The narrow gate (part 2) Martin J Collison
Posted by appolus on September 21, 2013
THE CURRENT “INSTITUTIONALISED” EXPRESSIONS OF CHRISTIANITY
Therefore, to start at the “top” so to speak, the current church “institutions” within the Evangelical / Pentecostal / Charismatic systems are “led” by a group of humans, just as you and I are. Entirely susceptible to being taken captive by error. Capable of “cherry-picking” when it comes to truth. In addition, as human beings we are all entirely susceptible to patterns of behaviour which are not necessarily inspired by the Holy Spirit or ordained by God. Even if the claim is made that they are this is not necessarily the case.
Much of the “follow the group” behaviour and succumbing to desires to “fit in” are entirely human traits. In this I mean they derive from the flesh. Any secular psychologist or sociologist would identify these traits as being prevalent in any group of humans. The fact that we may call ourselves a “church” does not alter these human characteristics. It is the flesh again. We certainly cannot claim that we have arrived at being “the church” or Jesus would have returned by now.
At worst, I have seen behaviours within many gatherings which comprise much of the life of these institutions that really borders on the outright delusional. Actually, a mass delusion at that. As a point of separate note along these lines, Christianity was never intended to be centred on meetings. It is a lifestyle of following Christ. For instance, some seem to think they are going to somehow change the kingdoms of this world through their presence and “influence” within them. They pump each other up in their gatherings. Motivate one another. For a while I fell for this. Such false teaching would be called “dominion” theology. It is rife in this day and highly dangerous. Folks wear themselves out with wrong intentions guided by wrong theology.
This is delusion of the worst kind. The systems of this world will never be changed. The Kingdom of God is an entirely separate entity. For me personally, I eventually began to distrust the system. I wanted something more. Now I see this as a yearning to truly follow Christ. I want God Himself and I believe in myself that I desire whatever that entails. In addition, as highlighted in the book “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, there are always those who move their way to the top of the system and the church is no different. The empire building spirit is very much alive and well in the church. Most seem only to be building modern day Towers of Babel.
I visited one of these modern day empires whilst in Kansas last year, although to my regret I have actually been part of smaller versions of the same type and form. They are everywhere. The same template is used over and over. Control and command structures abound. Even when they say the structures are aimed at “releasing” folks into their gifting, ministries and destinies, the test in their eyes is always based on how willing you are to submit to their systems. Your submission to Christ is therefore measured on your submission to fallen men and women. Those who show willingness to surrender to the system and the “leaders” will be in line for promotion. Just like in the world, those popular with the boss are the favoured ones and will perhaps one day get their own place on the platform and reserved parking space in the church car park.
Do they mark you higher for humility or sacrificial love? No. For looking after the widows or the orphans? Feeding the homeless? Visiting the sick or vulnerable in their hour of need? No. These church clubs don`t run along those lines. You don`t need their approval anyway. Yet again, I found the Lord actually drew me away. I hopped out the doors of this Kansas church “institution” conceding that at least prayer was going on. Even in the so-called atmosphere of prayer, the most sacred of things, it was sad to see those still seeking attention in a worldly way and those visibly vying to appear more holy than the rest. If this is being a “mover and shaker” in the current church age then I would rather stay out of it. Nothing has radically changed within these manufactured institutions, even within the relatively short passage of my lifetime so far. The “broad way” is all around.
It doesn`t matter whether its in Redding (yes I did say that and I will not die for it), Toronto, Kansas or wherever. The brand carries all the same hallmarks. “Leaders” sit at the top surrounded by a clique who everyone else talks of in hushed tones. Dare not criticise in any way. Messiahs in their own right. They have their own books, CD and teaching sets, their own reserved parking spaces and seats at the front of the hall. Off the production line come more celebrity worship leaders that others seem to aspire to emulate. Not the worst role models in the world but somehow still part of a “system”.
Is the system making us more like Jesus though? These church systems will become increasingly irrelevant to the disciple of Christ who seeks to yield to following the Master in a quiet and humble manner. If I were advising a new Christian, I would categorically advise they steer clear. All the desires of the world are played out in the false church arena. Ambition, striving for success and recognition. Jealousy. Rivalry. Love of image. Seeking the acceptance of man, including that of the appointed “leaders”, or, managers within the “franchised offshoots” as I sometimes call them. Some are utterly tired of these things. Even those churches which are supposed to be free of the denominational systems and are “independent” have often become empires in their own right. A paradox all of its own.