(NOTE: This is an article that Brad and Wayne refer to in a podcast you can find here. We do not agree with his conclusions in this piece, which is what we wanted to talk about. It is provided here so that our listeners can read the original source; it is not an endorsement of Mr. Strom's thoughts or conclusions.)
By Andrew Strom
It is now over 19 years since I first left the church system and went on a seven-year 'wilderness' journey. Of course, there have been further wilderness periods since. But the key point I am trying to make is that I have been around "Out-of-church" believers now for almost 20 years.
Sometimes I get people writing to me who assume that I know very little about "truly leaving Babylon" and "resting from our own works", etc. But believe me, after 19 years of dealing with hundreds of "Out-of-church" people - and being one myself for long periods - I do have a grasp of these dogmas - and have deeply imbibed all of them for years at a time. I am thoroughly familiar with the whole thing.
Lately though, I must confess that I have become heartily sick of it all. Because as I have seen again and again, for year after year after year - it leads nowhere, it has never led anywhere, and it is never likely to lead anywhere. After 19 years, that much I can say with complete clarity.
The Wilderness is supposed to be about brokenness, testing and preparation. And yes - God has led many of us there for that exact purpose. Yet why is it that so few seem to allow themselves to be truly broken? Why are they still so willing to judge by "form and structure" instead of the 'heart'? If this thing is about "preparation", then why are so few actually PREPARED? Why do most of them
NEVER DO ANYTHING AGAIN - even after years and years? (-In fact, many actually grow WORSE over time - spiritually lazy and good for nothing. I have seen it). Do you mean to tell me that perhaps in another 10 YEARS you might be ready? Ready for what? Where will this 'change' actually come from? You are more set in your ways now than you have ever been.
So many are MORE arrogant, MORE argumentative, MORE self-righteous, MORE 'judging' of things that don't matter, MORE smug and self-satisfied than they even were in church. And they are also LESS unified, LESS trusting, LESS able to be part of a 'Body', LESS able to lead or to be led (-making the Book of Acts impossible - because without LEADERS there is no way it can happen. What on earth do you think PETER, JAMES and JOHN were? Don't you know there has never been a successful Reformation in history without strong leaders?)
I can already see their eyes glazing over. They don't want to hear this stuff. They want a "NO-LEADERS" Revival. They want a "NO ACTION UNLESS LIGHTNING FROM HEAVEN" movement. They want something that never has been, and never will be, because it is diametrically opposed to the very PATTERN OF GOD. No leaders, no meetings, no faith, no DARING. And that is why nothing ever happens with these people, and nothing ever will.
They wait and they wait and they wait - world without end. Amen.
I call it the "DO NOTHING" doctrine. I have seen it now for 19 years and I know it intimately. I deeply imbibed it for YEARS at a time myself. And I will not stand by and watch it rob us of our Harvest now.
What do I mean when I say that so many are judging by "outward form and structure", instead of by the 'heart'? -I mean exactly that. Let me give you an example: Let's say that there is an inner-city church with a 'SENIOR PASTOR' that meets in a CHURCH BUILDING on SUNDAY MORNINGS - with 'PROGRAMS' and all kinds of things. Shock! Horror! The very essence of "Babylon", right?
But hang on a minute. Let's say this same group feeds the homeless every week, and preaches a piercing 'repentance' gospel and prays and prays for the lost.
Now, along comes Mr Smug 'Out-of-church' Man. He looks at this group and immediately judges them by their 'outward appearance'. They are of the "system", are they not? He immediately writes them off as just another corner of 'Babylon' - and their people as "IC drones". -Because the things he cares about are not the "heart" things at all. He is a Pharisee - pure and simple. He judges
by the external appearance all the time. It is the 'outward boxes' that cry "Babylon" to him, and thus he never sees the "heart". I believe that God is a hundred times more pleased with a group like that, than with some smug "know-it-all" Pharisee who never lifts a finger to minister to the poor. So many Out-of-church people are judgmental like this. They are not 'broken' at all. They are
harsh and critical and rebellious - and they badly need to REPENT. How do I know? -Because I was just like them for a very long time.
I am talking about people who know all the "right" things about church structure and so-on. They know all about 'Senior pastors' and church buildings and the way things "ought to be". But they have forgotten the "weightier matters" - mercy and justice and love. Many are 'clanging cymbals' - harsh and ugly. And everyone around them can see it.
There are praying church people - totally in the "system" – who leave us for dead in the areas that truly matter - the areas of the "heart" - our relationship with God and our love for people. Go and meet these "praying grandmas" sometime. Many of them honestly leave us for dead.
A lot of us need to shut ourselves up in a room for several days and REPENT and REPENT until all this stuff is gone. Why do a lot of us rub leaders up the wrong way? -Because we are full of REBELLION - that's why. How do I know? -Because in the "Out of church" scene I was full of Rebellion myself. Rejection, hurt and bitterness are absolutely EPIDEMIC in this movement. REPENT, before it is too late, my friends.
You ask, "Why are you being so hard on these people? Isn't the Wilderness a valid place to be?" Yes, it is valid if you are actually allowing God to break you and prepare you and take the harshness and ugliness out of you, etc. But if you are just sitting out there criticizing it is good for nothing. -In fact, it is greatly harmful.
Right now I look and I see the Harvest fields of America white unto harvest. I listen and I hear the youth of the cities crying to us for Truth. I raise my finger in the air and find that the wind has changed and a new season has begun. And then I look into the living rooms of the called-out ones and see them sitting on their fat rear-ends in their houses - WAITING FOR GOD TO DO SOMETHING.
And all the while He is WAITING FOR US.
Are you Spirit-baptized? Do you speak in tongues? Yes? –Then you already have the 'equipment' that the apostles received at Pentecost. So what are you waiting for? Why are you not letting Him move through you?
The 'DO-NOTHING' doctrine is one of the most evil dogmas I have come across. It will happily sit and "fiddle while Rome burns". It is deaf to the cries of the lost and the urgency of this late hour. And it is the prime doctrine of the "Out-of-church" scene. It is one thing that could kill this Harvest dead.
If you have imbibed this 'DO NOTHING' doctrine, then you need to REPENT, my friends. -Desperately. For while you cling to it, God can do NOTHING WITH YOU.
The time has come to stand and fight, to "let those that have wives act as though they had none." -To stand and do battle for the lost of this land before the summer is past and the harvest is ended. Do not let God find you 'fiddling while Rome burns', my friends. Someone has rightly said that if the apostles had not ACTED, then there would be no "Acts of the Apostles". The time has truly come to ACT - and that with urgency.
God bless you all. Kindest regards in Christ,