Jesus Christ: The Guide to find the True Church
A message from the true Church of Jesus Christ
to Michael G Urangikor,
and to those who hold to his doctrines
Michael G Urangikor has written and distributed a tract entitled "A Guide to find the True Church", in which he has tried hard to identify the one true assembly which is the same to day as it was in the days of the apostles - the Church founded by our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He has made a bold attempt, based on his own knowledge and study of the Bible. It was an honest attempt, and has seemed to identify the outward things by which the Church is known; but it is based on Michael G Urangikor's intellectual knowledge of the Bible only, what "flesh and blood" has revealed to him. On that basis he can only wrest the meaning of scripture.
The true Church has Jesus Christ as its Head and Teacher, who says, "Learn of me", not simply the Bible to be read in our own worldly wisdom. We who learn of him, Jesus Christ, know and can testify to his power and his teaching. He holds the key of David, with which he opens for us the meaning of scripture; without him, nothing can be opened to us, and we remain in ignorance, but what he opens for us, no man can then shut. He himself is the Truth, and does not deal falsely with us; what we witness to the world is no cunningly devised fable, but is the Truth, as given to us by him who is the Truth, Jesus Christ himself, who enlightens us with his light; his light is the light of the Church.
It is the same Jesus Christ who bids us testify, he who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is Jesus Christ whom we know, living in us as Paul witnessed in Galatians 2:20. It is Jesus Christ who, by his Holy Spirit, now commands us to preach by these present words, to Michael G Urangikor, and to the readers of his tract.
Search your hearts, for the witness that is in you, and see that what I say is true.
I ask Michael G Urangikor this: he says, "Such-and-such a verse says this, such-and-such a verse says that," but what can he say? Is he a new creature? Has the old been crucified in him and raised up with Jesus Christ, in the resurrection? Has he had the one true baptism of Jesus Christ, which is with the Holy Ghost and with fire? Is he a child of the Light which is Jesus Christ, and has he walked in that Light? And what he has written, and what he says - does that come inwardly from God? For if the answer to any of these is "no", his message is not from God, but from his creaturely self, and as it purports to be a holy message it must therefore be in vain. Therefore he has run and the Lord has not sent him, and he is no minister of the Lord.
Beware! Beware! There is no neutral ground! Michael G Urangikor, or anyone, acts in these matters inspired either by the Lord's Holy Spirit, or by the influence of the world, and worldly wisdom; if the latter, then the truth is hidden from them (and revealed to babes!), and they and their ministry is in the image of the god of this world, the prince of the powers of the air! It is Jesus Christ's work to undo the works and power of that prince, Satan, wherever they are manifest.
I offer this in love, and out of a concern for the salvation of whomever these words come before; I offer answers, in Christ's name, for the proposals put forward by Michael G Urangikor.
PROPOSED: That it is possible to identify the true Church, only if we allow the Bible to be our guide.
ANSWERED: The true Church has but one Guide, Jesus Christ our Saviour, who is Head of the Church. To call anything else our guide is to rob him of his place. The Bible is not the Guide, but is witness to that Guide; it is a good and profitable witness, but it must be read in the same spirit as gave it forth, Christ's Holy Spirit, which was abroad in the Church then and is now, with which the Church was then, and always has been, baptized and anointed.
PROPOSED: That to locate the true Church that saves, one needs to gather its identification marks; and that the Bible has these answers.
ANSWERED: It is not sufficient to look for outward marks, as if searching for a missing person by his facial features, etc. Searching for the Church in such a way leads people simply to imitate these outward things, and what results is an imitation of the true Church. To allow people to come so far and then go no further delights the enemy; often Babylon is painted to resemble Zion!
The true Church is called and gathered by Jesus Christ, and when it comes together in response to his call and under his gathering, those drawn to him know each other, as members of his Body. No outward sign is needed between them. They are gathered in the same Spirit as was the Church in the time of the apostles, and this Church is known not by outward marks, but by its inward unity and communion with God through Christ. We in the Church can testify to this; there is no Church except where Christ is known in all his offices
Further on in his tract, Michael G Urangikor quotes rightly from Psalm 127, that, "except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it"; yet he seems content, and would have you accept, that outward marks, discerned only in man's wisdom, can identify the Church. No, none but the Holy Builder himself can show it unto you, and where he is not, they have laboured in vain, however devoutly or assuredly they have built, however closely they try to follow a written pattern!
PROPOSED: That the true Church of the Bible was established at Jerusalem, which is backed up by much written in scripture; to which Michael G Urangikor adds, that if the same seed of the kingdom is sown today, it will reproduce the true Church in any community.
ANSWERED: Does Michael G Urangikor realise the import of what he has casually referred to here? The scripture quotations most surely show that outward setting up of the Church at Jerusalem, as truly prophesied. But again, so much concern with outward evidence, and so little with the seed!
The Sower is Jesus Christ, who sows the seed of the kingdom, inwardly in men's hearts. That he set up the Church first in Jerusalem, to fulfil prophecy, is true enough; but what is really relevant is that we should be good ground here and now, in which to receive the seed, which shall grow.
PROPOSED: That the Church is not called by any other "denominational" name in scripture.
ANSWERED: No more it was! But neither did Luther, nor Simons, nor Fox, nor Wesley, nor Darby, nor any man whom the world credits with starting a "denomination", ever begin with the intention of forming one!
Each man, with his own measure of the Light, was led to see the apostasy of the churches of the world, and to stand against them and for the Church of Jesus Christ, calling men to be obedient to Christ alone. But the world, as it always does, coined its own names for what it perceived as the "followers" of each man, calling them perhaps "Lutherans", "Mennonites", "Quakers", "Methodists", "Plymouth Brethren" and so on. Perhaps the world will do the same to those whom they see "following" Michael G Urangikor!
If some now cleave to the outward observances of a "denomination", then they keep manna out of season. If a worldly culture has grown up around these outward observances, we still cannot dictate to the Holy Spirit where it will work, and to the Sower where he will sow. But we shall not be judged by what names men call us, but by our obedience to the call and commands of Christ.
PROPOSED: That members of the Church were known by such names as "disciples", "saints", etc., and principally they called themselves "Christians".
ANSWERED: Indeed they were known to each other as brethren, and as disciples and saints, and by the other names tabulated by Michael G Urangikor, and by some that he does not mention. The Lord Jesus Christ called those who obeyed him first his servants and then his friends (John 15:15). Also scripture refers to the Church as "children of light". We in the Church know each other still as friends and brethren.
There is nothing in scripture that shows they called themselves "Christians", but we are content to bear this name, because it makes plain our allegiance to Christ. But we know that it was a name first given to us in scorn (as were denominational names later) by the world. It was first applied to us by the pagan citizens of Antioch, as if we were a cult. King Agrippa used it in jest, having heard Paul's testimony, but Paul did not use it, choosing instead to say "as I am". Peter's first letter speaks not as Michael G Urangikor wrests its meaning (that we should suffer in no other name but "Christian"), but that we would suffer for what the world perceived us to be - whether that was as subversives, traitors, incendiaries, cultists, or whatever - and our patient suffering would be a witness to the Truth, Jesus Christ, in whose name we truly were. In that suffering and hatred, we share the suffering of Christ, and the hatred of the world, for Christ's sake.
PROPOSED: That Christ rules the Church with divine authority.
ANSWERED: The Church can testify to this. The churches of the world, for whom the Bible, not Christ, represents divine authority, cannot know this.
The Church that owns Jesus Christ, confesses him and testifies to him as its Corner Stone on which we are built; its King, who reigns over us as his kingdom; its Bishop, or overseer of our souls, who cares for us; its Guide, who says to us, "I am the way", and whom we follow; its Shepherd, who feeds us and leads us to safety; its Teacher, who says, "Learn of me", from whom we receive all doctrine and knowledge; the Holder of the key of David, who opens scripture to us, which is a mystery and a closed book to those who learn of men; its Light, a lamp for our feet; its Healer, with cures sufficient for our true ills; its Captain, leading us as his army to fight against the prince of the powers of the air; its Saviour, who bruises the head of the serpent, and destroys his works in us; its Passover, in whom we are spared from death; its Sabbath and the Lord of the Sabbath, in whom we know true rest from the works of man; its Prophet, the promised great Prophet like Moses, who opens spiritual truths to us; its Priest, who offered himself up as a sacrifice to us; the Minister of the Sanctuary and true Tabernacle that God has pitched; its Preacher, whom God has anointed to preach to us; its Counsellor, who counsels us the way of salvation, redemption, and righteousness; the Word of God by which all things were made, and by which all things are made new; all and more with full power and authority given by the Father, who says, "This is my beloved Son, hear ye him." The true Church hears Christ's voice, and follows him.
PROPOSED: That membership of the Church requires "baptism" by immersion in water, which is a figure of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
ANSWERED: Membership requires a new creature, which is by the one baptism of Jesus Christ, which is with the Holy Ghost and with fire, as witnessed by scripture. Water was a figure for its time, and was used until its figurative use was fulfilled; it was the baptism of John, which was to cease, whereas the baptism of Jesus Christ was to increase. Now we have a figure no more, but reality. There is no figurative death, burial, and resurrection, but a real death and burial in our spirit, to the things of the world, and a resurrection and rebirth with and in Jesus Christ. This is the testimony of the Church to you. What will you have - the outward figure, or the spiritual reality?
PROPOSED: That all religious services in the first century were commanded to be done in spirit and in truth.
ANSWERED: But Michael G Urangikor, throughout his tract, proposes that they should be done according to the letter! For the Church of Jesus Christ there is no option but to worship in spirit and in truth, as this worship was set up and made possible by Christ himself.
PROPOSED: That worship should include unaccompanied singing.
ANSWERED: If directed by Christ's Holy Spirit to sing, then a man, or a whole assembly of people should sing, making music in their hearts, singing what is given to them. There should be singing with the spirit and with the understanding, as the apostle says (! Cor 14:15). There is no place for the likes of songbooks, or any other intervention by the hand or will of man!
PROPOSED: That to permit a woman to lead prayers is against the command of the Holy Spirit.
ANSWERED: Who can lead prayers but Christ, through his Holy Spirit, which he and the Father sends? No man or woman can lead prayers in their own wills! Prayer is the breathing and sighing of a child to the heavenly Father who gave that child life.
PROPOSED: That women should not teach or preach but learn in silence, and to violate this means we are children of disobedience.
ANSWERED: This is a grievous wronging of the Holy Spirit, and a great wresting of scripture! It seeks to quench the Spirit and despise prophesying, countermanding the prophecy of Joel (2:28,29), ignoring the labourers and prophets of the Church, which scripture witnesses to have been women. Nowhere does Michael G Urangikor more plainly traduce the witness of scripture. The Church can testify that the Holy Spirit does not pass women by.
Now hear the testimony of the Church. In Christ there is neither male nor female. The woman who is to learn in silence is she who is in the fallen state of Eve, and therefore under the law. But Christ, in the male as in the female, who redeems from under the law, and makes us free from the law of sin and death, bringing us to the covenant of everlasting life and writing his laws upon our hearts, he may speak. So a woman in whom he has worked his salvation, who can say with Paul that Christ liveth in her, may be anointed by the Holy Spirit, to whatever purpose and ministry, such as the daughters of Philip who were prophets in the Church, where the prophets were to speak two or three! Where, then, did these women prophesy, but in the Church? Deborah was a prophetess, who judged Israel; and Anna was a prophetess also (see Luke 2). And the apostle sent greetings to women who were fellow labourers in the gospel. What could be clearer?
PROPOSED: That the Lord Jesus Christ commanded the eating of unleavened bread and drinking of the fruit of the vine on every first day.
ANSWERED: The Lord asked his apostles to remember him as often as they shared that meal, which was to show forth his death until he came again, and this was fulfilled in Luke 24.
It is the testimony of the Church that communion of the body and blood of Christ is inward and spiritual, a feeding on and being spiritually nourished by him who is the Bread of Life, the Bread from heaven, which if a man eat, and continue to feed upon, he shall live for ever.
Now Christ is come, for he says, "Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." This is the true, perpetual supper of the Lord, and it is sufficient, being the substance which has no need for the shadow, or outward bread and wine.
But as often as we come together, by convenience on the first day of the week as we have done since the apostles' days, we eat together, and feel, as we are gathered in our Saviour's name, his promised presence. Remember it is Christ who gathers us; and he can bring us into his presence at any time, on any day of the week - not just the first day. Remember his promise, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Then and there is the feeding upon the body and blood of Christ. Then and there he is come.
PROPOSED: The mission of the Church is to preach the gospel, to help those in need, and to edify its members.
ANSWERED: Which cannot be done alone by the letter, which killeth, but by the Spirit, which giveth life. The gospel which must be preached is that of the salvation, which the Church witnesses in it, by Jesus Christ, our present, immediate, and eternal Head and Teacher, this gospel being the power of God, preached in all creation.
PROPOSED: The doctrine of the original Church is based on the Bible only.
ANSWERED: Which states that Christ says, "Learn of me". The doctrine of the Church was and is taught by the Lord, and written upon the hearts of his people, as promised by his prophet Jeremiah. The Bible was and is profitable, but not the ultimate source of doctrine.
PROPOSED: The New Testament was the guide of the Church.
ANSWERED: By the very words of Michael G Urangikor in his tract, the Church was set up in AD33, at which time the New Testament was not written! The writings of the New Testament were written under the inspiration of the Guide of the Church, Jesus Christ, by the workings upon the writers of his Holy Spirit, which was and is abroad in the Church. The writings were the fruits of attendance to the Guide, not the Guide itself; they are testimony to that Guide.
PROPOSED: That every local congregation was independent.
ANSWERED: The letters and travels of apostles and disciples show that there was unity and interaction between them. Independence, in man's will and understanding, brings disunity. The early Church was one body, not several; the eternal Church of Jesus Christ, though small and scattered, still is one.
PROPOSED: That the Bible is the only guide and standard of authority in religion.
ANSWERED: That statement usurps the authority of Christ, which his true Church acknowledges and affirms.
Beloved readers, whom I cannot call friends or brethren, unless and until I am assured of your unity in the body of Jesus Christ, the foregoing is the witness of Jesus Christ's own Church, of which he, and not the bare letter of scripture, is Head. Michael G Urangikor may call up no end of supposed "proof-texts", but I direct you to Jesus Christ, and to the witness of Truth which is in you. Take that step of faith; believe, and let our Lord judge you in your hearts and consciences. You will come to see where Michael G Urangikor is led astray, and where the true Church is, and how its witness in this age unites with the witness of scripture - as opened not by the understanding of man, but by the grace and power of Jesus Christ.
JESUS CHRIST - THE GUIDE TO FIND THE TRUE CHURCH.
Written 8th day of 4th month 1996, at his command, by Paul Thompson