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[Home]>[The Man-Made Church]>[58. The Central Problem of the Imitation Church]


This is the 58. Chapter of "The Man-Made Church"


58. The Central Problem of the Imitation Church


by Frank L. Preuss


The central problem of the man-made church is the centre of the man-made Church und this centre stands very visiblely, also outwardly very visiblely, in the foreground of this church and is clearly expressed in the meeting of such churches, where in their so-called divine services the pastor puts on a great show.

This picture of a one-man show of a service says it all.

It is the expression of all that what is wrong there.

That book of the Bible, which defines the nature of the man-made church, is Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, and there are three Bible passages, which describe the position of a pastor, which describe the position of a pastor negatively.

The first Bible passage gives the positive side of the matter, and that in in 1 Corinthians 1:31 and there it says, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

This Bible passage indicates the entire direction of the matter.

And then Paul lists two examples, which explain what it means to glory in the Lord, and because one can learn best from negative examples, Paul takes two negative examples, and shows us what one does when one does the opposite, therefore does not glory the Lord.

The first is 1 Corinthians 3:21 where Paul says, let no man glory in men.

And then follows directly after that the explanation: For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.

And the second is 1 Corinthians 4:6, where Pauls says, And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

These three Bible passages are clear, we glory in the Lord and in no-one else.

Who glories in someone else than the Lord, he is wrong and has not really grasped, what it means that Jesus is Lord.

When Jesus is our Lord, then nobody else is our lord, then we glory in no man and then we do not puff ourselves up one man over against another.

That is the most serious difference between the real body of the Lord and the man-made Church.

In the true church all are equal and no-one has a higher rang, and in the man-made church there is the clergy and laity.

In both previous chapters all this was explained to us, was this difference in many details explained to us by professors of the man-made church.

The central problem of the man-made church is the pastor.

The pastor is that person, about whom the others glory.

The pastor is that person, that is held higher and because of him one puffs himself up against another.

When one wants to get rid of the problem of the man-made church then one has to abolish the position of the pastor.

Any reformation has already failed in the beginning when this aim, to abolish the pastor at the start, is not recognized and aspired to.

As the two previous chapters have shown, the theologians, the professors of theology, at least some bright heads among them, have perfectly recognized the problem and written it down and published it.

But they did this for one reason, to be celebrated as theologians and writers and to also prove to the ladies and gentlemen colleagues how clever they are and, indirectly, how foolish most of the theologians are.

And through this, that they have recognized the truth, but do not use this truth to follow it, they have made the words of Jesus come true that they are hypocrites, Pharisees.

That is the typical situation of a theologian that he studies truth and recognizes it and even publishes it, but does not implement it.

The most famous example is Martin Luther.

He recognized how the assembly really functions and was for example fully aware of the meaning of the Greek word ecclesia and has consciously not translated it in his translation of the New Testament as the German word Kirche (church) but took the right German word Gemeinde (communion).

But the final result of his Reformation was that he merely created a new man-made church, and therefore a new means of the devil, to mislead people.

Luther now was a theologian and he was a doctor of theology and he was a professor of theology and on this academic way to the top he had a doctor-father, a thesis supervisor, and this doctor-father was Andreas Bodenstein, called Karlstadt, and this man we want to take as an example. He was a man, who was the great exception and even the man, who stopped being a minister, therefore stopped to be cleric, but unfortunately had no staying power and fell back into his state of being a hypocrite.

I bring a quote from the book "Hermes Handlexikon – Martin Luther und die Reformation – Gestalten, Ereignisse, Glaubensinhalte, Kontroversen" (Hermes‘ Hand-Encyclopaedia – Martin Luther and the Reformation – Figures, Events, Faith Contents, Controversies) by Hubert Stadler:

Andreas Bodenstein, called Karlstadt
(* about 1477 Karlstadt, † 24.12.1541 Basel)


Andreas Bodenstein, called Karlstadt. The scene on the right refers to the iconoclast in Wittenberg 1522 which he was accused of.
Anonymous copperplate engraving

Andreas (Rudolf) Bodenstein had studied law and theology at the universities of Erfurt and Cologne and 1505 he took over the chair for Thomism in Wittenberg. He attended to Luther with his pursuit of Augustine and other church fathers and 1512 conferred a degree of a doctor of theology on him. 1517 he decisively put himself on the side of Luther and defended his teaching so offensive in the Leipzig Disputation with Johannes Eck (July 1519) that together with Luther he was put under threat of excommunication in the papal bull Exsurge Domine. 1521 Karlstadt was shortly in Denmark upon invitation of Christian II but returned to Wittenberg in June because a reformation did not seem possible. Here he took over, with Melanchthon, the leadership of the Reformation; in his pamphlets about celibacy, mess and layman cup he pleaded for concrete reformatory actions. With his Christmas service he renounced vestment, dropped those texts, which seemed to indicate a sacrifice character of liturgy against the reformation communion interpretation, and for the first time in Germany spoke the words of investiture in the mother language; for the communion he handed out the Host and the cup in the hand to the persons present.

1522 the council of the town decided to take over some of the practical reforms, but when it came to the destruction of the holy pictures and statues, Karlstadt was summoned before Frederick the Wise and called to account as »originator«. Also Luther, who had returned because of these »Wittenberg Unrests« from the Wartburg, saw in Karlstadt the responsible leader. Karlstadt refused thereupon his further cooperation in academic teaching and in the examination affairs, which he considered to be the bringing about of privileges, laid down his professor robe, dressed himself as peasant and asked his neighbours to call him »Brother Andreas« from now on. 1523 he then withdrew as pastor to Orlamünde, where he introduced his reforms and attacked the Wittenbergers in pamphlets. 1524 he was suspected of cooperation with Müntzer by the elector and Luther and expelled; but in the years 1525 to 1529 Luther received him once again under limited condition in Wittenberg. After that Andreas Bodenstein moved through Holstein and Friesland, finally to Zürich. 1534 he became professor for Old Testament in Basel and reconciled himself with the thought of an academic training of ministers, indeed, finally he even demanded it generally.

»May God want that I would be a right peasant, husbandman or artisan, that I would eat my bread in obedience against God, that means, in the sweat of my brow. But I have eaten the work of poor people because I have done nothing for my livelihood and I have not thereto used it rightly nor was able to use it rightly. But nevertheless I have taken their work into my house. If I could, I would like to give everything back what I have received . . . What do you think, Luther, whether blisters would not stand more honest in the hands of us than golden rings?«
Andreas Bodenstein, Notice of some main articles of Christian teaching . . ., 1525

So Herr Professor Dr Andreas Bodenstein has recognized the problem quite accurately; all his life he has eaten the work of poor people.

The money which was brought into church, and which should have been given to the poor, would it have been done according to the Bible, which he was supposed to distribute to the poor, he has not distributed to the poor, but taken it into his house. He even thinks of giving it back, the money, like it was done by Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Jesus, but who really gave it back.

Also Bodenstein betrayed Jesus. He had knowledge of Jesus and instead of giving this knowledge to men, for nothing, he has been paid for it. He was a traitor.

All this he clearly recognized and even wrote it down and published it, clearly confessed it.

But all this was of no use. He again took up is activity and became again a real cleric.

The notice under the picture says, The scene to the right refers to the iconoclast in Wittenberg 1522 Karlstadt was accused of, and that means that the author of the book also accuses him of this, therefore condemns it, and therefore also today thinks it is wrong to abolish outer forms and customs of the man-made church, because they are a disfigurement of the pure teaching of Jesus Christ. He therefore sees iconoclast as a fight against his idolatry.

So what then does our Bible say to this? And to our Bible belongs the letter of Paul to the communion at Laodicea and there it says in the third chapter verses 11 and 12: "I, Paul, however say to you: Go there and destroy the temple, wipe out the indicated feast-day from the calendar, dismiss the false bishop and his servants, which like the ones in Jerusalem want to stuff themselves with the works of your hands and have built themselves a big brass box, which is supposed to receive your savings of gold and silver, and burn the fancy dresses."

So we not only do iconoclast, but destroy the whole temple.

Must one now worry that church buildings are getting demolished? When people build a building, then these people also have a right, a civil right, to pull it down again.

Must one now worry that famous architectural monuments become a victim of such an activity? When the time of the end is really close then such a worry should not be very important because then not only historically valuable structures will find their end, but the entire material world, including all the people still living on it, therefore those who were not removed by the rapture.

And what is even more important than the destruction of the temple is to dismiss the false bishop.

Can we then demolish the cultural value of the Occident? Culture comes from cult and cult is idolatry. What then is cultural value? When one has a look at all that what is considered to be of cultural value today, then all this is actually something that does not belong to a life in Christ. Just examine such a matter and see whether it really is consistent with the life of a follower of Jesus Christ.

When one has a look at such a statement of Paul, then it is of course clear that the Catholics destroy such a letter of Paul and make sure that all copies have been destroyed, and that Paul was a deadly enemy for Catholics; and then one can also imagine how Paul really lost his life and who killed him and where.

Jesus says in Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

And in Matthew 23:29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous.

So Herr Professor Dr Andreas Bodenstein has quite correctly understood the problem, all his life he has eaten the work of poor people. And what about the doctor-son of the doctor-father Bodenstein, about Herr Dr Martin Luther?

There exists a book by Roland Bainton with the title "HERE I STAND. The Classic Biography of Martin Luther" and there stands the following sentence on page 291: The elector made over the Augustinian cloister to Luther and his bride, doubled his salary, and frequently sent game, clothes and wine.

So Luther drew a salary. That is actually the most important fact one has to know about Luther. Whose bread I eat, his song I sing.

The real Lord of Luther was he who paid him.

This is the fact one has to know to really understand the Protestant Reformation.

And do not forget Paul’s definition of a pastor: A pastor wants to stuff himself with the works of your hands.


This is the end of "The Central Problem of the Imitation Church"
Go to the German version of this chapter: Das Kernproblem der Imitationskirche

Next chapter: [59]


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