Saturday, June 18, 2011

What's with all this "remnant" business?

Something doesn't sit quite right with me.  Hopefully this post will generate some healthy dialogue over this subject.  I need that right now.

As the title suggests, what I'm talking about is a remnant in our day and time.
I've seen this before. So and so church thinks they have some corner on the truth that all the other churches have missed.  They declare themselves to be the remnant of only true believers and command everyone else to repent and join them.  The whole thinks reeks with an arrogant and cult-like stench.  It's a total turn off for me but it still begs the question: Is there a remnant?  If so, what does that look like?

 This is the attitude coming out of  pockets in the organic/simple church movement today.  Am I missing something?  Is this the prevalent thinking of the movement?  Has anyone else noticed this?

Don't gloss over this.  This is a big deal.  If you think you are part of some remnant please make your case in the comments or at least post a link to an article that best articulates your understanding.  I think this is very dangerous ground to tread and I fear the subtle pride that is contained therein but I also recognize that I do not know it all and want to remain humble right now.


  1. Good point because pride is a killer. I do need to say we came out of the "institution" a bunch of years ago because we couldn't find it in the New Testament. Our conclusion: Christ did not come to found a religion. I say this with all due respect and do not want to sound like I know it all because I don't. But this I do know: I am a branch grafted into the Vine, and there is Life in the Vine. I am trying to let His Life increase to bloom any way He wants through me. It's about death of my "self" -- so it's not even about me --or us -- it's all about Him.

  2. Whitney,

    Thanks for the graceful comment. We came out for some of the same reasons. Partly a lack of NT evidence for the IC and partly a desire to be a part of the life that the NT church shared. It was certainly not because we thought we had discovered some hidden truth that everyone else was blind to. Just that our hearts were drawn into a different direction.

  3. Austin Sparks talks about those who follow Jesus trusting Him to build His kingdom using heavenly means. The point is that God is shaking again the religious establishment of Christianity today as He did the Jewish religious establishment in the first century. Those who remain faithful to the heavenly vision are those who are looking unto Jesus for everything, abiding in Him and not looking to man-made religious structures or aparatus to advane the kingdom of God. These people, I believe, who are living and walking in Spirit and in truth are the "remnant," whatever denomination or "church" they are in. Ken Kalis

  4. both religious movements and religious systems (of various size) commonly host a "remnant" concept, a denominational (sub-remnant) resolve, or both?
    Contrasting also, "there has always been a remnant in Christ" with, "we are The Remnant".

  5. Ken,

    "whatever denomination or church they are in" --
    that is how I feel about it as well. Thanks for sharing.


    I can see the concept of being the remnant in Christ as being accurate, I just despise using this label for any sub-group.

  6. I agree the Lord has always had His Remnant, and I agree that we must guard our hearts. After all, it is by His Grace that we were chosen by Him in the first place. The fact that He chose me ought to be sufficient to keep my pride at bay, but I need to be vigilant. It does sound snotty to say we are who we are in Christ, but we are -- it's the truth (if He is truly our LORD as well as our Savior). To me, there's the rub. There's the Remnant. The Bible says few, and "few" means few. Only He can discern the condition of a believer's heart -but He can, and He does, and He will...

  7. "Remnant" to me smacks as something out of the OT, and perhaps specifically, Isaiah. If it's now coming out of the simple and organic church movement, I'm not aware of it. That's likely due to the fact that I'm not really following any movement or denomination; I'm focussing my energies on following Jesus alone. Inless I've missed it, I don't see "remnant" anywhere in the NT.

    I think you're right in saying it sounds cultish. Proponents of this "doctrine" need to come clean and share with the rest of us exactly where (in the Bible) they're getting this from so that the rest of us can become "enlightened" too (sarcasm). Without that, yes, it's a cult in my books.

    Blessings, bro.

  8. oops, sorry, TYPO. "unless" not "inless"

  9. Well, I am no scholar, but the New Testament that I read contains the word "remnant" six times. For this conversational thread, the most pertinent of those mentions might be Romans 11:5 that talks about election by grace and ties it back to the remnant mentioned in the Old Testament account about Elijah. At least that what it seems to me -- a remnant saved by grace, His Bride, ready for Him because His Lordship has made them so by Grace. It really is about Him and His amazing grace. I just pray to keep my eyes fixed on Him so that He can do the rest.

  10. Remnant theology is nothing new. I think it's safe to say we all fall prey to it at one time or another, just being human. But yeah, some groups tend to overemphasize this truth, often applying it only to themselves. But, in the words of Paul, "we have not so learned Christ."

  11. With all due respect to Whitney, I only partly agree with the connection to Romans 11. I too may be missing something here, but I see that section of Scripture referring not to the church as much as to the nation Israel. Yes, there will be a "remnant" out of Judaism (or religion), but not from within those who are already His true Bride.

    I initially understood the question of a remnant from within the church. That doctrine I reject.There can be no remnant from within the true church, or by implication, are we not saying that some within the true church will lose their salvation? That's a can of worms I do not wish to open here.

    Yes, "some" (or a remnant) will be saved out of Judaism, but they will have to come the same way you and I did, through Jesus. There is no other way.

    The important thing is to always practice a proper hermeneutics principle, namely remember the context.

    Thanks Bobbie, I enjoyed that. Blessings all.

  12. I'd like to thank you all for participating in this conversation. It is edifying for me to have this discussion on an issue that in my mind is a very big deal.

    This isn't something that comes exclusively from the OC movement but when it does it concerns me because of all the talk of being "called out" ones. Couple that with a remnant mentality and you have a group of elitists that believe they have a corner on truth whereas everyone else is wrong and excluded from the promises because they are not among the remnant that has "come out".


    "we have no so learned Christ"
    that is precisely why this bothers me so much. It leads to an us vs them mentality which, as you said, is not of Christ.


    yes, there is a remnant in the NT. That remnant are the true children of Abraham, the children of promise. If I have a right understanding of what Paul is teaching in Rom 11 it is teaching us that God continues to preserve a remnant of Israel in order to keep his covenant with Abraham but the conditions of that covenant is that of faith and now Israel has been shown the right object of that faith, namely Christ.

    We (Gentiles) are united with our Hebrew brothers and sisters in Christ but that does not make us part of the "remnant" of Israel, unless of course, you have a Jewish lineage, which I don't.

    I have to agree with Will. There is no remnant drawn out of the Church but there is a remnant drawn out of ethnic Israel that is within the Church. I hope you see the importance of that distinction.

    I agree that Jews and Gentiles alike are elected and chosen in Christ but I see that as something entirely different than saying that there is a remnant being called out of the Institutional church, which is what I wanted to discuss in this post.

  13. Thanks, guys, for a very interesting discussion. I do believe that Christ is readying His Bride and that's us (thinking Matthew 7:21-23, for example). I agree He does not want us in bondage of any kind -- He has set us free indeed -- from the world. So we are separate from the world (on that we surely and wholeheartedly agree). I enjoyed participating in this conversation and felt "safe" because the Holy Spirit is in charge, not us, thank God. And thanks to you guys -- this was invigorating!

  14. Yes, thank you all for the opportunity to share. As Whitney said, "the Holy Spirit is in charge." So long as our discussions are always kept with that in mind, and with our call to LOVE one another always in the forefront, then discussions can also always happen with grace. However, the minute we lose sight of that, we are likely to fall victim to the "dissensions and factions"(Gal.5:21). This is to be avoided at all costs. Love and blessings to each of you :)

  15. I do think there is some relevance within this kind of word usage (albeit grossly misused way too often). The Scriptures speak of "the few" who find the narrow way, "the little flock", "the called out ones". To me, in summary, this is simply the true Church (capital "C" please). Mainstream, popular Christianity is just another version of the wide way that many take.

    So, in a sense, the remnant is genuine, in my opinion. It is however not some elite club that one must join in order to get its benefits. It is God's true, chosen and set apart Body.... and it is miniscule.

    Let's put it this way: if you constantly feel the need to declare to others that you're the remnant of God, then chances are you don't even have a clue of what it really is.


As in a biblical church gathering, my word is not complete or final. Participation is allowed, encouraged and expected. Please, don't leave without adding something.