Sword of JoshuaSword of JoshuaSword of Joshua


Copyright © Jules Dervaes

August 20, 2002


TOP: Jordan River, Sea of Galilee and a Mountain in Israel.
BOTTOM: Arroyo Seco, California Coast and Mt. Lowe, California

Being churchless is something like being homeless. In this disconnected, “down-and-out,” condition, there would come shame from the feeling of being abnormal. Then, you would find yourself desperately craving shelter, some physical structure to enter in order to get a roof over your head. What would make your day is to find a building filled with a large number of others, which would also make it a very happy place to be. Everyone huddled there would be rejoicing because each had found that same, safe surrounding. Since there abounds in numbers a feeling of safety, the more people, the merrier the mood would be. For those addicted to the “drug” of togetherness, the popular church with a normal edifice provides just the calming “fix.” So, are you high?

It is socially correct that people need people and that fellowship is a wonderful state to be in. On the other hand people are also supposed to need God. What happens, therefore, when needing people and needing God come directly into conflict? Life can be a picnic–a feast, even–when those two run in sync but it will be rained out when the time comes when you must pick one and only one. The human in us wants to avoid facing this grim dilemma. You can ignore it and deny it; however, God wants to find out whether or not there is any divine–any part of Him–in us. If you need God, if you are drawn to Him as your Father, you will look not for where the people are but for where He is.

After being conditioned over millennia, the human race only continues to grow more and more lost. The pulls of the prevailing society continually suck us in and today’s individual easily loses a mind of his own. Why does the big, grand, theatrical display impress us so? Why are we taken with physical images? Why are we star-struck? Superficiality has become the order of the day. Can you deny this?

People are drawn to buildings. The walls and roof present an image of rock solid stability, of highly civilized behavior, and of comforting tradition. What is a nation without a capitol? What is an organization without a headquarters building? (Think Enron.) What is a church without a walled meeting place?

Having a minister at the pulpit on stage, being dressed in your going-to-church clothes, and being formally seated in rows of chairs makes for quite a lovely picture. Surrounded by an official group, you will experience such a powerful ambiance that you could sincerely believe that God has made Himself at home in your respectable church site. This belief would be based on the presumption that God can be found only in highly refined places and that the proper, holy place to be, if you are a decent Christian, has to be indoors.

The roots of Christianity, so long forgotten now, paint a radically different picture altogether. Shocking to today’s refined senses are the primitive meeting places of the very first “Christians” when Christ was there in person. How embarrassingly crude was it to meet in the out-of-doors? How embarrassingly dirty was it to sit on the ground? How embarrassingly awkward was it not to have one official location? Below are photos of the original sites of those early, Pre-Church of God gatherings and, for comparison, photos of our sites.

Can you ignore this evidence right before your very eyes?


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