We obey and submit to the pastors and elders in everything, is this the same as submitting to God? Is belief in God in this manner a way to achieve salvation?
The Answer from God’s Word:
People whoshould and worship Him. You should not exalt or look up to any person; you ought not to give first place to God, second place to the people you look up to, and third place to yourself. No person should hold a place in your heart, and you should not consider people—particularly those you venerate—to be on a par with God, to be His equal. This is intolerable to God.
from “The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom” in
Look at the leaders of every denomination and sect. They are all arrogant and self-right, and they interpret the Bible out of context and according to their own imagination. They all rely on gifts and erudition to do their work. If they were incapable of preaching anything, would those people follow them? They do, after all, possess some learning, and can speak a little of doctrine, or know how to win over others and how to use some artifices, through which they have brought people before themselves and have deceived them. Nominally, those people believe in God—but in reality they follow their leaders. If they encounter those who preach the true way, some of them would say, “We have to consult our leader about our belief in God.” They require someone’s consent to believe in God; is that not a problem? What have those leaders become, then? Have they not become Pharisees, false shepherds, antichrists, and stumbling blocks to people’s acceptance of the true way? …
No matter whether you followed someone else or you didn’t satisfy the will of God when you previously believed in God, you must come before God during this stage of work of the last days. If you continue to follow someone on the basis of experiencing this stage of work, then you will be considered unforgivable….
from “Only the Pursuit of the Truth Is the True Belief in God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Some people do not rejoice in the truth, much less judgment. Rather, they rejoice in power and riches; such people are deemed to be snobs. They exclusively seek out those denominations in the world with influence and those pastors and teachers coming from seminaries. Despite having accepted the way of truth, they remain skeptical and are unable to devote themselves fully. They speak of sacrificing for God, but their eyes are focused on the great pastors and teachers, and Christ is brushed aside. Their hearts are filled with fame, fortune, and glory. They do not believe at all that such a meager man is capable of conquering so many, that one so unremarkable is capable of perfecting people. They do not believe at all that these nobodies among the dust and dunghills are the people chosen by God. They believe that if such people were the objects of God’s, then heaven and earth would be turned upside down and all men would laugh their heads off. They believe that if God chose such nobodies to be perfected, then those great men would become . Their perspectives are tainted with unbelief; indeed, far from unbelief, they are preposterous beasts. For they only value position, prestige, and power; what they hold in high regard are large groups and denominations. They have no regard at all for those led by Christ; they are simply traitors who have turned their backs on Christ, on truth, and on life.
What you admire is not the humility of Christ, but those false shepherds of prominent standing. You do not love the loveliness or wisdom of Christ, but those wantons who associate with the vile world. You laugh at the pain of Christ who has no place to lay His head, but admire those corpses that seize offerings and live in debauchery. You are not willing to suffer alongside Christ, but gladly go into the arms of those reckless antichrists though they supply to you only flesh, only letters, and only control. Even now your heart still turns toward them, toward their reputation, toward their standing in the hearts of all the Satans, and toward their influence and authority. And yet you continue to hold an attitude of resisting and refusing to accept the work of Christ. This is why I say that you do not have the faith of acknowledging Christ. The reason you have followed Him to this day is entirely because you were forced. In your heart forever tower many lofty images; you cannot forget their every word and deed, nor their influential words and hands. They are, in your heart, forever supreme and forever heroes. But this is not so for the Christ of today. He is forever insignificant in your heart and forever undeserving of reverence. For He is far too ordinary, has far too little influence, and is far from lofty.
from “Are You a True Believer of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
It would be best for those people who say they follow God to open their eyes and take a good look to see exactly who they believe in: Is it really God that you believe in, or Satan? If you know that what you believe in is not God but your own idols, then you had best not say you are a believer. If you really do not know who you believe in then, again, you had best not say you are a believer. To say that would be blasphemy! No one is forcing you to believe in God. Do not say you believe in Me, as I heard enough of those words long ago and I do not wish to hear them again, because what you believe in are the idols in your hearts and the local villainous snakes among you. Those who shake their heads when they hear the truth, who smile widely when they hear talk of death are the offspring of Satan, and they are all objects to be eliminated.
from “A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Question 35: Most people in the religious world believe that the pastors and elders have been selected and established by the Lord, and that they all serve the Lord in the religious churches; if we follow and obey the pastors and elders, we are actually obeying and following the Lord. As to what exactly is meant by obeying man and following man, and what exactly is meant by obeying God and following God, most people don’t understand this aspect of the truth, so please fellowship this for us.
God does His work of judgment in the last days, the religious world has lost the Holy Spirit’s work and it has become desolate. When we are compelled to seek the true way, ...People who truly follow and submit to God will never be abandoned by Him. Those who worship religious pastors and elders are submitting to man and have become followers of man. These people will be revealed by God’s work in the last days and they shall be eliminated and cast aside.
What is following God?
Following God primarily refers to following God’s current work, submitting to and practicing God’s current words, being able to keep God’s commandments, seeking out God’s intentions in all matters, practicing in accordance with God’s word, and absolutely submitting to the work and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Finally, it refers to becoming a person who practices the truth and follows God’s will. Only by doing these things can someone be said to follow God and be someone who gains God’s salvation.
What is following man?
It is the same as people in religion, they believe in God in name, when in reality they all believe in the pastor, follow the pastor; the pastor is their Lord, the pastor is their God. ...always wants to hear how people speak, always wants to see how people act, and with every act and move is inseparable from others. This kind of person unwittingly becomes someone who believes in people and follows people. All those who look up to people too much, who worship people too much, in fact are believing in people and following people, and this is absolutely true.
How can one establish a normal relationship with God?
When establishing a proper relationship with God, where should we start? The most important thing is to speak from the heart when praying to God. ...Satisfy God by touching the Spirit of God with their heart, thereby obtaining His satisfaction; when engaging with God’s words with their heart, they are therefore moved by the Spirit of God. If you wish to achieve a proper spiritual life and establish a proper relationship with God, you must first give your heart to Him, and quiet your heart before Him. Only after you have poured your whole heart into God can you gradually develop a proper spiritual life.