THE CHURCH OF CHRIST
Talks On Truth
He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not.–John 1:11.
THE PURE doctrine of Jesus Christ has never been popular with those who like formality and rites in religion.
2. The disciples of Jesus were from the ranks of the common people, unlearned in the lore of the scribes and without reputation, religiously or otherwise. They, in their turn, became filled with the Holy Spirit, and did unusual works in healing and teaching, yet their converts were not largely from orthodox circles. It was the “common people” who gladly heard them and their Master. The aristocracy and the organized church opposed them at every turn. They were stoned, quartered, and burned, and their doctrines never became the popular religion. Pure Christianity was literally killed in less than three hundred years after the Crucifixion. What is called Christianity is a combination of paganism, Israelitism, and the letter of Jesus’ doctrine without the spirit.
3. This heterogeneous mass became acceptable because it was sanctioned by kings and enforced as the church of the state. As it had a little from all the religions, it offered balm to the forced worshipers from each sect, and thus quickly became popular. It is not the doctrine of Jesus Christ, however, and never has been, in any of its many forms and sects. Here and there a gleam of Truth has come to spiritually awakened devotees, and they have broken away from the institution and formed newer and higher standards of Truth; but all have been far short of the original doctrine set forth by Jesus and His disciples.
4. Jesus never organized a church on earth, nor did He authorize anyone else to do so. He said to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church.” He did not tell Peter that He was to be the head of the church, with a line of popes to follow. He said, “I will build my church” (ecclesia, assembly, or called-out ones). Jesus Christ is still the head of His “assembly,” and its only organization is in Spirit. Whoever attempts to organize it on earth, with creeds, tenets, or textbooks of any kind or description as authority, is in direct opposition to His word and His example. He gave but one guide, one source from which His followers should receive their inspiration: “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you.”
5. The puerile claim that this promise was for His immediate disciples only is hardly worth considering, because of so many texts in which He plainly states that His ministry and words are for the world. He further said, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him.”
6. It was this same Spirit of truth in Peter that perceived the Christ, and of which He said, “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.” This revealment of Truth direct from Spirit is the rock upon which the one and only church of Jesus Christ is built. All other authorities are spurious.
7. That the one and only true Church of Christ is without authority or head on earth is evident from the accepted words of Jesus Himself. He never authorized the history of His life as recorded in the Gospels, so far as known; yet, accepting them as such history, on their face they bear out the claim of a spiritual church, with only the Holy Ghost as mediator between man and God. It is evident that Jesus saw the tendency among men to make idols of the Scriptures, and it was His aim to do away with that sort of idolatry. Instead of a command to “search the scriptures,” as given in the Authorized Version, the American Standard Version tells us that Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees (John 5:39) in these words: “Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me; and ye will not come to me, that ye may have life.”
8. It is the eternal binding of the thoughts to some external authority in book, creed, or tradition that keeps men in bondage to the lower world. When the mind is perfectly free to search out the higher truths of existence, there flow into the consciousness a vigor and a virility that set in motion all the crystallized thoughts, and fresh life stirs the whole man. Instead of confining the infinite God in the little being of parts and passions conceived by some good but ignorant church father of bygone ages, the open mind flows forth in its own native freedom, and its God is a whole universe, larger in every way than was his of the limited concept. So it is with all the questions of doctrine that form the stock in trade of hereditary religion. What our forefathers discussed for a lifetime, fought bitter battles over and left undecided, the free-minded man sees through in a moment’s consideration. He sees through it with unerring accuracy, because his point of view is far removed from the narrow bigotry engrafted by creeds and dogmas into the susceptible mind of the infant churchman.
9. The mind of man is like a clear stream that flows from some lofty mountain. It has nothing at its point of origin to corrupt or to distort it, but as it flows out into the plain of experience, it meets the obstruction of doubt and fear. It is here that dams are built and its course is turned in many ways.
10. Whoever formulates a creed or writes a book, claiming it to be an infallible guide for mankind; whoever organizes a church in which it is attempted, by rules and tenets, to save men from their evil ways; whoever attempts to offer, in any way, a substitute for the one omnipresent Spirit of God dwelling in each of us, is an obstructor of the soul’s progress.
11. But those very things are the first attempted by the mind that is not in constant openness to the influx from the Father. Man is by nature an organizer. It is his function in the God-head to formulate the potentialities of Principle. It is through man’s conscious ego that the Father makes Himself manifest to him as infinite externality. The within and the without are one only when man recognizes that he draws all his life, his substance, and his intelligence from infinite Spirit welling up within him.
12. Many have caught sight of the fact that the true church of Christ is a state of consciousness in man, but few have gone so far in the realization as to know that in the very body of each man and woman is a temple in which the Christ holds religious services at all times: “Ye are a temple of God.” The appellation was not symbolical, but a statement of architectural truth. Under the direction of the Christ, a new body is constructed by the thinking faculty in man; the materials entering into this superior structure are the spiritualized organic substances, and the new creation is the temple or body of Spirit. It breathes an atmosphere and is thrilled with a life energy more real than that of the external form. When one who has come into the church of Christ feels the stirring within him of this body of the Spirit, he knows what Paul meant when he said, “There is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”
13. Most of the opposition to the church of Christ comes from those who have never felt within them the stirring of this spiritual body, who refuse to believe the experiences of those who have. They live in the intellectual-spiritual, and when the Holy Spirit proceeds to organize an abiding place within them, they refuse Him recognition and call Him “mortal mind,” “the Devil,” or “an unclean spirit.”
14. It is this blasphemy against the Holy Ghost that Jesus said could not be forgiven. Everything that a man does or has done, the Father freely forgives except the cursing of His Holy Spirit by calling it an unclean spirit. He who understands the law of mental action can easily see why this cannot be forgiven. Mind organizes its states of consciousness according to methods inherent in Being. First is the idea, the center in which the form is generated. This form is projected from that center to a circumference, and in its line of structure in the consciousness of man it proceeds to occupy the place of preexisting forms. The idea of perfection, held in the mind, will build a body having for its attributes all the harmony possible to the organism in which it is born. “God giveth it a body even as it pleased him, and to each seed a body of its own.” That “seed” is the true idea held in your mind, through which the Holy Spirit nourishes and grows in you the new body.
15. If you refuse to receive the sensible ministrations of this Holy Spirit, you, of course, cut off the builder of the eternal temple in which God makes His permanent dwelling place in you.
16. When you refuse to receive this baptism of the Holy Ghost, your flesh is not quickened, and it must eventually go back to dust. In that case you are again sent to school to learn the lesson in another earthly experience.
17. This is the law. Let him who has ears hear the law; let him not oppose the construction of the temple that Spirit builds in obedience to the thought held by the mind, and his body shall become an enduring, deathless habitation of the living God. Let us, each one of us, see to it that this opposition to Christ and His methods is not found within us.
18. If our teaching has been such as to disparage the entertainment of the new sensations in the body when in prayer or in the silence, let us cast those ideas out of our mind and throw ourselves wholly into the care of Spirit. The mind of the flesh vigorously opposes this newcomer in its domain, and if you side with it and ignorantly cast out Spirit, you eventually will find yourself without a body. Having sinned against the Holy Ghost, you become homeless in consequence.
19. Pronounce every experience good, and of God, and by that mental attitude you will call forth only the good. What seemed error will disappear, and only the good will remain. This is the law, and no one can break it. The Adversary always flees before the mind that is fixed on the pure, the just, and the upright. There is no error in all the universe that can stand for one moment in the presence of the innocent mind. Innocence is its own defense, and he who invokes the Father with pure motive and upright heart need not fear any experience. God has not forgotten His world nor the children of light. It is His will to build in you His eternal habitation, and He will do it in a manner so attractive that you will be delighted with the process after the first few moves have been made. It is not always pleasant to tear down old brick and mortar, but when the new structure begins to go up, there is rejoicing.
20. So you will find in your experience with the work of the Holy Spirit in reconstructing your organism that the present structure must be literally torn down atom by atom. It is in its present state temporary and without the conscious life of the indwelling Spirit. You, with the race, have separated yourself from God in consciousness; that separation extends to the body, the most remote plane of consciousness. In returning, the Father, the inner Spirit that is and ever has been pure, first recognizes its true estate. This recognition is on the plane of causes, the ideal, and may remain there for a long time. But the law of seedtime and harvest prevails here, as in the natural world, and the idea is the seed that will spring forth from its subjective realm. This, when watered by the Holy Spirit through your receptive thought, grows a new organism that will be a permanent battery from which you will radiate the transcendent powers of Spirit forever and forever.
21. When this is done, creation is a perfect, homogeneous symphony of life, light, and love. Discord is eliminated; sin, sorrow, and everything that in any way interferes with the highest ideal of existence are dissolved, and man realizes that his dominion is to be the obedient outlet of the inexhaustible inlet. Herein is God glorified and His inexhaustible resources are not limited by man, but allowed full and free flow into a universe without height or depth, without beginning or ending.
22. The true church of Christ is never organized upon the earth, because the minute that man organizes his religion, he ceases to be guided wholly by the free Spirit of truth, and to that extent he falls away from the true church.
23. Many of the Protestant sects were in their incipiency very close to the original church. Wesley was led by Spirit, and his ministry was characterized by a spiritual glow and power that was felt all over the religious world. He was free; he had the freedom of Jesus Christ back of him, yet he and his followers were despised by the organized church, and it was a stinging epithet to be called a Methodist.
24. The church of Jesus Christ still waits for a ministry that will represent it as it is–an organization in heaven without a head on earth, without a creed, without a line of written authority. This church exists, and must be set up in its rightful place–the minds and the hearts of men. It can never be confined to any external organization; whoever attempts such a movement, by that act ceases to represent the true church of Christ.
25. There is need of such a church, an imperative need that it be set up. Whoever advocates such a setting up, may for a season expect the opposition of the organized institutions on every hand, but the final outcome must be victory.
26. There can be but one leader for man in his search for God–the Spirit within him. When he unreservedly gives himself up to this Spirit he finds that the old world of forms and their limitations are no longer of interest. A new world is opened to his vision. What was the goal of his human life becomes a mere toy to his expanded concepts of God and the destiny of man.
27. He finds that the church of Jesus Christ is not a church at all, under the new definition. He has looked upon his religion as having to do with the salvation of his soul–a sort of school in which he is coached in catechism and creed, that he may be prepared to go to a place called “heaven” after death.
28. When the true church is revealed to his soul, all this illusion of the animal man is dissolved. He finds that the church of Jesus Christ has to do with the world right here and now; that it is not a religion, as he has been accustomed to regard religion; that it is an organic principle in nature working along definite lines of growth in the building up of a state of consciousness for the whole human race.
29. Thus the church of Jesus Christ is an exact science. It has its part in the economy of Being, as the organizer of the unorganized. It does not refer to things abstract, but to things concrete. Whoever looks upon it as an abstraction has wholly misconceived it.
30. God never performs miracles, if by miracle is meant a departure from universal law. Whatever the prophets did was done by the operation of laws inherent in Being and open to the discovery of every man.
31. Whatever Jesus of Nazareth did, it is likewise the privilege of every man to do. The ability to do such works as He did is simply a question of discernment. Discernment comes through the functioning of an orderly organic structure, which is in the soul of every man. It is first a state of consciousness, a perception of what is in the potential; this then formulates itself into a working structure that becomes in every man the permanent church of Christ.
32. The church of Christ covers every department of man’s existence and enters into every fiber of his being. He carries it with him day and night, seven days of the week. He lives in it as a fish lives in water; as he becomes conscious of its enveloping presence, he is transformed into a new creature. Life becomes an ecstasy, and his cup is full to overflowing.
33. The burdens of the human drop out of sight just as fast as the organic church is constructed. The construction of this church is orderly, definite, and exact. It is not done in a moment, but little by little the man is built from the within to the without, a new creature in consciousness and in body.
34. This means that your body will be so transformed within and even without that it will never go through the change called death. It will be a resurrected body, becoming more and more refined as you catch sight of the free truths of Being, until it will literally disappear from the sight of those who see with the eye of sense.
35. This is the way in which the last enemy, “death,” is to be overcome. The corruptible shall put on incorruption right here and now. Be careful not to defer this change to some future state, some day of judgment, some sound of a last trump, but recognize it in the light of an organic change occurring in and through your body, from day to day, until you literally shine with the glory of the noonday sun.
36. This is the promised New Jerusalem, a city in which neither the sun nor the moon is necessary. This is the city of God within you, and your body shall become so illuminated by the brilliancy of your mind that the light streaming forth will be brighter than that of the sun. This is not a fanciful sketch, but a statement of facts based upon spiritual dynamics of which the body is the dynamo.
37. Metaphysicians in this age have caught sight of the possibilities that are man’s when he consciously recognizes his relation to God and proceeds to carry out in thought, and to act right here, that which he perceives to be true in Spirit; but many of them are not wise in their methods of attaining the ultimate organic building. They have made connection with the realm of ideas, but are loath to comply with the requirements of organic growth from the generative idea to its concrete structure.
This growth is the construction of the church of Jesus Christ in each one of us, and it is a most delicate and intricate process. No external architect is here allowed; only Spirit can tell what is necessary from day to day, and Spirit can be heard only by the attentive ego.
38. If you have any ideas of your own as to how this new body is to be constructed, drop them immediately. If you have been before the public as a teacher of divine science, and have set up in consciousness abstract theories about the unreality of the body and its sensations, you will be willing to give them all up before you can be received into the regeneration. Although you may have served Truth long and faithfully, do not be rebellious if all your labors seem as dust and ashes. The rebellious Israelites never entered the Promised Land. You must be obedient. You must be willing to give up all your plans, your hopes, and your ambitions. Spirit wants all your attention. If you have done good, you will be rewarded, but you must not claim your good as a merit card that gives you any preference in the regeneration. You must be willing to become as nothing in the sight of men–virtually crucified for your good works. Then your personal mentality loses its center, the atoms of your being swiftly change their polarization from the material to the spiritual plane, and you come forth from the tomb of sense with a body of light.
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Talks On Truth by Charles Fillmore
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