I QUIT CHURCHIANITY – PART 1

A few weeks ago, I was reading a post in a pastor’s blog who mentioned the book “Mere Churchianity” by Michael Spencer, known as the Internet Monk.  Before reading that post, I knew nothing about this man, his ministry or his message.  Sadly, he has recently passed away, but behind he leaves an inspiring journey of self-discovery and countless messages of truth, rebuke and prophetic encouragement which have certainly got me stirred up and uplifted, as I recognise myself in much of what he says and where the Spirit of God was leading him and countless others.

I had planned to purchase the book and then take it away on our three-week holiday to read whilst away, but last night as I lied in bed, I took a glance at it and something in me felt powerfully drawn to the book and to the revelation that I anticipate lies within it.   On the back cover, I saw a sentence which reads: “Have you left the church in search of Jesus?”  The moment I read that, I just knew the right book had just landed on the right person’s lap and it was no accident.

I have only read the first chapter, but even reading the last paragraph in that chapter, I realise I have not been going mad in these last few years in thinking that church as it stands today has lost its power, its meaning, its anointing, its purpose, its authenticity and worse still its Christlikeness, and as a direct result of that,  people are jumping ship as if they knew that The Church, as we understand it today,  is heading for impending disaster and extinction.  For years now I have been sharing this kind of message with many Christian friends and acquaintances, but I have often encountered much disagreement and rejection for thinking this way.  The truth is that in saying these things, people perceive you as rejecting Jesus, but nothing can be further from the truth.  Declaring that the church has lost its way stems not from a heart that despises the Bride of Christ, Christian Brothers and Sisters or even God, but from a heart which is trying to silence all the voices around it except the voice of the Lord, a heart that strives to be true to itself and a heart which refuses to conform to men’s dictates for the sake of keeping the status quo, because there is just too much at stake and because the time is so, so short.

Let me show you that very last paragraph in the first chapter of this book.  On reading that, I felt such freedom, such a personal touch from God, such relief that someone would feel what I am feeling, seeing what I am seeing and describing what myself and thousands of others are feeling right now with regards to the Western Church, its ways and its self-serving mechanisms.

“Mere Churchianity is written for people who have come to the end of the road with the church but who can’t entirely walk away from Jesus.  In the wreckage of a church-shaped religious faith, the reality of Jesus of Nazareth persists and calls out to them. I am talking to those who have left, those who will leave, those who might as well leave, and those who don’t know why they are still hanging around.

I am writing to the outsiders who might be drawn to God, if it weren’t for Christians.”

I am planning to continue to read the book, and as I am touched deeply by some of the things which Michael denounces in today’s church and today’s church-shaped spirituality, I will write posts to express my views on those particular issues.

I hope you can join me in this exciting journey and that I can be blessed by your insights and feedback.  I know many out there share the views expressed in this book and they feel overwhelmed by those feelings, just as I was.  But please know you are not alone.  The Church and those at its helm try to silence these cries within the Body, but I believe they stem from the Spirit of God breathing a new thing in the hearts of those who listen to the still small voice daily, and no one and nothing will ever be able to deter the passion in God’s heart for His Bride or the cries of his watchmen and women. 

Yesterday I listened to a sermon by Max Lucado which spoke of man’s tendency to put people and God in a box.  Max said that once we put a person, a group of people, the Church or even God in a box, we like to leave them there, because to allow them out, demands energy on our part and admitting that we were so wrong in the first place.  It is my belief that this is exactly what is happening in the Church today.  Not only many who are leaving, but even pastors and people in church leadership are fully aware that the church is marching on in its own strength at present, following its own voices and vision.  However,  admitting that God may be done with the old and is bringing in a new thing actually means effort on their part and accepting the scary prospect of the need for a radical change and maybe even the loss of their job and a meaningful ministry which gave sense and a purpose to their life, not to mention financial support for them and their families.

I leave you with another thought from Michael:  More church does not equal more of Jesus in us.  In fact, the evidence very much testifies to the contrary.

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 2

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7 thoughts on “I QUIT CHURCHIANITY – PART 1

  1. Great thoughts! I am troubled by the fact that many of the people who are going to church faithfully are not saved and are not showing signs of any fruit! And worse, they are lulled into a false sense of security into believing that they are saved. Where are these Shepherds who are leading around dead sheep with no signs of revival? All I can believe is that the truth has been so compromised as to not be the truth at all. Jesus wasn’t seeker-friendly! He spoke the whole truth of what you must do to be saved! He didn’t run after the rich young ruler and try to get him back by telling him he has it half right! What is happening in the church of Christ? The Church that Christ gave his life for is now compromising the good news in order to fill churches.

    I am frustrated and deeply saddened!

    • Marianne,

      Please do not be saddened. You are one of the people with the strongest deepest faith I know.

      Jesus said to Peter: “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” – Matthew 16:18

      Fear not, God has known the course The Church would take from the beginning of times, and He also knows: “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman, and went off to make war with the remnant of her seed, those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17

      What Satan may use to work evil and bring temptation to the people of God, God uses to pull out the weeds.

      Continue to trust and lay your hope in the One who was, IS and forever WILL BE.

      With love,

      Mercedes

  2. Thanks for sending this to me!! You are right – I was blessed by it and I want that book!! I really resonate with what you’ve written here.

    When you say”Declaring that the church has lost its way stems not from a heart that despises the Bride of Christ, Christian Brothers and Sisters or even God”

    I would say that it’s exactly opposite! We desire to see that pure & blameless Bride as He sees us – we desire His work to be done and for “us” to truly SUBMIT to HIM and nothing else. in Ephesians it says – the Bride’s job is submission to Him — HE will present Himself pure & radiant to Himself…. we are soo busy trying to be attractive to man – we are not in submission to HIS work!

    Anyway 🙂 So much more I could say – but YES YES YES thank you for including me ! and i hope to continue to remember to check on your blog!!!

    THis was also beautiful — and reminded me of Frank Viola’s From Eternity to Here:

    “The Church and those at its helm try to silence these cries within the Body, but I believe they stem from the Spirit of God breathing a new thing in the hearts of those who listen to the still small voice daily, and no one and nothing will ever be able to deter the passion in God’s heart for His Bride or the cries of his watchmen and women. ”

    BEAUTIFUL

    and this was extremely true & powerful. OUCH:

    “Not only many who are leaving, but even pastors and people in church leadership are fully aware that the church is marching on in its own strength at present, following its own voices and vision. However, admitting that God may be done with the old and is bringing in a new thing actually means effort on their part and accepting the scary prospect of the need for a radical change and maybe even the loss of their job and a meaningful ministry which gave sense and a purpose to their life, not to mention financial support for them and their families.”

    THANK YOU! 🙂 Talk soon,

    • Thank you Randi. Your encouraging words are always so edifying.

      I intend to analyse various points raised in the book in future posts, so stay tuned and do please leave your input. It is always refreshing to hear the views of those who have arrived to the same place where I find myself today, without being judged or considered lost goods because I no longer have church and churchianity at the center of my spirituality and because church no longer calls the shots in my obedience to Jesus.

      Glad your family is thriving and that you are loving the Lord in a fresh new way. It takes courage to swim against the current, to think out of the box.

      I am praying that you will be blessed and that as you continue to delight in the Lord, He delights more so in you and your servant’s heart.

      With love,

      Mercedes

  3. I too wholeheartedly agree with you. What is being ‘branded’ as the church of Jesus Christ today by most media and teleevangelist are bordering on the consequcences of Sodom and Gormorrah.
    I can only say to you and others who share your sentiment, that when others mock and sneer about you. The the Acts of the Apostles in chapt 5:28-31,” We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, he said, “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this mans blood. Peter and the other apostles replied; “WE MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN!
    My sisters/brothers continue (daily) to “filled Jerusalem with your teaching”, and God will get the glory, the honor, and the praise! Hallelujah

  4. @elcafe37

    Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your views. I hope you will stick around as I share more nuggets found in Michael Spencer’s book.

    We can all learn much from a healthy debate about these issues, and it is enriching to have new voices like yours come into the equation, so I thank God that you decided to leave your views here today.

    God bless you

    Mercedes

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