Gen. 4:2-5 π Jer. 23:16 π Mt. 6:24 π Mt. 10:28 π Mt. 16:18 π Jn. 16:2 π Acts 7:48 π Gal. 5:19-21 π Eph. 6:12 π Col. 1:13 π 2 Tim. 1:17 π 2 Tim. 4:3-4 π 1 Pet. 2:5 π 1 Jn. 4:3 π Jude 11 π Rev. 17:5 π Rev. 22:11
J.B. Phillips put his finger squarely on the problems of modern churchianity when he wrote:
“The man who is outside all organized Christianity may have, and often does have, a certain reverence for God, and a certain genuine respect for Jesus Christ (though he has probably rarely considered Him and His claims with his adult mind). But what sticks in his throat about the Christianity of the Churches is not merely their differences in denomination, but the spirit of ‘churchiness’ which seems to pervade them all. They seem to him to have captured and tamed and trained to their own liking Something that is really far to Big ever to be forced into man-made boxes with neat labels upon them. He may never think of putting it into words, but this is what he thinks and feels.” (Your God Is Too Small, Macmillan, 1961, p. 37)
Let us note well the cornerstones of the modern “church” that jut out into view in this short quote:
- the spirit of “churchliness” (by which Phillips refers primarily to exclusivity and arrogant presumption of superiority and possession of the “right and only way” to God) and
- man-mad boxes that can never contain God.
Paul wrote that dissensions, sects and divisions were works of the flesh that would prevent one from inheriting the kingdom of God. ( Gal. 5:19-21 ) But churchianity today is built almost entirely of dissensions, sects and divisions. The Roman Catholic “church” as the mother (historic source) of the harlot daughters (Orthodoxy, Protestant, Evangelical, etc. ad nauseum) is the picture the apostle John was given in the Revelation. ( Rev. 17:5; top )
Phillips has correctly, whether intentionally or otherwise, laid blame upon the spirit of churchliness. The presence of this “churchliness, this exclusivity and arrogance, is too widespread and too consistent to be a coincidence or anything but the results of carefully applied schemes and machinations of the demonic enemies of men’s souls. Spirits that seduce men into the way of Cain (false, corrupted religion – Gen. 4:2-5 , Jude 11 ), that lure men to substitute any counterfeit for any reality of God (antichrist – 1 Jn. 4:3 – “anti” in Greek being both “against” and “in the place of”), that lure men away from simple faith (wealth, mammon – Mt. 6:24 - fear, especially fear of man – 2 Tim. 1:17 , Mt. 10:28 )… All these and more may be found in the New Testament and it is these spirits against which we are supposed to wrestle ( Eph. 6:12 ) Modern churchianity, instead, herds most of its participants into large lecture halls where they passively partake of whatever errors and false spirits dominate the main speaker(s) and entertainers. There is no shortage of these ear-scratching “preachers,” “teachers,” “pastors” and “televangelists.” ( 2 Tim. 4:3-4 ) and God still says, “Do not even listen to the false prophets for they will destroy you.” ( Jer. 23:16; top )
God does not dwell in boxes made by human hands. ( Acts 7:48 , etc.) and the house He is building is a spiritual house made with living stones. ( 1 Pet. 2:5; top ) Yet even in lands where violent persecution is visited on those inside these little man-made boxes, no one seems able to realize that these boxes have nothing to do with life and godliness as depicted in the New Testament. Not only is it “okay” to live outside the box, there’s not supposed to be any boxes!
Phillips’ outside observer is frustrated and angered at his inability to put all these things into words. The demonic works long and hard to keep anyone from being able to coalesce these huge ideas into a single message, both by keeping followers of Christ from rejecting outright churchianity’s main cornerstones and also by keeping the outside observer from delving into the questions in any depth.
When the ekklesia, Christ’s called out citizens of His kingdom of light ( Mt. 16:18 , Col. 1:13 , etc.), truly break down the gates of death and darkness that have inhibited and restrained them for centuries and even millennia, the word of the Lord will go forth in power and the outside observer will be astonished at how right he was all along, the well-“churched” but genuine seeker of Christ will be heartbroken over his own blindness and the avid “church”-ite will denounce them both as demonically deceived heretics and propel them into persecution thinking that he is doing God a service. ( Jn. 16:2; top )
Let he who is blind be blind still. Let he who is righteous be righteous still. ( Rev. 22:11; top ) Let he who has ears hear.
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