GrowingInLOVE

..Sharing with Fellow Christians..

Why I No Longer Attend Church November 11, 2009

Filed under: My Thoughts — growinginlove @ 5:41 pm
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This blog is not a poem or story..It’s moreso just how I’ve been feeling lately…nothing organized or formatted, because I’m really just pouring out what’s on my mind..so bear with me..lol

Now, I’ve never been the one to cling to titles…I actually can’t stand them, honestly.  People are so concerned with being known as a Baptist, Methodist, Apostolic, Episcopalian, and whatever else is out there…I just prefer to say that I’m a follower of Christ..Anywho, I have, as of recently, decided that I’d be a “churchless Christian” (for the time being..until God leads me to the proper place/people)…Just today I ran across a term that I thought was cute and it made me laugh to myself:  “free-range Christian”…isn’t that a term used for chicken?..lol.  It’s a term for the Christians who have decided to step away from the “institutional church”…

Now, for some reason, the hairs on the backs of church-going Christians’ necks stand up when you say you don’t go to church.  Public Announcement:  Not all non-churchgoers are backsliders.  People are quick to throw out Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” But where is the verse that tells us how large that assembly has to be?  Where does it say that it has to be in the same building at the same time on the same day each week? What about what Jesus said in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”?  That appears to be a pretty small assembly to me.  The Hebrews 10:25-ers seem to ignore verse 24, which says, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works..” THEN, verse 25 comes in…I could be wrong, but verse 24 seems to show us the REASON for verse 25.  Provoking one another unto love and good works and exhorting each other is the purpose for assembling together.  Therefore, is it wrong to forsake the assembling if the assembly has forsaken its purpose of provoking one another unto love and good works and exhortation?  Basically, there is no scriptural reference or basis for pledging membership to any organization, whether it claims to be of Christ or not…we are to only pledge loyalty to Christ..
What we call “church” was not created to be what it is now. It comes across as very pharisaical–one of the very thing s that Christ spoke against during his ministry on earth.  Our Heavenly Father does NOT approve of his sheep being lorded or controlled by any but Himself.  Christ is the Head of the Church..not the pastor.  And the Church is not the building, hierarchy, institution, business, or corporation, etc. that we see today…Christ’s body of believers is the Church..The Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands-Acts 7:48, Acts 17:24

So far, I’ve used the terms pharisaical, building, hierarchy, institution, business, and corporation.  I realize these terms may seem offensive, but a pig isn’t offending by being a called a pig..unless it thinks it’s a pony.

Why do I see the church system as pharisaical?  Well, in the days that Christ walked the earth, and prior to, the Pharisees and Sadducees had been enforcing laundry lists of religious rules for the people to follow…They were a puffed up bunch in positions of power and authority who exhibited outward shows of self-righteousness, they oppressed the laity–regular folks–and looked down upon them as if they themselves had all the answers.  They even tried to accuse Christ Himself of breaking religious laws and of blasphemy.  They tried, in vain, to trip Him up in all kinds of different ways.  In short, they thought they were the authority on holiness.  Now flashforward to today.   That same attitude or spirit, if you will, is still quite in operation today.  Many of these church leaders have special sets of rules and rituals that they enforce in either their own specific “church” or it’s a widespread sign or seal that is unique to their”denomination”.  The Pharisees enforced man-made laws over and above God’s laws.  These “denominations” seek to enforce their own man-made patterns and traditions that are not backed by scripture, causing division…Christ isn’t a siamese twin..He is the only Head, and He only has one body-one Church…Now, if you expect to be a member of that church or particular denomination, you have to follow those rules and/or abide by those traditions, customs, habits, or whatever may be the term of your liking.  This is imposing extra-biblical requirements upon God’s people…BONDAGE!!!..Christ said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light-Matthew 11:30…We are only supposed to be yoked and bound to CHRIST and doing what He tells us–what’s in His Word, not MAN’S systems and ways of doing things…That’s when we get into bondage which is exactly what Christ freed us from by His finished work on the Cross…The New Testament tells us about the liberty we have in Christ…Why would you settle for some human strapping their yokes and burdens of bondage back onto you?  Sounds a lot like the children of Israel complaining to Moses, wishing they could go back to Egypt after God had freed them from the bondage of Egypt…*sigh*..Biblical proof that some folks just prefer to be slaves and long for human rule over themselves…Let Christ govern your life and you’ll be more than alright.  I recognize the fact that God speaks through people..yes, He does..but people are not here to be our source of knowledge..God is..His Holy Spirit is the Teacher and He’ll guide you into all truth-John 16:13. We’ve become way to dependent upon people nowadays..We’ll bring a problem to a pastor or another person before we bring it to God..That is totally out of order..More dependency and loyalty is placed in the “church” system then in the Father and His Word…IDOLATRY!!

How does the church system operate as a hierarchy?  Christ said, in Matthew 23:8-12, “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”  The titles of Father, Master, and Teacher are to only be given to our Heavenly Father.  Also, He said that the greatest among us should be our servant. Luke 22:25-26 says, “And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.”  Christ is against men exercising lordship over His flock…Those who call themselves pastors, bishops, teachers, etc are there to serve the body of Christ and feed His sheep, not to BE served, or feed themsleves, as they are now.  There is so much pastor worship going on, it’s sickening.  The pastor is being treated like a king, when he should be a humble servant, setting an example for us to follow..we’re all to be humble servants…I’m not seeing a lot of humility in many of the church leaders I see…We are all to submit and be subject one to another, but it appears that only those who are in positions of power and control require submission, but they wouldn’t dream of submitting to those who are “beneath” them…To be a shepherd means nothing more than being an example unto the flock in how to fully take up our cross and follow Christ, because, techinically, the “shepherds” are still sheep…unless they’re wolves, of course… 1Peter 5:1-3 says, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.” (I’ll get to the ‘filthy lucre’ part in a sec)  The Father also has judgment in store for the abusers of His sheep.  God spoke through Jeremiah the prophet in Jeremiah 23:1-2, saying, “Woe be to the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! says the Lord.  Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed My people; You have scattered My flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them:  behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.”  Those who call themselves leaders will have to answer to God about what they’ve been doing and not doing in regards to God’s people, this includes those who claim to have received their position, “calling”, or “anointing” from God, when they’re really self-appointed or man-appointed..

Oh, the many ways the “church” is a business/corporation.  They’re God-peddlers, moneychangers in the temple, sellers of the Faith..or a faith, anyway…Apparently, there’s big money to be made as a pastor…Matthew 21:12-13, “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”   I’ve heard the excuse that He only cast out those that sold at unfair prices, cheating people.  Clearly, the Scripture doesn’t make a distinction between who is and isn’t allowed to sell..(sidenote-they bought and sold, yet were still called thieves..hmm..interesting)…Christ made ALL of them leave.  Mark 11:15-18, “And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.”  I’m no “bible scholar” but I’ll go out on a limb and assume that the scribes and priests feared Him and wanted to destroy Him because people were actually taking notice of what He said about buying and selling in the temple, and that probably meant that Jesus’ words would hinder the money being made..and people don’t like for you to mess with their money.  No “church” should be buying or selling anything…Christ Himself would turn over the tables and probably turn the church bookstores upside down.  If a “pastor” cares so much about people’s salvation, well-being, and the quality of their lives, why would he make the people pay for that information.  Why do pastors have books upon books about how to do this or that, or how to live this way, how to get this to work for you?  If they felt it that important to help you, they should broadcast the message on their television programs free of charge.  If their revelation on how to do things came from God, I’m sure they didn’t write God a check in order to get it, so why do they get to put a price tag and barcode on it?  If I had some pertinent information that could change people’s lives, I wouldn’t dare expect payment for it. Also, why are million dollar jets, homes, cars, etc for the pastor being purchased for their “ministry” while there are people in their own congregations who probably had to choose between using their money for food or for rent?  Your “ministry” should start at home.  Why go to other countries to do things when there are families 20 minutes from their homes who are poor and don’t know the Gospel of Christ?  Instead, they hop in their private jets and fly right over the heads of their own community they’ve ignored just to dump their “religious” garbage on foreigners.  Christianity is one of the world’s largest religions, and it got that way before television and radio..What’s wrong with pounding the pavement for free and spreading the Gospel?..that’s how Jesus and the apostles did it….These people boast multi-million dollar ministries, but are spiritually bankrupt, and sadly, many don’t even know it..and dangerous are the ones who do…they also rob their “members” or patrons…I’ve already written about “tithing” so look on the side for my blog about the tithe, but if your pastor is telling you that tithing 10% of your income is required, they’re either ignorant of the Word concerning giving, or are intentionally conning you out of your money using fear tactics (being cursed for robbing God) and convincing you to treat God like a slot machine, e.g. “Sow a seed” and “The return on your giving”…Anyone who uses the excuse that the pastor has to drill you for money so the “church’s” needs are met, are in denial..if the establishment or “ministry” is from God, He’ll maintain it, if not then it’ll fall like it deserves to.  2Peter 2:1-3 says, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”  I don’t know about you, but I will no longer be the merchandise to feed any covetous man’s pockets, let alone while he endeavors to prostitute the Word of God…And how sorely do they ignore Christ’s warnings against the love of money and the desire for earthly wealth…

The long and short of why I’ve stopped attending “church” is because I’ve discovered that many churches (and no, I’m not condeming ALL “churches”) are preaching a “different gospel” and “another Jesus”, (2Corinthians 11:4 and Galatians 1:6-9) even though most would disagree …The Father has blessed me with the ability to discern between true and false teachings, and He’s giving it to me and increasing it according to His will..so I’m still learning…He’s taught me to filter EVERYTHING through His Word..if I find a discrepancy or encounter something I’m unsure of, I pray about it, and He either clarifies it for me so that I understand it, or exposes it for the lie that it is…I just refuse to eat the leaven-mingled messages and sit through the unscriptural practices of “churches” anymore…I pray that the Father opens the blind eyes of those who are being deceived, but sadly, many of the followers are receiving exactly what they want…2Timothy 4:3-4“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2Timothy 3:1-7, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” People WANT what’s being given to them.  They don’t want the REAL TRUTH of God’s Word..whatever the pastors tell them, that’s what they want…whatever the pastor is telling them that “God wants them to have” or what “God wants them to be” is what they want…they don’t want to know what God really says and what He really desires FROM us instead of FOR us…they want their itching ears satisfied..and this love for lies and lack of desire for the truth will put them in a dumbed-down state, which they’ll enjoy, and it will  prepare them for the appearance of the antichrist, to accept his deception through his lying signs and wonders..and GOD will SEND them strong delusions so that they’ll buy into the lie because they didn’t  have a love for the truth.  That’s their judgment. (2Thessalonians 2:1-12) 

I would apologize for my rant, but I won’t..I’m upset about this..I’m upset about God’s people being lulled to sleep in ignorance while they’re being sheared and starved…All I can do is inform those who’ll listen and pray for those who won’t..It’s all in the Father’s hands…

(The only thing I will apologize for is for the unorganized manner in which this was presented, but in all fairness, I warned you in the beginning..this is a blog in the truest, rawest definition of the word..lol)

 

6 Responses to “Why I No Longer Attend Church”

  1. Peter Says:

    I have read elsewhere that perhaps 6 or more of 10 churched teenagers in the US in recent years abandon the church in their 20′s and beyond. Some explanation is offered to the effect that a relation-and-intimacy-minded younger generation is rebelling against the relative anonymity of mega-church or traditional denomination worship services.

    Be that as it may, Barna polls of late have suggested that in various measures of morality, the statistically significant differences of past years between church and world have shrunk into oblivion in the US. The church has joined the world, at least as far as the measured morals go. And I for one have lamented what I consider to be a decay of doctrine and practice in the church, a decay that stretches back many generations.

    It may be hard for a Christian in the US to find a good church these days.

    But there is a flip side. All persons, churched and unchurched, Christian and non-, are responsible to God. Part of that responsibility lies in loving the family of God. Love in part may entail humble rebuke, but not giving up on God’s people, and not forsaking the family of God. For one thing, the sins of others too often are to some extent our own sins also. The church in this world was never perfect, but always in need of deliverance from herself, deliverance from her own sin. Part of that deliverance is mutual exhortation … and passing on discipleship to the next generation, breaking of bread, prayer, and continuing in the apostle’s teaching.

    Giving up on the church seems to have occurred to a substantial degree some time ago in England, Holland, Scandanavia, Germany … and New England (and so on). And to date there has largely been no recovery. God has mercy on whom He wills, and He hardens whom He wills.

    But even in “God-forsaken” areas, God still has reserved a number who have not bowed the knee to Baal. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church. And there are places in this world where God’s kingdom is growing, albeit unseen like the wind. That kingdom is peopled by the true church, God’s flock, the bride of Christ for whom God sent His only Son in love.

    Jesus’ disciples cannot love God, whom they have not seen, if they do not love one another, those they have seen.

  2. growinginlove Says:

    Oh, no sir, don’t think that I’ve given up on the body of Christ..I’m just well aware that not all those who claim Christ are truly part of the body, pastors, preachers, etc included..I can no longer afford to be naive to that fact. And I pray for all of us and put myself out there to receive scolding or unapproving words and heads and fingers shaken at me when I present the truth of God’s Word to other Christians who don’t want to hear it and don’t want to accept it because they’re clinging to man’s traditions…I wouldn’t waste my time and face the criticism if I didn’t love my brothers and sisters in Christ. And I’m not expecting perfection, but I do expect for those who call themselves Christians to love God and to respect His Word and a have a love for His truth…but my eyes have just been opened to the fact that more and more error is being allowed in the “church” and that it’s moving further and further away from the REAL Gospel and the REAL Christ..

    Since stepping away from the institutional “church”, my relationship with God is deeper than it’s ever been in my entire life.. (even though I’m not that old..lol) I was raised in “church religion”, and God has, in recent months, brought me to a RELATIONSHIP with Him, that grows more each passing day. I never really had much of a relationship with Him while being a faithful twice-a-week churchgoer..it was just religious practice and habit for me…Now I just choose to follow what’s presented in the Word and not just blindly follow man-made religious traditions, doctrines, and such….
    I’m continually praying for us all..myself included…we all need it..

  3. Deborah Says:

    I am always saddened when I hear that Christians want to seperate themselves. A lot of what you have written is valid and has merit, but in God’s Word He has given us instructions and advance notice that there will be deceivers, false prophets. He does not tell us to leave unto our own devices. He told us where the pitfalls were/are and best of all He gave us the keys to overcome them, not run from them, or hide ourselves away. You gave the example of the money changers and Jesus routed them out and went into the Temple, your response is to stay away from the Temple and just stay home. My dear child I propose to you that the same God that you speak of has given you power and authority, not only to write about it, but to overcome it and anything else on this earth. Let me be raw, blunt and just myself. God gave you, me and anyone who chooses Him all power and authority here on this earth. If you want to be about Christ and His business/works, then get back in the game and break the game through the WORD. Don’t hide behind it, fight with it!!! I love you with the love of Christ and a mother, you can be a Christian and be the flame among the embers or you can be a chicken and stay in the coop. If you have the light of Christ in you, “ain’t” nobody going to see it with you hiding in your house. This is Spiritual Warfare, and you can’t be a Christian and an “conscientious objector” too… that’s an oxymoron. So are you a Christian or a Chicken? Either way I still love you and so does God, but which course of action will He be the most proudest of?
    Writings like this are healthy for the writer and a source of information from a different prespective, but it bothers me because it can lead others to seperate themselves from the Body of Christ and because they may not have the spiritual strength you have to withstand teh enemy, Makes them prey for the devil because you have made yourself a leader and they are following your light into a hiding place also. But now they are alone, they may not have the Holy Spirit to call on. Question: Would the Holy Spirit tell a believer to leave the Sheperd, when He specifically told the Sheperd to “feed my sheep” not once but three times? Why?

    • growinginlove Says:

      I don’t desire to separate myself from other believers at all, but I do desire to separate myself from the influence of those who boldly teach fallacious twisting of the Word of God. I love to fellowship, commune, and converse with those of like faith, but sadly, there aren’t a whole lot that I cross paths with. I pray for the deceivers and the deceived alike, and I try to share truth when I can, and when I’m not heard, then all I can do afterwards is continue to pray. I do not leave myself to my “own devices”. I ask God for the knowledge and wisdom that I need, and He gives it to me measure by measure. He may use a person to communicate it to me, or He show it to me in His Word. The “shepherds” are to feed the flock and be examples to the flock, and if the example doesn’t line up with the Word, how can they feed the sheep? The sheep are either poisoned or starved. Christ is my shepherd first and foremost, but I don’t reject the knowledge that comes through his other sheep; I just don’t see the need to regularly depend on these earthly shepherds in the unhealthy manner that I see going on nowadays. I’m not quick to take them at their every word..I MUST carefully discern what they’re saying by filtering it through the Word. So in the end, I’m still going back to God’s Word, just like how I began. And as for being a “chicken”, I cant be a chicken while clinging to what I cling to now. Chickens don’t go against the grain when it means they’ll be the minority and be criticized for it. I stand for truth, seek truth, and present the truth, but that’s all I can do..I can’t make anyone accept it. I’ve faced rejection and have been ignored because I talk about the truth of God’s Word. I’m not seeing the “chicken” thing in that. I don’t desire to influence anyone to separate themselves from other members of the body of Christ, but I do want to influence them to make sure that those they are joining themselves to, fellowshipping with, and accepting teaching from are teaching the TRUE Word of God and are believers of the true Christ, not a decoy, substitute, or stand-in. God blessed me when He opened my eyes to deception and I refuse to sit under it anymore. It’s my belief that a lot of churches are inching closer and closer to forming ties with the Babylon in Revelation, whether it be physical or spiritual or both, and we are ordered to “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” We are to come out, cut ties, leave it behind, otherwise we’ll be caught up in its mess when it’s judged. There is a price to be paid for teaching and following a false gospel and a different Christ. I will fellowship with believers in the TRUE, untwisted, unmingled Word of God, but I won’t willingly and knowingly subject myself to anything contrary that calls itself a “church”. The believers are the Church. The building is just the building. Just because I’ve forsaken the building and the traditions and doctrines of men doesn’t mean I’ve given up on the Church. The Church, the body of brothers and sisters in Christ, is constantly in my prayers and I will minister to them as I am able, and I will continue to ask God for strength and courage as I stick my neck out to be criticized, but I can’t make anyone believe anything. I can only present the information. I don’t know everything, only a fool thinks he does, but God will feed those who hunger for the truth of His Word. That is the position I’m in right now. God is steadily teaching me, and then He’ll show me exactly what to do with all the things He’s taught me and shown me according to His will and in His timing.

      Answer: Jesus wants His sheep fed, not deceived or lulled to sleep, which is what is happening all too much now. He wants them fed, not starved, poisoned, or lead to the slaughterhouse.
      Question: Does the Lord want his sheep being fed by just anyone who claims the title of pastor, prophet, reverend, etc? Does He want His sheep being fed false food by false teachers?

  4. Peter Says:

    In sheer volume, I think a larger portion of the canon of Scriptures can be classified as negative rather than positive. By “negative,” I mean exposing, recording, and prophesying against sin. Anecdotes about sins outnumber those recording acts of obedience. Hence the need of a Savior. Even the Ten Commandments are couched in “not” terms.

    And as was in the days of Jesus, so too in our day, sadly one may often observe the blind leading the blind. And sheep without a shepherd, harassed and helpless. Strait is the gate and few find it.

    Nevertheless, I think it is helpful to be grateful for truth even in strange places … like churches that have otherwise been characteristically disappointing to me.

    Perhaps you may find encouragement in Ligonier Ministries or Vision Forum, both of which can be found online.

  5. Lorna Says:

    Great article Ashley! He who has an ear…let him hear.


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