"LET THERE BE LIGHT" Ministries
FREE FROM CORPORATE SIN
Many of God's people understand that salvation depends upon their being free from all personal sin through the blood and grace of Jesus Christ, but they are at a loss to understand that they must also be free from corporate sin. Especially are our people ignorant of the fact that they can be accounted impure just by their union, membership, or association with impure churches--even though they may be overcoming all know personal sin. In this case, no one can be completely free from the spot and stain of sin if they are connected with impure churches! This is called Corporate Responsibility. It is true that we are not saved by groups, but it is also true that we can be lost by belonging to corrupt churches!
Corporate responsibility or accountability centers around an individual being held guilty for the sins of others because of their union, membership, or association with groups of other individuals: such as churches, institutions, organizations, etc., or basically a corporate body. Even if an individual did not personally participate in the sin committed, yet they are held responsible along with the rest of their group because of their association or union with this corporate body.
This principle of truth is clearly taught in the word of God, being seen in 2 main areas--the sins of the membership make the whole corporate body responsible; and the sins of the leadership make the whole corporate body responsible. We will examine each area.
Achan disobeyed God's commandment by taking some of the spoils for himself, and hiding it under his tent, thus committing sin. But even though Achan alone had committed the sin, because he was a member of Israel, God considered the whole corporate body of Israel responsible. So for the sin of one man, the whole church was held accountable and suffered (see Joshua 7:1, 11-12).
"God's command had been disregarded by one of those appointed to execute His judgments. And the nation was held accountable for the guilt of the transgressor...Achan's sin brought disaster upon the whole nation. For one man's sin, the displeasure of God will rest upon the church till the transgression is sought out and put away." Patriarchs and Prophets, p 494 & 497 (see also Testimonies, vol 3, p 265, 269, 517, vol 4, p 491, vol 5, p 676; Manuscript Release #449, p 1-2).
But what about the sins of the leadership--those who run and control the group, church, institution, or organization: Can an entire corporate body be held responsible for the sinful actions of their church leadership? Yes!
God commanded Jeremiah to go and speak strong, plain, and cutting words to His people of Israel. The church leadership did not like this message--especially the part about their church falling from God's grace and protection, becoming connected with Babylon and under its complete control (see Jeremiah 21:4-6, 27:2-6 & 12, 28:14, 32:3 & 28, 29:5-6 & 28, 37:9, 25:9-11).
Needless to say, the church leadership apprehended Jeremiah and brought him in before their council. They stated that Jeremiah was worthy to die because he had spoken against their church (Jeremiah 26:11). When Jeremiah heard their words, he said that they could do with him as they wished, but they must realize an important principle first. He then tells them all this principle:
"But know ye for certain, that if ye [the church leadership] put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof..." Jeremiah 26:15.
So it was not just the church leadership who would be held accountable for Jeremiah's death, but his blood would also be chargeable against the city or church, and against all the inhabitants or members thereof! Thus for the sinful actions of the leadership, the whole corporate body--membership and all--would also be held responsible.
"A nation's sin and a nation's ruin were due to the religious leaders." Christ's Object Lessons, p 305.
But what consequences are there in being held corporately responsible for the sins of a wicked church leadership just because you are members of, associated with, or connected to, that church?
"Plead with your mother [church], plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts..." Hosea 2:2.
What was the sin of God's chosen church in the above text? Whoredom or harlotry. How can a chosen church of God commit harlotry? The church is supposed to be a faithful bride or wife to Christ. But if this wife chooses to no longer live for Christ and Him alone and departs from her husband, uniting herself with another lover or with many lovers, she commits adultery or harlotry. She is then no longer a faithful bride of Christ, but has become a harlot church. And please realize that the church itself literally does not commit harlotry, but it is the church leadership who unite the whole church body in the adulterous love affair with other churches.
What is God's response to a once faithful bride who has become a harlot church? He first called her to come away from her harlotry. But because she refused to repent, God set her aside; He put her away; or in other words He gave her "a bill of divorce" (see Jeremiah 3:6-8). No longer was the church His bride, or Christ her husband! And all this was because of the evil actions of the church leadership.
But what about the membership of this harlot church? Are they also set aside along with their mother church--to no longer be considered as the children of God? God clearly tells us:
"And I will not have mercy upon her children [church members]; for they be the children of whoredoms. For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully..." Hosea 2:4-5.
Even though it was the church leadership which involved the church in the harlotrous love affair, all the membership--the children or offspring of this unfaithful mother--are guilty of harlotry as well. Thus all the church membership are no longer children of God, but are considered by God as "children of whoredoms" because of their connection and union with their harlot mother church!
As these God-given principles of corporate responsibility are still in effect today, because God changes not (see James 1:17; Hebrews 13:8), has the church, which we are members in and association with, committed harlotry?
The Roman Catholic church has been a harlot church for many centuries (see Revelation 17:1-6, 13:1-8; Daniel 7:7-25; Spirit of Prophecy, vol 4, p 232-33). Rome's offspring or daughters--all the Protestant churches (Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, etc)--are harlots as well, having rejected the heaven-sent messages of the first and second angels (see Revelation 17:5, 13:14-17; Spirit of Prophecy, vol 4, p 231-32). But what about the sister to the Protestant churches--or the Seventh-day Adventist church? Has she also become a harlot?
"Who can truthfully say our gold is tried in the fire, our garments are unspotted by the world.
"I saw our Instructor pointing to the garments of so-called righteousness. Stripping them off He laid bare the defilement beneath, then He said to me, `Can you not see how they have pretentiously covered up their defilement and rottenness of character? How is the faithful city become an harlot. My Father's house is made a house of merchandise, a place whence the divine presence and glory has departed." Testimonies, vol 8, p 250.
Christ Himself has denounced the Seventh-day Adventist church as being an harlot! Then what consequences does that have to each and every SDA church member? God has already clearly told us in Hosea 2:4:
"And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms."
Thus if we are members of any of the harlot churches--Roman Catholic, any of the Protestant churches, or even the SDA church--then we are corporately responsible for the terrible sins of our church. And as long as we remain connected with our harlot mother church, then we cannot be completely clean and pure in God's sight, and God will not have mercy upon us!
God looks upon all members of all the harlot churches--without respect to those persons who put up a fuss about all the sins and abominations of the church, but still remain connected with her (see Acts 10:34)--as being one with, or in bed with, the harlot! Thus they are not children of God, but are children of whoredoms.
"Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith He, shall be one flesh." 1 Corinthians 6:15-16.
God also tells us:
"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Amos 3:3.
If we are members of an harlot church, then we are no longer two entities, but are of one flesh with the church in harlotry. And we cannot be a member without our consent, or without our agreement to remain members. Thus by our choice and agreement to continue membership and union with a harlot church, we are held corporately responsible for the harlotry and are no longer a child of God.
What will be our punishment if we choose to remain connected with a harlot church? We will be destroyed right along with her! It was not just Achan who was destroyed, but everything connected with him--including his whole family! Even though his family did not participate in stealing the goods, yet they perished right along with him because they were of one flesh (see Joshua 7:24-25).
"He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools [those who depart from God and His wisdom] shall be destroyed." Proverbs 13:20.
Many understand that they must be cleansed from sins they personally commit, but they seem to be blind that they must also be cleansed from corporate sin. But it is impossible that any person can be completely cleansed from all spots and stains of sin while they knowingly remain connected to, and in union with, a corrupt and apostate church living in harlotry! That is why God has revealed that His people are to find their freedom from both personal and corporate sins outside of the wicked church, and it will only be those who love God supremely that will follow His will and walk this straight and narrow pathway of separation.
Even the laws of nature proclaim to us this same principle of truth. As long as you are standing in a muddy pool, you are contaminated with the mud. You can move to the shallowest edge and pour all the clean water over you, but you can never be completely free without the spot and stain of the mud. Your only hope is to completely disconnect yourself from the muddy pool, and then you can become entirely cleansed. The same principle is taught by a barrel of apples. All it takes is one rotten apple to spoil the whole barrel of good apples. And the good apples did not have to do anything to become spoiled--they just had to remain connected within the barrel!
But some may wonder; What about all the good and righteous people that are in the church? Surely God will not destroy the righteous just because their membership is found within a harlot church destined to destruction?
"Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem...and say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth My sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked." Ezekiel 21:1-3.
Why are the righteous destroyed along with the wicked in the church? Because the good and righteous people refused to separate themselves from the company of the wicked and disconnect their union from the doomed church!
So what does God want His people to do if they find themselves resting in, or connected to, any part of a church or corporate body that is polluted with sin and wickedness?
"Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord." Isaiah 52:11.
"Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction." Micah 2:10.
If we find ourselves resting or residing within a corporate body that is unclean and polluted with sin and wickedness, such as a harlot church, then God commands that His people must depart and separate from her. And this separation must break all connection in order to be clean: so that we are not even touching the unclean harlot church. To avoid touching the harlot church involves breaking all our connections with her, including our membership on the roll books, or we will remain unclean by this touch and will be destroyed along with her. We are not just to transfer our membership from one church to another church within the same corrupt corporate body. But we are to break all connection with everything in that corrupt corporate body; and if we don't do so, then we will be lost and destroyed!
This destruction will not just be of our physical life, but also excludes us from eternal life! Thus this question of membership in a harlot church is indeed a very important--a life dependent--issue. Our eternal life is dependent upon whether or not we have completely separated from all spot of sin--including severing every connection from every harlot church today!
"Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity..." Jeremiah 51:6.
If we do not flee out of Babylon the harlot church, then we will be cut off in her iniquity, and thus lose our soul and the chance for eternal life! Why? Because we would not be the children of God, but would be the children of whoredoms, and numbered with Babylon.
How can we escape being the children of whoredoms, and the loss of our soul? God states plainly:
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
When do we become the sons and daughters of God? It is only AFTER we break all connection and agreement with Satan and his kingdom! And if we separate all personal sin from us, but refuse to separate from all corrupt churches full of sin, then we will not receive the seal of God! Why? Because the seal of God will never be placed upon anyone who is contaminated with the spot of sin (see Testimonies, vol 5, p 212-16), but will only be placed upon those who are separated from all sin--whether personal or corporate.
"The angel [of Ezekiel 9] is to place a mark upon the forehead of all who are separated from sin and sinners, and the destroying angel will follow, to slay utterly both old and young." Testimonies, vol 5, p 505.
Even if you obeyed the message of Christ's righteousness, and overcame all your personal sins, but refused to separate from your harlot church, you would still fail of perfecting righteousness completely and being without spot and stain of sin. Thus you would be accounted corrupt by your continued union or membership in the harlot church!
God clearly states that if we are united with the corrupt, then we are corrupt and no longer pure.
"It is impossible for you to unite with those who are corrupt, and still remain pure. `What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial?' God and Christ and the heavenly host would have man know that if he unites with the corrupt, he will become corrupt." Review and Herald, January 2, 1900 (vol 4, p 137).
It is a WHOLE GOSPEL message which the people desperately need today--not half a gospel. It is not just preaching and believing the message of Christ's righteousness or freedom from all personal sin; nor is it just preaching and believing the message of complete separation from all corrupt corporate bodies. But it is a WHOLE MESSAGE--the message of the loud cry--which is the present truth today.
God has given His true people only one pathway that leads to heaven, and this pathway involves separation from all personal and corporate sin. Any one, whether minister or lay-person, who preaches otherwise is a false watchman voicing the words of a stranger, and they are not working for God! Why? Because they are trying to lead people to follow a different pathway than what God has marked out. And their false road does not lead to heaven, but leads to destruction (see John 10:1-5; Early Writings 245-250). How hypocritical for anyone to preach that God's people must overcome all sin in order to make it to heaven, and yet tell people that it is OK to remain members in a corrupt church--thus becoming "partakers of her sins" and losing heaven! (see Revelation 18:1-4)!
The conditions of eternal life are not hard to understand--separation from all personal and corporate sin in order to be completely free and hid in Jesus. Yet many choose to rebel against God's will, especially in regards to complete separation from their harlot church--membership and all--and they walk another pathway. But how foolish to believe that we can rebel against God and walk a different pathway than His specified will, and still be on our way to heaven! Yet unfaithful ministers are leading multitudes of trusting souls down this broad road towards destruction.
"The conditions upon which salvation is assured are plain and simple, so that the wayfaring man need not err therein. To neglect or reject these conditions is to lose all hope of salvation. God alone is able to say on what terms fallen, rebellious man may be saved. How foolish it is for men to spend their energies in seeking to climb up some other way than that way which is so simple and so easy to be understood that the most illiterate may take advantage of its provisions. Professed theologians seem to take pleasure in making that which is plain, mysterious. They clothe the simple teachings of God's word with their own dark reasonings, and thus confuse the minds of those who listen to their doctrines. Let the Lord explain what He would have the sinner do to inherit eternal life." Signs of the Times, July 2, 1896 (vol 3, p 304) (See also This Day With God, p 155 & 266; Testimonies, vol 1, p 131).
May God help all of us to fully realize our accountability and responsibility, and then to choose to follow only God's will. And may He help us to voice only the words of the "faithful watchmen" (see 5T 83), and to follow the only pathway set out for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in--the same pathway that Christ Himself chose to walk.
"Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach." Hebrews 13:12-13.