For those who aren't aware, this post is in response to a comment on my article My Strength, His Weakness. To the comment author, "Disciple", I'm not trying to make a scene here. My response turned out to be about 10 times longer than my comment length allowance, so I had to land it on here. I hope this better explains some things. Note to regular readers: We've addressed this topic dozens of times before, but you're of course welcome to read nonetheless.
Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad that you enjoyed “most” of this post.
I’d like to first of all assure you that I have no “deep seated anger” towards what the majority call “the church”. I was “in church” my entire life and, mere years ago, was a youth pastor for several years at two different churches. I was hurt, wronged and taken advantage of, of course. But this is nothing unique for the life of one who attempts church involvement. In fact, everyone I know who has been in church their whole lives has the exact same story. So, where I dwell is not in anger or bitterness, as many who don’t know me might errantly perceive. As I’ve explained in great length on this site throughout the years, how we gather is so much deeper than personal preference. I don’t “have problems with some of the things people do when it comes to organized religion”, as you stated that you do. It’s the entire mindset that drives it that, in my opinion, completely opposes Biblical Christianity. Tithes and offerings fund elaborate buildings, power bills and salaries. Positions and labels elevate some and bring others low. Little, if any of what the average “church” does truly has the time or capacity to properly and biblically disciple and develop truly born from above Believers. Therefore, the cycle that the Christian majority continues to push all to embrace moves on. Generation after generation leave the faith, never possessing their beliefs for themselves, only relying on Christian fables and church attendance, which of course wane.
I’ve always been intrigued when people use such words as “attack” to describe my stance regarding organized religion. My complete approach is to challenge what the mainstream assume to be Christianity. As with anything, when you confront what nearly everyone else deems as “right”, you get labeled as an attacker that is somehow disgruntled or combative. I simply encourage all to study the Word of God for themselves and at least be willing to think outside of this Western Christianity box. I see that far from detrimental. In fact, I believe it’s imperative that we all know what we believe and why.
Regarding your “he that is not against us is for us” reference, I believe the key is who is the “us”? We must look deeper into Scripture and properly evaluate everyone who calls themselves “Christian”. The label “Christian” means absolutely nothing to me. Fruit, Christ-like attributes, growing in biblical maturity, these things constitute a Believer, not just labels given by other men.
Lastly, you stated “We must build upon the work that has been done, and tear down the institutions that wish to devour the soul.” I couldn’t agree with you more – assuming that “the work that has been done” is the work of Christ. The institutions that declare, with their actions, that one absolutely must gather in ornate buildings, dress a certain way, talk a certain way and take part in their programs in order to be please God are exactly the institutions that devour the soul - for the focal point, that is Christ, is too far buried under the traditions of men to be seen.
I’d seriously encourage you to take a few minutes and read the articles I wrote some time ago addressing this topic specifically. One is the 7-part series, Pleasing and Acceptable: Allowing the Word of God to Define the Definitions that starts here. Another is The Church, Who Is She? - it’s short and located here. This is a deep and wide topic that takes more than a couple paragraphs to tackle. Again, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m not offended whatsoever. This needs discussed.
I assure you my friend, no “deep seated anger” is involved. (I know that the internet has no capability of "proving" this.) I too am saddened. Saddened that adhering to the narrow path, dwelling amongst the little flock, abstaining from the empty traditions and doctrines of men and longing for intimacy with my LORD above all else is so frowned upon from those within the organized masses. It’s time we are willing to forsake what we like and seek what is truth, whether it matches our comfort levels or not. True Christianity is not about personal preference, it’s about biblically adhering to what God deems as acceptable in His sight. All else needs discarded.