Isn't separating yourself from the institutional church a violation of Hebrews 10:25 where it talks about, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together..."?
This verse has become, the “prison guard” at the door of almost every church in America. We believe that the writer of Hebrews was simply cautioning the people to not live a life of seclusion. Jesus told us that, “Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20). The canvas of how, when and where that “coming together” must take place has been left totally blank. I have found that a thirty-minute meeting with a few friends at the local Starbucks produces more authentic fellowship than almost four consecutive weeks of attending a local church service. If you have two or three Christian friends in your life that you spend time with regularly, you are following the advice of Hebrews 18:20.
Ironically, the very Bible verse that is used by the institutional church to discourage people from leaving is actually the perfect Scriptural evidence as to why we should consider leaving. In most organized churches, fellowship was done away with years ago. Today we are lucky if we get more than five minutes of conversation with anyone before and after service. Sadly we have come to believe that just being in the same room with other Christians provides us with an unseen spiritual benefit of some sort. The heart of this Scripture is not fulfilled in the act of sitting together in a room for two hours, but rather in intimacy and relationship with other believers. This can and should take place daily in our lives with people the Holy Spirit has closely linked us with.
If I go to church, will I still be considered a "Free Believer?"
Free Believers are not people who have stopped going to their local church. A Free Believer is a person who has stopped relying on their local church for everything. It’s a person who understands that they are the Church. Many Free Believers continue to participate in their local congregation with a renewed sense of personal responsibility. They aren’t there because they need to be or because they feel obligated; they’re there because they truly want to be.
Is it ok to be angry about the areas in which Christian teachings are wrong or is that being critical?
My personal opinion is that it’s only ok to be angry when you see that people are being hurt and put into bondage. If your anger is on behalf of hurting people, it is justified. If you are just angry because someone is wrong or in error; that is not justified. We are all wrong in one way or another.
Don't we need the institutional church to keep us safe from heresy and error?
History has proven that almost all heresy and error has come to the people THROUGH the institutional church. The moment the hierarchy is deceived, the poison is passed to the entire congregation. The fact is that every person is responsible before God for what he or she believes. It won’t matter what you were told and who told it to you. Hearing from God is an individual responsibility. If the institution that we call “church” is here to protect us from heresy and error, it has failed miserably.
The greatest protector against heresy is to love people! When you live in that love, you become amazingly aware of truth. Wrong teachings have a stench that is so offensive one can barely sit through them. The moment anyone relies on anything other than the Spirit of love to guide them; they become open and hungry for whatever false teaching is fed to them. Knowing God is NOT about having knowledge of doctrine; it’s about loving others.
How can I believe what this site preaches about the Heart of God when it seems to contradict everything my church has taught me about Him?
You have to make that decision for yourself. The problem with seeking truth is that most people seek it from their head. Truth can only be discovered in the heart. The first sign that something is true is when it bares witness with something that is already in your heart. The biggest compliment that I get on a daily basis from people who have either read “The God’s Honest Truth” or have visited the website is, “Thank you for telling me what I already knew in my heart.” I have found that if you have the Spirit of God living in your heart, you will just know the truth when you see it.
Shouldn't I be submissive to my pastor and do what he says even if I disagree with him?
No. The popular “submitting to the authorities” teachings that we hear today are based on Bible verses that are grossly taken out of context. Make no mistake about it, there are no rewards given to people who purposefully do wrong in the name of submissiveness. Responsible spirituality is when a person takes responsibility for everything that they know in their hearts is true.
All of my Christian friends tell me that this stuff is wrong, but I feel like it’s not. What do I tell them?
I have found that most people simply can’t understand this message. My best advice in this matter is to pray for them. Ask God to bring them to a place where their eyes will be opened to it. Remember, it’s not your job to get people to understand the message; it’s your job to become the message. Debating never convinces anyone and it’s not worth the wasted energy.
Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God and inspired by the Holy Spirit and therefore infallible?
I personally believe that Scripture is “God breathed” and was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I believe that it is “infallible” as it pertains to life. This does not necessarily mean that every single translation of Scripture is infallible to the very letter. I have found that any discrepancy in the Bible has nothing to do with the principals of life and that they really have more to do with language and wording. For more information on where I stand on Scripture’s purpose and place, you can refer to my blog entitled: “The Bible Blog”.
Do you believe that the role of "pastor" is unnecessary?
I believe that the role of pastor as defined in modern day institutional churches is not only unnecessary, but impossible. The personality of “pastor” as described in the Bible is just that – a personality. It is not a “position” per se. What we see and understand about a pastor’s role in the body today bares no resemblance to anything in the Bible. Having said that, I believe that the role of “Pastor” as described in Scripture is absolutely necessary. We all have that certain friend or loved one in our life who has a shepherd’s personality. What would we do without such a person?
If you believe that the institutional church still has value, what changes do you believe it should undergo in order to maintain and strengthen it's value to Christianity? What should that look like?
I believe that the institutional church should completely rethink their place and purpose on this earth. To put it in the shortest and most simple terms, I think that the “institutional church” needs to understand that they are here to serve the people, and NOT the other way around. The reversal of these roles is what has caused the downfall of Christianity in America. For more information on what I think on this vast subject, you can read my blogs entitled: “Inducing Labor”, “The Church that Christ Built”, “What I think of Church” and “My Thoughts on Willow Creek”.
Does "The Free Believers Network" believe in "Eternal Security?"
It is my belief that until a relationship has a “forever” promise, it can’t even begin. Even our earthly marriages begin with “Eternal Security”. Giving our heart to someone else is a very serious and intimate act. To do so, one needs absolute security. We all need to know that He will never leave us, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, till death. When we enter the family of God, He calls us His sons and daughters. It’s hard to imagine an earthly parent abandoning their children if they sinned or disobeyed one too many times. Our Heavenly Father’s love for us is a trillion times that of an earthly father. Eternal security is the very foundation of all relationships and it is absolutely essential to the Christian walk.
Why doesn't "The God's Honest Truth" have more Scripture in it to "back up" what Darin Hufford is teaching about the Heart of God?
I purposefully excluded “back up Scriptures” throughout the book. I did this because I feel that this generation has been taught to think with their heads and to deny their hearts. If the truth lives within us as Christians, we should be able locate it and hear it from our hearts. Rather than cut and paste passages next to every statement and have the reader blindly believe all that I say, I was hoping that each person would be able to instinctively know within their own hearts that what they were reading is true. The most common response that I get from the thousands of people who have read “The God’s Honest Truth” is, “Thank you for telling me what I already knew in my heart”. It was my goal to show American Christians that they already do know the truth about the Heart of God without having to thumb through their Bibles for confirmation.
When Darin Hufford encourages the readers in the first few chapters of "The God's Honest Truth" to "leave their heads behind", isn't that a dangerous request? Is he suggesting that we don’t weigh out what he is telling us? Are we supposed to deny all that we have learned and thoughtlessly believe something that goes against it?
That is not the spirit of the request. I’m simply telling people that God is known and seen within the heart. Head knowledge means very little when it comes to knowing God. The Pharisees were a perfect example of this. They had head knowledge of every single Scripture, but when God came and stood before them, they didn’t even recognize him. Jesus later gave thanks to the Father for revealing this truth to the little children and keeping it hidden from the wise and learned.
I have found that “head thinking” causes people to analyze the illustration rather than what the illustration is about. Nicodemus is a perfect example of this. Jesus talked about being “born again” and Nicodemus couldn’t get past the fact that adults couldn’t possibly get back into their mothers’ wombs and go through the birth process all over again (John 3:1). He analyzed the illustration and missed the spiritual point.
Why do so many pastors and church leaders reject "The God's Honest Truth" and its message?
I believe it’s because this book takes away the fear aspect of people’s relationship with God. Once that happens, control becomes impossible.
Why does the message of "The God's Honest Truth" cause so much division? Isn't that a sign that it's either not true or "of the Devil"?
On the contrary; every time Jesus preached a sermon, the Bible records that there was sharp division among the people. Jesus Himself said, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53).
When Paul spoke, the people were divided so much that riots would break out. The same was true for anyone who preached the pure unadulterated Gospel. My question is this: Isn’t the fact that entire congregations agree with sermons from today’s popular speakers evidence that they aren’t preaching truth?
When Darin Hufford encourages listeners to "think with their hearts", isn't that against what the Bible says in Jeremiah: "The Heart is deceitful above all else"? Aren't we supposed to not trust our hearts?
This popular teaching is perhaps the most destructive and deadly philosophy in the Church today. Besides being completely wrong, it’s down right silly and illogical. Why would God write His laws on the hearts of men if we were not supposed to think with our hearts? Why would we ask Jesus to live in our hearts and then purposefully refuse to live from our hearts? How can we fulfill what Jesus referred to as the most important commandment, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul”? Why would Paul tell the people to “sing and make music in their hearts” if they were not supposed to trust their hearts? Paul also said “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9).
To read more on this subject, you can go to my blogs entitled, “Spiritual Castration” and “The Bible Blog”.
Do you believe that all institutional churches are destructive and bad?
I think it really comes down to the heart of the person running it. I know many pastors personally, that completely have the Heart of God for the people in their congregations. Their lives are about setting people free and helping them to walk in that freedom. I have found many wonderful institutional churches around the country. I do not believe that just because something is an “institution” or “man made”, it is therefore wrong and of no value. Unfortunately, the vast majority of American institutional churches seek to control people through fear and manipulation. I have found that “mega churches” are notorious for this kind of behavior.
What are some questions we should ask ourselves if we are shopping for a church to attend?
Ask yourself questions that pertain to love:
Do they encourage the people to serve other people or to serve the church?
Do they encourage people to be givers to people in need or to be givers to the church?
Do their sermons on the subject of faithfulness have to do with relationships or with faithfulness to the institution?
Do they advertise the gospel to people in the world or do they advertise their church to people in the world? What do their bumper stickers say? What do their T-shirts say?
Do they encourage you to invite people to Christ or to invite people to church?
Do they do outreaches in order to get people to come to Christ or do they do outreaches in order to get people to come to church?
Do they call the people the “house of God” or do they call their church building “the house of God”?
Do they call the people the “Bride of Christ” or do they call their church the “Bride of Christ”?
Are the people encouraged to give to the church or is the church encouraged to give to the people?
Is the pastor there to serve and lift up the people, or are the people there to serve and lift up the pastor?
Aren't we supposed to have God ordained "accountability partners?"
That’s what the Holy Spirit is for. The teaching of accountability partners is a man made teaching. If someone has to have a group of peers watching over them to make sure they don’t cheat on their wives, they probably don’t love their wives. The problem is not that there is a lack of accountability, but that there is the absence of love. I feel that this teaching we have grown up with that tells us we need an accountability partner is nothing more than a ploy to forcefully tie people to the institutional system for life. This concept is not found in Scripture anywhere. “Submitting one to another” is the natural flow of friendships and families. It can’t be monitored and institutionalized. It just happens on it’s own when a person is walking in love.
Don't we need the church to disciple us?
Jesus told us to preach the gospel and make “disciples of Christ”. That’s a far cry from making disciples of us. The idea that one man is called to disciple another is silly at best and down right arrogant at worst. I honestly think that churches came up with this idea because they don’t really think that Christ will do it. They don’t trust that people can actually know God and hear from Him on their own. The job of discipleship was never given to us.
What translation of the Bible do you guys recommend the most?
My first recommendation is that you read the translation that YOU like the best. Beyond that, I wholeheartedly recommend that you read “The Message” Bible.
Should I stud my Bible everyday in order to know and hear God?
Read my blog entitled “The Bible Blog” for an answer to this question.
Does the FBN promote "Lone Ranger" Christianity?
I understand that this will inevitably be the first accusation and assumption by most Christians. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. We believe that “God is Love” and unless you are connecting with and loving others, you will never know God. The entire Christian religion is about relationship with others and knowing God in the context of those relationships. It has been my experience that people who embrace a “Free Believers” lifestyle actually have closer and more meaningful relationships with their brothers and sisters in Christ.
What about worship? If I am not going to a local church, I'm afraid I'll miss the worship. After all, that's the main reason why I go.
If you really feel that way, then go for the song service. I personally believe that true worship is not a song service in a church, however. Worship in New Testament times is a personal and intimate experience between the believer and God. The saddest side effect of institutionalism is the mentality that worship starts at 7:00pm on Sunday evening and ends at 7:35pm. The very question about the possibility of “missing worship” because you didn’t attend a local service is, in and of itself, a revealing and telling confession of institutional codependency. I believe that worship is a lifestyle, not a service. What that means is that you can take it with you wherever you go! Ask yourself if you can have the same worship experience driving alone in your car, on the way to work. If you skip three Sunday services in a row, and don’t worship God in twenty-one days straight, you might want to rethink your belief system.
Shouldn't I stay in the institutional church in an effort to help others see the Heart of God the way I do?
That is a personal choice. The normal pattern that I have noticed in those who are gaining a new understanding of the Father, is that they almost always feel the desire to stick around and help others who are in bondage. For some people, this is an excuse to not leave the institution due to the fear of what they think might happen to them. For others, it comes from an honest and sincere heart that truly desires to help the people they love.
I will tell you that I tried this for over three years and I finally came to the conclusion that (in my case) I could better help them from the outside than I could from the inside. If you are planning to stick around so you can help your friends, be prepared for a long and frustrating path. I felt like an alcohol rehab counselor who set up a counseling office in the middle of a cocktail lounge. I eventually came to the conclusion that if I wanted to help my friends who were in bondage to religion, I first had to help them LEAVE that religion. I have friends, on the other hand, who have done quite well at this, and wouldn’t change their decision to stay for anything.
Where do I pay my tithe if I am not going to a church?
You don’t. Tithing is an Old Testament law regarding the support of the Levitical temple system. That system was done away with when Christ rose from the dead. In New Testament times YOU are now the temple of God. If you would like to read more on this subject, I suggest you go to the articles page and study the articles on that specific subject. They are extremely well written and a blast to read.
Does the FBN or Darin Hufford believe that everyone goes to Heaven?
In my opinion Scripture is very clear that this is not the case. There are just too many passages about Hell for me to embrace the “gospel of inclusion”. I don’t claim to have all the answers and I am always open to finding out new things. While many Free Believers embrace Universal Reconciliation, I have not come to that conclusion in my personal beliefs.
What concerns me more than anything is the average Christian’s response to this theology. It’s one thing to believe that people who reject Christ will ultimately go to hell when they die, but it’s quite another when we WANT them to go to hell. In my opinion, if you‘’re going to be in error about something, it’s better to error on the side of grace than on the side of hatred. Amazingly, in today’s churches the subject of hell and eternal damnation has become so popular that some people actually hang a person’s salvation upon whether or not they believe in hell.
Does the FBN believe that there are more ways to God than through Jesus Christ?
No. The Bible is abundantly clear that no one comes to the Father accept through the Son.
Isn't my fear of God healthy and Scriptural?
If you are afraid of God, that is NOT healthy and it is certainly NOT Scriptural. On every occasion where God appeared to people in the Bible, His first words were always “fear not”. ALL fear is bad! If you want to hear more on this subject you might consider ordering our “Fear Series” off of the products page. It explains what “The fear of the Lord” is and how we have perverted it in our generation. It’s a radical teaching series that has helped thousands of people.
Why don't you guys talk about the power of the Devil more?
The Devil has been defeated. The only power he has is the power to help us become better Christians. I don’t talk about Him because quite frankly he doesn’t interest me. I am amazed at how “devil conscious” this generation of Christians is. I personally believe that there are much more powerful and edifying things to be conscious of. If you came from a “devil fearing” church, I suggest that you get the “Devil Series” on the products page. It is only 3 sermons, but it will change the way you think about the Devil.
Does the FBN believe in the existence of the Devil?
If everyone left the institution of Church and just met in their homes and relied on their personal relationship to grow in the Lord, wouldn't that hurt the Body of Christ world wide in terms of evangelism and growth?
History has proven that anytime the Body of Christ undergoes persecution, it grows in numbers and in strength. Many historians have concluded that persecution is actually good for the Church. Personally I disagree with this. It is not the persecution that benefits the Body of Christ, but it is the forceful dismemberment of institutionalized gatherings that ultimately causes this pattern of spiritual growth. Anytime persecution comes, the people are forced to meet in their homes and become the Church in secrecy because “going to Church” is prohibited. It is my personal opinion that if we voluntarily dismember our structured religious meetings, we can actually recreate the some growth patterns that we have seen in times of persecution.