Christian Life 

The Remarkable Replacement Army

Stan Firth is a retired school teacher and church pastor. In a new book entitled 'The Remarkable Replacement Army' he uses a period in Norway's history as a model for survival when denominations fail.
 


article first published 01/05/2011
 
Replacement ArmyTHERE will always be 'Christian' denominations. Humans are religious creatures, and religion finds its expression in organisations with tangible features defined by buildings, staff, roles, assets, rituals and artefacts.

However we are living in an age when we see many of these institutions collapsing, fragmenting or dying of attrition. In this context many are asking "Where do I go?" and "What do I do?"

The following prophecy is taken from a book entitled 'The Remarkable Replacement Army' and the author describes it as 'an allegory from the past - pointing to a vibrant Christian lifestyle for the future'.

Using the history of the Norwegian Resistance Movement which was born following the collapse of the Norwegian Army during World War II and the exile of Norway's king, Stan Firth applies the lessons and models of survival under threat and persecution and fighting-on in a radically different environment.

Prophecy from 'The Remarkable Replacement Army'


I prophesy that the existing regiments of the Army of the King-of-Kings (the various denominations and "streams" which currently make up the Church) are going to disintegrate, sooner or later, during the 21st Century.

Already I see many signs of that. Furthermore, although there are individual churches, and groups of churches, which at the moment are, to all intents and purposes, "fighting well", I suggest that even they, in the long run, will all but disappear from the scene. I prophesy that the days of the Institutional Church are drawing to a close. I do not believe, however, that the King-of-Kings is discouraged - even though many Christians view the deteriorating situation with dismay. I am sure that He has known all along that these organisations are not constituted to withstand the end-time onslaughts of the forces-of-evil.

At the same time, there is no way that He will leave Himself without a body of "soldiers of Christ" to further His cause on Earth. My prediction is that, as the 21st Century unfolds, the King-of-Kings will come to be represented by an Army of a radically different style from the Army which has previously represented Him. I prophesy that He will replace His formal Army (His formal Church) with an informal network of dedicated believers - a veritable "resistance movement" of committed Christians.


This 'Replacement Army' will have its beginnings in the many faithful 'soldiers-in-waiting' who have already moved away from their institutionalised churches and are, at this very time, eagerly looking to see what their Lord and Commander wants of them next. As time goes on, they will be joined by more and more of their fellow-Christians from within the declining churches, and also by new Christians drawn from among the so-called 'unchurched'.

In this new set-up, there will be no church buildings, and no division between "clergy" and "laity"(or whatever you like to call that very real two-tier system which always seems to develop in church circles). Such a change will not, however, result in believers who refuse to be 'under authority' - people who are just 'doing their own thing'. It will result, rather, in believers who have discovered, in depth, what the Bible means by its frequent references to Christians being "led by the Spirit". God will, without question, continue to use role-models, and people of helpful influence. Nevertheless, I prophesy that Heaven's own "Special Agent" – the Holy Spirit
– will be the key figure in every locality.

As with the Norwegian Resistance, the Church of the Future will be something of a "Secret Army" - low-profile but high-achieving. It will not have the public visibility which the Church has enjoyed in many parts of the World in past centuries. Nevertheless, as with the Resistance, fellowcitizens will quickly realise that earnest followers-of-the-King are in their midst.

The work of Christ's "Replacement Army" will be done almost entirely in 'undercover operations', by individuals or by small groups, normally working just where they are, within the setting of their everyday lives. But I prophesy that it will be effective work - work which will bring joy and satisfaction to the Lord, and much blessing and deliverance, of one kind or another, to many needy people.

In due course, the glorious day will come when, backed by a mega-force which is beyond our imaginings, the Lord of Hosts will return to His World. Then, at last, Evil will get its final come-uppance, and the 'Restoration of All Things' will be accomplished. I do not know when that will be, but my over-all prophesy is this: whether it be long or short, the closing era of the history of the christian church will be the era of the "replacement army".". Note

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Footnotes:
The Remarkable Replacement Army book is available on-line as a download in PDF form, but for easier reading it is also available at an affordable price in traditional form. Experiencing the workload of responding to questions put to him after publishing the booklet 'Custom and Command', Firth has now developed a web site to handle questions and responses to his most recent publication.

The above article is part of a developing series of articles designed to answer some of the questions that Christians are asking, and address some of the issues that they are facing in the 21st century.


Stan FirthStan Firth is a Scot, married and now living in the south of England. Prior to retirement he worked as a school teacher and also as a church pastor. He has experienced 'church' both in traditional and non-traditional forms.

Christians Together / Stan Firth, 01/05/2011

Feedback:
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Dale (Guest) 01/08/2013 15:23
I must get and read this book sometime. Is this the falling away from the faith predicted at the end time, or is God going to use the House Church movement to extend His kingdom in the future?
Editor 01/08/2013 17:43
Dale, From having spoken to Stan Firth at the time and since read his book,heard his testimony, learned of his life journey I do not at all doubt his Christian commitment. It was and is his study of God's word that has led him to the views he holds.

I hope very shortly to publish something sent quite independently from another elderly saint whose views align very closely with those of Stan.

As a personal view I believe that what these men have written (from a mature and lifelong Christian walk) is very much what the Spirit is saying to the church(es). And by 'church(es' I mean the body of Christ.

Stan's earlier book 'Custom and Command' is shorter and is an excellent 'lead in' to the 'Remarkable Replacement Army'. Both can be downloaded or purchased on-line. (See links in article.)

We are, I believe, living in most remarkable times; and much of what has 'been' is crumbling. Some may regard this with trepidation; others with a sense of Godly excitement.
Colin Ford 02/08/2013 00:12
I resonate with the penultimate paragraph quoted from his book, above.
It is a mournful sight, what we are witnessing today? The so-called institutional "Church" set up? Is this an effective witness in it's current form to a lost and dying world? I trow not.
Dale (Guest) 16/08/2013 21:40
I received both books from lulu.com earlier this week. I am nearly half-way through the reading of both of them! I am really getting some great ideas from these books!! How one can live as a Christian and be pleasing to God outside the structured church environment.
Jack Thomson (Guest) 16/08/2013 21:56
Question: How can one live as a Christian and be pleasing to God outside the structured church environment?
Answer is to be found in Acts 2/42-47 & Acts 4/32-37

Colin Ford (Guest) 16/08/2013 22:28
Jack,
I agree entirely, though with one caveat: Can this, what some would call an "ideal world" happen until the Lord's Second Advent? Not until Psalm 110. 1, 2, 3 etc...
I know (or so I perceive) exactly where you are coming from, yes, we see error, fault, and worse in the so called "structured church environment" as you call it, yes, I agree with you! But why on God's earth would you begin to think that God is even remotely pleased with the "structured church environment, as you put it? I think not!
The Apostolic model of communion, is of course truly Biblical, I don't think you will find anyone disagreeing with me there, not one? However, can this model be replicated today? I think not.

Jack Thomson (Guest) 17/08/2013 09:03
Colin,
I fear that in the second paragraph of your last response you have confused my comment with Dale's.
For the record, I believe that the 'structured church environment' is a man-made (and very, very poor) replication of what true Christian fellowship is meant to be.
'Structued church' has the form - or appearance of godliness but denies/opposes its power.
Why?
Because it is fundamentally 'flesh' based - and the 'flesh' will always contend and oppose a true move of the Holy Spirit.
By 'flesh' I mean everything that contibutes to the making of a natural - and therefore naturally godless man:a self focused and self preserving psyche led by an eternally unviable spirit which in turn is enslaved to the spirit of the world......
Editor 17/08/2013 09:14
It is essential to realise and apply the distinction between 'principle' and 'practice'. And the principles which the Bible teaches do not change.

For instance while there are no 'temple courts' in which disciples can gather (Acts 2:46) the 'practice' of meeting together daily in public discourse (fellowship) wherever people commonly gather is biblical and therefore highly commendable. And they did these things 'daily' not exclusively on one day of the weeek.

As another example, we may not be 'selling fields' and laying the proceeds at the apostles' feet. But are we really sharing what we have amongst the body or has the concept of 'ownership' and the welfare state robbed the body of Christ of the biblical injunction to care for one another?

See - http://www.christianstogether.net/Articles/301453/Christians_Together_in/Christian_Life/Christian_Survival_Resource/Are_we_really.aspx

So in answer to the question 'can we apply the early-church models to our age' is both Yes and No: the practical details might change, but we must strive to maintain the principles; many of which have been lost in the structured religious formats which have grown up since the 3rd/4th century.

What is certainly not permissible is an apathetic acceptance of a biblically-deficient status quo.
Dale (Guest) 17/08/2013 10:33
Jack, The last sentence of my posting yesterday was not a question - it was a basic summing up of the main thesis of the two books. (You changed the word order slightly to reflect the sentence as a question). What takes place within a regular 'church service' on a Sunday of any denomination is mainly based on custom or tradition. We should concentrate on what God COMMANDS, rather than placing too much emphasis on CUSTOMS.
Colin Ford (Guest) 17/08/2013 10:40
Sorry Jack for giving the inference that you advocate "structured church" as you call it, formalism and ritualism! Many apologies! I have just re-read your previous comments on this thread, and from memory, I now remember that you oppose organised religion in all its forms!

Whilst on this topic, when I came out of "structured church", (and wasn't it just!)
Eventually I morphed into a small "house church" group, where we would meet in each others houses every Saturday for a "shared meal" because Sun-day was considered pagan!
I soon realised that formalism and ritualism was creeping in everywhere!
But WHAT is true religion, James 1.27 KJV ? It is how we live our daily lives, I need not go through the Commandments, we ought to know what they are, and of course I thoroughly encourage believers to meet together, whenever possible.
There is a "house church" movement from down south, that came from America, but are heavily charismatic! A lot of the stuff they teach is good, but the error? And anyway the strongest elder would end up being the "Big Cheese"! So you just end up morphing into organised religion again.
The same happened with the Plymouth Brethren? Their history is a MUST-study.
Editor is correct regards the welfare state (NHS), we must NEVER forget that it was founded by Bevan a Marxist socialist! This IS BIG government at work, it robbed the common man of personal responsibility, and his reliance upon God? And look where the nation is now? The same applies to EVERY other area of government today, especially State education? It is all ungodly.
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