An Inside Perspective

May 2020


By Philip Reardon


Fake Fellowship



My Dear Family in Christ,


Ever-precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!  Sister Debbie* and I have been having some very healthy discussions, in light of current events, on submitting to authority.  We are seeking the proper balance as to when to submit to government as Scripture commands, and when not to submit, as Scripture also commands.  We have resolved not to submit if the commands of a worldly government oppose the Lord’s edicts.


In this time of trial, the powers that be have taken it upon themselves to determine for us what is essential.  They have decided that our “living fellowship” is non-essential.  They have sought to replace it with “fake fellowship.”  Debbie* and I are not having it!  We fully understand, practice, and even teach the divine principles of submission to authority.  But---when worldly view of what is essential bumps heads with what we biblically know is absolutely essential, namely “living-fellowship,” we have a big problem with the state!


As believers, we are to obey the dictates of the Lord first and foremost, even if worldly authority prods us otherwise.  Let’s not fool ourselves; we all knew this was coming.  This is where the biblical rubber of our walk meets the worldly road of unbiblical demands.  In this, by our choices, hearts will be revealed for what they really are.  Obedience should be our lot.


Debbie* and I are also very conscious of the fact when the Apostle Paul penned his teaching on submission to authority in Romans 13, evil Nero was the ruling emperor.  Still, we are taught by Peter also to submit ourselves, even unto Governors.  Again, balance, as led by the Spirit is mandatory.  The Lord’s will in this pandemic is not always easily discerned.  Our choices demand wisdom soaked in prayer.


As an unsaved man, my doctrine was Philocentric.  I grew up with a 60’s, us-against them aversion to authority; a hippie mentality.  I never entertained the thought of submission.  In my world, “He who died with the most toys won!”  That is how I lived, and no doubt, that is why I am in prison now.   Rest assured, my loving parents never taught me that.  But sadly, they watched me, their only son, become their worst nightmare.  Today, I am 63, and I no longer have a 60’s mentality.  My warped mindset received a thorough transformation by the Word of God.  I still notice a few dangling participles in my walk, but I press on toward the mark.  For a little while longer, I am still in prison; yet even I, the least of the least, can recognize “fake-fellowship” when I see it!


It is written, And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus... Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.  (Acts 4:18; 5:29)


I know that we have not been commanded to stop preaching or teaching---yet.  The Lord is to be worshipped, though, corporately by His Body.  That is not an option.  We are commanded “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some” (Hebrews 10:25)  Together cannot happen apart.  Let us discern the enemy’s incremental tactics.  We have been executively ordered not to gather together for “living-fellowship” and worship.  Yes, going on line has some sorted value, but it is no substitute for togetherness, even “living-fellowship!”  We must not submit ourselves to the state’s “fake-fellowship!”  Make no mistake.  That is exactly what the gathering of the Body on line really is.  Next thing you know, they will try to send you to a virtual Heaven when you die!  Wake up Saints!


This is a trial balloon, floated by the enemy to see how easy you will lay down your arms.  He thinks, “Why wouldn’t they like ‘fake fellowship.’  In it, they can have their own televisions and refrigerators right at hand!”  Satan posits, “They don’t even have to get out of their pajamas for ‘fake-fellowship.’  Why they’ll just love this!”  Sadly, there are many leaders who have already who have already embraced this counterfeit, unwittingly siding with the enemy in the promotion of this broken cistern, even the world’s own “fake-fellowship” that can hold no water.


Church, this is nothing new!  The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one, and he desires to transform you into its image.  Satan desires to have you; to sift you like wheat.  Examine yourself.  Do you find yourself very comfortable in this world?  We are commanded, Love not the world.”  Do you?


The state does not want us to worship.  We must not submit to their “fake-fellowship.”  To thrive as believers, we must gather corporately to worship.  Members are moot without the Body.  The gifts given of the Lord are for the edifying of the Body in love.  Pastors, you have been given wisdom by the Spirit of God to make a way for the saints of God, together, to worship!  You’re responsible to foster the true “living-fellowship” of the Body, not to promote worldly “fake fellowship.”


Let us not offer the Lord “fake-fellowship” as if we have found something new, good, and holy.  Beloved, God forbid we should offer something to God that costs us nothing, even the world’s very own...




*Debbie Carver is President of Our Father’s Persistent Love Ministries which works with both female and male inmates in prisons here and abroad.