—By Father DavidDFO106826/9/81
—What Makes'm Members?—Tithe or Fellowship?
1. THIS IS SOMETHING I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT QUITE A BIT LATELY, THAT I THINK OUR FRIENDS & FISH SHOULD BE COUNTED AS MEMBERS! When we were in church, didn't we count a lot of people as members who didn't necessarily tithe but they faithfully attended, confessed their faith & felt like they were part of the Family? Even though they didn't tithe, they gave faithfully & regularly, but they weren't up to the tithing standard yet. (Maria: We've said that only people who tithe can get the Magazine.)
2. WELL‚ I WOULD CONSIDER THEM A MEMBER OF THAT HOME'S FELLOWSHIP if they come to their meetings, regularly and faithfully fellowship with them in meetings, give, help support‚ come & watch the videos & all that sort of thing. In our churches we would have considered them members, right? Even if they weren't tithers, they were givers. And I wouldn't be a bit surprised but what our Family Members loan the Magazines to read! What do you wanna bet? (Maria: Well, they're not supposed to, because only full Tithers are supposed to get or read the Magazine.)
3. WE'RE GETTING A LITTLE MORE LIBERAL & LENIENT ALL THE TIME & broadening our view all the time & doing things we never thought about doing in the beginning. How do you think that person would feel? Let's say they've got a fish that comes all the time to the loves to feel like he's a part of that Home.
4. HE GIVES FAITHFULLY, HE'S VERY RICH & HAS A LOT OF MONEY & a huge income but doesn't quite feel like he should tithe it all yet to that particular Home, or even to us. He's just not quite that far in. You wouldn't exactly call him a real disciple, but you'd certainly call him a very good friend. He faithfully helps the Home, he protects the Home, he stands up for the Home. The Queen houses them & gives them shelter & feeds them, & yet she's not a Tither & she doesn't personally get the Magazine.
5. HOW DO YOU THINK THEY WOULD FEEL IF WE WOULD SAY: "WELL, YOU'RE NOT A MEMBER OF OUR FAMILY, you're not a member of our Home, although we're living in your Home! And you're here all the time & you join in our Bible Studies & our meetings & our videos & our readings & our devotionals & you're here at every meal with us & you even cook for us, but we don't count you as a Member!"
6. I'M THINKING ABOUT THE DEFINITION OF A MEMBER. We've always made a distinction between friends, fish, kings‚ queens etc., & I really thought a great deal about this when I was making this new form out‚ & that is, I think we should count Catacombers & friends & supports & people who regularly attend the fellowship of that Home as Members!—I'd say even if they come like church members at least once a week.
7. WE WOULD COUNT THEM AS CHURCH MEMBERS IF THEY'D COME JUST EVERY SUNDAY MORNING! And if they put 5 bucks in the plate, we were mighty thankful to have it, I can remember!—Even though we knew good & well that wasn't their tithe & that they made a lot more money than $50 a week, we were mighty happy to have'm come! And they sang & they prayed & they expected to be considered members of the church, signed the church roll, made their confession of faith. How can you say they're not a member of the Family? How can you say they're not a member of God's Family? How can you say they're not one of God's Children? We're talking about Family Members! Now what Family are we talking about?
8. ARE WE GOING TO BE AN EXCLUSIVE LITTLE SECT THAT ONLY COUNTS CERTAIN PEOPLE AS A PART OF OUR FAMILY, only the ones that tithe, no matter if they fellowship & give & faithfully attend & work hard for us & maybe even house us or do all kinds of things & fellowship. And yet just because they don't tithe we don't count them as a Member! (Maria: The distinction is, we do count them as a Member, but not able to get the Magazine. That's going to have to be defined to the kids.) Yes. absolutely!—Right!
9. IT'S A MAJOR STEP & A MAJOR MOVE TO COUNT PEOPLE WHO REGULARLY ATTEND THE HOME AS MEMBERS, BUT I THINK IT'S A NEEDED ONE. They should see be listed on the Members list, their data given, & this includes Catacombers, fish & friends who regularly fellowship with you, attend meetings, witness, litness & help your Home‚ that means they're givers. Now that what more could you ask than that, except that they tithe? That is at the top of page 3 of the required Report. (See "New Required TRF"—DO1050—not Revised New TRF!)
10. HOW DO YOU THINK THEY'D FEEL IF THEY WEREN'T COUNTED MEMBERS? If you tell them flat to their face: "You're not a Member of our Family! We live in your home, you cook for us, you help us in every way you possibly can expect you just don't tithe."—Maybe because her husband is antagonistic & she can't‚ or vice-versa. Do you think she'd appreciate it if you didn't count her as a Member of the Family?—When she loves you & she helps you all she can & she houses you & she gives & she goes out witnessing & litnessing with you, she does all these things & she obviously has the Holy Spirit & prays with you & fellowship‚ speaks in tongues‚ has the gifts of the Spirit. Would you count her a heretic & something different because she doesn't tithe?
11. WE'VE BEEN TOUGH & REALLY BORNE DOWN ON THE TITHING, but I don't think that we should become so sectarian & so narrow-minded & so strict. We're becoming like there's only a certain kind of God's Children who are really members of His Church. In other words, you're boiling it down to saying that only Tithers are Members of the Church, & in our case, the church is the Family. Now are they Children of God or are they not? Just because they don't tithe, does that mean that they're not members of the Family of God? They're not children of God? They're not in our special elite class of members? We still count them as outsiders? What do you think? Do you think we should count them as Members?
12. ITS ALL IN YOUR DEFINITION OF MEMBERSHIP. We're talking about membership in the Family of God, & God's only requirement is salvation. He doesn't require you to be a Tither to be saved, right? Does He? Have we born down so much on tithing that we've got an opinion that a person is not even saved unless they tithe? Huh? Have we given anybody that impression?
13. EVEN THOUGH THEY FELLOWSHIP & THEY WORK WITH US HEART & SOUL & they litness with us & they do everything they can for us & they really believe in us & support & protect us & everything else‚ but for some reason or other they don't tithe‚ whether they can or not, are we going to count them as an heretic & an unclean thing & you're not a member of the church & we cast you out because you're not tithing? Hmm? The idea of Membership should not be judged strictly on the basis of whether they're Tithers or not. I think we ought to get that out of our heads!
14. TITHERS, I MUST CONFESS, ARE AN ELITE CLASS OF MEMBERS, THAT'S FOR SURE! They're an especially sacrificial, faithful, diligent, obedient & blessed class of Members, but I wouldn't say they're the only Members. I don't see how in any Home where you have that fellowship & where they're helping‚ maybe you're even quests in their home, maybe she cooks meals for you, helps to provide for you & has given you all kinds of things, that they wouldn't be counted as Members!
15. LIKE LYDIA IN THE BIBLE‚ IT DOESN'T SAY THAT SHE WAS A TITHER! Paul lived in her home & she opened her home to preach the Gospel & have fellowship & she was wonderfully saved, & she did contribute afterwards. Apparently she was fairly rich, she was a maker of purple which was a real expensive type of material in those days which only the wealthy could buy, so apparently she was doing pretty well. Would you say that even though she opened her home & she believed & became a Christian & entertained Paul, "But now Lydia, you haven't really been tithing so we can't count you a member yet!" I'm sorry, I'm against that! I can't see it!
16. I DON'T SEE HOW YOU CAN COUNT ANYBODY AS NOT A MEMBER OF YOUR HOME, JUST BECAUSE THEY LIVE OUTSIDE THE HOME! And yet they fellowship with you all the time‚ they agree with everything‚ they pray with you‚ they praise with you, they sing with you, they fellowship with you, they watch the videos with you, they love to hear the Family news, even if they don't get a Magazine‚ they probably borrow it while they're there & read yours, & they love you in every way & they support you & everything, but for some reason or other they just can't yet see their way clear to tithe yet.
17. NOW HOW MANY CHRISTIANS DO TITHE? How many church members do you remember that really tithe? I'd say they were few & far between in the average church, right? And yet didn't we count them as church members? Some of them have been there, their names on the roll for years. We didn't start chucking'm out of the church because they didn't tithe, or we wouldn't have had much left!—Especially in churches!
18. THANK GOT MOST OF OUR CHURCH MEMBERS ARE TITHERS, that's true, & we've borne down pretty heavy on the tithing because we know it's God's will & we know God will bless them for it & we know the Work needs it, & thank God, He has really blessed because of it! Our income how is several times what it was before we really started bearing down on the tithing.
19. THE OLD CHAIN USED TO DEMAND 25-35% & Jeth was even demanding as high as 50% on the poorest field in the World, South America! We have only demanded 10%, insisted on 10% because that's the least you can give as far as God's concerned, that's what you're supposed to give. Well, they're new, they can't quite see that yet, they haven't read all the articles on that and heard everything about it & they wonder, "Why should I give 10% of my income to these people?—That's a lot of money!"—Especially if they're rich. The richer they are the more it is.
20. I'LL NEVER FORGET THAT LITTLE CHURCH IN SOLOMONVILLE. There was one rich man that came there that had thousands of acres of cotton, & he asked the church to please pray that he'd have a good harvest. And they did & he sold it for $200‚000! Then he came to my mother & wanted to know, "Now Sister, here's this little church of only a couple hundred members, small church, what are they going to do with $20,000? I know I promised to give them my tithe if they'd pray I'd have a good harvest & sell it at a good price, but $200,000, that's $20,000! That's a lot of money! What's this little church going to do with it!"—Ha!
21. WELL‚ I'LL HAVE TO GIVE MY MOTHER CREDIT, she said, "You know, the Bible doesn't say anything about whether the Temple or the Church or the preacher or whatever it was was worthy of it or what he was going to do with it, you were just supposed to trust God with that & just give it anyhow!" Of course, normally you'd want to give it where it does the most good & you expect some kind of a good investment or return for your money.
22. I THINK OUR FOLKS THINK OF THAT & I THINK THEY APPRECIATE WHAT THEY'RE GETTING, that they're investing well in a real good missionary movement & effort that's getting results & fruit & they're getting hundreds of dollars worth of literature & food & the films & tapes & everything else every month, I think they appreciate it! But I don't think that we should make tithing alone a shibboleth for membership in our local Fellowship.
23. YOU SAY‚ "WELL, WE'RE REALLY GETTING LIBERAL. WE'RE REALLY EXPANDING NOW!" I think we're going to have more & more of that as we have these local meetings & fellowships a little more on the order of what people are conditioned to religiously & mentally geared to‚ & that is having a regular meeting every week in some kind of a place, or even a home, building, whatever it may be, & they feel like they're going to church. I advocated this a long time ago. I said, you're going to have to meet some of these people half–way! That's where we came in with the Church in the Home or the Church of Love. (See No.617.)
24. HERE YOU'VE WON THEM TO THE LORD & NOW THEY FEEL RELIGIOUS, they feel like they want to serve the Lord. And the thing that has been pounded & engrained into them is that the moment they're saved, they're supposed to go to church, so they want, of course, to go to your church where you meet: "Where do I go to church now? I don't want to go to my old dead church I used to go to‚ they haven't got anything, they never got me saved, they never gave me what you've given me—the love & the knowledge & the wisdom & salvation & all that—I want to go to your church! Where do you go to church?"—Well, where?—At your weekend LAF!—Amen?
25. WELL, I ADVOCATED THIS A LONG TIME AGO‚ THAT WE HAVE CHURCHES! Not buildings, but the real meaning of the word there is the "ecclesia"‚ the "assembly of the saints." "Forsake not the assemblying of yourselves together!" (He.10:25.)—The meetings.—At least one public meeting a week that outsiders could attend. Isn't' that what the Church of Love is supposed to be? Don't you think they had that in the Early Church?
26. OBVIOUSLY FROM PAUL'S WRITING, HE'S TALKING ABOUT HAVING A LOT OF VISITORS & you've got to watch out how you conduct your selves when you have strangers present etc., they're ignorant & they won't understand what's going on. You have to make it edifying & understandable for the ignorant & the uninitiated. They are saved but they're all in a baby state of babes of wonder & they're coming to your meetings, put your cookies on a lower shelf! Put your stuff down where they can reach it & understand it & get it! Now were they members or not?
27. MAYBE THEY JUST GOT SAVED LAST WEEK, THEY NEVER HEARD ABOUT TITHING YET. Are you going to say when they come to your church for fellowship & to count themselves as one of your Family & one of your Fellowship & a Member of your Church: "Let's see, do you tithe? Your name is not on the list who tithe. So sorry! SLAM! You can't come in!" Is that what we're going to do? Do you think that's right?—I don't!—Amen?
28. IT TAKES CHURCH CHRISTIANS SOMETIMES A GOOD MANY YEARS TO GET AROUND TO THE POINT WHERE THEY TITHE or where they think it's even necessary or required or anything. They think because the old Mosaic Law has passed away they don't have to tithe anymore either. Well‚ that was the minimum requirement. The Law of Love require more‚ we say 110%! Give everything to the Lord—your life, your service, your income, everything! That's God's new dispensation of grace requirements, & I have taught that & I have told the folks that for years.
29. BUT I HAVE SAID THE VERY LEAST YOU CAN GET BY WITH WITH GOD IF YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GIVE HIM EVERYTHING, IS AT LEAST GIVE HIM HIS 10%! That's like His required tax, the least you can give. And it's worked! I can tell you it's been fruitful, & a lot of people who weren't willing to give all, weren't giving 100%, much less 110%, have been encouraged to at least give the minimum, the tax, the tithe, the 10%. But they're still counted as friends & fish & kings & queens & fellowship & attend meetings & Church of Love & bring their children, & you're their church‚ even if they're not 110%ers, even if they haven't grown that much yet!
30. DOES A LITTLE BABY BORN IN THE FAMILY KNOWN HE'S SUPPOSED TO TITHE? Well‚ when do our children start tithing? Huh? When? We've got children in our Family five, six & seven years old right here right now. Are they Tithers? Huh? Are you going to throw'm out & slam the door & say, "You can't come in because you're not a Tither"? Well, really, they're 100%ers. I think we should teach the children in our Family to give all, & I think that's what they're being taught, that they're giving their whole lives for the Lord—life & service, witness, litness, everything. Nevertheless, it would be a good idea to teach them a little extra on the matter of giving, & maybe when they receive a certain gift they learn either to give it all to the Lord, or at least 10% of it.
31. SO ARE WE GOING TO SHUT'M OUT BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT TITHERS? (Maria: I think secretly some of our Families are glad that their friends aren't tithing to "the organisation" so they can give their gifts to them.) All right! Then why can't they count them as Members?—When they attend, they fellowship, they give, they support, they protect, maybe they even house & cook for'm & God knows what they do for them! And they consider themselves Members, they consider they got saved & joined our church, our group, our fellowship, our Home. They count themselves as Members.
32. I THINK THEY'RE GOING TO BE SHOCKED & OFFENDED & SURPRISED & HORRIFIED If you turn around & when you're listing your Home Members you don't list them, you don't count them as Members, you count them as outsiders just because they don't live in your house & they don't tithe! Now is that right? Do you think we should not count them Members of our Christian Fellowship? Do you think the Early Church did they? Do you think the Early Church refused to count them as members unless they lived in the house & gave their at or at least their tithe! Well, do you think we should? Do you think we should not count them as Members?
33. I DON'T THINK WE SHOULD JUDGE MEMBERSHIP ON THE BASIS STRICTLY OF TITHE & WHETHER THEY GET THE MAGAZINE PERSONALLY OR NOT, because I could just about bet my bottom dollar that those Homes, whether we know it or not & whether they feel they're sneaking it or not & maybe even doing something they're not supposed to do, what do you wanna bet they let those faithful givers and supporters and protectors and housers and kings and queens and fish read the Magazine! (Maria: Well, it would be pretty hard not to if they're members that are included in every other activity.) If you're getting up & talking about it & reading it in the Home & they're just lying around‚ you tell me they're not letting them read it? (Maria: But do you think that's fair though?)
34. THEY DON'T GET THEIR PERSONAL COPY‚ THEY HAVE NO AUTHORITY OVER IT. They might get to read it, & they might not. They don't get it themselves personally‚ they don't have any authority over that Magazine whatsoever, it's not their. If anything they just borrow it or they sneak a look at it or the Family sneaks it to them. It is not theirs, they don't get to keep it. The Home keeps it, it's their because they tithe. And I'm sure they know about it because they've heard enough about it‚ & if they've read the Magazines at all they know it, that's for sure!
35. ALL WE CAN SAY IS THEY ARE NOT TITHING MEMBERS, THEREFORE THEY DO NOT GET INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL COPIES OF THEIR OWN, but are they Members of the Family? I think they are Members of a local Family if they fellowship & their with them, regularly attend, are faithful in their fellowship & their giving & their support, whatever it may be, whether they tithe or not. I'm sure if they tithe they're going to want to get the Magazine & they know it, & I'm sure if they do tithe they would. But I do not think that we should not count them as Members just because they don't tithe.
36. I DON'T THINK WE SHOULD MAKE THE DEFINITION OF MEMBERSHIP AS TO WHETHER THEY TITHE OR NOT, THAT MEMBER MEANS TITHER. I don't think by any means we should give our people the impression that that's the definition of a Member, only Tithers. `Cause you're going to have lots of babes & new Members who never heard of tithing before! They don't know what you're talking about! They'll certainly find out soon enough, & it may take a while to convince them. Maybe it'll take reading a borrowed Magazine once or twice to inspire'm to want to tithe & get it themselves personally.
37. (MARIA: THEN MEMBERSHIP WILL MEAN HAVING ACCESS TO THE MAGAZINE?) I'm sure it does. I'm sure if they're fellowshipping with those Homes, what do you want to bet they read it? Lots of them! Although I'm sure there are people who are really tough about it & wouldn't even let them get sight of it. But I think there's a great deal of difference in knowing, "This is my Magazine, my copy, because I pay for it, I tithe!"—Versus somebody who is a second class citizen so to speak & doesn't tithe & doesn't get their personal copy & has to always only take a sneak peek when they're at the Home or borrow it from somebody who slips it to'm on the sly, or whatever, but it's not theirs.
38. I THINK THE MORE I READ THE MAGAZINE THE MORE I'D WANT TO BE A TITHER, THE MORE I'D WANT TO GET MY OWN COPY! What do you think? I mean, if you taste the pudding & you like it, I think you're gonna want more! But if it's not yours to demand & you have to keep comin' beggin' for it & borrowing it, that's pretty humiliating to confess you're not a full first-class citizen who gets one of your own‚ simply because you're not tithing. I think it might even inspire'm to tithe! It might even make'm want to tithe! And I certainly don't think that we should not even count them as Members of our Home just because they don't tithe!
39. SO I THINK THAT PEOPLE WHO REGULARLY & FAITHFULLY ATTEND & SUPPORT & FELLOWSHIP & GIVE & SHARE & are considered certainly very good friends & very good fish‚ just because they don't live in & don't tithe I don't think we should not count them as Members. They're members of the Body of Christ, aren't they? Saved? Then are we the Body of Christ or not! Or are we some special very unique piece that they can't be part of? Hmm?
40. ARE WE PART OF THE SAME BODY OR NOT?—OR ARE WE SOME PARTICULAR SECT which means a section, a vivisection, a piece cut off & separate & apart from the rest of the Body & better than the rest of the Body, & therefore the rest of the Body, these outside Members, non-Tithers, can't fellowship with us? We're a special sect, we're dissected, vivisected from the rest of the Body & we don't have any fellowship with the larger body of Christians or people who are saved & members of the Body of Christ? They've got to be members of our body by tithing? Hmm?
41. BELOVED, IF WE ARE GOING TO GROW, IF WE ARE GOING TO GET ANYWHERE, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE A LOT MORE LOVE & a lot more friendliness & a lot more open-mindedness & a broader view of things & take into our fellowship & trust more people & gradually win them over. It takes time for them to grow‚ it takes time for them to learn to love enough to give that much for some people. It takes time! So what do we do? In the meantime we just shut'm out from everything, shut'm out of fellowship, shut'm out of membership‚ won't let'm read the Magazine, anything, until they have grown enough to tithe? Well, they'll never grow that way!
42. THAT'S LIKE THROWING THE BABY OUTSIDE IN THE STREET & EXPECTING IT TO TAKE CARE OF ITSELF UNTIL IT'S GROWN UP, & THEN YOU'LL TAKE IT IN. Now isn't that silly? That baby will never grow unless he stays in the Family & you take care of him. He's born in the Family & he expects to live in the Family Home & grow up in the Family Home with his older brothers & sisters & mother & father taking care of him, or how's he ever going to grow? How's he ever going to learn unless he grows up in the Home & fellowships there?
43. EVEN IF THEY MAY HAVE TO LIVE OUTSIDE BECAUSE THEY'VE GOT A WIFE OR A HUSBAND WHO WON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE FAMILY & live somewhere else & refuses to tithe‚ she'd have to divorce him‚ or vice—versa‚ & forsake her husband & children or something else to live-in‚ & he controls the income so she can't tithe. And yet she wants to fellowship & comes over as often as she can & just eats it up, loves it up, gets loved up & considers herself a Member of that Home like a member of any church!
44. BUT JUST BECAUSE SHE CAN'T COMPLY WITH THE VERY STRICTEST RULES OF THE TITHING ELITE, the Magazine-only elite, you're going to count her as an heretic, an outcast, a stranger or foreigner, a live-outer is not a Member? Huh? I think we're really cheating ourselves! I think we're gypping ourselves out of credit, frankly, from a lot of people who love us & are one in mind & heart with us but maybe not quite yet pocketbook, & because for some reason they can't be, like the husband controls the money or something. I think we're cheating ourselves out of the credit we deserve for the Members we now have who are not even counted as Members! I think the Catacombers should be considered full-fledged Members, though they live out & do not tithe and do not receive their own Magazines!
45. I THINK THE CRITERION OF MEMBERSHIP SHOULD NOT BE STRICTLY TITHING & MAGAZINE-GETTING, & LIVING-IN—those three that we have considered are the elite marks of Membership—you live-in, you tithe, you get your own Magazine. Well that's fine, that's the elite‚ that's really the all-outers‚ in a sense, it's really the 110%ers! But what about all the people who come to every Fellowship, every Video Club Meeting, every Communion? They have not church but ours, they fellowship nowhere else. What about them?
46. I THINK IT'S UNFAIR, VERY UNFAIR, I THINK IT'S VERY DISCRIMINATORY, I think it's very isolationist, I think it's very apartheid, so to speak‚ if you refuse to count them as Members of your Home! And that's the decision I came to when I made out that section of the Report Form, they're all Members if they do those things. What did I say? Read it! (Sue: "Catacombers, Fish & Friends who regularly fellowship, attend Meetings, witness, litness & help your Home.") Regularly fellowship!
47. I DON'T MEAN AN OCCASIONAL STRANGER OR VISITOR WHO DROPS IN ONCE IN A GREAT WHILE. I don't think you could count them a Member. I'm talking about somebody who comes regularly & attends most of your meetings & he even goes out witnessing or litnessing with you‚ or at least carries your lit home & litnesses to his friends & families, & gives, helps in every way he can, but is not quite to the stage yet of a Tither. Yet you don't want to count them as Members?—Nuts! (Maria: I'm all for counting them as Members, I just said it had to be clarified, which you've done very well just now!)—Ha!
48. LORD HELP US TO HAVE ENOUGH LOVE & ENOUGH MODERATION AND ENOUGH TOLERANCE TO BE ABLE TO DRAW A CIRCLE THAT WILL TAKE THEM IN, instead of a circle that will shut them out! So what are the qualifications of Membership? Well‚ there they are, right there! Obviously they must be saved, I could have stuck that in there too. If you want me to write some kind of an Apostles' creed, well, all right. That's a good point, saved. I'll take that correction. I'll stick it right in after the who. "Who are saved, regularly fellowship‚ attend Meetings, witness‚ litness & help your Home."—Maybe they don't even witness or litness yet!
49. OK‚ WE'RE BEGINNING TO CLARIFY OUR DISTINCTION OF WHAT & WHO IS A MEMBER! I think if we're going to limit ourselves only to Tithers who live-in & get the Magazine to be our only Members, we are really cutting ourselves off from a great Body of believers & fellowshippers & people who want to be part of us & Member of us & love us & believe in & read the Letters & believe in your Prophet & all the rest. We can't just count them as nothing just because they don't tithe, get the Magazine & live-in! Then what are they? Well, we call them Catacombers. I wanna call'm Members!
50. ARE THE HOMES COUNTING THE CATACOMBERS AS MEMBERS NOW? I don't think they really think of them as Members. Because we have been so rigid & so restrictive & so narrow-minded & so tight in our idea of a Member of our Family, we like to consider ourselves as we indeed are the people & without us there isn't anybody, & beside us there are no others, & the only ones who are Members are the ones that live-in, tithe & get the Magazine! Well, I confess, those are, you might say, the 110%ers! Those are the elite, & God has different classes of Membership in His great House, His Home. He said, "Some are vessels of honour & some to dishonour." (Ro.9:21.)
51. I MEAN‚ JUST BECAUSE THEY'RE A POTTY UNDER THE BED DOESN'T MEAN THEY'RE NOT A VESSEL OF THE HOUSE! Just because you're an exemplary shining beautiful decoration on the mantle & you always pay your tithe & you get the Magazine & you can show it off & boast that you live in a Home doesn't necessarily mean that the poor guy who's still slaving away outside because his wife is a Systemite‚ or her husband or whatever, & can't live-in & can't tithe because somebody else gets the income or something, & therefore can't get personally the Magazine, but wants to be part of us, want's to fellowship & be with us all they can & witness & litness & help all they can, I think it's unfair, I think it's cruel, I think it would be absolutely ungodly not to count them as Members of the Home! I don't think it's Christian!
53. AND I THINK THOSE ARE THE PRIMARY REQUISITES WHICH SHOULD DEFINE MEMBERSHIP: SAVED, FELLOWSHIP, LITNESS OR WITNESS. They are witnessing Christians whether they do it selah, Clandestinely & leave lit on the desk of their office workers or however they do it‚ but they do witness somehow, they are a witness‚ they confess Christ. I don't think you can be a Christian without confessing Christ. And they help the best they know how. Maybe not all they could, but the best that they know how so far, the best they're capable of & prepared to do at this particular stage of their development.
54. I'M SURE WE'VE GOT LOTS OF PEOPLE, FRIENDS, FISH, KINGS‚ QUEENS & WHATNOT ATTENDING OUR MEETINGS & video showings & fellowships, communions. My goodness, if they even take communion with us‚ how can you not count them as Members?—Just because they don't tithe & get their own Magazine! I think we should count them as Members! And I wouldn't be surprised that if we'd put that point across to our Homes & they start listing them as Members, we're going to have a phenomenal leap in Membership! That's one of the fringe benefits!—Besides the fact that they're going to feel a lot more like one of us & that they're accepted as one of us & not always counted as some kind of a stranger that we're a little leery of because they don't live–in there & they don't tithe & don't get the Magazine!
55. WE HAVE LOTS OF SINGLES LIVING WHAT MOST PEOPLE WOULD COUNT AS OUTSIDE THE FAMILY IN THEIR OWN HOMES WHO TITHE & get the Magazine & who don't fellowship with the rest of the Family as much as some people do! And yet these same people who do fellowship & come & enjoy being with us all the time in our meetings & litnessing with us & witnessing with us & everything else, take part, work with, help, everything, we don't count them as Members!
56. BUT THIS OTHER HOME ACROSS TOWN THAT YOU NEVER SEE HIDE NOR HAIR OF & DOESN'T SEEM TO CARE TO FELLOWSHIP with you or not & like to be independent & selfish & just be one their own—it means too much to have to join a LAF & to have to fellowship & it might cost them something extra above their tithe—you could them as Members because they tithe & they get the Magazine & they have their own Home, therefore they don't have to live in your Home. They're not as close as those who fellowship with you, yet they're counted as a Home & Members because they tithe!
57. SO THAT'S THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PICTURE‚ THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN. Some of those people could complain & count it as unfair that we count those as Members & not these folks who are really coming & staying in the Home a lot & fellowshipping & helping & working with you & everything else! Frankly, I'd be more inclined to count them as Members than the other guy who tithes & gets the Magazine but still lives selfishly, & doesn't fellowship!
58. SO ARE WE GOING TO COUNT THEM AS MEMBERS OR NOT? I certainly didn't expect to get onto this subject & have to spend so much time on it, but I knew when we got to that point in going over this new Report From you'd probably want to ask questions about it. I knew that was probably going to raise a few eyebrows! (Maria: I didn't say I didn't want them to be Members, I just said the kids would have to have it clarified.) All right, have I clarified it? (Maria: Yes!) Are you satisfied?—OK! PTL! GBY!
59. FROM HENCEFORTH & HEREON WE ARE GOING TO COUNT THESE DEAR CATACOMBERS AS MEMBERS!—Which is our definition of someone who is friendly & fellowships with our Home, even comes in & reads literature, probably borrows the Magazine & everything else! In fact, we even said that if they're under-age they've got to get their Magazines at out Homes, but it's theirs at least. But what about those who just got saved & are just getting started, can't we count them as Members?
60. WELL, WHAT'S THE NORMAL CHURCH REQUIREMENT FOR MEMBERSHIP? Every preacher I ever saw would just fall all over himself to get'm to walk the aisle & kneel at the altar & accept the Lord. And then the next Sunday morning they walk the aisle before the whole church & he extends what he calls the Right Hand of Fellowship. I never saw a church yet turn down a member who volunteered to be a member, unless they were some kind of an awful character, outcast or something. But if they're well-dressed & have a nice-looking wife & several children, that really adds up the totes!—And obviously he can afford to drop a five in the waste basket every Sunday morning & help pay for the new church building blah blah!
61. I NEVER SAW ONE TURNED DOWN YET WHEN THEY ASKED THE CONGREGATION: "Do we accept them as members of our church?" And everybody says, "Amen!" In Baptist Church they say: "All willing to accept them in our church, raise your hands !"—Everybody in the church raised their hand! I never saw a person yet that didn't raise their hand. They don't even give you a chance to object like they do at a marriage, "all those opposed signify by saying no or raising your right hand."
62. I NEVER SAW AN OBJECTION YET TO ACCEPTING THEM AS MEMBERS‚ & all they did was receive the Lord or walk the church aisle & shake the preacher's hand & confess that they had received the Lord & wanted to join the church‚ & they signed'm up on the spot!—And of course expected them to come to every service after that, particularly Sunday mornings when they pay the preacher's salary to put something in the offering.
63. THE WORLD'S USED TO PRETTY LENIENT CONDITIONS ON THE PART OF THE NORMAL CHURCHES & THE FORMAL CHURCHES, that if they even give them the slightest hint that they want to come to their church, right away they want to make it official so they can stick them on the roll of the church & count'm as a member. So they've got to be willing to at least walk the aisle that Sunday morning & shake the preacher's hand & make a public confession of faith, which I think is a good idea.
64. BECAUSE EVEN THAT TAKES A LITTLE COURAGE, YOU KNOW, THAT'S A WITNESS. They're witnessing to the whole congregation, they're a witness to the whole church. They're real witnessers! They have the courage to walk down a church aisle & the bravery to shake hands with the preacher in public!—Ha! And when the preacher says, "Do you so-&-so & so-&-so & so-&-so"—& he rattles off the thing—all they have to say is, "I do!"—Like they're getting married to the church, & he now pronounces them man & church member!
65. SO, ARE WE GOING TO LET'M JOIN US OR NOT? We expect more out of them than that. We probably expect them to come to a lot more fellowship & meetings & take communion & share—I don't suppose they'll object to sharing sexually, at least with us—but we also expect them to actively witness & litness & even turn in their stats! I said that a long time ago when I first wrote "Other Sheep" (No. 167), & we first started the Catacomber Movement, that we needed to count Other Sheep as sheep & Christians & allow them to fellowship with us like Members.
66. AS LONG AS THEY FULFIL THESE PARTICULAR REQUIREMENTS—THEY ARE SAVED, FELLOWSHIP‚ WITNESS & DO WHAT THEY CAN TO SHOW THAT THEY'RE MEMBERS OF OUR HOME & LOVE US & HELP US, ETC., I certainly think we should count them as Members! All in favour, raise your right hand! OK! Unanimous! PTL! In the Privy Council!—And what usually goes in the Privy Council goes Worldwide! All you folks out yonder in Familyland in favour, say Aye! Opposed? Carried? PTL! We all accepted‚ we hope, or you will after you read this Letter—we hope!
67. WELL, I DIDN'T KNOW I WAS GOING TO WRITE ANOTHER LETTER THIS EVENING! I already wrote one this morning on my dream "The Helmet!" (No. 1058.) I always was kind of disappointed in that song they wrote about "Cromwell's Helmet." That was a kind of funny song: "Who will wear Cromwell's hat!" It wasn't a hat, it was a helmet!
68. YOU KNOW, DAVID CAME IN HERE THE NEXT MORNING AFTER YOU WENT TO FAMILY DINNER & TOLD THAT JOKE about the guy that squeezed the lemon, & he told it word for word exactly as I told it to you, so you must have told it exactly the way I told you. (Maria: And he said, "Peter told us a great joke at dinnertime!") (Peter: I gave you the credit at dinnertime!) He must have missed that somehow! Ha, ha! Well Honey, I won't cancel your Membership just for that, just because you didn't sign my name at the end! I still consider you a Brother & I'll fellowship with you, as long as you keep comin', PTL!
69. SO I WOULD CERTAINLY SAY THAT ANYBODY WHO'S SAVED & FELLOWSHIPS REGULARLY WITH US‚ WITNESSES, LITNESSES, HELPS OUR HOME‚ SHOULD BE COUNTED A MEMBER! Now that may clarify that & may tip the balance for some people & some Home heads when they're making out their Reports as who to count Members & who to not count as Members, & I think they should count them as Members! They could still call them Catacomb Members, which just shows that they live out & they don't tithe or receive a Magazine, that's OK.
70. CATACOMB MEMBERS LIVE UPSTAIRS & THEY JUST COME DOWN IN THE CATACOMBS TO FELLOWSHIP WITH THE CHRISTIANS WHERE THERE AREN'T ANY LIONS AROUND! But you still can't cast'm out & say they're not members just because they're not willing to appear in the arena yet with the lions on the same bill—or giving their tithe. They're not yet willing to appear with Old Papa Lion publicity & confess him openly! Ha!
71. THERE WERE MANY SECRET BELIEVERS IN HE EARLY CHURCH, & THE NEW TESTAMENT SAYS SO! "A great company of the priests," think of that, said, "We're believers!" (Ac.6:7.) And obviously they were secret believers, otherwise they'd have gotten chucked out‚ because the High Priest & the Chief Priests were not believers! I'm sure if they 'd caught any of their priests being believers they would have really chucked'm out for sure!
72. WELL, CAN'T WE COUNT THAT WE HAVE A FEW BELIEVERS & MEMBERS WHO WHEN IT COMES TO THE WORLD & OUTSIDERS‚ THEY'RE SORT OF SECRET BELIEVERS. & they wouldn't exactly want it plastered all over town!—Especially if they're a well-known community leader or official or something! But they still like to fellowship with us & they love us & they love our girls & they love our doctrines & practices & prophets & preaching & whatnot! So is that pretty well settled? TYL!
73. ALL RIGHT, YOU HEARD THAT, HOMES! Change that Report now you just made out & include all Members, in or out, Tithers or unTithers, whatever they may be, Mag recipients or no. If they are saved & fellowship & witness, one way or another, & do help give to the Home—I would say by that if they even drop a dollar in the basket at your Church of Love Meetings they're helping, giving. That's as much as they would do in any church they attended‚ probably as much as they used to do. It may not be much at first‚ but I think it will grow.
74. WHEN A NEW BABE IS BORN INTO OUR FAMILY, DO WE REFUSE TO COUNT IT AS A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY UNTIL IT'S FULLGROWN? Huh? Until it is able to take care of itself & contribute to the Family & give & witness with us & fulfils all the standards & qualification of a Mag-receiving-Tither & all the top requirements of a full-fledged Membership? Or don't we count them as a Member of the Family from the time Mama's pregnant? I'm sure God does! Well, I'm sure when they're born in the Family for sure, they make it, they've made it, they're just like the ones that are born-again in our Family, in our Homes, I think we ought to count them as Members. PTL?
75. WELL, I HOPE THAT MAKES OUR MEMBERSHIP SKYROCKET! Ha! That's one of the fringe benefits! But I think the greatest benefit will be that people will not take such a narrow-minded exclusive holier-than-thou attitude toward outsiders who come to fellowship, & no longer count them as outsiders just because they don't live in the same house & they don't happen to tithe or get the Magazine themselves yet. I think if they're good to them & show them love, teach them, train them, & help these babes to grow, they'll come to the point where they are ready to assume the responsibility & know they're obligated to tithe at least.
76. WHO KNOWS, THEY MAY NOT ONLY TITHE & GET THEIR OWN MAGAZINE FOR AWHILE‚ BUT EVENTUALLY FEEL LIKE GIVING UP THEIR JOBS & MOVING IN, AS MANY HAVE!—But they're made to feel like outsiders until then! I don't think that's right! I think they should be made to feel like members, made to feel like they're part of the Family, part of that Home!—Because they fellowship with it, witness with it, give to it & believe in it & they're of one heart, one mind; even if they may not yet be of one body & maybe not living in yet or sharing sexually‚ they at least are sharing spiritually & as far as they are yet capable of in their stage of development. Amen? PTL! I'm glad you agree!—In Jesus' name, amen.