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"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ,
to the glory and praise of God."

(Philippians 1:9-11 NIV)

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Response to an Inquiry

By Charles Strong


Regarding your inquiry as to whether or not I actually attend a “physical church,” consider the following:


The Greek word ekklesia (Strong: 1577), which is the word translated “church” throughout the New Testament, is from the Greek words (1) ek meaning “out of” and (2) klesis meaning “a calling” [from kaleo meaning “to call”].  It is used several ways in the New Testament to designated “a group of people called out for a special purpose” (e.g, political, religious, etc.), but never to designate a physical structure.  It could essentially be translated “assembly.”


As to Christianity, it is often used to designate a group of believers gathered to worship Christ in someones home for the purpose of conforming to His image by and through learning more about Him (e.g., the study of the Word).


Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus . . . Likewise greet the church that is in their house. . . . (Romans 16:3, 5)


The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. (1 Corinthians 16:19)


Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house. (Colossians 4:15)


to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house. (Philemon 2)


And assemblies of this nature were in tune with God’s Word, e.g. Hebrews10:24, 25 — “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”


This was a worthy endeavor in light of the following:


Compare the following two passages of Scripture:


And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:18-21)


Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)


The point being is that it is by studying and absorbing God’s Word one is thereby conformed more to the image of Christ (able to “walk in Him” [Colossians 2:6]) and guided (filled, used) by the Spirit throughout this life.


The only way for a Christian to experience sanctification is to immerse himself in the Word of God, as is clearly seen in the following passages of Scripture.  The first passage is part of Christ’s prayer for His disciples.


I have given them Your Word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. . . . Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth. (John 17:14, 17)


And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors-teachersfor the equipping [lit. perfecting] of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying [lit. building] of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge [lit. full or mature knowledge] of the Son of God, to a perfect [lit. full grown or mature] man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting. (Ephesians 4:11-14)


For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge [lit. full or mature knowledge] of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge [lit. full or mature knowledge] of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy. (Colossians 1:9-11)


Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. . . . Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:12, 13, 15, 16)


Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)


But you must continue in the things that you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God [lit. God-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete [lit. mature], thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)


Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless . . . but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:14, 18a)


Every Christian should realize that Scripture (the Holy Bible [Old Testament and the New Testament]) is primarily a book for the believer in Christ, given to be studied and absorbed so that the Christian may please God through continual spiritual growth.  And then it is the Christians who are to bring those who are without Christ, those outside the local assembly of believers, to a saving faith in Christ.


And where local churches (established denominational structures that represent a group of people) go afield today is that very little of their activities are dedicated to the study of the Word.  Rather, most podium presentations are immersed in 3 to 4 point simplistic presentations of ideology, followed by (in evangelical “churches”) the “plan of salvation” and an “invitation” to accept Christ and “walk the isle.”  In most local churches, Bible study is relegated to Sunday School, a brief presentation of a portion of Scripture…..that is, as long as it is in agreement (and following) a particular path as prescribed in a “denominational quarterly.”


True churches (i.e., groups of Christians) should be dedicated to the serious study of the Word (and which may be led by “pastor-teachers” [Ephesians 4:11] —mistranslated in the KJV as “pastors and teachers”) and leave the presentation of the Gospel of Grace (often called “soul-winning”) to the Christians as part of their lives outside of the church.


To your question regarding me, I can only say that I have endeavored to attend a number of evangelical local churches in this area.  But unfortunately, at this time, I have found none that follow God’s direction regarding the in-depth teaching of the Word.  The local evangelical church that I previously attended became upset with me because when I taught in Sunday School I would only teach as I believed God’s Spirit directed me, not in accordance with their published denomination quarterly.  That being the case, I left the church and initiated a “home church,” which has seen some notable fruit.


At this present time I do not attend a “physical church” as you have described.  I trust you will understand.


Also, I don’t believe I’ll initiate another composition regarding the subject, since I really go into this in more detail on my website in a composition called “The Home Church”— see  http://bibleone.net/home-church.htm .




PS.  I thought I would include the following from “The Home Church,” which is on my website.


Then there is the problem of the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:15), a development that formed early in Church history and is prevalent in most local churches today.  An accurate description of this particular aspect within local churches throughout the dispensation is given by Arlen L. Chitwood in his book, Judgment Seat of Christ, as follows:


Following the warning to the church in Ephesus, reference is made to the “Nicolaitans” (an Anglicized form of the compound Greek word, nikolaites [from nike, “a victor,” “a conqueror”; and laos, “people”]).  Thus, the word “Nicolaitans” means, “to conquer [be victorious over] the people.”


Within Church history, there is no record of a  group of individuals known by the name, “Nicolaitans” — in the church in Ephesus [2:6], or in any other first-century church (note that a reference to the “Nicolaitans” is also repeated in the epistle to the church in Pergamos [2:15]).  And, when coming across a reference of this nature, there is only one thing that can be done in order to understand that which the Lord meant by using this word (whether by Christians during the first century, or by Christians today).  The use of “Nicolaitans” would have to be understood as a reference to the actions of a group of individuals, described by the meaning of the word itself.


From the meaning of the word, a reference to the “Nicolaitans” could only be understood as a reference to individuals forming a hierarchy within the Church, ruling over the people.  And these individuals were undoubtedly responsible, at least in part, for the existing conditions in Ephesus near the end of the first century, as well as the conditions subsequently seen existing in Pergamos (and possibly in one or more of the other five churches, though this is not mentioned).


Sadly, the “doctrine of the Nicolaitans” is seen in the clearly established and ornate hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, a hierarchy somewhat mirrored by certain liberal (in their theology) Protestant denominations; but, unfortunately, is also followed to some degree in many evangelical denominations and their local churches.  It is not uncommon for certain bishops, pastors, elders, deacons, and others to establish a “chain-of-command,” which requires a degree of inordinate “veneration” and “submission” from the “lay” congregation.


That is why, particularly in these last days, it is indeed advantageous for Christians who thirst after the solid food (meat) of God’s Word, which alone leads to righteousness (faithfully believing all of the Word and living for Christ), to endeavor to contact other like-minded Christians and set up a “home church” in one of their residences.  To do this will often provide them the following benefits:


1.      An environment free of hierarchical rule.

2.      An environment promoting increased communication, fellowship, personal attention, and love among the participants.

3.      An environment that promotes serious study of God’s Word at a pace conducive to efficacious assimilation of truth.

4.      An environment that will promote spiritual growth and eventual maturity.


Many pastors of evangelical local churches, with which this writer is best acquainted, attempt to deliver a pulpit primary message (sermon) emphasizing the plan of salvation in an effort to reach any lost person (anyone who has never been eternally saved) in the congregation.  The sermon is then most often followed by a call (an invitation) for any who will place their faith in Christ for their personal eternal salvation to so indicate their decision by coming forward (or by some other means).  This is accomplished due to the pastor’s sincere belief that this order of events is the principal aim or purpose of a local church service.  And although this writer finds no fault with presenting the means of eternal salvation at the end of a church service (in fact it is recommended should there be any doubt as to the spiritual make-up of the congregation), for a pastor to believe this is the primary reason for the service can only mean he is misguided.


The primary purpose of a local church service, be it on Sundays (morning or evening) or any other day of the week, is to systematically teach those who have been saved the entire Word of God , with the ultimate goal of allowing immature Christians to become mature Christians and increasing the growth of mature Christians to ever higher levels of spiritual maturity.



Response to an Inquiry

By Charles Strong


“If you were God/Jesus what would you consider to be a true believer (first fruits) and how would they behave as a mature Christian?”




Thank you for visiting my website.  Should you be curious about my background, there is a brief “Personal Testimony” link at the bottom of my home page; or you may just click on the following link: Bible One - Charles Strong's Personal Testimony.


First, I should of course admit that no Christian is able to place himself in God’s (or Jesus’) place; but still, he can have an opinion coached in his understanding of the Word.  Mine would take the following track.


The only criteria for being a “true believer” (i.e., Christian) is “personal faith in Jesus Christ for one’s personal eternal salvation,” which, means that the person has come to the position of realizing his lost condition, has come to the understanding that Christ paid the penalty for his sin, and has made a definite decision to trust in Christ and His work on the cross for his personal eternal salvation (John 3:16-18; 20:31; Acts 16:31; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:16; 3:22, 26; Ephesians 2:8-9, etc.)


But all of us need to realize that once a person “believes on Jesus Christ,” he, just as he embarked on physical life, is a “babe” (immature) in Christ; and, should therefore grow or progress toward spiritual adulthood.  Not to do so, which is a situation that may apply to any “true believer,” can only mean one will continue in a carnal (controlled by the “flesh” – the “old man” – the “sin nature” that all Christians embody) state, similar to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).  To exist in this “spiritual state” does not disqualify the person as a “true believer,” it only indicates he is an immature true believer.  And to so continue will have consequences at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11, etc.) –consequences pertaining to the coming Millennial Kingdom of Christ (1,000 years), not for the eternal ages that will follow this period of time.


Of course, even mature Christians can stumble spiritually, i.e., commit sin (e.g., Peter [Mark 14; Galatians 2:11]), but which may then be “confessed” (i.e., when one admits to it and takes responsibility for it) and immediately forgiven (1 John 1:9).


But as one studies the Word with an “open mind” (and this is key), he will unfailingly progress toward spiritual maturity.  And, as this is done, he becomes more like Christ in his love for God and all brethren.  As a “mature” Christian, his walk will be in the Spirit (you might compare Ephesians 5:18-20 with a companion passage in Colossians 3:16) as he exhibits the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23), which is also a walk of “unity” (Ephesians 4:1-3), of “love” (Ephesians 5:2), of “light” (Ephesians 5:8, 11), and of “wisdom” (Ephesians 5:15-17).  In short, it will be a walk of faith in Jesus Christ “rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7; Colossians 2:6-7).


I must emphasize, such spiritual maturity can only come as one studies the Word (which is today’s manifestation of Christ) with an open mind.  Such will lead to the “salvation of the soul” (Hebrews 4:12; 10:39; 1 Peter 1:9; James 1:21 [cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23]), which is a “salvation” quite different from one’s eternal salvation, i.e., applicable only in regards to the coming Millennial Kingdom.


Should you wish to check this out, please read Salvation of the Soul by Arlen Chitwood which may also be accessed on my site Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul.


Well, Ray, I hope I’ve given you something to seriously think upon.  I thank our Lord for your quest for truth.  Please feel free to write me anytime.


In Christ,




Bible One by Charles Strong


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