As good as institutional churches can be they almost always have these 3 major faults
#1 The church service is a Non-relational performance (show) to an audience by professionals
#2 It is led by men instead of Christ
#3 It promotes (forces down your throat) sin consciousness
#1 destroys the purpose of Christ's body, to love one another and build one another up, to share Christ in them with one another. One another means every person is involved. If its non-relational it is not a biblical meeting of the body.
#2 is set up to sucker people into believing lies because an unquestionable expert is presenting all of the information. It also makes it very hard for people to hear the real voice of God.
#3 is the worst of all, it kills the experience of the gospel in your life & leads you to shame yourself & condemn others.
I see churches like a restaurant that serves a 3 course meal. Two of the courses may be the best food you've ever had but one of the courses is poisoned & you don't know which one. I'm not going to a restaurant that serves up poison nor will I recommend it to anyone. So to me this isn't an issue of "I disagree with the menu selection." It is a case of "This place serves poison! No one should be eating poison! Please don't eat their poison!" Saying "no church is perfect" can be a rationalization to eat poison because you love the other things that are served up.
Making mistakes is one thing but having institutions/traditions/practices that are intentionally present all the time is another. Mistakes are like a cook accidentally spilling soap in your food. Traditions (etc.) are like poison being listed in the recipe.
Churches as people can make mistakes and be loved in spite of them because they are our brothers & sisters in Christ. Churches as institutions are like faulty built machines. The blueprints are wrong and the machine will harm people because of it. I'm not promoting being "against them." I am stating why I am against an "it." While what I wrote is based on my observance it is also evident from scripture what is poison and what is not.
No matter how someone spins it I am not going to condone or promote poisoning the body. I am not saying, "Don't go to a church." At most I was saying, "Watch out, the church you are going to is very likely to be poisoned." I don't "support" eating poison, poison that I've seen harm people in countless ways. I don't want my brother to be harmed.
Thoughts from My Wise & Wonderful Wife
We have seen and experienced the bondage that people have been under
unknowingly. There are some churches that may not have all three things
going on that are listed but anyone of those things is a poison. We have
seen a church to have true loving relationships. But even that is few
and far between. Sin consciousness is for sure forced down your throat
almost weekly. That's what the vast majority of sermons are. They are
about a particular sin geared toward making you feel guilty about it.
People call that conviction and pass it off as from God yet the only
place in scripture that uses the word "convict" in reference to a
Christian says that "He will convict them of their righteousness" not of
their sin. We are dead to sin and alive to Christ and His righteousness
because of His death on the cross and resurrection. Yet Christians walk
around with so much guilt and shame that Christ died to take away.
a sermon is nice and neatly put into a package and delivered to a vast
group of people all of differing places in their walk with God it is
very difficult to think through, "Could he be getting this wrong?" I've
even experienced feeling guilty for daring to question whether what a
preacher is saying is true!! I know they say study it out for yourself
but in all honesty most do not. They assume the studied pastor must know
what he is talking about. Plus we are not taught how to study. The
bible is a very daunting book and we are made to feel like a true
Christian will simply know how to study. So we keep quiet and hope the
pastor is right.
We most certainly do promote meeting together
with other Christians in a setting where all are free to contribute and
growing and learning and discussing are present. These types of meetings
can be difficult because we are so used to one man doing most of the
talking but it is possible. We have seen people living in such guilt who
feel that guilt is what God wants for us, to be down on ourselves and
beating ourselves up.
Further Thoughts from Me
"Sin consciousness" refers to Hebrews 10:1-2 which says that the
sacrifice of Christ has purified us for all time & our consciousness
of sin can now disappear.
From a pulpit it comes out as a focus
on "not sinning" usually through flesh based efforts or it comes out as
guilt tripping, rebuking, or shaming the audience. Blanket statements of
shame are made towards people who are not only undeserving in Christ
(as all Christians are) but perhaps even undeserving in their behavior.
you look carefully at the new testament you'll never see the word sin
& the word repent in the same context unless it is talking about
receiving the forgiveness of sins. The word repent is never aimed at
Essentially to me sin consciousness is
counting sin against yourself or others. 2 Corinthians 5:19 says God no
longer counts sins against people thus neither should we.
similar feelings in Amos 5:21-24 regarding old testament assemblies
which placed obstacles between men & God as I do about present
“I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in
your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me offerings, I will
not accept them; And I will not even look at your peace offerings. Take
away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the
sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters And
righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."
Note that God never
says He hates the people but the pretentious things, even the things He
once commanded, which they do. That is how I feel too.
Now it is
the righteousness of Christ that we need to flow not our own
righteousness. Sin consciousness does not allow it but denies the
righteousness He has given us. Putting on a show & having
professional leaders denies the body the ability to flow out the
righteousness of Christ because they are a silenced audience.
Ignore the Poison?