Am I anti-church? Recently this question came up. I wanted to address this in my blog so those who read this blog will know where I stand.
Allow me to state at the onset that I am absolutely NOT anti-church by any means. I love God's church. I love God's people. It's my sincere desire to see the church be the church God intends for her to be. I think anyone who truly knows me knows this. I know we have a number of readers of this blog who do not know me personally, so I wanted to let you know where I stand.
Now having said that, I AM opposed to the modern institutional church system. As I have written in previous blog posts today's institutional church is so far removed from what God intended that it's not even recognizable to God. Most of our church customs and traditions have their roots in paganism. I might add most of the things we do in our church services (including the service itself) has no basis in Scripture. That's what I am opposed to.
Today's institutional church leaves its members spiritually and sometimes emotionally bound up. In many cases it seeks to drain them of their financial resources as well as their time and energy. This simply is not the New Testament church in action.
Today's institutional church has done a good deal to dissuade people from joining God's family. So many of today's modern churches are spiritually lifeless. Oftentimes there are cliques, backbiting, bickering among other things in these churches. Who wants to have anything to do with that?
The modern church places a good deal of emphasis on "church membership" sometimes pushing people to "join" the church. Joining the church, they say, gives you a voice. God's church isn't supposed to be a democracy. I, personally, don't believe in church membership as it's emphasized today. I believe when one is born again, he or she is born into the family of God. That makes you a member of His family - His church. That's good enough for me. By the way, I see no precedent for church membership in the early church.
I hear stories often of people struggling in their spiritual lives sitting right there on the church pew. The modern church gives the people the misconception that they get "fed" spiritually by coming to church. While there may be some truth to that, our primary source of spiritual growth should be our personal time time with God. We should love Him, praise, Him, worship Him, serve Him, honor Him, adore Him and spend time with Him.
These things, no doubt, sound odd coming from one who is currently shepherding a congregation in a rural setting. I addressed this in an earlier blog post titled"WHY AM I A PASTOR?" I know beyond a shadow of a doubt God set my wife and I here for a season. I'm equally as sure there will come a time when God will lead us out. You see, while this church we are in is considered "outside the box" in a lot of ways to those who are still in the box, it still has it's traditions and ways of doing things. It's my hope that I will be able to lead this congregation into a new found spiritual freedom that comes only in Jesus.
The church - God's church - gathers together with the intent of each member functioning. There are no pastors as we recognize them today. "Pastor" is not and should not be a position in a church, but rather a function. The meetings should be spontaneous with songs, testimonies and sharing. Above all Jesus Christ should be and must be the center of each meeting. You see, in God's church, It's all about Jesus!
So, rest assured, I'm pro-church - God's way!
Until next time, enjoy the journey!
you know of someone who would be challenged and encouraged by this blog
please pass on a link to them. You can share this blog easily by
clicking on the links below. I believe the church needs to be set free
from the bondage of the status quo she has been in for so long. The
blogs over the next few weeks will help us to see how this can be done.