When will they get it? Some people just don't get it. We do our best to minister the Word in such a way as to break the spiritual chains that bind people, yet they reject it. It seems like they actually enjoy living in the bondage they are in. That makes no sense to me. Yet given the time we are living in, it shouldn't surprise me.
Paul, writing to Timothy, stated, "...in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy...". These are strong, but true words. It's been my experience through the years that Satan deceives people by offering a counterfeit of the real thing. I believe that Satan has a counterfeit for everything God has. This includes the church.
I'm not even talking about the Satanic Church or whatever they may call it. I'm talking about this corporate entity that we consider "church" today. It deceives so many. With it comes "membership" as if they are joining an exclusive club. With membership, of course, comes privileges. In these so called churches, it is the members who vote on various things. It is the membership who makes all the important decisions regarding their version of "church". Really, it's become nothing more than "churchianity". I'm not sure who coined that term, but it seems applicable.
God set us in a corporate church setting 4 1/2 years ago. He did so for a purpose. I, personally, didn't want to go, but I did want to obey God. I still do want to obey God. God has used us to encourage, exhort and edify this local church body. They had been through a terrible time. God sent us there for a time to love them and for a healing to take place. I have no doubt that God brought us there for this purpose. He has also led us to preach and teach them things from His Word that would make them "free indeed". We've done our best to be faithful to what God has led us to do.
This past Sunday we had a meeting and I recommended that we abolish formal church membership. After searching the Scriptures and doing some historical research, I find absolutely no precedence for church membership in Scripture. I believe if we are going to be a Bible believing church we should stick to God's Word. Since there is no mention or precedent for formal church membership in the Bible, I believe its time to remove that chain of bondage.
This is a small congregation with nearly as many non-members as members attending. Many of the non-members are more faithful than some of the members. The non-members are not "joiners". I agree with them. My wife and I are not joiners either. We believe one is born again into the family of God. I also believe non-members who are active and involved with the local assembly should have input as well as those who are members. I don't believe there are any "second class Christians" in the Kingdom of God. When you have that member/non-member divide it has the propensity to make the non-members feel like they are less important. This is just plain wrong!!!!
Because no one would make the motion to abolish formal church membership it fell dead without much discussion. The few comments that were made amounted to "We've always done it this way.". In my opinion, always having done it this way and continuing to do it this way will stifle and eventually kill any move of God in a local assembly. We must be open to what God desires for us.
I had the opportunity to share with the congregation that so much of what goes on in our churches (including this particular assembly) does not have its' origins in Scripture, but rather in man.
I've come to the conclusion that either they don't get it or they simply don't care. They are comfortable with the way things are. That's not good enough for me.
I suppose you've picked up on my frustration by now. I don't see that getting any better anytime soon. Who knows, maybe this could be the year God releases us from this assignment. Stay tuned.
Until next time...enjoy the journey.
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