Continued from Part 1
“Today’s culture of independent individualism has created many spiritual orphans – “bunny believers” who hop around from one church to another without any identity, accountability, or commitment. Many believe it is possible to be a “good Christian” without joining (or even attending) a local church, but God would strongly disagree.”
Let’s take a closer look at the magnitude of the deceit that lies within these lines above. “Today’s culture of independent individualism”, so far so good. Reader is engaged by a statement that no one can deny. But then the author goes on to associate this independent individualism to be the direct cause of being “spiritual orphans”. Can such a type of Christian really exist? Not according to the Scriptures that I read, not according to the Father that loves me and promises me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. No term used by Church Leadership and Church Growth Gurus gets me more enraged than this one: “Spiritual Orphans”.
No person who accepts Christ to be Lord and Saviour in their heart and soul can be a spiritual orphan. This is a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron and proof that for the author of this devotional and all those who follow him and so many like him, when they call Christ Lord, that is where in their minds His lordship ends, because God, our Heavenly Father, is clearly not sufficient as a Father to anyone who comes to Christ, He is not the Head, the pillar upon which everything stands and has its being. Christ is clearly not enough in order for God to act as our Heavenly Father who tends to our every spiritual need; putting his son on a cross is not enough. Membership in a church or even attending one is what is truly needed for us to be true sons and daughters of the LIVING God. Indeed, if not being part of a church family makes me a spiritual orphan, you are saying that God is not my Father, for orphans do not have one. Such a statement denies the very core purpose for which Christ died on the cross: the veil was torn, God’s wrath satisfied and the door now open for anyone who is in Christ to have direct access to The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Where in that can one come to the conclusion that anyone called a Christian who is not part of a church is a spiritual orphan? The deception and false teaching in this is so huge, so on your face, so obvious, that sometimes it is the very fact that it is staring us in the face, that makes us mistake deceit for truth, because our eyes are only focusing and our discernment is being impaired by what is seen and not by what is unseen.
The patronising, arrogant and insulting litany goes on as Christians who are not members of a local church are described as “bunny believers” who have no identity, accountability or commitment. Identity? I thought it was Christ and our faith in Him alone that defined our identity. Sadly, today being part of a local church only defines your identity as that of someone who supports this or that vision of a particular pastor or church leader. Accountability? Easy to be accountable to people who buy into what you are selling, who believe in your authority, because it is they who put you on a pedestal and even if you err from what is Godly and truth, you will not be made truly accountable, because it is easier to go with the flow and the flock than to be singled out and ostracised for being true to the voice of the One and Only Shepherd who deserves our sole worship and blind obedience, for trying to put a stop to the lies, falsehood and deceit.
Commitment? Commitment to what? To a set of rules and obligations I must abide by in order to comply with what is expected of me as a Christian individual who defines himself as a member of this or that Church Family? Yes, I have experienced that kind of commitment. The kind that puts a yoke round your neck and fills you with guilt if you do not pick up a chain and pull as hard as you can in order to sell and market whatever it is this or that pastor is trying to sell to the world so that they can earn their claim to fame in Christendom and beyond. The kind of chain that makes you feel held and secure, a part of something bigger than yourself, something worthy, something lofty, only to then one day look down at your hands and feet and realise that what you are actually enjoying is an illusion of freedom, freedom to sacrifice, serve and financially support the leadership and captain at the helm of that vessel you have been chained to. Then one day you finally pluck up the courage to stand up, be counted, demand your true freedom in Christ, seek after the Holy Spirit’s guidance to fulfil what it is you were called to fulfil in the sphere God has placed you in. It is on that fine day that your chains will be cut and your body and soul thrown into the open seas. Whilst evil intended for any shark to feed on the carnage that such fleshly crusades leave behind, God will use this painful experience to peel off the layers of bondage and deceit thrown upon you by the very ones who pride themselves in helping you to discover freedom in Christ. You will be immersed in abundant waters that will never run out; you will never be thirsty again and you will know what true freedom in Christ really is meant to be.
But here is the mother of all lies, la crème de la crème of deception which seeks to manipulate and control under the guise of passion, love and devotion: “Many believe it is possible to be a “good Christian” without joining (or even attending) a local church, but God would strongly disagree.”
Again, we must be reading scripture inspired by two different Gods. The one I read conveys there is no such thing as a “good Christian” for we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Can it be that the person who has written this has established this distinction in order to convince his readers that there are two camps within Christianity: the good and the bad ones, the godly and the ungodly, the saved and the unsaved perhaps? Not explicitly said but thrown in there as a little hint, a mere implied suggestion just to catch the attention of those who can be easily swayed by fear and the kind of truths that are made truth just because an ” important” and influential majority in a particular field has declared it so.
I think what the author is really trying to say here is “in order to be a genuine, true Christian” and not a “good Christian”, for again this term is another oxymoron. If there were good Christians as opposed to bad ones, wouldn’t that mean that the need for Christ in their life would become obsolete, that God gives them a special treatment just because they are good and where is that righteousness come from: them being in Christ or their own achievements and goodness? Again, statements like this one challenge the very pillars the Christian faith stands on, on a monumental scale, so I will not be the one to read something like that and swallow it whole in the hope that it will go down and produce the effect it was intended for. It is easily done, just put “God would strongly disagree” at the end of your statement and that will surely have the desired effect on the reader. Where is the grace, the non-judgementalism, the humility that surely should be so characteristic of those who ceremoniously like to label themselves as Christian Leaders or biblically put “servant to all”. Now there is an incredible contrast between what Jesus defined as “leading” and what church leaders have decided it should mean instead. Such utter violation of what is truth in Christ should send our alarm bells ringing, but do we listen? No, it is easier to go on as we are and pretend we have it all figured out.
I hope one day the person who wrote this article looks back and ponders on the question: Did my words bring freedom or bondage to millions of Christians out there who are not part of a church/church family? Did I transmit grace to those who do not share my views or did I cast them out as “not good enough” with my judgemental heart? Did I truly manage to convince non-church going Christians that they are in the wrong, that they are lost, without a compass or did my frivolous, obnoxious assumptions only serve to confirm the very reasons why they either broke loose from the Church system or stopped going to a particular church in the first place?