To: 21st Century Christian leaders
From: the 12 other disciples
Date: 1st Century
Subject: the Lost Lordship of Jesus : mystery unscrambled
If our blessed Savior Jesus Christ has not returned to Earth before the year 2001 A.D., please read this Memo to the Faithful ones, if indeed there still are such ones on Earth. We believe we have a confession to make.
We regret to inform you, Brethren, that a portion was deleted from our accounts of the first years of the Christian Era. A decision was made to withdraw a certain chapter because it caused an uprising in King Herod’s Palace and an outcry throughout the Capital City and beyond. Subsequently, in hopes of restoring peace to the Empire, Caesar himself made us an attractive offer that we, in all good judgment, simply couldn’t refuse.
First of all, in our negotiations, Caesar seemed intently interested that all of our families receive his mark of alien authority as an initial gesture of good-will on our part, but then he quickly offset that request by offering citizenship to us in exchange; to us and to our children all within the confines of legal marriages, as would be expected. This made us no longer compelled to pay him tribute which is otherwise required of all conquered foreigners. What a blessing! Now Caesar sees us as his co-workers and no longer as foreigners and cultists hostile to his Lordship as he used to. We wasted no time. We got his approval to say our marriage vows again, but this time legally, in his name. Then we requested that all of our professional Clergymen be made authorized agents of his marital authority. He said yes. We are so honored. God bless him! King Herod got married this way and it’s like belonging to an elite social club and hob-nobbing with society’s upper crust.
But, before I forget, this deal had one main requirement. Knowing that Caesar likes to do business by commercial contract, true to his nature, he set before us an Imperial Contract, whereby he told us we had to make 4 promises:
- no longer to publicly dishonor his paramount Lordship over Church, State and family,
- no longer to publicly enumerate King Herod’s sins, especially those concerning his marriage to his brother’s wife and the killing of the children in Bethlehem; things referred to by Jesus as: “the leaven of Herod,”
- to continue financing King Herod’s multi-jurisdictional police squadrons, and
- above all, no longer, neither publicly, nor from our pulpits, nor in print, to refer to Jesus as King, because it offends King Herod — it sends him instantly into a fit of rage.
Those were his orders, but bear in mind that as part of the deal he guaranteed us freedom of religion; to preach, teach and exercise our religious beliefs with no restrictions whatsoever pertaining to Jesus as Savior, provided, of course, that we remain within the boundaries of consecrated real estate, as established by the Imperial Guidebook.
Needless to say, peacemakers that we are and now honored Citizens of the Empire, we did as we were told, we agreed to the terms, we signed the Contract and handed over the disputed material. Peace was restored in the land, and our life of tribulation gave way to a New Era of friendship, cooperation, tolerance and diversity. Believe it or not, in exchange for being good businessmen and receiving his number voluntarily, Caesar writes us each a retirement check at the end of every month. Praise the Lord! It’s nice to be pampered.
With the New Era, religious persecution was strictly forbidden and now no one among us is suffering hardship, discomfort nor even the slightest inconvenience for Jesus, our blessed Savior. We have learned to go along with modern society, not against it, yet careful to avoid the appearance of evil, to obey all earthly authorities and to live at peace with all men, even God’s enemies. We also avoid entanglement with Imperial politics, just as the Good Book says. Unfortunately, a few unrepentant cultists still remain and have to be prosecuted for their unregistered meetings, illegal dwellings, lawful but nonetheless illegal marriages, unlicensed outreaches, travel without Caesar’s permission, unauthorized teachings as in the right to privacy, the right of self-defense, the presumption of innocence of the accused, limited obedience to limited government, etc., plus numerous conscientious objections having to do with their allegiance to another King other than our King Herod — things that, to us, have every appearance of evil.
We no longer take part with those evil and contrary people, as we used to 25 years ago, but rather we help to expose them. We’re relieved, for their children’s sake, when they are removed and de-programmed by the King’s Child Police Services. Children belong to Caesar and this is one way we give to him what belongs to him. By protecting their neglected children certainly we are doing God an essential service and strengthening the New Society. Cultists always want you to believe that they are reformists, but no, we are the reformists and they are the obstructionists.
Returning to the subject at hand, we can say that truly, the blessings of Abraham are ours, and, as Jesus promised, we are more finely clothed and housed than Solomon could imagine. Our new facilities are monuments to the New Era of the Separation of Church and State, with paved parking lots, central air-conditioning, and, on a more spiritual note, with climate-controlled baptisteries that feel like Jacuzzis, plus it’s all fully insured. Can you believe it! Very comfortable, indeed, and very attractive to prospective new members. Yes, we do all of these things through Christ who strengthens us. We have certainly become a showcase of strength and progress — from very humble beginnings when we gathered in homes to fully-modernized, high-tech, world-wide outreach facilities in just 25 years.
All of our Churches are registered under our new name, which is: “The International World-Wide Global Ministries of the Imperial Church of God, INC.” The letters I-N-C were added when we consecrated our real estate and received our new name in conformity to the Imperial Guidebook, but we refer to them as the first 3 letters of our new promotional brochure, entitled: “INChrist!” (sic) That makes us truly the First Church of God INChrist because our Church was the very first in existence and also the first to be an Establishment of Caesar’s authority. This latter arrangement is the cornerstone of the new definition of the Separation of Church and State, but, please bear with me, it’s esoteric knowledge reserved for authorized readers only.
Regarding our brochure, we’re promoting our annual revival presently, praying for souls to be gathered in throughout the “land of the free & the home of the brave…, ” you know, another way of saying: “Caesar’s Empire.” So, we’re retelling the story of salvation over and over again, but we’re also expecting a special miracle this year for our building program, to enlarge and enhance our facilities to attract more influential people and to give them the honorable reception they deserve. We feel our calling is to reach out to the distinguished members of the Imperial Senate, King Herod’s Palace and the Sanhedrin — three groups of miserable sinners who need to be warned to save themselves from this corrupt generation, and we have a nice package to offer them when they become baptized members. The following is the opening paragraph to our brochure:
“Membership to our Church will embellish your professional résumé, will provide a forum for your name to become known widely and spoken well of by all like ours is, and you will find that we have financial services, too. They are held in the lobby following the religious services.
Everything is tailored to your optimum convenience. It is in the financial services that Caesar rewards you openly for declaring to him what you gave to God secretly during the religious services. It’s much better than waiting until Heaven to get your reward, and it’s all part of doing good business and being responsible stewards of God’s blessings.
These sessions are led by a group of highly qualified business consultants specializing in Imperial contract law. We recruited them to become part of our professional staff, but we are sorry that they were miserably mistreated the day Jesus drove them out of the Temple with a whip. Jesus’ message emphasizes unlimited forgiveness, tenderness and mercy as he himself commanded: ‘Judge not!’ Therefore, we honor these new staff members and expect that you will confide to them your most intimate money matters; available free of charge to worshipers holding paper membership to our Corporation/ Church.
Their publication entitled: A Codebook of Immediate Reward Strategies (I.R.S.) is as important for us throughout the week as the Bible is on Sunday. Furthermore, please bear in mind our two Golden Rules of Operation: ‘You run a Church like a business’ and ‘Giving to our Church is like giving to God.'”
Now, in closing, we have only one misgiving with all of this, although our Board Members are unable to agree on how best to resolve it. We agree that, in fact, Jesus said he would return to Earth soon … we are all under the impression that he meant within our lifetime … but we are sharply divided on whether his return was made contingent upon the Gospel of his Kingdom being preached in the whole Earth. Allow me to come right to the point: we no longer feel called of God to do that (and in so-doing to lose 25 years worth of hard-earned progress?) No, that we cannot compromise. It would be unconscionable.
For this reason we have addressed our Memorandum to you, 21st century Christian leaders. Since after 2,000 years Jesus still hasn’t returned, we admonish you, we entreat you, we beseech you by the mercies of God to preach the whole Gospel where Jesus is not only Savior but also Lord, without shrinking back, whatever the cost, for Christ’s sake, the K_ _ _ of K_ _ _s! You know his Second Coming will be our Coronation Day, and we have labored 25 years for that glorious event!
Finally, Brethren, you probably won’t be surprised to know that the title of the chapter handed over to the censors was: Have no King but Jesus; and we tremble as we recall to memory what we were facing some 25 years ago when King Herod mobilized his bulldozers and death squadrons, and was heading in our direction, reportedly, to raze our deacon’s humble dwelling where we had gathered for prayer, and the garage where we provided daily Christian schooling for our children, studied the ancient manuscripts and published our accounts of the early Christian era. In King Herod’s own words: “I will delete the heresy of those lawless renegades or I will delete them.” We know this because we all got together to celebrate the New Era after sealing our friendship with Caesar. King Herod claims that he was partially joking, but that he was serious about scaring the “Jesus is King” bologna out of us once and for all. That he did and we now admit that we used to be a cult.
Never mind. We immediately sent word to him of our willingness to negotiate, which, to us, was a way of overcoming evil with good. How could it be wrong when it feels right and is so convenient? Anyway, now we can breathe a sigh of relief, letting bygones be bygones. But, if you doubt our sincerity, or want to preach to us about not having 2 masters, or about not fearing man, or about seeking God’s Kingdom first, or about not giving Holy things to dogs — just put yourself in our place and this is our confession: “We’re confident you’d do exactly as we did.”
Consequently, we are counting upon the infinite tenderness and unlimited mercy of our Savior not to “cleanse our Temple,” so to speak, when he returns, or we’ll be in big trouble. How about you? No, in reality, we feel we will be rewarded and our sins will be overlooked for having agreed to overlook King Herod’s s_ _s, just as Jesus taught. Fortunately for Herod, he’s not a cultist, because, in our opinion, when cultists are bombed or bulldozed they are simply getting the wrath of our Lord that renegades deserve.
We have said our peace. We send our expressions of steadfast Christian love,
the 12 Apostates
Author’s note: Have one Savior, one Lord and no King but Jesus.