Acts 7:48-50 π 1 Cor. 14:26 π Eph. 4:11-13 π Eph. 5:19 π 2 Ths. 2:3 π 1 Pet. 2:25
One of the most astounding facets of modern “church” life is the tenacity with which “church” goers cling to activities, teachings and practices which have absolutely no basis in Scripture. Were this just another listing of the aberrant cults with their twisting of Scriptures to their own destruction, it would be no surprise. The astonishing fact is that much of what we do when we are “in church” has no basis in Scripture. Let me give you a list of some of the more apparent ones.
- The pulpit. Originally called an ambo, it is a direct transplant from the pagan temples in the time of Constantine, emperor of the Roman empire. The pulpit cannot be found anywhere in the pages of Scripture and yet it is the center piece of the modern “church.”
- The pew. Though it cannot be found in the Scriptures, it is the appropriate place in which the average “church”-goer is mandated to remain - and there he or she is to be seen and not heard. Scripture, on the other hand, speaks of everyone contributing something for the edification of all. ( 1 Cor. 14:26 ; Eph. 5:19; top )
- The “church” building. This cannot be found in Scripture either. The first assemblies met in homes with possibly occasional large-scale meetings in which visiting apostles and prophets would speak. The notion of building a specialized building did not come about until around 200 A.D., some 120 years after the last word of the New Testament was written down. The people of Christ of the first century were far too concerned with meeting the needs of orphans and widows in their distress than they were concerned with the ludicrous task of building a building in which to worship the God who doesn’t live in buildings made by human hands anyway ( Acts 7:48-50; top )
- The pastor. The word appears only once in the English New Testament, courtesy of the King James translators, who apparently did not think the word “shepherd” (the word used the other 17 times the Greek word “poimen” appears) was suitable in the list of giftings that God gave to make the people of Christ mature and instead used this Latin derivative. ( Eph. 4:11-13; top ) This word “pastor,” which is used only once in the English New Testament (and even then it’s in the plural), is nonetheless the position of the highest order in nearly every “local” “church.” Many Scriptures have to be twisted and others outright ignored to bring support to this notion for if a pastor were to be forced to live up to the job description of a shepherd, especially in a large “church,” he would soon resign, go insane or fall over dead from exhaustion.
- The “pastor” as the man in charge. A discerning look into church history will quickly tell you that the “pastor” is only a pagan priest, somewhat renovated through centuries of Reformation notions, deemed to be the only one qualified to hear what God is saying to the people. The “pastor” stands as the bridge or mediator between the people and God - just as the pagan priest stood as the bridge between the people and the gods they worshiped. This is why the priest in the Roman Catholic “church,” the equivalent of the Protestant “pastor,” is also called a “pontiff” (bridge).
- The sermon. By this I refer to the well-studied, eloquently polished three-points (often alliterated) and a poem tool of communication. In the Scriptures, men spoke as the Holy Spirit moved upon them. In modern “churches,” pastors speak after they have studiously squeezed out as much of the life-giving Spirit as they possibly can.
- The sermon delivered by a pastor. Not only is there no one in the New Testament who is said to be a pastor (other than the Overseer and Shepherd of our souls, the Lord Jesus Christ – 1 Pet. 2:25; top ), but there is not one instance of a pastor delivering a sermon. There are apostles who spoke to crowds of people as the Spirit moved them, but never a pastor. Yet it is the mainstay of most “church”-goers’ spiritual diet to hear a sermon delivered by someone claiming to be a pastor.
- A missionary. This term is not to be found in the Bible, but now the “church” has found that sending nearly everyone who will go on a short term missions trip is a way to get people more “missions minded” (most often just so that they can then milk them for more money). What the Scriptures do talk about is a handful of mature men and women who do apostolic, prophetic or evangelistic work. These apostles and prophets are the mature ones whom God has called to travel into areas that need order and to hear God and the evangelists are those whom God has called to take the gospel to new areas.
And the list could go on. But I think the point has been made.
And yet if you confront the average “church”-goer with these truths, you will most likely encounter stiffer denial than what comes from the worst alcoholic or drug addict. Though these people are often completely ignorant about these facts (often willfully so), they continue to insist that their “pastor” is a “ great man of God” and their “church” is a “wonderful work of God.”
Such people are clearly under the spiritual control of what can only be called the “church spirit” or “religious spirit.” If their minds were not clouded over by a veil of deception, they could easily trot down to their local library or get on the internet and confirm most, if not all, of these observations in one trip. But because they have decided that comfort and convenience is more important than knowing what the Scriptures really say and, more importantly, more important than obeying the Scriptures, they have been given over to this deceiving spirit.
It is truly a sad thing to behold - this great falling away of the “church.” And the people need never leave the comfort of their building nor forsake the reassuring fables their “pastor” tells them in order to be full-fledged members of the great apostasy that comes right before the Day of Christ. ( 2 Ths. 2:3; top )
The comforting aspect of all this, albeit somewhat selfishly so, is that as the “church” ceases to be the ekklesia but takes on more and more of the characteristics of the world, that system which opposes God and obeys the whims of self and Satan, the return of Christ is that much closer.
But if you find yourself ensnared in one of these man-made abominations, don’t just take my word for any of this. Study the Scriptures to see if these things be so. Check out the church history books. Cry out to God for enlightenment and revelation. If we, being evil humans, give good gifts to our children, how much more so will God our Father send His Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth who guides into all truth, to us when we earnestly and sincerely call out to Him. And then do what He directs you to do lest you compromise and deceive your own soul.
I am not here to advocate abandoning the monolithic man-made abominations, though I am confident that the Holy Spirit will indeed lead most who will listen to Him to leave them behind. I am only here to point you to the Scriptures. For if you claim to be a Christian, you need to know whether or not you are actually living your lives on the basis of what the Scriptures really say or if you are merely being deceived by some man-made tradition. The soul on the line is your own. Do with it as you think best.
I’d love to hear comments and/or questions from you! Email me!