Since we were driven out of the garden made for us by God we have been hoping and praying for a way to go home.
The Church is at home with the precepts of God the Father. It should be in one accord with Jesus and in the Ways of Christ. Christ and Moses were in agreement, Abraham was a man of faith, but today the modern Church, synagogue, temple who all claim to serve the creator are doing many different things. What are the essentials of gathering in the name of the Father.
Church, Chapel, and Congregations
Man has gathered together in many ways, and for many purposes, since people first began to populate the planet. The Bible clearly examines the relationship of man as free souls under God, and man as a subject in bondage to one form of man made government (or institutions created by the hands of men) or another. Christ tells us to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. He also commands His Church to preach the gospel of the kingdom, preaching the way of that kingdom to all institutions of the world.1
The Church is not necessarily either a place or group gathered in a particular place or location. The church in general, including all of the Church, meaning the ministers of the Church and the congregations, is a gathering of people. The bonds that bring those people together are a distinguishing characteristic of the Church and define in whose name the Church is established. Dividing the whole body of the “kingdom of God” or the Church into congregations and ministers may be important in order to understand this Way of Christ, His government, and the perfect law of liberty.
“A church or religious society may exist for all the purposes for which it was organized independently of any incorporation of the body . . . and, it is a matter of common knowledge that many do exist and are never incorporated.”2
There is a divergence from general societies of the world and the one that arises from the body of communicants or a group gathered in a membership for common charitable support and edification in duty, homage, and religious exercises of liberty under God. In such freewill congregations a society of autonomous Families may appear to exist as an unincorporated association.
Unincorporated associations may be defined as "Two or more persons bound together for one or more common purposes, not being business purposes, by mutual undertakings, each having mutual duties and obligations, in an organization which has rules which identify in whom control of it and its funds rests and on what terms and which can be joined or left at will."3 While a Corporation is “An Artificial person or legal entity created by or under the authority of the laws of a state. An association of persons created by statute as a legal entity.”4 It is “...composed of individuals who subsist as a body politic under a special denomination.”5
Governing body politics, who exercise authority over the right to choose of or for the people, compelling their contributions, regulating their lives and liberty through authoritarian benefactors, do not develop relationships based on faith, hope, and charity. Upon entering into such corporate societies, individuals lose a portion of their liberty in a belief that they will remain free.6 Benjamin Franklin expressed to early American government that, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” In early biblical government we were told that “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.” Proverbs 12:24
If we continue to examine American history, seeking examples of man's march toward the Kingdom of God or the kingdoms of Cain, Nimrod, and Pharaoh, we may develop a greater understanding of the purpose and structure of the Church and its mission as Christ directed, and as God intended.
Pacta servanda sunt, Agreements must be kept.
From the beginning, the leaders in Israel were not to oppress one another or strangers, covet their neighbor's goods, or do anything that might return the people to the bondage of Egypt. Those precepts of God are imposed upon the Church established by God.
If the members of the congregation do not remain free in their relationship to each other and their ministers, then the perfect law of liberty, their God given rights, and their free souls under God shall diminish. Each man must love his neighbor's freedom as if it were his own. It is only the corpus of their sacrifice that is entrusted to solemnizes the truth of the Church and the right to be ruled by God.
1 Peter 2:16 As free, and not using [your] liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
Every organization or government of men has its own rituals and ceremonies, rites and services, forms and protocols. There must be meaning behind those forms to give substance to the whole of their creation. The Church and God's kingdom have always been established on the same “precept upon precept”. The governments of the world often use the same precepts, too.
The people should never be unequally yoked. Until the days of John the Baptist, men tried to establish the kingdom of God by force. John would only rely upon charity. “Mammon”7 means a trust or the entrusting of wealth to another. The unrighteous mammon is wealth accumulated by force and fear. Those who seek to live by His righteousness must learn to live by faith, hope, and charity.
In the daily ministration to the people, the ordained ministers each remain autonomous in the exercise of their God-given conscience. By faith, hope, and charity, His kingdom of righteousness comes to life in the world, but not of it. The love of Christ is sealed in the blood of His sacrifice which provides all men their everlasting entrance to His kingdom at hand for those souls who will seek it.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1
Many of the people seeking the kingdom are entangled in yokes of bondage, debt, surety, and memberships. The Ordained Ministers in congregations, living under Christ’s commands, must be unbound in their ministry just as they are bound to Christ. In His Church, the overseers in congregations that may be called Orders of the Church neither exercise authority nor stand between God and man's righteous worship. But they do stand between those men who would be gods over neighbors and brothers and the congregations who seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. The ordained minister must remain foreign to the world, in it, but not of it.
The people gather in small family groups, linked by love and charity to each other. What they give, to those they believe are true ministers of God, they give entirely, and by that free giving remain liable only to God. What passes to other congregations remain a part of a sacrosanct trust in God.This net work of ten families, ten congregations, and congregations of congregations forms a national network that sustained Israel, the early Church and can do the same in these modern times. In this divine arrangement established by God, there is a balance of choice and power, which has been divinely ordained to remain with every man. It can only be sustained by faith in God and the virtue He bestows upon our hearts and minds.
This divine design of choice in service, of brotherhood and community forges one body, one nation under God conceived in love, propagated by free benefaction, and sealed in hope forever and ever, amen.
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.... But now [are they] many members, yet but one body.” (1 Co 2:12, 20)
The authority by which a corporation or body is formed is the authority of original jurisdiction. Centuries ago, some churches began to incorporate under other authorities so that they might hold property in their own name rather than Christ’s. The Church, by definition, was formed and established by Christ alone, and remains autonomous under the Sovereignty of Christ only if it adheres to His authority faithfully.
The Church is the body or corpus of Christ. The congregations are free souls who follow the ways of Christ under the perfect law of liberty. They may not covet their neighbor’s goods by the agency of institutions of men, but shall seek only to be of service to one another.
Together with the Church, they form a righteous mammon, the kingdom of God at hand.
1Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. The word “creature” in this text is from the Greek “ktisis” which is also translated “building” and “ordinance” and defined “the act of founding, establishing, building etc ... the sum or aggregate of things created; institution, ordinance.”