Dietrich Bonhoeffer
with his students (1939)

Did you know?

In 1914 there were approximately 80,000 churches & chapels in Russia but after a small fringe group known as the Bolshevicks took control of the government Christianity was made illegal by and large and by 1935 there were only a few hundred of these churches left.  80,000 to a few hundred in less than 20 years - And at the time Russia said something like that "could never happen."  How little we have learned from history it would seem.

 

United States’ Churches own $230 Billion+ in property with approx $55 Billion per year in tithes/offerings but Christ said:

“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24)

 

Again this is not to cast stones as I know many of these churches have done a lot of good. It's just to show some of the inconsistencies that the watching world sees while also bringing a better sense of the reality faced by most Christian churches around the world. And again, not casting stones, but a growing majority of Christians and churches are indistinguishable from the non-Christian; moreover most endorse practically any sins that are spoken against throughout the Bible (old and new testaments). Adultery? Theft? Pluralism? Relativism? Politics? Lies? Greed? Exploitation? Pedophilia? - the list goes on and on (and growing) with number of sins quickly excused by the church and Christians alike as now being quite acceptable and fully aligned to Scripture. This form of presentism is a plague on both the church and Christians. And what about a good understanding of the Bible or terms like courage, honor, objectivity, etc.? These words are nothing more than memories in a book to many today. That is another reason why this reset is so needed and will hopefully help others (if I can survive it and figure out a way to open it up "L'Abri-style". 

Test Run with Friends (Fall 2020) - 

 

Dry run so far - some friends and I was mostly focused on getting our bearings and just conversing but I did tell them just for fun to think of this as the infamous "Seminary at Finkenwalde" where Dietrich Bonhoeffer setup his "illegal seminary" under Nazi control. In other words it was "real" and less stain-glass window like. Then we watched an excellent series/book by John Eldredge Epic: The Story God is Telling - which is not a story of politics and political correct compromising churches but of an adventurous story of how God works throughout the Bible. We then went outside and did some really good planet and star-gazing (though I have 2 Masters I started a third in astronomy so always loved the idea of God's creation within cosmology as I have written extensively elsewhere). All 3 of these simple points not only provided great fellowship but lead to some great conversations on God, existentialism and problems they have with organized religion. (Again not as a "self-help" group but as real community)

 

*One of the caves we had "church" in and took Communion (serves as a good reminder what church has been for a large part of its history and still is in most countries)

Though nothing here is dictatorial or set in stone, I'm thinking of something semi-routine? Here is just a snapshot of what I will probably try as I am figuring things out with some friends (aka - guinea pigs) but what we're basically doing just to get reconnected and reset will probably look like this at least at first:

  1. Monday through Friday: Friday is a fast, prayer and day to just wander
    • 8am: simple breakfast and prayer.
    • 9am-12pm: Several options: Bible, specific study, apologetics, existentialism, videos, etc.
    • 12pm: tea or coffee (snack no lunch)
    • 12:30 - 5:30pm: some type of work (likely in the garden) and/or a formalized type of exercise 
    • 6pm: Dinner and discussion (I will likely invite family/friends to help gauge this piece)
    • 7:30pm: on your own. We can study on our own, watch videos, meditate, fellowship, etc.
    • 9pm: Psalms & goodnite 
    • 2am: just joking! :o)
  2. Saturday & Sunday: 
    • Just because "stilling" the mind or "abiding" is such a challenge to me I think I'm going to try and maintain a Sabbath's rest (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) as well as a Resurrection Day (Sunday) morning worship with Eucharist. {Sabbath meaning rest in Christ not a strict 613 rule-based Sabbath or anything of the sort}
  3. About the cabin: 
    • In progress... 

Again this is meant more of as a reset not a 52 week type thing - but will break it down a little bit more below:

I am in the process of writing out the entire Bible by hand. Not for any real reason; not for a pat on the back or anything of the such I just felt like after so much studying "about" the word of God I really need to refocus my mind again back "in" the word of God. I have written 4 books totalling (after massive cuts/edits) well over 1000 pages so a shame I have not written the Bible by hand before now. This has been a real blessing to refocus my mind on God instead of things simply around God...

    

Second night we watched two modern but very critically acclaimed movies (both of which were not very popular). Neither are at all "feel good movies" but more than anything shows where the church has been and how sick it is in many ways today. All the same church but totally different times and places in the world - same God. It's funny how money, decent food and conversation can really open up people to get "real" as we should be.

  

One thing that I have found very holistic is the concept of  Mark 12:29: "and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength." In other words (this is just me) but I feel that apologetics and my academic career has hopefully helped bring glory to God and point people towards him (my mind); similarly I have found that my understanding of physiology and self-defense can hopefully show that "strength" aspect. Obviously I don't mean going out to get in fights but though I have taken courses solely on Sermon on the Mount at Eastern Mennonite University, I do not fully agree with pacifism I do agree with non-violence as being scriptural (would be happy to talk about this but too long to get into here). With that being said I usually reference an excellent episode of the old TV Show Kung-Fu (with David Carradine) who would not touch a gun nor defend himself from thieves but he would use his "God-given" limbs/body to defend himself and others. In one episode he ironically spends time with the Hutterites (a group of anabaptists similar to Mennonite/Amish tradition).

    

This type of "exercise" seems to not only be appreciated by men and women alike, but also practical in these days when being attacked is all more likely. (A friend and I use to teach women's self-defense long ago and while this is a very small aspect, I may at least see if friends want something like this added to a routine or not? I am no expert but this is much healthier from a Christian perspective than are things like yoga or eastern-based meditations. (Pictures are of a couple who wanted to combine the physical with the spiritual a few years ago) *Again - see "Wild at Heart" by John Eldredge, Jordan Peterson, Tyler Durden or any number of other sources on this specific topic. (bottom of page links)

 

Similarly, I recently went through an extensive certification from the Christian Academy of Natural Health on natural and herbal remedies. Now I am no survivalist but after going through some of the survival courses from my friends at American Survival Company (featured on Discovery Channel) I had my interest peaked towards simple remedies (nothing too complex) just because I have always found it amazing how God has given us the cure to so many diseases right in front of us through his creation. Again, I have found personally the tons of benefits from something simple as plantain that is 100% safe but is a remedy for a ton of stuff to really be eye-opening in seeing the presence of God right in front of you. 

  

And I still find it ironic that I can minimize my carbon element here; still have enough power to have a good time, wash/reuse my own dishes, have literally zero waste, grow an abundant amount of organic foods, preserve nature and stimulate wildlife growth 10x more than any of my environmentalist friends AND do so "objectively" because I am basing it too on the ontological truth of Christianity. In other words "take care of the earth for the earth's sake" is just as illogical as "art for art's sake" because (as I have spoken/written on) these are all subjective but when I am being a good steward of God's creation let's say, I not only have an objective basis for doing so but it will hopefully convey that living truth and reality of Christ that is sadly devoid in many churches as well as these secular groups that do not even know why they are worried about climate change (if we're here by accident and natural processes then who really cares whether we save the earth or not since it is all destined to an eventual heat-death anyway)?

   

Again we've got the start of a good garden that could probably feed 20-30 thru the year even though they may get tired of food variety during the winter. ;o)  There is more to being a Christian than just knowing the Bible, we need to live that reality to point others to Christ and I pray that I can learn to do this. Not just academically by showing all other world views are fallacious or self-defeating, but by hopefully drawing close enough to God's presence through life and practice not just academics or being seen 1 hour each Sunday at church.

The Forgotten Story of the Church

The Pilgrim Church (first published in 1931) is an alternative history of the church, unrecorded by secular history and shows a much more "raw" and real side of the Church outside of popes and prelates. It covers the history of many small churches throughout the ages that have attempted to follow the New Testament church pattern, the success of those that followed the pattern laid out by the apostles and the consequences to the churches that fell away from the pattern. He looks broadly at many groups such as the Paulicians, the Bogomils, the Nestorians, the Waldensians, the Anabaptists, the Hutterites, the Methodists, the Russian Mennonites and the Mennonite Brethren. He classified early primitive churches to Anabaptist, and to Moravian Brethren were historical Brethren Movement. In many ways this "is" the real history of the movement spawned by the church of the Book of Acts and it is these movements that survived and immense persecution and with no real money or resources were forced to Live the faith they professed vs. much of the come and go Laodician church today and from which our study will seek to surround. I think this is an element that I am attempting to recapture. Not for anything more than just to truly live-out my faith and hopefully in my learnings help others perhaps to do the same. This will be simple (think the original Didache or CS Lewis' Mere Christianity as the heart of Christianity is what our focus should be not on all the nuances that usually glorify men more than God.

https://thejesusway.info/pdf/PilgrimChurch/PilgrimChurchVer-0200-beta.pdf

 

Please click the above (middle) image to access a Free online version of this amazing work.

     Again, this is not a “denomination” nor is it a “club” first of all... but is what Christian theism seemed to be when it was referred to as “the Way” in the early accounts of Christianity as a movement.  “Why” invent such a thing then? First of all this not an invention and if I were to ask the most liberal Anglican to the most conservative Anabaptist, both would agree with the majority of all points adhered to by this “Mere Christianity” approach. Moreover, this is the exact approach heavily persecuted China has used in their underground movement that has seem their numbers soar from 750,000 Christians (via Mere Christianity) in the 1950s to somewhere over 100 million today. This same type of movement may very well be needed in the United States as the media, educational systems, Islam and political correct ventures are attacking the Christian fronts more aggressively than ever.

  • If we look at Russia a century ago we see a Christianity that was rich and flourishing but literally overnight the Lenin fascist regime took over and between the next generation of Lenin through Stalin the number of churches went from approximately 72,000 to 700 as priests and Christians were wholesale massacred with a total of approximately 30 million deaths. Similarly during the same time we see a Turkey comprised of about 20% Christians reduced to less than 5% when the genocide of the Armenian Christians were carried out in a mere decade. *Also we see Nazism being voted in and altering Christianity to what they called “Positive Christianity” that was basically a secular form of Christianity devoid of any type of biblical foundation and combined with the Nazism. A similar approach is easily seen today in the United States as the last 15 years has seen a growing and more aggressive attack on Christianity. Ironically we are seeing secularism and Islam working hand in hand simply because they have a similar enemy: Christian theism. So what will the future hold? Only God knows.

The college of the Barbs is one of the most famous Waldenses missionary training school that still stands today. If you think about how much they were able to accomplish with their meager roots, how much more should we be able to accomplish today?

 

To the left we see a modern-day reenactment of a Waldensensian cave-worship service and to the right we see a modern-day Chinese underground cave-worship service. Not only as a reminder to where we came from, but also as a testament to where we always could be, we celebrate both Saturday and Sunday mornings in either a local cave or area hidden within the woods. Though we this is obviously not necessary, it does serve as a good reminder of how most Christians are forced to worship in their own respective countries. (www.Persecution.com

What is a Lollard? (See Pilgrim Church book)

Some people have asked why this site is www.TheLollards.org and it was from my original interest in this group over a decade ago and I never updated it. The term Lollard was the term used to describe the simple Christians that sought to follow New Testament teachings and practiced the priesthood of all believers (that we are all priests with the world as our parrish instead of a few elite groups that went through a systematic training that usually devoted more time to their leaders than Scripture (ex: Lutheran, Calvinist, etc). The term was meant as an insult meaning "babbler" but what these men and women practiced from the 1st century through today was simple Christian teachings similar to those found in the New Testament. (Though the term was most often used to describe John Wycliffe's "poor priests" that went out to evangelize the country in their own language it could just as applicably be applied to groups such as the Waldensians, Anabaptists, or any of the great number of persecuted believers today in the world over that seek to follow Christ at all costs). *There is a short video below on the Lollards, Waldensians and others just to give you a glimpse (the entire series is here and just waiting to watch with a group perhaps? ;o)

Again - all jokes aside not sure what this is or what will come of it but Lord willing will be a good learning for myself and those around me and perhaps a shelter (as the term L'Abri means) for myself and others if ever needed. Check back regularly and let me know if you have any questions at all. 

As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. (John 9:4)

The "church" is more than just a group of pagans coming together for maybe 1 hour per week to attend a service; one thing we really look at in a non-preachy way is what "church" looks like across the world and then ask if what we call church or what they do is more like the church talked about in the Book of Acts? Highly recommend you watch the above and below to take a glimpse how beautiful the church outside of our usually thought of Sunday morning service here in the States can be and then challenge each of us to take a prayerfully hard look in the mirror. I have had the honor of being a representative now for about 15 years with VOM (voice of the martyrs) so Lord willing we will have some various persecuted brethren visit us and show us first-hand how they would live and worship under extreme persecution (which is similar to persecution in Rome all the way up to the Middle East/Asia today). 

Plus (Lord willing) if persecution every happens here we will be better prepared and perhaps have a few "outposts" setup for those who really do put Christ before manna or government. *You think that is fantastical? Just look how quickly things can change throughout history in this below video where one day all was good in Eastern Europe, and then the next day Wurmbrand spent 14 years in Communist prison for being a Christian.

What would we do?

Even most supposed CHURCHES throughout history will turn away from Christ. Just think of Corrie Ten Boom when both Catholic and Protestant pastors alike shamed her for protecting Jews against the government because it was "illegal" - Just look in the news today and 95% of supposed "churches" will capitulate faster than you can say: "Bob's your uncle!" :o)

Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Matthew 7:22-23

The above picture shows how when push came to shove the "Church" quickly submitted to Hitler.  (What do you think most of our political leaders would do if ever in their favor? They would sell their "birthright" for far less than a bowl of porridge if you catch my meaning. Only a few brave Christians like Dietrich Bonhoeffer stood up to the Nazis while standing fast for Christ.  Today there are 53 countries that have outlawed Christianity; there are a few brave souls tried by fire that are carrying on the true authentic Gospel message underground where the church is growing incredibly (such as in China).