that is rationalized through and through always think first and perhaps exclusively in such a matter of what we should call evangelization, or missionary work, in which the stress lies almost wholly upon the proclamation of the Gospel, and this proclamation again is understood in the sense of theological instruction. Of course, teaching and in the broader sense preaching played a decisive part in the spread of the movement. But something at least as important was just the other, that "pneumatic" factor, the non-theological, the purely dynamic. Outsiders were attracted – the story of Pentecost already shows us this quite plainly – not primarily by what was said, but by the element of mystery – what happened simply. The impression made by the life of believers plays a part of decisive importance in the genesis of faith. People draw near to the Christian community because they are irresistibly attracted by its supernatural power. They would like to share in this new dimension of life and power, they enter the zone in which the Spirit operates before they have heard a word about what lies behind it as its ultimate transcendent-immanent cause. There is a sort of fascination which is exercised mostly without any reference to the Word, comparable rather to the attractive force of a magnet or the spread of an infectious disease. Without knowing how it happened, one is already a carrier of the infection.
Certainly, where it is a question of the Holy Spirit, it is also necessarily a question of the historical fact of Jesus Christ and the Word of God, for the "pneuma" shows itself to be the Spirit of God in that it testifies to Jesus Christ as the truth and the Son of God. That, however, does not mean that the Holy Spirit cannot for the most part operate without the Word, by the dynamic energy which is proper to it. The propagation of Christianity takes place to a large extent more unconsciously than consciously, more involuntarily than voluntarily, and therefore silently rather than by speech. As certainly as the explicit word and clear recognition are required for the decisive act of faith and conversion, so the obscure beginnings of faith may be, and often are, much less dependent than we theologians are inclined to admit upon the word of the preacher. Here the mighty energies of the Spirit are more important than any word, although these energies, in so far as they are those of the Holy Spirit, owe their origin to the Word of God. Present-day evangelists and missionaries usually realize this fact far better than we theologians who not only undervalue the dynamic power of the Holy Ghost, but often know simply nothing of it. With them the not unreasonable fear of an excess of enthusiasm, of the para-logical, has certainly had the effect of causing the apostle’s injunction "Quench not the Spirit" [1 Thess. 5:19.] to be disregarded and of confining attention to his warnings against the overvaluation of this para-logical, dynamic element.
The Word of God is truly and effectively in the Church as the word of the Holy Ghost, implying therefore a unity of "logos" and dynamic energy which lies beyond all comprehension. From this unity, which later ceased to exist or to be understood, flows the hidden life of the primitive community.
"Ceased to exist," and the reason why this unity ceased to exist is why something like the clergyman Emil Brunner started to exist und destroyed the unity and caused division and then caused to fight the people who were still in unity with each other and with God and then became the world power and quenched not only the spirit but the real church and killed everyone who did not agree with them.
It forms the secret both of the fellowship and of its moral power; for upon the inspiration of the Holy Ghost rests the Koinonia, the communion of men with each other, the fact that they are knit together in an organism which includes both equality and difference, the fundamental equality of all and their mutual subordination each to other. The significant mark and the essential being of this communion consists in the quality of agape - the new ethos of the fellowship and its members. It is understandable that a later time, when this original power and unity no longer existed in the same abundance, should seek to find a substitute for what was lacking and to secure the presence of what was fast disappearing. This attempt at security and replacement assumes three different forms: the living Word of God is secured – and at the same time replaced – by theology and dogma; the fellowship is secured – and replaced – by the institution; faith, which proves its reality by love, is secured – and replaced – by a creed and a moral code.
It is so much easier to discuss from an intellectual and theological standpoint the ideas implied in the revealed Word of God and to analyse them conceptually than it is to allow oneself to be transformed at the centre of one’s life by the action of the Holy Ghost: and further, theological ideas can be handled and arranged as one desires at any time - not so the Word of God.
It is so much easier to secure the life of the fellowship, its coherence and its indispensable hierarchy by means of solid legal forms, by organization and offices, than it is to allow the life of communion to be continually poured out upon one, to allow oneself to be rooted in it by action of the Holy Ghost. You can handle and shape as you please such things as law and organization, but you cannot act thus towards the Holy Ghost.
And finally: it is so much easier to assent to a creed, a dogma, a firm body of teaching than it is to believe in such a way that belief is inseparable from love. Above all: on can mould as one will creeds and moral codes, handle them, teach them, learn them, but one cannot thus control that faith which is active in love.
Here Emil Brunner is of course completely wrong when he tries to attribute the mistakes of the man-made church to certain developments. The plan of Satan was right from the beginning the clear elimination of the Holy Spirit, the prevention of all prophetic announcements, the abolition of the office of the prophet.
The order intrinsic to the fellowship springing from the Holy Spirit was diakonia - service – the same therefore as flowed from true faith and revealed itself in a new relationship to one’s brother. But the organized hierarchy presupposing the office had neither the character of brotherly communion nor had it a unity wherein equality was consistent with differentiation – a unity characterized by reciprocal subordination. The delicate structure of the fellowship founded by Jesus, and anchored in the Holy Spirit, could not be replaced by an institutional organization without the whole character of the Ecclesia being fundamentally changed: the fellowship of Jesus Christ became the church. The apparent similarity between the official organization and the New Testament order of the Spirit shows upon closer inspection that at every point there has taken place a change in essential character. The paradoxical unity of things which everywhere else exist in disparity was no longer present as the decisive factor. Now there was faith, in the sense of correct, orthodox belief, but separated from love. Now there was a community in the sense of a Church with offices, but no longer the solidarity of reciprocal service. How this, for the most part, scarcely perceptible change came about must be considered in the following chapters.
This is now the end of the fifth chapter of Emil Brunner’s book "The Misunderstanding of the Church."
In chapter seven Emil Brunner discusses what he calls "so-called sacraments" and especially the breaking of bread and baptism. In our book "The Man-Made Church" we had a chapter on Baptism and at the end of that chapter Baptism two messages from Bertha Dudde are quoted and they adequately sum up what our attitude towards baptism should be.
When it comes to the breaking of bread Emil Brunner makes the simple mistake that when Jesus talks about bread in a spiritual context, then he does not talk about food for the body, but about food for the soul. It is about feeding the soul with the word of God and that there at the same time a feeding of natural bread for the natural body can take place, just underlines the fact that a meeting of believers always happens in natural surroundings and during natural activities, and not, for example, in church buildings, but in the home of believers, and as the natural family comes together for a meal consisting of natural food, so the spiritual family comes together to feed on the word of God.
The fact that it is about feeding the word of God to the disciples when the breaking of "bread" takes place, is underlined by the description of the last supper in the Gospel of John where John spends a total of four chapters, John 14-17, narrating the teaching of Jesus, the word of God, to his disciples.
And spiritual people have always seen it this way. An example is Kaspar von Schwenkfeld.
Now why is it that such an intelligent person like Emil Brunner cannot see the spiritual meaning of a word, of a word like bread? It is because he is carnal. He is carnal according to the definition of carnality as it is found in 1 Corinthians 3:1-4. His membership in a denomination makes him carnal. He does not even understand the most basic thing about being part of the body of Christ, that there is unity, no divisions, not denominations.
Another example is Luther who speaks of feeding the physical body with physical stuff when he explains "And give us our daily bread." That was explained in Resurrection of the flesh?" in connection with Luther’s Catechism.
It is about getting our daily ration of food, of spiritual food, of the word of God. And that comes from the Bible and especially from the New Testament. And when I speak of the New Testament then I do not speak of the New Testament of the clerics, but of the New Testament that includes all holy Scriptures of holy women and man of Christianity who were commissioned by Christ to bring us his word, and therefore also of all those holy Scriptures that were declared to be heresy and destroyed by the false church. And they include also those, which were not destroyed like the writings of Jakob Lorber and Bertha Dudde.
The major division of the followers of Jesus came about, at his life time, because of such misunderstanding of the meaning of a simple word. Jesus told them to eat his flesh and they revolted and left him, simply because they did not know that his flesh meant his word. His disciple John knew it because he said that the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, John 1:14.
In any case Emil Brunner sums up his chapter on the sacraments with these words:
Properly speaking, New Testament Christianity knows nothing of the word "sacrament", which belongs essentially to the heathen world of the Graeco-Roman empire and which unfortunately some of the Reformers unthinkingly took over from ecclesiastical tradition. For this word, and still more the overtones which it conveys, it the starting point for those disastrous developments which began soon to transform the community of Jesus into the Church which is first and foremost a sacramental Church.
The man-made church is a heathen institution, an organization of pagans for pagans, a disaster.
This comes out quite strongly in chapter 32 of our book "The Man-Made Church": Idolatry.
I am just quoting the first sentence there: The outer forms and customs of the man-made churches are idolatry and a disfigurement of the pure teaching of Jesus Christ.
Right after the concluding statement about sacraments, Emil Brunner comes to his eighth chapter, which he calls "The Starting Point of Ecclesiastical Development" and it begins like this:
So far our thesis has proved sound: the Ecclesia of the New Testament is a communion of persons and nothing else. It is the Body of Christ, but not an institution. Therefore it is not yet what it later became as the result of a slow, steady, hence unnoticed process of transformation: it is not yet a Church. The Church – firstly the early catholic, then the neo-catholic Roman church – is distinguished from the Ecclesia above all in this – that it is no longer primarily a communion of persons, but rather an institution, and – particularly in its Roman Catholic form – understands itself as such.
Now this is a nice piece of propaganda typically for the man-made churches, for Orthodoxy.
That is what these pagan people, the adherents of Orthodoxy, especially the clerics, want us to believe about the history of Christianity: a slow, steady, hence unnoticed process of transformation.
And as these people of Orthodoxy like titles so much, like to give titles and even more like to be addressed with a nice sounding title, we want to award one now and speak of Pagan Emil Brunner.
Or let us call him Herr Professor Pagan Emil Brunner, or perhaps Herr Pagan-Professor Emil Brunner.
The entire history of Christianity was prophesied by Paul in Acts 20:29-30:
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
And Herr Pagan-Professor Emil Brunner is a nice example of such a grievous wolf speaking perverse things.
And not only was the history of Christianity prophesied in the Bible, it was also documented. One of the very first instances is in many details documented by John the Evangelist in his three letters.
And there is even a name given of the true first genuine Catholic. The name is Diotrephes, 3 John 9, and he must have of course a title and that title John has given to him we find 1 John 2:18 and in 1 John 2:22 and in 1 John 4:3 and in 2 John 7.
And that title is Antichrist.
So every member of an Orthodox church, and especially every member of its clergy deserves this title Antichrist.
And it is not so that these details are not known to these little Antichrists, they know it because they know, or at least claim to know the Bible. But it is also nicely pointed to them by Walter Bauer, also a professor of theology, also German speaking, professor in Heidelberg, who wrote the book "Rechtgläubigkeit und Ketzerei im ältesten Christentum," 1934.
I am bringing quotes from that book, from its 2nd edition of the year 1963:
The with boldness and scientific precision presented opinion of Bauer that in the beginnings of Christianity the church teaching was not the primary one everywhere but often the teaching of heresy, has in his time (1934) caused considerable sensation and evoked much opposition. The positive effect predominated. The book was relatively quickly sold out, but the death of the author delayed an urgent necessary reprint.
Orthodoxy and heresy in earliest Christianity do not relate like primary and secondary to each other, but heresy is in numerous areas die original representation of Christianity. Walter Bauer has consequently carried out this thesis in the present work and not only called the traditional review of the church-historical process and historical reasons of the church-orthodox self-understanding fundamentally in question, but at the same time produced new onsets for the oecumenical discussion. Above all it was the disfavour of the political circumstances which denied the book a broader effect. So W. Bauer is for the international research far less the originator of the here presented church-historical concept than the author of the ‘Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament‘ (Dictionary to the New Testament). So much the more the publishers are to be thanked for their decision to publish the work anew and thereby creating the preconditions for a new, intensive appreciation.
Still few weeks before his unexpected death on the 17th of November 1960, Walter Bauer has come to know about the intended new publication and with friendly words agreed with the plan and the person of the compiler.
Among the 35 reviews and notices are found clear assents not more often than firm rejections. But in the whole still a positive appreciation prevails. Hans Lietzmann sees in the book an "extreme lively carried out general attack upon usual church-historical writings with most solid scholarship, piercing criticism and daring gift of construction". In it he recognizes the "old, once so fiercely rejected thesis of Useners“ again, "which appears here again in new form and with new reasons", and expresses the hope, that "this time it is better appreciated in its positive meaning": "Bauer’s book belongs to those works whose value does not lie in the sum of proven details, but through its arousing total effect forcing research to beneficial personal considerations".
The Netherland criticism is represented by G.A. van den Bergh van Eysinga; he praises that Bauer has broken with the traditional, Roman-Catholic valuation of church history, which was also of great influence in Protestant research.
In any case agreement should be able to be obtained that according to Bauer’s investigation it is no longer possible to take over uncritically the position of the church fathers and the position of Orthodoxy to carry back the result of lasting and complicated theological-historical development directly into the beginnings.
According to Ehrhardt Bauer presupposes that from the beginning a recognizable "church teaching" existed, which allowed to differentiate between Orthodoxy and heresy. In truth – according to Erhardt – the oldest Christians understood themselves as chosen by God, corresponding to the self-understanding of God’s people of Israel; the formation of organized groups was suspect to the original church.
Walter Bauer’s book "Rechtgläubigkeit und Ketzerei im ältesten Christentum" has been translated into English. The English title is "Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity."
The first documented Catholic church existed in Laodicea. And that was at the time of Paul, therefore right at the beginning. There existed two churches in Laodicea. One was the right church and the other was the wrong one. The right church is directly mentioned in the Bible, in Colossians 4:15, that is the church which is in the house of Nymphas. And the wrong church is also mentioned in the Bible, also directly, but that is only in the Bible of the real believers, not in the Bible of the man-made church, because they took this book, this letter of Paul to the Laodiceans, out of the Bible and destroyed it, because it documented the existence of the first Catholic church, and it was documented in such a way, that its people were clearly designated as being adversaries of Christ (Laodiceans 1:17) and that means that they were Antichristians, that they belonged to the regiment of Antichrist. So the Catholic Church, and therefore Orthodoxy with all its adherents, and that includes all Protestant denominations, were right from the very beginning the invention of the devil. In Laodiceans 2:9 Paul directly states that their priest is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and has the spirit of the devil. And in Laodeceans 3:6-7 Paul tells them that they have been pestered by an apostle of Satan. In Laodiceans 3:43 Paul calls it the new paganism.
There was a development of this new paganism, the Catholic Church, that this new paganism grew in strength, that means that more of such devil churches got established, but they existed right from the very beginning and were right from the very beginning full pagan practices. And the more numerous they became the more they persecuted the real church and in a few centuries were so powerful that the real church just existed in the underground.
And that this claim that "a slow, steady, hence unnoticed process of transformation" had taken place is wrong, is best documented in Paul’s letter to the Laodiceans which we discussed in chapter 21 of our book "The Man-Made Church".
In this chapter 21 Meditation we showed that this book or letter of the New Testament is mentioned there but not contained in it, because it is the proof of that Emil Brunner is wrong and that is also the reason why it is not in the New Testament because the clerics took it out and destroyed it, exactly because it shows how Orthodoxy sprung up at the same time as the real church and was a pagan operation right from the start and that there was no such thing as a slow, steady, hence unnoticed process of transformation.
I am now bringing again a quote from Emil Brunner’s book "The Misunderstanding of the Church":
So then we are confronted by the fact not only of a multiplicity but also of a great variety of churches. In more recent times, to be sure, the impulses of the imitatio ecclesiae has been overshadowed by the appearance of a motive which has had a contrary effect - the thought, namely, that the mere fact of the multiplicity and diversity of the Christian churches stands in contradiction to the New Testament Ecclesia. If you take seriously the thought of the Body of Christ, it follows as a necessary consequence that there cannot be more than one Church. Hence it is maintained by some that the most urgently necessary of all ecclesiastical reforms is a return to the unity of the primitive church. But with this religious-theological impulse there was combined a much more powerful dynamic one, namely, the realization of the relative weakness of a divided Christian Church, and the desire by the recovery of unity to remove the obvious scandal of division and to win for the Church a new influence upon the life of the world.
So Emil Brunner has found the right word for these churches he sees as being the wrong churches: imitatio ecclesiae.
He says "If you take seriously the thought of the Body of Christ, it follows as a necessary consequence that there cannot be more than one Church."
There cannot be more than one church and there is no more than one church. There has always only been one church.
All these other churches that call themselves churches are all churches that are imitatio ecclesiae.
They are all imitation churches.
They are all imitation churches like the first documented of them, the one in Laodicea. They are inventions of Antichrist, Satan’s inventions.
And as all the followers of Satan they fight each other.
A person who is a member of such an imitation church can only do one thing about this problem: get out of it.
At that moment he has left disunity behind him and he is a member of the only true church.
Being a member of the imitation church is the only thing that prevents him being a member of the genuine church. The exit from the imitation church makes him automatically a member of the right church.
That is the only real consequence for him.
He can of course, like Emil Brunner, write theological treatises about the problem and analyse it from all viewpoints and make statements that document that he really understands truth, but when he then does not follow truth, but remains in his denomination, he also remains, especially as a top guy there, a cleric, a servant of Satan, like Balaam, he remains a ravening wolf, a false prophet, which comes to us in sheep’s clothing, and actively prevents the people from joining the genuine church.
We come to another statement by Emil Brunner:
Did the Reformation in fact restore the Ecclesia of apostolic times? The lasting merit of the reformers was to have recognized, as had never been done before or since, the great importance of the Word of Jesus Christ as the source of life of the Christian community. The contribution which they thus made to the world, and to the Roman and all other catholic churches, is of immeasurable value. For this ultimate and decisive importance of the Word had been forgotten – and not only in the Roman church but previously also in the early catholic church. The reformers therefore framed their conception of the Church exclusively with reference to the Word of Christ and therewith took a powerful stride across the centuries to the first Christian community of the apostolic age. But to go on to claim that the Lutheran or Calvinistic church is identical with the Ecclesia of the apostles, will not do. They are so much less close to it in proportion as they emphasize their ecclesiastical character. For where in these Reformation churches is that oneness of communion with Christ and communion with the brethren in which precisely the paradoxical existence of the Church consists?
So Emil Brunner knows exactly that this oneness is missing in his church but he remains a member of it. Hypocrisy.
At the end of his discussion of the churches and sects Emil Brunner makes this statement:
Similarly, all the essays of post-Reformation sects suffer from the misconception that the Ecclesia of the New Testament is in essence imitable.
And this opinion of his he has because he does not see the key element they all have in common and that is the clergy. And that is so because he himself is a clergyman. And because he knows that when he would give up that position he would be without a job and without means to make a living and would have to do some honest work. And so he comes to his dishonest conclusion that the genuine church is not imitable. Hypocrite.
Brunner is like Balaam, he describes the real church beautifully but carries on fighting it.
Here another example:
In all this the meaning of the Ecclesia is what we recognized from the New Testament as its characteristic essence: communion with God through Jesus Christ and rooted in this and springing from it, communion or brotherhood with man. The oneness of communion with Christ and communion with man is the characteristic mark of the Ecclesia.
This communion with Christ and fellowship with man is above all anchored in the Word of Christ which testifies to the action and gift of God, in particular to the atonement through the Cross and to the heavenly inheritance of eternal life. This Word claims the loyalty of the hearers, their loyalty to the sovereign will of God, and to His fatherly grace. But it is not to be identified with the theology derived from it; it is rather the gift of the Holy Ghost, creating life and obedience. It is therefore inseparable from the witness of the new creation in Christ, and never to be divorced from the living realities of communion with Christ and fellowship with man.
Communon with Christ is therefore deeply grounded not only in the Word but also in the effectual working of the Holy Ghost as a super-logical power which even without words can prove its reality though the testimony of love, of the inward peace proper to those who are reconciled through the Cross, of their unfailing joy in the midst of sorrow, through the power which knits the brethren into a unity, through their ready sympathy with the distress and needs of others, through their willingness to make personal sacrifices understood as a self-explanatory consequence flowing from the sacrifice of Christ. The spirit animating the community proves its holiness in that it ever seeks the honour of God and declares all that the members of the Ecclesia have, are, and are capable of doing, to be the gifts of God in Jesus Christ.
Where Jesus Christ is thus present among men, there the Ecclesia exists dynamically. Not an invisible church! For this fellowship in Christ is not merely an object of faith, but is at the same time a palpable living reality of experience visible to faith. Indeed something of it is even visible to unbelievers – by love "will all men know that ye are my disciples". "See how they love one another" is the testimony of the heathen, while of course the ground and the ultimate depth of this love is neither known nor recognizable to the unbelieving world, namely, the presence of the Head of this Body which the faithful may indeed perceive with the eye of faith but never with their physical vision.
Because and in so far as it is always and only a question of the Ecclesia in its dynamic empirical existence, the setting up of dogmatic as of ethical and social criteria can have only a relative, even ambiguous, value: for who can establish criteria to judge whether or not the Holy Ghost is really active in a human heart to which God is only just beginning to reveal Himself? Who would wish to propose criteria of membership which in certain circumstances would exclude precisely those whom God in secret has begun to draw unto Himself? The boundaries of the Church face to face with the world must therefore remain invisible to the eyes of men; a full dogmatic confession can deceive just as much as the entire absence of any such a thing.
And now comes again a statement from Emil Brunner about the man-made churches:
It cannot be denied that the division of the Christian communion into a multiplicity of single churches stands in contradiction to the very nature of the Ecclesia as the Body of Christ and presents one of the greatest obstacles to the understanding of the Christian message – a mischief which it must be the endeavour of all Christians to remove.
He sees that very clearly but instead of simply going back to the way the Bible is showing us to have a church, he comes up with worldly ideas.
He in particular even sees clericalism as the key problem, but because he himself is at the very top of this hierachy, he does not want to do away with it:
But on the other hand to emphasize the need for reunion of the quasi-political church bodies implies an over-evaluation of the church as an institution and therefore favours clericalism, the false identification of church and Ecclesia.
In his last chapter of his book "The Misunderstanding of the Church" Emil Brunner writes this:
It is certain that without these churches most of what we now rejoice in as the action and influence of the Christian mission would never have happened.
It is certain that without these churches the real church would not have experienced 2000 years of terror.
This system of which Emil Brunner is part is the Oldest, biggest and worst terror organization.
From the establishment of the Canon till this day this system has systematically destroyed the continuous revelations of God and systematically killed the bearers of God’s prophecies.
This system is a system of prophet murderers.
This is the end of "The Formation of the Imitation Church - Part 1"
Go to the German version of this chapter: Die Entstehung der Imitationskirche - Teil 1
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