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Why did we need to start a new church?

People ask this for various reasons. Some are simply curious; others are concerned about the legitimacy of Redwood as a church at all; most probably just want to know why we didn’t think existing churches were good enough. Do we think there’s something deficient about other churches in the region?

We are going to try to answer this question at a high level, without airing any other church’s dirty laundry, and seeking to avoid offence as much as possible.

There was one, single, overriding reason that Bnonn, Jared, and the other men who founded Rewdood, felt compelled to gather a new church:

We could not find a church that would uncompromisingly declare that Jesus is Lord.

This may sound extreme, but we do not intend it to be. It is simply a fact. During covid, the state started to dictate how, and even whether churches could worship—and every church submitted. There was no church in our region that stood up and maintained the exclusive right of Christ over worship.

A church whose worship is controlled by the state has a name in China: it is called a state church. State churches submit not to Christ, but to lawless rebellion against Christ (whom the state is supposed to represent). Christ commands us to worship freely, fearlessly, and faithfully.

A body cannot hold fast to one Head while submitting to the unlawful, rebellious authority of another. Either it will hate the one and love the other, or it will be devoted to the one and despise the other (Mt 6:24). And what the body does, its members do—so every person within that church is implicated in toppling Jesus from his throne, and replacing him with Jacinda. Hence, we determined that we could not be members of any church in the region.

Since we are commanded to gather on the Lord’s Day to worship, and to not neglect doing so, we therefore had no choice but to gather as a new church.

It is not because we are rebellious or contentious or hard to please. It is because we cannot join ourselves to a church body that is functionally submitted to a different head than Christ.

If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:6)

For a fuller explanation and defence of the necessity of worship, and of the church resisting the state’s orders on this issue, see Bnonn’s article in Discipleship & Dominion: Not Enough Faith To Worship.