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What If? & So What?!

November 16, 2015

Birth and Death of a Revolution

We were a movement and a revolution, so we believed in change and we practiced it too. We had left the beaten paths of tradition to sail on uncharted seas and were driven by a wild wind. We knew not whence it came from nor where it would lead but it took us on a wondrous journey, to a world where anything was possible, where miracles were a way of life.

With us there was nothing carved in stone, no doctrines, practices or methods that couldn’t change, if God showed us a better way. The only thing which we deemed unchangeable was the author of change Himself but even then we didn’t see God as a static monolith, frozen into some orthodox definition but saw Him as moving, dynamic and beyond definition. If there was a definition which we did favour, it was that of Love but even so our understanding of Him was expanding continually. In fact, there was as much to learn about God as there was to unlearn and each new learning required some unlearning.

The old had to die in order to make room for the new, as the bottle could not contain both, old and new wine at the same time. The distant, austere, white-bearded God up-in-the-sky of church orthodoxy could not coexist with the passionate, loving and caring One who lived within us each step of the way. Our God was near, alive, moving and speaking every day, and not just through the pages of an ancient book, but through each moment of our lives. We experienced His reality on a daily basis, and that far surpassed the theological conjectures of institutional Christianity. We were far too absorbed with the wonders of that reality to be concerned with the dry and speculative theories of ancient doctrines, interpretations and orthodox traditions. As our founder said:

We are too involved in this modern time and too interested in the future to be worrying about the past! (ML-1598). We don’t want to ever get so dogmatic or so set in our interpretations that we can’t change our minds when the Lord shows us something different! …If you start tying yourself down too much to some of your old traditional interpretations … you may find yourself so boxed in & limited in your theology & interpretation of the Bible, that you have no room left for anything else, anything new the Lord has for you! (ML-2210)

To that I may add what became a sort of motto:

To hell with the proper way! – The proper way is of Man! The unexpected and the improper, the unconventional and untraditional, the unorthodox and unceremonious, contrary to Man’s natural expectation, this is the way God usually works! (ML-35)

So, traditional Churches judged us heretical and said that we had a different God and a different Christ. They were right, theirs wasn’t at all like ours and we really could not see eye to eye, especially with fundamentalist evangelicals. The Bible, for example, was important to us but it wasn’t as binding as it was for them; it wasn’t our god and we disagreed plenty with it. For us the present was much more important than the past, its dogmas, traditions, rituals and “orthodox” doctrines.

We knew God in the present, heard Him speak daily and followed His voice right there and then. We saw Him, touched Him and lived by His power and presence each moment of the day. It was as if walking on water, as if flying in spite of social, economic and religious rules that said it couldn’t be done. We were doing it and it worked, because He was working in us. We had tapped into a power source which created a different but tangible reality – the kingdom of God within us.

By comparison, when looking at institutional Christianity, even at its most charismatic branches, it was like seeing children playing with toys, pretending to be and to have something which wasn’t there. At the heart of their activity we didn’t see the God of love but that of religion, of religious doctrines and pretended spirituality. Their institutions looked empty, devoid of the very life they proclaimed and the sight of it made us turn away, dreading the thought of ever becoming like them. We even had a word for it, churchianity, to differentiate it from Christianity.

I Know, we were extreme, young, zealous and not very wise. Eventually we did grow up, became less intolerant and even learned to appreciate the fellowship of other Christians. That, however, came as we were also loosing steam and becoming increasingly institutionalized; in essence becoming more like them. Perhaps that’s the way it always goes. As some scholars say, ours was but the natural cycle of all religious movements, who are born in revolutionary fervour but end in institutional conformity. I tend to agree with it but I still like our old motto, “to hell with the proper way. Had we not felt that way we would have never ventured out of the box of religious conformity to discover what God could do without it.

Sure, all revolutions are messy; it is young people who fight in them and the outcome is never what they expect; usually it’s just another system with all the same problems as the first. This was our case too but what made it worth it all is what we discovered in the process, something far greater than what human thought or labour could achieve. In fact, though we may acknowledge the role of some individuals, like our founder, it wasn’t a person or any number of them who brought us into being, but something much greater, otherworldly and yet tangible. That is what made us, what we partook of, what sustained us and got us places. That was the magic that those of the early hours partook of, and it left an indelible mark in our lives, for which I am very grateful.

Without rituals or traditions, we lived as full-time missionaries in communal homes; without orthodox beliefs we saw God working trough us and we felt His spirit moving and leading us daily. With no past to look to, we preferred the present, because that’s where we met God. The bible did have a role, but we preferred what God spoke right there and then. Of course that made us a sect, because we had declared independence from orthodoxy and were developing our own scriptures. In spite of such negative labels we experienced a life of faith incomparable to that offered by any traditional institution. Nowhere else could we find the same love, unity, providence, miracles, spirituality and a living demonstration of a working Christianity.

For decades our miracle ship sailed from shore to shore, as supported and propelled by some invisible force. We had been all across the globe when it began to show the signs of time and could no longer keep its course. We had hoped that this would have never happened to us but we knew that it was inevitable, that all Christian revolutions have their heyday but then either disappear or morph into ecclesiastical institutions. We thought there wasn’t enough time for it to happen to us, but we were wrong; our eschatological expectations were disappointed, just as they were for others before us.

As we approached the inevitable, attempts to keep our ship afloat and on course increased at a frantic rate. Repairs were done, sometimes in haste and causing more damage than good. There were even attempts at restructuring and re-purposing the vessel, but to no avail. The times were different and so were the captain, the crew and the ocean. The past had gone, the magic too, and nobody knew what to do about the future.

Realizing the inevitable, the captain made the final decision to dock the ship in shallow waters and let the crew disembark safely. Most, moved away and found employment elsewhere but some stayed on, hoping that one day the ship would sail again. The ship, however, could no longer handle the freedoms and dangers of the high seas; it could only be used at dock, as a houseboat, a gathering spot for its former crew, for those wishing to remember the excitements of the past. Indeed, the memory of those years at sea was worth preserving and for those who were there, nothing else could compare to it. For them, all religious alternatives were but a vanity fair of cheap and childish rides. Though the defunct vessel could no longer offer anything better, for its former crew it was the link to a precious memory. This, after all, is the cycle of all religious revolutions. All that remains of them, if indeed something remains, are the institutions that preserve their memory, and perhaps even some of their original ideas, but only the milder (milkier) ones.

The Big Question

Naturally, when anything significant comes to an end, there are those who will ask who or what caused it to die, wondering if there were human responsibilities and if it could have been preserved by better choices. Such what if” questions are unavoidable but, if we acknowledge God’s hand in our birth, so must we in our death. For sure we can learn from our mistakes, but I don’t believe that we could have forestalled our demise any longer. If something greater than human effort brought us into being, no amount of human effort could either end it or preserve it. It thus behoves us to seek to understand the plan that goes beyond our particular experience, and which may continue on in spite of changing circumstances.

Such a quest will naturally lead us to wonder about the past, especially about all that we used to believe in and considered God’s words. Here, I would say, it’s important to meditate and come to some conclusion, which might be different for different people. I will continue on the basis of my own conclusions, how I came to answer the various what if questions; so let me list a couple of them:

What if, what we regarded as God’s word at the time actually contained human mistakes, misunderstandings and misinterpretations?

What if, the man we regarded as our founder and prophet was actually wrong on many things and even had serious personal problems?

In view of these possibilities, what would we then make of our past but tangible experience of the divine? How would we interpret it now, how would we sort things out and make sense of it all? Was it all good, all bad or a bit of both and, if so, what was what?

My conclusion is that throughout history all notable leaders and movements got some things right and some things wrong; they were human and understood as humans do, and nobody, even bible authors, were ever exempt from this human condition. The greatness that we admire in some of them is never their perfection, but the spark of genius and inspiration that they caught and acted upon, in spite of their frailties and the opposition of others.

In our case, I believe that the spark of inspiration was in the love that we shared in our communal lifestyle; was in seeing God as Love, as knowable first and foremost in a life of love. That’s how we experienced Him, through a lifestyle based on love, sharing and reaching out to others. That was Christianity at its best, what it actually is, and our societal model had tapped into its living dynamics, power and life. That was the reality of it, and it had come about by a will and design that escaped our understanding. True, God did use a man to get it going and keep it going, but the man was like any other; apart from what God worked through him, he was as weak and fallible as others, and perhaps even more, so that we would learn to tell the difference.

What if I will that thou be as wicked as David of old, that the excellency of the power may be of God–that I may be glorified! (ML-77)

In view of his human weaknesses, considering his role and the likely pitfalls of his career, he was even given a warning (Temple Prophecy, ML-9). The warning came true, in David as well as in those who eventually replaced him, who then fulfilled yet another warning, about the “restructuring” of our movement (Builders Beware, ML-309b). Looking back it all seems very predictable, as if David and successors followed the same script that others did before them, and the same can be said for us all.

Knowing this, what should we think then of that which we used to regard as New Wine Scriptures? Where do we place them now that we are “wiser”? While we did learn to recognize their human dimension, subjectivity and time related value, we also know that they inspired us to live the type of Christianity which we experienced. Today we do not regard them with the same unquestionable trust as we did then, and we might even wish that some were never written. At the time, however, they contained the inspiration and interpretation that resonated most clearly with us and, in that sense, God did speak to us through them. Were they infallible? No way! Were they inspired? Sure, but that inspiration ran through imperfect people and was therefore packaged with their imperfect ideas.

Somewhat related is the next question: If David was wrong on so many things and his writings caused undue suffering to some, could his biggest mistake have been that of straying too far from the Bible and its orthodox interpretation? Had he stuck closer to it would we have avoided lots of problems and maybe even our eventual demise? Personally, I don’t think so. My conclusion is that we wouldn’t have been at all unless he had stepped out of the box of orthodoxy, unless he had realized the limits of the Bible and church interpretations.

If I had not been open to change & revelation directly from God, you wouldn’t even be here! So you’d better thank God that He was able to change my mind, & thank the Lord that He was able to turn me around in some cases & start me in exactly the opposite direction! (ML-1934)

This brings me then to another conclusion, about the Bible, which even David hinted about but did not fully develop. Surely you all remember the illustration that grandmother brought up about the Bible covers, the fundamentalist parable denouncing the supposed undoing of the Bible by progressive teachers. Certainly you now realize that David eventually did the same thing by introducing his new wine interpretations. As a matter of fact the Bible was never our main source of inspiration and, as far as spiritual feeding, we compared it to old dry hay versus the green grass of God’s new words. (ML-113) As David said:

You don’t have to know the churches and churchianity and church doctrine or even the Bible as long as you know the truth and the word of God, His word for today. (ML-1592)

Well, I now look at David very differently than I did 30 years ago, but I still agree with his take on the Bible, and I would take it even a step further. I do not think at all, for example, that uncovering flaws in David and his writings will automatically vindicate the Bible as infallible. Instead, I believe that David’s human frailties help us to better understand how God works through people, the dangers and blessings of it, and even how the Bible came about. That which we have matured and come to understand about David’s writings, applies just as well to Bible authors. Thinking that ancient writings were produced any other way, as in a vacuum and free from human interference, by the pure inspiration of God, violates common sense and is an insult to intelligence. If God is calling us to grow up, we cannot do it selectively but must embrace it on all aspects. If we learned to glorify God instead of individuals, as in “Temple Prophecy”; if we learned to recognize God voice coming through earthen vessels, and not confuse these with God, then we must learn to do so consistently, even about the Bible. This, in fact, is what scholarly work on the Bible has made patently clear, that there needs to be a more mature way of reading it, just as with David. Such a way, however, is not necessarily the scholastic way, which is insufficient in its approach to faith, but it is the experiential one, but more on this later.

Just as there were a number of “what if” about David, so there are about the Bible. No matter how progressive some of us felt, all of us held to some superstition about the book. We knew the book fairly well but never studied it in such a way as to come to understand its nature, history, development, authors, redaction and so forth. In part, we looked at it from a fundamentalist perspective, one developed during the Reformation, still anchored on the suppositions of that period and largely dismissive of later developments. But what if, for a moment, we laid aside such a view and looked at what scholarly work has uncovered since? Clearly, I am not speaking of claims made by some fringe scholars, such as those casting doubt on the very existence of Jesus. Extremes aside, if we were to just look at what the majority of believing Bible scholars agree on, it would be enough to undo our former understanding of the book.

The what if  would be many. What if, for example, we were to discover that our end-time views were based on false assumptions about the book of Daniel, of Revelations and of other end-time chapters? What if, we were to discover that historically speaking things do not really add up, especially when it comes to the Old Testament? What if, we were to discover that a good number of Bible books were not written by the people we thought? What if, we discovered that only seven of the epistles were written by Paul, none of the Psalms by David, no epistles by Peter and no gospels by any of the apostles? What if, we discovered that some books, like Jonah, Daniel and a few others, were never meant to be historical, but were fictional works, written at a later date and for a different purpose? What if, we discovered that Revelation has nothing to do with John the apostle and that most second century Christians did not even trust it? What if, we were to learn that some archeological findings, supposedly confirming the Old Testament, aren’t really what we thought? What if, we discovered that they were created by Zionist archeologists seeking to validate their claim to Palestine, and highly touted by Christian Zionists who sought to validate their fundamentalist stance?

So What?!

Well, even if only one of these questions had any truth to it, some would conclude that the fundamentalist parable had come true, that there is nothing left of the Bible but the covers. That is because the fundamentalist has put himself in a corner by claiming that the Bible is inerrant, infallible and exactly right on everything, history, science, politics, ethics and all. If any part of it isn’t so, then the whole falls apart, as there cannot be something that is only “partly” infallible; it either is or it isn’t. The problem is that the fundamentalist’s faith is mostly on his definitions of God, rather than on God Himself, whom he does not really know. If he were to doubt the absolutism of such definitions he wouldn’t know what to think about God anymore. That is his greatest fear, that without the myth of infallibility he wouldn’t know what’s left to believe in. Sounds familiar? Reminds you of something? “If the Pope isn’t infallible then my church might not be the right one after all?” That’s how the idea of Biblical infallibility came about, from the need to substitute that concept of Papal authority, but it’s rooted in the same mentality. It’s a form of idolatry, and idea that cannot stand, for it rests on fear and superstition. Eventually the curtain will fall and the machinery of religious wizardry will be seen for what it is, a human construction. The idea of infallibility is unsustainable and will pass away, which means we can move on to a better approach to scripture, a more mature one that will allow us to seek God in truth and in spirit, and not merely in script and in doctrines. The letter kills but the spirit makes alive (2 Cor 3:6).

Now, that which dispels the myth of Bible infallibility, isn’t very different from what dispelled our own myths. We too had some things which we regarded as nearly infallible and we learned to view them more maturely, allowing for imperfections and mistakes. We had our fundamentalists as well but, for the most part, we have grown past that stage. The question remains, however, on how to interpret our history and the “scriptures” which we produced. Have they also become like the proverbial Bible covers? Is there anything left of them and can we recover a new way of reading them, as with the Bible?

For me the answer is positive and simple, and it is encapsulated in another question, “so what?!”. So what, if the Bible isn’t infallible? So what, if the letters aren’t all we thought they were? So what, if we see things differently today than we did then? Thank God we do! That shows that we are still growing and changing, and in ways we couldn’t foresee, in ways that the old format could no longer sustain.

If we take an honest look we’ll see that the faith that we lived by did not depend on such things. Ours was an experiential faith, based on a living experience and not on intricate religious dogmas, doctrines or other assumption of infallibility. We believed on that which worked and which we experienced directly, regardless of what traditions and orthodoxy said about it. That type of faith may need redefining, now that we have matured, but it cannot be dismissed or shaken by new and uncomfortable truths. When a true and working faith discovers something untrue about its beliefs, it simply sheds the untrue ideas and gets on with a better notion of what it has known. A true working faith can never be hurt by the truth, no matter how shockingly uncomfortable it may be.

New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson has long asserted that Christianity, in its early stages, did not rest on complicated theological propositions, but on the direct experience of the divine. Lately, in response to intellectual debates about the historicity of Jesus, he more or less affirmed that the “real Jesus” is the one experienced in the present, through faith, rather than the one found in speculative historical reconstructions. In essence, whether at its origins or in the present, Christianity rests on a direct and personal experience of the divine; the rest is interpretations.

The experience of the resurrected Christ, and I am not speaking of His visible and touchable body, but of His Spirit within man, is what drove the early Christian expansion. Theology is what came about as a consequence, as an attempt to make rational sense of that experience. The definitions of God, as contained in traditional theology, derived from the necessity of a single interpretation and explanation of what, up to that point, had many interpretations. What we must never confuse, however, is the interpretations with the experience itself, as the divine can never be properly conveyed by human means.

Explanations and interpretations are not God, nor His pure word. So it does not matter what new discoveries we make about David and our history, or about the Bible and its history. Just as the Moletters were not God, nor His inerrant words, neither was the Bible. At best, all these were the record of the experience of the divine, the explanation of how God manifested Himself then, or rather, how the people affected understood Him and His action.

What we usually refer to as God’s words, are in realty human renditions, definitions and interpretations of God’s interaction with humanity. Such words usually match the understanding that people had of it at a specific time. Some words do transcend time; impacting and inspiring us long after they were spoken, but they still remain human. Nonetheless, such human words do carry God’s imprint, the record of His work and of the ideas that He inspired in man. This is why we say the Bible is inspired, because through it we partake, howbeit indirectly, of God’s work and do see His reflection.

If my what if questions undermined faith in the Bible, they only undermined a childish understanding of it and not that which concerns a mature faith. We must also consider that the above questions represent but a fraction of what emerges from Biblical scholasticism, textual analysis, historical and archeological discoveries and a considerable volume of recently discovered documents. True as it may be that some of it is questionable and fanciful speculation, there is enough solid data to demand a new approach to our reading of the book. As a matter of fact, there is no credible theologian or Bible scholar today, who regards the Bible as an accurate historical document.

The problem is that most religious institution still stand on the superstitious beliefs of vastly uneducated congregations. Most pastors and clergymen are perfectly aware of the dissonance existing between popular belief and what they actually know. They studied theology and the various disciplines that go along with it and are perfectly aware of the facts behind my what if questions. In spite of this they prefer to keep things to themselves and not educate their congregations, with the usual excuse that it would hurt their simple faith. Instead of helping them to assimilate these facts and come to a better and more knowledgeable faith, they prefer to let things be, to let people live in their superstitious dream-world. They fear that if their followers were to loose that type of faith, there might not be any faith left at all. Since churches also depend on the faithful giving of their people, it’s best not to upset their simple minds; best to keep true knowledge for the clergy and the educated few who can handle it. The downside, of course, is that eventually people find out anyway and feel cheated by their churches for not telling them. They will then leave and face a process that would have been better handled within the community of faith. This is now the crisis affecting most churches.

In our case we had already learned to recognize inconsistencies within the Bible, to disagree with the OT or with Paul’s epistles. Our diverging on matters concerning women, marriage, sexuality, ethics, etc. is all well documented. Somewhat erroneously, however, we placed on our founder the same type of misguided faith that protestant had placed on the Bible, and Catholics on the Pope. We simply transposed that old concept of divine infallibility over to a new element, David, instead of realizing the very inadequacy of the concept.

It seems to be a natural tendency to assign divine properties to what we see as representing God. Doctrines, traditions, a book or a leader, be it the Bible or the Pope, can easily become objects of veneration, especially if they are all that we know about God. It shouldn’t have been our case, as ours was first and foremost a direct experience of the divine, and of a life fully dependent on it. Even so we retained some traditional views, such as the concept of infallibility and near divinity of individuals and their writings. Eventually we did mature, began to see cracks in it and some of our cherished beliefs no longer appeared so certain. That’s when some folks, disenchanted with the presumed infallibility of people and doctrines, began to seek for something more “deserving”. Instead of questioning the concept itself, some defaulted to traditional orthodoxy, hoping that it would be more “infallible”.

It was a case of drawing the wrong conclusions, because if our failures taught us anything, it’s exactly the opposite. If we learned not to exalt individuals to divinity, that people will always make mistakes and disappoint at some time, that we must recognize the working of God in man without mixing the two, that even the most inspired teaching will always be laced by human understanding and can thus never be final and “infallible”; if we learned this, how could we then look for something worthier of a misguided faith in infallibility? It’s like believing in Jesus and Santa at the same time and not being able to tell them apart. Quite simply, what we learned to discern, to recognize and to differentiate within our experience of faith, applies just as much to the Bible, Bible characters, Church Father, Catholic Saints or modern miracle workers.

Practice and the Primacy of Love

Our faith, after all, stood on something much stronger and more reliable than mere text or personality; it was based on practical application. True, ideas and principles may have come from a book or a person, but it was by trying them that we either validated or invalidated them, making it manifest what came from above or from mere human conjecture. As a social test-tube, free to try multiple ideas and methods, with time we discovered the nature of things simply by their fruits. After all, the litmus test of theory, or theology for that matter, is its practical application.

In John’s gospels, when challenged about the source of his teachings, Jesus answered: “Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (John 7:17). In Matthew’s gospel we find that a similar criterion was given also for judging the teachings of others: “by their fruits you shall know them” (Matt 7:20). So it’s the doing and the results of that doing that tells it all. The question isn’t at all if it is scriptural, as even capital punishment for blasphemy is scriptural, and got Jesus on the cross. If being scriptural was the criterion, then we would have to agree with all the religious wars, inquisitions, crusades and genocides that were carried out with a Bible on hand. One may say that such things were mainly justified by the Old Testament and that it was wrongly interpreted. I would agree, except that it makes it even more obvious that Scripture itself isn’t as final as some would like it to be. Since it needs “proper” interpretation and it cannot be taken literally, the focus shifts to the interpreter and we have come full circle back to the subjectivity of scripture.

According to the Gospels, the clincher lies instead in the results of our actions, which should be guided by love and give the fruits of love. For a Christian, scripture isn’t the final authority but love is, and that is made patently clear in the golden rule, the law of love, the love chapter, John’s epistles and, most of all, in Jesus’ sample. As much as fundamentalists will cry against this relativistic view of scripture, in effect this is what they also practice, but in the most inconsistent way. While claiming that the Bible is the infallible word of God, they never really act as if it is, and thank God for that or we would see Christian terrorism all over.

What we discovered earlier on about the primacy of love and the subjectivity of the Bible, eventually we discovered it also about our new wine. We learned that not everything that is inspired or proclaimed as “Scripture” is of the same quality. Practically speaking, we shunned some scriptural injunctions and aimed instead for that which we recognized as God’s unfolding self-revelation, which is Love. We thus refused dated interpretations, like some violent, tribal and sexist representations of God, and focused instead on that which revealed a Universal God of Love, as embodied by Christ. We made that the focus of our daily lives (tried to) and it activated a chain reaction that moved us into an entirely different plane from doctrinal or theoretical religion. It’s not that we also didn’t have doctrines and some theology, for we did, but love was what took us into God’s being, to enter His reality in a dimension beyond this one. It was the most mystical and otherworldly experience, one which we all shared in and which often made us exclaim “this must be heaven!”

In the absence of that Love, all that remains are always and only the exterior trappings of religion, such as tradition, rituals and writings. Protestants have been quick to point out the idolatrous nature of Catholic or Eastern Orthodox traditions, but have usually failed to see it in themselves. For example, claiming that the Bible is entirety and all across its pages the absolute word of God is also a form of idolatry and animism. Just as with statues and icons, it amounts to conferring divine attributes to an inanimate object, whether it be sculpted, painted or written. Such superstitious beliefs deserve to be taken apart, and that’s what scholarly work has done. Paradoxically, while scholarly work on the Bible started with the reformation, it is evangelical fundamentalist who oppose it the most.

I am not minimizing the importance of the written word, especially of that which is inspired, like much of the Bible is, but I am speaking of misplaced faith, that which exalts the written record above the experience of the living God, that which values a dead orthodoxy more than a living heresy, that which exalts the book and crucifies the man. The problem with fundamentalists is that they usually know a lot of Bible but almost nothing about it. They even memorize it, but don’t know anything about who wrote it, when, why and how. The reason they don’t promote a more knowledgeable approach is that it would interfere with the interpretations they have chosen to give it. Scholarly work would dispel their superstitious beliefs, but that’s exactly what they fear, that their faith would not survive in a different environment. Superstitious faith, in fact, cannot survive the truth, but for those who’ve known God their faith could only grow; it would be free to follow where evidence (the Spirit) leads, free to read the Bible with new eyes and open to discover new things, which were impossible to see with the old mindset.

To a degree, we did undergo this process within ourselves, discovering that what applied to the Bible and Bible characters, applied also to our founder and his writings, and the other way around. If we are looking for the secret of our experience of the divine, we will not find it in the infallibility of either the Bible or the Moletters, but in the LOVE that we shared. That was the presence of God amongst us, His Spirit and anointing in us, His moving in us, His provision, His miracles and guidance. That was the inspiration behind Love never Fails, Our declaration of Love, The Law of Love and much more.

Love was at the heart of it all and if we let it guide our present quest and questions, we’ll find that the answers are right there in plain sight. It’s love that counts, that’s all the religion you need, that’s what pushed us on to reach out to others, what made us live and share all we had, including our mates, what lead even to FFing, to put the law of love at the heart of our faith, without orthodox beliefs, dogmas or inflexible doctrines. It was the door through which we escaped the religious cage and entered a world of incredible expanse, a world where there was much to learn, where we made many mistakes, but where God was so close we could actually touch Him.

Love was the magic which we experienced when we went beyond natural tendencies to care, to give and to share. This was Christianity at its best, because it expressed the character of the Jesus we called upon, of the Christ who went beyond human survival modes to love beyond his own comfort, even to death for love and lovingly forgiving his persecutors. That was the breaking of our human chains, the door into partaking of the divine nature. That was the Jesus we called upon, the force we tapped into and partook of. That is the God that we worshipped and which we experienced in our life of love.

Take love away and all that’s left is rules, doctrines, writings, traditions and things that we aren’t even so sure about anymore. Take love away and for sure we’ll run to find shelter in orthodoxy and the church system, because if Christianity is an empty box, then we might as well get the best that the world can offer. Take love away and all that is left of Jesus is the dude invoked by crusaders, fundamentalists, inquisitors and today’s exporters of democracy by war. That’s the difference between the Jesus we have known and the one of mere religion.

The Family wasn’t built on prophetic interpretations & theological hairsplitting!–It’s first of all built on love & consideration & sympathy & compassion! As we’ve often said, love is the most important thing! People who are won to the Family by vague or highly theological prophetic interpretations might get discouraged & drop out if your predictions don’t come to pass! (And they didn’t) –But if “the Love of Christ constraineth them” (2Cor. 5:14), & that’s why they’re here, whether there be prophecies that fail, whether there be tongues that cease & whether there be knowledge that vanishes away, they won’t fail, cease or vanish away!–Because “love never fails!”–1Cor.13:8. You may have the gift of prophecy & understand all mysteries & all knowledge, but without love it’s nothing!–1Cor.13:2. Love is the life’s blood of this work!–The Spirit of God’s Love! (ML-2210)

It is not simply that God “loves,” but that He is Love itself. Love is not merely one of His attributes, but His very nature. – A.W. Pink

One Comment
  1. Very good explanation of the fall of the COG. Love is the hardest part of believing and receiving God, because we are naturally brutish at best. Thanks for the insight into our past and hope for our future.

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